Nintendo has had a number of high-profile flops (Virtual Boy, anyone?). However, one of its biggest failures may have been one you heard almost nothing about — at least, until now. Unseen64 has published a documentary detailing the largely unknown story of Project H.A.M.M.E.R (aka MachineX), a Wii game from Nintendo Software Technology that died after nearly six years of painful development that began in 2003. The hammer-swinging sci-fi brawler was supposed to be mostly finished by the time it was first acknowledged in 2005, but a culture clash between the Japanese management and American staff all but killed progress. The two sides had differing ideas about what would fix the mediocre gameplay. The top brass thought better environments would improve things, for example, while the rank-and-file wanted to overhaul the core gameplay mechanics.
That deadlock was never resolved. Eventually, the management’s requests (which included revamping the game for a “casual” take) led to numerous departures and an attempt to blame the head designer for what was ultimately a problem with the higher-ups. The game was quietly cancelled in 2009, and saw NST fall from its top-tier status to become a smaller, digital-only studio. It’s a bleak story, to put it mildly, but it’ll hopefully teach other game companies about the value of trusting creative leaders.