Marvel 2099: One Nation Under Doom is a cancelled 2D sidescroller action game that was in development by Saffire for the original Playstation and the PC. The project would have been published by Mindscape in 1996, but the company decided to stop publishing some of their console titles and One Nation Under Doom was one of them. After Marvel 2099 was canned, Saffire started to develope Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. and Rampage World Tour for the Nintendo 64.
As we can read on Wikipedia, by May 1996 CD-ROM and VHS video demos of Marvel 2099 were being shipped to game magazines for pre-release reviews, along with a one-page color brochure. The first public demo was shown at the E3 1996 show, and featured a playable single level of the Punisher 2099 fighting SHIELD troops, and also opening menus and some cut scenes. Electronic Gaming Monthly had two quarter-page previews of the game, showing grainy shots of actual gameplay, and a group shot of the player characters. At the 1996 San Diego Comicon, the Mindscape booth handed out brochures, and raffled off One Nation Under Doom pins, shirts, and posters. Some attendees were even allowed to play the demo at the booth, although no copies of the demo were distributed.
How did Mindscape first become involved with producing/developing a game based on Marvel’s 2099 characters?
M.F.: Prior to working at Mindscape, I was a Producer at Acclaim in New York. At Acclaim, I was responsible for multiple titles including all the Marvel titles. I developed a great relationship with Marvel so when I went to Mindscape I kept in touch with them. I knew that Acclaim had a contract with Marvel that tied up every Marvel property for video games. In those days, they didn’t separate the characters into individual properties. I really wanted to work on another Marvel title and asked if they had anything that was not included in the Acclaim contract. Their first response was no, but then they found Marvel 2099. They told me it was available and sent me some of the comic books to check it out. I could not believe my luck! A Marvel property that included dozens of Marvel characters, it was in the future and the characters looked different, but it was full of recognizable Marvel characters (some looked ever cooler in the future!) and the main villain, Dr. Doom was awesome.
I convinced Mindscape that this was too good to pass up and I worked with Marvel and Mindscape management to negotiate a deal. The deal was more than reasonable and included the rights to do the game on PC CD-ROM, Playstation, Sega Saturn and 3DO.
Do you recall at what stage the game was at when it was cancelled? 50% done? More? Less?
M.F.: Less than 50%
Do you think….had the game been finished…that it would have been a good game?
M.F.: Absolutely!! We knew from the start that there was concern that the game was a side-scroller, but so was Mario! With our development schedule and budget we decided it was the best use of our time and talent to create characters and animation that looked better than any other comic book title, but it was too much of an undertaking to do all the characters in a fully free 3D environment. We wanted the character art to blow you away, so instead of doing a less than stellar job in a 3D environment, we decided to do a superior job in a 2D environment. We did plan to have some levels moving vertically and not horizontally. We also wanted to make sure that there were “branches” in the game play where the player had to choose which path to go down. This would allow replay-ability because you could complete the game without going everywhere. AND we were creating some incredible cinematic sequences to introduce characters or as visual rewards for completing levels. One cinematic sequence that was completed was Hulk 2099 coming down a ladder into an underground sewer system and running through a large pipe towards the player.
We can only hope that one of these playable demos could be found and shared with the community in the future.
Thanks to Celine for the contribution! Thanks to Daniel for the video!