Scribblenauts: Fighting Words (lost build of cancelled iOS adaptation of emergent puzzle-action video game series; 2014-2016)
Scribblenauts: Fighting Words was supposed to be the iOS adaptation of Scribblenauts but was cancelled by Warner Bros, resulting in 45 employees of 5th Cell, the game's developer, to be laid off. It was the working title of a mobile game planned as part of the innovative Scribblenauts franchise, which allowed players to conjure solutions to problems by typing any word that comes to mind.
Plot and Gameplay
"Scribblenauts Fighting Words is a free-to-play, word-puzzle mobile game from 5TH Cell and Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment. Use your creativity, command of the keyboard, and the magic of Maxwell's notebook to battle creatures across the Scribblenauts universe, recruit characters with their own unique abilities onto your team, and save the world from the devious mind-controlling Blugs." "Maxwell/Lily are recalling back to the start of some Amazing Adventures they’ve had with the Magic Notebook; They’ve time travelled, fought monsters, stopped alien invasions, stormed castles, and everything else in-between. The FTE of the game will work as part of our storytelling mechanism and a way to teach users to play the game."
Development and Cancellation
Scribblenauts: Fighting Words (Codenamed: Project Green) was being developed by 5th Cell for iOS devices. Development started in 2014, and the game was due to be released in 2016. The gameplay would have involved typing up any object that comes to mind in order to solve puzzles, similarly to previous entries in the series. Haydn Dalton, the Principal Designer in 5thcell Media, stated "Project Green is an RPG Word Puzzle Game, with the visual feedback of classic Arcade games. Our goal is to produce a simple game, which is incredibly well-executed, with the primary goal of continually stimulating the player with positive feedback". However, after nearly two years of development, Warner Bros. cancelled the game for unknown reasons, resulting in 45 of 5th Cell's employees being laid off, including lead animator Tim Borrelli. Shortly before the project's cancellation, 5th Cell allowed gamers to sign up for the beta release at scribbeta.wbgames.com, meaning that work on the game was likely almost done before WB pulled the plug. Despite this, no footage or screenshots of the game were made publicly available. Unfortunately, The Wayback Machine does not have the beta sign up page archived. It is unknown if the game was going to be released on Android devices, like the other mobile adaptation, Scribblenauts Remix, as well as the mobile version of Scribblenauts Unlimited were.
Finding the Beta
In a Twitter post, @Steel_Beaver says an e-mail link was sent to users who signed up for the beta to download it. Anyone who downloaded the beta and played it can perhaps release the files or some footage so we can see the game if they still have it. If that is not possible, perhaps WB Games or 5th Cell and its employees can be contacted for more info.
Also, in late 2016. An Instagram user known as super_the_cool posted a picture of the menu from the beta.
In early 2021, 2 people named Zig and Dega met and started a search for the game. They have contacted developers (Jeremiah Slaczka, Marius Fahlbusch, Joseph Tringali, etc.) with mostly no replies from the current 5thCell developers.
Screenshots are available but videos were not allowed by WB.
A screenshot of a wheel from Necklace Zhang. Notice the 'Basic' and 'Premium' options, this seems to denote that starites are a paid currency while the silver currency is not. (Note: This screenshot was taken before the UI was finalized, so this screen may have looked different later in development.)
Concepts and early UI