It is said that only one out of five software/game titles is released.1 This means there is a huge amount of ideas, stories and prototypes flying around that never got a chance to be seen by a general public. There are multiple reasons why these games didn’t make the cut. The quality of the product was not satisfactory, company politics, a sudden shift in company spending, publisher or developer bankruptcy or simply the game didn’t work. In the series of “Lost in Time” I will try to highlight some of the announced yet not released FMV games. Over the course of time, I will also try to discover some information about their fate.
Rivers of Dawn:
Not much is known about this FMV fantasy tale title. Developed and actually completed by Digital Fusion, the company created by comic artist Pepe Moreno. The game was not released due to the bankruptcy of Virgin Interactive Media. All we were left with was 30 seconds trailer added to some of the VIE game releases at the time. The story of the game is about a great evil that you as a player must stop by collecting 5 artifacts. The game was supposed to be hybrid RPG game supporting some sort of text base interaction. Very intriguing concept to say the least.
Cyberhood (formerly “NetRunner”):
Cyberhood was Interplays attempt to join FMV revolution. Not much is known about the game, but I found two videos by the director of the game, Michael Conti. The script was written mainly by Martin Olson (Roseanne) and the story was described as a mashup of cyberpunk version of Clockwork Orange and the Robin Hood legend.2 Apparently the comedic influence imposed by Olson writing in cooperation with Lynch like approach of Michael Conti was bound to create unique and yet unseen experience in video games. Apparently there was a scene with a myriad of bikini-clad women massaging a man who appeared to be having intimate relations with a duck.2 Now, this seems to me like Interplay just chew more than they could bite. If I was in marketing I would have no idea how to market game like that. The game was slated for holidays 1995 release. The reason why it was canceled is unknown.
The third game in production by Compro Games for publisher GameTek. The game was mentioned in few articles (for example German magazine Powerplay 11/1996) but only a handful of images were released in following months. According to the developer, things didn’t work as they were supposed to and the game suffered numerous delays. Eventually, game development was abandoned as Compro Games transitioned into new company Skyline. GameTek went bankrupt in 1998 so this might have also been contributing factor in doomed development.
1.GDS 2013: Michal Rybka – Gaming Archeology (CZ language)
2.Computer Gaming World, Issue. 129, pg. 26