Action Adventure

Dragonflight: Chronicles of Pern [PC PSX Dreamcast – Beta]

Dragonflight: Chronicles of Pern is an action adventure based on the Dragonriders of Pern book series by Anne McCaffrey, that was in development in 1998 / 1999 by Grolier Interactive for PC and Playstation. Initially the game was going to have a style similar to Diablo, but after a couple of years of development, Dragonflight became an action game with a 3rd person view camera. In june 2000, Grolier Interactive stopped releasing videogames when they were bought by Scholastic.

Grolier Interactive’s game could have been doomed, but it seems that Ubisoft bought their assets, cancelled the Playstation version and moved the Dragonflight to Dreamcast and PC.  In 2001, they finally released this project as Dragon Riders: Chronicles of Pern.

An old interview with Grolier Interactive can still be read at RPG Vault:

Can you provide some details on development progress that has been made over this time?

Oliver Sykes: What people may remember from the previous incarnation of the game is a very isometric viewpoint, a bit like Diablo. One of the major changes in the game is the camera system. We can now script the camera to act very cinematically. It can track with the player, spin round him, drop from above to below. Any number of camera shots can linked to describe a location and the characters in it as well as adding a great deal of fluidity.

Could you explain the level of depth and interaction we can expect from NPCs? What kind of a conversation system is there?

Oliver Sykes: The conversation system is fairly linear in most places. This choice was employed as we have such a vast number of characters to converse with, the conversation choices would have gave our scripters headaches. However, at key moments during the game you can make choices and these choices will effect the outcome of events. One choice could give you bonuses and unlock new locations and characters, whereas another may lead you down an entirely different path with different consequences.

Thanks to Celine for the scans!

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Steam [PC – Cancelled]

Developed by Reflection Interactive ( best known for its Driver series ), Steam is a cancelled 3D, third person adventure with a gothic flavour. Scheduled to appear in ’99 on PC the game never reached the stores shelves maybe because their parent company, GT Interactive, was acquired by Infogrames in that same year.

Scans from Next Generation issue 51.

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Popcorn (Short Fuses) [PSX – Cancelled]

Popcorn is a cancelled action adventure game that was in development by Eighth Wonder in 1997 / 1998 for the original Playstation. In the nineties Rare was one of the most prolific developer on Nintendo platforms. So it was quite a shock when in 1997 a small number of employees (game designer Oliver Davies; software engineers Oliver Norton, Steve Patrick, and Jeff Stafford; and two artists, Christopher Gage and Adrian Smith later replaced by Andrew Wood and Jemie Hemming) left the company to form a new studio called Eighth Wonder funded by no other than Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Nintendo main competitor at the time.

The deal had SCEE committed to publishing the new development house’s first three titles, with an option to pick up the next three. The first title in the work by this promising studio was an action/adventure game named Popcorn (also known as Short Fuses) that was similar to a 3D Bomberman clone but with puzzles and exploration elements.

Popcorn featured six world themes, each with three levels and after you beat the boss of each world you could progress to the next one and use the boss as a playable character (more than 10 playable characters including the hidden ones were planned such as a knight or a female ninja). The games was said to sport nice lighting effects, high resolution graphics (512×240) and a consistent framerate at 30 FPS.

At E3 1998 the game displayed under the Sunsoft booth so it is likely that Sunsoft would have been the american publisher. However as often happen with very publicized deals that involve many projects, Eighth Wonder are believed to have experienced a number of internal problems and, by 1999, the studio no longer existed relegating Popcorn into obscurity.

Thanks to Celine for the scan! (Console+ magazine issue 78 and Edge issue 60)

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Vanished Powers [PSX PC – Cancelled]

Vanished Powers is a cancelled action adventure / RPG that was in development in 1995 / 1996 by Neon Software (creators of Tunnel B1) and it would have been published by Ocean for the original Playstation and PC. It was going to use an isometric 2D graphic style, with prerendered backgrounds and lots of FMVs, along with more than 70 (weird) characters, modeled with Silicon Graphics. In the end the Vanished Powers was never released, but we dont know the reasons behind this decision.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution! Scans from Cd Consoles #15 and Player One #62

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Theseis (Thesis) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

Theseis (AKA Thesis) is an action adventure that was in development by greek team Track7 Games, to be published by Ubisoft (?) for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. The project was started in early 2005, but after a couple of years of active promotion, Theseis vanished without traces and we can assume that it will never be released. It’s possible that they did not find a publisher interested in their project.

In the original press release we can read more about the game’s unseen features:

-A gripping storyline that places you in a Greece full of marvel, danger and back-stage scheming, just beneath the surface of everyday life.

– Play with both Andronicos and Pheve as they race against men and monsters to uncover the secret of Theseis.

– Frantic action and intriguing puzzles. Challenge both speed and wit in every corner of this dark fantasy world.

– Colorful characters and localities, ranging from neo-classical buildings to the grim depths of Hades.

– Innovative customized new power graphic engine, built specially to portray the full glory of Theseis’ stunning environments.

– Dynamic original music score.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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