Documenting unreleased, cancelled and prototype games.
Covering unreleased and cancelled games and prototypes on both consoles and computers. We are a large archive dedicated to preserving games that were never released to the public. Sharing history and stories from the developers, assets and more before it is too late.
A non-profit digitisation project, aiming to digitally preserve software and history which would otherwise be lost for good. If for any reason there is anything that you do not wish to be on the website, please contact us for removal.
To give a bit of background to regulars of the site (as well as new visitors)… Primarily my aim was to produce something special to mark 20+ years of the Games That Weren’t archive. Originally I thought it may only take a year to write such a book way back in 2013, but I had completely underestimated. It was really important throughout the creation to try and make something special and enjoyable to others, and not just rush it out for the sake of it – so 7 years later here we are today. Continue reading →
Within the book is a detailed 10 page full story about the unreleased Starring Charlie Chaplin for both the Atari ST and Commodore 64 platforms by U.S Gold. The book also includes a specially re-pixelled Atari ST screenshot from a grainy magazine scan.
Produced by Canvas Software in 1987, this was one of the hardest write ups to research, due to a number of key people no longer with us today. We however talk to as many people as we can to piece together what happened to both conversions – including Donald Campbell, Danielle Woodyatt, Dawn Hollywood (nee Drake), Jon Grimshaw, Paul Clansey, Richard Tidsall, Sean Townsend, Stephen Ward and Simon Butler. Giving as complete a picture of what happened exactly as we possibly can.
The Commodore 64 edition was actually fully recovered by GTW back in 2016 and you can find the link to the C64 page below with the findings
During our research over the years, we bought and obtained various magazines to produce hi-res scans of Atari ST screenshots shown in the press at the time, as well as adverts. Some additional scans have been contributed from Ross Silliant as well. All of these can be found in our gallery below. In addition there are various other scans from our research, and the most exciting are the development notes and sketches provided by C64 developer Sean Townsend. In total there are 83 scans for you to check out, giving an insight into the work involved to produce the conversions. We hope you enjoy them!
Within the book is a detailed 10 page full story about the unreleased Rolling Thunder for the Atari Lynx by Atari Games. We speak to developer Chuck Ernst, Joel Seider and artist Robb Mariani about the development and the troubles that occurred over two separate iterations. The book also includes a specially re-pixelled Lynx screenshots from grainy magazine scans.
Here we present a sprite sheet provided from artist Robb that he managed to save. There are also a number of magazine scans, showing some grainy screenshots, and also the adverts where Atari naughtily used NES screenshots to depict Lynx screenshots – which have for years been wrongly attributed as a result.
At the time of writing, Chuck was not able to recover the source code for the final build, but an early prototype has just surfaced in September 2020 from a YouTuber called MacRorie (thanks to Ross Sillifant for the heads up), who has recently acquired a number of prototype ROMs.
It is unknown at this stage how much is present in the ROM, but MacRorie shows a brief glimpse of the title screen and part of level 1. There seems to be some sprite glitches on the main character, but crucially there is music within the game.
After checking with Chuck, he has confirmed that this is in fact the earlier and abandoned development from Matt Markwalder, which he described as being completely broken, and his version was far more playable and smoother. It is odd that the music though was not carried over to Chuck’s version, as it seems as if it had been converted over and was there.
The surfacing of this prototype and Chuck’s confirmation, confirms that the magazine screenshots (the actual Lynx ones, not the NES ones) are from Matt’s version and *not* Chuck’s edition of the game – which is great to confirm.
It is hoped that MacRorie will share more of the prototype soon and we will try and add to this page over time to show Matt’s earlier and abandoned development. In time, it is hoped that Chuck will get his sources compiled and show his version in the future too.
Within the book is a detailed 10 page full story about the unreleased Attack of the Mutant Camels ’89 (AMC’89 from here on) – talking to Jeff Minter, Jon Dean and Lee Hammerton about the development, the Konix disaster and the amazing attempts that saw an early prototype rescued and got up and running on an actual emulator for a machine that never existed!
What follows are a few quotes from our old GTW write up, some video links from our research, resource links and some hi-res scans made by GTW for the book (and scans provided by Jon Dean) that were unused or were re-pixeled for print.
Just a short post for now to share details of Core Design’s cancelled version of Tomb Raider Anniversary (thanks to Ken Knight for the heads up). This is a GTW that could be close to seeing the light of day in some shape or form, but may need your help…
To summarize, for the 10th anniversary – Core Design were doing a new remake, but was shut down by Crystal Dynamics. More details about the history of the development can be found here:
From the development, a hard-drive was donated with various assets and code to Ash Kaprielov, a huge fan of all things Tomb Raider related and who manages the wonderful site above.
Permission was then sought from Crystal Dynamics by Ash, and a firm “no” was given from their legal department. Ash is now after your help to sign a petition to try and allow for the release of remains of the development to the fans. However, some suggest that the petition may need to be taken to publisher Square Enix instead to have more of an impact.
Back when Lemmings was being converted to every platform under the sun, the poor old Plus/4 was being neglected, having long been abandoned commercially.
That however didn’t stop Tamás Sasvári (code) and Csaba Kémeri (graphics) from having a go at trying to bring the title to their beloved machine back in 1993. Several months were spent putting together a solid unofficial conversion within the limits of the Plus/4, which would take a bitmap based approach compared to the C64 edition (which used sprites for the backgrounds), due to the lack of hardware sprites.
Csaba, still active on the PC and Amiga scene today, used the Multi Botticelli tool to produce all of the graphics, which is the equivalent of Koala on the C64.
An early preview was believed to be showcased at the 1993 Debrecen party, but then technical problems were hit early on. Tamás had utilized a buffering system for the bitmapped approach (see below), which as things progressed – he hit memory issues which he couldn’t resolve. As a result, all development was halted. Sadly Tamás tells GTW that all source code was lost long ago due to disk failures. Here separately is what Tamás had to say back in 2006 (thanks to Luca Carrafiello for sharing):
“Lemmings = failure… I read into my code after ten-some years, which was just edited in monitor and vomited into the keyboard. So besides my soul my hardware is also in ruins. 🙂 Not to mention that I checked and there’s almost no memory left to implement any useful functions. The program itself is not too large, but the memory is taken up by all kinds of buffers. E.g. by default 4 graphics screen areas are used to display the double-buffered graphics.”
The cancelled game was then next shown at the 4ever03 party in Szeged on a projector screen, and then forgotten about once more. It remained as a GTW on the Plus/4 website for many years.
After seeing our recent post on 1942, Tamás got in touch with GTW and has given us and Plus/4 World permission to release the remains of their conversion for you to see for the first time. This is thanks to Luca Carrafiello from Plus/4 World, who has provided all the remaining files.
There are a number of graphic screens which you can check out, but also a very early and slightly playable build. Here you can control a large number of lemmings on a mock up level, using floater, bomb, bash, dig down and block features. The builder and pick-axe features are sadly not present at this stage. Also, you can just interact with the lemmings, with no exit for to reach.
Even at this early stage, it is an impressive feat to see and an interesting curiosity for the Lemmings world. It proves that the Plus/4 is capable of doing something, but may need a different approach to prove successful. Check out the download for yourself below:
This is a smaller piece intended for inclusion in The Games That Weren’t book that didn’t make the final cut. As a result, please note that it hasn’t been professionally proof read compared to the published pieces in the book. As part of our Bonus material series, here is the full raw article for your enjoyment.
Mention Elite Systems, and you may instantly think of Capcom 8-bit home computer conversions such as Commando, Ghosts n Goblins and also the cult classic shooter 1942. If you hadn’t already guessed, 1942 is set during World War 2, controlling an American plane fighting against swarms of Japanese fighter planes across 32 levels – oddly set in a reverse order.
Capcom are a Japanese based development company, and so the theme of the title had caused some controversy back home at the time. Regardless of any political issues, it still became very popular and made for a perfect title to port to all of the home computers of the time. Elite were the company to step up to the plate and grab the rights for the major 8-bit home computer platforms.
Nintendo Life have published a chapter from The Games That Weren’t book, which takes a look at the unreleased Virtual Tank game by Boss Game Studio.
As well as talking to the developers involved in the game, there are screenshots of the game running which have never been seen until now. Bonus materials relating to the game will be coming soon in a separate post.
Platforms: Commodore Amiga, Atari Jaguar and Atari Lynx
A long running Atari Jaguar mystery for some years now, and a game starting out on a completely different platform. Originally Green Thang was shortlisted to be covered in The Games That Weren’t book when discussing possible Jaguar titles with David Wightman. This led to an exciting early discovery which we will share with you shortly. In the end it was decided to cover Deathwatch, so now as part of our bonus book content series, we share what we managed to find out during our brief investigations.
Green Thang originally started life with a working title of Frogs, developed by two University students – Michael Pollard (code) and Alan Burns (graphics). It was demoed to Creative Edge around 1994, and CEO/Head programmer David Wightman absolutely loved it. The game (and team) was signed up as a result, with the proper title of “Green Thang” subsequently assigned. Continue reading →
A mysterious 3rd person title which was only in development at Ratloop for just over a year. The game was started in early 1998, and was cancelled after a publisher couldn’t be found.
With nothing much at all known about the game, gaming historian Massimiliano Camassa has meticulously been piecing together details about the history of the development. Giving a detailed insight about what could have been. Only briefly covered in some magazines, Massimiliano describes Hab-12 as not being your standard third person shooter:
“Offering a mix between a classic cinematic jump and run, third person adventure game and a third person shooter, Hab-12 was unlike any game of its time.
The protagonist of this would be adventure game, named Miray, would be forced to fight his way through gigantic habitations inside the research ship called “The Sentient”.
In his adventure, Miray grows from an underachieving every-man to a full blown survivalist after beating the odds over and over again in each habitation he finds himself in.”
Massimiliano (with help of the original developers) managed to get remains up and running on modern hardware to bring you footage. Overall, a very impressive and thorough documentary that is well worth your time:
Within the book is a detailed 10 page full story about the unreleased Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens from Mars (AOTMZFECFM from here on) – talking to Matthew Smith, John Darnell, Keith Ainsworth, Ste Cork and Steve Leyland. There is also a specially created artist impression showing how the game may have looked, based on recollections of Matthew, John and Sinclair User. Continue reading →
As part of the launch and release of The Games That Weren’t book, we are gradually adding assets and content that didn’t make it to print as bonus content to share with you. The book contains a detailed 6 page full story about the unreleased 1970’s Atari arcade, Time Bomb – talking to those involved in the development, with input from Chris Downend, Lyle Rains and John Ray. Check out our growing Bonus Content page for more materials added over time.
When discussing the game with John Ray, it was established that archivist Scott Evans was now the keeper of the prototype. Scott has created a video of the game in action, which you can see below. Special artist re-pixelled versions of the screens from the video shots were made and printed in the book. Continue reading →
Contributor Niklas Lindholm has been trying to solve a mystery about a football management game that would just disappear completely without a trace.
Krisalis had already previously had released a title called PFA Player of the Year back in 1996, and tried to make extra use of the PFA licence by creating yet another management title called PFA Soccer Manager. This would be a management game built to run in Windows 95, making use of the codebase and interface style. However, they state that console versions were to be planned. Continue reading →
“I do miss having so many imaginative people around me, though, and I certainly regret never producing the 1930s football game we designed after signing up Sir Stanley Matthews.”
We got in touch with Peter, who confirmed that the game only ever got to a concept stage, when the project was put on hold. They didn’t get as far unfortunately as deciding what platforms the game was going to be on.
So sadly, the game was very much at the very early stages with nothing to find.
As part of the launch and release of The Games That Weren’t book, we are gradually adding assets and content that didn’t make it to print as bonus content to share with you.
The book contains a detailed 8 page full story about the unreleased 1979 arcade, Oops – talking to Larry Rosenthal and Dan Sunday about the development, and how it evolved over time. As there were no gameplay screenshots to show, the piece features artist impressions of how the game could have looked. Continue reading →
By the creators of UFO: Enemy Unknown and being led by Julian Gollop, and was a 3D evolution of the previous X-COM strategy games produced by Mythos Games. The press at the time were very excited about the game, and one even felt it could have been one of the greatest turn-based strategy games ever produced. Continue reading →
A short post to highlight two Amiga titles that never were (thanks to Karl Kuras) which were mentioned in the pages of Commodore User magazine.
The Legend of Billy Boulder
This title was actually due for release on PC and Atari ST, as well as Amiga. Although fully reviewed by two magazines, it never surfaced for any platform it seems. The reviews were fairly poor, but when would that give U.S. Gold an excuse not to release a game? Continue reading →
A short entry for a title due for release by Renegade on the PC and Acorn Archimedes (thanks to Kevin Tilley for flagging this one up to cover). This was to be a conversion of the 3rd game in the Turrican trilogy, which had already been released on the Amiga and other platforms. Continue reading →
A short entry for a title due for release by Thalamus on the Amiga and PC late into the publisher’s life (thanks to Kevin Tilley for flagging this one up to cover). This was a cool looking strategy game set underwater, and had previews released for the Commodore Amiga that can be checked out. Continue reading →
As part of the launch and release of The Games That Weren’t book, we are gradually adding assets and content that didn’t make it to print as bonus content to share with you. Check out our growing Bonus Content page for more materials added over time.
Whilst covering Captain Seahawk, developer Mike Albaugh kindly shared a joke asset that was to be included in the cancelled Last Starfighter arcade that he was a part of, and which is one my favourite films of all time. Continue reading →
As part of the launch and release of The Games That Weren’t book, we are gradually adding assets and content that didn’t make it to print as bonus content to share with you. The book contains a detailed 6 page full story about the unreleased 1970’s Atari arcade, Captain Seahawk – talking to those involved in the development, with input from Mike Albaugh, Dave Stubben and Dan Moss. Check out our growing Bonus Content page for more materials added over time.
At the time, no-one sadly had anything relating to the game (based on part of the VCS title Air-Sea Battle), or at least wasn’t able to find anything at the time of writing. Instead, we included some artist impressions to show how the game could have looked. Just before publication however, Mike managed to find the mock up produced for the banner art that was to be produced for the cabinet (Click for full size): Continue reading →
Platforms: Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, SEGA Mega Drive and Super Nintendo
As part of the launch and release of The Games That Weren’t book, we are gradually adding assets and content that didn’t make it to print as bonus content to share with you. The book contains a detailed 14-page full story about the game’s various developments, talking to many people involved in the different iterations undertaken. Check out our growing Bonus Content page for more materials added over time.
Below are a selection of character concept sketches, sprites and screenshots, most never seen until now, which have been kindly provided thanks to artists Mike Marshall, Ray Coffey, John Lomax and John Reitze to share with you. Continue reading →
With many thanks to Martin Inter, a number of early screens from actual released C64 games such as G-Loc, Dragon Ninja, Batman The Caped Crusader and Hammerfist have been added to this page. These show different sprites (in the case of Dragon Ninja), panels (Hammerfist). in game graphics (Batman) and vastly different and unused scenes (G-Loc). Continue reading →
With thanks to Ross Sillifant, it has been highlighted from a MEGA Power interview with Steve Turner that a PC Engine edition of Paradroid was once in production, as well as a unknown console edition of Total Recall.
Paradroid 90 was being produced right up until Hewson sadly collapsed, and then Total Recall would get the same issues when Mirrorsoft/ImageWorks went under in a bad sequence of events for Graftgold. Eventually, it was their conversion of Bitmap Bros’ Gods to the Sega Mega Drive which would result in their breakthrough onto console platforms in the early 1990s. Continue reading →
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System, Atari Lynx and Sega Mega Drive
Just a short entry for a cancelled film title that was due for release on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Atari Lynx and Sega Mega Drive. It was to apparently feature an ambitious Wolfenstein style engine.
However, it was to be achieved using a special SuperCartridge on the NES that would have an extra processor and allow for better graphics and sound capabilities as well. The Lynx and Mega Drive were no doubt already powerful enough to do the game that Color Dreams had anticipated. Ross Sillifant kindly dug out an advert for the game, as well as a brief article that talks about the Super Cartridge technology. Continue reading →
Due originally for release in Q4 of 2005, this was to be a sequel to Republic: The Revolution. “Blue Vault” the working title of the game. The development would consist of an 18-strong development team, and had been under way for around 6 months at the time of PC Zone magazine showing off the game in May 2004. Continue reading →
Graphic artist Craig Stitt has recently been putting up a lot of brilliant unseen materials from his SEGA days, and has today just added a video showing screens from another Sonic related title called “Treasure Tails”, featuring Tails as the main protagonist:
Unfortunately Craig doesn’t recall much about it. Just how far it got, we’re not sure – but it would be wonderful if something playable could be found of this isometric puzzle title. However, the screens shown are confirmed by Craig to be mock ups, so they probably never progressed any further. Continue reading →
A short entry for now on what sadly was to be an abandoned conversion of Star Control III for both the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation platforms. The game was eventually released on the PC and Mac. There is a pretty decent article about the game at http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/star-control-3/
There was some brief press at the time talking about the conversions, and here are some scans for now from Sega Pro magazine (August 1996) that talk about the conversion to the Saturn (thanks to Ross Sillifant). Continue reading →