989 Studios

Dark Guns [PSX – Cancelled]

Dark Guns is a cancelled shooter / action game that was in development from 1997 to 1999 by a SCEA team (989 Studios?) headed by David Jaffe, planned to be released for the Playstation. The original concept was for a run and gun 3rd person shooter, but it soon evolved into a flying-shooter, in which players would had took the role of a UFO, to destroy real-life cities and abduct humans to use them for alien esperiments. A playable beta was created (as we can see from the photo of the disc, revealed by Jaffe) before they decided to stop the works on the project, because of some development and managment issues.

David Jaffe talked about Dark Guns in various interviews, that we can read on Gamespot and Gamasutra:

“I had come off Twisted Metal 2,” Jaffe said. “They gave me a blank check and said, ‘Do whatever you want.’ Anybody who was looking at $2 million–at the time that was a lot of money–to do an overhead shooter…that should have been a red flag. To have a design document that was 300 pages for anything, let alone an overhead shooter, should have been a red flag. And then being told the producer and the designer was the same person and that person was someone who had never produced a game in his life… All three of these things came up during the pitch. A number of people, including myself, should have said, ‘Let’s rethink this.”

“Everything about that game came from negativity, and after four years they pulled the plug,” he continued. “And I’m glad they did. I remember when that game was cancelled I realized, that was a huge opportunity and I blew it. No one gets that opportunity, and I wasted it. So after I did another Twisted Metal game my boss came to me and asked again, ‘What do you want to make next?’ And it was really for me a chance to do it right.”

We can only hope that in the future some Dark Guns screens or videos could be preserved too.



Sorcery [PSX – Cancelled]

Sorcery is a cancelled fighting game that was in development for the original Playstation in 1997 / 1998 by Sony Interactive Studios America, later renamed to 989 Studios (Sony’s San Diego team). Players would have been able to choose between many fantasy characters that used fighting moves and spells to battle their opponents.

The first concept of Sorcery was much different from the playable prototype, as originally 989 Studios wanted to develop an ambitious multiplayer RPG, with a big overworld, quests and huge cast of characters. Because of the limitations of the PSX hardware and for economic reasons, Sony ordered the team to scale down the project to an arena fighting game (which was seen as more profitable / less risky).

As their own project was killed and because 989 Studios had no experience with fighting games, Sorcery went through various development issues that lead to its final cancellation after 2 years of work.

More info and screens can be found at The Playstation Museum!

The original concept would have worked great in today’s on-line environment. The scope, which started out as a split screen, was to run around a large world, setting magical traps, using magic to detect and find your opponent, then finally tracking him down and combating him, kept getting whittled down further and further until it devolved into a magical arena fighting game, where opponents would stand across from each other in very small (fits on a single screen) arenas and dispatch each other with spells and counter spells.

Thanks to Stone and baphomet for the contributions! Thanks to Jason for the english corrections!




Warhawk 2 [PSX – Cancelled]

Warhawk 2 is the cancelled sequel of the original Warhawk for the PSX. Warhawk 1 was a futuristic arcade-style flight-combat game for the PlayStation 1, developed by SingleTrac and released by Sony in 1995. This should not be confused with the multiplayer-only remake of the same name, developed by Incognito Entertainment and released on the PlayStation 3 in 2007. [Info from Wikipedia]

Warhawk 2 was probably in development in 1996 / 1997 by Sony Interactive Studios / 989 Studios, but the project was soon canned for unknown reasons. The SingleTrac studio was closed down in 2000. A group of SingleTrac employees broke off and formed the game studio Incognito Entertainment in 1999.

Thanks to Matthew for the contribution!



Twisted Metal 4 [PSX – Beta]

Twisted Metal 4 is a car combat game developed by 989 Studios which permits the usage of ballistic projectiles. Players choose a vehicle and an arena – or a series of arenas in the story mode – to engage in battle with opposing drivers. A variety of weapons are obtainable by pick-ups scattered throughout the stage. The objective of the game is to be the last one standing.

The Beta footage shared by Playstation Museum includes different controls (not seen in the video) and different camera angles in order to create algorithms so the player would have not be able to see behind their car into the empty world outside the walls. There are also some small differences in level layout and a WIP graphic engine.



Barnstormers [PSX – Cancelled]

Barnstormers is an arcade racing game in the vein of Mario Kart (but with flying aircraft), that was in development by 989 Studios in 1998, for the original Playstation. The project was later cancelled for unknown reasons, but you can still check some target renders in the gallery below.

Thanks to Hey Hey for the contribution! Some more concept art for racing tracks were archived from Concept Art Org



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