Chess through the ages

1995 Black Legend

Platform: PC, Amiga 1200 and CD32

Chess Through The Ages is an unreleased chess game for Commodore Amiga 1200 and CD32 (possibly even PC – see further on). First kicked off in development around 1993 and eventually was set to be released in 1995 – it was never to be.

ChessScreen3

Heavily inspired by Battle Chess, the game was to feature decent animated chess pieces across a variety of different background styles. Some of the chess pieces look to have featured Star Wars characters too – including R2 D2 (not sure what licencing went on there).

The game would have featured rendered graphics, digitised live actors and five ‘time-zones’ with their unique graphical styles overall. The live actor animations would play the pieces on the board.

You could play in either 2D or 3D, with the 2D mode providing a standard Chess board rendition. The 3D mode would however allow for the different time zones.  These five zones would include Prehistoric, XIV Century, Napoleonic, World War 1 and Futuristic. The actors would then match the time zone accordingly.

As you took a piece in the game or performed a particular action, you would be rewarded by an animated sequence. Due to the potential combinations and scenarios, there would be around 100 animations required.

Development was carried out by a Polish development team called Union Interactive, who at the time were pretty new to the Amiga. Some suggested the game could have ran on a standard Amiga, though the inclusion of the rendered 3D graphics and live actors put a stop to that.

According to the preview in The One magazine, the development was complete at that stage – though the graphics were just being properly started. So, there was still plenty to go. There was concern about fitting the game onto floppy disk at the time due to the graphical work being carried out.

Although previewed in various magazines of the time, the game was never to surface along with another impressive Wolfenstein title called Switchworld (which we’ll try and get a page added for soon). Contributor Grzegorz Antosiewicz suggests that they may have had to halt development due to a year of mandatory military service.

This could explain why Union Interactive’s developments got caught up, and why ultimately they were cancelled. After a year, the Amiga market would have been a different scenario completely for them.

We’ve listed also a PC edition, as one magazine suggested that a PC version was on the cards – though in The One feature, it suggests that the team were only focusing on the Amiga platform at the time. Did they perhaps plan to do one later on?

Hopefully we will get to learn more soon about this development, and even possibly see something to play. If you know anything more about the development – please do get in touch.

With thanks to Grzegorz Antosiewicz for the submission and scans, and Stephen Stuttard for the hi-res The One scans.

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