I previously wrote that Pilotwings deserves a sequel and how puzzling it was to see it launch on both the SNES and N64 (50% of the launch lineup alongside Mario 64), but miss out on the Wii and Wii U. Extra puzzling since the Wii’s motion controls and Wii U’s tablet screen would work fantastically with a flight-sim.
DidYouKnowGaming just published a video documenting the story of “Pilotwing’s Lost Open World Reboot (Nintendo Wii)”. Apparently Factor 5 (Rogue Squadron), had a chance to create a new P
Factor 5 was previously close to creating an alternative Pilotwings project for the gamecube, “…envisioning a Pilotwings set in the real world during the height of the Cold War. It was supposed to have the player train as a pilot in its initial stages before being recruited to carry out top secret missions for the military using various aircraft.” –DidYouKnowGaming. It would be quite different from the casual training feel of the franchise, instead being inspired by films like The Right Stuff.
Nintendo gave the greenlight for the sequel but LucasArts – pressuring Factor 5 to leave Nintendo exclusivity – kiboshed the deal. Rogue Squadron 3 had performed poorly and LucasArts wanted Factor 5 to port a Rogue Squadron collection to Microsoft’s Xbox.
Factor 5 came back to Nintendo for Wii development, working on a few properties, including another crack at Pilotwings, this time, much more colorful and in line with the franchise and Nintendo’s core audience.
“The game would have operated as one massive open-world based loosely around Planet Earth.”
The project was quite ambitious, as Factor 5 wanted to develop a pair of glasses that could control the perspective, similar to VR goggles.
Unfortunately, Nintendo would decline the Pilotwings idea, but Factor 5 wanted to continue the project under a different name. The internal name was ‘WiiFly’. The project was offered to 2K and Namco, but neither wanted to fund the full project. GreenScreen Interactive Software eventually bit on the project, wanting to publish it under their newly acquired ZOO game label.
Nintendo declined the use of the name WiiFly, prompting a change to WeFly. Nintendo was still supportive of the project however, allowing Mii implementation and agreeing to produce the special glasses.
Ambitious as heck, the open-world was the actual world of earth, streaming new locations without any load times. There was even Weather Channel integration, allowing the player to check the weather and even experience real-time accurate weather in the game.
Unfortunately, financial problems to Factor 5’s backers forced a closure of the ambitious developer, killing the project’s chance at seeing the light of day.
Thanks to Liam Robertson the Game History Guy for the illuminating report. Check out the video for gameplay footage and more details.