Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur (lost build of cancelled Famicom Disk System role-playing game; 1987)
Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur (聖剣伝説 THE EMERGENCE OF EXCALIBUR, meaning Holy Sword Legend: The Emergence of Excalibur) is a cancelled action role-playing game for the Famicom Disk System that was developed by Square, during a time when the company led a union known as the Disk Original Group (DOG).
Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur was planned to be a huge game that would have taken up to five Famicom Disk System floppy disks. Miki Hon was the game's illustrator during its development. Hironobu Sakaguchi (who would later create the original Final Fantasy for the Famicom/NES), Hiroki Tanaka, Kazuhiko Aoki and Koichi Ishii (the game's creator) were among some of the game's development staff.
Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur stars a young, unnamed hero who goes on a quest to find a sacred sword known as the Holy Sword Excalibur, needing it in order to go to Birdos Island to defeat the evil Virgas. According to some of the game's advertisements, the story of Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur was going to span over a certain number of generations, the exact number being unknown. This would have been one of the first RPGs of its time to introduce a generation system which would have not only affect the game's story but also its gameplay. One of the flyers for the game also introduced some of the main characters alongside the main protagonist. Each character that joined the main protagonist's party had different behaviors that were controlled by the game's AI.
When Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur was first advertised, it was originally planned for an April 1987 release with a price of 3,400 yen. However, the game kept getting delayed as Square was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time and the games that were being sold under the DOG brand were not selling well. This, along with the declining sales of the Famicom Disk System led Square to cancel Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur in October 1987 when Square mailed apology letters to the customers that pre-ordered the game confirming the cancellation of Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur. Along with the letter, customers were refunded and were given a chance to instead pre-order Final Fantasy for 5,900 yen. The "Seiken Densetsu" name would not be used again until 1991 when Square released Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden for the Nintendo Game Boy, also known as Final Fantasy Adventure in North America and Mystic Quest in Europe; this would later serve as the start of Square's (later Square Enix's) Mana series of role-playing games. Interestingly, the second game in the Mana series, Secret of Mana, also fell victim to conflicts between staff ambition and issues with Nintendo-- in this case the cancellation of a CD-ROM drive for the Super Famicom-- though that game did eventually see an official release, unlike The Emergence of Excalibur. Since there were screenshots of Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur in one of the advertisements for the game, there is a possibility that the game exists either in the form of a prototype or an unfinished build, but whether it will be dumped online has yet to be seen.
- An Unseen64 article talking about Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur.
- An article from the Final Fantasy Terminology Dictionary Wiki talking about the story of Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur (Japanese Only).
- An article from the Final Fantasy Terminology Dictionary Wiki talking about the story of Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur (English Translation).
- An archived page from LostLevels.org containing the letter that was sent to the people that ordered Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur talking about its cancellation.