Ever heard of Sabreman Stampede? Chances are you have, chances are you haven’t. Sabreman Stampede originally started off as a prototype game for the Nintendo Gamecube called Donkey Kong Racing. It was in the very early stages of development when the acquisition of Rare by Microsoft followed through, thus ending the future of DKR. Rare wouldn’t let what work they had did go in vein, however, and they started to convert the game to the Xbox and exchange the Donkey Kong characters to those of the Sabreman franchise. Unfortunately, the game ended up being cancelled anyway as Microsoft didn’t believe the title would have been very successful on their Xbox platform. Was Microsoft right in their assumption?
The game was very unique for what it was. It would have been one of the most intuitive racers and adventure titles of its time as there was nothing else like it and, quite frankly, there still isn’t anything like it to date. Sabreman Stampede was at times a racer that utilized a variety of different animals. The animals could be swapped out within the races themselves, always giving the player the best and strongest animal at their disposal at all times. If the player happened to fall off, then simply pressing a button as quickly as possible would get Sabreman hitched back to the animal and back into the race. Unlike Donkey Kong Racing, Sabreman Stampede was more than just a pure racer but was also an action/adventure game of sorts. As you can see in the video below (more footage available at MundoRare) there was also a feature involving taking photos, the ability to grapple animals, and that Sabreman even utilized his gun. There are also what clearly seems to be some mini-games available to play.
Taking into consideration how unique the game really was, do you think it would have succeeded? It sounds like it would have been a blast to play and I think with how innovative the gameplay was that it would have surely been successful. It’s a shame that Microsoft didn’t see things that way and would rather have it cancelled as opposed to giving it a chance. Will we ever see it come to light? It’s highly unlikely as most cancelled titles never resurface. That’s too bad as I would certainly loved to give it a spin.