At the turn of the last millennium, almost every developer was working on some form of arcade fighting game–while many of these eventually saw the light of day, more than a few never made it past the testing stage. One such unfortunate game was KenJu.
Arcade board collector ShouTime was recently able to acquire the prototype board for KenJu, thanks to an unnamed benefactor who sent him the rare item. He’s shared some offscreen video of the game in action on Tumblr.
In development at Dream Factory (of Tobal and Ergheiz fame), KenJu was one of the many fighters being developed for Sammy’s Atomiswave arcade board. The game was to feature cel-shaded 3D graphics and 2d gameplay on a 3D field–similar to Capcom’s popular Rival Schools games. Work on the game seemed to have proceeded as far as location testing outside Japan (with the game being seen in London, of all places) before it was cancelled.
Here are a few more videos of KenJu from accel99.
As for why it was cancelled, no one knows. While arcade games being cancelled–even after testing–isn’t unheard of, KenJu had the additional bad luck of being in development at a time when arcades and arcade fighting games were seen as being in decline.
Did we miss out on what may have been an interesting fighter, or was this just another dud that we would have forgotten anyway? Share your thoughts on this in the comments below.