Sega

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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Metal Lancer [Genesis / Mega Drive – Cancelled]

Metal Lancer is a cancelled first-person space shooter that was being developed by Yuji Naka for Mega Drive / Genesis in 1990. It’s the last project on which the the legendary japanese programmer worked on before Sonic The Hedgehog (1991). As we can read from a 2016 Denfaminicogamer interview with Naka, the game’s main character was a girl who controlled a space robot. Metal Lancer would also have featured complex scaling effects similar to what the SNES could accomplish with Mode 7

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Unfortunately, Naka doesn’t say in the interview why he dropped the project, though we can speculate that either he simply found the game too complex to develop on a Mega Drive or Sega just wanted him to work a more promising title like Sonic.

Thanks to Youloute for the contribution and Michele Zanetti for the japanese translation! 

Skies of Arcadia 2 [Cancelled – GameCube, PS2]

The original Skies of Arcadia was released in late 2000 / early 2001 on Dreamcast, and soon became a cult hit among JRPG fans. The game was developed by Overworks, a SEGA team composed of numerous legendary developers and designers, including Rieko Kodama, Shuntarō Tanaka, and Noriyoshi Ohba; who worked on past RPGs, such as the Phantasy Star series, Magic Knight Rayearth, Wonder Boy in Monster Land and the Sakura Taisen series. Hype was high and the final game was really one of the best japanese RPGs released in the ‘00, but unfortunately, it seems that Skies of Arcadia did not sell enough on Dreamcast (does anyone have official sales numbers?), maybe because of the low user base and the console early departure in early 2001.

skies of arcadia 2 cancelled

Sega was still confident about their sky-pirates project: they developed an enchanted PS2 and GameCube ports with added featured, to try to sell more copies and earn back some of the money spent to create the game. The GameCube version was released in December 2002 under the title “Skies of Arcadia Legends” but PS2 port was canned for some reasons, throwing away one of the biggest user base for RPG fanatics. As most Nintendo console, GameCube was not an easy console to sell third parties titles and with a lower percentage of people interested in turn based role playing games, Skies of Arcadia Legend bombed even harder than the Dreamcast version.

Before losing all faith in the game, Sega and Overworks were planning a sequel to Skies of Arcadia, as confirmed by interviews with developers from the original team. In June 2001 IGN asked to Noriyoshi Ohba about Skies of Arcadia 2 and he replied:

We’re considering a sequel to “Eternal Arcadia.” Regarding which platform, we’re still evaluating it.

In September 2002, before Skies of Arcadia Legends was published, Rieko Kodama told to Gamespy that work on the sequel was not yet started, but they really wanted to do it in the future:

I would love to make a sequel, but were really not working on it yet. […] We don’t know what platform we would make a sequel for, but GameCube has priority since Legend is coming out for it.

In march 2004 Ohba announced that they started some planning on the second episode:

The Skies of Arcadia sequel is in the planning stages at the moment.

In late 2004, Rieko talked again about Skies of Arcadia 2 in an interview with german Man!ac magazine (issue 1 / 2005) in which she said:

MAN!AC: There were rumors about a sequel (to Skies of Arcadia) or a “Gaiden” episode. Can you tell us something about that

Rieko : We had plans, but the other team members are currently working on other projects such as “Sakura Taisen” – this means SoA2 is currently on hold. Anyway I would be very glad about a new episode with the sky pirates.

In 2003 Overworks was absorbed into SEGA WOW and only a year later the team was split again because of another Sega company restructure: people that worked on Skies of Arcadia were scattered around on different games. As far as we were able to gather, not much was ever did for Skies of Arcadia 2 but at least a few ideas and concepts seem to have been brainstormed by the team, still hoping to release a sequel on GameCube or Playstation 2. In 2006 Nintendo and Sony released their new consoles (Wii, PS3) and whichever plans Sega had for a new Skies RPG on GameCube or PS2 will never see the light of day.

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Even without a sequel, love for Skies of Arcadia is still strong at Sega. Vyse, Aika and Fina, three of the main SoA protagonists, were added as bonus characters in Valkyria Chronicles, released in 2008 on PS3. Vyse is also a playable character in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, released in 2012 for different consoles / PC and one of the game’s tracks, Rogues’ Landing, is based on Skies of Arcadia’s world.

Thanks to Mario for the contribution! 

Initial D EX [DS – Cancelled]

Initial D EX was a street racing game being developed by SEGA Rosso in 2007/08. This would have been the seventh game for consoles in the Initial D series, and there was also a series of arcade games. Initial D is a popular manga and anime series about illegal street racing in Japan. It was only rumours that this game would be coming to the DS and many people thought that this was a bogus announcement. This was because only a few images appeared on the SEGA Rosso website before quickly being taken down.

initial D DS Cancelled

This is actually the only evidence that this game ever existed or was in development. There were various stills of the game with “DS” in the corner. It was never officially confirmed whether or not a DS game was actually ever in development.

This was not the death of Initial D on a Nintendo handheld though, as a free-2-play instalment dubbed Perfect Shift Online was released in 2014 for the 3DS. In December 2014, it was confirmed that this will also have a sequel as it was downloaded over 500,000 times and has proved very popular.

If you know anything else about the DS version of Initial D, let us know in the comments!

Thanks to Marco for the contribution!

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