Irrational Games

Deep Cover [PC – Cancelled]

Deep Cover was a first-person shooter being developed by Looking Glass Technologies and Irrational Games in the 1999 to 2000 period. During the development of System Shock 2, the Looking Glass team began work on a new game which would take the concepts of Thief: The Dark Project into a modern setting. Using the Dark Engine originally developed for Thief, the spy-espionage game took on the title of Deep Cover.

“Deep Cover was slated to be one of the coolest games to leave the studio. It was a gritty 1960’s cold war spy action-adventure that had the elegance of thief and the depth of system shock 2.”

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The game was set to incorporate more interactive elements into the Thief and System Shock pallet with a faction system which would react based on how the player decided to complete a mission, though the missions themselves had a set order of progression.

  • Extraction: Berlin, East Germany Sector, 1958. A top German scientist has developed a deadly biological weapon that could threaten the Soviet-American nuclear détente. Jon must find out who this scientist is, and extract the scientist out of Eastern-block Germany (willing or not).
  • Infiltration: Alabama, 1961. Word has it that a Soviet mole has worked his way into a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Infiltrate the Klan enclave, find out who the mole is and get out alive.
  • Surveillance: Cuba, October 1962. Jon infiltrates an installation near Havana to photograph alleged Soviet nuclear SS-4 missiles.
  • Interdiction: Dallas, 1963. Your information is vague but you must act fast. A group of Cuban nationalists are going to try to kill President Kennedy. Find your way into the book repository and stop them.
  • Assassination: Bulgaria, 1964. The Turkish Undersecretary of Defense has been selling documents to Moscow. He must be eliminated before he can make a critical drop. An elite squad of Turkish terror troops heavily guards him.

Irrational and Looking Glass shared equal parts of this project, with the former hiring on staff and the latter seeking investment for the project. Ken Levine put together a story and a design doc for the project to follow, reviving the Cold War theme seen in one of his pre-Thief concepts and inspired by John Le Carre’s storyThe Spy Who Came From the Cold”.

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Among the level designers were Nate Blaisdell, Edward J. Moore III, Michael Swiderek, Steve Kimura (all of whom had no prior design experience) as well as Paul Hellquist, Rick Ernst, Nathan Wells, and Michael Ryan who posted screenshots of the unannounced game online in 2002 as well as implemented a search-light system into the Dark Engine. Other developers connected to the project included Ian Vogel and Alexx Kay. The lead programmer on the project had worked at Looking Glass previously and was called back by Ken Levine to work on Deep Cover.

“When I was at Irrational, I worked on Deep Cover, which was System Shock meets JFK. Hacking closets, feeding attack dogs sleep drugged meat.”

Concurrently with this development though, both companies were attempting to manage their own affairs separately. Looking Glass was having trouble paying Irrational due to the former’s financial difficulties, causing the latter to seek out contract work in November of 1999, beginning work on a project which would eventually become the Playstation 2 game The Lost. Looking Glass were also working on Thief 2, which ended up featuring some of the code originally intended for Deep Cover.

There were going to be multiple factions… depending on how you played each mission, you could make different groups pleased or disappointed. Later missions would be affected by this.   while there wasn’t going to be an overall branching mission structure, each mission in the game could be changed in minor ways that would affect the flow and difficulty. – Michael ‘solus’ Ryan

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After 9 months of work on Deep Cover, Looking Glass managed to procure a major publisher: Microsoft, who expected the studio to collaborate with Irrational Games on the title. However, Irrational were moving out of the Looking Glass offices and devoting their time to The Lost, leaving Looking Glass to work on the contract alone. Disappointed, their publisher pulled out of the one million dollar deal in February of 2000, leaving the project on the verge of cancellation.

“When Irrational Games pulled out of the Deep Cover project, the publisher pulled out as well, together with a lot of calculated advances. This put Looking Glass into a very bad position concerning liquidity.” – Tim Stellmach

Work did continue on Deep Cover after Irrational’s departure. The studio attempted to negotiate a deal with Sony to keep the studio and the project afloat, but a restructuring within Sony caused their executive contact to be fired. The lead programmer described at least one level in a playable prototype state prior to a switch from the Dark Engine to a successor technology called the “Siege Engine”, which none of the available screenshots showcase. After his departure, the former lead programmer of British Open Championship Golf was brought on, who also was an expert on the JFK Assassination.

The closing of Looking Glass Technologies in May of 2000 put an end to Deep Cover, and subsequently migrated much of the talent over the industry. In a basic thematic sense, the spy theme with the Looking Glass style of freedom would re-emerge in Deus Ex which was released shortly before the studio dissolved.

The following screenshots were taken from very early versions of the levels… before any gameplay was implemented, and well before Looking Glass decided to switch from the Dark Engine to the Siege Engine. – Michael ‘solus’ Ryan

Article by AguyinaRPG

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Bioshock Infinite [Beta – Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC]

BioShock Infinite is a first person adventure game and the third entry in the BioShock series. Previously known as “Project Icarus”, it is being developed by Irrational Games for a February 2013 worldwide release on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In August of 2012, several high-level developers from Irrational that had been working on Infinite announced their departure from the company; these included art director Nate Wells, who began working with Naughty Dog, and director of product development Tim Gerritsen. At the same time, Irrational announced the addition of Rod Fergusson from Epic Games as their product director while Scott Sinclair, art director from the original Bioshock, replaced Wells.

There are some features that were removed or not implemented from BioShock Infinite beta version. For example Ken Levine revealed in an interview with Gamasutra that the plot’s conflict would have been originally about tech geeks against luddites, those who resist the proliferation of technology. Some more rumors about the problems with the development of the game tell that various multiplayer modes were tested in a prototype form, but later removed. Even if Levine told Kotaku that multiplayer wasn’t guaranteed to be in the game, but in May of 2012, job listings at Irrational hinted that the studio was in fact working on a multiplayer component. Also, the 2011 E3 demo, seems to have been much different from what we’ll be able to play in the final game. For more beta differences and unused characters / items / models from BioShock Infinite will have to wait for when the game will be finally published.. in the meantime, here are some early screens and videos!

Chris Henzler noticed some more beta differences:

  • HUD is different from final game
  • various voice actors changed from final version of booker and Elizabeth
  • story has changed alot
  • atmosphere of the game has changed
  • some of the vigors seem different in the final game
  • the twins seem absent in the beta versions of the game

There are also some unused content that you can check at the Bioshock Wikia! If you played the final game and see more differences, please leave a message below! :D

Thanks to Inspector for the contribution!

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Monster Island [XBOX PS2 GC – Cancelled]

Monster Island is a game project that was pitched in 2001 by Irrational Games for the Playstation 2, Xbox and Gamecube, described as “Rampage meets Black and White Creatures in a Fully Destructible Environment”. Monster Island was meant to be a fast paced action / strategy game in which the player would had assumed the role of either a giant monster out to eat a city for dinner or the authorities pledged to protect the innocent citizenry.

In october 2010, the studio revealed this cancelled project from their official blog and shared some concept arts and a short document that explains the main features of the game. The pitch promised some 20 monsters, a living city, heavily destructible environments, and a dynamic civil defense network.

The monster’s goal is to cause as much destruction as possible while simultaneously quelling its own hideous appetite with tasty, human morsels. The monster might also receive unique goals in a particular mission, such as climbing a skyscraper, locating an enemy hidden in the city and destroying him, or defeating a rival monster! […]

Monster Island will also let the player take on the role of the good guys, protecting the city from the horrible creature. The player will have control of five key units: the Scientist (who gathers information on the monster to help defeat the behemoth), the Girl (who can lure the monster away from its intended target), the Engineer (who can direct rebuilding of the city), the General (who can direct the forces of the army fighting the monster), and the Hero (who can personally fight the monster when the going gets desperate).

The description sounds interesting, but sadly the game was never green-lighted.

Thanks to Robert Seddon for the contribution!

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System Shock 2 [Dreamcast – Cancelled]

System Shock 2 its a FPS originally released in 1999 for PC developed by Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios and published by Electronic Arts, in may 2000, a week after Looking Glass Studios closed doors, Vatical Entertainment announced a dreamcast port for a end year release, the port was being made by Marina Games, and they missed the release date, in 2001 Vatical said that the port was still in development, but no release date was given, in the end the game was cancelled, and Marina Games closed without a game made or ported, the possibly reason was SEGA decision to exit the console market.

In april 2010 gamer_s from dreamcast-talk forum found in his devkit, a System Shock 2 and Thief 2 folders, while System Shock 2 could be bootable, Thief 2 was in very early stages and lacked many of necessary dreamcast files, the devkit was from a Eidos employee, in 9th september, to celebrate the 11th anniversary of dreamcast in USA, gamer_s released the files, they can be downloaded in this link http://dreamcast-talk.com/beta/

Sadly the port was at beginnig of development too, loadings are very long (about 5 minutes or more), slow framerate, no HUD and you cannot open doors.

Thanks to Vicente for the contribution!

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BioShock 2 [Beta – PC Xbox 360 PS3]

BioShock 2 is a FPS developed by 2K Marin and Irrational Games, released in february 2010 for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Users at 2K Forums noticed many beta differences in the early trailers of the game, especially in the “Hunting the Big Sister” demo:

  • It would have been possible to explore areas from the 1st game (some of them underwater)
  • Tenenbaum was going to be the player’s guide
  • Splicers ran away in fear from the player
  • Textures looked more like the original Bioshock
  • You were able to carry more health packs and eve hypos
  • The whole demo is set up differently. It starts as the normal game would, but the path and events are fairly different, including the final scene of the demo, that location, Fontaine Futuristics, is towards the end of the game.
  • Looks like the drill recharges when it’s not used. In the final game you had to find drill fuel.

Also, as we can read on Wikipedia, the original story and gameplay elements related to the plot were changed / removed from the final game:

The story received major changes over the course of development, with two of the most important relating to the player’s character and the Big Sister. Initially there was only going to be one Big Sister who would continually hunt the player down throughout the course of the game and then retreat once she was defeated.

This Big Sister was written as a Little Sister who, as she grew up on the surface, could not leave the memory of Rapture behind and eventually returned. The reason for the change, as explained by Zak McClendon, Lead Designer for 2K Marin, “If you have a single character that the player knows they can’t kill because they’re so important to the story you’re completely removing the triumph of overcoming that encounter with them.”

Jordan Thomas explains however, “The soul of the original Big Sister character still exists, but in the form of somebody you get to know over the course of the game.” The other major change is that the player’s character, Subject Delta, is no longer the first Big Daddy, but rather the fourth prototype. He is, however, the first to be successfully ‘pair-bonded’ to a single Little Sister.

Also, according to Rockpapershotgun’s BS2 review the special edition’s art book shows lots of unused designs

I’ve already completed Bioshock 2. None of these things were in there – the Big Daddy with arms like tortured tentacles, another which looked like a spaceship on legs, the Splicer whose grotesquely mutated face had become a fleshy whirlpool, a hideous sea-beast halfway between a merman and giant phallus, a frail, frock-wearing Big Sister who carries her hulking oxygen tank around on a rickety hand cart… Where are they? What happened?

Thanks to Robert Seddon, Robert and Dr. Swank for the contributions! If you can find more differences in the early Bioshock 2 screens and videos, please let us know!

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