We had it all, over a decade of quality C64 games for our beloved machine, but it all had to end sometime. As the C64 started to make way for its 16-bit counterparts, titles were rushed and often there were shoddy ports towards the end. There was the odd gem though which made the C64 proud towards the end of its commercial life, and Rubicon was one of those titles which clearly had a huge amount of effort put in.
Rubicon was dressed to impress, with an array of phenomenally good graphics and reasonable gameplay overall. It got good reviews from the magazines, but sadly never got enjoyed as much as hoped due to the collapse of Hewson, and delays with its release under their new label.
None of this deterred the efforts and imaginations of the game’s creator, and a sequel was put into motion almost straight after the first game was finished.
The sequel was started initially for the Amiga, but consideration also was given for a C64 version. The game was to be coded on the C64 by a new set of programmers, whilst the first game’s original coders would concentrate on the Amiga version.
Joachim Ljunggren, known as The Sarge to many on the C64 scene, was allocated to the C64’s graphics like with the first game. Joachim got set to work on the game’s graphics, whilst also drawing up a series of plans and sketches to map out the whole game.
Sadly once the sketches and plans were pretty much complete, the game was cancelled and never progressed past ideas and initial C64 screens. It’s not known exactly why it was cancelled on all systems, and hopefully we will find out more soon.
In later years, The Sarge was in strong co-operation with C64.com. It is here where The Sarge had a gallery set up for all his work, which included previously unseen screens from Rubicon 2, and a whole series of scanned sketches. Thanks to Andreas Wallstrom, GTW was given permission to use and show these sketches within our own preservation of the game.
The Sarge has been in touch a few years later, and uncovered a very rare demo of Rubicon 2. This included a Zoom effect which was unused in Rubicon, and may not have been seen before, included as a bonus.
This is a very very early development demo which demonstrates the game graphics moving left and right. It is possibly one of the only code demos ever made for the game, but there could well be more and I’m sure we will bring this to you in the future if it turns up. The graphics are amazing anyway.
A potentially stunning title which was maybe a bit too late in the C64’s life…
Contributions: Andreas Wallstrom, @JamesPond47
Joachim Ljunggren spoke about Rubicon 2 on c64hq...
“After Rubicon we decided to move over to the Amiga. We hoped that the game we just had completed would sell truckloads and that the world would demand a sequel.
Well, Rubicon was not a success as far as I know but we decided to try anyway. Game making was fun! For some unknown reason we stopped developing Rubicon 2 right after all the planning was done.
These sketches were found when searching through old archives, and it’s mostly scattered drawings of level designs, weapons and vehicles.”
19/05/22 – Tidy up of the write up.