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.
I asked Martin Piper about the annouced Sega versions of Alien Resurrection..
Martin:A Sega Saturn version of Alien Resurrection was being worked on, as far as I recall no Dreamcast version.
The Saturn version failed when the programmer was found to be wasting time by trying to hand code everything as one huge assembly file. It failed to progress beyond a technical demo, not a surprise really
PlayStation AVP running.(skip to 2:05)
Regarding Capcom bringing AVP to the Sega 32X ..
A claim made by EGM magazine…
Capcom USA ‘ s Chris Kramer was asked about AVP and Dark Stalkers coming to the Sega 32X in 1994..His reply:
There are going to be a couple Capcom games on the 32X. I’m not
at liberty to discuss either titles or availability, but I can
tell you that we won’t have any titles out until the middle of
next year at the earliest. Thanks for the interest.
Then after the 1995 E3 Press release by Capcom USA didn’t feature the 32X at all..he was asked just what Capcom had planned for the 32X and why it hadn’t been included on the list of formats Capcom were supporting.
He replied that as of that point in time, Capcom had NO FIRM PLANS for 32X they just remained a licensed developer.
There were claims circulating in UK Sega Press that Flying Edge were considering bringing MD Alien 3 to to Sega Mega CD if the add on sold well enough.
Could of been utter b.s..
No talk of any enhancements. .
But thought i would mention it.
Arcade Magazine never seemed that impressed by Alien Trilogy..awarding the PS1 version a mere ** out of 5 saying it suffered from general monotomy and Aliens that looked like theyt might fall apart at any minuite.
N.B:regarding the Jaguar AVP Scans from C+VG Preview and Atari Entertainment Magazine Preview:
These are from my own personal magazine collection and i paid to have them scanned.
I have only given permission to:Unseen64/GTW/Scott stilphen/AVP Galaxly and Atarimania to use them.
Just a small point:
The Computer And Video Games Jaguar AVP Preview scans were from my personal collection i have sat on for over 20 years and i paid to have scanned.
The only sites i gave permission to host these have been:
Atarimania, Games That Weren’t, Unseen64 and AVP Galaxy.
If they appear elsewhere without my permission, they will have been stolen in effect.
Looking back at Alien Trilogy, given that the game used sprite-scaling to animate the various Aliens and human foes you came across (very blocky and dissapointing as so much of the pre-release hype had been about Acclaim’s use of Motion Capture, which seems to have gone on the cutscene sequences instead), it does make me wonder about the games Mega CD/32X? origins…
The hardware in both ideally suited to handle such routines…
Thanks Frank, Appreciated.
Details of content removed from PS1 Alien Res:
Paul Crocker, Alien Resurrection Interview:
SG: In the game’s early days, there were reports that the hydrophonic gardens (from the exciting action sequence in the early movie scripts) were to be included in the game. Now it seems they never made it. What happened to them?
PC: Although these areas were built, they unfortunately didn’t fit in with the final direction of the game.
The misc Predator/Aliens+AVP Magazine content i forwarded to Unseen64, if anyone’s interested, can be found HERE:
Cheers Ross, approved comment so people can check out the link :)
Another AVP game that never was:
Bit of info with huge thanks to poster pato:
“Talked to Denis Gustafsson, an former Probe employer, he said that he never heard anything of Alien Trilogy being also on 32X, so I believe that it was either something that someone from Fox or Acclaim said or just a rumor.”
Cheers Ross! :)
Another UK Mag snippet…
Sega Magazine (under tagline Alien 4?) talked of Probe doing an original Aliens game, aka Alien War, but they went onto claim gameplay was akin to that of the coin-op, Space Gun, just with a little more depth, player being in charge of a squad of Colonial Marines, basic aim being to reach center of the Alien nest and kill the Queen…
Despite NO screens, they claimed ‘the very earliest of demo’s existed’….yet they didn’t list a format, so no mention of it being a MCD or std MD cart game…..
Chalking this upto more speculation than fact, but worthy of adding to archives…
Hello retrobrothers !!! I am here with a quest for U ! In a EGM mag, in a catalog that comes inside (don t remember the year…can be 1994) one of the games was for SEGA CD…Road and Track Need for Speed…I can remember a pic of the game preview and it was in a rock and roll racing view…rendered graphics… well…I can be mystake but u are great in the unreleased stuff so I have a hope of one of u show me that I was not crazy !!!
Can anyone help confirm Rapha’s request? Hopefully it isn’t blurred memories :)
Just to round things off…
I’ve seen claims the Mega CD version of Alien Trilogy was given a provisional release date of Nov’94 (but i’d wager not much was done before Probe realised the MCD hardware was not upto the task).
And speaking of unreleased Alien games:
Claims were that Capcom annouced a Sega 32X conversion of it’s AVP coin-op at Summer CES 1994 (along with Darkstalkers etc), but only after it’s existing planned Saturn games were finished and then in May’1995, canned ALL 32X plans.
Cannot confirm these claims though.
Be great to see the extra Mean Machines scans added to the site as well Frank :-)
Ah sorry Ross, had uploaded – but forgot to attach to the gallery! Fixed!
Just forwarded to you another scan from Mean Machines.This one, confirmed 32X version was history and 32X version’s original planned release date, Summer 1996.
Amazing research Ross, cheers for that! Adding the scans now :)
Mean Machines coverage/timeline as follows:
Issue 18 news story talked of Probe doing a game based around the 3 Alien films, provisionally entitled Alien War, Issue 19 has it down as Alien Trilogy and headed for the Mega CD.
Then in issue 23, we saw Acclaim claim Alien Trilogy was now headed to 32X….
Issue 25 game was listed for 32X and Saturn….
Mond you, issue 24 was claiming Fox were developing Die Hard Trilogy for MegaDrive, 32X and Saturn…
So where all these claims came from, i do begin to wonder.
MAXIMUM Issue 4 say game was originally conceived as a Mega CD and 3DO project, then 32X, before going PS1, Saturn and PC.
Should be noted that Playstation Plus ran a mini-news story on:Alien Trilogy II being confirmed for PS1.
Apparently during the interview done with Alien Trilogy’s director, Cliff B.Falls, he annouced work had begun on storyboards for a planned sequel.The FMV ending of Alien Trilogy set the scene for the planned follow up, and events at star of Alien Trilogy II would pick up right where 1st ended….
Game was to use same 3D engine and appear on Acclaim’s release schedule at some point in 1997.
32X according to one developer talking to EDGE: ‘It’s basically a tiny version of the saturn.The processors run a damn sight slower for a start and it does’mt have proper hardware assist for texture-mapping’
I wonder if developers thought a cut down version of Alien Trilogy was’nt worth doing as it’d have to be a Sega 32X CD game and how many people owned a MD, 32X and MCD?
I’d wager market was far too small to deem project viable.
And just emailed over PS1 E3 shots of planned conversion of Jaguar AVP by Rebellion.Only time i ever saw them, thought i’d share. :-)
Thanks Ross, just posting up now – been at PLAY this weekend, so a bit slow on emails :) Thanks very much! :)
I’ve just emailed over some mag scans for you Frank, in the laughable days when Alien Trilogy was down as a 32X/Saturn release (not PS1 1st, then Saturn owners having to wait).Laugh…as CGI renders are passed off as ‘in-game’…
Also, in later months Saturn owners lied to (again) as promised they’d be getting the ‘Better’ version, hence delay, so better visuals, special effects, extra large levels etc etc.
I’m surprised the Saturn developers don’t know anything more. The processor architecture between the Saturn and 32X is identical – 2x Hitachi SH2’s, with the 32X coming in slightly slower than the Saturn. If there was to be a 32X port sharing a code base would’ve been a solid starting point.
With that in mind I’d be amazed if Alien Trilogy 32X made it past the drawing board in all honesty. The Saturn version is a noble effort, but clearly struggles to keep up with its PlayStation origins – since it only uses 1 of the SH2’s this makes sense. Drop an extra 5mhz off the clock speed and they could well have wound up in all sorts of trouble making it playable.
Sadly it happens – I’m always amazed when artists from any sphere have a sketchy memory of their own things when I, as a fan, memorise everything about it – but it happens!
It’s like reading some of the stuff Steve Tyler and Joe Perry come out with about their music, and they link the wrong songs to albums and say some albums are ten years older than they are! It’s just not as important to them as the fans as they’re always busy with the next thing. I guess it must be similar for gaming – always the next project, so something comes in and goes straight back out and you just keep grinding away.
Shame though, thought it had nice potential as a story!
Interesting comments too – thanks for posting. Interesting stuff.
Thanks for this! Interesting stuff, more avenues to explore one day!
Motocross, Virtua Fighter and starwars were originally planned to join Virtua Racing on the MD using Sega’s VP chip, but costs were too high to make further VP chip games commercially feasiable so Motocross and Starwars changed to 32X, V.F going to Saturn, then finally ported to 32X.
Alien Trilogy is’nt the only high profile 32 Bit title who’s origins can be traced back to the Mega CD.Core Design talking to Edge a few years back talked of how Tomb Raider was dreamt up around 12 months before MCD BC Racers shipped, but they had issues getting the camera system to work etc.I’ll forward the very interview once i get the scan.