Sony

K Project (REZ) [Dreamcast – Beta / Prototype / Unused]

K Project was a testbed for the game that would eventually become REZ. The developers United Game Artists came from the now defunct Team Andromeda, which produced the Panzer Dragoon games, and it was from this pedigree that K Project would draw its basic gameplay style of an on-rails shooter. Playing the game consists of guiding a cursor around the screen and locking on to enemies (up so several at once) by holding down a button and releasing it to deliver attacks. However whereas both the Panzer Dragoon series and K Project are both on-rails, K Project lacks certain abilities found in those games; namely being able to change your view at will and branching paths.

Heavily influenced by the works of surrealist painter Wassily Kadinsky, K Project’s unique visual style was an attempt by the developers to invoke synesthesia; or seeing sound. In order to achieve this the only soundtrack in the game consisted of a looping beat playing in the background, and the sounds made by the player as he shoots items and enemies. Nearly all of the music in each level is of the techno or trance variety. Indeed those two genres are so ingrained in the games design philosophy that the final title of the game was said to be inspired by an Underworld song of the same name.

Originally the team had concepts of the playable “character” being in a big chair with crazy woofer speakers and a much more hip hop soundtrack. Then REZ went through a very organic phase, undersea microscopic creatures and stuff, which kind of survived the transition into the current form (as in the final level).

The final version contains tracks that were not in the beta, all of them custom made for the game as opposed to original artist made tracks in the beta. Also visually the finished game has a greater emphasis on a wireframe aesthetic and several different avatars.

Thanks to Jake we found that there was a file in the beta, called 0GDTEX.PVR it had the K-Project CD cover design on it, it was purple and had some purple airplane thing with a human rider and said KPRJ, whereas the same file in the final was green and purple, had a butterfly on it and said Rez.

Also, Jake extracted every single texture from REZ and the beta, finding some more differences. It seems that at some point REZ was going to have a difficulty display on the area select menu. A list of the music artists that were originally meant to be used in the game was also found:

N—-World was Underworld, their music was implemented in the beta, but was never allowed into the final.

Richard.D.James (Aphex Twin)’s music could not be used, and was not implemented.

Ken Ishii’s music was not implemented yet.

The Chemical Brothers are the same as Aphex Twin.

Adam Freeland is the same in the final.

While there were some ideas to make the game a bit deeper, using 2 or 3 buttons, Mizuguchi insisted it stay very minimal so everyone could enjoy it. Thats also why they included the trance mode, where you basically cant die so even people who suck at games can enjoy the game.

From the REZ promo video it’s possible to notice various differences:

Beta target reticules. A square (seen in the work in progress video #3), and a circle.
Text is displayed at the bottom of the screen, and only for the Password protector and items.
Area2 uses the beta boss area.
Area4 doesn’t have the ‘dot’ texture implemented yet.
Beta area1 enemy.
Different coloured ‘fish’ enemies in the area3 boss.
The player seems to have different colours for different levels. I don’t ever remember a bright green version of the player in Area3, or a white one in Area4.

In the “test” files from the beta, Jake also found the original “bigger enemy” from stage 1, that it was later changed towards the end of the game because the art director decided he didnt like it, and made the final “bigger enemy” with the one big fin hanging down. The beta enemy had bright blue tentacles and waved all over the place. Some more old moldes from the early protos are hidden in the code too:  it took a while to nail down the aesthetic and how  to approach everything visually in REZ.  Those “squares enemies” all transformed into different shapes in time with the music, and the other two are prototypes of undersea microscopic life, that were almost decided on before the team found the tron-like aesthetic they ended up going with.

More interesting beta elements where noticed by Chris while trying debug menus the leaked Rez beta on his dreamcast.

I’m going to call the debug features “modes” for the moment because I dont know the proper terms. Setup: DC controller in port A, Keyboard (hello kitty jp board) in port B, DC mouse in port C Emulation has issues if you want to access Mode 2 debug. Keyboard has disabled keys if hooked up to a PC (see images).

Mode 1 debug
-Nothing overly noteworthy other than accessing the normal debug tools (on the final as well tcrf covered this well)
-Hitting the key circled in black brings up a nice quick select menu (this has been covered but the actual key is of note)
-Hitting the key circled in red toggles the Mode 1 debug console input

Mode 2 debug
-Accessed by hitting S2 on the keyboard (circled in blue)
-Allows a whole new set of tools I haven’t seen anywhere so far (See images and video if needed)
-F1-F6 all have a tool set with it
-Mouse is usable
-Right clicking allows the options of “debug menu” “user menu” “font size” (small medium large) and “exit” (boot to DC home menu and “main loop”)

-Stages
-Stage 06 – boss rush (bosses are different in how you attack them, as well as how you piece back the white character in the end – see video ive attached)
-Sound test binary missing (no surprise. SNDTEST.BIN)
-Stage 06 final segment (rebuilding the character) contains FMV copied directly from the Digital Film Library (cannot find the source itself)

The second video below was also recorded by Chris, it shows off Stage 06 and contains some removed models and mechanics.

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Armada 2 Online: Star Command [Cancelled]

Armada was a sci-fi shooter released for the Dreamcast, that allowed 1-4 players to fly about the universe, fighting the enemy, performing missions and improving their ship. The player would gather credits to buy power-ups for their ship, allowing them to voyage deeper into enemy territory, blow up ever more powerful Armada, and perform missions of increasing importance and danger.

A sequel, Armada 2: Exodus, was under development, originally for the Dreamcast, then for the Xbox, Gamecube and possibly the PS2. However, due to repeated delays and redesigns along with limited resources, the game was canceled after spending over 4 years in varying degrees of development. [Infos from Wikipedia]

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1/4 RPG [PS2 – Cancelled]

1/4 RPG (also know as One Fourth RPG) is a cancelled Action RPG that was in development by FromSoftware for the Playstation 2 (with a rumored Dreamcast version) in 2000. The game was shown at the Tokyo Game Show 2000, as you can see from the video below, but it soon vanished from their release list. As we can read on the (now dead) GIA Website:

The peculiar name is derived from the make-up of the party of heroes. Four different characters (selected from a pool of seven or eight) comprise the team at one time, but you actually play as a fairy guiding the four characters into battle. In a system akin to Valkyrie Profile, each “fourth” of the party (i.e., one character) can be selected via a different controller button, then moved into place with the d-pad. Attacks apparently are used automatically; your goal is just to keep the four heroes in the right place at the right time. Up to twelve enemies can appear on screen at once, so expect some large battles.

According to a report from IGN, 1/4 RPG was placed on “indefinite hold” in 2001 and From Software moved their resources to other projects. The game was never released.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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Galleon [Beta / Cancelled]

Galleon is a video game developed by Toby Gard and Confounding Factor. Famously announced in Edge magazine in 1997 for the original Playstation, as the original designer of Lara Croft, Toby Gard left Core design shortly after the first Tomb Raider game was released. Galleon was to be his first independent title following the original Tomb Raider. Unfortunately, Galleon was delayed and eventually ported from the original Sony Playstation to the Sega Dreamcast and later to GameCube, PS2 and XBOX. In the end only the XBOX version was released, while all the other versions were cancelled. While still innovative in both design and control, Galleon’s graphics appear fairly dated on the Xbox hardware. Toby has since returned to Eidos as a design consultant for the Tomb Raider franchise. [Info from Wikipedia]

italian_flag.jpg Italian Description

La storia di Galleon è una delle più assurde nel mondo dei videogiochi, per il suo sviluppo, per il concept originario e per la storia del team di produzione. Nel 1996 la Core Design pubblicò il primo mitico Tomb Raider; il successo fu mondiale. Poco dopo l’ uscita del gioco, uno dei suoi originali designers, Toby Gard, decise di lasciare la compagnia e fondare insieme ad altri ex-membri della Core Design la Confounding Factor. Il loro primo gioco fu annunciato nel 1997, dalla famosa rivista britannica Edge, si trattava appunto di Galleon!

Il titolo prometteva davvero bene, un action-adventure 3d in cui il giocatore avrebbe dovuto prendere il controllo del capitano Rhama. Il gioco, stando a quanto affermato dagli sviluppatori, doveva essere davvero interessante; il giocatore avrebbe trovato di fronte uno scenario enorme, completamente esplorabile senza alcun impedimento. Il sistema di controllo, sarebbe stato funzionale ed interessante da usare. Oltre alle fasi di esplorazione, Galleon avrebbe offerto scontri contro nemici e boss vari, sezioni platform, puzzle, zone subacquee e villaggi da analizzare.

L’ambientazione, come intuibile dal titolo stesso, riguardava l’ universo dei pirati, quindi galeoni, mari, isole e tesori da scoprire. Galleon avrebbe seguito una trama molto complessa; diverse scene di intermezzo molto curate e recitare, senza però rallentare il ritmo del gioco. In poche parole, Galleon = Tomb Raider + pirati.

Fu annunciato originariamente per l’indimenticato Dreamcast, ma cancellato in seguito per lo scarso successo della console. Lo sviluppo passò così su PC (fu la Interplay ad assicurarsi i diritti sulla pubblicazione) e in seguito sulle console dell’allora nuova generazione, cioè PS2, Xbox e GameCube.

In particolare per questa ultima, si parlò di un’uscita al lancio stesso della macchina. Gli anni però passarono e del gioco nessuna traccia. Cos’ era successo a Galleon? Il team di produzione, Confounding Factor, incontrò diversi problemi con lo sviluppo. Il sistema di controllo fu cambiato più volte, la grafica venne aggiornata e migliorata in più riprese, senza però riuscire a sfruttare al meglio le potenzialità della console.

Nel 2003, la Interplay cancellò Galleon a causa dei suoi problemi finanziari. Disperati, i ragazzi della Confounding Factor, riuscirono per loro fortuna a trovare un altro publisher in tempo, la SCi. Questa volle pubblicare soltanto la versione per console Microsoft, così Galleon divenne una esclusiva per Xbox.

Il gioco venne finalmente pubblicato a fine 2004, dimostrando che spesso, i lunghi tempi di sviluppo, non decretano il successo. Galleon si rivelò infatti un gioco d’azione privo di spina dorsale, senza un motivo per essere ricordato.

L’attesa e le premesse per un grande gioco, non furono assolutamente rispettate. La grafica, più volte aggiornata, si rivelò davvero datata, soprattutto su XBOX, la più potente console a 128-bit. A causa dello scarso successo, la Confounding Factor si sciolse e Galleon rimase l’unico loro gioco mai creato. Per quanto riguarda Toby Gard, è ritornato alla Core Design, per continuare a lavorare sulla serie Tomb Raider.

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Ghouls & Ghosts Online [Proto / Cancelled]

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Ghouls & Ghosts Online was planned to be a MMO of CAPCOM’s cult classic Ghouls ‘N Goblins with platforming challenges and hordes of monsters to battle as well as community features like guilds. This project was announced at GDC in 2003 but the ambitious multiplatform MMO never saw the light of day.

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