Widescreen Games

Amon Ra (Widescreen Games) [PS2 – Prototype]

Amon Ra is a cancelled adventure game developed by Widescreen Games around 2003, exclusively for the Playstation 2.

As we can read on the personal website of Franck Sauer, Widescreen Games had decided to mandate him and Yann Robert to work on this demo, just after the closure of their own company, Appeal Studios, following the cancellation of Outcast 2: The Lost Paradise and Tintin, using assets and technology previously created for those projects:

“After Appeal (our previous studio) went bankrupt (see Outcast II and Tintin stories) Yann and I kept working together on some work for hire while thinking about exactly what to do next.

During that time, Olivier Masclef who had been producer on Outcast came to us with an adventure game concept called Amon Ra. His studio (Widescreen Games) was busy on another production and he asked us to build an early prototype on Playstation 2 based on this concept.

As we had acquired the technology from Outcast II we had something to start with to quickly build the prototype. Yann started cleaning and enhancing the various unfinished technologies that would later serve as the basis for our FreshEngine.

To help me quickly edit the map, I used some refurbished assets from the defunct Outcast II and built some new stuff on top of it. My friend Francois-Xavier Melard worked on the character.

This was a short work of a couple weeks and after this prototype, the project never went further into development.”

Technology

“Some very advanced technologies for the time can be seen in action here (some of which were already implemented in the Outcast II prototype), such as realtime tesselation and vector displacement (water), radiosity and light probes (lighting of the character dependant on the environment, with light bouncing), soft shadows, dynamically rendered billboard (small vegetation), and pixel-occluded lens flares.

One of the amazing thing was the incredible amount of triangles the Playstation 2 was capable of pumping. Around 300k in a single frame, with the prototype running at 60 frames per seconds (…)”

Very few information are currently available regarding Amon Ra as it’s development cycle was pretty short. By the look of videos and concept arts, it seems the game was set in a world based on the Egyptian Mythology.

If you know someone else who worked on Amon Ra and could help us preserve more screenshots, footage or details, please let us know!

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Paparazzi (Widescreen Games) [PS2 – Cancelled]

Paparazzi is a cancelled photography adventure game that was in development in 2005 by Widescreen Games for Playstation 2. This project must not be confused with the European conversion of “Simple 2000 Series Vol. 53: The Camera Kozou”, which was renamed “Paparazzi” by 505 Game Street.

As far as we know Widescreen Games’ Paparazzi was never officially announced, and only a single image with a 3D model made for the game is preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost game. We can assume players would have to take photos of celebrities, then sell them to tabloids.

If you know someone who worked on this game and could help saving more details or screenshots, please let us know! 

AOsphere (Identifiction) [PC – Cancelled]

AOSphere is a cancelled point & click episodic adventure that was in development around 2008 – 2009 by Widescreen Games and Identifiction for their streaming-gaming platform on PC. At the time it was quite an ambitious and original project, anticipating both popular episodic games such as The Walking Dead (2012) and Life is Strange (2015) and live-streaming gaming services.

As we can read on GamesIndustry:

“The episodic videogame distribution channel www.identifiction.com will be launched on October 15. Heading the program: videogames that take the form of weekly episodes in streaming mode. This is a revolutionary new borderline concept between videogames and TV series.  Videogames that you can follow just like a TV series  The website www.identifiction.com will diffuse its videogames at a weekly rhythm. They are intended for adults seeking content that’s original, irreverent, short and easy to access from any operating system and a wide range of computers (pc, mac, windows, linux, etc.).

The Aosphere series (Science fiction/adventure) will be available immediately the platform is onlined. The channel’s catalogue will be enhanced by two more original series, due from the end of the 3rd quarter of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.”

“Widescreen Productions is to launch a weekly episodic games portal in October, hoping to bring TV-style content delivery to the games business. While previous attempts at episodic delivery have been sporadic, Identifiction.com promises weekly episodes of 30 – 45 minute long game experiences.

Videogames must be capable of rethinking their narration, formats and genres,” offered Oliver Masclef, creative director of Indentifictions. […] “By taking the economic model of the series with short formats and attractive subjects available at definite dates and times, we are aiming at all those who have turned their backs on playing videogames due to lack of time or boredom,” he said. The first title for October will be the science fiction action game Aosphere, with the company planning two new titles for the end of the third quarter and beginning of 2009.”

The AOsphere project and the Identifiction platform were initially postponed from October 2008 to early 2009:

“Initially scheduled for 15 October, the launch of the serial game AOsphere has been put off until January 2009. www.identifiction.com will nonetheless open with a beta version before the end of the year. The creative team will offer its first interactive serial exclusively to those registered.  “Since we’re now finishing the production of the first season of AOsphere, it’s vital to make sure we do it under the best possible conditions. That’s why we’re setting back the marketing schedule by a few months. This additional time will allow us to test our games and check the ergonomics of our platform.”

In the end AOsphere seems to have quietly vanished, even their official Facebook page stopped updating about the game in February 2009. We don’t know if Identifiction ever streamed any video game on their site, but by the lack of information available on its service (and the fact their website was put on sale the following year) we assume it was also never launched, canned and forgotten by everyone.

Some screenshots, concept art and footage from AOsphere are preserved in this page, to remember the existence of this lost project.

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Gravity One [PS2, Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

Gravity One is a cancelled third person shooter that was in development by Kawaii Studio and Widescreen Games (mostly known for Dead to Rights II and the cancelled The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf) around 2003 / 2006, initially planned to be released for PS2 and later for Xbox 360. The project was never officially announced by Kawaii / Widescreen, but some footage is preserved below to remember its existence.

As far as we know Gravity One was going to be a linear third person shooter, with an original twist: the game was set in some kind of space-station, so you could be able to fly around in zero-gravity rooms. This means you had to shoot down enemies while moving around in all directions, using boxes and other parts of the scenario as flying-covers or weapons. The project was still in early development while Kawaii Studio pitched it around to different publishers: it’s possible they would have added more mechanics to it, if only they had found support.

It seems Gravity One was initially conceived as a Playstation 2 game, but with time passing without finding a publisher, the team switched the project to the soon-to-be-released Xbox 360 console. Even if Microsoft’s Xbox 360 market was quite perfect for third-person shooters, Gravity One was quietly cancelled.

In the end Kawaii Studio never released any game: their second know prototype titled “Ghostman” was also canned. Kawaii Studio seems to have been fully merged or acquired by Widescreen Games in 2006, possibly to help them with other major projects, such as their cancelled “The Witcher” console port.

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Ghostman (Widescreen Games) [PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

The Ghostman is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by Kawaii Studio and Widescreen Games (mostly known for Dead to Rights II) around 2004 / 2005, planned to be released for PS2 and Xbox. The project was officially announced by Widescreen on their website, but was soon forgotten by everyone and vanished along with the team when they closed down in 2009 for bankruptcy.

The Ghostman was going to be similar to other ghost-based games, such as Murdered: Soul Suspect and Geist, using your “ghost powers” to resolve puzzles and combat your enemies. As we can read from the official fact-sheet:

“Winter in London. Nicolai Liptsky is killed by a strange mafia and becomes… a ghost. But he refuses to disappear unless he can save his family.

He discovers his new powers like possessing briefly abandoned bodies or moving objects by telekinesis. Now he travels back and forth between the world of the dead and the world of the livings.

 Half of the time you will be a ghost (able to fly, to move objects with psychic force but invisible to the living people).

The other half you will briefly come back to life by reincarnating yourself in many different bodies! Of course you will get the skills of the bodies you use.

Key features

> Explore a fascinating universe: the ghost world.

> Use your ghost powers like telekinesis, flying or pass through some walls

> Come back to life and take control of different characters (“Body jacking”)

> Choose the best strategy to live your adventure. Dead or alive: it’s your choice!”

A few screenshots and a trailer for Ghostman are preserved below, to remember its existence.

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