Treasure Hunt
Treasure Hunt was cancelled in 2003. (It’s sister game was released in 2005.)
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Developed by: Orbital Media (2000-2003)
Format: 8MB ROM + 256kb SRAM
Treasure Hunt was a prototype overhead adventure game for the Game Boy Advance. The concept itself was meant to be a blend of classical click-adventure mechanics with some new features and a Link’s Awakening style presentation. Suffice to say, we wanted the bar-none best looking game on the hardware, in a friendly, all-ages format.

Development

Treasure Hunt was a sister-project to the studio’s main focus, Racing Gears Advance. As such, it didn’t have much programming support, and ended up being more of an artist test bed. Outside of some E3 showings it has rarely ever been seen. The game was playable – you could walk across all of the game screens (similar to Legend of Zelda, we used edge-scrolling) but due to the use of full-screen backgrounds, the player’s ability to manipulate the environment was extremely limited. (The game went through multiple redesigns to try out different gameplay specs in addition to trying to reduce the amount of art assets.)

The core design of the game was adventure-puzzle. Controls were similar to Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, but the tools much wackier and non-lethal. Characters of various reliability would give the player quests (or conversely, try to take things from him) during his “treasure hunt” of sorts. (No surprise; the main item was a shovel.)

The Name

Treasure Hunt was never meant to be the actual name; it was just the one that happened to stick.  It was also trademarked, sparking an internal hunt to find a new name. The process was pretty drawn out – hundreds of names were considered and thrown out –  and basically in fatigue we settled on “Jukka’s Treasure”. Whether the game would have shipped with that name is unknown. The only press sheet I’ve ever seen mentioning the name was this one.

Aftermath

After almost 4 years without consistent programming support, and with a changing design and a changing budget, I moved on to start Pirate Battle. The art style was thrown out and the game design was redone from the ground up to become Juka and the Monophonic Menace. Very little of the game described above was used; apart from a few character similarities they are entirely different in visuals and gameplay.