1992 MicroPlay Software / Empire
Platforms: PC and Commodore Amiga
The MegaTraveller series were a set of sci-fi role playing games that were produced by Paragon Software for MicroProse and Empire Software. Reviews were however mixed, though the series did have its fans – so much so, Paragon must have thought that a 3rd game was necessary.
Well, ACE magazine (issue 50) spoke with F.J. Lennon about Paragon and various titles in November 1991, where it was mentioned that there was so much background material and information not touched, that Paragon could see no end to the series.
As a result, MegaTraveller 3: The Unknown Worlds was already put onto the drawing board, which was to enhance and expand on the MegaTraveller 2 engine. There were to be fifthteen-hundred new worlds to explore and there were to be three main plots to get involved in.
Space combat was to be radically expanded, so that the player would have a greater degree of control over the action, with more Wing Commander style interludes. There would be suggestions of the game also having game worlds that would be generated randomly, so that no two people would play the same game or explore the same universe.
MegaZone magazine (issue 26) gave a bit more detail as well, suggesting that you would control a group of up to ten characters overall, with plans for a brand new interface to be able to control the party’s actions in the game. The game would continue to utilize the PAL system, which would allow players to interact with nonplayer characters and ask for advice.
Not much of the game running was ever shown in the press, though French magazine Generation 4 did show screens after attending the CES in late 1991. However, eagle eyed contributor Luis Lodos spotted that the screens were actually from a game called Warhead from a few years previous. A mistake by the magazine, or was that game used to showcase MegaTraveller 3 for some bizarre reason?
Regardless – it seems that something of the game was being demonstrated. Questbusters magazine (Volume 9, Number 2) would also report from CES, where they suggest seeing the intro from the game.
Video Games and Computer Entertainment magazine (issue 45) had a bit more detail about the PAL system being used, but also stated that Marc Miller (co-founder of Game Designer’s Workshop and creator of MegaTraveller) had created a seven hundred page design guide for the game. A very ambitious development overall.
Later, magazines would include adverts for the game – indicating that the 3rd game was well under way. The advert stated that you would battle terrorist robot cargo ships, search for a magnificent lost city and attempt to save a kidnapped princess with a vast arsenal of weapons like plasma guns, laser rifles, energy weapons and more.
So what happened? It isn’t quite clear yet – though a report in AAB Proceedings indicated that by September 1993, MegaTraveller 3 was reportedly off the Paragon product list with both being monitored by Marc Miller.
Had the mixed reception to the second game soured excitement for a 3rd game, or were there other reasons at play? If you know anything more, please do get in touch.
With thanks to Damien Guard for highlighting and resource links, Luis Lodos for the screenshot flagging and archive.org for scans.