Surface Tension is a cancelled Playstation 2 strategy / adventure game that was in early development by Krome Studios around 2008. Gameplay would have been similar to a mix between Pikmin and Populous, with players exploring an alien “non-Newtonian fluid” world commanding creatures to resolve puzzles and fight enemies. Krome worked on this prototype to try some new ideas but it was soon pushed aside to work on new projects for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
“[Surface Tension] was sort of a cross between Pikmin and Populous,” says Steve. “The surface of the world was this sort of non-Newtonian fluid, and you had to guide your creatures from island to island, but if you had too many in one spot, they’d sink.” The team worked on the game’s development for six weeks, creating a demo which allowed you to order your creatures around, drop markers to attract and repel enemies, and so on. The objective was to send your creatures to the end of the level, directing them to solve problems along the way – chopping down trees to serve as bridges across the water, and generally being completely adorable.
“It was never really meant to get shown,” says Steve. “It was more a test to see if we could do something different.” Developed on Krome’s PS2 engine, the game was abandoned when they began to migrate to the next-gen engines built for the Xbox 360 and the PS3, although they did discuss returning to it after the first episode of Blade Kitten was published – a dream that, sadly, may never be realised.
Only a few tiny screenshots for Surface Tension were published on GameOn, if you know someone who worked on this lost game who may help us preserve more images, please let us know!
Project ACLAND is a cancelled horror game that was in development by Krome Studios around 2006 / 2009, planned to be released on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. The team spent 3 years prototyping the project, with huge focus on its violent and gory aspects: there are no details about its gameplay but we know players would fight a huge monster while trying to survive its fury.
As far as we know Acland was never officially announced by Krome Studios before its cancellation, but former Krome’s Creative Director Steve Stamatiadis talked about it in an old article published by Games ON:
“We also had this monster game that we’d been wanting to do for a long time, called Project ACLAND”. The game was at least three years worth of work according to Steve, but it was something that publishers had shown definite interest in. “The lack of R18+ rating was a problem, as it was going to be really gory,” he says, “like a monster movie. But there was no way you can sell a game like that in Australia. At times I was thinking ‘Why would I want to make a game that I can’t even play here?’”
The ACLAND monster, named after Acland Lane behind Krome’s Brisbane offices, would later go on to star in Blade Kitten. ”I’d really love to come back do Project ACLAND right,” Steve says, thinking of the future. “It’s been three years, and nobody’s done anything like it, or even close.”
Unfortunately there’s only 1 tiny image showing the monster 3D model in Project Acland: if you know someone who worked on this lost game who may help us preserve more images, please let us know!
GUNYIP! Is a cancelled dogfighting shooter set in the TY the Tasmanian Tiger universe, focused on flight missions using TY’s mecha-airplane (the Gunyip, as seen in Ty 3). It was initially conceived for GameCube, Xbox and Playstation 2 as the official 4th chapter in the TY series but gameplay would have been similar to titles such as Crimson Sky, Ace Combat and Star Fox’s all-range mode. The game was in development by Krome Studios around 2005 – 2007, started after the release of Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan. While the team was pitching the idea to publishers they were hired to work on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and GUNYIP! had to be canned.
“Here’s the promo trailer we put together to pitch Gunyip to publishers. It starts with stuff from TY 3 minigames, then has some early test capture footage then ends with some rendered stuff from the TY 3 trailer.”
“There was the whole first version of TY 4: Gunyip which got shelved to make way for Star Wars. There’s a whole book just of stuff from that.”
“Flashback to the unmade TY 4: Gunyip which was Star Wars AF. The Frills were Scout Frills (the best of the bucket heads!), there were all these Star Wars style flight suits and there was even a Wookiee like character called Po (he’s a Kakapo)
If you thought the 2D game was a departure you would have hated this version even more – it was a flight combat game. Where you flew around doing missions on Gunyips. Basically Ace Combat in the TY universe. The best bit was that it was all told as a story being recounted by Lenny. Also you got to play through the “story” mode 3 times as different factions unlocked and you got more of the full story. It was ambitious to say the least.
Also I do enjoy the irony that the game was dropped mid production so that we could work on an ACTUAL Star Wars game.”
“The original TY 4 was not going to be a 3D platformer – it was a story driven air combat game in the TY universe. It was put to rest when we had the chance to make a Star Wars game and it’s probably for the best. While the game was looking pretty hot I know now that TY fans would have lost their shit because it was different. You only need to look at the reaction to the Win 8 game with it being 2D – even though everything else is pretty much exactly the same.
Anyway apart from flying around in cool transforming Gunyips the game featured a story mode that let you play through as three different factions each with their own sets of Missions. There was TY and Bushrescue, Cass and his Cold Blood Empire and finally a new group the Metalskull pirates led by Ginger Knut the flying fox.”
TY the Tasmanian Tiger: Gunyip! – The Gunyips
The gunyips are the top level of air combat machines. Each faction would have it’s own unique design that the player would control when playing their missions. They were also designed to show your pilot character flying them. This was so players could have something ‘human’ to relate to and so that they could respond to the surrounding events much the same way TY sat in the back of the Fourbie and Crabmersible.
Bush Rescue: The Woomera class Gunyip.
Design wise the BR Gunyip has elements of both the plane version from TY 3 and both the unused designs for the Jet Bunyip. It had a variable geometry that would allow it to take different forms depending on it’s flight mode. And yes it was meant as a homage to Macross’ Gerwalk mode.
Cold Blood Empire: The Raptor
This one was designed to look like a bird of prey. I used the head of Cuddles (Fluffy’s mech from TY 3). The wing “feathers” would change shape based on its speed and the tail would look nice reacting to the physics of Gunyip flight.
It’s pilot is another Thorny Devil called Lizzy. She was going to be Fluffy’s replacement for this game. When you first saw her inthe game she would appear as Fluffy but as the game progressed you’d quickly learn that it was Just Boss Cass – who was now just a little bit more unhinged – seeing her as Fluffy.
Metal Skull Pirates: The Pteropus
A flying fox flown by Ginger Knut, who is also a flying fox. This is the first pass at the Pteropus and It’s a little more basic than the others but I really liked the feel of it being a big powerful motorbike with wings.
“This is Liz, she was going to be Fluffy’s replacement in TY: Gunyip! The way it was going to work was that you’d see her in cutscenes with Cass and she’d look exactly like Fluffy. But then we’d reveal that she actually looked like this and it was just Cass who had gone a little loopy from guilt seeing her as Fluffy. “
“Here’s the look of the Frills for TY: Gunyip! They were called Scout Frills because they are meant to look like my favorite Imperial troops, the Biker Scouts. I tried a few color variations but I was going to stick with the white version.”
“Po the Kakapo – I love the idea of flightless New Zealand birds piloting stuff in the TY universe (Duke the Kiwi) so the Metalskull pirates get Po – he’s sort of Chewbacca to Ginger’s Han Solo.
Fluffy Destrofluffy – A callback to the boss from TY 1 except this time you have Harpoons and Tow Cables. I wanted to name a level the Battle of Mount Hotham – for obvious reasons.
Robot Destrofluffy – what it’s like underneath when you burn the fake fur off them.
Young Tiberius – I never quite worked out how this would fit in the game if it even could but I wanted to have a flashback element where you’d play as Tiberius the Thylacine hero in a 1920s steampunk TY world. Maybe some other time.”
In 2013 Krome released a different Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 4 on PC, but maybe the idea of a flight-combat TY game could be resurrected in the future.
As you probably know Gremlins is a 1984 comedy horror film directed by Joe Dante and released by Warner Bros, a commercial success spawning a sequel and lots of merchandise. A few officially licensed video games were published for Atari 2600, Commodore 64, Game Boy Color, Wii and DS. A Playstation 2 Gremlins was in development in the mid ‘00s, but soon cancelled.
Many years later, Krome Studios (mostly known for Ty the Tasmanian Tiger and Spyro: A New Beginning) pitched another Gremlins video game, planned for Xbox 360. In the end the game was not green lighted by Warner Bros, and it became another cancelled Gremlins game we’ll never play. A few screenshots were found by fans of the series, preserved in the gallery below to remember the existence of this lost project.
A former Krome developer shared some details on this pitch on NeoGAF:
“[…] you played ad gizmo running around hiding from adult gremlins setting up elaborate rude goldberg – incredible machine style physics traps to kill them in all sorts of gruesome ways. Even had a little street scene modelled of the town in the first movie with snow and Xmas lights, gremlins everywhere running amuck overturning cars and shit.”
Kat Burglar is a cancelled action / stealth game that was in development by Krome Studios, probably planned for PC, Playstation 2 and Xbox. In the beginning of year 2000 Krome Studios announced a new game about a lady burglar called Katherine Kelly, who steals works of art for a collector called Hugo Biggs-Lazenby. There wasn’t much information available on the gameplay, but that sure had to be a stealthy game. Some ideas from that project were later used in Blade Kitten.
Recounting with a touch of bitterness that it was apparently okay to have a dozen identical “muscular space marine” games on the market at the same time, Steve and the team were forced to shelve the game. “They just weren’t getting it, even if they did like the characters”, says Steve, remembering failed deals with partners like Mattel. “I’ll always remember the guys came back from one meeting with a publisher, and the publishers said ‘We’re pretty sure there’s already a 60’s female thief game with a character that has red hair’, and I’m standing there going ‘Are they… talking about our game?’”.
Set on the island of Mont-St. Michael, Kat Burglar featured a number of adventure-game driven mechanics similar to those found in Flight of the Amazon Queen, as well as AI sidekicks who you could give orders to through hand gestures. The intent was to have a Zelda-style unlockable open world, with the island opening up to you as you progressed. Despite the game being developed to a playable state through one prototyped level, they were unable to secure a publisher. Opportunity did come knocking later in the year, as Sony expressed a desire to publish a cartoony platformer on their PS2 – a desire that Krome were only too happy to help fulfill. That game that would later go on to become TY The Tasmanian Tiger, and one of the company’s most iconic franchises.
Post by Chentzilla
A screenshot (scan from Russian gaming magazine “Magazin Igrushek”, №2/2000)
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