Unreal [PC – Beta / Tech Demo]

Unreal is a FPS developed by Epic Games and Digital Extremes and published by GT Interactive in 1998. Originally, Unreal was going to be a Quake-style shooter: earlier screens showed a large status bar and centered weapons, similar to Doom and Quake. The main character was also going to be a woman, however in the final version the main character’s gender is selectable in the game’s “player setup” screen, though the default is a female character named Gina. One of the weapons shown in early screenshots was the “Quadshot”, a four-barreled shotgun. The model remains in-game, while there is no code for the weapon to function. Another weapon shown was a different pistol, however this may have just been an early version of the Automag. At one point the rifle could fire three shots at once, which is wrongly stated as the alternate fire in the Unreal manual that comes with the Unreal Anthology.

As development progressed, various levels were cut from development. A few of these levels reappeared in the Return to Na Pali expansion pack. A number of enemies from early versions are present in the released software but with variations and improvements to their look. One monster that didn’t make the cut was a dragon. [Info from Wikipedia]

Various Unreal beta builds were leaked online and thanks to Leo some of those files were fixed to play them better. You can download these files in here.  Some other early demos can be find at Unreal Services:

Unreal TechDemo 1995 (Size: 2.27 MB)
A unique piece of Unreal’s history: A playable technology demo from 1995. The demo contains 5 never seen before maps with textures and music that did not make it into the final game.

Unreal Beta 1997/98 (Size: 141 MB)
Big Unreal demo from 1997, leaked in 1998. An entire beta Unreal version including UnrealED. With many working levels and some levels that are not working or not completed yet. It’s really nice to see how some levels have been improved from this beta on and sad to see that some very good levels have been scrapped later. It also included levels of Return to NaPali, but at that time it was still one game.

Also, if you have some free time you can check this long thread at the Beyond Unreal Forum, in which there are many info on the various beta versions.

Thanks to Leo for the contribution!