That Grass Ain’t Green

Some games jumped the fence, but they fared poorly: here are four notable examples.

By Robert Thompson. Posted 07/07/2010 16:15 Comment on this     ShareThis

Too Human Screenshot

While gamers are certainly not unfamiliar with titles being canceled outright despite initial enthusiasm (here’s looking at you, Dead Phoenix), perhaps less known are the titles that were canceled for a system only to be sent to another or simply ported from one to another; with Nintendo, these cases certainly are not foreign. However, most titles after their subsequent release on another system see relative success (i.e. Vietiful Joe on PlayStation 2). Here are four titles that were previously announced as an exclusive for a Nintendo system, only to be released on another system, and did not fare so well.

Perfect Dark Zero Screenshot

1. Perfect Dark Zero. Originally planned as a Gamecube title, Perfect Dark Zero appeared in 2005 on Xbox 360 as a result of Microsoft’s purchase of Rareware, the developers of the original Perfect Dark and the Donkey Kong Country series. Rareware first suggested the title as planned for Gamecube back in 2000, showing a clip of a rotating Joanna Dark, the title’s heroine. But Rareware’s famously slow development cycles along with struggles both within the company and with Nintendo brought development to a crawl. After the purchase of Rareware in 2002 by Microsoft, Perfect Dark Zero was announced to be in planning for Xbox, and later shifted to Xbox 360. While Metacritic shows an average press review score of 81, it is considerably less than that of its predecessor, and sales of the title were lower as well.

2. Too Human Technically, Too Human jumped the fence from PlayStation to Gamecube first. However, after the exclusive partnership established in 2000 between developer Silicon Knights and Nintendo– a partnership that would yield only two titles in its five year span, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem and Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes— the title that was to be based upon Norse mythology languished in development hell for five years. After developer Silicon Knights’ announced partnership with Microsoft in 2005, the title shifted to Xbox 360; when the game was finally released in 2008, it did so to mediocre reviews, averaging a 65 on Metacritic.

3. Resident Evil 4. This entry is likely to raise a few eyebrows, but bear with me. Resident Evil 4 was one of the Capcom Five, a now-infamous group of titles that were announced to be exclusive for Gamecube. One title, the aforementioned Dead Phoenix, was canceled; P.N. 03 is the only title to have retained exclusivity, while the other three– Killer7, Viewtiful Joe, and Resident Evil 4— wound up being released on other systems. While the ports of Resident Evil 4 to other non-Nintendo systems certainly ruffled the feathers of fanboys everywhere, the PC release certainly irked those who played that version. Poor graphics and even worse controls resulted in the title being the lowest-scoring of all versions, garnering an average of 76 on Metacritic.

Grabbed by the Ghoulies Screenshot

4. Grabbed by the Ghoulies. Yes, another Rareware title, and yes, another title which had its development transfered from Gamecube to a Microsoft system after the buyout. But it is also has an average score with a 66 on Metacritic, and thus demanded a mention. The title Grabbed by the Ghoulies actually inspired the gameplay, as it was what came first in the development cycle. Many thought that it was to be the subtitle for the next entry in the Conker’s Bad Fur Day series. It was also intended to be far larger and more complex than the ultimate release, but due to the buyout and the need to release a title for Xbox, development was rushed to completion. The title sold poorly, and in Rareware’s own Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, copies of the title can be found in a trashcan in one of the levels.

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