World Builders Inc. [3DO – Cancelled]

World Builders Inc. [3DO – Cancelled]

When 3DO was first revealed in mid 1993 among the games presented by Electronic Arts to support the system there was a nice sci-fi simulation called World Builders Inc. Not much is known about it however in September 1994 the game was already on hold for unknown reasons and in the end it was never released. If you know something else about World Builders Inc, please let us know!

Images from Edge issue 1, EGM issue 48, GameFan issue 1-9 and 1-11, Player One issue 33.


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5 thoughts on “World Builders Inc. [3DO – Cancelled]

  1. r-e-g

    The screens named “world-builders-3do-gamefan1-11-2”, “worldbuilders3”, “worldbuilders4” and “worldbuilders5” suspiciously look like it’s from the “Shock Wave”…

    Here’s a “Shock Wave” intro:

    “worldbuilders5” – one-in-one copy see it 1:43
    “worldbuilders4” – very look like on 2:46

    Maybe EA took they development from “World Builders Inc.” and put in into “Shock Wave”?

  2. Catherine Winters

    Actually, if you look at Gamefan Volume 1, Issue 09 ( and Issue 11, ( it looks to me like those weren’t intended to illustrate World Builders Inc., they were always part of Shock Wave.

    It’s just the placement of the World Builders art on the same page of Issue 11 that makes it look like they could be the same game.

  3. Ross Sillifant

    E.A claimed it was canned as the developers couldn’t meet deadlines..

    However others claim:

    (I won’t name source to protect their privacy)

    “Worldbuilders died in a flurry of project consolidation and related
    finger- pointing, acrimony, and resignations. The short version of events
    is that Worldbuilders and Universal Station were sacrificed to get Jurrasic Park and
    Twisted out the door (mainly JP). More detail than that wouldn’t be fair
    to the principals (I wasn’t on any of the title teams but had friends on
    all of them), but it should be noted that the boardgame mock-up of
    Worldbuilders (much derided internally at the time) represented a lot of
    work by the designers. At the time it was cancelled a lot of thought had
    gone into the gameplay for Worldbuilders and relatively little on getting
    elements up on the screen; vice versa for other titles. And it didn’t
    help that Worldbuilders was designed to deliver more think-think than
    bang-bang at a point when it was suddenly decided necessary to cram out
    anything that would stimulate gamers like wired-up lab rats frantically
    pressing the endorphin bar. And even that wasn’t the fault of the
    designers since Worldbuilders was originally chartered as an educational,
    or at least marginally cognitive, game (there was a related planetary
    science demo that was supposed to go with it). Hell, there was supposed
    to be a whole educational software group at 3DO…but all that is long
    gone (except for the keyboard driver).

    I worked the booth at SCES ’93 and I think the Worldbuilders demo was just
    screen shots of planets and theoretical game vehicles, but I could be
    wrong. “

  4. Ross Sillifant

    A second source backs up the claim Jurrasic Park had priority:

    WorldBuilders was a Studio 3DO effort. It was dropped when 3DO cut
    staff after early budget problems and some great people like Noah Falstein
    were let go. Many of the folks working on WorldBuilders were moved to
    Jurassic Park Interactive, which was viewed as a priority title.

  5. Ross Sillifant

    Mods please delete 2 above posts my supposedly smart phone struggling to cope with large bodies of text.

    Last thing I want to do is misquote any party.

    Here’s the full exchange between Bill and Stephen

    > Worldbuilders was Noah Falstein’s major titling project at 3DO. It was
    > an ambitious role playing game with a theme, broadly speaking, of
    > planetary colonization. He did a lot of design and play modeling
    > before the project finally died. I believe that my boss, Fightin’ Bob
    > Laws, played a few rounds of Noah’s boardgame model of the eventual
    > title, by way of alpha testing. However, Noah was never given the
    > resources to do the full title and I was never clear why. Not
    > obviously whiz-bang enough in part, I think.
    Because we were far too ambitious for first titles on a new
    platform. We needed to get titles out, not to spend tremendous time
    and resources on a title that was somewhat nichy and a serious
    gamble. We needed to license popular titles. We needed to admit to
    ourselves that we were selling a game machine, not the next new
    “mutli-media educational entertainment experience”.

    > Noah was one of the really early SMSG crew, hired away from LucasArts
    > by Trip to be one of the major content guys for his secret project that
    > eventually became 3DO. Noah had been a semi-famous game designer at
    > Lucas and I always had the impression that Trip had made him a lot of
    > promises that he never kept. Trip tends to do that. A lot.

    All entrepreneurs do that when starting on something as ambitious
    as we were setting out to do. Expecting otherwise is fooling
    yourself. The reality is that circumstances are always different
    than they appear, and you have to change plans. Hopefully, your
    ideas are not too far off, and you can get close to what you set
    out to do.

    Now on the other hand, I don’t think the promises Trip made were
    realistic to begin with, we had a basic problem in that we had a
    company that was making one product (a game machine), trying to sell
    it as another (the new standard in multi-media entertainment), and
    were partnered with one company that had no idea how to roll out the
    type of product we were making, and partnered with another that had
    an unfortunate amount of input in many of the early decisions, but
    also had an ongoing resentment with 3DO because Trip had started
    another company to do what they felt like they should have been
    controlling. Our marketing people were inept at best, we got taken
    in by our own hype, and most of the company lived in a fantasy world
    for a long time.

    > Worldbuilders was also supposed to have significant educational content

    Another mistake when we needed products that could be finished in
    months for the product rollout, not in years. Then we attempted to
    repeat exactly the same mistakes for initial M2 title development –
    Not in focusing on entertainment, but on trying to make titles that
    were so ambitious and broad in scope that ignoring the fact that we
    were also attempting to do it on a new architecture that we were
    still attempting to do products that needed schedules of years to
    complete when we needed to have a line of products ready for

    > and Noah was slated to staff up and head a semi-educational titling
    > group. It was an overlooked part of the early hype, but the business
    > model for developing and marketing the Opera contained a definite
    > commitment to promote educational uses for the system.

    And this would have been fine and good if the business plan had
    also provided a way to launch the platform first. We hyped so many
    silly ideas about what Opera could be that there was no way at all
    that we could pay more than lip service to most of it.

    > That was
    > supposed to include both producing educational titles in-house and
    > pushing for some hardware licensee to produce the peripherals necessary
    > for educational use, like a keyboard and hard drive.

    This is great for a successful company that wants to branch out.
    Educational products sound nice, but in reality aren’t where the
    main market is. Once a good income stream was achieved, putting a
    lot of effort into educational products would have been workable.
    Alternatively, if we had not been trying to make a universal machine
    that could do anything, then it would have made sense to pick a
    segment of the market, budget for it and focus on it, and we’d have
    had a chance of achieving something.

    > It’s a moot point now but many of us signed on with 3DO on the basis of
    > that commitment. We did *not* want to be flogging shoot-’em-ups to the
    > kiddies, at least not solely.

    And that was a serious mistake, because 3DO wanted to sell millions
    of the machines, and to do that it needed fighting games and
    shooting games to get the product launched. But that wouldn’t fit
    with the PR monster we’d created, so we ignored the fact that it was

    > All through that frenzied rollout year
    > there was a contingent within 3DO who were pushing for the company not
    > to lose focus on important peripheral committments, like educational
    > uses.

    The problem is that there were so many “focuses” that the company
    lost sight of the fact that it needed to launch a product. We had
    way too many “important” peripheral commitments. The mistake was
    in making the commitments to them in the first place, not in failing
    to meet those commitments.

    > It was enough of an issue internally that Trip had to address it
    > a couple of times at company meetings, I recall. He always pointed to
    > Worldbuilders and Noah as proof we were “doing the right thing” or
    > whatever. And then he let all that die out slowly.

    Which was probably appropriate, because there were so many
    distractions by that point, and we needed people to make a product
    that had a chance in the marketplace, not a dream product that
    would languish and die. Still, we managed to figure out how to make
    a product that would languish and die.

    > That’s Trip for you: hype the hell out of it and then zoom on to the
    > next thing before anyone holds you accountable.

    Trip’s problem here was attempting to do way too much. Once that’s
    been done, and it’s been realized, a lot of things have to be put
    on hold or stopped. The problem is that a lot of people get tied
    to some of those early ideas, and now it’s a political nightmare to
    get things back on track.

    3DO was an organizational mess from the beginning. Too many parts
    of the company were working for completely different goals, and
    there was too little of the company working together to be able to
    create something useful. A lot of the Dilbert strips hit way too
    close to home.

    > >If you look on the old SAMPLER CD discs, you’ll find ads for games like
    > >that. Including the Star Trek, Red Baron & other games that just didn’t
    > >make it to release.

    > Oh, who was it that was doing the Star Trek title? Their demo was one
    > of the best looking things on the Opera prior to rollout. I saw some
    > early code snippets of Red Baron at a licensee site when I was doing
    > field upgrades of development systems. They had a controllable model
    > of the Red Baron’s plane running. Probably never got beyond that
    > point.

    Who was going to pay them for it?

    Worldbuilders could have been great if 3DO didn’t have to be the
    company to develop it. It was a huge mistake for 3DO to be working
    on it at all.

    “Stephen H. Landrum

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