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Super Paper Mario
2
Attachment The South Korean version of the game (released two years after the original Japanese edition) contains eleven unused maps not found in any other release, featuring fully 3D environments which do not line up with any locations present in the finished product. All assets related to these maps are dated after the game's Japanese release, with intervals ranging from five days to just over three months. Additionally, the maps' texture names are written in Romanized Japanese rather than Korean, indicating that they were not created by Nintendo of Korea.

Two of these maps, kri_04 and kri_05, additionally feature various cat NPCs, all drawn in substantially different art styles compared to not only each other, but also the final game. Each one is named after a developer from the Super Paper Mario staff: yamada_neko02 (Koichiro Yamada), koba_neko (Sayuri Kobayashi), tuka_neko (Naoko Tsukamoto), and kawa_neko (Chie Kawabe).

Of these four, kawa_neko is the most unique, and was apparently designed as a player character. Firstly, the cat's name is only given to its mesh, with its sprite instead being named bc_all.1. Additionally, kawa_neko features an animated tail and a mesh that is centered on the ground rather than the middle of the room. Furthermore, new_neko_18, a redesigned version of kawa_neko with white fur instead of black, can be found in kri_08, kri_09, and kri_10; new_neko_18's mesh is explicitly labeled "PLAYER" in the data for these maps.

Taken together, all of these elements imply that these early rooms were created as a proof-of-concept for an original project by Intelligent Systems that ended up cancelled for unknown reasons.
2
Attachment Ben Hurst, one of the writers for the 1993 "Sonic the Hedgehog" animated series, attempted to pitch a continuation of the show to Sega in 2002 as either a third season or a movie. He consulted DiC Entertainment, who produced the show (as well as two other Sonic cartoons, "Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog" and "Sonic Underground"), and was given the name of a Sega executive who wanted to talk with him more about the idea. Hurst then received a call from Ken Penders, at the time the head writer for Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comics, who had been made aware of Hurst's interest in making a movie based on the series. Hurst offered to include Penders in the project, and told him his strategy for the pitch was to develop a satisfying storyline to conclude the show, and simultaneously giving Sega ideas for new games. This resulted in a long-standing controversy where Hurst claimed that Penders sabotaged his plan by telling Sega that he was trying to co-opt the franchise, resulting in Hurst's dismissal from the project. Over 13 years after Hurst's death, Penders would give his side of the story in a 2023 blog post, claiming that Hurst's joint proposal between the two would involve asking Sega to pay them to produce the series, and doubted that Sega would even schedule a meeting to let them pitch it if Sega funding the pitch was the premise, stating that "the owner of any IP is looking for a payday when it comes to using the rights for their properties."

In September 2003, Penders pitched his own concept for a Sonic the Hedgehog movie, titled "Sonic Armageddon". Four pieces of concept art were produced, and even a homemade pitch video was made to show to Sega executives. From what is known about the pitch (which seemed to borrow elements from both the 1993 series and the Archie comics), it would have involved the planet Mobius being destroyed and changed the depiction of the roboticization procedure to something much more gruesome than what had been previously seen. Notably, several major characters (such as the Freedom Fighters sans Sonic, Tails and Sally) are not shown in either the pitch video or the concept art, and the characters that are shown are given major redesigns. A common belief is that DreamWorks Animation was Penders' choice to produce the film, but Penders would later state in 2019 that he had pitched the idea to Sega only, and that DreamWorks had no involvement. The film never materialized; Penders would later claim on separate occasions that the idea was dropped because of "massive corporate upheaval", as well as the development of the animated series "Sonic X" affecting talks regarding the film.
person chocolatejr9 calendar_month April 6, 2024
Baldur's Gate 3
4
Baldur's Gate 3 was originally revealed with a CGI trailer at a conference for the Google Stadia cloud gaming service in June 2019 as part of an Early Access exclusivity deal that would ultimately be cancelled when Stadia was shut down in 2023. The game's director Swen Vincke touted the service at the time for its purported accessibility, and the potential for in-game community feedback to directly affect the game's development and playthroughs via Stadia's Crowd Choice feature. However, Vincke later expressed regret over having the game be revealed this way, calling it "a really stupid deal" due to the challenges of releasing an Early Access build to a second platform, but that "it allowed me to pay for the CGI."
person Rocko & Heffer calendar_month March 29, 2024
Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter
subdirectory_arrow_right UDraw: Dood's Big Adventure (Game), THQ (Company)
1
Attachment The uDraw was conceived after THQ employees noticed how difficult drawing was with the Wii Remote in the Wii version of Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter, and was originally called the Drawn to Life Pal. Multiple pitches for other licensed Drawn to Life titles in the same vein as Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition were made, with Marvel Comics, Pixar, Star Wars, and Conan the Barbarian being pitched as examples. However, no Drawn to Life game with uDraw compatibility would ever release, though one uDraw launch title, Dood's Big Adventure, bears a fair resemblance to the series. No reason has been given for the series' absence or why a new IP was made with Dood's Big Adventure instead of using the brand recognition of Drawn to Life, but it may be connected to the controversial ending of the DS version of The Next Chapter and its finality for the core Drawn to Life Raposa universe.
X
2
Attachment X was originally pitched under the name Eclipse and was developed under the title Lunar Chase. The single-letter rename came at the request of Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, who contacted director Yoshio Sakamoto early in the morning after playing the game.

The Lunar Chase name was retained for a planned English localization of the game, which was ultimately scrapped due to fears from Nintendo of America that international players would find the game's presentation and design too complex for a handheld title. Creator and programmer Dylan Cuthbert additionally blamed the cancellation on a presumed lack of interest from retailers in the United States. A prototype of the English version would eventually surface in 2020 as part of the Gigaleak, a massive leak of internal server data from Nintendo. The Eclipse pitch, meanwhile, was released to the public by the Video Game History foundation three years later.
person VinchVolt calendar_month March 26, 2024
Bubsy 2
1
Attachment A port of Bubsy 2 to the Sega Game Gear was planned and seemingly completed, but never released. In the surfaced screenshots of the game's prototype, it appears to be a fully colorized version of the Game Boy version (playing the Game Boy version of Bubsy 2 on a Super Game Boy will give the graphics a slight red tint).
Company: Cyberdreams
1
When the company first started, their original first project was intended to be a side-scrolling action game for PC called "Evolver". However, the game was never actually finished, likely due to the company having very few staff members at the time (the company itself only consisted of president Patrick Ketchum, programmer John Krause, game designer Mike Dawson, and graphic artist Joby Otero).
Company: Cyberdreams
1
"Reverence" was one of the last announced projects by Cyberdreams, but never made it past the Alpha phase before the company's closure. The game saw the player being chosen by the gods themselves to help determine the future of the human race, whom the gods believed to have grown too apathetic and unjust to live. It was intended to be a first-person shooter game, with the player wielding a variety of guns and spells as they traveled through four different realms to decide the fate of humanity. Each realm was modelled after a real life mythological god, those being Osiris (Egyptian god of the underworld), Kokyangwuti (Hopi goddess of life), Freyja (Norse goddess of love), and Manjursi (Tibetan god of wisdom). While the game itself was cancelled, a playable prototype was leaked in 2015.
person chocolatejr9 calendar_month March 14, 2024
Hunters of Ralk
subdirectory_arrow_right Cyberdreams (Company)
1
During the 1995 Winter Consumer Electronics Show, Cyberdreams announced "Hunters of Ralk", a role-playing game designed by Gary Gygax, the co-creator of "Dungeons & Dragons". Not much is known about the game, other than that it was meant to be the start of a series and would have featured 3D combat in a first-person perspective and texture-mapped graphics. It was slated for Fall of that year for Windows platforms, but was never released.
Franchise: Killer Instinct
1
On the 19th of February 2024, designer Kevin Baylis revealed a pitch he made for Killer Instinct 3 for the Nintendo 64. It was meant to be a prequel featuring younger versions of the characters, where players could hone the characters' moves, then gaining more before moving on to "the next chapters of their lives". The game didn't make past the concept phase because the people at Rare thought that "the fighting game ‘fad’ was over".
The Incredible Shrinking Character
subdirectory_arrow_right Cyberdreams (Company)
1
"The Incredible Shrinking Character" was a cancelled action adventure game to be developed by Go-Go Interactive Studios and published by Cyberdreams for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and PC. Set in the year 1959, players would have assumed the role of a private investigator, hired to find Julie Caldwell (the daughter of a wealthy industrial family) after she had disappeared while visiting the castle of Dr. Warren Franklin. When the player arrives, however, the doctor springs a trap on them that causes them to start gradually shrinking. Thus, the player must not only save Julie (who is implied to be trapped in the castle's dungeon, due to the sound of a female screaming), but also find an antidote to their shrinking as they contend with otherwise harmless creatures (i.e. the doctor's house cat) that become more dangerous the smaller they get. The game would have included at least ten levels, with the player being smaller in each one, and would have included several size puzzles. The exact reason why the game was cancelled is unknown, though may have been in part due to Cyberdreams going defunct in 1997.
Stellar Blade
1
When Stellar Blade was first announced as "Project Eve", it was stated to be coming to the PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One. However, during the September 2021 PlayStation Showcase, it was announced that the game would instead be exclusive to the PlayStation 5, after Sony Interactive Entertainment had agreed to publish the game.
person chocolatejr9 calendar_month February 17, 2024
Tiny Toon Adventures: Plucky Duck in Hollywood Hijinks
1
The cancelled Atari Jaguar game Tiny Toon Adventures: Plucky Duck in Hollywood Hijinks ran into trouble with its art direction. It originally used photorealistic backgrounds, uncharacteristic of the cartoon and described by a developer as "build and[sic] engine and insert your favorite licensed character here." Despite a complete reset being done to the game's art direction following this iteration, the art did not live up to Warner Bros.' standards for how the Tiny Toon characters and world should look, lacking color and brightness. After Warner Bros. provided model sheets with specific instructions for drawing the characters, the development team instead switched to taking photos of the TV show and converting those into sprites, which caused issues as the sprites would come out corrupted. Atari ultimately concluded that no artist at Telegames was able to create proper Tiny Toons art, requiring art duties to be swapped out to Digital Delirium, which also failed to deliver Warner Brothers-quality animation, which caused the game's development to start implementing pencil tests into their animation process, which slowed down the game's development significantly. Eventually, all of the art for the first 2 worlds was finished, however Telegames stated they did not need the art at that point, with the art (and its respective levels) not being implemented over a year later. Telegames laid out an offer where they would only release a milestone document if a fully laid-out stage map could be provided, something the developer who released this story believed was a stalling tactic, as they already had the art and mockup stage layouts. Shortly after this, the artist assigned to complete the level layouts was laid off, requiring Digital Delirium to be brought in-house, and some music was made for the game that was completely unfit for the source material.
Clockwerk
subdirectory_arrow_right Next Level Games (Company)
1
In 2011, Next Level Games began work on a game called "Clockwerk", that never made it to the prototype stage before its cancellation. The game was about a pair of elderly Hausmeisters named Otto and Herman, who take care of "The World Clock", a magical clock tower that governs the flow of time throughout the universe. On the day before their retirement, however, a group of gremlins attack and dismantle the clock tower's innards, forcing the grumpy pair to defeat the invaders and fix the inner workings before they can finally retire. Supposedly, it was pitched to multiple companies (including Sega and Nintendo), but was ultimately cancelled when the company they had partnered with felt that the gameplay was too similar to another game they were publishing.
Ghostbusters
1
Ghostbusters is a modified version of an unreleased game called Car Wars. According to the game's developer David Crane in a 2010 interview, Car Wars was "a game about buying cars, tricking them out, and dueling them against other cars around a fictional city." After one month of development, Activision co-founder Gary Kitchen called and met with him to discuss making a game based on the then-upcoming Ghostbusters film to release on the same day as the film, and Crane immediately devised a way to change Car Wars into a Ghostbusters game with only minor changes and additions.
Collection: Kid Icarus
2
Around 2007, Retro Studios designer Jason Behr pitched the idea of a new Kid Icarus title for the Wii to Nintendo, providing little more than an elevator pitch and some conceptual documents. When reached by Unseen64, Behr stated that the original NES title was a childhood favorite of his and a constant source of inspiration. However, Nintendo turned down the offer before it could proceed into creating test assets, as the pitch focused primarily on the idea of reviving Kid Icarus, which ran counter to Nintendo's approach of conceptualizing gameplay elements first and determining a suitable property for them second.
Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories
subdirectory_arrow_right Steambot Chronicles (Game), Poncotsu Roman Daikatsugeki Bumpy Trot 2 (Game), Irem Software Engineering Co. (Company), Granzella (Company), Zettai Zetsumei Toshi (Collection)
1
In the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Irem Software Engineering was forced to cancel the majority of its video game projects, most notably Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories and a sequel to Steambot Chronicles titled "Poncotsu Roman Daikatsugeki Bumpy Trot 2". They then refocused their resources into the slot-machine and pachinko industry, which they were initially a part of prior to becoming a video game company. This lead numerous Irem designers (including producer Kazuma Kujo) to form a new company called Granzella to continue creating video games: notably, they acquired the IP rights to the Disaster Report series and revived Disaster Report 4. Additionally, while no longer involved in the development or release of new games, Irem is still involved in the games industry via licensing their IPs to other companies.
person chocolatejr9 calendar_month January 6, 2024
2
Attachment Due to the cancellation of the animated series "Sonic Underground", its storyline was left unresolved. However, staff members involved in Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comics had considered finishing the storyline: writer Ian Flynn had thought about writing a new story that could serve to wrap up where the original series left off, but felt it would be "stepping on the original creatives' toes," and that even if he was allowed to do it the story likely wouldn't see the light of day for at least two years. Originally, "Sonic Universe" issue 50 was intended to be the official epilogue for the show, with a preview cover being released. However, the epilogue was cancelled, and the issue instead featured a story centered around Metal Sonic.

In early 2013, Ian Flynn revealed that material from "Sonic Underground" was off-limits: this was the reason why the epilogue was put on hold. He also stated plans to include the epilogue as part of "Lost Hedgehog Tales", a written document featuring Sonic comic material that will no longer be used, suggesting that the epilogue was no longer possible. In June 2017, any chance of a "Sonic Underground" epilogue by Archie was precluded when Sega announced that the comics produced by them had been cancelled.
person chocolatejr9 calendar_month December 31, 2023
Final Fantasy V
5
Attachment The translation group RPGe's 1998 English translation of Final Fantasy V is considered to be one of the most widely-played and influential fan translations in video game history. It gained this reputation because it released before Squaresoft's first official translation in Final Fantasy Anthology in late 1999, and despite RPGe primarily consisting of inexperienced teenagers, it was regarded as a better translation than the official one, leading many Western players to first experience the game through it.

The first translation attempts stemmed from widespread confusion over Squaresoft not releasing three FF games in the West: Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, and FFV. Their decision to release Final Fantasy VII internationally under its original numbering after Final Fantasy VI was released in the West a few years earlier as the "third" game in the series also contributed to this.

The co-creator of RPGe, named Shadow, was inspired by an incomplete FFII translation by users Demi and Som2freak (the latter having later lent Shadow tools to work on FFV), and started translating FFV by making flashcards for which hex code corresponded to each Japanese and English character in the game's data. He promoted his efforts online using photoshopped FFV images and recruited other users, including the other co-creators of RPGe, translator David Timko, and a computer engineering major named Hooie who also asked Japanese instructors at his university to help translate some enemy names. RPGe's plan was to directly edit their English script into the text files of a ROM of the Japanese version. Their work was slow and tedious due to them having little experience with fan translations and being out of touch with fledgling emulation communities, leading to technical issues with their text and sprite editing software, and English characters being poorly displayed under conditions that were originally designed for larger Japanese characters. In addition, the group suffered from internal factionalism, and since Shadow promoted himself as the public face of the project, he found that he could not handle the attention and controversy that came from how seriously he took the project and RPGe itself, seeing the translation effort as a vital service to the Squaresoft fan community. After Demi wrote a lengthy post parodying him, Shadow "snapped" and left RPGe. The other founders of RPGe would also eventually step down, but other users would take over and start their own work.

A user named Myria, who had argued against RPGe's hex editing approach to no avail, split off from their efforts beforehand to work on a separate translation. Sharing similar setbacks to them, she gradually parsed through the code used to handle the text files, and edited it so it could recognize English characters of different sizes and fit more in a dialogue box. Som2freak helped translate the script for a time, but then left the project after bringing on a new editor, named harmony7, who started heavily revising Som2freak's translations to his chagrin despite several issues with it.

One of the most controversial aspects of the translation was the main character's name. Squaresoft's later English translation named him "Bartz", but RPGe's translation named him "Butz", which many joked sounds like "butts". Myria claimed that Butz was the most accurate translation based on documents and official merchandise using it "the way we'd written it" (for reference, the Romanized version of the Japanese name "バッツ" comes out as "Battsu"). However, Butz is used in real life as an actual German surname with a different pronunciation, the vowel being an "oe" sound like in the English words "put" and "good". Therefore, Bartz would make more sense to match up with the vowels in the Japanese name than Butz, and also fits better as a German first name since Bartz is a pet name for Bartholomäus (Bartholomew).

The bulk of Myria's technical work ended in October 1997, with harmony7 still working to revise the entire script until something unexpected happened. An early version of the fan translation mysteriously appeared on a Geocities website with others taking credit for it. This prompted RPGe to release their work up to that point as "v0.96" on October 17, 1997, with the final patch eventually being released in June 1998. The translation patch received acclaim for its technical aspects and near-professional writing quality, and influenced other players to become translators, including Clyde Mandelin who would later create the English fan translation of Mother 3. Squaresoft never contacted RPGe about the translation, and while their 1999 localization of the game was seen as inferior to RPGe's, Myria would later opine that Square Enix's 2006 localization in Final Fantasy V: Advance was better than theirs. Myria continued hacking and reverse-engineering games and eventually earned a job at an undisclosed major video game company.
person MehDeletingLater calendar_month December 24, 2023
The Last of Us Part II
subdirectory_arrow_right The Last of Us (Franchise)
1
Attachment At E3 2018, it was initially confirmed that The Last of Us Part II would feature a multiplayer mode, following the Factions online multiplayer mode featured in The Last of Us that received more uniformly positive praise from fans and critics compared to the main game. However, in September 2019, the same month the PlayStation 3 servers for the original Factions mode were shut down, it was revealed that Part II would solely focus on a single-player narrative, and that development on the multiplayer mode had been spun-off from the main game to continue work separately. Throughout 2020 and 2021, Naughty Dog increased job openings related to the multiplayer mode's development and continued seeking out additional staff to work on it, implying that it had increased in scope to a full game.

At Summer Game Fest 2022, Neil Druckmann showed off the game's first piece of concept art and confirmed that they were working on it as its own game, revealing that the team's ambitious scope had caused it to be "as big" as the single-player modes. The game would feature its own storyline that would be told in a unique way compared to the previous two games, take place in a new location in the United States (presumably San Francisco based on the art featuring the South of Market neighborhood and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge), and feature brand new characters.

The development of the game, which was later revealed in 2023 to be named "The Last of Us Online", was led by co-game directors Anthony Newman and Vinit Agarwal, and narrative lead Joseph Pettinati. Starting with the Summer Game Fest appearance, Druckmann reiterated that more details on the game would be revealed in 2023, and shared a second piece of concept art in January of that year.

In May, it was revealed in a Bloomberg article that Sony had scaled back development on the game and moved many of its developers to other projects, with Naughty Dog putting out their own statement on Twitter shortly after the article's release which revealed that they "realized what's best for the game is to give it more time." As a result of Sony's more recent heavy investments into "games as a service" (GaaS) products in an attempt to centralize control over and make more money on its games after release, they requested Bungie, a studio which Sony had recently acquired in July 2022, to re-evaluate the game. Bungie questioned its ability to maintain player engagement for long periods of time, which was ultimately what caused Sony to intervene.

According to Naughty Dog in a December 2023 blog post, the entire time since the multiplayer mode was first being worked on for The Last of Us Part II in 2018, The Last of Us Online had still been in pre-production, with the multiplayer developers' vision changing and taking time to form into something they were more satisfied with. With Sony's GaaS investments affecting the game, if they wanted to put the game into full production, they would need to take all of their resources away from the single-player games they had become known for and switch to a fully live service model with the ability to put out long-term post-launch content updates.

After Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells retired in July, the company faced an internal restructuring, eventually leading to at least 25 contracted developers being laid off from Naughty Dog's staff in October, contributing to a wave of layoffs across the video game industry at the time. With a reduced, restructured workforce and other major upcoming single-player projects at the helm, Naughty Dog was inequipped to become a live service studio, and announced in December that they cancelled the development of The Last of Us Online after more than three years of work.
person ProtoSnake calendar_month December 17, 2023
E3 2018 confirmation article:
https://www.gamespot.com/articles/the-last-of-us-2-has-multiplayer-naughty-dog-confi/1100-6459784/

Multiplayer standalone game update articles:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/features/the-last-of-us-part-2-exclusive-interview-neil-druckmann-ellie/
https://www.vg247.com/the-last-of-us-part-2-wont-have-multiplayer-after-all-update

Naughty Dog tweet confirming continued development:
https://twitter.com/naughty_dog/status/1177392945458286595

Naughty Dog multiplayer job listings increase article and blog post:
https://www.naughtydog.com/blog/celebrating_the_last_of_us_day_2021
https://www.ign.com/articles/naughty-dog-on-the-last-of-us-multiplayer-project-in-short-were-working-on-it

Summer Game Fest 2022 announcement and first piece of concept art:
https://www.polygon.com/23161755/the-last-of-us-part-2-tlou2-multiplayer-release
https://www.ign.com/articles/the-last-of-us-standalone-multiplayer-game-new-details-story-concept-art
https://www.gamesradar.com/the-last-of-us-is-getting-a-standalone-multiplayer-game/
https://www.escapistmagazine.com/the-last-of-us-multiplayer-game-new-story-large-naughty-dog/

Second piece of concept art:
https://www.naughtydog.com/blog/the_last_of_us_10th_anniversary_kickoff

Development scaling back article:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-05-26/-last-of-us-multiplayer-video-game-faces-setbacks-at-sony

Naughty Dog co-president retirement and restructuring:
https://kotaku.com/naughty-dog-neil-druckmann-evan-wells-tlou-president-1850633642
https://www.naughtydog.com/blog/neil_druckmann_naughty_dog_studio_leadership_team

October layoffs article:
https://kotaku.com/naughty-dog-ps5-playstation-sony-last-us-part-3-layoffs-1850893794

Naughty Dog statement on scaling back development:
https://twitter.com/Naughty_Dog/status/1662166716892479488

Cancellation articles and blog post:
https://www.naughtydog.com/blog/an_update_on_the_last_of_us_online
https://www.theverge.com/2023/12/14/24002141/naughty-dog-the-last-of-us-online-multiplayer-canceled
https://www.pcgamer.com/the-last-of-us-online-finally-cancelled-because-naughty-dog-thinks-it-will-severely-impact-development-on-future-single-player-games/
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