Sega

Farnation (Sega) [Dreamcast, Xbox – Cancelled]

Farnation (sometime spelled Far Nation) is a cancelled online RPG that was going to be published by Sega, initially for their Dreamcast and later for Xbox. The game was somehow announced in mid 2000, when its title was found in a document released by Sega Enterprises discussing the company’s overall business strategy.

Some more details about the game were published in December 2000 by Gamespot:

“With its upcoming massively multiplayer network RPG, Farnation, Sega plans to take the first step in introducing the concept of persistent online worlds to the console market. Farnation gives a nod to such successful PC games as Ultima Online and – more recently – Everquest by letting players interact with other human players across a large universe.

Farnation contains five different terrains, and in these areas, you will have the ability to cooperate with other human players in building towns – complete with casinos, libraries, restaurants, hospitals, banks, and residences. Of course, you aren’t limited to these towns. You can build stations that house airships, boats, and stagecoaches so that you can travel around the entire Farnation world to advance the game’s story arcs and events. In fact, there are several special events that occur throughout the game for plot advancement and, according to Sega, to make the game easily navigable for beginning players.

However, Farnation’s emphasis is on human interaction. Communicating through the use of the game’s chat function, you can buy, sell, and trade items with others. You can also form parties and head out in search of battles and adventure. In total, the game’s play modes include party battles, simultaneous online battles, weapon and item creator, town development, and story elements.

Aside from its gameplay features, Farnation looks to be one of the most visually impressive massively multiplayer online RPGs on the market. After briefly seeing the game in action, we came away thoroughly impressed with the amount of detail in the characters and environments, particularly in the towns. In one scene, there were at least a dozen generously modeled polygonal characters onscreen at once, and the environments were cluttered with several building structures and residences. Graphically, Farnation is favorably comparable to the currently available online RPGs for the PC platform.”

While the Gamespot Staff was able to take a look at the game, unfortunately Sega never officially released any image or footage to the public. From what we can read in this preview, it sounds the game would have been an original mix between Sim City and a traditional MMORPG.

In February 2001 on Dreamcast Magazine Issue 19 Farnation was named again in a list of future Dreamcast games. On March 2001 Sega discontinued the Dreamcast, restructuring itself as a third-party publisher. Many Sega games in development were then moved to Xbox, GameCube and Playstation 2. In May 2001, Gamespot kinda confirmed that Farnation was then in development for Microsoft’s Xbox.

Still Sega did not shown anything from the game, not even officially announce its release. After a while Farnation vanished forever and the only proof we have of its existence is a prototype seen at the Sega of America office, in a photo they published on Flicker in July 2008.

farnation dreamcast sega of america prototype

Between many other Dreamcast games, released and unreleased, we can see a jewel case labeled “Farnation, PT-ROM 1/12/01”. This could have been an updated version of demo that Gamespot seen in December 2000.

We can only hope someone at Sega of America saved this Farnation prototype, to release it online in the future. If you know someone who worked at Sega in 2000 / 2001 and may have more details about Farnation, please let us know! 

RPG Densetsu Hepoi [Mega Drive (Genesis) – Cancelled]

The 16-bit era brought many new possibilities into design and artistic fields on gaming. Colorful sprites, rich and fluid animation, stereo sound and many new features graced a period that for a long time was considered the most important for the video game industry.

One of the biggest hook for consumers in the 80’s and 90’s was the extensive licensed material. These decades would change video games forever as companies were beginning to understand it as a communication channel, more than just an electronic toy. Soon, adaptations from cartoons, anime, movies, comic books, novels and pretty much everything began to pop through. It was the “make a game of that” philosophy.

This means that game designers worked day and night to figure out how to work with whichever hardware came around, in every way possible to make something popular, playable. Sometimes this meant that something great was coming, sometimes it was just excuse to make more profit with a famous brand.

A video game based on japanese anime RPG Densetsu Hepoi was in the makings for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis System.

The only source available about this unseen game is a scan from a japanese magazine called Beep Mega Drive, dated 1991, which show us two screenshots, revealing the use of top-down perspective. We can also deduce by the menu displacement that it had classic j-rpg gameplay, including text-based actions, dialogues and multiple characters to use.

The game was also being co-produced by Sega.

Unfortunately we don’t know much more about this cancelled Mega Drive RPG: it quietly vanished forever with no official explanation. It remains one of the many lost 16bit games which will forever be forgotten by the majority of gamers all around the world.

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Cho Hamaru Golf (Net de Golf ) [Dreamcast – Beta]

Update: thanks to Mark we found out that this game is an early version of the released Net de Golf! Some details such as the HUD look a bit different in Cho Hamaru Golf, but the rest is identical.

Cho Hamaru Golf is a cancelled arcade sport game that was in development by Sega for their Dreamcast since 1998, as it was listed during their second “New Challenge Conference” in october 98 – with a planned release date of March 1999. A couple of tiny screenshots were published online by IGN, but thanks to Isatis_Angel we were able to save better images, found in “Playmag” magazine issue 30 (novembre 1998).

As far as we know from the short previews and news available at the time, Cho Hamaru Golf was planned to be a fun arcade experience like Everybody’s Golf and Mario Golf. Sega also wanted to let players to trade special golf clubs (and custom characters?) using their VMUs.

By looking at the only screenshots available, we can imagine this would have been a great multiplayer game for our beloved Dreamcast, so it’s really a shame it was never released.

Thanks to Isatis_Angel for the contribution!

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Looney Tunes: By A Hare [Arcade – Cancelled?]

Looney Tunes: By A Hare is a side scrolling racing game featuring Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, that was developed by Sega of Japan for arcades and shown at Jamma 1993 (Amusement Machine Show). After this show the game vanished and as far as we know if was never officially released to the public.

As wrote to us by Sam:

“Next to nothing is known about this title, and the only images available are from old gaming magazine scans. No video footage either and no available ROM. What’s been described for the game is that it would’ve been a side-scrolling 3-player racing game where players choose from Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig while Taz the Tasmanian Devil is always CPU controlled while other Looney Tunes characters can interfere with the race.”

It seems Looney Tunes: By A Hare was developed for Sega System 32, the same hardware used for such games as Sonic The Hedgehog Arcade and Combat. Other websites (Lost Media Wiki, Arcade Museum, Sega Retro, Undumped Wiki) featured this lost game in their archives, but for now there is still no evidence it was ever released.

As wrote on X-Cult:

“The races take place on land, in water, or other planets as well as other types of terrain. Several familiar characters show up in the background and may interfere with or try to slow the players down. Some of these include Sylvester chasing Tweety, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Yosemite Sam, Marvin the Martian, and Elmer Fudd. The player moves as fast as the run button is pressed so that there are no unfair advantages. The game has high quality graphics, and the characters’ movements are taken directly from the cartoons. This description can be found in the May 1993 issue of GamePro Magazine on page 16.”

If you find out more details about this unseen arcade game, please let us know!

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Project Carbondale (Sega) [Xbox, PS2 – Cancelled]

Project Carbondale is a cancelled survival horror game that was being development by SEGA in 2003 for Xbox and Playstation 2. While the game was never officially announced, the public found out about its development thanks to a few articles published online by various websites, including The Southern Illinoisan, in which they wrote about Sega employees exploring the city of Carbondale (Illinois) to take inspiration and capture reference for the project.

“CARBONDALE – Aliens have landed in Carbondale and they are killing anything that moves. Your natural instinct is to flee, but a severe mid-winter blizzard has cut off all hopes of escape. Quick! Grab a gun, a sledgehammer, a scythe, any weapon you can get your hands on. Your only hope for survival is to stand your ground and fight – in the mall, the old Carbondale high school, city hall, even the sewer system if you have to. This is a fight to the death and it’s going to be bloody.

The battle isn’t real, though. It’s one of the biggest video game releases of 2004 being developed by Sega. Thousands of people, maybe even millions, will be fighting to save Carbondale from alien beasties next year. “Initially Sega said ‘We want to place this game in a small town,'” said Cord Smith, product manager for Sega of America. “Initially they said an East Coast town, but they just wanted something that wasn’t the West Coast. (The Japanese game designers) are familiar with San Francisco and California culture, but to them, that’s not America. America is what’s between the two coasts.”

carbondale sega game cancelled

Smith is now spending nine days leading a team of eight game designers from Tokyo around key Carbondale locations, including University Mall, the old high school central campus, the police station, city hall, water treatment plant, local homes and apartments, and yes, even the sewer system. “They’re soaking all this in, with the biggest smiles on their faces,” Smith said. “They keep saying this is kind of what they imagined, but they’re blown away that everyone has a yard, everything’s beautiful, everything’s so lush and green.”

The game’s designer, Shinichi Ogasawara, says bringing the design team all the way from Tokyo to see the Midwest for themselves is the best way to create a realistic small-town environment. The team is shooting digital videotape and still photographs that will be used to provide the textures of the games’ three-dimensional environment. Some team members photographed close-ups of anything that could be interactive, such as light switches and the weights used by Carbondale firefighters. Other team members photographed walls, ceilings, floors and artwork hanging on walls.”

Shinichi Ogasawara had previously worked on many different light gun arcade games, such as “Gunblade NY: Special Air Assault Force”, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “The Maze of the Kings”, but it seems this would have been his first console project.

At the time, Cord Smith was resigning from SEGA and about to join Ubisoft, but his sister was the acting City Attorney of Carbondale, and – through her many city contacts – he was able to grant unlimited access to many locations that could have been used in the game: the abandoned high school, hospital, shopping mall, fire station, police station (and armory and shooting range), water treatment plant, and even the underground waterways & sewer system. The team met in Illinois and toured together for multiple days at the various sites.

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As far as we were able to gather, Carbondale was being developed for Playstation 2 and Xbox, but at that time, many devs were also looking into next-gen tech. We were told that the early prototype of Carbondale seemed to be on the PS2. Unfortunately it appears that this early prototype simply wasn’t of high enough quality to receive the green-light for its next milestone, but there is not enough info available to know exactly what happened to the game, and additional details about its gameplay mechanics are scarce.

It seems that the game was meant to be a traditional survival horror with moments of more “bombastic action”, potentially through the invasion of alien enemies. People who talked with Ogasawara at the time got the sense that they wanted it to be SEGA’s answer to the Resident Evil franchise, featuring a much more realistic Western setting (hence the research), but also SEGA’s leanings towards action and arcade-like fun factor.

We were able to exchange a few emails with Cord, who shared a few memories about this lost game and their Carbondale exploration:

“One of my favorite locations was an abandoned high school. The city had built a new one and left the old in an eerie state, with lots of books, equipment, and other items left behind. We visited it at night, so it was as if a apocalyptic event had occurred and everyone evacuated in a hurry. In other words: perfect video game reference.

The mirrors behind the theater stage still had cosmetics nearby, the cafeteria had trays out on the tables, and textbooks were strewn about the classrooms. We split up into two teams, each with cameras and flashlights, and in one area I found a CPR dummy, which amounted to a dressed male mannequin torso. Without hesitation, I took it and returned to the main stairway near the school’s foyer. I could see the other team’s flashlights scanning the walls along the distant hallway, and faked a scream before sliding the torso along the floor towards them. As the seemingly severed body moved into the beams of their flashlights, the school erupted with the other groups’ terrified screams. And we laughed, and laughed. So much fun!”

We hope to be able to preserve more details and footage from the game in the future.

Thanks a lot to Mortimer for the contribution!

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