Malice [PSX – Cancelled]

Malice [PSX – Cancelled]

Malice is a platform game developed by Argonaut Games, that was originally meant to be released for the Playstation 1, using their Croc 2 engine. For some technical issues and (mainly) for marketing decisions, Malice PSX was cancelled and Argonaut though to port the game for the “next generation” consoles. It was 1999 and the PS2 was almost out in the market, with the new Microsoft’s XBOX soon to arrive too.

Argonaut wanted to be one of first Xbox’s developers and to showcase their new 3D engine to attract publishers and funds, so they created a Malice Xbox tech demo that looked really good for its time. Microsoft was really impressed by their work and used the Malice tech demo to show the power of the Xbox.

Argonaut aimed to release the new Malice in late 2001 as an Xbox launch title, but because of many problems in porting their project from the PSX to the XBOX, Malice was postponed too many times, was almost cancelled again and changed publishers before being finally released in 2004, with mediocre reviews.

In March 2010, the Playstation Museum published a deep article on the original Playstation version of Malice, sharing lots of screens and videos. As we can read on their site:

The bottom line is Malice PS1 combines the action of Croc 2 with the exploration and depth of a Mario 64 and is presented with a sense of unique style and graphic beauty and detail that would have become the new technological standard for the PlayStation.

Although Malice was released for the PS2 in 2004, the PS1 version differs greatly in storyline, graphics, design, and gameplay. Any of the former Malice designers will tell you that Malice PS2 was only a shell of its original design. Unfortunately many of the designs that made this PS1 version so enjoyable were removed in the PS2 version.

It’s interesting to note that in the video from the Playstation 1 version and in the early Xbox trailers, it was shown that the player could control a cat, but this never happens in the final game. [Info from Wikipedia]

Check the Playstation Museum for more info and screens!

Images:

Videos:

The Malice Xbox Tech Demo:


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monokoma

monokoma

Editor in Chief, UX & SE Optimization at Unseen64
I'm an Italian gamer with not enough free time to play as much as i'd like to and sadly not enough time to write about cancelled and beta games. Founder of Unseen64 in 2001, i'd like to sleep more than 5 hours a day, but i have to pay the bills. I'm currently working for various italian & international websites for a better User Experience & Search Engine Optimization, you can add me on Google Plus,Twitter, Last FM or contact me by email.
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13 thoughts on “Malice [PSX – Cancelled]

  1. Celine

    “It was 1999 and the PS2 was already out in the market”
    Barf ?

    Great video.

    “Malice definitely contributed to bringing down the company. I can’t blame all our woes on one game (far from it), but it sure sucked a lot of cash out of the company (millions!) and that can’t have helped.” Jez San, former Argonaut Games CEO.

    :-\

  2. 4tharmordivision

    I read it as PS2 dev kits were out and most studios were switching to PS2 development. I’m almost positive PS2 development was also one of the reasons Jet Moto 2124 was cancelled (or am I imagining that?).

  3. Morphoid

    Good this game never saw the light of day. Just another one of those damn jump n runs that flooded the market back then, and even one with bullshit graphics. Whats the hype around such crap?! Be thankful it never was released.

  4. cam

    I really wish they would of released this. Perhaps if they released it for PS1 instead, Argonaut would not of closed. Shame.

  5. Ross Sillifant

    According to Edge’s big preview feature (issue 98) PSOne Malice was canned because:

    ‘The Sony-based Project was deemed financially unviable and moved to Xbox’

    Claim goes they had a 40 strong team working on the Xbox version and they hoped their gameplay would set it apart from other platformers’.

    I cannot believe Edge devoted 8-pages to this.

    Really have to wonder what on earth happened to Argonaut at times:Star Glider 1+2 on ST/Amiga were fantastic, Birds Of Prey was over-hyped, late and very dissapointing :-(

    Red Dog hyped, dissapointing, re-worked, re-reviewed, still dissapointing and then Malice….

  6. Ross Sillifant

    JS: Malice originally started over two years ago on an earlier–much less powerful–platform. So, luckily we had copious amounts of design work already done on the ideas, characters, storylines, novel gameplay concepts, and such. However, we were very constrained by what kinds of gameplay we could achieve on that original platform. So, when we heard about the Xbox specs, we decided it was worth the switch, and we started early in 2000 completely from scratch with a new engine. But we retained the creative concepts and gameplay ideas that we had invented so far, without being bogged down by what the previous hardware was able, and unable, to do. We did keep a small amount of legacy gameplay code that we had come up with. We’ve worked for many years on character-based game engines, starting with the Croc engine. So, with the Malice engine, we tried hard to retain the upward compatibility of the original gameplay………………

    http://www.gamespot.com/articles/gamespot-speaks-with-argonauts-jez-san/1100-268

  7. Maik

    Original description from xboc.com
    —–
    Malice is a dark and comic modern-day-myth of cataclysmic proportions. With a character driven, quest based plot, rich in detail, sumptuous in visual humour, it’s a unique, fast paced and challenging 3D action adventure game.

    Leaving a trail of warped and fragile reality in its wake, the new-born Demon-God threatens to destroy all of Malice’s surreal and magical worlds.

    Our young heroine must battle through 30 fiendish levels, defeating the Fire God’s nefarious cohorts and gathering the magic skills she’ll need to somehow shoehorn all the Evils back into their box…

    In a journey to defeat the ancient Fire God, the player gets to play multiple evolutions of their character & finally become a magical Cat-Goddess to defeat a fiery Dog-God gone mad. Environments are set on fire, flooded, torn apart & turned upside down as our character learns to manipulate Wood, Water, Metal, Earth & Fire, using bizarre & wondrous weapons like the Mace of Clubs, the Clockwork Hammer & the Quantum Tuning Fork through unique environments like the pyromaniacal Glowurm Kingdom, the world drowning Fountain of Tears, an over-clocked Clockwork Maze, & the Iron fortress-nests of the Crow Assassin Guild & their Fire God master, hell bent on mutating any and every creature into an evil counter-version of itself.

  8. Maik

    Descr from microsoft for the ces 2001
    —-

    Games announced at CES 2001

    01.08.01

    Malice
    In Argonaut’s Malice, you are Alice, a young heroine battling through 30 fiendish levels, defeating the Fire God’s nefarious cohorts and gathering the magic skills she’ll need to somehow shoehorn all the Evils back into their box. Environments are set on fire, flooded, torn apart and turned upside down as Alice learns to manipulate Wood, Water, Metal, Earth and Fire, using bizarre and wondrous weapons like the Mace of Clubs, the Clockwork Hammer and the Quantum Tuning Fork through unique environments like the pyromaniacal Glowurm Kingdom, the world drowning Fountain of Tears, an over-clocked Clockwork Maze, and the Iron fortress-nests of the Crow Assassin Guild and their Fire God master, hell bent on mutating any and every creature into an evil counter-version of itself.

  9. Maik

    Malice is perhaps best known for it’s long development cycle. It was shown by Microsoft prior to the launch of the first Xbox possibly in hopes of developing a Mario killer for the system. Around this time it was announced that Gwen Stefani would be voicing the titular character. Eventually Microsoft dropped the title and it was picked up by a third party now for both the PS2 and Xbox. Around this time Stefani also dropped out of the project. The game was finally reased in 2004 ,three years after being first shown, to generally negative reviews.

    STORY

    A goddess named Malice fights a powerful god named the dog god, malice ends up losing her head literally and the dog god destroys the planet they are on. Malice then meets death who tells her that goddesses aren’t allowed in the underworld so he brings her back to life. Malice then meets up with a friend named metal guardian who also happens to be a living clock that knows and sees all, malice asks him if he can find the dog god so she can defeat him. the only problem is that he can’t see where the dog god is unless he has 8 keys called logic keys. Malice goes on an adventure to find the 8 logic keys so she can defeat the dog god and stop him from destroying any other planets.
    —–
    Publisher: Mud Duck Productions

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