Seaman (lost work on 3DS sequel to virtual pet game; 2012)
Seaman is a virtual pet game that was developed by Vivarium. It would see a release on the Sega Dreamcast in July 1999 in Japan and August 2000 in North America, before a Japanese-exclusive PlayStation 2 release occurred in November 2001. Additionally, a 3DS sequel of the game was in development before it was ultimately cancelled.
Seaman is considered a cult classic for the Dreamcast, primarily because of its unusual gameplay. The player is tasked in caring for a Seaman as it matures into its different life cycles, from a Mushroomer to a Frogman. This includes feeding it, ensuring the right tank temperature, and interacting with the Seamen via using the Dreamcast microphone. The game proved to be one of the highest selling Dreamcast games in Japan, and was one of the few Dreamcast games to utilise the microphone attachment.
In December 2000, it was announced by Vivarium founder Yoot Saito that his company had teamed with IBM to develop a port for the PC. According to Saito, the PC port would be very different from the Dreamcast original. Rather than envisioning it as a game, Saito stated that it was actually a communication tool, where the Seaman could interact with compatible applications on the user's PC, including emails and schedule books. It was rumoured that the game had been cancelled, but in reality it was released under the title of SeaMail.
In February 2012, it was reported that a sequel was to be developed for the Nintendo 3DS, as part of Nintendo's plan to revive several third-party games for the system. Seaman was listed by Nikkei as one of the games Nintendo was considering, but few details were released. Development most likely had not started then, as Saito was busy developing Air Porter as part of the 3DS compilation game Guild 01.
Following the death of Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata, Saito revealed in July 2015 that he had indeed been developing a 3DS sequel. He stated that he previously worked with Iwata following Seaman's release, where in a meeting between the two, Iwata claimed the game was something he was seeking to incorporate onto Nintendo platforms. When the 3DS was released, Iwata discussed with Saito about creating a 3DS follow-up to Seaman. Saito did start working on the project, but at some point complications occurred and he decided to end development, which also led to the end of his relationship with Iwata.
While there has been confirmation of a 3DS sequel to Seaman, it is unknown whether a build of the game was established prior to cancellation. Nevertheless, Saito's statement proves work for the game does exist, although no footage, images or code for it has ever been publicly released.
- Game detailing Seaman's cult status. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- The Gaming Intelligence Agency discussing Seaman gameplay. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- IGN detailing Seaman's commercial success. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- CBR noting Seaman was one of the few games to use the Dreamcast microphone attachment. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- GameSpot reporting on the announcement of a PC port. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- IGN providing an in-depth report into the PC port. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Unseen 64 discussing the rumours of a cancelled PC port. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- The Verge where Saito discusses SeaMail. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Archived copy of SeaMail. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Eurogamer reporting on Nikkei's list of 3DS games in development, which included Seaman. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Digital Spy reporting on the 3DS game's announcement and noting Saito's work on Air Porter. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Destructoid reporting on Saito's confirmation of a 3DS version of Seaman and its cancellation. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Sega Nerds reporting on a 3DS sequel that was being made but was ultimately cancelled. Retrieved 19 Nov '21