domingo, 9 de julio de 2017

The cult phenomenon without proper games

Hobocop games that never saw the streets

Hobocop is a cult cop TV show about a homeless detective who solved crimes for the late 80’s and early 90’s. It was followed by some children, which watched the unrated pilot on a cartoon block by mistake, before officially airing on autonomous channels. The Hobocop Curse refers to the lack of videogame adaptations since 1994, discounting the interactive adventure for ZX Spectrum and Hobocop Jr., based on the spin-off, for Super Nintendo.

A proper SNES beat’em up with 3D driving parts was started to redeem the sequel-series after Tidus selling the rights to Argonaut Games. The mix between Batman Returns and Star Fox was surrounded by controversy when the actors of the British edition were used instead of the original Spaniard cast.

In 1995, Nintendo announced the console that could use actual 3D graphics and made the second-parties cancel plenty of games, including Super Hobocop. So the project jumped to the third dimension expanding the genre to platforms and racing. Shigeru Miyamoto thought that a game based on both action and driving wouldn’t sell well on the Nintendo 64, so the prototype replaced the characters with Yoshi.

This means that Hobocop 64 became Yoshi Racing and then was moved to PlayStation substituting the protagonist with the mascot Croc. The project was so different that Silicon Knights obtained the rights on 2003, when Hobocop’s only appearance on gaming was as a cancelled guest for Clayfighters. So a game inspired by GTA3 was started for GameCube using the pilot title.

“The first story-driven sandbox”

“Hobocop: Nose Corruption” was advertised as the first sandbox centered on telling a story, which was a lie and players didn’t like. Factor Five joined the team to develop the driving stages based on “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron” and completed most of the game. Then, the problem was deciding on which console it should be released. Even if the contract with Nintendo expired, Silicon Knights chose the GameCube, while Factor Five thought the Xbox was less limited.

The conflict between a First Person Shooter or driving game relied on Denis Dyack considering that Hobocop should be seen more than vehicles. The project stuck on development hell until it was divided on 2006. Silicon Knights transformed his sandbox part in a spy-themed FPS while Factor Five maintained the most similarities with Nose Corruption but avoiding the option of getting off the car. Even the protagonist and title was changed from “Hobocop” to “Hipstertective” and was going to be released for Xbox 360.

On the other hand, “Hobocop: The eye that sees almost everything” was going to have a simultaneous release on PlayStation 3. Both had planned ports for Wii and PC in case of selling well, but were cancelled in favor of non-licensed projects like Lair and Too Human, respectively by Silicon Knights and Factor 5.

But Bill Raccord returned…

License problems started before the releases of “Hipstertective” and “Hobocop: The eye the sees almost everything”. Both were cancelled and weren’t fused until ex-employers of Factor Five and Silicon Knights joined in a Kickstarter to make the definitive Hobocop experience for PC: The Hobocop.

The Hobocop is the latest game affected by the Curse, which had the original cast coming back as their characters. The screenwriters of the eighth season also returned to retool the plot for a videogame. The Kickstarter got a 120% of the budget and nothing bad happened until Bill Raccord, producer of Hobocop Jr. and dreadful episodes like “The Hobocop Wedding” two-parter joined.

In the developers’ words, Raccord wanted a self-parody like The Lego Batman Movie because “nobody is a true Hobo-fan, they just watch the show to laugh at how bad it is”. Main actor David del Rio answered that Hobocop was the childhood of many viewers and the mistakes are product of the time. Backlash made Raccord rethink the project and used 70% of the estimate to contract Canis Verde Games and make a self-deprecating 2D platformer based on Hobocop parodies and mockbusters like Clayfighters or Hobocock XXX.

Hobocop for ZX Spectrum

Five Knights Inc. publically apologized for Bill Raccord’s Hobocop game and hope was lost for a proper videogame adaptation. The only functional released game from 1987 was a choose your own adventure ZX Spectrum game, which didn’t even offer alternatives outside what happened in the show.

Almost every command was answered with Hobocop claiming he hasn’t money for that, even simple actions like walking forward. The only redeeming quality was the parody of the Konami Code that let you skipping the entire game after writing “HOBORRUN”.

-Level 1: The Pilot.
-Level 2: Bill Raccord’s episode about flashbacks without context.
-Level 3: Season 2 alternative ending, the rejected finale of Hobocop dying of tuberculosis for eating too many potatoes.

The final screen was “Justice always wins. The end” with a pixilated Hobocop shows the middle finger parodying Atari E.T.

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