viernes, 30 de junio de 2017

Todos los juegos cancelados de Hobocop

La serie de culto con la saga de juegos inexistente

La Maldición de Hobocop es una serie de proyectos cancelados de videojuegos sobre la serie policíaca homónima, transmitida desde 1985 hasta 1992. Fue un éxito en las cadenas provinciales tras transmitirse el piloto por error en el bloque infantil TPH. Desde 1994, el único juego de Hobocop que pudo realizarse con éxito fue la aventura textual para ZX Spectrum, Hobocop Jr. No se cuenta por ser un fracaso comercial basado en el spin-off.

Super Hobocop se comenzó a crear para el Cerebro de la Bestia en 1994 con la intención de redimir la serie-secuela. Tidus vendió los derechos de la serie a Argonaut Games y comenzó la Maldición al intentar un juego tan ambicioso como la secuela fallida de Star Fox. Iba a adaptar la primera temporada de la serie mezclando niveles beat’em up como Batman Vuelve con fases centradas en la conducción de vehículos en 3D.

El juego despertó controversia cuando contrataron a los actores de la versión británica para los gráficos pre-renderizados de beat’em up. El reparto español se ofendió tanto que aprovechó la decepción de Hobocop Jr. para abandonar cualquier relación con el mundo de los videojuegos. El proyecto se canceló en 1995 cuando Nintendo confirmó estar trabajando en su siguiente consola: la Nintendo 64, por la que se canceló Star Fox 2 a favor de un juego en 3D real.


Salto a la tercera dimensión

Hobocop 64 comenzó a desarrollarse en 1995 por Argonaut Games, quienes usaron Super Hobocop de base. Shigeru Miyamoto pensaba que un juego híbrido de acción y conducción no iba a funcionar en la Nintendo 64, por lo que crearon un prototipo mezclando plataformas y carreras con Yoshi. Yoshi Racing se trasladó a la PlayStation y sustituyeron al protagonista por Croc, difiriendo del Super Hobocop original hasta hacerlo irreconocible.

Silicon Knights obtuvo en 2003 los derechos de Hobocop. Su único aporte en la quinta generación de consolas fue una aparición cancelada en Clayfighters como luchador invitado. Por lo que “Hobocop: Corrupción de narices” comenzó a desarrollarse con el mismo título que el piloto de la serie para GameCube. El fundador de la compañía anunció que sería un sandbox en el estilo de Grand Theft Auto 3 porque el género había funcionado con Los Simpson y Torrente.

A los Hobo-fans les encantó la idea, pero el eslogan de “primer sandbox con el foco en la historia” no gustó a los jugadores en general. Incluso su inspiración GTA3 estaba centrado en la historia. Factor Five se unió al desarrollo del juego tras percatarse que las escenas de conducción no funcionaban correctamente.

El gameplay se iba a basar en “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron”, también con escenas de conducción. Ahora el problema estaba decidir en qué consola se iba a lanzar, ya que Factor Five consideraba la Xbox menos limitada y Silicon Knights la GameCube a pesar que su contrato con Nintendo había terminado.


Conducción contra First Person Shooter

Denis Dyack consideraba que un juego sobre Hobocop enteramente basado en conducción defraudaría a los fans porque “los jugadores querrían ver a Hobocop”. Por lo que el proyecto se paralizó hasta que en 2006 se dividió en uno para cada consola. Silicon Knights transformó su parte del sandbox en un FPS donde Hobocop pasaba de ser vigilante a superespía.

Mientras que Factor Five optó por mantener las similitudes con “Corrupción de narices”, eliminando las partes fuera del vehículo. Cambiaron tanto el nombre como el protagonista, de Hobocop a Hipstertective, y se lanzaron a la vez en la siguiente ola de consolas: “El ojo que casi todo lo ve” para PlayStation 3 y “Hipstertective” para Xbox 360. Había planes para adaptaciones a Wii y PC si tenían éxito por separado, pero se cancelaron a favor de los proyectos originales Lair y Too Human respectivamente.

Desgraciadamente, ambas compañías quebraron antes terminar la producción de los juegos y por problemas legales con la licencia. No se intentó revivir hasta una década después a través de Kickstarter. Los ex-empleados de Factor Five y Silicon Knights formaron Five Knights Inc. y anunciaron lo que parecía ser el juego definitivo para PC: The Hobocop. No solo mezcló las mejores partes de los dos proyectos previos, sino que lograron contratar a los actores del show original para doblar a sus respectivos personajes.


El final de la Maldición

No solo se contrataron a los actores para The Hobocop, también a los guionistas para que reescribieran lo que originalmente iba a ser la octava temporada. Aunque fue eclipsado por otros Kickstarters, alcanzó el 120% de su presupuesto. La Maldición no hizo su efecto hasta que el director de la séptima temporada, Bill Raccord, dejó de querer financiar el proyecto a principios del año siguiente. El productor era infame por escribir los episodios más odiados de la serie, como el doble “La Boda de Hobocop” y el spin-off Hobocop Jr.

Según los desarrolladores, Raccord quería un juego en el estilo de La Lego Batman Película porque “nadie es un Hobo-fan real, solo lo ven para reírse de lo mala que es”. Su argumento de que la serie solo era querida irónicamente enfadó tanto al reparto como los programadores. Incluso el actor principal de Hobocop, David del Río, respondió que era la infancia de muchos espectadores y solo se ríen por los clichés de su época en general.

Como los Hobo-fans ya odiaban a Raccord de antemano por la cancelación de la Temporada 8 a favor de Hobocop Jr., el productor cambió el proyecto a principios de 2017. Utilizó el 70% del presupuesto obtenido en Kickstarter para contratar a Canis Verde Games y remodelar The Hobocop como plataformero de dos dimensiones que ridiculizara la serie. Tan solo sobrevivió arte conceptual que tomaba inspiración de parodias como Clayfighter y “Hobocock XXX: Erección de Narices” para el diseño de Hipstertetive.


Franquicia condenada a malos juegos

Five Knights Inc. se disculpó públicamente por el mal uso que Bill Raccord realizó con el presupuesto de los fans. La parodia se canceló el 1 de Abril de 2017 bajo la selección de juegos de Canis Verde y un mensaje: Este es el juego que Bill Raccord intentó financiar, quien debería estar en la calle. Pero no impartiendo justicia como Hobocop, sino esperando a que le atropellen.

Hacer juegos de Hobocop fue una experiencia fracasada desde 1994 hasta 2017, con la adaptación a ZX Spectrum en 1987 siendo el único finalizado. A lo largo de las generaciones se ha intentado un juego de acción sobre el Vigilante de la Calle y su único producto es ilocalizable en internet. Consistía en una decepcionante “escoge tu propia aventura” pero sin permitir historias alternativas, solo se podía recrear los episodios tal y como sucedían en la tele.

Casi todos los comandos eran respondidos con que Hobocop no tenía suficiente dinero para poder hacer eso, incluso los de andar. El primero de los tres capítulos se basaba en el piloto, el segundo en uno de los episodios por Bill Raccord en el que solo había flashbacks sin música. El último nivel era lo único que se diferenciaba de la serie, basado en el final alternativo de la segunda temporada, cuando se rumoreaba la cancelación.


Hobocop iba a morir de tuberculosis tras una adicción a patatas, el pan de los pobres. El personaje se iba a transformar en una patata antes de morir, pero se redujo a un sueño. Lo más reseñable del juego era una parodia del Código Konami en el que al escribir “HOBOCORRIDA” te pasabas el juego. Tan solo era ver el pantallazo final de “La justicia siempre gana. Fin” con un Hobocop pixelado sacando el dedo del medio, referenciando E.T. de Atari.

lunes, 19 de junio de 2017

The Hobocop Curse

Retrospective of all the Hobocop cancelled games

Full article in Spanish:

Hobocop is a Spaniard cop TV show that aired from 1985 to 1992 about a bum police officer and his partner Hipstertective solving crimes. It became a cult hit on autonomous provinces after the pilot was mistakenly shown in the TPH cartoon block for children.

In the gaming community, there is a phenomenon called The Hobocop Curse that affects every effort to adapt the show into a game from 1994 to 2017. After the disastrous adaptation to the ZX Spectrum and Hobocop Jr. for the Super Nintendo, every Hobocop project has been cancelled for unpredictable reasons.

This article is a retrospective on every attempt to make a Hobocop videogame over two decades in chronological order. The curse started in 1994, after the commercial and critical failure of Hobocop Jr., both the spin-off show and the SNES game. Tidus sold the rights to Argonaut Games, creators of the first Star Fox and the Croc saga, to make a game for the Brain of the Beast.

Super Hobocop (SNES, 1994)
Super Hobocop was going to adapt the first season of the series, being the most ambitious game of the company. It was conceived as a beat’em up like Batman Returns with driving levels. It was going to break the Super Nintendo limits using pre-rendered graphics of live actors in the style of Mortal Kombat for the beat’em up stages and the 3D graphics of Star Fox that Argonaut popularized for the driving parts.

The game was surrounded by controversy with the fans for using the actors of the British version of Hobocop for the live-action segments, which lasted for a single season and is considered inferior to the Spaniard edition, ever in England. The Spaniard cast rejected to participate in any game after the disaster of Hobocop Jr. The multiple complains of the live-action British parts of Super Hobocop was the beginning of a decline that will continue over the years.

On 1995, Nintendo confirmed the Ultra64 console in the works, which would later renamed Nintendo 64. This meant that Nintendo forced the cancellation of the games in development with Argonaut for the SNES: Star Fox 2 and Super Hobocop. Their 3D technology was primitive in comparison to the new console.

Hobocop 64 (N64, 1995)
Argonaut tried to resume the Super Hobocop project and was renamed Hobocop 64. Shigeru Miyamoto suggested working in a game more appropriate to a console with 3D graphics. In his words, an action game with driving elements wouldn’t work in the Nintendo 64.

The studio disagreed and recreated the game in a prototype that mixed platforms with races starring Yoshi. The project was named Yoshi Racing and was ported to the original PlayStation changing the license to a new character called Croc and completely different to Super Hobocop.

Hobocop: Nose Corruption (GameCube 2003)
Silicon Knights obtained on 2003 the rights for the Hobocop, which was absent on the Fifth Generation of Consoles outside his cancelled apparition as a Guest Fighter in Clayfighter 63 1/3. In honor to the infamous pilot of the TV show, “Hobocop: Nose Corruption” was going to be made for the GameCube, an open world Sandbox inspired on Grand Theft Auto 3.

Denis Dyack, founder of Silicon Knights, announced the Sandbox was a perfect playstyle for Hobocop since The Simpsons and Torrente also had a game in the style of GTA. Hobo-fans rejoiced with the idea, especially because the series was rediscovered for the anniversary VHS. But the slogan of “The first sandbox focused on story” wasn’t well-received between gamers since there were already story-driven games like GTA 3 itself. Factor Five joined the development of Nose Corruption in 2004 after having problems with the engine for the driving stages.

The gameplay was going to be based on “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron”, but the companies had problems like for which console they should make the game. Factor Five wanted to move the game to the original Xbox to have less limits, while Silicon Knights preferred it on GameCube even if their contract with Nintendo already finished.

The gameplay was also a disagreement topic because Silicon Knights wanted more levels on foot and Factor Five on vehicle. Denis Dyack commented that “a game centered on vehicles wouldn’t let Hobocop shine, what the players want to see”. The game was in Development Hell until they accorded to divide the Nose Corruption game in two on 2006.

Hobocop: The eye that sees almost everything (PlayStation 3, 2007) & Hipstertective (Xbox 360, 2007)
Silicon Knights transformed his part of the Sandbox into a Third Person Shooter where Hobocop stops being a vigilante to become a superspy. Factor Five maintained the most similarities with Nose Corruption, just erasing the parts outside the vehicle. The protagonist was changed to Hipstertective and the game received the same name instead of Hobocop.

Both projects were moved to the next generation of consoles: PS3 and XB360 respectively. There were plans for Wii and PC ports in both cases if they were successful. Both games were delayed in favor of Factor Five’s Lair and Silicon Knights’ Too Human. The companies bankrupted after being unable to completely produce the games and having some legal troubles with the license.

The Hobocop (PC, 2016)
Almost a decade after the disastrous divided project, a Kickstarter promised a new Hobocop game by Five Knights Inc., formed by ex-employees of both Silicon Knights and Factor Five. Their website made it look like the definitive Hobocop game, just titled The Hobocop.

Not only they made the action and driving game they wanted with the best of every cancelled Project, but they managed to get the cast of the show. The original actors reprised their roles in voice-acting while the screenwriters and directors were contracted to base the plot on the eighth season that was never made. Even if it wasn’t as successful as other Kickstarters, it managed to get the 120% of the budget. But the Hobocop Curse was still alive and the project was completely destroyed the following year.

Director of the Hobocop season 7 Bill Raccord stopped liking the project on early 2017. He was hated by the fandom for screenwriting some of the worst received episodes like the two-parter Hobocop’s Wedding and canceling the eighth season in favor of the Hobocop Jr. spin-off.

The developers of the game said that Raccord arrived saying he wanted something more in the vein of The Lego Batman Movie. “Nobody is an actual Hobo-fan”, said the producer, “people only watch it to laugh at how bad it is, we shouldn’t take it seriously if they won’t”. That statement angered the team, lead actor David del Rio answered that Hobocop was the childhood of many and is non-ironically enjoyed by plenty of people. “Most of the bloopers people laugh at are part of the time period when it was made”. He linked Raccord not knowing the real Hobo-fans with the cancelation of Season 8.

Bill Raccord’s Hobocop (PC, 2017)
Bill Raccord used 70% of the budget gotten on the Kickstarter to make his own vision of The Hobocop after contracting Canis Verde to rebuild it as a 2D platformer to mock the most criticized elements of the show. Only some concept art survived, showing a fatter Hobocop based on his Clayfighter model and the Hipstertective from the porn parody “Hobocop XXX: Nose Erection”. Five Knights Inc. publically apologized as soon as they noted the budget gap and cancelled The Hobocop. Bill Raccord’s interpretation was also unplugged and never seen outside the April 1st of 2017 Canis Verde game selection:

“This is the cancelled game financed by Bill Raccord, who should be in the street, not imparting justice like Hobocop, but waiting to be run over by a car.”

Hobocop (ZX Spectrum, 1987)
For some reason, making a Hobocop game has always been a horrible experience from 1994 to 2017. The idea of having a Hobocop action game has survived over the years and evolved to meet the standards of each age. There won ne a day when the Street Vigilante is going to have a decent adaptation.

The “best” official Hobocop to date has been the unreachable ZX Spectrum adaptation, which was disappointing as a pick your own adventure text. It’s part of that genre of text adventures abut monsters like Cthulhu with interesting art in the cover but no graphics. The game could only be passed after watching certain episodes of the show, with mistranslated words and no indications.

Most of commands are answered with “I don’t have enough money to do that”, even if the order was just walking on a straight line. The only chapter that properly worked was the first, based on the pilot. The second chapter was based on one of the infamous episodes written by Bill Raccord, the one with Hobocop constantly having random flashbacks without music.

There were just three chapters badly novelized without adding new stuff for people who already watched the episodes. There aren’t even video-guides to explain casual fans what to write in the acronic levels. The third and final level is based on the alternative ending of Season 2, when the show was almost canceled. Hobocop was going to be killed with tuberculosis after developing an addiction to eating potatoes, “the bread of the poor”. The rejected final had Hobocop becoming a killer potato before dying, but it was a non-canon dream.

The only redeemable aspect of Hobocop Spectrum was the Konami Code parody with the game being won writing “HOBORRUN”. That means seeing the text “Justice always wins. The end” and the only graphic in the entire game, which was Hobocop’s pixilated face showing the middle finger like Atari E.T.