In 2007, AssemblerGames unearthed a video of a pre-release build of the game, which serves as evidence of numerous cuts and changes that took place during the course of development:
“It was a brawler game. Go to a bar, pick a fight, smash a bottle over someone’s head” – Former Heavy Iron Studios artist
Work began on the title in March 2010 at developer, Heavy Iron. In partnership with THQ, the company sought to create the first Saints Row game controlled entirely by motion; a ploy to capitalise on the rising industry trend at the time.
Two versions of the game were planned initially: an Xbox 360 game using Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral and a PS3 port with Playstation Move support. The Xbox 360 was the lead development platform for The Cooler, as the team’s creative focus was very much on Kinect.
A team of around 40 people were put on the project, while the rest of the studio was occupied with another Kinect-centric project for Disney called ‘E-Ticket’.
We were able to get in touch with several people, a mix of both former and current employees at the developer, who shared some details with us on the game’s lifecycle. According to these sources, the title was a brawler set in the Saint’s Row universe and was, in contrast with the rest of the series, not an open world game.
“It was a ton of fun to work on because we got to use the original Saint’s Row locales as concept art, basically, and give them a redesign and a highly upgraded art treatment (since Saint’s Row was open world and our game was not, we could afford to devote more time and engine resources to artwork)”
Kinect lap dancing
Despite it ditching the free roaming traditions of the previous games, The Cooler apparently offered a myriad of activities to experience. Its main premise was of motion-controlled fighting in various parts of the Saints Row universe, but players would have also been able to compete in poker tournaments and other miscellaneous mini-games.
The Scorpion King is a prototype for a fighting game / beat ’em up that was created by Osiris Studios, based on the 2002 film with the same name (featuring Dwayne Johnson). It seems that the studio tried to pitch this demo to publishers that had the Scorpion King license (probably VU Games in North American and Universal Interactive in Europe), to get to develope it into a full game, but without luck.
In the end the publishers chose Point of View to work on their Scorpion King videogame, released in 2002 as The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian for the Playstation 2 and GameCube.
The Scorpion King demo by Osiris remained just a prototype and the studio closed sometime later (or did they evolved into an audio restoration agency?).
Thanks to Tork for the contribution!
Iratan Supremacy is a cancelled 3D fighting game that was in development for the Atari Jaguar by Level 7. The project was meant to be a mix between Killer Instinct and Virtua Fighter, but soon it was canned because of the failure of the console. Celine was able to find a target render of one of the Iratan Supremacy’s characters in CD Consoles magazine #13, while some more artworks were found by the JagWare community.