After a while, I decide to have a look at an unreleased FMV game. Varuna’s Forces was first person shooting game developed by Accent Media and to be published by JVC for Sega Saturn, Atari Jaguar, 3DO and also PC. All versions were cancelled but there is a small demo out there along with promotional footage.

During my random googling and by luck I got in touch with two of the original developers, Mike Montague, and Eric Adem. Mike was hired by Accent Media in 1995 and worked on porting graphics of Interplay’s Battle Chess onto CD-i. When he joined Varuna’s Forces team development was already under way. He recalls it was a very ambitious project. He worked creating environments, texture maps and special effects using DOS version of Autodesk 3D Studio R4. Eric joined the company from IVI Publishing after working on Eco East Africa. He worked on the programming side of the Varuna’s Forces. He shared a little about the composition of the team where each platform had a specific programmer, one engineer for 3D engine and one responsible for the tools set. Altogether about 5 programmers and 3 artists worked on the game until it got cancelled. The story of the game was usual marines visiting planets and kicking aliens butts.

varunas_forces_cover

Great fan made cover from atariage.com (made by Bratticus Maximus)

FMV aspect of the game is where things are getting really interesting. The video was shot using analog video and subsequently transferred to digital onto Apple Mac computers. There was a tiny room where actors were shot in front of green screen. Mike recalls meeting a then unknown actor Michael Clarke Duncan.

“I don’t recall the names of the other actors but I do recall Michael Clark Duncan coming in one day for a shoot. He dressed as a space marine soldier and did some walk cycles in place using a treadmill. He was a giant and the tiny treadmill barely supported him. He was a very nice man. At that time he was not known and was just starting to get work as an actor. He told me that he had hopes of working on an Alien movie and his interest in working on science fiction films. I was happy to see that he went on to great fame and fortune after his very early work on Varuna’s Forces.”

Production of the game was coming along but it was ultimately cancelled after the company runs out of money due to publisher own financial troubles. Go and check small video clip on youtube.

Further reading
http://www.cyberroach.com/jaguarcd/html/varunas.htm
http://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:SegaVisions_US_25.pdf&page=100
http://www.sega-saturn.net/nr/varunasforces.php
http://www.ataritimes.com/index.php?ArticleIDX=387