In a mysterious new video (h/t Polygon), an off-camera player navigates through what appears to be a prototype of Castlevania: Resurrection, a canceled Sega Dreamcast game from the early 2000s. If legitimate, this is the first time gameplay footage has been made publicly available.
The brief video appeared on a newly created YouTube channel and lacks a description. The disc is marked “11’ 5 ’99” and looks like a typical re-writable GD-ROM of the sort Sega commonly used internally for development and distributed to press in the Dreamcast era. It’s unclear where the person in the video obtained the disc.
The player loads up several areas from a debug menu but only moves the character with one hand, so it’s unclear if combat or other features are implemented. And while the main character takes damage from a few enemies, she also traipses through a lava pit to no obvious ill effect, suggesting much is left unfinished.
According to Unseen64, Castlevania: Resurrection would have followed Castlevania Legends protagonist Sonia Belmont and a new character named Victor Belmont as they traveled into the past to deal with Dracula before the events of the first game. While the game did make appearances during a private showing at E3 1999 and in the September 1999 issue of the United Kingdom’s Dreamcast Magazine, Konami quietly canceled it in March 2000.
“Castlevania: Resurrection was a game doomed from the start,” former Konami artist Jason Lee Elliott writes on his personal website. “The team itself had a lot of troubles when I came on board. Most of the team had only ever worked on sports games, so they had no idea how to make a 3D action platformer. The art team wasn’t very cohesive and couldn’t agree on a direction. The game had been in development for almost two years and had little to show.”
I don’t think the world missed out on anything mind-blowing when Konami sent Castlevania: Resurrection out to pasture, but that doesn’t mean archival efforts like this aren’t still vitally important to preserving video game history. We lose out on so much more than a few hours of gameplay when a major studio cancels a project. Kudos to the fans who continue to scrounge for information; it’s by their efforts alone that we continue to learn about these games.