SRPG

Moon Dancer [MegaDrive / Genesis – Cancelled]

A cancelled Mega Drive / Genesis RPG, as we can read at Sega16:

“It was an RPG based on a serialized story that ran in Beep magazine in Japan in 1989. The magazine staff teamed up with Sega to develop the game and it seems like some progress was made on it. They hired Hitoaki Minami of Advanced Daisenryaku fame to work on it but after being heavily promoted in Beep it was eventually canceled after 6 months.”

“Expected release was March 1990. Gameplay was story-based adventure with battles being grid-based strategy and there were also RPG elements.  Seems like a lot of progress was made on the game. I wonder if a prototype will ever turn up.”

Thanks to Thunder Force and JumpingRyle for the contribution!

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Shining Force 3 [Saturn – Beta / Unused]

In 1997, Sega of Japan released the beta prototype for the game and featured several key diffences, such as an unused level format, key character voice differences and monsters of which would not appear in this early of the game. This demo was not released anywhere outside of Japan, and thus is a sought after item for retro gaming collectors and RPG collectors alike. With its key differences and even a final level of which was not in the final game, the Beta version was Sega’s way of testing the market for one of its popular series.

The main diffences from the finished game are very noticeable, in that given the early product, they would not have been put into the game at that time such as:

* Magic for the main character, Synbios, is not included in this version. In the finished product his magic is in fact Return, which would bring the party back to a church for saving progress. As this was only a demo, though, there was no need for it to be included. His Spark magic can be obtained at level 9 in this version; however, the spell doesn’t work, yet the icon and MP appears on the status screen.
* This particular version of the game’s character voiceovers for their special attacks are only included for Synbios, Masquirin, Grace and Hayward. The other characters, Obright and Dantares, have no voiceover and as such their mouths move for the attack but no voiceover happens.
* The various monsters included were in there to test out size and span of the monsters, such as Minotaur, Lich, Worm, Bat, and Lizard. These monsters together was unusual in the finished version, as the player encounters them at different times and with different statistics to that which they have in the beta.
* The Area which did not make it into the finished version of the game is known as Dwarf Valley Beta and is the original battle of Dwarf Valley. The level itself was a prototype of the Waterfall battle before Aspia in Scenario 1, as the virtually identical Suspension Bridge, waterfall and cliff area are included. However, the differences are that the land texture mappings have not been completely finished and the beginning and end areas of the level are different compared to the finished falls. – [Info from Wikipedia]

[Thanks to Zero7 for the contribute!]

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Metal Max: Wild Eyes [Dreamcast – Cancelled]

Metal Max is a long living series of strategy RPGs that started in 1991 on the Famicom, initially created by a rather obscure company known as Crea-Tech and published by Data East. Metal Max was quite a revolutionary and ambitious game for its time, being one of the first open world games on the Famicom, with a big world to freely explore, different missions to complete in any order and multiple endings depending on your choices.
As you could guess from its title, the Metal Max series was heavily inspired by Mad Max movies: all the games in the series are set in a post-apocalyptic world mostly covered by deserts and destroyed cities, where players can accept bounty missions to hunt down monsters and criminals while upgrading their combat vehicles and weapons.

After the 2D chapters on the Famicom and Super Famicom, in september 1999 during Tokyo Game Show ASCII Entertainment announced a new 3D Metal Max to be published for the Sega Dreamcast under the title “Metal Max Overdrive” and later renamed “Metal Max: Wild Eyes”. Unfortunately the game was never completed, and only a few screenshots and a short video still exist to preserve the existence of this interesting strategy title.

Metal Max: Wild Eyes would have expanded the open world gameplay of the old Famicom games, keeping the canonical post-apocalyptic setting in which to move around the map in real time, on foot or by using one of the many different vehicles available, such as tanks, police cars and jeeps.

Players would have been able to explore the vast desert area and visit many different cities, some of which had buildings you could enter into and characters to talk to, to receive new missions and help them surviving in this strange world full of weird characters, a funny parody of classic post-apocalyptic movies and their tropes.

If you didn’t play any other games in the Metal Max series, you could imagine Wild Eyes on the Dreamcast somehow similar to a mix between the Fallout series and the Advanced Wars series, combat was turn-based with heavy emphasis on fighting using vehicles but world exploration was completely in real time.

As in previous chapters of the series in this cancelled Dreamcast game you could recruit many different companions to help the main protagonist during his adventure and one of them was a dog with a rocket launcher on its back… it’s easy to imagine how Wild Eyes could have been a funny RPG with a unique sense of humor.

As revealed in 2010 during an interview with former developers who worked on Wild Eyes, the game was cancelled when ASCII decided to limit its publishing efforts on the video games market and canned this Dreamcast project to cut expenses. In the end Metal Saga for Playstation 2 became the first 3D Metal Max and even if the original series’ producer Hiroshi Miyaoka was not involved with the PS2 version we can imagine that Wild Eyes could have been quite similar to it.

A few more chapters in the Metal Max series were later released on Nintendo DS and smartphones, but these games were never officially published in english.

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Makai Wars [PSP – Cancelled]

Makai Wars was a Role-Playing Game in development by Nippon Ichi Software for the Playstation Portable, and was expecting a release date around the console’s initial launch in 2005. Development on Makai Wars was put on hold due to a number of internal conflicts, a few years later the title was announced for release on the Playstation 3, however it’s current status is unknown.

As we can read in Wikipedia, it’s interesting to notice that Makai Wars is frequently referenced as an internal-joke in other NIS games. In “Prinny: Can I really be the Hero?”, we find out that Asagi was to be the main character of the cancelled game, but was removed due to the ending of making the game. It’s one of the few reasons Asagi is insane in Prinny CIRBTH, mentioning it during a therapy lesson with the Hero Prinny.

Makai Wars is later mentioned in the PSP Version of Disgaea 2, in the special “Axel Mode”. In the story, Makai Wars is actually a movie, which has been on constant Hiatus and development hell. Also, in the graphic / text adventure game “Disgaea Infinite”, there’s a bonus ending in which Asagi try to buy a “time machine” to be able to change the her past and let Makai Wars to be released.

Thanks to Mittell for the description!

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