Sex ‘n’ Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll was going to be an ambitious point and click adventure game that was in development by Sensible Software for the PC, from 1994 to 1998. The main character would have been Nigel Staniforth Smythe, a wannabe Rockstar that had to play gigs and deal drugs, to rise money to pay a debt with some thugs.
Initially the project was been signed by Warner International Entertainment and later by GT Software, but for various technical and controversial problems the game had to be cancelled in the end. In an interesting article on EuroGamer, Sensible Software co-founder Jon Hare talks about the game and why it was cancelled:
It was designed as a Leisure Suit Larry-style point-and-click adventure game about the singer Nigel Staniforth Smythe. Nigel had borrowed 2,000 pounds off of some Hell’s Angels to buy himself a beaten-up old van so that he could go touring with his trashy rock band. […]
Drugs were quite a problem for Nigel as he had seven separate drug habits – all of which needed to be supported simultaneously. These drugs were core to the gameplay as speed made the game speed up, heroin made the game slow down, acid made him see things that weren’t there and cocaine made him talk s***, etc. – all great gameplay mechanics. The other little problem for Nigel was that the Hell’s Angels were quite keen on getting their money back. In fact, Nigel only had two weeks left before they lost their patience and came round to his house to kick the s*** out of him – GAME OVER. […]
Various changes happened to the game plot in 1995. At Warner’s behest, we got rid of the pimping angle in the game and also his total reliance on his seven drug habits. His drug-taking had now become recreational rather than dependent. How trendy.
[…] the game was to include 150 characters – all of whom were earmarked for 3D modelling, and this would later become a serious reason for the problems that later ensued – not just for SDR, but for all of the games signed under the new Warner deal. […]
However, the programming side of the game was starting to reveal some serious problems. We had been careless in our selection of lead programmer and now his incompetence was starting to show.[…]
We decided to make some serious changes. Firstly, the game was reduced to a more realistic 24 locations and we slimmed it down to four discs rather than 16. Crucially, we also got rid of our lead programmer and replaced him with a new guy from the Bitmap Brothers. He was good, but we had already lost a year on the programming, and the game was still not at all playable.
The other major change to take place in 1997 was the publisher. Warner had decided to bow out of the games business and sold its publishing arm to GT Interactive. Unfortunately for us, GT Interactive was backed by the people behind Walmart, which is run by the strictest most down-the-line bible belt Americans that you could ever wish to meet. What happened next we should have seen coming from the moment the ink dried on the Warner/GT agreement. Let us just say that an 18+ game about snorting cocaine and shagging girls in cars was not GT’s idea of family value.
GT really started to turn the screw on us by refusing to pay us anything […]
But this was not an easy sell by any stretch of the imagination, even if people did like the little that we could show them. No one could see how this offensive game could find it’s way onto the shelves in the US – this was before GTA, remember.
So, despite the fact that 90 per cent of the script, 80 per cent of the sound and 75 per cent of the art was complete, the programming was still only 50 per cent complete. […]
Jon Hare has also released online the original SnDnRnR soundtrack and it can be downloaded from here. Huge props to Hare for sharing all these informations on his cancelled game!
Thanks a lot to Robert Seddon for the contribution!