M2 / 3DO

IMSA Racing [M2 – Cancelled]

IMSA World Championship is a cancelled racing game that was in development by Studio 3DO for the unreleased 3DO / Panasonic / Matsushita M2 console. When 3DO sold their M2 hardware to Panasonic, IMSA was slowly postponed and then canned. The game had a great graphic engine for its time and it was one of the best “tech demos” to show the power of the M2. This project could have been lost forever, but on July 26th 2010 NikeX has released a playable beta version of IMSA Racing in the 3DO Zero Forums.

In the 3DOZ Forum we can also read more info about the game from one of its developers:

A while later, I started working on IMSA World Championship racing, which was 3DO’s main internally developed M2 game. The director of the game was Ed Rotberg, an industry veteran who was responsible for such classic arcade games as Battlezone and Star Wars Arcade. The lead programmer was Chuck Sommerville, who wrote the original Snakebyte (you know, that game where you drive a snake around and try not to crash into your own tail) as well as the cult favorite Chip’s Challenge. […]

The physics and driving engine for IMSA were licensed from the company that made the arcade game Hard Drivin’. The graphics engine was something called “Mercury” that an external developer had written and then sold back to 3DO, at which point it became our official graphics engine which we encouraged other developers to use. […]

Also, NikeX wrote a review of the IMSA beta, that you can read in here.

It’s 1996, IMSA game is shown to the people. No pixels, but texture correction. Something you don’t see on Playstation 1 or Sega Saturn. And, in this quality, not on N64. In fact, you’ve never seen so solid, vivid-plastic car models, when the camera comes close: The tires are round and they turn in the correct direction. Constant 30 frames per second, even with 10 cars on the track. My jaw tumbled when I saw the realtime presentation of the cars, tires, gears or rear spoilers. Great illuminating effects, readable words on car and parts. Even in the race itself. In 1996, 97 you would have thought: Am I watching a FMV?

Huge props to NikeX for sharing this lost game with the community! Thanks to Celine for the magazine scans!




Gex [3DO PSX SAT – Beta / Unused Stuff]

Gex is a 2D platformer game, developed and published by Crystal Dynamics in march 1995 for the Panasonic 3DO and later for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation. Thanks to Gexthegecko we found out that in the final game it’s possible to reach an unused shooting level: it involves taking a certain route in Planet X (check the videos below). There’s also a test levels that include unused sprites from the 3DO version.

Beyond this, there are loads of concept artworks to unlock in the special ending (after the credits roll). It seems that the original plot never involved television and in the early prototype Gex was set in our world instead of its very own fantasy oriented one. There’s also an article with one of the game’s developers, which exposes even more pre-production goodness:

The game was about Gecko X, a Hollywood stuntman (stunt Gecko). The studio he worked for was in financial trouble and helping it fail were the enemies Karl Chameleon and his henchmen like Guido Gila. Each level would be themed around a Hollywood action movie genre. For example the Western. The level intro would show stock footage of old Hollywood western movies (for some reason marketing thought this was the greatest idea ever) and then the level would have Gex going through it doing “stunts”. The better he did the more money the ‘Movie’ made and therefore the better the studio did. One level was designed using that theme and it was just awful. […]

They wanted a 32bit game that would be the next Sonic but they were not willing to put the resources into it that would be required to do it. They had come from a 16 bit world and still thought they only needed a 16bit size team. […]

By June we had decided to get rid of Mode 2 and make each world have only one art set so for example the Horror world dropped the Haunted House art set and became just the graveyard. Done by that time were the graveyard art set, cartoon and sci-fi and almost no enemies. It was around that time that Silicon Knights (creators of Legacy of Kain) were asked to do some enemies for Gex. They cranked out about 26 enemies in about 1 month. Also Steve Suhy was hired and was asked to do many of the enemies.[…]

Since it was now June and the project was not even 50% finished, the company decided to cut the sci-fi levels since none had been done and since they didn’t like the art. That brought the game down to five worlds and they hoped would get the game done by Sept in time for Christmas. […]

Evan had programmed a shooter for his Senior project at Stanford (he was finishing his degree at Stanford and working on this nightmare project and competing in National gymnastics) and we decided to stick that shooter in the game as a bonus. […]

Gex 4 was in early development for the PS2, but it was soon cancelled and only few artworks remain to preserve its existence.

Thanks to Gexthegecko for the contribution!



Allegiance (Team 17) [Cancelled – Playstation, Saturn, 3DO]

Allegiance is a cancelled FPS / action game that was in development by Team17 in 1995 / 1996, rumored to be planned for the Playstation, Saturn and 3DO.  According to Spong, it seems that the game was to feature a female lead character, Kay Brogan. Despite several level meshes being completed the game was canned due to the failure of the 3D engine to be developed in time.

In the aftermath of Tomb Raider some Team 17 staff tried to convert Allegiance into a Tomb Raider style game, but as the team had a reputation of original games, they decided not to follow this derivative route.

Thanks to Dream17 we can read a comment  about Allegiance that Martyn Brown (Team17 co-founder) posted on his blog on March 30th, 2007.

A spy thriller that got not much further than some crackers budget FMV when again the company was knee deep in Worms focus elsewhere. I shudder to think how it all happened, really. The idea was sound, it just suffered from a total disregard of planning, design and implementation.

Celine was able to find a screenshot of this game in Cd Consoles magazine issue #7, and another scan is from Play Magazine issue #2. Thanks to Unclejun for the help with the video! Thanks to Andrew for the other scans  Play Issue #1 (UK magazine)!




Darkside / Dark Ride [Saturn 3DO – Cancelled]

Darkside (sometimes written as Dark Ride or Darkride) was one of many titles being devloped by Rocket Science Games before being cancelled. It was to be a psychodellic tunnel-based game with bizarre graphics, and was briefly previewed in the December 1994 issue of Games World: The Magazine, which stated that ‘the team behind the game are perfecting the smooth scrolling of the ride… before the gameplay’.

Rocket Science Games themselves are probably more interesting than the games they made- funded by Sega Enterprises and promising more than they could deliver on, they mostly made Sega-CD and PC-based FMV based titles such as Cadillacs & Dinosaurs: The Second Cataclysm and Obsidian. However, their titles never sold well, and Sega themselves cancelled half of the company’s titles around 1994/95 to keep costs down- it seems Dark Side / Dark Ride was one of the victims of this. They eventually went out of business in 1997.

The preview in Games world: The Magazine states that the game was being developed for the 3DO, although almost all other RSG games were being developed for either the Sega CD or the PC- whether this is a mistake on the magazine’s part is unknown.

In a short article published in French magazine CD Consoles issue #4 we can read that “Darkside” was in development for the Saturn and the game would have took the player into an imaginary world, to explore it aboard a cart on rails (as in a rollercoaster). Could this have been an on-rails shooter? We are not sure.

As written in an article in Wired 2.11 (page 108), Rocket Science decided to cancel this project because it was too similar to other games of its time:

The trend toward more literate games means that some projects well along the Rocket Science pipeline have had to be scrapped. “We saw some things at the Consumer Electronics Show very similar to our Rocket Boy and DarkRide, so we’ve put those on hold,” says Caldwell. “But we still have Wing Nuts, a World War I dogfight game, in the works.”

If you have some more info on this game, please let us know!

Thanks to Celine for the scan! Thanks to Jason for the english corrections!


Dyno Blaze [G/MD/3DO – Cancelled]

Dyno Blaze is a cancelled beat ’em up that was in development by Bonsai Entertainment for the Genesis / Mega Drive, Mega CD and 3DO in 1994 and it would have been published by Virgin. A playable prototype of the game was somehow leaked online in 2008, in which you can try a series of (almost empty) levels where to move your rollerblade-dinosaur to fight enemies with an hockey stick. The levels are incomplete and bugged but it’s possible to go trought them waiting for a bit at the end of the area and pressing the jump button.

The original press release for the game:

Today, Virgin Interactive Entertainment and Bonsai Entertainment Corporation signed a multi-SKU development contract for DYNOBLAZE®, an original game for SEGA CD and SEGA GENESIS.

Bonsai Entertainment will develop the original game based upon designs previously developed. “It’s a game about ‘Teenage Mutant Ninga Dinosaurs’, that play street hockey on the streets of New York”, said Joseph Moses, President of Bonsai Entertainment. He added, “Teaming up with Virgin, already a key player in this industry, is a major step for Bonsai. We intend to make them very proud.”

“DynoBlaze” is scheduled for Christmas 1995 release across multiple platforms.

A weird Dyno Blaze proto was seen at the Video Game History 2008 expo in Monza (Italy), organized by our friends at Games Collection. In the VGH2K8 proto you can just see a rolling demo of the game’s menu (without any gameplay) and a strange graph for a medicine know as “Lotensin” by CibaGeneva pharmaceuticals. We dont have any clue about what this all means, so if you have a good explanation feel free to share it!

The 3DO version was in development by Alexandria Inc but sadly after some months of work the lead background artist died from an illness and the game was soon canceled not long after. The 3DO port had better graphic (as you can see from the scans below, found by Celine in Game Fan #95 and Cd Consoles magazines) and animations, almost like a cartoon.

Thanks to Jean-François Thébé and Scott Rogers for the contributions!