Unseen 64 was given the great opportunity to talk to Nick Bruty President and Co-Founder of Planetmoon Studios. This article will be focusing on his time spent with Shiny Entertainment working on Earthworm Jim 1 and 2.
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[Interview by EWJ]
Unseen 64 was given the great opportunity to talk to Nick Bruty President and Co-Founder of Planetmoon Studios. This article will be focusing on his time spent with Shiny Entertainment working on Earthworm Jim 1 and 2. It’s important to note that the visual concepts he’s referring to in the first sentence are these two cut levels:
Nick Talks about the Earthwom Jim 1&2 Development:
In 2003 a new chapter of the Earthworm Jim series was in development at Interplay as a side-scrolling 3D platform that was probably meant to be released on the Playstation 2 and Xbox. Sadly the project was soon cancelled, just after the preproduction stage. The basic structure of the game would have been somewhat similar to Klonoa or Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, with 3D environment, but viewed along a track with a fixed camera.
Jim’s head would have been used to not only swing and attack, but also as a grappling appendage that could hoist heavy objects. Aside from a few tests and the concepts you can see in the gallery below, not much more work was done before this new Earthworm Jim was canned, probably because it was seen as a risky project.
Lots of crazy ideas got tossed around during the early stages of development, as a musical sequence in which Jim went to Heck (hell) and had to do a boatride through the river styx. Jim was all mopey because he was dead, and the Grim reaper turns to him (in the small boat) and says “Cheer up Jim… it’s not that bad.” [in a terribly over the top British accent] and whips off his robe to reveal the Zuit Suit (that you can see in the concept arts). At this point, it was going to be a whacky musical boatride into Heck, to the tune of something like the Squirrel Nut Zippers song Afterlife/Hell. There would have been dancing skeletons, and demons and stuff as they travel down the river.
The Cyclops monster that you can notice in another concept art was a boss for a level made entirely of cheese. Imagine Rome, constructed of cheese, with the citizens all being mice, wearing togas. He was the “Gorgan Zola”. Made of cheese, with a pimento olive for a head (the red pimento being his eye). There would have been a showdown / boss-battle within the Fondue Colliseum, with cheering / jeering mice in the crowd.
Thanks a lot to Michael and Earthwormjim for the contribution!
Although it seems to start out as something completely different, this is a promotional video for Earthworm Jim, mostly focusing on the Mega Drive version. As well as some insight into the design process of the game, it shows a lot of footage from an earlier version of the game. Unfortunately, the way the video has been edited together means that picking apart all the differences between the early version shown and the final game is very difficult, but some parts are clearer than others.
Some of the highlights include:
- 1:13 – Completely scrapped level, with a suitless Jim wandering around on spikey platforms.
- 3:40 – Concept art, including a scrapped Psycrow encounter
- 5:05 – 5:30 – Shows a slightly different HUD (different Atom icon), different opening segment from New Junk City, and different looking segment from What the Heck level
- 6:09 – 6:30 – Glitchy segment of Who Turned Out the Lights (you can see a giant 10 for some reason) and another completely scrapped level- first shown with Jim alone, then with him fighting Psycrow
From some beta screenshots that were published in Nintendo Power, we can notice various differences. On the new junk city images the background art design looks different and there’s also a moose head in everyone of them, but those are normally only used to swing from. The wheel monster has a completely different design in the final game. On the screenshots for What The Heck the design looks different and the backgrounds are different in at least one of the screenshots. On the screenshot of For Petes Sake everything about that level is different in the final game: the asteroids, the background, and the ground. Jim’s models also seems to be different maybe even better looking than in the final game. Also, in the last screenshot we can notice a weird looking enemy to the left of Jim which isn’t in the final game.
Also, thanks to Rocketworm.com we can see many concept arts from the development of the game, showing an early design for Intestinal Distress (the falling columns of fat aren’t in the final game, and the idea for the villi was later used in Earthworm Jim 2), early concept art for Buttville and New Junk City (with some gameplay ideas that would’ve probaly been impossible to pull of on a 16 bit console), a concept of a level based off of Bob the Goldfishes world which didn’t make it into the final game and various character designs.
Thanks to Earthwormjim, Lemm and retroguy205 for the contribution!
More beta Videos:
In the August issues of British publications Sega Power and Mean Machines Sega, three different prototype versions of Earthworm Jim 2 for the Mega Drive were previewed. Each of them have some minor yet interesting changes compared to the final product, including a lot of material cut from the game.