Playstation 3 (PS3)

Borderlands [Prototype – PC / Xbox 360 / PS3]

Borderlands is a science fiction FPS with RPG elements developed by Gearbox Software for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The game was originally revealed in the September 2007 issue of Game Informer magazine. [Info from Wikipedia] When the game was shown again in April 2009, Gearbox changed the graphic style of the game using a “cell shading” technic, that they like to call “Concept Art Style”, instead of the original “realistic” look. Some of the beta places and characters seen in the early screens are not be present in the final version or were heavily changed.

Beta Version:


Final version:


Also, in the final game’s code are still hidden lots and lots of beta unused elements, as we can read from Celice posts in the Cutting Room Floor Forum:

There’s also the old Doctor Zed along with his old textures, but for some reason the new textures are applied to the model :/ A bunch of male and female villagers from the early version can also be found here, along with some interesting bandits, like one that’s apparently a spawner? and a jetpack guy. The old Elite Bandits were reused as Krom’s design. Also, a bunch of the internal names are different, like Scooter’s original name is Brock, and Steele’s redesigned character is named Helga (the old Steele is still present with Steele as the filename).

I know a bunch of early audio footage was salvaged from this folder, but these filenames seem almost just as telling as the audio files themselves. One of the in-game signs mentions a mine, along with two other locations.

Also, Lilith is in a lot of files for some reason. And in the Salt Flats, that big saw-thing might have been a boss–at least, that’s included in some of the files. Could have just been a designation as the boss-piece–but the piece in question doesn’t resemble the actual saw you climb up and fight Flynt on at all (also Flynt’s name is Larry :p ). Some mobile treads are included in the files. There is also a shovel-apparatus instead of a saw in the files as well–quite interesting!

[beta map that can be seen in the gallery below] This shows the Salt Flats in the north-west, New Haven in the west, Old Haven in the east, the Scrap Yard is the yellow area, and I don’t recognize the other letters. Trash Coast/Pirate Bay (Treacher’s Landing) seem to be somewhere else. This is a whiteboard drawing, probably an early planning phase? Interesting layout at least!

In the e3 2008 video, we see a section of land, but I don’t remember what the guy called it (Randy Pitchford?). He did mention that the previous year, they had shown Salt Flats privately at another show. A big long-shot would be to compare the old e3 2008 video with this whiteboard map and see if any of the shapes seem to match. The map shown in the video seemed much more verdant than the final game, so it could have been anywhere really.

And for the audio files, after a little more rummaging, they don’t look to be that interesting :/ The Interludes are the area with Mad Maxx and Baron Flynt, and the other areas are similarly named differently. The editor’s area names match the audio file names.

And I forget what folder I found the texture, but there was an early load-screen mockup that showed four characters standing with their experience levels, and some flavor text at the bottom about how many kills a character god. I guess the loading screens were gonna be a bit more stat-centric. In the level editor the loading spawn maps have the four characters spawn in the same arrangement. In an early test map, there was also a wonky image of an early player inventory. Everything was distorted, and it looked pretty basic. The main weapon loadout was the same though as it is in the final game, though the arrangement was a bit different. Menu text was also present, but too hard to decipher.

In the test folder are more early materials. There are a few different skins for the original car, but most of the models are missing, and if they aren’t, their textures are. However, this hover car seems to have survived pretty well! A final hover car is in the game, but I haven’t found it myself just yet (other people have found it, along with a tramway shown on one of the bulletin boards).

Apparently at one point Pandora was to have its own asteroid belt orbiting it, visible during the day. Kinda like that ring-thing from the Halo games?

Speaking of the e3 2008 video, I found the character models for Roland, Modecai, and Lilith, all in their original designs. The interesting thing is that Roland has three different costumes. The original Siren, apart from the blonde hair, also wears an outfit striking similar to Tannis–personally, I think the original Siren’s design became Tannis. A later trailer for the game still shows the three characters, but Roland appears to have the darker skin, and Lilith now looks like the Steele character, who’s final file’s internal name is Helga. Did The Siren become two other characters before her final design was settled? Interesting stuff to consider.

Another interesting thing is the Character Salix, who is also included with some of the Siren assets. She’s in the final-game assets too, but retains her old design. That would’ve made four different Siren’s, at least, in the active development cycle, with Salix being the only NPC version. And she ultimately wasn’t used :p Maybe she’ll show up in the sequel? I found various assets for a dam in the game, and that showed up in the second one :p

There’s also a lot of temple-like pieces, like generic Aztec-temple stuff, called Worker’s Temple. Dunno if it was just a place-holder; a lot of remnant level pieces are very modular, kinda like TimeSplitter’s map maker–their more like cell pieces than actual models.

In the Temp\Cinematic folder, there are placeholder for quests. In the e3 2008 preview, Randy said each character would have their own private stories to explore, so maybe the characters were more story-centric earlier one? Modecai can be seen in one of the placeholders, along with Helena and Roland. The old Scooter name is also referenced (Brock), so he was evidentially around at this time too, at least in name. Speaking of Helena, in her old files, she’s internally referred to as deal_breaker, which is interesting. This head has a different hair style than the bun-look showed in the 2008 trailer and final deisgn (and in this preview shot). Her iconic scars are present in all three versions of the character though. Wonder if it was thematically tied to the deal_breaker name? Double-face? Huh.

Speaking of the dark-helmet, in the sound assets, there is a sound for night-vision helmet stuff. And there are also files for stamina and encumbrance; an old hud asset (older/different than the e3 2008 hud and the hud asset mentioned earlier) has places for stamina. There were also two types of grenages

A bunch of other food items are also in the game, including a bunch of fresh vegetables growing in the soil!

If you jump over to Rust Commons East from Rust Commons West, you can activate a quest marker for activating the radar dishes; a building also has a different layout, as well as a marker for a quest board and a WELCOME sign not present in the actual Rust Commons East. An indicator of an older development state of the area? A huge path is open as well, connecting the very north with the rest of the level, which is barred off with cliffsides in the final version. If you go to the radar dish closest, you can activate a computer which completes the northern-radar dish quest normally meant to be accessed in the actual Rust Commons East. Both radar dishes actually have their switches active, and in different places than their normal locations in the actual Rust Commons East.

Also of interest are a few oil pumps which buttons not usable, across both Rust Commons East and West. They are present, but not usable. Old assets of a defunct quest, maybe? Speaking of defunct, in New Haven, once you try to repair the claptrap, there is a dahl repair kit on a rooftop near a white chest. You can pick it up, but it doesn’t activate the quest marker for the repair kit; in the editor, this repair kit is activated with some scripting, but I don’t know what the stuff indicates or means.

Thanks to Iven Allen and Daniel Nicaise for the contribution!



Prototype Story Clips:

BETA/Prototype Enemies:


The King of Fighters XII [Unused Characters]

The King of Fighters XII (KOF XII) is the latest installment of the fighting games series developed by SNK Playmore. The game was released in Japan in April 2009 for arcades with an home versions for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3  in July 28 of the same year. Due to the time the developers took to make the sprites, there are only 20 playable characters (the lowest number of characters ever had in a game from the series) but many more unused ones were created in concepts during the development. [Info from Wikipedia] In the gallery below you can check some of these lost fighters!

Also, Mr. Lip Buster from the Ignition Entertainment Forum has found the names of more unused / removed characters in the game’s code: Vice, Hwa, Takuma, a boss, Dark/Orochi(?) Ash, Mai, King, Yuri, Classic Iori, and Billy were all planned and not included. There are 7 more empty spots with no character at all. That’s a total of 17 characters gone from the final version, 10 that had made it to planning and 7 that never even made it to the data. tKoF XII was originally planned to be the conclusion of the Ash saga.


Wanted 2 / The Cult (GRIN) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

Wanted 2 or “The Cult” is a cancelled third person shooter in development at GRIN Barcelona, possibly conceived as a sequel to Wanted: Weapons of Fate, planned to be released for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. It seems players would have been able to play in different time-lines, such as the “old west” and the modern times. Unfortunately the game was never officially announced and just a few 3D models were shared online by former GRIN artists. Some of these images are preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost game. The game was cancelled in 2009 when GRiN had to close as a result of financial troubles.


Batman: Arkham Asylum [X360/PS3/PC – Beta]

Batman: Arkham Asylum is an action-adventure stealth video game based on DC Comics’ Batman for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. It was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics and was released in 2009. [Info from Wikipedia]

Throughout Batman: Arkham Asylums development the developers were shooting for a hard T rating. Based on early screens it seems that they intended for the game to have blood, but it appears that they had to tone it down to get the rating that they wanted.

Also, as we can read at Game Informer, it seems that the combat system in the game was changed at least 3 times before chosing the final one:

Combat went through three distinct revisions – the first one being a full rhythm action game! The second one was prototyped in 2D, which popped up whenever you got into a fight, and involved colored circles bashing into each other. This actually formed the basis of the final system.

FMMC noticed that Batman’s gliding was impaired when his cape was torn in the beta.

Thanks to Robert Seddon for the contribution!


Final Fantasy Fortress [Cancelled – Xbox 360 / PS3]

Final Fantasy Fortress [Cancelled – Xbox 360 / PS3]

GRIN was a video game developer based in Stockholm, Sweden. Founded by Bo and Ulf Andersson in 1997, that developed many popular games, as Ballistics, Bionic Commando 2009 and a couple of Tom Clancy´s Ghost Recon titles. Sadly on the 12 August 2009 GRIN filed for bankruptcy and the studio had to close down. Before the closure of the company, the developer was working on a mysterious Final Fantasy spinoff title for Square-Enix, that was known with the code-name “Fortress.

As we can read in GRIN’s official website:

It is with a heavy heart we announce today that GRIN has been forced to close its doors. This as too many publishers have been delaying their payments, causing an unbearable cashflow situation. […] Looking back at twelve years of games, titles such as Ballistics, Bandits, GRAW 1 & 2, Bionic Commando Rearmed, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, Terminator: Salvation, Bionic Commando and our unreleased masterpiece that we weren’t allowed to finish; it has been a great ride.

The game was not originally going to be a Final Fantasy game at all, and was conceived as an original idea designed by Ulf Andersson, one of the founders of Grin. While the Grin team were developing Bionic Commando for Capcom, Yoichi Wada from Square Enix visited Grin and loved what he saw and proposed them to pitch a new game, using the Lord of Vermillion IP. Grin used their original idea to develop a full pitch, and Square Enix seems to have been so impressed that they decided to use the Final Fantasy IP for this new game.

The original version of Fortress was to have a very Nordic art style and many of the enemies were said to be based on Viking tales. After it was decided the game would become a Final Fantasy spin-off, Grin decided to tweak the art style but still keep with an overall Nordic theme in a Final Fantasy world. It was then decided that the game would be set in the world of Ivalice, the world from Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII, and Vagrant Story, after the events of XII.

Lead character artist Bjorn Albihn described Fortress as “a game with epic scale in both story and production values.” There have been many screenshots and even an early tech demo video released of the game, and there is no denying it looked beautiful, with a rich, yet incomplete open world to explore. There was also a character model created for an early boss which would be a giant Malboro, a popular Final Fantasy enemy. The player would have to scale the seaweed on the creature’s back to be able to drop bombs on its weak points. Some concept art can also be seen of this boss.

A programmer who worked for GRIN describes his contribution to Fortress as follows:

After Bionic Commando I got to work one month on this final project at Grin

The core game was about you and a small group of loyal soldiers defending the fortress against a army invading from the sea. They had ships and monsters in endless supply and you had to keep your troops morale high and move around the fortress and defend key areas of it as the enemy attacked. Between attacks you could travel inland and explore some form of ancient temples or something.

My task was to create a system that would support a huge amount of characters fighting in and around the fortress. Besides the need for the player to be able to jump in and affect all battles a system to script events in the combat was also needed. All without making them look like bad background actors in a movie. The goal for the game was to keep around 2200 characters in the combat, 2000 attackers and 200 defenders.

It was reported that there was a deal in place with Square for them to pay $16.5 million for the production of the game, to be paid with increments when the project would hit a set of milestones within its development. This is where the trouble started for Grin, though. In an interview on Swedish site Nojes Bladet, Bo and Ulf Andersson, the founders of Grin, said, “they starved us to death.” No money came in from Square for months. They kept up development on the game anyway, which cost the company a fortune and months later, still without any payment from Square, Grin were forced to close all other offices except the base office in Stockholm. What happened between Square and Grin?

In 2009 Grin released two games that they had been developing: Terminator Salvation and Bionic Commando. Both of these games came out to very negative reviews and low sales, a fact that made Square nervous about the upcoming Fortress game. Ulf Andersson even stated in the same interview that Square were then demanding constant updates and all of the games assets such as code, artwork and music files. These requests took away time and resources from development, making it very stressful for Grin to keep working. According to Square, though, Grin were not meeting any of the milestones that were promised and this is why they had made no payments. The Andersson brothers also stated that Square were now not happy with the Nordic art style of Fortress and wanted them to change it to make it more like a classic Final Fantasy game. Grin then tried to change the game but Square was reportedly still not happy with the way it looked. Ulf says that he wanted to test Square, and so he sent them an image from Final Fantasy XII, but they still said that even this image was not in the Final Fantasy style.

The relationship between the two companies was on the verge of breaking down. In late August 2009, Square officially announced to Grin that no payments would be made to the company. A few days later, Grin was forced to declare bankruptcy as Sweden has very strict laws on a company operating under a heavy debt load.

Some early assets, details and concept arts for this unreleased project were found thanks to Hey Hey, Kotaku, NeoGAF and Gamespot, so at least some documents of its existence can still be preserved. It’s currently unknown if Square-Enix could try to fund the project with a different developer, but as they have written on Destructoid, it seems that S-E still have few millions of debts with GRIN for their work.

Although the Andersson brothers’ first company Grin had to be shut down, this did not keep them from game development, and they went on to create a new development studio called Overkill Software. This studio has released the very popular Payday: The Heist and Payday 2 both of which have sold extremely well.

Thanks to Sam Batten, Dominarul Cel Elf, Brad and Robert Seddon for the contributions!