Dark Sector is a Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 game currently under production by Digital Extremes. Numerous tech demos featuring the game’s engine, the “Sector Engine”, have been released by Digital Extremes. An in-game cinematic has also been publicly released, giving viewers a brief look at potential storyline and environments, as well as the graphics of the game.
Dark Sector was originally intended to take place in a science-fiction environment, notably in outer space, with players taking the role of a player character with the ability to make and throw glaives, as well as inhabiting a sleek mechanical suit.
In 2006, major overhauls to the game were revealed, showing a completely different looking main character, and a noticeable less sci-fi setting. The developers (according to the November 2006 Game Informer issue) cited a shift in focus by other gaming companies as the reason for the change to a more modern setting and reducing its sci-fi elements. An interview with GameSpot has also revealed that the change in setting is intended to make the main character stand out more, as well as making the story more relatable. – [info from Wikipedia]
Originally planned as a free mod for Quake, development on Team Fortress 2 switched to the GoldSrc/Half-Life engine in 1998 after the development team Team Fortress Software – consisting of Robin Walker and John Cook – were first contracted and finally outright employed by Valve Corporation. At the point of Team Fortress Software’s acquisition production moved up a notch and the game was promoted to a standalone, retail product; to tide fans over – since, as well as time issues, much of the Team Fortress player base had purchased Half-Life solely in anticipation of the free release of Team Fortress 2 – work began on a simple port of the game which was released in 1999 as the free Team Fortress Classic (TFC).
Notably, TFC was built entirely within the publicly available Half-Life SDK as an example to the community and industry of its flexibility.
Preview article from Incite gaming magazine, January 2000.
Images [Final Version]:
Walker and Cook had been heavily influenced by their three-month contractual stint at Valve, and now they were working full-time on their design, which was undergoing rapid metamorphosis. Team Fortress 2 was to be a modern war game, with a command hierarchy including a commander with a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield, parachute drops over enemy territory, networked voice communication and numerous other innovations. This initial design for Team Fortress 2 is quite possibly the only game to have spawned a thriving sub-genre without ever being released itself.
The new design was revealed to the public at the 1999 E3, where it earned several awards including Best Online Game and Best Action Game. By this time Team Fortress 2 had gained a new subtitle, Brotherhood of Arms, and the results of Walker and Cook working at Valve were becoming clear. Several new and at the time unprecedented technologies on show: Parametric animation seamlessly blended animations for smoother, more life-like movement, and Intel’s Multi-resolution mesh technology dynamically reduced the detail of on-screen elements as they became more distant to improve performance (a technique made obsolete by decreasing memory costs; today games use a technique known as level of detail, which uses more memory but less processing power). No date was given at the exposition.
In mid-2000, Valve announced that development of Team Fortress 2 had been delayed for a second time. They put the news down to development switching to an in-house, proprietary engine that is today known as the Source engine. It was at around this time that all news ran dry and Team Fortress 2 entered its notorious six-year radio silence, which was to last until July 13, 2006. During that time, both Walker and Cook worked on various other Valve projects – Walker was project lead on Half-Life 2: Episode One and Cook became a Steam developer, among other tasks – raising doubts that Team Fortress 2 was really the active project that would be repeatedly described.
When the Half-Life 2 source tree was leaked in late 2003 three Team Fortress 2 models were included, along with direct references to the game in the stolen source code. They consisted of an alien, Combine-like grunt and a very cartoon-like and out-of-proportion soldier. The code was interpreted by fans as making references to the Seven Hour War, an integral part of the Half-Life story; however, the two leaked player models did not look combine or human.
The Source SDK was released with the Half-Life 2 source code, and also provided references to the game. Some code merely confirmed what was already believed, but other segments provided completely new information, such as the presence of NPCs in multiplayer matches, the possibility of the game taking place in the Half-Life 2 universe, fixed plasma gun and missile launcher emplacements, and more.
None of the leaked information appears to have any bearing on today’s version of the game. This iteration was mentioned in an August 2007 interview with Gabe Newell by GameTrailers, in which he mentions “Invasion” as being the second-phase of Team Fortress 2’s development under Valve Software.
The next significant public development occurred in the run up to Half-Life 2’s 2004 release: Valve’s Director of Marketing Doug Lombardi claimed both that Team Fortress 2 was still in development and that information concerning it would come after Half-Life 2’s release. This did not happen; nor was any news released after Lombardi’s similar claim during an early interview regarding Half-Life 2: Episode One. Near the time of Episode One’s release Gabe Newell again claimed that news on Team Fortress 2 would be forthcoming – and this time it was. Team Fortress 2 was re-unveiled a month later at the July 2006 EA Summer Showcase event.
Walker revealed in March 2007 that Valve had quietly built “probably three to four different games” before settling on their final design. Due to the game’s lengthy development cycle it is often mentioned alongside Duke Nukem Forever, another long-anticipated game that has seen many years of protracted development and engine changes.
The beta features three multiplayer maps which contain commentary on the game design, level design and character design, and provide more information on the history behind the development. The commentary suggests that part of the reason for the intentionally cartoonish style was the difficulty in explaining the maps and characters in realistic terms — questions like “Why would two teams put their bases so close to each other?” become more relevant when there is an emphasis on realism in a game.
The art style for the game was inspired by J. C. Leyendecker, as well as Dean Cornwell and Norman Rockwell. Their distinctive styles of strong silhouettes and shading to draw attention to specific details were adapted in order to make the models distinct, with a focus on making the characters’ team, class and current weapon distinct and easily identifiable.
The commentary also explains why the commander (a single player who sees a top-down map and is responsible for organizing the team) was not included in the final design: it was too hard to make the experience fun given a poor team and a good commander, or a good team and a poor commander.” [info from wikipedia]
The Scout was one of the first TF2 classes that was created when Valve decided to try out a more stylized approach to the game. Various character designs were drawn before find the final one.
Images Concept Arts:
Also, various weapons were removed from the final game and even the levels were a bit different in the beta (as you can see from the videos below) . In the beta version of Team Fortress 2, the Demoman had six grenades to spill out. However, they were removed for balance issues. Many more unused and beta models can still be found in the game’s code, as you can read from Uber Charged!
Images (unused models):
Thanks to FullMetalMC, Ace.Dark and NastyKill for the contributions!
Bionic Commando is an action game released by Capcom for Xbox 360 and Ps3 in 2009. In this page we can see some screenshots and videos from a 2007 HUD-less build. It’s likely that at this point of development Grin was still testing the gameplay, because the only trailers available were focused on the main abilities of the protagonist, such as the “chain reaction”, which was supposed to be a complex system to interact with the scenario using our bionic arm: it was possible,amongst other things, to create explosions dropping a wagon on a car. Morever, Spencer could fall down when swinging if the object to which he was attached wasn’t firm.
The layouts of the stages were still really early, with only few sections easily recognizable. Also, physics, lighting and animations seem to be a little different in this beta (for example, the city was immersed in light and the particle effects of the weapons were more emphasized). Radiations had yet to be added.
Interestingly, the only boss seen in the pics, Mohole, was originally located in the wilderness, not in the urban-like environment of the final version. The polygonal models of the enemy soldiers were remarkably different and they still didn’t realistically react to the player’s fire, while Spencer looked more or less the same, apart from some little changes to his arm.
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.
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.
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!
The City of Metronome is a cancelled adventure game that was in development for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 by Swedish developers Tarsier Studios. As we can read on Wikipedia, it was officially revealed during E3 2005 where it became an anticipated game for the seventh-generation of video game consoles. However, the status of this project is uncertain since Tarsier Studios was unable to find a publisher up to 2007.
On July 13, 2010, Tarsier Studios officially announced that the developer “has signed an exclusive first party deal with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe”, to work on Little Big Planet PS Vita. We still don’t know if The City of Metronome will ever be revived for the next generation of consoles or if it will be lost forever.
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