Platforming games are some of the most widely copied types in the industry. What are the greatest platforming icons of all time? Mario? Sonic the Hedgehog? Crash Bandicoot? All of these are fine choices, but they are not the focus of this article.
What about the heroes that either never saw the light of day or didn’t get to have as long-lasting careers as the previous three examples? It’s time to uncover ten platforming games from the PS2 era and beyond that - for one reason or another - did not make it onto store shelves. Some are lost sequels while others are original concepts that didn’t get too far off the ground. It’s time to start digging.
10 Banjo X
Similar to 2005’s Xbox port of Conker's Bad Fur Day, Rare was going to remake the original Banjo-Kazooie for Microsoft's system as well. The project, titled Banjo X, wasn't even revealed until 2011 when someone stumbled upon it via an Xbox developer kit.
The idea would have had 4-player co-op functionality. On top of that, work spun off on a racing game as well, Banjo Kazoomie, but both games were eventually merged, in a way, for 2008's Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts on Xbox 360.
Gremlins got a few games following the success of the two films in the '80s. The two NES games were pretty good, but they were followed by a long gap before the property cropped up again into the early 2000s. Several more games came out during this period, like Gremlins: Stripe vs. Gizmo, but they were not received well.
Around this same time, Krome Studios wanted to make a game based on the original film. The idea centers around Gizmo going around Kingston Falls while setting traps for his crazed brethren. There are only a few screenshots of this lost Xbox 360 game left on Unseen64.
8 Two Canceled Spyro Spinoffs
To capitalize on their Spyro property, Vivendi Universal wanted to start milking side characters as well. In fact, Agent 9 from Spyro: Year of the Dragon almost got not one but two games. One was being handled by Blue Tongue Entertainment while the other was Backbone Entertainment.
The latter of the two studios used what they created for their Agent 9 demo to make Death Jr. for the PSP instead. Blue Tongue Entertainment's project was reborn as Prime 8 after some focus testing, but it never came out in any form. There is some test footage on Unseen64 along with a bunch of scrapped artwork ideas.
7 Gex 4
As of 2020, 1999's Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko was the last game in the series to be released. While Crystal Dynamics were apparently making a fourth entry, only two pieces of concept art exist.
The only other thing to note here is that Gex 4 was being made for the PS2. Gex fans may take solace in the fact that a new game may one day get made via the Square Enix Collective.
6 Two Canceled Earthworm Jim Games
Prior to last year's announcement of an Earthworm Jim sequel being made exclusively for the Intellivision Amico, this series had gone through several phases of canceled games.
The last two games were released in 1999 followed by plans to make sequels on the PS2 and Xbox, along with what looked like a remake of the first game for the PSP. The reasons for these cancelations were normally due to licensing rights being thrown around from one company to another.
5 Metal Arms 2
Metal Arms: Glitch in the System is an underrated, well-reviewed GameCube, PS2, and Xbox game from 2003. The developer, Swingin' Ape Studios, was working on a sequel, but funnily enough, they moved to an even more infamously canceled game, StarCraft: Ghost.
This eventually led to the company being absorbed into Blizzard; consequently, as a separate company, Swingin' Ape Studio was only able to release one game. All that exists for the sequel is some concept art via Unseen64.
4 Record of the Elf Saga
Record of the Elf Saga is, without a doubt, the most obscure game on this list. The publisher, Software 2000, as well as the developer, Kaiko, aren't huge companies in the gaming space. However, it is on this list for two reasons.
The first is that the hero looks a little like Jak from Jak and Daxter. Secondly, as there appears to be a box and disc amidst the screenshots and artwork found on Unseen64, it could be theorized that this game was basically done before the plug was pulled. Will Record of the Elf Saga get dumped to the Internet for all to enjoy one day?
3 Maximo 3
Maximo, for those who don't remember, was Capcom's attempt to reboot their Ghosts 'n Goblins franchise. With two well-received games on PS2, a third entry was planned for the console as well.
Sadly, Capcom canceled work on the third game due to the second's poor commercial performance. Critical acclaim does not always equate to sales, unfortunately. There is a brief clip of all existing gameplay footage in Unseen64's analysis video along with some scrapped artwork.
2 The Magical Ninjya: Jiraiya Kenzan
The Magical Ninjya: Jiraiya Kenza was another game from Capcom that also looks a lot like Maximo based on the art style. It was announced in 2003 for the PS2 with a trailer, which had animated cutscenes in it as well.
Unlike Maximo, The Magical Ninjya: Jiraiya Kenza would have featured co-op and ninjas rather than knights. Not much else was known about the project or why it was canceled. The trailer along with some art, screenshots, and promotions can be found on Unseen64.
1 Crank the Weasel
Crank the Weasel was an attempt at creating another crass platformer in the same vein as Conker’s Bad Fur Day. It was in development for the GameCube, PS2, and original Xbox around 2002. Based on the gameplay footage it looked a little like Capcom's Under the Skin game, also on PS2.
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