The King of Cosplays is a cancelled RPG that may have been in development around 1999 – 2000 by Viccom, possibly to be published by SNK for their Neo Geo Pocket. This is quite the strange and previously unknown game, but our friend and Korean-gaming expert Sam Derboo found a short article about it in Korean Game Power magazine (July 2000 issue):
“The King of Cosplays supposedly in development 1999~2000 at Viccom, NGPC RPG where your characters get stronger the more convincingly cosplay as SNK characters”
Could Viccom and SNK really have been working on a Cosplay-RPG? While the concept sounds weird, we know there were quite some strange / original titles on Neo Geo Pocket, such as Dark Arms: Beast Buster, the “SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash” series, Biomotor Unitron and Ganbare Neo Poke-Kun. Also as noted by Sam, “Viccom is known to have cooperated with SNK on several levels (development support / training for Fight Fever, NeoGeo distribution in Korea including NGPC, ties to The Real Kim Kap-hwan) so it’s not completely incredible.”
At the moment this scan is the only proof we have of the existence of The King of Cosplays. Could this have been a Game Power magazine inside-joke? While we may never know the truth, for sure it could have been quite the amazing niche RPG if ever released. If you’ll find something else about this mysterious NGPC game, please let us know.
Some more details were published in the “Human Club Vol. 8” promotional leaflet, so if you can read Japanese and would like to translate a short list of its main features described in there, please leave a message below!
Western Lords is a cancelled Old-West RPG in development around 2004 by Blossomsoft for GBA, Nintendo DS and PC. In its initial version it looked like a classic 16-bit 2D RPG, but it seems it was later rebooted in 3D for Nintendo DS before being finally canned.
As we can read in some old messages in their (now closed) forum, the game was related to another unreleased game titled “Sagrada Guardians”:
“We’re currently working on a new game project titled Western Lords. Note, however: even though Sagrada Guardians was once titled Western Lords in the past (and then changed due to the theme issue), these games are not the same.
While Sagrada Guardians focus on ‘the cities made of gold’ theme, Western Lords will focus more on outlaws and cowboys in a merciless environment similar to Mexico. However, some story elements of Sagrada Guardians will be introduced via Western Lords.
Even if Sagrada Guardians and Western Lords shouldn’t be considered as the same series, they will be running in parallel to one another. Western Lords will have an entire new cast of characters, and should take place approximately one century before Sagrada Guardians on the same world. Take note that the environment will be darker unlike the fantastic ambiance of Sagrada Guardians. This will remind everyone how harsh the western era looked like (well, at least in literature!).
We hope to complete the game during this coming winter, exactly as we did with Oracle Adventure with the creative side. The game will possibly be sold for around $25 on PC. We’re also planning multi-languages, English and French as initial languages.
Also key members of Sagrada Guardians will be working on Western Lords. For instance, Xavier Dang will be the main composer and William Knight will be in charge of the dialogues. Min ‘keiii’ Kwon will possibly stay on as the artwork designer, though this is unconfirmed as of yet. “
The game was cancelled when the team was disbanded, as confirmed by the team leader on their old website:
“It was the very first project I created back around 2004. The Game Boy Advance and later the Nintendo DS were the main targeted platforms. Sadly, the team disbanded because of my inexperience and since then I’ve been honing my skills to become a one-man team. Fact is, the release of Eternal Eden in 2008 was some sort of Plan B to get Western Lords back on track. But then things escalated to Plan C, etc. I still intend to revive this project with a different style after 2016, if things go well.”
In 2008 Blossomsoft released a different RPG titled “Eternal Eden” on PC as their first commercial project. As of 2020 it seems Western Lords was resurrected and it’s now planned to be released on Nintendo Switch in the future.
This canned project was in development using the same GBA engine they created for the Devil Children titles, as much as it reused many assets from Devil Children: Fire Book. However it seems Project Alpha was planned as a different, original game. In early 2019 YT channel Hard4Games made a video about this prototype and sometime later Kuriatsu acquired the same proto, doing more research on its content. As wrote on Reddit:
“For those that are unaware, Project Alpha, is a game prototype that first appeared on Hard4Games about a month ago. In these videos, they covered a few things that are and are not relevant to the game series Devil Children on GBA. Project Alpha uses the exact same game engine to a T that Devil Children: book of fire uses, to the point that it even uses book of Fires internal designation. (so basically Atlus rom hacked Book of Fire) A lot of the assets, such as music, some visuals, a LOT of Debug, and so on, are from Book of Fire, but Project Alpha is its own game, and at one time, was supposed to be something, but noone knows what. In my experiments with this game, there’s not even a single trace of its original name that I’m seeing thus far.”
The japanese prototype was translated thanks to RetroTranslator and Kuriatsu made a video showing off more of what can be found in this early demo:
As wrote in the video description:
This game is not even 1/50th complete, but it is an interesting game.
This game is not a Devil Children game, despite using the DC3 Engine. project alpha is the same for devil children as Guruguru Garakuta-zu is for devil children on the Gameboy colour. Devil children on the GBC actually took a LOT of resources from Guruguru Garakuta-zu. In the same way, project alpha took a LOT of resources from Devil Children Flame Book. In fact, all of the music that we’ll hear from this game is actually from Devil Children Flame Book.
This game is highly unusual in comparison to other prototypes, and is likely the equivalent of a pilot TV show thats testing the waters, as a result, it’s not incredibly detailed, but the back story is clear as crystal.”
Yohoden Hisuimaru: Bonten no Ken (妖逢伝ひすい丸 梵天の剣) is a cancelled JRPG that was in development around 1992 – 1993 for Sega Game Gear. From screenshots and footage available we can see it was going to be a classic RPG set in feudal Japan, with the main protagonist being able to transform himself into a Tengu.
“A field-type RPG set in medieval Japan. The protagonist, Hasui Maru, suddenly struck by lightning and became a Tengu. Why was he transformed to this figure? Fate now waits for him. As you can see from these images, it seems that popular figures of Japanese folklore and real-life history would have appeared in the game, such as Momotaro, Kintaro, Ushiwakamaru and Benkei.”
Combat was turn-based and there was a nice-looking overworld map to explore. It seems the project was being produced by Sega and it could have been a great addition to Game Gear’s japanese library. Unfortunately even if Yohoden Hisuimaru: Bonten no Ken looked quite far in development, it was quietly cancelled and soon forgotten.