An unsanctioned peek at the early development stages of a video game is always interesting, even if that game is Ryse: Son of Rome, the failed launch title for the XBox One. Though it came out in 2013, the game was in development at Crytek all the way back in 2006, and was originally intended for the XBox 360. And that’s not all…
Apparently in early development, Ryse went by the name Codename: Kingdoms (possibly a temp name) and it was a first-person hack-and-slash, not a third-person adventure. The prototype seen in the below video was discovered on a 360 development kit won in an auction. It’s proof that games don’t typically look pretty until they’re nearly complete.
The opening cutscene, meant to establish the tragedy that sets this Roman soldier on his mission of revenge, comes off as laughable: two mannequins with almost no animation float up to the player; then a bunch of thuggish piles of polygons barge into the room and throw them around like the rag dolls they are. Having lost his plastic family, your enraged hero takes up his sword and shield.
As the demo continues, things get incredibly surreal as the Centurion teleports onto a large sea vessel and starts struggling with invisible enemies that don’t exist via quick time events, all the while grunting and yelling. There is no water in the bay because it hasn’t been programmed in yet, but the ship sets sail anyway — and then it disappears, sending the Roman plunging into the void until he teleports again to a texture-less, half-finished landscape, where all he can do at that point is wander around.
Whatever this prototype was meant to be, it would eventually turn into Ryse, and then into worthless landfill filler.