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Propeller Arena; a Dreamcast game cancelled due to real world events

VGEsoterica

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Oct 5, 2019
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It's obviously quite common for a video game to be cancelled before release. Maybe the game just isn't shaping up to what the developers or publishers expected of it. Maybe the devs ran out of money before publishing the game. Maybe the game was transitioned from one console to the next gen hardware about ready to release. But it's exceedingly rare for a game to be cancelled due to real world events wholly outside of the developers and publishers control.

But that is exactly what happened to Propeller Arena. Sega and AM3 made an absolutely amazing aerial dogfighting arcade game where you could fly around huge open world environments and engage in aerial combat. You could even fly through the downtown area of what looked like a real world city. It's an absolute treat of a game and definitely one that was NOT cancelled due to lack of resources or the game not being "fun". So why was it cancelled?

The release date? 9/19/2001. A mere eight days after the 9/11 attack on America

So it makes perfect sense why Sega would absolutely pull the game from release and cancel it for Dreamcast, but this is one of the very few times a game has been pushed back or ultimately cancelled due to a real world situation.

The only other instance of this is the 2011 earthquake in Japan which caused a few disaster themed games to be delayed for years as releasing them during this time period rightfully felt in bad taste.

But it's a very interesting look at how real world events can actually impact the video gaming industry.
 
Aug 26, 2018
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Never heard of it but watching this video it really doesn't make sense for being cancelled. As the guy says, this is mario kart in the air and you are having dog fights with propeller planes. There was a stage that "resembled" some big metropolis but I dont see why they couldn't just delete the level instead of completely cancelling the whole project. Flight Simulator came out one month later and all they did was prevent crashing of aircrafts, you would pretty much just noclip through buildings. Same goes for GTA 3, all they did was remove the twin towers and the game was out 3 weeks after sept 11th. Really doesn't make sense that these 2 way more realistic games kept going but an arcade propeller plane game with a point system gets cancelled.
 

wvnative

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Feb 10, 2016
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Played it before I unhooked my dreamcast, it was fun for an hour. I don't think it needed to be canned after 9/11, don't even recall anything involving buildings.
 

Evil Calvin

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Aug 23, 2017
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Well, in a month and a half it will be the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and guess what game just came out?...........Microsoft Flight Simulator. Be prepared for a lot of tasteless streams trying to reenact the event. Maybe MFS will get pulled?
Or shut down that day.
 

Evil Calvin

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Not sure why they didn't release it the next year though. Hell, release it now. I'd buy it.
 
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MrA

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Mar 9, 2020
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Looks pretty cool. Kind of reminds me of Toy Commander. Too bad it had to be cancelled.
probably would have been delayed but given how close it was to the end of the dreamcast it isn't surprising it was cancelled
 
Dec 14, 2009
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When you get the orange highlighting circle it looks like you cause damage even if the bullet models aren't actually hitting the enemy plane model?
 

SkylineRKR

Member
Jun 22, 2011
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I remember all of this and I had the game eventually, didn't think it was all that great tbh. A huge factor of this game being canceled was the city stage you could combat eachother in. But also the declining sales of the already discontinued DC played a part. It was a surprise underground release though, along with Half Life.

Might have been a fun Network game for DC though.

I believe it was good news that this game leaked, as some fucks were sitting on a GD-R with no intention to share it.
 
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Captain Toad

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Dec 1, 2020
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Well, in a month and a half it will be the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and guess what game just came out?...........Microsoft Flight Simulator. Be prepared for a lot of tasteless streams trying to reenact the event. Maybe MFS will get pulled?
Or shut down that day.

I haven't played MFS. Can you do things like that? Are you able to fly planes into buildings to cause explosions or destruction?
 

StateofMajora

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Aug 7, 2020
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Should have never cancelled it. I mean if you feel like you can’t release it why not just burn every jet fighting game ever made as well.
 
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R6Rider

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Jan 22, 2020
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Didn't GTA3 have some last minute changes to some buildings and the police cars after 9/11?
 
Aug 26, 2018
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Well, in a month and a half it will be the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and guess what game just came out?...........Microsoft Flight Simulator. Be prepared for a lot of tasteless streams trying to reenact the event. Maybe MFS will get pulled?
Or shut down that day.

Its been 20 years. Lets be honest the Americans did way worse atrocities to other countries but we never talk about that. What, now we cancelling or pulling games because they can be used to replicate something that happened 20 years ago? Ok lets cancel all WW2 games because they keep reminding the jews what a bad time it is.
 
Aug 11, 2019
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Really nice looking game. It would have been nice to see the Dreamcast's full potential unlocked. Games like this Shenmue 2 and Headhunter hinted at what was possible with the DC hardware
 

Hypereides

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Jan 19, 2009
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Looks pretty fun actually. Shame about its unfortunate timing.

This is the kind of art direction and arcadey gameplay we should be seeing more of today.
 
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Evil Calvin

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Aug 23, 2017
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Its been 20 years. Lets be honest the Americans did way worse atrocities to other countries but we never talk about that. What, now we cancelling or pulling games because they can be used to replicate something that happened 20 years ago? Ok lets cancel all WW2 games because they keep reminding the jews what a bad time it is.
I don't agree with that either. But face it, all corporations don't want to look bad or want to avoid any negative press even if they really don't give a shit.