Zono Incorporated

A playable proto of the cancelled Freak Boy N64 has been found at a carboot sale

If you had a Nintendo 64 in the late ’90 you probably remember one of the most interesting games announced but never released for the console: Freak Boy.

Here’s a short snippet from the original press release:

IRVINE, CALIF., May 16, 1996 — Enter the world of FREAK BOY in Virgin Interactive Entertainment’s (VIE) first NINTENDO 64 (N64) game. Three-dimensional graphics, addicting play mechanics and cutting-edge technology that uses morphing special effects define the world in which FREAK BOY lives – an alien world N64 players won’t ever want to leave. Created by Burst, VIE’s in-house development team, FREAK BOY is scheduled to be in stores in early 1997.

Unfortunately the game never seen the light of day, cancelled after its publisher decided to made the team to rework the project multiple times because of marketing decisions. While many cancelled games risk to be lost forever, deleted by the same developers or forgotten in some dusty archives, we could have more luck with Freak Boy.

In september 2015 a reader of Unseen64 randomly found a working early prototype of Freak Boy at a carboot sale in Guildford, UK. It seems that the seller at this flea market did not know much about the historical importance of the strange cart that he was selling, along with other old games, probably in a dusty cardbox. Luckily our friend recognized the title written with a marker on the dev-cart and quickly bought it before other retrogamers. It seems that along with Freak Boy the same seller had 2 other prototype carts, one had written “casinò” and the second one “mario 2“. Unfortunately a the moment we don’t know what was the content of the other 2 carts (if the new owners of those protos are reading this article, please send us an email!).

The Unseen64 reader that found this Freak Boy prototype would like to remain anonymous, but if you are interested you can contact him at [email protected]

Untill now the only available video from Freak Boy was an ugly, pixellated footage from E3 1996, finally we are able to see more from the project, even if in its incomplete alpha. Take a look at the short playlist below with the all the new Freak Boy videos, we hope to be able to have some longer ones soon. Enjoy!

 

Freak Boy [N64 – Cancelled]

Officially presented at E3 1996, Freak Boy was certainly one of the most interesting and bizzarre games planned for the Nintendo 64, in development by Zono Incorporated / Burst Studio and to be publishe by Virgin. As a strange protagonist known as “Freak Boy”, players had to save the world Hedron from a horde of strange aliens in what at first glance seemed like a three-dimensional action/adventure with an abstract graphic style. The protagonist was able to interact with the environment in order to modify parts of its body (head, chest and feets) and thus acquire new skills to solve puzzles and to defeat various enemies, somehow like with the different heads in Dynamite headdy (Mega Drive / Genesis).

Unfortunately Freak Boy’s development was troubled and after the game’s publisher asked to remade it from scratch at least two times, they lost interest and the project was  dropped.

Here’s the original press release:

IRVINE, CALIF., May 16, 1996 — Enter the world of FREAK BOY in Virgin Interactive Entertainment’s (VIE) first NINTENDO 64 (N64) game. Three-dimensional graphics, addicting play mechanics and cutting-edge technology that uses morphing special effects define the world in which FREAK BOY lives – an alien world N64 players won’t ever want to leave. Created by Burst, VIE’s in-house development team, FREAK BOY is scheduled to be in stores in early 1997.

Created using SGI workstations, FREAK BOY utilizes the N64’s advanced 3-D technology, allowing all aspects of the game to be experienced in 3-D. Not only are the characters presented in realistic full 3-D, but their worlds and interactions with other beings are amazingly multi-dimensional. The 3-D power of the N64 also gives players the ability to experience gameplay from thousands of different points-of-view.

The result is a unique visual experience that intensifies the gameplay to such a degree that even the most experienced game player will be challenged. Players will be drawn into the intense 3-D action as they assume the role of FREAK BOY, the lone survivor of a massive alien invasion.

On New Year’s Day, when the planets are aligned with the sun, the ZoS, an alien race from a parallel dimension, take over the Hedron Universe, extinguishing the sun and transporting all of the Hedrons to the alien dimension. The only Hedron to evade capture is FREAK BOY, who is destined to become the hero of his people, provided he can rid his universe of the alien threat and return the captive Hedrons to their rightful dimension.

As FREAK BOY, players can absorb remnants of the destruction into their body and utilize them as weapons to destroy the alien invaders. What’s more, the variations

on these weapons are almost endless. Capable of holding three new artifacts at a time, each with a different capability when used as head, chest or feet, FREAK BOY is never the same character twice. FREAK BOY’S body is constantly morphing as new artifacts are assimilated and old ones are discarded. In managing the inventory of weapons as they enter and exit FREAK BOY’s body, the player gains new abilities in his fight to destroy the more than 50 enemies who have set out to conquer the Hedron universe.

On their quest for more powerful weapons and the alien enemy, players will explore more than 25 distinct worlds throughout five levels of difficulty. Each world is radically visual, arid and stark, yet with texture, mystery and entertainment that lure the player further into the world of FREAK BOY.

“FREAK BOY’s out-of-this-world graphics take the N64’s capabilities to the limits,” said Chris Yates, a vice president at Burst. “What is more, play mechanics such as Freak Boy’s have never been used before. When combined with these intense graphics, you have a level of gameplay that is altogether unprecedented.”

Burst, based in Irvine, California, is a division of Virgin Interactive Entertainment. The company is dedicated to high quality entertainment title development

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