New information has appeared online regarding the canceled Green Lantern SNES game. Revealed by Liam Robertson for the YouTube channel DidYouKnowGaming, the video highlights the game’s troubled development. Further reading is available in Frank Gasking’s book, The Games That Weren’t.
Ocean Software developed the Green Lantern SNES game using platforming code from their licensed tie-in, Dennis the Menace. The story had the hero traveling to the land of Xaos where the Queen of Xaos threatened the universe. The queen was reportedly inspired by the Alien Queen from the film Aliens. Green Lantern would traverse alien worlds through a mixture of platforming and shoot-em-up gameplay, utilizing the SNES mode 7 capabilities.
According to Gasking, the game had a disjointed development. Separate small groups made each part of the game, then patchworked them together later on. Apparently, this was not uncommon for the company at the time with its previous releases, but it was a contributing factor for the Green Lantern SNES game’s ultimate demise. Gasking said, “In the old days of Ocean, they kind of had that ‘winging it’ mentality… They used to put games together in, like, two or three weeks sometimes–if there was a Christmas deadline.”
Things got worse with a shake-up at DC. At that time, DC’s sales of Green Lantern were facing a slump. To combat this, DC released a comic arc where the hero turned villain. There was now a new character in the Green Lantern’s shoes, unbeknownst to Ocean. The company suddenly had to change the protagonist of its game. Despite, this the project continued. The game then reportedly had a late 1994 release window. However, the VP of development, Gary Bracey, resigned from Ocean Software in mid-1994. Many gave credit to Bracey’s leadership as a driving factor for the company’s success. With him gone, things took a turn for the worse.
DC further complicated things in September 1994 when it released a new crossover storyline, Zero Hour. This storyline wiped the slate clean and laid the groundwork for future DC arcs–including Green Lantern. DC then instructed Ocean that the game would have to be reworked and set after the events of Zero Hour. Entwined in the amount of time and effort to rework the game, the SNES was reaching the late stages of its lifecycle. Ocean then shelved the title, as the risks outweighed potential rewards.
After that, a programmer at Ocean named Bobby Earl received approval to revamp the title. Now using the engine from Ocean’s Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues, a slow and after-hours development continued into 1995. With the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 on the horizon, Ocean finally canceled the game for good.
Additional details can be found in Liam Robertson’s video for DidYouKnowGaming on YouTube, as well as Frank Gasking’s book, The Games That Weren’t.