There is a universal love for video games, over the decades it has grown into a form of endless interactive enjoyment. But, with the swarm of games that are released there is disappointment when some don't come to fruition.
Here are some games that never made it to shelves!
1. Star Fox 2
This sequel featuring the canine space ace was originally going to be released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995. While this game was actually completed, it was never sold to the public and was replaced with Star Fox 64!
The plot of the game went as follows:
Star Fox 2 continues the battle against Emperor Andross who seeks to conquer the Lylat system. The Star Fox team consisting of Fox, Falco, Slippy, Peppy and new members Miyu and Fay assemble once again to defeat him.
The gameplay and core mechanics are very different from its predecessor. Instead of a linear path and an on-rails-shooter vibe, players now move a team of two ships freely around a map screen of the Lylat system. Then in an almost JRPG 'random-encountery' type way, when the player hits enemy forces the game switches to an action perspective! The game was also set to introduce 2 new characters. Fay, the white dog who is the team technician and childhood friend of Fox and Miyu, a tomboyish lynx in a red suit like Peppy.
The real reason for cancellation was never stated by Nintendo, but Star Fox 2 programmer Dylan Cuthbert shares some hints:
Star Fox 2 was fully completed. I was the lead programmer...the reason for non-release was the then impending Nintendo 64 which of course was intended to be released a lot sooner than it actually was. Miyamoto-san decided he wanted to have a clean break between 3D games on the SNES and 3D games on the new superior 64 bit system.
As mentioned before, the game is completed, so it can still be played with the use of a ROM file and an emulator, but I would never recommend such illegality...
2. Earthbound 64
EarthBound 64 was intended as the third game in the Mother series, with a release set for the Nintendo 64DD (oh lord, not that again). A trailer and playable demo were featured at Nintendo Space World 1999, with a projected release date of March 22, 2000. With some lucky foreshadowing, this project's development switched to a normal cartridge when the Nintendo 64DD showed itself to be the disaster it really was. More tragedy struck when the whole thing was shut down due to the developers lack of experience with 3D games.
This concept would finally get to see the light of day as Mother 3. It was reworked for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. Honestly, it is pretty faithful to the original development -- the story and characters are all near enough identical. The only real major difference was the length of the game's story. EarthBound 64 had 12 chapters spread over the course of ten years, unlike the final game which only has eight chapters spread over the course of three years.
The plus side being that this game's core was never truly lost. I have played a translated version of Mother 3 and it is incredible! Personally I prefer the game to have the amazing pixel style of the GBA days as opposed to 3D models. I implore anyone who hasn't already to find a way to play Mother 3 immediately!
3. The Legend of Zelda: Mystical Seed of Courage
This is one of my favourite game series' of all time and I'm getting infuriated whilst writing this at the thought of me not being able to play one of these games! But, I digress. The Legend of Zelda: Mystical Seed of Courage was a Game Boy Colour game that was planned to be the third Zelda game in the Oracle series, alongside The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons.
With the prior two games, all three were supposed to connect to form the Triforce Trilogy, but sadly this was never meant to be as this game was canceled due to issues involving how the games connected to each other.
As far as the plot went, it was pretty similar to the other oracle games and was to focus on time travel puzzles involving the time of day. But originally Oracle of Ages was originally going to focus on colour-based puzzles, though a switcheroo occurred and it instead used the time theme when courage was cancelled. Although Nintendo did speak about a few new features of the lost third game;
Two characters that will help Link on his quest are introduced. The first is a kangaroo named Ricky. When Link climbs into Ricky's pouch, he will be able to jump and using a pair of boxing gloves, be able to punch out enemies. The other character is Maple. She suddenly appears flying on a broomstick and crashes into Link, bringing about various events in the storyline.
The new item, the Rod of the Four Seasons will be required to solve certain riddles that appear in the game. Maybe the winter snow covers a secret entrance to a dungeon, and you'll need to change the seasons to uncover it.
While this particular game may be lost to us, we can still ponder upon it like an unwanted triplet. Sure it hurt to loose it, but with hindsight everybody is probably much better off now. Next!
4. Maverick Hunter
Maverick Hunter was the codename for a Mega Man FPS to be published by Capcom. This game boasted to be a dark and gritty entry into the world of lovable blue androids. Development on this project lasted for roughly six months in 2010 before it was axed due to huge internal polarisation. some believed it would be commercially destroyed by the other huge FPS titles such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. They were probably right!
I wouldn't have minded playing this game, it could have done with more development and polishing, although what is available to see is surprisingly smooth. But hey, thats what only six months of work will get you. Here is a gameplay demo for you to check out:
This has a really cool Robocop vibe to it and had a pretty interesting plot attached. It was intended to be the first of a trilogy of games, where players controlled its protagonist X in the first two games and then as Zero for the third! It was later said that by the third game, you would have to bring down a power crazed X that had gone too far. Sounds fairly decent as an outline to me. Guns, explosions, revenge. Capcom was hitting the right notes for a Western audience for sure.
If you want to show this some love, a Facebook page called 'Operation Maverick Hunter' still seeks to revive this project. If you liked what you saw go give the community some support!
5. Crash Landed
Naughty Dog's spin-crazy marsupial was set to make a glorious return to our systems with the seventh generation of video game consoles (PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii). It was intended to be a reboot of the Crash franchise but was ultimately cancelled after two years of work went into it. The plot was supposed to an origin story of how our favourite orange mammal came to be. He would work to save his non-mutated kind, referred to as "Bandicutes", whilst foiling the plans of Dr Neo Cortex and Dingodile.
The team settled on a reboot of Crash's universe and story, featuring stunning cartoony graphics and a new visual style...Some exaggerated features such as the bushy eyebrows and wacky facial expressions were reminiscent of the old days - Crash Mania.
This fresh instalment was set to feature Crash traveling across many luscious and organic islands which consisted of five main locations: jungle, a beach, caves, a swamp and Cortex's lab. He would also have the ability to craft weapons, gadgets and ride animals!
Evidently, the main factor that contributed to it being scrapped was lack of results! Even though the studio had a variety of concept art, animations, and a decent engine for its era, there was just not enough actual gameplay attached to the project, so Activision decided to cease the development. All the fans can do now is pray that we see a future release (bloody soon) on current gen consoles. I will leave you all with some fan art to drool over:
6. Sonic X-treme
Now, this entry into the Sonic series aimed to rake in the money by boasting about it being the first 3D game in the series. Over the course of its creation it was very flippant, having many different developers, changing consoles, making switches in graphical dimensions and plot points being tossed around in the office. Developer Christian Senn reinforces this screwing about by stating that:
About six or seven story lines were considered during the three-year development timeframe.
Woah, now that's a lot of indecision, right? A sane man would think that they finally focused their efforts and pumped out this title for the Sega Saturn. NO. This game was plagued by constant struggle and arising problems. A demo was shown at E3 1996 but the project wasn't tampered with much after that. Here is that gameplay so you can judge for yourselves:
Pretty disgusting, isn't it? While this game didn't aim to deviate from the traditional sonic formula of running around and collecting gold rings, it just wasn't handled correctly. With some tender love and care this game could have been a really great breakthrough for sonic into the three-dimensional realm. That being said, I believe that Executive Producer Mike Wallis sums up the state of the game perfectly:
It was a mess, and because of the internal politics, it was even more difficult to get any work done.
Whew, we got there. Well there you have it, just another few games that I dug up out of the virtual cemetery to share on the internet. Let me know if you would have sat down with any of these!