After a series of successful adventures, the third X-Men game reportedly focused on the iconic female heroes of the team. Why didn’t he come out?
The representation of women has been an important element in attracting X Men comics for decades. It has not been as prominent in adaptations to other media, including video games. While the women of the X-Men have appeared in many games, they have not been in the spotlight as Wolverine continues to enjoy.
A Sega Genesis game was about to change that. Scheduled to release in Twilight of Genesis, it would have featured the most iconic female characters from the ’90s heyday of the X-Men. Unfortunately for fans, the game has joined the legion of canceled comic book games.
X-Women: the sinister virus was supposed to be the last of a trio of X Men games released for the Sega Genesis. The previous Genesis X Men Game, X Men, was a side-scrolling 16-bit era beat ’em up enhanced by featuring the Merry Mutants and their villains while the X-Men battle against the Phalanx in the sequel X-Men: The Clone Wars is considered a significant improvement over the original game. This decreased the notorious difficulty of the first game, which included the removal of an endurance meter for mutant powers, and featured impressive graphics for the time. It also increased the number of playable characters, including a playable female character in Psylocke.
X-Women seemed to be going in a different direction than its predecessor. His story would have put the male X-Men out of action because of the Mister Sinister virus. The female members of the team would need to find the remaining samples to develop an antidote. Instead of showcasing a wide variety of X-Women, it would have focused on a trio of iconic mutants who featured prominently in the ’90s X-Men animated series; Storm, Jean Gray and Snape.
Considering its inclusion in the previous game, it’s surprising that Psylocke was left out of its sequel. This decision makes sense due to a new game mechanic X-Women intended to implement. X-Women reportedly used the flight abilities of his cast to add verticality to the levels. This was not possible with a character like Psylocke, who had to rely on a platform to get through the levels.
Sega turned to Clockwork Tortoise to develop X-Women. This team’s previous work included a Genesis and Sega CD game featuring characters from Marvel’s prestigious competition, The adventures of Batman and Robin. Like the first Genesis X-Men game, Batman and robin had a reputation for its brutal difficulty. Its controls, graphics, and boss fights have received high praise, making it a solid choice to top off the adventures of X-Men’s Genesis.
X-Women was due out in the fall of 1996, alongside the Genesis games of the last days like Vectorman 2 and 3D sonic explosion. Its existence was advertised in video game magazines. A promotional video at E3 is X-Women only known images. The inclusion of the game in Sega’s exhibit at the Walt Disney World Museum of Innovations has become an urban legend. It was included in a press release but did not in fact appear.
X-Women was delayed twice, first in December 1996, then in January 1997, before being canceled. John Pedigo, who co-produced the title Game Gear X-Men: Grandmaster Heritage before producing X-Women, said that the work on art and music was finished but no level was finished. Pedigo had a prototype of X-Women, but it has since become unplayable.
Pedigo blamed himself for the game’s cancellation, telling Sega-16 that he was too friendly with the staff at Clockwork Tortoise to keep development on track. The studio never reached a single milestone before the game was canceled. Clockwork Turtle didn’t take long for the world, closing after X-Women cancellation due to internal problems. This included the retirement of chief programmer John O’Brien, who was credited with Batman and robin graphic innovations.
With the industry’s transition to the 32-bit era, X-Women has quietly become vaporware. Pedigo hinted that a director’s cut might exist, but unlike games like Primal Rage 2, it has yet to surface online. Fans will have to settle for games like X-Men Legends for their X-Women patch. There is still hope that Marvel Games will resurrect the concept in a modern incarnation to follow up on Insomniac Wolverine Game.
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