taito

City Diver [Arcade – Cancelled]

City Diver is a cancelled arcade 3D shooter that was being developed by Taito in 1994 / 1995. A demo of the game was shown at AOU Show 1994. According to an article published on Edge 8 (may 1994), City Diver was supposed to feature a glasses-free 3D display:

Sanyo – in conjunction with NHK Engineering Services and Toppan Printing – have developed an LCD projector and lenticular lens array which splits the picture into right- and left-side images, providing the viewer with full depth perception.

city diver taito

The same article described this title as a “stunning four-player 3D shoot ’em up with a mixture of gorgeous rendered images and 3D polygons“.  Virtua Cube-x was another game that was going to use the same technology, but it got probably cancelled as well or converted into a ridefilm for Taito IDYA.

City Diver was apparently planned to be fully unveiled at JAMMA show in September, but it’s currently unknown if the game was present at the arcade exhibition in any form.

Two videos of the game surfaced on niconico in 2013. Thankfully, the clips’ description was translated by lostlevels.org user Boco:

“From a promotional video I received as a gift. Canceled arcade game from Taito in 1995. I played this when it was out for a location test in Shibuya. It was a helicopter flying game similar to “Air Inferno“, with a singleplayer “Mission mode” and a 2-player “battle mode” that used two linked cabinets. I think after it was canceled it got turned into one of those CG movie games used by the Taito IDYA. “

Going by this description, a playable build of City Diver must have existed at some point, then. Unfortunately, we don’t have any additional information about this location test or the IDYA ride film version. The two niconico videos were joined together into a single Youtube clip that can be seen below.

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Interview with Yukiharu Sambe, R&D manager of the unreleased Taito WOWOW

A long time ago, Unseen64 was just a shell of itself. It was hosted on the notoriously bad Xoom.it hosting service, and looked pretty much like a 90’s website horribly made with Microsoft Frontpage. However, as old as Unseen64 looked back then (it was 2004!), it wasn’t the first site dedicated to unreleased games maintained by Italians. That particular accolade belongs to The Strange (and Rare) Videogame Pics Page, created by Fabrizio Pedrazzini, an Italian games journalist, known for his work at magazines such as the glorious ‘Super Console’. TS(&R)VPP, as the name says, wasn’t solely about beta games. There were pictures of pirated software, obscure and limited edition consoles, demos, and more. Hidden among those pages was the Taito/JSB/ASCII WOWOW console.

Consoles Plus 010 - Juin 1992 - Page 010

Page 10, Console+ Issue 10 (June 1992) (click to enlarge)

For years, the only available information on the Taito WOWOW was limited to this report from the 1992 Tokyo Toys Show, via French videogame magazine, ‘Console+‘:

Another alliance between publishers and manufacturers has been established in Japan. It’s about JSB (that controls the satellite channel Wowow), ASCII and Taito.

A prototype has been developed. It’s small and equipped with a CD-Rom player. The basic idea is innovative: it’s about distributing games via satellite, like the streaming of TV programs, and to charge only the time really spent to play.

The other interesting thing about the console is that the games that will be released to the public will be the same of the arcade versions, with the video and audio quality of the originals.

The first games available will be Darius, Bubble Bobble and Parasol Stars…

A released date has not been disclosed yet.

Taito's booth at the Tokyo Toy Show 1992

Taito’s booth at Tokyo Toy Show 1992 (picture courtesy of Hardcore Gaming 101 blog)

The interview with Yukiharu Sambe

We have been able to get in touch with the Research & Development manager of TAITO Corporation Mr. Yukiharu Sambe, Professional engineer at the time the Wowow was created, and he was kind enough to share some new informationpreviously unknown, about this unreleased console. Enjoy! 

Brimstone [SNES – Cancelled]

Brimstone is a SNES JRPG that Teknocrest, an american software house, was working on in 1994 on Taito’s behalf. The same programmer that developed Farstar and the genesis / megadrive version of Lufia, both of which were also cancelled, wrote about this lost game in a opa-ages thread:

Yeah it was basically another RPG that Teknocrest “promised” to make for Taito.

Funny thing is they had all this artwork, but no programmer. So I was hired to make a SNES “demo” of Brimstone.

Anyways I made something up in about a week, and Taito greenlighted the project.

But about a month later they decided to put Brimstone on hold and put priority on porting Lufia….and it all went downhill from there…

Fortunately, some of the aforementioned artworks were preserved by the project’s lead artist, Arnold Ayala. We can see them in the gallery below or in his portfolio.

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Farstar / Starship Fantasy [PSX – Cancelled]

Farstar is a cancelled Playstation space combat simulator which Teknocrest, an american software house, was working on in 1994 on Taito’s behalf. Just like Brimstone and Lufia for Genesis / Megadrive, however, the project got never completed. Fortunately, the programmer that was developing it preserved a video of the game:

Here’s some footage of a Playstation game called “Farstar” that I was working on back in 1994, I think Taito was planning to release it as “Starship Fantasy” or something like that, it was even listed in Famitsu as coming soon for a time.

It was supposed to be a mix of Wing Commander/Star Trek/Starflight. At least, that’s what I was trying to make. It was pretty ambitious for its time…maybe too ambitious.

Anyway as you can see it’s pretty shitty and was cancelled. I guess I just wasn’t a very good programmer back then…

For more informations check the topic on opa-ages.

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Lufia & The Fortress of Doom [Genesis / Megadrive – Cancelled]

Lufia and the Fortress of Doom is a rpg developed by Neverland and released by Taito for SNES in 1993. A (north-american only?) port for Sega Genesis was supposed to be released in 1994, but it got delayed and Taito America eventually closed down in 1995.

However, in 2014, the western programmer that worked on the port leaked a tech demo, featuring just the title screen and a testing dungeon, of the Genesis version of Lufia on the internet. According to him, he had just six months to finish the project:

Well, one of the reasons it was cancelled was because they told me to complete the port in 6 months.. there was no way in hell I could have done it since all the original SNES code was fucking indecipherable and the Japan programmers weren’t any help..

lufia genesis

For more informations check the original opa-ages topic.

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