Battletoads GBA

Our next release is Battletoads GBA, going to guess it was the last build ever made. The game doesn't have much content either. 


We've got Jens back to give us a briefing on this project:

Quote content originally posted by: Jens
‪I joined the project when the designer and the artist were already busy with preproduction. I think management (which included the Battletoads creators and artists) was mostly concerned with the concept art for the toads, because it was going to be used for a possible Xbox version as well. Our artist created many variations of them, from typical space marine/knight armour to the heavy metal/S&M leather gear of the original games. It was difficult, because the original creators had sometimes conflicting ideas, but they eventually settled on the casual look used in the final build.

The game design was even more difficult. Half of management suggested to just remake the NES version with fancy graphics, the other half said we can do whatever we want - except that real innovation will have to wait for the Xbox version.

I think we agreed on the team that the ultra-hard NES version would be difficult to sell nowadays, and many sections look very dated by now. We looked at all the other Battletoads games and I think we even had the arcade board running. We wanted to keep many of the features that people remembered positively of the games, while trying to focus the gameplay on some consistent mechanics to avoid frustration. I'm personally not very happy about the tiny sprites in the GBA version, because with the small screen size and the thin character you hardly see any detail. No idea if that was the final approved design. Most of the animations and renders were just done to have something moving on screen, and were far from final. Near the end we showed it to a group who were responsible for publishing and marketing, and we were initially told that they liked it but wanted some changes. Then the meeting to tell us about those changes was delayed over and over until we were finally told that the game was cancelled. Most levels were just blocked out with placeholder art and empty enemy locations, so that more of the engine could be implemented.

The Mode-7 bit was actually reusing DKP graphics but with a completely different engine. My plan for the racing sections was to use a road system like "Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge III" with hills and tunnels, and using the scaling hardware for fancy texturing effects. I didn't get very far, though. Maybe I'll implement that sometime just to see how it would've looked like.

Overall it was a big relief for me when it was cancelled. Developing on GameBoy while Rare was still owned by Nintendo was hard enough and I often felt like a second class citizen. Getting any resources to make a good GameBoy title would've been even harder as a 3rd party developer for a competing platform. I was a bit disappointed that the designer and team lead was made redundant instead of being moved onto an Xbox project, but in hindsight he probably got the best deal.