Savannah (lost build of cancelled Rare Ltd. Xbox 360 prototype; 2006-2007)
Savannah was a Xbox 360 prototype made in 2006 by Rare Ltd. This was one of the many Rare prototypes made for Microsoft to test out their new motion camera for Xbox, which later became what is now known as the Kinect. It was also one of the several Rare prototypes that were made during the Xbox 360, but were either canned or never greenlit in the process. Savannah was the brainchild of artist Phil Dunne, who worked on such previous works as Donkey Kong Country 3 and Killer Instinct 2.
In Savannah, the player controls a lion cub from birth to adulthood, with many challenges and survival and social tactics along the way for the player to survive in the more realistic wilds of the African savannah. It is said to be a natural simulator of sorts (a few elements were set in stone at the time), some even go as far as to say it was like a "realistic Viva Pinata." The game was going for a more realistic style to the animals and was said to have "great graphics," like how the lions and hyenas would have a custom shell system to make them look more realistic. The team were unsure of the effectiveness of the motion camera, but developed with this system nonetheless.
Finally, after a little more than a year in production, Savannah was turned down by Microsoft. Microsoft wanted their new motion camera (later called the Kinect) to be more fitted and accustomed to children rather than a more mature audience. There were also plans to make a "hybrid motion controller" (which was mainly just a one-button controller with a tilt attachment) for this Kinect game, but that was canned as well.
Aside from some pictures of models and a couple of videos uploaded to Dailymotion, there is almost nothing about the game on the internet. Some of their work might have been reworked into the Kinect game Kinectimals, but that is just speculation.
There was also a prototype theme song that was uploaded to YouTube (by JO ThumbsUpMaster) and Soundcloud (by Steve Burke, another ex-staff member from Rare). The final version would have had a proper orchestra and choir. Inbetween 2012-2017, it was blocked from YouTube. On August 15th, 2017, though, it was unlisted and back on YouTube. The Soundcloud upload was not blocked, however, and can still be listened to as of December 2019.
- A YouTube video on Savannah and Killer Instinct 3, which has the link to the theme song of Savannah. Retrieved 15 Aug '17
- An IGN news segment on the ex-staff member interview, which talks about multiple games including Savannah, as well as problems he had in the company. Retrieved 15 Aug '17
- A Did You Know Gaming Extra episode on canned Rare games, including Savannah. Retrieved 15 Aug '17
- Wikipedia page on Rare Ltd., which mentions Savannah under its "Microsoft Era" section. Retrieved 31 Dec '19
- A Rare Gamer article on Savannah. Retrieved 15 Aug '17
- A Eurogamer interview with Donnchadh Murphy, an ex-Rare staff member, who details Savannah and what it was going to be like. Retrieved 15 Aug '17
- An Unseen64 article on Savannah. Retrieved 14 Aug '17
- Another Eurogamer article which interviews Chris Seavor, who talks about Savannah and its "hybrid controller". Retrieved 14 Aug '17
- A Kinect website talking about Savannah. Retrieved 14 Aug '17
- The Soundcloud upload of the prototype theme by Steve Burke. Retrieved 15 Aug '17