To a man named Al Lowe, we owe the birth of such quest classics as Torin’s Passage, King’s Quest, Police Quest, and of course, the Leisure Suit Larry series. In 1995, while still working for the Sierra, he took on a project with the promising title of Capitol Punishment («Capital Punishment», meaning the death penalty). Outwardly, the game was made in the same style as Larry’s adventures, only this time Al swung at nothing less than American politics.
Bill and Hillary Clinton were the protagonists of the Capitol Punishment, and the well-known scandal was in the spotlight. Also, the objects of parody were the largest statesmen of the United States, the foreign policy of the White House and other slippery topics. A completely new, three-dimensional engine was created for the game. In addition to the quest itself, the Capitol Punishment was full of arcade mini-games – in the demo, for example, it was proposed to help the American president raft down the stormy river on a flimsy raft.
One can only guess what such a slippery theme with trademark humor in the style of Leisure Suit Larry would lead to. But Al’s comrades were let down by the vaunted engine, which did not stand up to field tests, and the Capitol Punishment was closed. Three years later, Lowe left the Sierra, and seven years later he founded his own studio, iBase Entertainment, and announced the creation of Sam Suede: Undercover Exposure, the first action-comedy game, which, unfortunately, also was cancelled.
What we can read from old interview:
V: A few years back, Sierra hyped a game by the name of Capitol Punishment that you were working on. Suddenly, it disappeared. What was the nature of its removal from the product schedule? How was along was it in production before being cancelled?
AL: It got far enough along for me to realize it was a better premise than game! There were some clever ideas in it, but at the time, it was a new game engine that ran beautiful with a test-size set of data. But when we actually loaded in enough characters, objects, graphics, sounds, etc to make a game…it bogged down terribly. Of course, with today’s Pentium-requirements it would run just fine. Hey! Maybe…just maybe….
Information is taken from «Игромания» magazine, 03 (114) 2007