YouTube personality Patrick Scott Patterson in a recent video describes a games haul during which he discovered four prototype copies of THQ’s unreleased Akira Game Boy game.
Akira was a seminal title in the anime catalog of the late 1980s that helped anime break into western markets, and the movie has since become a cult-classic. Surprisingly enough, the beloved Akira has had few video game adaptations (a Japan-only Famicom game, a British action game for the Amiga CD32, and then there’s Bandai’s Akira pinball simulator), none of which could really be considered definitive. THQ’s Akira was announced for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy, and Sega CD but was later cancelled.
HardcoreGaming101 has an interview with some of the key people who were at THQ and played a significant role in Akira’s development. Here’s an excerpt from that interview explaining why the project eventually was canned: “It was not so much cancelled or scrapped as it fell into neglect. Larry transferred rights to THQ and we couldn’t get clear agreement on the game elements with the project manager. They didn’t understand the limitations of the SNES. The project was then victim to a number of disasters including the lead programmer leaving, and other work being more pressing.”
To what extent the game was developed before cancellation and how playable the prototype copies actually are remains to be seen, but Patterson has promised to do a Let’s Play of one of his copies at the upcoming Portland Retro Gaming Expo.