Runelords is a cancelled RPG that was in development in 1999 / 2000 by Saffire and it would have been published by Kemco for the GameBoy Color. The game was based on the fantasy book series with the same name, created by David Farland. In the universe of The Runelords, there exists a unique magical system which relies on the existence of distinct bodily attributes, such as brawn, grace, and wit. The game would have been a traditional turn based RPG, but it seems that the gameplay was not much fun. As we can read on IGN:
When we played the game at E3, we weren’t too excited by the sluggish and laborious RPG play. The game has a 3/4 view (like Mission Impossible) for the action, but just lagged in conversations, in movement, in battle, and elsewhere.
It’s possible that the publisher decided to cancel this project for quality reasons.
Saffire is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by Saffire (yes, the company used its same name to call their project) for the GameBoy Color. This version was going to be one chapter of the Saffire epic series, that was meant to be published for the Nintendo Dolphin (aka the GameCube) and the GameBoy Advance too. On IGN we can read part of the planned story:
The basic storyline of Saffire revolves around ancient Grecian myth. As the tale goes, in ancient times the god Zeus saw that the other gods were carelessly destroying the planet. To end this, he decided to seal off all of his enemies into the underworld, whereupon he himself swore never to return to the Earth. Centuries later, in modern times, a group of archeologists accidentally stumble upon the dangerous seals and open them, letting loose all the destructive gods of ancient past. Zeus watches from afar, but ironically, because he swore never to return, cannot do anything to stop the madness. Zeus enlists the help of teenage gods to put an end to the chaos engulfing the planet.
Saffire was one of the first development studios that started to create game concepts for the new Nintendo’s “128 bit” console, and they shown some famous tech demos as Saffire (Young Olympians) and Saffire Shooter. This GBC game was never finished for unknown reasons, but at least Dolphin’s Saffire evolved into Barbarian after some development issues. Saffire Corporation released their last title, Van Helsing, in 2004 (for the PS2, XBOX and GBA) and went out of business sometime afterwards.
Marvel 2099: One Nation Under Doom is a cancelled 2D sidescroller action game that was in development by Saffire for the original Playstation. The project would have been published by Mindscape in 1996, but the company decided to stop publishing some of their console titles and One Nation Under Doom was one of them. After Marvel 2099 was canned, Saffire started to develope Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. and Rampage World Tour for the Nintendo 64.
As we can read on Wikipedia, by May 1996 CD-ROM and VHS video demos of Marvel 2099 were being shipped to game magazines for pre-release reviews, along with a one-page color brochure. The first public demo was shown at the E3 1996 show, and featured a playable single level of the Punisher 2099 fighting SHIELD troops, and also opening menus and some cut scenes. Electronic Gaming Monthly had two quarter-page previews of the game, showing grainy shots of actual gameplay, and a group shot of the player characters. At the 1996 San Diego Comicon, the Mindscape booth handed out brochures, and raffled off One Nation Under Doom pins, shirts, and posters. Some attendees were even allowed to play the demo at the booth, although no copies of the demo were distributed.
We can only hope that one of these playable demos could be found and shared with the community in the future .
Thanks to Celine for the contribution! Thanks to Daniel for the video!
Originally announced as an adventure game, “Young Olympians” (also known as Saffire, from the name of the developers) was one of the first games shown for the “Project Dolphin” console, today known as the Nintendo GameCube. After the original announcement the game disappeared, it was postponed several times and then it was back in the form of a fighting game with RPG elements, but then it vanished again for months until it was finally changed into Barbarian, an hack ‘n’ slash released for GameCube, PS2 and XBOX. This is approximately the troubled development of Young Holympians. The Saffire team had some fame because of their tech demos for the Dolphin, with impressive graphics for their time, but once released, as it happened with Young Olympians, the gameplay proved to be somewhat disappointing and even the graphic was not that good. Of course this tech demo remains one of the most interesting piece of the GameCube development history.
[spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Annunciato sotto forma di adventure game, questo Young Olympians (conosciuto anche come Saffire, nome del gruppo di sviluppatori) fu uno dei primi giochi esibiti per il “Project Dolphin”, ormai noto come GameCube. In seguito scomparse per qualche tempo, tornò alla luce in forma di Fighting Game con elementi RPG, poi di nuovo disperso per mesi, fino a quando si trasformò in Barbarian, uscito finalmente per GameCube, PS2 e XBOX. Questa all’incirca la travagliata storia dello sviluppo del gioco. Il team Saffire, fece parlare molto di sé nell’ambito Nintendo, a causa di queste loro tech demo, dalla grafica impressionante per il periodo, che fecero fantasticare alle potenzialità del successore dell’N64. Ma una volta usciti, come questo Young Olympians, si rivelarono piuttosto deludenti. Di “Saffire” non rimane altro che l’interesse come vera e propria beta leggendaria.[/spoiler]