You know, It’s such a crying shame when you hear when some games, most often with months if not years of resources poured into them, are cancelled.
But that’s not always the end of the linefor some of them, while a few ARE thankfully leaked onto the internet over time, some developers are even more resourceful little fellows, and find a way to include the spoiled fruitsof their many long sleepless nights into later projects for us to secretly enjoy.
So, this episode, we take a look at thesecountermanded compositions, these annulled annexations, and these invalidated increments, as I say… But, Hello You! I’m Guru Larry, and I welcome you to Fact Hunt: Five Cancelled Games you can Play, Hidden in Fully Released Games.
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But… that’s probably due to how much money Ubisoft threw at developing a 3D platformer back then, still trying to claw back theirmonies decades later! Now, the follow up to everyone’s favouritequadriplegic Frenchman was originally meant to be an improved version of Rayman 1, a nicer looking 2D platformer that addressed a lot of the complaints of the original, such as its brutal difficulty and ironically, way too easy puzzles, and was pretty far in development when the boys from Montreal decided can the notion so they could jump into the third dimension.
Why was it cancelled? Well, all because of one game, Crash Bandicoot! When Ubisoft saw what Naughty Dog were doing with their game at the 1996 E3, they immediately scrapped the original 2D Rayman 2 and began development on a title that would beat the antipodean marsupial in every department.
However, the original development team didn’t want their years of hard work going to waste, so, with an almost complete game scrapped, they cleverly hid some of the best levels they had created in the 3D Rayman 2, which you can unlock by collecting 720 of the 800 yellow Lums hidden in the game, then finishing the Crow’s Nest level.
It’s not the full game sadly, but you neverknow, with Ubisoft now starting to remaster a lot of their back catalogue, the original Rayman 2 may still see the light of day, making this episode about four cancelled games and one heavily delayed one, brilliant, I’ll have to change the thumbnail again! Now, this entry is quite the oddity, EA’s NBA Live 95 has the perplexing ability to play a secret golf game… .
on a basketball title.
This simple notion as to “why” confusedgamers for decades, but, actually, there’s quite a simple explanation.
After the total dumpster fire that were thefirst two Madden games on the Super Nintendo, EA decided to let development studios pitch their skills on future iterations of their sports franchises.
If they’re not closing studios, they’rehaving them battle to the dea.
And one of the jobs on offer was for the next edition of their PGA Tour series.
This is where the development studio Hitmen Productions comes in, they had already gotten the job of developing the NBA Live series on the Mega Drive/Genesis that year and had also developed the rather impressive PGA Tour 486 on PC.
Hitmen wanted to prove to EA they could port their highly praised PC title to Sega’s 16 bit console, so created part of the gameto show to them what it would look like.
However, in typical EA incompetence, and despite dwindling review scores of previous PGA games, EA, in their infinite wisdom, decided to leave devlopment of the fourth title, PGA European Tour, with the same developers, PolyGames.
So, not wanting their work go to waste, Hitmen squeezed their pitched game down into the some remaining space they had on the NBA Live 95 cart as a nice little Easter Egg for their players.
Which you can access by simply entering “REFLOG”(that’s Golfer backwards) in the Name Entry screen.
This story also has a silver lining, PGA European Tour received such terrible review scores, Hitmen Productions would receive the commission to make the following years edition, PGA Tour 96, which looks quite similar graphicallyto the hidden game! Not only that, they were also hired to develop the PC, 3DO and PlayStation 1 versions too! So I guess, charity does have its own rewards! Despite having the impressive pedigree ofbeing developed by Midway, Trog seems to be largely forgotten in the annals of gaming history, quite possibly as it was essentially a four player Pac-Man knock-off with some nice Claymation sprites, which in all honesty, by 1990, was considered old hat that no one gave a toss about.
However, Trog was never meant to be a Namco mascot wannabe whatsoever! The original premise was a quite novel one, you guide your chosen Lisa Simpson resembling extinct reptile around the screen to collect eggs, while avoiding obstacles and cycloptic caveman, though, rather than control the dinosaurdirectly, You place bones in their path to redirect them.
And being a four-player game, could be quite fun screwing over the other players by placing bones in their paths too.
It sounds more like something along the lines of Chu Chu Rocket or Lemmings, but this was long before either of those two titles ever existed.
Sadly, Midway just couldn’t get the conceptto click, playtesters either couldn’t get their head around the notion, or just found the whole thing boring.
The big M knew they were developing a potential stinker, but, they had ploughed way too much money into the game to cancel it.
So, as a last ditch effort, rejigged the gamewhere you directly controlled the dinosaurs now, ultimately turning it into a more genericclone of everyone’s favourite labyrinthine pellet gobbler.
In fact, side by side, you’d be hard pressedto see ANY differences without playing the thing.
With it’s only notable disparity being youcontrol a hand which constantly asks you to “bash the bone button” on screen.
Legend has it that one of the location testmachines also had some kid carve an R at the end of all the Bone button labels on the joysticks, which was another reason the game was changed apparently.
The development team must have liked the original concept still, as they kept it hidden on the motherboard right up until the fifth revision of the game, where Midway decided they didn’t like the idea of arcade owners getting a free game.
And obviously, the home ports never featured it either, though the NES versions developer, Visual Concepts liked the idea of claymation characters so much, they’d go on to create the infamous ClayFighter three years later.
But it’s still fascinating to be able to play a game that was meant to be something completely different.
The mass popularity of Mario Kart over theyears has sadly thrown Nintendo’s second big racing IP, F-Zero in the pits.
Heck, the big N haven’t developed an entryin the franchise in-house since it’s Nintendo 64 iteration.
Lucky Sega grabbed the reigns for the most recent home console release.
Co-developing both a port for the GameCube and an arcade version for their collaboration with Namco.
However, it seems Sega originally intendedto release both versions at home.
Or at least offer the arcade version as anunlockable bonus… Unfortunately, it seems they just couldn’tget the game running properly on a bog-standard retail GameCube, maybe the arcade version used more RAM, but the game on the disc IS playable still, its just a rather butchered port.
Now, there’s no normal way to play the arcade version of F-Zero AX, Sega made it impossible to reach by any traditional means, however anyone owning a GameCube action replay can play it to their slightly frustrated heart’s content.
The most bizarre thing here is Sega legitimately tried to make it playable on several occasions, both the later US and European releases ofF-Zero GX have had the arcade code altered slightly, showing Sega were trying to getit to work, but sadly didn’t have the time or resources to accomplish this.
However, it’s still quite fun being ableto play something we were never meant to see.
Even if it was the last F-Zero game we’veyet to receive.
And yes, I look forward to Nintendo announcing a new F-Zero game ten seconds after this video goes up and endlessly receiving “you forgot…” comments on this video for the rest of time.
So, apologies in advance but by Flux Capacitor is on the fritz! I bloomin’ loved Twisted Metal as a teenager, I was obsessed with it, even sending drawings of it into gaming magazines, and while we were royally screwed over for the sequels in Europe… well, nothing that a friendly importer and a blob of blu tak wouldn’t remedy, learning there were impressive follow-upson the horizon that were cancelled globally was just as heart-breaking.
But, enter Twisted Metal Head On, one of the unsung heroes of the PSP, and a true successor to the all-time classic Twisted Metal 2, Well, as long as you don’t count those god awful 989 Studios sequels, or Rogue Trip Vacation 2012 that is.
Unfortunately, no bugger bought the thing, so Sony ended up re-releasing it on the PS2 a year later as Twisted Metal Head On – Extra Twisted Edition (again, In the US only >.
But head-on’s re-release could also be because the intended PS2 Twisted Metal ended up being cancelled.
But to our surprise, being cancelled didn’tstop us playing it! Oh no! Tucked in with The Extra Twisted edition iswhat remains of Twisted Metal: Harbour City.
A rather enthusiastic attempt to merge thecar combat genre with Grand Theft Auto.
It featured some of the intended car combat sequences in a zoned arena, a couple of new characters, like a headless stock car driver, and a rather impressive on-foot mode repurposed to a museum collectathon of the franchises history.
Strangely, rather than advertise this concept as the chance to play a cancelled game, (something incredibly novel in the games industry) they bizarrely changed the narrative to Harbor City (or “Twisted Metal Lost” as they refer to it) being cancelled after several of the development staff were killed in a plane crash, and were reluctantly only releasing it under threats of violence.
However, Unbeknownst to the developers, there was an actual plane crash the day they mentioned (March 13th 2005), a doctor and his two childrentragically lost their lives falling into a forest in Ohio.
making their intentionally dark story, ratherpoor taste in hindsight.
Ultimately, the story and the cancelled games inclusion was a kind of meta promotion to secretly announce the development of a PS3 Twisted Metal game, which itself was almost cancelled on several occasions, before sadly being sputtered out quietly in 2012.
It’s a shame Twisted Metal: Harbor Citywas cancelled, as the concept sounded fantastic, judging at what they had created it was possibly a little too taxing for the PS2 to handle, but, Midway of all publishers did prove itwas feasable to merge the two genres together with RoadKill, an awesome overlooked gem for the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube.
But, Extra Twisted Edition is a great example of… just because a game is cancelled, it doesn’t mean it has to be buried in a programmer’s attic for the rest of eternity.
Get it to a playable state, and maybe a fewwarnings of potential bugs, and gamers will love you forever! If only other publishers would follow suit! Subtitles by: Larry Bundy Jr (Say “Hi” if you read these ^_^).