It’s not every day new info about old games comes out. It’s even rarer for new info about old, cancelled games to come out of the woodwork. In the dust of archived footage of CES, Space World, and E3s of twenty years ago, major undocumented secrets sometimes spring out. And now there’s been a very, very interesting find: a preview of a cancelled Genesis adaptation of the 1988 anime film, Akira. Hit the jump for details and analysis, as well as the video showing the prototype.
If you fancied game magazines of the mid-90s, you might remember seeing coverage of a multi-platform Akira project for what was then “next-gen” consoles. While Akira did get adaptations for the Famicom and Amiga, these Genesis/Mega Drive/SNES versions seemed to be a league ahead in both gameplay and presentation. It was to be developed by Black Pearl, at least for the Genesis.
While I’ve never seen Akira myself, the graphics and animation for this project were top-notch…somewhat, anyway. Lots of care and attention were made to re-create the film in that signature 16-bit style, at least for the cutscenes. The game itself, what little we know of it, is run-of-the-mill. This video shows a motorcycle segment as it cycles through all the cutscenes, and it’s highly unimpressive. It is neat that it looks a little like Hang-On, but it looks sub-par. And that goes for the other clips too. The rest of the demo shows off sidescrolling, flying sections with pseudo-3D backgrounds, isometric shooting, and even a first-person sequence.
Thanks, Hardcore Gaming 101!
There’s no telling what this game would have been like. According to interviews with those involved, the game had a troubled development on the Super Nintendo, mainly publisher troubles with THQ, the result of which lead to the game being neglected. The assets for the Game Gear version were even outright destroyed, which upsets me on a deep level. This is important stuff, knowing about games of yesteryear, how they were made, shown off, the work that went into them, etc. So hearing of any unreleased game being obliterated is heartbreaking.
We’ll never know how Akira for the Genesis would have been truly like. But that’s why we have blurry footage of a monitor from 1994.Ad: