Tarantula is a cancelled action game that was in development by Scavenger (Team Mescal) in 1996 / 1997 for the Playstation, Saturn and PC. The concept of the game was somehow similar to the released Spider (PSX) and Deadly Creatures (Wii), in which the player would had take the role of a spider to explore natural areas and human houses, fighting against other insects and animals.
As noted at Sega Collection, Tarantula was shown at E3 1996, along with other Scavenger’s games that seem to have been vanished too: Angel, Aqua, Into The Shadow, Mudkicker and Spearhead. Sadly the studio was closed down in 1997 / 1998 for economic problems.
As we can read at MobyGames:
Scavenger, Inc., with offices in Boston, California, Denmark, England, Sweden, was a short-lived interactive entertainment company specializing in the development of video games […] The President of the company in 1996 was Daniel Small. In April of that year, Scavenger and GT Interactive Software Corp. entered into a publishing agreement for several titles.
Problems occurred between the two companies concerning GT Interactive’s failure to pay according to contract, and a lawsuit resulted. Debt forced Scavenger to close its doors in approximately 1997. Even though Scavenger was awarded $1.9 million in the Supreme Court settlement (Feb. 2000), it was not enough to resurrect the company.
Thanks to Celine and Rod_Wod for the contribution!
iirc, Into the Shadows was what, in time, became Enclave on Xbox and PC.
maybe true but that would still make it a different game really.
This looked very promising. The screenshots remind me of a spider version of Bad Mojo (PC) which was a pretty fun game imo. Too bad nothing was ever leaked to test out the actual gameplay.
There was supposed to be a playable demo running at E3 1996…you could pounce with the spider and explore the environment.. Not much i admit, but more on offer than the rolling demo of Terminus, shown at the same time.
I wish i hadn’t started looking into Scavenger lost games.
I think we need to be careful of reporting things from a single viewpoint. …
For neutrality we would need accounts from GT interactive and the various coding groups under the banner of Scavenger. ..
There’s been talk of deals going sour internally and a spat between Scavenger and Bullfrog, with Peter Molyneux using an Edge interview at the time to grind his personal axe…We need to be careful this site doesn’t host 1 version of events only…
None of us were there at the time and reporting claims as facts isn’t advisable..
There have been accounts of other games from the collective Group given by an anonymous poster and 2 other claims from someone reporting under the name Team Scavenger, well there were numerous teams and offices…
So in the interest of neutrality and balance i won’t name the source of the following claim, made at the time by another supposed ex Scavenger staffer…
They claim this was developed by the Danish studio which was made up of realitvely inexperienced games coders, they were more experienced in Demo Group work..
Thier manager had very limited Games Industry Experience shall we say?
Also the fact this game showed promise took people by surprise, they were supposed to be developing more lower end titles, but work was progressing well before the company went under.
This version of events relates allegedly to Aqua as well.
I cannot vouch for the credibility of these accounts..but they have been in the public domain for years.
Maybe it’s simply better these games are left buried?
All at the same time to PC Zone magazine, clipping forwarded to you.
Nice to see this archived. I was one of the two graphic artist/animators working on Tarantula. We had three programmers on the game: one for the PC engine, one for the Saturn version and one tools programmer. It was in the Danish studio that also worked on Aqua and Gemini.
The programmers were cutting edge and were using techniques yet to be established in the game industry, such as skinned figures (as opposed to segmented like Tomb Raider 1996) and various pre-rendered texture effects. True, the Danish studio didn’t have previous game dev experience, but by the time the company (US studio) ran into financial trouble in late 1996, Tarantula was starting to come along well also from a game design perspective. Far from finished though. At our office we also had a live Tarantula in a terrarium (and sometimes outside) to study its movements.
The core team members continued to Psygnosis and eventually Shiny Entertainment.
See this nice interview from 2021 with Scavenger-founder Christian Larsen:
(See from 1:49:30 for Tarantula).