Platforms: SEGA 32X and Mega CD
Way back in 1994 the Doom-style Alien Trilogy was slated to come out across just about all platforms.
It came out on the Playstation, PC and Sega Saturn back in 1995 but proposed 32X and Sega CD versions never materalised. It’s not known if the game would have been a 32X cart game, a stripped down Sega CD game, both or a 32X CD game.
The game uses a similar if not the same engine as Doom, which did come out on the 32X so it’s likely the machine could have handled the game on a processing power level, if not on a memory level. But appalling sales of the 32X likely encouraged little demand for sustained support for the hardware from software developers.
Despite our best efforts we’ve been unable to verify whether the game was ever even planned let alone worked upon. This is after speaking to numerous people who worked on the game on other systems or for the same system around the time.
It started when we emailed David Leitch, who was recently interviewed by Retro Gamer magazine for a retrospective on his work. We emailed concerning his work on the 32X around the time of Alien Trilogy’s development. Sadly he didn’t know anything about it so the search continued, via Greg Michael, who did the PS One version, Keith Burkhill, who did the Saturn version, Rob Hylands, who worked on the Saturn at the time and ultimately Peter Jones, who produced the lot.
Everyone answered except Peter and everyone was extremely helpful in providing any memories they had of the era and any names they thought might help us in our search.
Allegedly early development of the game is ‘well documented‘ but our own email trail would suggest that it wasn’t even known among people working on the game for other systems. In fact, it seems the only evidence of the game we have to go on is the December 1994 issue of Game Player’s magazine, where the game was listed as ‘fairly definite for US release’, which was obviously something of an exaggeration. There are some online screenshots of the game and a projected cover, but it’s difficult to ascertain how much they are home-made mock-ups or shots from other ports.
An educated guess would suggest that any planned version of Alien Trilogy didn’t get very far. The fact that the people associated with the other version have never heard of it implies it may have been mooted but never worked on properly.
My own instinct is that a 32X Sega CD version was mentioned, perhaps discussed by the producers but quickly upgraded to the Saturn once it was obvious that there was no future for the Megadrive add-ons.
Frank picks up the story in 2021, where Peter was put in touch with GTW and he recalled arriving at the development studio when the PSX, Saturn and PC ports were well under way around 1995. He had no knowledge of a 32X edition being in development, at least actively anyway.
FRANK (Jan 2021) – “It seems that Alex is probably right. A version may have been considered, but evidence is building that nothing much (if anything) was started. It would have made sense to focus on the Saturn and ignore the stop-gap 32X and aging Mega CD at that stage.
Peter was producer for the Saturn version, and this was just a port of the PSX version overall. He didn’t recall a 32x version ever being considered during the creation of the PSX version, which was the lead edition.
Interestingly though, Peter does mention that a SNES version may have been explored, as it allowed rotation and scaling. More on this development soon as we find out more details.”
The case remains tantalisingly open despite the high likelihood that the game never got past the discussion phase. If you know anything further about this game please get in touch!
We owe a big thank you to everyone who kindly took the time to answer our questions and emails, including David Leitch, Greg Michael, Keith Burkhill and Rob Hylands. Also Peter Jones, who found us in 2021!
With thanks to Ross Sillifant.