Xtron was due to be released by Diamond Software, along with various other releases, Diablo, Hollywood Poker and Kaos. However, it seems only Diablo received a release, judging by entries on Lemon64 and the preservation site, GB64. That means that Xtron, Hollywood Poker and Kaos are all ‘Games That Weren’t.
The games were due for release on disc and tape, with Hollywood Poker and Kaos due for release on the Atari ST and Amiga, but again I can find no evidence they ever made it into the shops. There was a version of Hollywood Poker on the Atari ST, but by a different company.
Xtron was described by Diamond Software as a ‘Roll playing game’ in an advert featured in Zzap! magazine. Presumably they meant ‘Role-Playing Game’, unless the game was based upon dice rolls made within the game. Such an obvious mistake may provide a clue as to why the game was never released. The general terminology employed by the advert is quite colloquial, with the description of Diablo starting off ‘It’s quite simple really’. While this approach would make a certain amount of sense in that you’re appealing to young readers and you will want to engage their attention easily and quickly, perhaps it also points to a small company, perhaps run by only a few people without much capital, and as such they quickly went under after releasing only one game from their release slate.
We don’t really know anything else about Xtron; the rest of its description merely states that it was ‘tremendously addictive’. We do have a cover shot though, and presumably all the Diamond Software games did reach at the very least a playable level, if they weren’t actually finished.
It seems like the story of Xtron and Diamond Software is typical of a number of games companies in the 1980s, where various problems meant that an initial slate of games releases was never fulfilled.
Can you help us?…
Contributions: Peter Weighill