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Half Life 2 [Beta / Concept / Prototype]

The book Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar revealed many of the game’s original settings and action that were cut down or removed entirely from the final game. Half-Life 2 was originally intended to be a far darker game where the Combine were more obviously draining the oceans for minerals and replacing the atmosphere with noxious, murky gases. Promotional shots and gameplay videos released before the game became available showed parts of these scenes, and also showed enemies that do not appear anywhere in the final game, such as the “Hydra,” a massive, gelatinous, translucent, neon-blue creature that lived in the sewers. It was planned as a massive bulk far below the city with tentacles that would reach up and spear through enemies, including Combine soldiers. The Hydra was apparently cut because its AI proved troublesome: while impressive when attacking NPCs, it was less interesting, and more frustrating for players to fight, and was also difficult to code.


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Other enemies cut from the game included Combine assassins (their AI was salvaged to form the Fast Zombie; they were females, very similar in attitude to the Half-Life black ops; they are included in Half-Life 2: Survivor), a newly skinned bullsquid, houndeyes, various Synths and Combine soldiers. There was also a planned creature called the Cremator who would clean the streets of bodies after a skirmish with a massive acid gun called an Immolator, which would double as an offensive weapon when the Cremator would become an enemy. The Cremator’s head would eventually be featured in Eli’s lab in Black Mesa East, encased in a jar of formaldehyde, which Eli will make comments about when the player nears the jar and views it.

The game was originally intended to be much more diverse in settings (to the extent that the game felt almost overblown, and little time being spent on developing existing characters; one of the key reasons for it being cut). Parts of the book detail how Gordon would fight alongside characters such as Odessa Cubbage, albeit under a different name and in a different place, as well as fighting together with Colonel Vance – a character that was later merged with Eli to become Doctor Eli Vance – and Vance’s forces. Originally, Eli and Alyx Vance had no relation, and Eli’s lab was originally intended to resemble a form of scrapyard and town in a cave than a better equipped laboratory within a hydroelectric power station; the scrapyard area where the Gravity Gun tutorial takes place resembles the original concept; being an auxiliary area as opposed to the bulk of the lab. The Citadel also looked very different, it was more round than the bulky Citadel from the final version.

Other cuts from the game included a drivable jetski, which was eventually replaced by the airboat in the final game because it was too much like running around on foot. Another vehicle to be included was what looked like a large mining device, to be used in Ravenholm. Also, many weapons were cut.

The E3 video “Traptown” shows that at some point in the game’s development it was also possible to shoot any gun while using the HEV suit’s zoom function and that the player could discard weapons, indicating they could only carry a specified amount of firearms at a time. Traptown was to be a section of the Ravenholm chapter. It seems to share some similarities with a section from the Ravenholm chapter from the released version of Half-Life 2, mostly the setting of the section. The trailer also showed the ability of Combine enemies to try to break down doors, which did not make it in the final release.

This is thought to be a scripted sequence for the E³ video. At the end of the video, the player shoots an explosive barrel that was behind an old car, which made the car explode and jump into a nearby zombie. This wasn’t possible in the final version, although there is a roadblock in the Highway 17 chapter of the finished game where the player does something similar to a barrel-toting truck. Also, Ravenholm (or probably only the Traptown section) featured both Combine soldiers and zombies in its beta stage, as well as Father Grigori, which, according to Raising The Bar and the leaked sound files, was to be tougher and less humorous.

Initially a small mining town called Quarrytown, which was more of a puzzle solving section of Half-Life 2, with zombies added as the town’s pests, Valve liked the idea of having a town full of zombies, so Quarrytown eventually became a big town, which was full of traps, made by Father Grigori, the town’s priest and only remaining survivor. The E3 video, Traptown, featured both Combine Soldiers and zombies, the soldiers being added probably because Valve thought that the video wouldn’t have been as interesting only with the zombies, which are slow and easy to kill.

It remains unknown if most of the cut Half-Life 2 scenes will eventually be completed and released, or if they are lost forever. A removed section of the original Half-Life was eventually released as the Half-Life: Uplink demo; a similar situation was in place with the HDR technology demo, Lost Coast, which was based on a scene that was cut from the sequel. It is possible or even likely that more removed sections of HL2 will be seen in future expansion packs, as Half-Life 2: Episode One didn’t contain any of the aforementioned content. There’s a possibility that Kraken Base might be in the further episodes of Half-Life 2 because Doctor Judith Mossman is only seen in Episode One on a monitor in the Citadel reporting from an Arctic base. This might mean that Kraken Base (possibly under a different name) is being put back into the storyline.

Episode Two includes areas of gameplay based around the “Antlion hive” areas cut from Half-Life 2, and the presence of the cut “Antlion King”, now renamed to be an ‘Antlion guardian’. Episode Two also makes references to the Borealis icebreaker that was cut from Half Life 2, a research vessel revealed to have been created by Aperture Science for some unknown purpose. It is likely that players will explore the Borealis and related arctic base in Episode Three.

Info from wikipedia: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_cut_from_Half-Life_2

Two very similar prototypes were leaked months before the game came out. Obscene amounts of Half Life 2 development data have slipped out of Valve’s grasp and can easily be found on the internet. This includes concept art, sound files, models and countless maps. Thanks to this we can see just about every change ever made to Half Life 2. To read about its original story and see pictures not featured here check out Half Life Wikia.

A mod for HL2, know as “Missing Informations” add some of the beta / unused stuff back in the game. You can download it in here. Some videos with unused models and beta stuff can be found at HL202 Youtube Channel!

Chris put together a site where anyone can download the Leak, patches, WC Mappack and more: http://hl2betapage.webs.com/

Thanks to D-vide, Nastykill, Megalol and discworld for the contributions!


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Shadowrun [Prototype on Halo Engine]

ENG: This entry in the archive doesn’t have a description yet. If you want to add some info about the beta / cancelled stuff that you see in these images, just write a comment or send us an email! We’ll add your info in this page and your name in the contributors list. Thanks a lot for your help! :)

ITA: Questa pagina dell’archivio non ha ancora una descrizione. Se vuoi aggiungere delle informazioni riguardo le differenze della beta o la descrizione di un gioco cancellato, lasciaci un commento o mandaci una email! Inseriremo le tue informazioni nella pagina ed il tuo nome nella lista dei collaboratori. Grazie per il tuo aiuto! :)

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Source: http://blogs.ign.com/FASA_Studio/2007/05/02/53792/

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Prey [Beta – 1995 / 97 Version]

In 1995, the first incarnation of the game was announced. Prey was envisioned by 3D Realms as the first of a number of games to be running on unique, cutting edge game engine technology, developed in house. In this sense the project played the same role as Unreal did for Epic Games, and it would retain this role in the company’s strategy throughout its development time in the 3D Realms studios.

Prey as a game was to go through many different forms during this first development period. A rapid succession of different designs were outlined by Tom Hall (previously of id software and later of Ion Storm), who was at that time fresh off the Rise of the Triad team at Apogee Software. After about a year’s worth of work, however, Tom Hall abandoned the project and left the company to form Ion Storm with ex-Id compatriot John Romero. At this point 3D Realms brought on Paul Schuytema to begin the next phase in the game’s development.

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For more screens: www.apogeegames.com/prey/files/files.htm 

The new team would go on to create the most coherent design the game ever had. The alien abduction theme from Hall’s work was retained, but now the game was to be set on a massive, living alien space ship inhabited by a number of different alien races (three of them collectively known as the “Trocara” and a fourth called the “Keepers”), the player himself would take the role of a Native American hero, called Talon Brave.

The game was the first in the genre to make use of portal technology, a feature that allowed rips in space to be created, moved and reshaped in real time. This was to be a core feature of the gameplay, along with heavily destructible environments. It was also thought at the time this engine would be used for Duke Nukem 5 (the game after Duke Nukem Forever). Demonstrations of these features drew widespread acclaim at the 1997 and 1998 E³ exhibitions – the television program Infinite MHz was able to capture exclusive footage of the game’s private behind-closed-doors demo at the games both E³ showings.

However, despite the best of starts, Prey’s development was troubled. Seemingly insurmountable technical problems ground development to a near-halt, and this version of Prey too fell apart. Later, on an internet discussion board head engineer William Scarboro would comment that “In hindsight, portal tricks such as these should be used as tricks, not as an engine paradigm.”

Shortly after the Schuytema variant of Prey disbanded, 3D Realms attempted again to revive the project by bringing on tech programmer Corrinne Yu in November of 1998. Development of the game itself was not part of this effort, Yu was working by herself on the game engine exclusively. However, after a time, this iteration of Prey fell apart as well. 3D Realms and Corrinne Yu parted ways, and Prey began its long period of inactivity in 1999. The title was put on indefinite hold (although never formally cancelled, contrary to popular opinion).

On March 8, 2000, Prey.net (an early Prey site with a section about KMFDM) released a Real Audio file of a third KMFDM song: “Missing Time”, which was going to be part of the Prey soundtrack[10] but was featured in the movie Heavy Metal 2000 instead (under the name MDFMK which is a side project of KMFDM members during their temporary break-up).

In 2001, 3D Realms began development on a new version of the title. This time, with the advantage of the necessary portal technology already being a stable and functional component of all modern game engines, 3D Realms was able to license the necessary technology instead of having to develop it. 3D Realms chose the id Tech 4 game engine from id Software, and Rune developer Human Head Studios was commissioned to develop the game using the previous designs as a base.

Rumors of this new project leaked out to the public in 2002, through the website Evil Avatar, but were at that time neither confirmed nor denied. It wasn’t until 2005, when the cryptic clue “Keep your eyes open for the unveiling of our next game very soon. ;)” appeared on the 3D Realms website that the previous rumors were confirmed in any way. This was followed by a CNN article by Chris Morris, claiming that Prey was not only in development, but that it would be shown at E³.

Soon afterwards, the official Prey teaser site was launched, confirming the game’s existence, and hinting that more would be revealed in the June issue of PC Gamer, which indeed featured a seven page article on Prey. On April 26, 2005 Prey was officially announced in a press release by 2K Games. On June 28, 2006 it was announced that Prey had officially gone gold for PC and XBOX 360.

[Info from Wikipedia] 

Citizen Zero [Cancelled]

ENG: This entry in the archive doesn’t have a description yet. If you want to add some info about the beta / cancelled stuff that you see in these images, just write a comment or send us an email! We’ll add your info in this page and your name in the contributors list. Thanks a lot for your help! :)

ITA: Questa pagina dell’archivio non ha ancora una descrizione. Se vuoi aggiungere delle informazioni riguardo le differenze della beta o la descrizione di un gioco cancellato, lasciaci un commento o mandaci una email! Inseriremo le tue informazioni nella pagina ed il tuo nome nella lista dei collaboratori. Grazie per il tuo aiuto! :)

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BioShock [Beta / Concept]

Originally, BioShock had a storyline which was significantly different from that of the released version: the main character was a “cult deprogrammer”-a person charged with rescuing someone from a cult, and mentally and psychologically readjusting that person to a normal life. For example, Ken Levine cites an example of what a cult deprogrammer does: “[There are] people who hired people to [for example] deprogram their daughter who had been in a lesbian relationship. They kidnap her and reprogram her, and it was a really dark person, and that was the [kind of] character that you were.”

This story would have been more political in nature, with the character hired by a Senator. By the time development on BioShock was officially revealed in 2004, the story and setting had changed significantly. The game now took place in an abandoned World War II-era underground laboratory, which had recently been unearthed by 21st century scientists. The genetic experiments within the labs had gradually formed themselves into an ecosystem, centered around three “castes” of creatures, referred to as “drones,” “soldiers,” and “predators.” This “AI ecology” would eventually form the basis for the “Little Sister,” “Big Daddy,” and “Splicer” dynamic seen in the completed game. [Infos from Wikipedia]

In some early screenshots and concept arts, we can see different designs for “Big Daddy” and a removed “Garden Level” area.

In the beta videos there is a very early looking beta hud and a removed plasmid called Speed Boost that makes you move faster so you can avoid the turret. Also at one point near the end you see a little sister get killed by a splicer which can’t happen in the final game. At one point in development the developers wanted plasmids to have a more permanent effect and permanently alter your body much like the splicers. For whatever reason they decided to cut it out of the game, but you can still see it in the second beta video. You can see that after he uses that one gunk ball plasmid thing and switches back to his weapon his hands still stay altered from using the plasmid until he switches to a new one. Where in the final game if you use a plasmid that alters the way you look and switch back to a weapon your arms and hands instantly go back to normal.

At Irrational Games’ website they published even more info on the early / unused characters:

Frog with a Funnel in its Anus: Before BioShock’s “gatherers” became Little Sisters in an artistic process characterized by false starts and filled garbage bins, they were sea slugs. Nobody empathized with the creatures enough to care whether they lived or died. When the call went out to come up with a character that players would pity, Art Principal Scott Sinclair submitted this insipid image of a toad with a funnel and sun tea jug attached to its anus. Scott insists that fellow artist Shawn Robertson’s “dog in a wheelchair” is more embarrassing by far.

Stay Puft Bouncer: Initially reluctant to add a drill arm to the Bouncer Big Daddy variant at Creative Director Ken Levine’s insistence, artists Nate Wells and Robb Waters started exchanging a series of images in which they attached marshmallows, human butts, and other items to the character’s hand.

SloProFum: SloProFum, the studio’s internal name for this prototype Big Daddy variant that mauled players with an enormous hook and fired iron bearings from a barrel, stands for “slow projectile/fucked-up melee.”

Also, in another article they talks about an atmospheric pressure system and other things removed from Bioshock:

BioShock was slated to simulate deep-sea atmospheric pressure changes. In fact, the feature was functioning when the game shipped.

Technical Director Chris Kline explains: “Any area in BioShock could be associated with a ‘pressure region.’ Machines in each region allowed players to change the local pressure between low, normal, and high parameters. For each room in the game, there were entirely different light, fog, and HDR rendering setups, and when the pressure was changed, the whole atmosphere in the room would smoothly blend from the current setup to the new setup. In addition, every AI responded differently to pressure, meaning that, depending on the current pressure, the AI would have different animations, vocalizations, appearance, speeds, vulnerabilities to different damage types, and damage bonuses. […]

“In practice, the system was a disaster because it caused several gameplay and production issues. Most importantly — and this is the issue that put the nail in the system’s coffin — was that we never found a good way to clearly convey the effect of pressure through audiovisual changes.

Interestingly, some remnant of this system shipped with BioShock. “While we ‘cut’ pressure from the game,” Kline says, “the portion that controlled lighting and fog changes was left in the code. At one point, I discovered (to my horror, because the code hadn’t been tested in ages) that artists were hijacking the pressure system to script lighting and fog changes — most notably in the Arcadia level when the trees die and are brought back to life. So I suppose that the code was solid.”

“Early on during BioShock’s development, we went through a phase that placed much more emphasis on biotechnology,” says designer Alexx Kay. “Audio logs, instead of being tape recorders, would be squishy, organic things, with lips and ears. Machines that seemed mechanical on the surface would actually have mutated humans operating them behind the scenes — something that players would only come to realize partway through the game. There is a small remnant of this notion in the hacking mini-game; originally, the fiction behind it was that you were increasing the flow of Adam to this addicted, mutated slave, and he was giving you extra benefits in gratitude.

BioShock’s insect-based ecology: According to designer Alexx Kay, “One of the original inspirations for BioShock was Ken Levine’s belief that it was getting too hard to create meaningful human interactions in games. His first take on a solution: model meaningful insect interactions, like you would see on a nature show. BioShock would feature a complex ecology of creatures that interacted in simple, easy-to-get ways. Harvesters would gather resources and bring them back to Queens. Aggressors would attack the Harvesters, Protectors would guard them. (The Queens were large, immobile creatures, with lots of Adam, who could summon Protectors if attacked.) There would never be any speech, or any indication of higher intelligence.

BioShock’s navigation robot: During the middle stages of Bioshock’s development, the team realized that due to the complex connectivity of Rapture, players needed assistance in order to navigate the city and complete quests. Technical Director Chris Kline says, “We wanted a map, but were concerned that this would take too much programming and design/art time to implement. So I came up with the idea of Nav-Bot: You could press a controller button to summon your Nav-Bot, activate him with another controller button, and then select from a list of destinations in a 2D user interface. You could then follow him to the designated location.

Thanks to Earthwormjim and Robert Seddon for the contribution!

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