As we can read on Wikipedia, Freelancer is a space simulation that was developed by Digital Anvil and published by Microsoft Game Studios in 2003. The game was initially announced by Chris Roberts in 1999, but it was only released 4 years later, with many cuts and changes from the original concept. In 1997, Chris Roberts began work on a vision he had since he first conceived Wing Commander. He wanted to realize a virtual galaxy, whose systems execute their own programs regardless of the players’ presence; cities would be bustling with transports and each world’s weather changes on its own time.
Roberts promised features such as automated flight maneuvers, dynamic economies, and a multiplayer mode that could host thousands of players, but diminished versions of these features were implemented in the final release. The game’s initial technical demos impressed reviewers, but after the Microsoft buyout and Roberts’ departure from Digital Anvil, critics had doubts about the game. Microsoft instructed Digital Anvil to scale down the ambitions of the project and focus on finishing the game based on what was possible and the team’s strengths.
Freelancer 2 was in development by Digital Anvil in 2006 for XBOX 360, but the game was cancelled when Microsoft closed the studio.
Thanks to EmoLevelDesigner for the contribution!
Old beta videos show early versions of the game. There are many scenes that are not included in the final version:
The Planet Pygar Base was cut from the game. Below you can see an early intro which took place on that base. There’s a fan-mod which unlocks Planet Pygar Base.
The youtube channel sindred belongs to the person who was working on Freelancer cutscenes. There are two cutscenes that they made just for fun, in their spare time, “Freelancer Never Before-seen Cut-scene”:
and “Freelancer And Dragons” which is the most interesting, because it was made in the beta version of the game to test the cutscene creation tools. There you can see early versions of few Freelancer characters:
The intro movie that plays when you launch the game was cut. This is the full version of it:
This preview video shows build of Freelancer which was close to the final, but still looked different. Most noticeable difference is the HUD:
U64 is an archive with articles, screens and videos for cancelled, beta & unseen videogames. Every change & cut creates a different gaming experience: we would like to save some documents about this evolution for curiosity, historic and artistic preservation.