Unseen 64 staffer and occasional Nintendo Life contributor Liam Robertson has published an in-depth video which looks at the history of Factor 5's unreleased Kid Icarus pitch. The studio became involved with the project off the back of its work on the aforementioned Nintendo exclusive Rogue Squadron franchise, and early concept art reveals a much darker and more mature tone than previous titles in the series.
As if to reflect this new direction, the project was referred to internally as "Icarus", and one of the possible storylines involved Pit's banishment from Sky World for some unspecified crime. The resultant game would ultimately be a quest of redemption, with different concept drawings showing Pit with black wings, a sinister tattoo and a blackened, infected arm.
The prototype was pitched to NCL, which rejected it as too extreme a deviation from the core ideals of the franchise. Former Factor 5 staffer Joe Spataro feels that this could have been the straw that broke the camel's back:
"With Icarus, I feel like we were missing the point. Nintendo sent us the model of Kid Icarus, very much like the one that appears in Smash Bros., but we didn't use it. We made our own version. It was more mature, maybe even a little dark. It felt more like Devil May Cry. I knew Nintendo would never go for the adult version of Pit. In fact, I'd wager they took it as an insult that we didn't use their version."
I don't know how to feel about this. Some things sound very weird, but I would still have liked to see the final product! We still got Uprising so I can't say I'm sad or anything.
---Member of the official Squeezol Fanclub---