Croc was born as a prototype for a new 3D Mario game with Yoshi as the protagonist

Croc was born as a prototype for a new 3D Mario game with Yoshi as the protagonist:

“The end came when we pitched to do a 3D platform game, the likes of which had never been done before. We mocked up a prototype using Yoshi. It was essentially the world’s first 3D platform game and was obviously a big risk – Nintendo had never let an outside company use their characters before, and weren’t about to, either. This is the moment the deal fell apart. We later made that game into Croc: Legend of the Gobbos for the PlayStation, Saturn and PC, which became our biggest ever game in terms of sales and also in royalties, since we owned the IP.”

Taken from Eurogamer’s article about Argonaut Software 

Croc: Legend of the gobbos (1997) [Beta / Prototype – PSX / Saturn / PC]

Croc Legend Of The Gobbos was a platformer game released in 1997 by Defunct game developer, Argonaut Games. Using the BRender engine, which was a state of the art engine capable of powering games released between generations (PS1 and PS2 gens), it took full advantage of the consoles it released on and pushed the game engine to its limits.

Recently, a beta and tech demo was uncovered by a few fans of the game on a now defunct forum, “Croc Fan Forums” , and released to a very few people. A newely formed YouTube channel called Video Game Beta Book, posted videos from both builds that leaked a few weeks ago.

These videos show many things that were changed or cut. In the tech demo, croc appears to be voiced by an entirely different voice actor opposed to His voice actor in Croc and Croc 2. Next, many level designs are different, and some levels are even entirely unseen in the final game. The main island also looks severely different.

The tech demo that leaked was dated November 1996, and appears to be a very early alpha of the game engine, that was likely released to internal testers to test physics.  In the Prototype dated March 1997, it features slightly different animations, has cut levels, and even has something not at all in the final game: Results Screen. The results screen is similar to the ending of levels on the Spyro The Dragon Trilogy games released by Insomniac Games from 1998-2000, where it shows your gems you picked up and score.

Additionally, in the tech demo Croc is more lighter than He appears in the March 1997 Proto and the final game.

Videos of the tech demo and prototype can be seen below: