Bullfrog Productions. Just hearing the name and the sight of the logo is enough to bring me way back to the years I spent with my grey trusty old girlfriend the Commodore Amiga and the numerous disk swaps of one of their excellent games; Syndicate, which came out on a whopping 4 disks. Bullfrog Productions as a company was founded in 1987, merged with Electronic Arts UK in 1995 and ended its publishing existence in 2001 when their last game was released; Electronic Arts legally ended Bullfrog Productions in 2004. Besides the great game Syndicate Bullfrog Productions was responsible for well known and highly acclaimed games like Populous I and II, Powermonger, Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper; games which were produced for almost every format thinkable in the late nineties (Sega, Atari, Amiga, Windows, PSX etc.).
In it’s existence Bullfrog Productions cancelled quite some games like Theme Resort, Dungeon Keeper 3 and a very interesting 3D game called Creation in which you had to defend your underwater base in a submarine; not only took the game place in a vast underwater world but you would also be able to train, control and use underwater creatures to help you in your mission. A game which is said to be cancelled just as that with a simple “Sub Games don’t sell”.
The cancelled game in this article is a PC developed game called The Indestructibles, in short a 3D Superhero Combat game, but the intentions of Bullfrog was to make it much larger and bigger than just that. The game had quite a longer working title “M.I.S.T. – My Incredible Superheroes Team”. Development within Bullfrog started in 1995.
The game was, certainly for those days, a very ambitious project and would simulate realistic superhero battles, in real-time, over realistic looking cities. The game promised patrolling and flying through and over a fully open-world 3D city with lots of player freedom, the throwing of cars, knocking over buildings, watching destruction fighting crime and events would randomly be chosen by the game. Missions would be set by a virtual games master and the characters in the game would appear as real 3D characters with the use of motion capture technology. Players of the game would be able to create their own superhero including their outfit or costume of choice, earned points during the game would enable them to modify or level up their character on eight different attributes and would be fighting their opponents based on physics rather than on a rules-based system. The player could even make the choice to be a super villain in the story if they wanted.
As noted by Ross Sillifant:
From RetroGamer interview with Glenn Corpes issue #160
Glenn: The Indestructibles would of been cool. It was like multiplayer Quake in that you’d get to know the level well. It didn’t happen because Marvel said here’s a list of several 100 superheroes, if any of yours are like ours…we’ll be talking to you..
Game is said to be cancelled within Bullfrog by Electronic Arts in 1996 and it is actually hard to say how far the development of The Indestructibles really got. Character designs were there, game design was there, the Youtube videos below even show a promotional video in which the game among some other upcoming games is mentioned and somewhat of a 3D city engine but there are no traceable signs that there are any playable demos of the game to be found or even exist.
The game was even mentioned in an article in an issue of Computer Gaming World at the end of 1995. The game never came together; the not so fruitful marriage between Electronic Arts and Bullfrog being one of the reasons; personnel changes inside Bullfrog itself led to a significant loss of quality and even co-founder Peter Molyneux, the man with the original idea behind the whole game, even left the company; but most of all it looks like Bullfrog’s technical ambitions were exceeding the technical possibilities in the late nineties by far. An attempt in reviving the abandoned game plans by Electronic Arts in a later stage with a more linear game direction also failed. As far as the information goes on such an old game: out of Bullfrog’s hands in 1996 and a definitive cancellation of the whole idea by Electronic Arts in 1999.
Article by Lesur
Thanks to Ross Sillifant, RetroGamer magazine and Kim Justice!