See a teaser trailer, artwork, and more discarded elements from two unfinished games – a Strider reboot and a Streets of Rage remake – by the now-closed studio, GRIN.
I have to say – more fascinating than discovering the early blueprints of a video game that went on to become a timeless classic – say finding Shigeru Miyamoto’s early sketches for 1987’s The Legend of Zelda on the NES – is uncovering the exact kind of historic remains for a game that never came to be. And it appears that the developer behind Bionic Commando Rearmed, Wanted, and Terminator: Salvation, had its creative hand in two of them.
Actually, three if you count Final Fantasy: Fortress, an interesting spin-off title to the popular RPG series that was later canned by Square Enix for undisclosed reasons. I’m talking about the dearly-departed Swedish developer GRIN, who closed both of their Barcelona, Spain and Gothenburg, Sweden offices in 2009 due to financial difficulties – reportedly, founders Bo and Ulf Andersson stated that delayed payments from publishers caused cashflow problems and then the eventual bankruptcy.
The two also said in a farewell address that an unreleased title they weren’t allowed to finish, undoubtedly the aforementioned Final Fantasy: Fortress, was another key reason the developer shut down for good.
GRIN had risen to some major notoriety after the critical success of Bionic Commando Rearmed – the enhanced remake of the same 1988 NES title by Capcom, whom they co-produced with to make – and soon squandered it all with the multi-platform HD release of 2009’s wholly poo-poo Bionic Commando. But even with the commercial dud of that game, the company still went forward with other projects until their untimely demise, including – unbelievably enough – a Strider reboot and Street of Rage remake.
With no official name – and really no signs of Strider himself – the Strider reboot looks to be a 3D action game of another classic Capcom property, but only developing assets like character models and art renderings of locations are the only things that survived from the project, which would have been made if Bionic Commando not flop the way it did – a truly depressing thought that makes me want to crawl back into bed and eat a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream, just in case your asking.)
Apart from what I can tell, it seem this reboot was likely headed in the same gameplay direction as of Bionic Commando – whether it would have been of the same quality though, is definitely a question for the ages.
Meanwhile, the Streets of Rage remake is another remarkable find. Based on the arcade side-scrolling brawler from Sega, the game would be in the similar fashion to Grin’s own Bionic Commando Rearmed, and released digitally over PSN and XBLA. Of course, just like the Strider reboot, work on this game stopped too, leaving behind a handful of screenshots and art – reports even say that somewhere, like the Ark of the Covenant in first Indiana Jones movie, a demo for the Streets of Rage remake exist.
Personally from the way it looks, that’s a treasure that probably should be kept buried. Some of the art work, especially that picture of Axel, looks oddly… How should I say this… Give me a, U. Give me a, G. Give me a, L. Give me a, Y. What does that spell! UGLY! UGLY! Ra-ra-ra!
Spanish website AnaitGames was the first website to break the story about these two canceled games, and through Eurogamer, you can see more intriguing images from both, along with a helping of other failed projects from GRIN – Final Fantasy: Fortress being one of them. It’s amazing to think of what could have been, but it’s also cool to think about other things too – like The History of Headphones or a robot puppy-sitter.