Playstation

The Island of Dr. Moreau [Playstation, PC – Cancelled]

The Island of Dr. Moreau is a cancelled adventure game that was in development by Haiku Studios, to be published by Psygnosis for the original Playstation and PC in 1997. The game seems to have been based off an 1896 science fiction novel by H. G. Wells and maybe even related to the 1996 movie starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer.

“The text of the novel is the narration of Edward Prendick, a shipwrecked man rescued by a passing boat who is left on the island home of Doctor Moreau, who creates human-like hybrid beings from animals via vivisection. The novel deals with a number of philosophical themes, including pain and cruelty, moral responsibility, human identity, and human interference with nature.”

During their short existence Haiku Studios released only two games, The Koshan Conspiracy in 1994 and Down in the Dumps (probably their most popular title) in 1996. The Island of Dr. Moreau would have been their third project and by looking at the screenshots published in a few magazines at the time (such as Spanish Micromanía Issue 29) it looked like a promising game for fans of sci-fi adventures.

During those years Psygnosis was publishing many games for the original Playstation, as in 1993 they become part of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, but a few of them such as The Island of Dr. Moreau were planned for PC too. The game used real time 3D characters over pre-rendered backgrounds, similar to Resident Evil or Parasite Eve, also using Full Motion Videos and footage with real actors, filling up 3 CDs.

It seems the game would have been divided into three parts, probably one per CD-ROM: the whole Dr. Moreau’s mansion, exploration of the island (estimated area of 13 hectares) and finally an epilogue in an ancient Mayan temple. Gameplay would have been a mix between a classic point and click adventure (Myst) and a real time action game (Resident Evil, Tomb Raider). Haiku Studios were able to develop a complex timetable system to move 60 NPCs around the island, each one with their own activities following the game’s internal clock.

Unfortunately something went wrong near the end of development, Psygnosis abandoned the project and soon Haiku Studios closed down. The team was also working on two other cancelled games, Elric and Demon Driver.

Images:

Videos:

 

DR (989 Studios) [Playstation – Cancelled]

In the mid and late ‘90s 989 Studios / Sony Interactive Studios Los Angeles developed many popular games for the first Playstation, titles such as Bust A Groove, Cool Boarders 3, Jet Moto 3, Cardinal Syn, Twisted Metal 3 and Syphon Filter. Unfortunately they also worked on many other projects that never seen the light of day, such as Dark Guns, Sorcery, Warhawk 2 and The Diabolical Adventures of Tobu.

Another unseen game they were working on was labeled as “DR”, possibly the initials for something like “Death Race”, some kind of post-apocalyptic racing / combat game inspired by the Mad Max movies, featuring strange vehicles with guns and bio-mechanical designs. Unfortunately there’s not much more available from this lost game, but only a few concept arts were preserved, create by artist John Duggan at the time.

We can speculate DR was meant to be played somehow like Twisted Metal and that could be the reason of its demise: Sony gave 989 Studios the Twisted Metal IP to develop a full sequel to their car-combat game, a title that could have been more profitable than an original project with similar gameplay.

DR remains another interesting unseen game we’ll never play by one of our favorite studios from the original Playstation years. If you know someone who worked on this game and could remember more details, please let us know!

Images:

Disruptor [Playstation – Beta]

Disruptor is FPS developed by now popular Insomniac Games for the original PlayStation and published in 1996 by Universal Interactive Studios. Disruptor was initially planned for the 3DO game console back in 1994 but due to the bad reception of the 3DO development of Disruptor was quickly shifted over to the PlayStation 1.

As we can read on 1UP:

“I think we were very lucky to get out of the Disruptor development process alive,” says Price. “None of us had ever been in the game business before. We were just guessing that it might be fairly easy to do, and man, were we wrong.”

It was 1994. The 3DO, a platform created by EA founder Trip Hawkins, was the cutting edge of game-console technology, a CD-based system retailing for an insane $700. Insomniac took advantage of the CD format‘s low price and dove into Disruptor. Within a year, the rug was pulled out from under the team. “3DO tanked, big time,” says Price.

They shopped a demo around to publishers up and down the West Coast, looking to move Disruptor over to Sony’s newly released PlayStation. It wasn’t going well. “Everybody had turned us down,” says Price. “We were down to no money in the bank, and this was really our last shot.” Their final meeting was with Mark Cerny, a veteran game designer/producer whose work spans 1984’s Marble Madness to the recent Jak and Daxter series. At that point, Cerny was scouting developer talent for Universal Studios Interactive in Los Angeles. He found it in Insomniac.

“Mark saw the engine that Al [Hastings] had programmed on the 3DO and said, ‘Wow, these guys have potential.’ We signed a three-game deal with Universal based on that meeting,” says Price. “It saved our asses.” Ted Price was 24. Al Hastings was 21.

Some more details can be found on IGN:

“We began on 3DO because when I started Insomniac, 3DO was the first really viable CD-based system out on the market,” Price explained. “They had dev kits available for very low prices. And Sony, at the time, wasn’t making dev kits available to everybody. So I was able to purchase a dev kit for about $8,000. We kind of set our path.”

Hastings told me more. “We started on 3DO, because… I guess when we were starting, it was before anybody like us could get our hands on a Sony dev kit. I don’t even know if they were out or not. But the 3DO, they were pushing it to anyone who wanted it. At the time, I think a lot of people thought it might succeed. I don’t think we were alone in our naiveté. But pretty soon, maybe halfway through [development], it became clear that 3DO was just never going to be viable. It was about that same time that Sony and SEGA were putting out the alternatives,” in the form of PlayStation and Saturn, respectively.

The gallery below includes some early beta screenshots from the PS1 version of the game, with some small differences from the final game.

These beta screenshots was found on the official interplay website for the game. They are pretty similar to the final game with the exception of the HUD, where the health bar is moved to the bottom corner and features a different design than the final game, the Psionics icon seems to be a little bit different than in the final game and the Ammo count has been moved to the opposite corner of the screen.

These beta screenshots were found in a small article in the French PlayStation Magazine (issue 4). It’s much of the same from the other ones.  The last one is the most interesting one, as the enemies appear to be actual 3D models, however in the final game all the enemies are pre-rendered 3D-looking sprites in a 3D environment. The psionics icon had red eyes which is not present in the final game. And the weapon shown does not directly match any weapons from the final game.

Article by Hennamann 

Eternal Chain [Playstation – Cancelled]

Eternal Chain (エターナルチェイン) is a cancelled RPG that was in development in 1998 / 1999 by Victor Interactive Software, a gaming studio created in 1996 when its parent company Victor Entertainment wanted to focus on music publishing business and the remaining developers merged with Pack-In-Video. Victor Interactive is mostly known for the production of the Harvest Moon series, but in late ‘90 they developed and released a few other Playstation games, as “Boundary Gate: Daughter of Kingdom”, “The Airs” and “My Home Dream”: unfortunately Eternal Chain was never completed for unknown reasons.

Character design for the game was conceived by popular artist Range Murata (mostly known for his work on such anime as Last Exile and Blue Submarine No. 6.) and a few promotional phone cards were even released in Japan. Eternal Chain was shown (in playable form?) at Tokyo Game Show 1998 and 1999 so it’s possible that out there there could be some footage of the game to be found. The plot of Eternal Chain was summarized by RPG Gamer:

“16,000 years ago humans lived on Mars. After using up the resources of Mars, the humans started moving to Earth. At that time another lifeform, Gods, inhabited the Earth. After the humans settled on Earth, they eventually split into 2 groups, those who liked the Gods, and those who disliked Gods. It was only a matter of time before battles between Gods and the two groups of humans began.”

A few articles, screenshots and Murata’s comments about Eternal Chain were published in different japanese gaming magazines:

  • “Megami Magazine” (メガミマガジン, Animedia September issue separate volume special edition) Vol.1
  • “Game Walker” Vol.54
  • “HYPER PlayStation” 98 / December issue
  • Weekly “Famitsu” [ASCII Corporation] No.513.98.11 / 20 No. -99.1 / No. 22
  • “PlayStation magazine” 98 / No.21
  • “Famitsu PS” [ASCII Corporation] Nos. 98 / 10.23
  • Weekly “The PlayStation” [SOFT BANK] Vol.122.12

If you are able to find scans for these magazines, please let us know!

The theme song for Eternal Chain titled “Before the Celebration Festival” (祝祭の前) was composed by  Akino Arai and published in 2002 by Victor Entertainment in a CD titled “RGB”. As we can read on vgmdb:

  • 09 PlayStation canceled game Eternal Chain (エターナルチェイン) theme song
  • Composed by: Akino Arai
  • Arranged by: Akino Arai & Hisaaki Hogari
  • Vocal by: Akino Arai
  • Background Vocal: Akino Arai
  • Piano: Akino Arai
  • Strings: Hijiri Kuwano Strings
  • Synthesizer Manipulating: Shunsuke Sakamoto
  • Programming & Manipulating: Hisaaki Hogari
  • Lyrics by: Akino Arai

In 2003 Victor Interactive Software was acquired by Marvelous Entertainment and officially became Marvelous Interactive.

Thanks to Youlute for the contribution!

Images:

Videos (main theme):

 

P.I.G. (Team 17) [Playstation, PC – Cancelled]

P.I.G. (Team 17) [Playstation, PC – Cancelled]

P.I.G. is an interesting 3D platform adventure game that was in development by Team 17 for Playstation and PC, with a planned release in spring 1999. The project was started around 1996, following Mario 64 and the 3D platform craze of the late ‘90, but even with some great premises PIG was cancelled after more than 2 years of development. The only proof of existence of this game seems to be its announcement in an old Team 17 special in Total Control magazine issue 1 (November 1998), where the studio shown many of the projects they were working on, along with Phoenix, Stunt Gran Prix, Project WM and Worms Armageddon.

P.I.G.’s gameplay would have followed similar style of popular games in the same genre as Banjo Kazooie, with the main character being a pig named George, working as a private investigator (this explain the title’s acronym: Private Investigator George) hired to solve the mysterious disappearance of a bunch of piglets, kidnapped by the evil Dr. Gotem in the strange and puzzle filled Fun Dazzle Magic Land theme park.

8 main themed areas (as Mars, the Arctic, Fairy Tales, a Volcano, etc.) were planned and each theme was subdivided into 3 or 4 sub-levels, filled with areas to explore, traps and puzzles, giving a total of around 40 different environments to play in. Lots of different minigames were also available to players, as arcade machines featuring PIG-style versions of some classic games and surreal sections where George was swallowed by a giant pumpkin lantern or shrunk to minute size. George would have used different outfits for each area climate, for example by wearing a sweater and wool hat in the snow level, and more than 60 NPCs (between enemies to fight and friends to help) would have moved around the world.

While this kind of gameplay could not be the most interesting one by today’s standard, back in the day when 3D platform-adventures were some of the most loved games, PIG could really have been a hit. After its reveal in Total Control Magazine, the project seems to have been vanished forever and there are no more info available on its features or why it was cancelled. In an interview by MCV with Team 17 Co-Founder & CEO Debbie Bestwick, she remember how in late ‘90 the huge success of Worms made them to lose sight of how to develop other great games, and they lost a lot of money on a series of unreleased projects:

“For around ten of the past 25 years, all of them ironically post-Worms launching, we came so close to losing the business numerous times due to game slippage, less than smart business decisions and publisher traumas. Worms changed everything about the company in 1995. Prior to that we were doing some very cool stuff – similar to what we are doing right now actually – with amazing games talent from around the world and I often wonder what else we would have done had Worms not landed. We should have stayed true to what we had been doing, but overnight nothing mattered but Worms. We really thought we were superstars and everything we touched would turn to gold, but the reality was that a lot of money was wasted on games that were never released. These included Rollcage, Allegiance, Witchwood, P.I.G, and so many more I won’t mention. I’d say, looking back now, that the Worms IP was as much a Godsend as a poison chalice.”

Thanks to Ross Sillifant for the contribution! If you know someone that worked on this game and could help to preserve more screens or videos, please let us know!

Images:

Page 1 of 4912345...102030...Last »