Unfinished Japanese PS1 Game Completed, Released Two Decades Later

Illustration for article titled Unfinished Japanese PS1 Game Completed, Released Two Decades Later
Screenshot: Magic Castle

In 1998 a small team of Japanese developers spent eight months working on a game called Magic Castle, which they sent off as a pitch to seven major publishers, including Sony. It never went anywhere, but thanks to emulators and the efforts of one member of the original team, we can now play it and enjoy it anyway.

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One of the team members, PIROWO, recently found the source code for the project—created on Net Yaroze—and decided to tie up its loose ends and release it to the public. This game looks cool as hell, not just for its isometric style, but for a number of very modern touches like a customisable UI and dynamic music.

This video is from a VHS the team first created back in ‘98 to accompany their pitch, which Sony loved—but then also blew by asking the developers to abandon Magic Castle and go work on something else, which they weren’t very keen on doing.

For more on the background of the game, Net Yaroze Europe have an interview with two of the original developers where they talk about stuff like how they got close to making the game with another “company that produces famous Japanese RPG’s, but then that fell apart as well.

You can download the game here.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

DISCUSSION

Being American the Net Yaroze was always this mysterious thing when I originally read about it back in the day. I don’t ever recall actually playing any Net Yaroze title, yet from my limited recollection of the limitations of Net Yaroze games this seems like it’s a rather ‘advanced’ game. Am I correct or just being slightly amazed at yet another game that could have been irretrievably lost was cleaned up and released by PIROWO?

One of the first roguelikes I remember playing was Azure Dreams and this game reminds me a lot of that title. However it’s dungeons were not as polished as Magic Castle. MC also appears to be multiplayer, which back in the day would have blown my mind for a roguelike.