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James Pond: Robocod Reboot No Longer Coming To Wii U

Posted by Damien McFerran

System 3 clarifies supported platforms

Earlier this year, there was a Kickstarter campaign for an all-new adventure based on the James Pond character created by Chris Sorrell in the early '90s. The campaign was cancelled when it failed to get anywhere near its £100,000 target.

The whole matter was made all the more confusing by the near-simultaneous announcement that System 3 — which owns the specific rights to Pond's second and most famous outing, Robocod — would be rebooting the sequel for modern-day formats, including the Wii U. Then it all went quiet — as of the time of writing, System 3 doesn't even have a listing for the proposed game on its website.

Mark Cale, CEO of System 3, has since clarified that the game is no longer scheduled to arrive on Nintendo's home console:

The game is in development for PS4, 3DS, Vita, PC and Xbox One. iOS versions are being considered.

Along with the Wii U edition, it would appear that the originally mooted PS3, Xbox 360 and Android versions have also been canned.

Speaking in an interview with Eurogamer, Pond creator Sorrell has revealed that he has had no input in this planned reboot, and feels that the announcement was related to the crowd-funding drive for an all-new adventure:

I've never had any interaction with people from System 3 regarding their reboot of Robocod. I suspect they were just trying to spoil the potential success of Gameware's Kickstarter campaign whilst probably also using the whole thing as a litmus test of whether they should even consider such a product. There are clearly businessmen who see no shame in porting a 23 year old game to a modern platform and pretending it has some timeless magic making it worth a modern gamer's time and money, but it sure embarrasses the hell out of me even when I have no part in it.

Regarding the failed Kickstarter campaign, Sorrell has voiced his disappointment with how things turned out:

There's such a fine line between what makes for a valid Kickstarter project and what simply feels like First World begging. But I was contacted by PJ - the guy tasked to coordinate the campaign by Gameware - and he had some convincing arguments. Build a new game that rewards loyal Pond fans, make amends for the sorry state of the franchise in recent years, have the chance to get paid to work on a new Pond game. Those all sounded like good enough reasons to lend my support. Most of all I definitely had a feeling that if it's going to happen anyway, then I should probably be involved to try and make sure that the new game really does live up to the promises and doesn't end up short-changing fans, again.

Gameware were all too happy to let this be seen as my campaign when it wasn't. We weren't nearly well enough prepared with the kinds of materials necessary to sustain a successful campaign and I couldn't personally spare the time to do much about that. Also, it turned out that the ownership of the IP wasn't as clear-cut as I believed it to be - and was in fact a matter of some acrimony. As I now understand it, Gameware own the rights to the James Pond character and to any new James Pond games, but System 3 own some specific rights to Robocod. It's rather confusing and something I would liked to have known prior to the Kickstarter campaign. I was sorry to see the campaign fall flat, and certainly sorry to feel like we had let down the people that cared most about James Pond.

While Gameware has insisted that it will return to the idea of making a new Pond title, the dismal failure of the crowd-funding campaign could end up ruining the chances of us seeing any further outings from the underwater agent. Were you one of the ones who supported the campaign, and are you sad that it didn't reach its goal? Or, having read Sorrell's comments, are you happy that the project stalled? What about the planned Robocod reboot — were you looking forward to playing it on your Wii U? Let us know with a comment.

[via eurogamer.net]

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User Comments (29)

EchoPark

#3

EchoPark said:

The problem with Sobers and Gamewares Kickstarter was they had nothing to show. It was all talk but nothing they could show off to grab folks attention. Plus would he been able to call the game James Pond? I thought System 3 now owns the rights to the game series?

I would actually love to play James Pond 2 once again, still a great wee platformer but the problem is folk like myself don't make up a lot of gamers these days and the title will be lost on the generation. It will get compared against other platform games and it won't do well. That's what happened with Putty Squad and Superfrog, the old retro folk loved it but the new generation .. not so much.

DamoAdmin

#4

Damo said:

@EchoPark System 3 owns specific rights to Robocod, but not the entire series. However, as Chris Sorrell says, the whole thing is a mess.

Nintenjoe64

#6

Nintenjoe64 said:

@EchoPark Team 17 still exist so Superfrog might get a sequel or a reboot one day but they've only made Worms games in the last few years....

Kirk

#7

Kirk said:

While the original games were kinda interesting in their day I don't think the designs really hold up now and to be totally honest; the original games weren't exactly stellar. They were given some respect because they were decent enough for their time but time has shown us that they weren't exactly timeless classics like Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario Word, Yoshi's Island etc.

Personally, a new game in the series would only excite me if it looked like something that was going to take what was a generally average game and turn it into something genuinely special for the current gaming audience. A slight update with some new visuals was never ever going to achieve that imo and selling it basically on nostalgia alone is never going to work unless you have a game like Super Mario Bros or whatever in the first place because that's the kind of game people still genuinely enjoy playing even today and even by todays standards.

Basically, neither James Pod nor Robocod were ever genuinely good enough games imo for people to really get excited about modern releases in those franchises UNLESS what we saw of these new games just blew us away and that simply never happened.

Simply releasing the old games on VC for a few quid would have been a better idea imo because then we all know what we are getting and expectations would be set accordingly; the original games for a few quid, should anyone feel like giving them a go nowadays and relieving some childhood memories for a few minutes.

Einherjar

#9

Einherjar said:

As a kid, i actually thought that the SNES game was a bootleg, some sort of ripp off of bond and robocop :D
Not the best first impression you can make.
So yeah, it wont be missed.

Kolzig

#10

Kolzig said:

Not surprised, System 3 has been scaling down also all other efforts like Putty Squad which they already confirmed in Facebook a long time ago that it's not coming to Wii U.

It really sucks. Putty Squad doesn't even look fun and I have no special feeling about it, but James Pond 2: Robocod is one of my most favourite games on Commodore Amiga. I even went and bought the GBA version back in the day.

gage_wolf

#11

gage_wolf said:

This series and character are lame byproducts of an era I'm glad to see gone - aka the early to mid 90s when every platformer was badly ripping off Mario and Sonic, with very underwhelming results.

Ootfan98

#13

Ootfan98 said:

If they are doing it for 3DS, I don't see why the Wii cannot be done if it is just the same game with a face lift

Beau_Skunk

#16

Beau_Skunk said:

I still don't understand the sheer amount of games released for every system but the Nintendo one... It's been like that sense the '90s. (I mean sure there's going to be a 3DS one, so at least this time is somewhat of an exception.)

I mean, I hate to sound like a fanboy, but how many games can you think of released for every system, but the Microsoft/X-Box one? How many games can you think of released for Nintendo, and X-Box, but NOT the Playstation system? Is there some technical things wrong with the Nintendo systems keeping certain games off them, (like the Wii being a bit underpowered) or do some companies just don't want to bother with Nintendo thinking it wouldn't be a big moneymaker for them? (Cough!*EA*Cough!)

EchoPark

#17

EchoPark said:

@Beau_Skunk don't forget Ubisoft, they admit they won't release games until it sells more and actually sitting on games that can be released.

GreatPlayer

#18

GreatPlayer said:

@Einherjar I remembered I love James Pond 2 on Genesis, with imaginative platforming elements, but thought that James Pond 3 was crap. I look forward to another James Pond though.

Ventilator

#19

Ventilator said:

@Nintenjoe64 : Nope. Superfrog HD was released on PS3, VITA and Steam last year. I own it on all systems.
It also include the original Amiga levels as unlocks.

ToxieDogg

#21

ToxieDogg said:

@gage_wolf I agree 100%, it was never a great game to begin with and was massively overrated by those who didn't have access to a Nintendo machine or couldn't afford one, and even after seeing a release on the Mega Drive (think there was a later SNES port as well but it had zero impact) it was very quickly forgotten about once Sonic rose in popularity. Most people don't even remember James Pond 3: Operation Starfish. All they'll get from this is a few nostalgic sales from old Amiga owners, everybody else will play something better.

Laxeybobby

#22

Laxeybobby said:

@Nintenjoe64 Would be great to see a reboot of Alien Breed from Team 17, however like System 3 I don't think they would support WiiU.

I think System 3 don't view WiiU as a current format with a future and that's why they won't support WiiU.

I preferred this game on the old Amiga.

retro_player_22

#25

retro_player_22 said:

I know nothing about the games back when it was out for Genesis and Super NES so I probably won't care much if it doesn't come to Wii U.

JustinH

#27

JustinH said:

Life is no longer worth living.

...actually...

"it sure embarrasses the hell out of me even when I have no part in it."

This whole James Pond business is a waste, with the exception of that quote. It's so perfect that it makes this whole mess worthwhile.

joey302

#28

joey302 said:

What a shocker! Wii u ignored again! Good thing I have the original!! I thought it was a great game!

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