SRPG

Pirate Battle [GBA – Cancelled]

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As we can read from Richard Knight site :

Pirate Battle was a turn-based strategy RPG developed for the Game Boy Advance. The concept itself was inspired primarily from Square’s epic PlayStation RPG Front Mission 3, but also gave a lot of credit to Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, and Final Fantasy Tactics. The story and art, meanwhile, were inspired primarily both my previous project and the famous manga One Piece. Our goal? Make a game so authentic to the big titles of the genre that you would assume it was Japanese.

Similar to Front Mission, characters would have a set amount of AP to manage. The changing point was that a lot of the environment was meant to be interactive; you could knock over a statue to hurt the guy behind it, drop a barrel in the water to bridge a gap, or even cause a chain reaction effect (this guy hits this guy which hits this guy, and so on…)

Adding to that was the idea of standard character classes (for multiplayer reasons) and house pillaging (for character building). Each of the story characters were also meant to have special abilities – AP sinks that could have mission-changing effects (hookshots, super attacks, etc.)

The team for Pirate Battle was small. In fact, for the lion’s share of it, there was just an artist, a programmer, and myself. Nonetheless, progress on the game was so fast on our agile team that we announced the game – screenshots and all – to IGN just prior to E3 2004. (I think we planned on asking virt to do the soundtrack again, but I don’t recall if those talks ever actually happened.)

The first version of the game was actually for the PC – Sean had put together a simple networking client, I put together some art from other games, and we just battled it out to see what worked and what didn’t with the gameplay – a crucial concern given we were trying to slam mechanics from two different games together but still keep it multiplayer-relevant. (Not to mention that most of our development hardware was typically locked down for use on the other two games in the studio.)
I think we were going to attempt to do a single-cart multiplayer mode – something we wanted to do even on Racing Gears – but the odds of that working out were 50/50 (GBA games using single-cart requires copying all data to RAM, which is a big problem since our games would always be pulling info directly off the cartridge.)

Eventually, Scurge: Hive and Juka were put on the fast track and we no longer had enough programmers for all three projects – our core programmers from the early Racing Gears days had since departed for Pandemic Studios. I departed some time after the programmer gap. It’s neither appropriate to explain nor really clear why the game never finished, but I will say that Pirate Battle is perhaps the game I am most proud of. Maybe I can do something for it again some day.
A year later, Orbital released some new screenshots with a dramatically different look (more Fire Emblem) and a new platform (DS). While the world map is either similar or based on some design work I had done – the free roaming ship mode was always part of the plan – I’m not in a position to know what the gameplay changes were (or if the game was in fact playable in its new incarnation.)

The studio appears to be gone now, so I’m not even sure who was tasked to the project after me, but it’s a shame it will never see the light of day.

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64 Wars (Advanced Wars) [N64 – Cancelled]

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64 Wars is the cancelled “Wars” sequel that was planned for the Nintendo 64. The “Advance Wars” series became famous in USA and Europe thanks to the GBA games, but it was know to the Japanese audience since the NES, with the name of FAMICOM Wars, originally published on the Famicom back in 1988. The game is a strategic turn based RPG, where you’ll be fighting with your army against the enemy’s one, planning carefully your strategy moves.

Hudson started working on the Nintendo 64 version even if the rights of the “wars” series were always been a property of Intelligent System, but Nintendo decided to let Hudson to work on the game for this particular occasion. Unfortunately, little is known about the project: the images in the gallery below are taken from various japanese magazines and the game was shown in non-playable form at the Nintendo Spaceworld 1999.

The style of 64 Wars seems to have been a lot like the previous episodes: a 2D map was used for the troop movement, while the battles were shown with a 3d engine. The most interesting part of the 64 version would have been the possibility to connect the N64 game to the GameBoy game.

GameBoy Wars 2 was developed by Hudson’s team too and it was published only in Japan. The GB title was able to connect to the N64 version with the GB Transfer Pack (a peripheral originally used with Pokemon Stadium) that could attach a GC cart to the N64 pad memory card port. With this expedient, people could have been able to begin a match of Wars on the N64, then continuing it on the GB and finish it back on the home console.

In the end 64 Wars has been cancelled without any official explanation, but it’s intriguing to think that inside the GB cartridge is still possible to access to the N64 Linking options, which was never used. Maybe the passage of rights between Intelligent System and Hudson caused some kind of problems, or maybe the N64 game didn’t match Nintendo’s quality standards.

Thanks to Linkx111 for the contribution!

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]La serie Advanced Wars, divenuta famosa in occidente grazie alle versioni per GBA e DS, è invece nota al pubblico giapponese fin dai tempi del NES, con il nome di Famicom Wars, uscito nel 1988. Il gioco è un classico rpg strategico a turni, in cui far combattere le proprie armate contro numerosi nemici, studiando attentamente le mosse da compiere. Con l’uscita del Nintendo 64, Hudson ha cominciato i lavori su di una versione a 64 bit di Wars, chiamata con molta originalità “64 Wars”. La saga è sempre stata sviluppata dagli Intelligent Systems, ma in quel periodo Nintendo passò i diritti ad Hudson. Purtroppo non si hanno molte notizie a riguardo: le foto che trovate qui sotto sono state recuperate da alcune riviste Giapponesi dell’epoca ed il gioco è stato presentato in video allo Space World 1999.

Lo stile di 64 Wars sembra molto simile agli altri capitoli: una mappa in 2D per lo spostamento delle truppe, con l’unica differenza dei modelli 3D per i filmati degli scontri. La caratteristica più interessante della versione Nintendo 64, sarebbe stata la possibilità di collegare il gioco con l’episodio per GameBoy.

GameBoy Wars 2 è stato sviluppato anchesso da Hudson, ma al contrario di 64 Wars, è uscito realmente nel 1998. Il titolo per GB poteva essere collegato con i salvataggi della versione N64, grazie all’utilizzo del Transfer Pack (un aggeggio che si collega alla porta Memory Card dei Pad N64). Sarebbe stato così possibile iniziare una partita sul Nintendo 64, trasferirla su GameBoy per giocarla in giro ed in seguito finirla di nuovo sulla console da casa.

64 Wars è stato però cancellato senza dare spiegazioni, ma è affascinante pensare che nella cartuccia di GB Wars 2 esistano ancora le opzioni per il collegamento al Nintendo 64, ormai impossibile. Forse il passaggio dello sviluppo da Intelligent Systems a Hudson è stato la causa di qualche problema di organizzazione, oppure i lavori svolti dal team non raggiungevano lo standard sperato da Nintendo. [/spoiler]

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