Deadline is a cancelled FPS that was in development around 1992 – 1993 by a little and now forgotten Finnish team called “Microflash”, which as far as we know never released any other video game before closing down. It seems Deadline was promoted in old gaming magazines with a playable demo (one of these was PC Format magazine, which had the demo in their 3.5″ cover floppy disk) but in the end Deadline and its creators vanished into oblivion. Just a few websites like OldGames and LegendsWorld still have some details about this lost project.
The game’s story was quite b-movie like. Deadline’s protagonist agreed to participate in a cryo experiment and was frozen in suspended animation, but for some reason he was not woken up at the right time. Waking up hundreds of years later, he finds Earth is now ruled by evil aliens, so he just decides to fight them.
One unique feature in the game was a tool that allowed you to restore power to walls in the environment. This allowed you to, for example, activate a chain of walls starting from one that was already powered, to then supply power to a door further away: an interesting environmental puzzle for such an early FPS. You could also buy new weapons from certain wall interfaces.
It seems Microflash showed their Deadline demo at the 1993 London ECTS fair, where they managed to get hired by Cyberdreams, but the collaboration never materialized. There’s an interesting research on Finland ‘80s – ‘90s developers in which they talk a bit about Microflash:
“Mika Keskikiikonen, who worked at MicroFlash, has recalled that their aim [with Deadline] was to create an improved version of Wolfenstein, which the group’s programmer Jani Peltonen in particular did not consider to be well enough built. […] Having acquired its programming skills from Demoscene, Keski-kiikonen had already gained some fame with the Amiga Game Maker’s Guide programming manual published by Tecnopress in 1992. MikroBit and Pelit magazine were advertised relatively often in 1992-1993. See e.g. MikroBitti 5/1993, 67. He was also involved in programming some utilities for Toptronics. MicroFlash’s initial success in 1993 was also noticed in MikroBit and Pelit magazine. See Made in Finland, MikroBitti10 / 1993, 64. Game news, Games 7/1993, 8, Game news, Games 1/1994, 4”
While the beta demo does not look good by today’s standards (and it was quite bugged at the time), Deadline could have been one of the first 3D FPS if ever released.
Thanks to Mat for the contribution!