Let’s turn our attention from DC to Marvel, as we explore some unfortunate tragedies in their video game portfolio.
X-MEN: MIND GAMES (SEGA 32X)
The 32X was Sega’s final attempt to prolong the life of the Sega Genesis before the company moved into the 32-bit era with the Sega Saturn. Sega had somewhat of a relationship with Marvel, producing a respectable Spider-Man game in the early days of the Genesis, as well as a series of X-Men games on the Game Gear and Genesis. Similar to their 16-bit system, Sega produced a Spider-Man game for the short-lived add-on console, Web of Fire, that has become quite a collector’s item due to its small print run. It was unearthed that an X-Men game was also supposed to arrive for the system, titled Mind Games, and was set to feature Rogue, Iceman, Wolverine and Bishop.
A rough prototype of the game was uncovered in 2009 that featured Bishop as the sole playable character. It’s unsure why Mind Games was never released, but it can be deduced that it may have been due to the poor install base for the 32X. It has been rumored, but not confirmed, that the games assets were morphed into the PSOne/Sega Saturn game The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga.
GHOST RIDER (PSOne)
Before becoming a household name in the turn of the century thanks to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Spider-Man, Neversoft was just another struggling game company looking for their next project. In the early days of the PlayStation era, Neversoft was in the early stages of putting together a Ghost Rider game that was set to be published by Crystal Dynamics, who have since gotten out of the publishing game after the company merged with Eidos Interactive. A tech demo of the game in its pre-Alpha build showed that it was to be a 2.5-D (2-D plane movement with 3-D backgrounds) akin to Ghost Rider on the Game Boy Advance.
It’s a mystery to this date as to why Neversoft’s Ghost Rider never ramped up to full production. Claims have been made that it may have been a victim of Crystal Dynamics shifting their priorities from publishing to pure development, while it’s also been speculated that Crystal Dynamics wished the game to move to the third-dimension, like their Gex franchise, in order to be successful.
THE PUNISHER (???)
Blade II developer Mucky Foot Productions was the first company to take a crack at The Punisher license for publisher THQ. Unlike The Punisher game that THQ put out in early 2005 that had linear stages, Mucky Foot’s take on the character would’ve been an open world game. though we have no idea how this would’ve played or looked as no concept art or footage exists for the game. During the process of development, the staff at Micky Foot received a phone call from THQ who told them to cease production on the game as their new CEO wished to make the game in-house, presumably with Volition at the helm. After losing another licensed game deal, Bulletproof Monk from publisher Encore who we’ll discuss in the next chapter, the developer closed up shop.
Return tomorrow as I take a look at some other Marvel games failed to hit store shelves.