Virtual Studio

Commando (Namco) [Playstation – Cancelled]

Commando is a cancelled third person action / shooter game that was designed by Stephane de Luca for Namco, planned to be released on the original Playstation. Stephane pitched the project to Namco thru Virtual Studio, which at the time were also working on Snow Break for Playstation and Ar’Kritz the Intruder for DOS PC.

Stephane with the help of a few more developers such as Pavlos Germidis worked at Virtual Studio from october 1997 to september 1998. In just 3 months they developed a short prototype for Commando, used to show off its 3D engine and main mechanics. Stephane worked on the game’s 3D engine, its tools and game programming while Pavlos worked on the artwork design, the story pitch and the CGI movie which would introduce the game.

Commando would have been an interesting take on the 3D action genre. The game was divided into different missions, each set in a different area on Mars full of enemies and huge final-bosses. You could steal and control enemy mechs and bikes, there would have been different ways to resolve a problem such as killing an enemy or avoid it with by flying away using a jetpack. It was a bit more open-ended than similar third person shooters of its time.

The deal for Commando was that Stephane would create the game and handle everything directly with Namco. Only the financial aspect would go thru Virtual Studio, which would get 30% of the price for being a financial go-between. Many trips to Japan were required in order to find an agreement on the game design, technical features and financials terms. The contract was finally signed by Stephane in Tokyo at the Namco building.

Unfortunately it seems that Virtual Studio misunderstand its part in the whole deal. When Stephane directly signed the game with Namco, Virtual Studio were surprised to be limited to a financial partner and quickly changed their mind about the deal. In the end the game had to be cancelled.

Only a few, tiny screenshots from the Commando prototype are preserved below, to remember its existence.

Thanks to Stephane for the contribution!

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Videos (Intro CGI):
 

Valerian [PSX – Prototype]

Valerian is a cancelled Playstation game that was in development in 1998 by Virtual Studio, a french team owned (?) by Infogrames. There are not many info on the project but thanks to Daydi we found out that the game was based on a french comic, “Valérian and Laureline”. The character model that can be seen in one of the images, it’s identical to the comic’s male protagonist. As we can read on Wikipedia:

The series centres around the adventures of the spatio-temporal agent, the dark-haired Valérian, and his redheaded female companion, Laureline, as they travel the universe through space and time. Valérian is a classical anti-hero, strong and brave but with a tendency to follow the orders of his superiors even if he feels, deep down, that it is the wrong thing to do. […] Influenced by classic literary science fiction, the series combines elements of space opera and time travel.

The game was probably going to follow the comic’s plot, and the player would have been able to explore levels in different spaces and times. We can speculate that Virtual Studio tried to pitch a game based on the comic to some french publishers, but without any success. In the end  a game based on the Valerian comic was never relased and only few target renders remain, saved in the gallery below to preserve its existence.

Thanks to Daydi for the contribution!

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Parasite (Ar’Kritz the Intruder) [PSX – Cancelled]

Update: this game was later released and renamed to Ar’Kritz the Intruder for PC only! The Playstation version was never released.

Parasite is a cancelled side-scrolling action adventure that was in development by Virtual Studio (while other sources report that it was created by Sony Interactive or Psygnosis / Sony Studio Liverpool) and it was going to be published in 1996, for the original Playstation and PC. Even if it looked nice and it could have had a fun gameplay (somehow similar to  Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee maybe?), in the end the project was canned for unknown reasons. As we can read in the original press release:

Parasite is a film-noir  thriller with a twist. In it you play an ordinary guy thrown into extraordinary circumstances – possessed by an alien law enforcer, you’re forced to walk the mean streets in search of  undercover extra-terrestrials.  But as the alien slowly mutates your host body, you’d better help him solve this one quickly, before you shape-shift beyond recognition.

Parasite features two quests in one, as you balance your own need for an
antidote with the relentless demands of the alien who’s got an agenda of his own.

Featuring a fully rendered 3D city to explore (with over 300 screens of, this dark adventure game explores an alternate reality where Raymond Chandler meets William Gibson.

There are not much more info on Parasite, but Celine was able to find some more  screens in Game Pro issues 75 and 79.

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Videos (from the released PC version):

 

STORM [PSX Saturn: Cancelled, but released on PC]

S.T.O.R.M. is a cancelled side-scrolling action game that was in development by Virtual Studio in 1996, for the original Playstation and Saturn. From the look of the few screens preserved (only one seems in-game, the others are probably from a FMV), the game was set in an under-water scenario. There are not much more info on the project, it would have been published by American Softwork but something went wrong during the development and STORM was never finished.

Thanks to Pachuka and Celine for the contributions! Scans from EGM #83, CD Consoles #8 and #19.

UPDATE: Thanks to hydr0x, we found out that STORM was released for PC!

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Videos: