New Geist Force Dreamcast prototype, in the heart of the milky way
Geist Force was being developed by a new in-house team of developers at Sega headquarters in Redwood City , CA. They were new and relatively inexperienced. This is probably one of the reasons they took so long and why in the end the game was not rated as good enough.
Geist Force's cancellation was due to the game's budget overrun. Japan were unhappy with the title's progress after 18 months of development. Sega Japan decided to stop funding and took the opportunity to cancel all other Sega of America (studio name) games in development.
“I worked as an internal tester at Sega, their headquarters in Redwood City, CA (we then moved to San Francisco ). I tested a few new games there. When I started, the very first one game I was put on was a Dion Sanders soccer game for Saturn that ended up getting canceled. I also tested a shooter for Dreamcast called Geist, which was supposed to look like Star Fox 64 , but it was also canceled "
"If only he hadn't had such a difficult development journey, he probably would have been a success!"
"Geist Force has been canceled because its development took A LOT too long and was not going well. Development started long before the Dreamcast launched and was no further ahead than what we see in builds when the Dreamcast was on the verge of dying out. It's a shame because it could have been a really cool Star Fox clone. "
My trailer including, the intro, stage 1, stage 5 and a new cutscene!
The game Geist Force certainly helped inspire a "spirit" (German translation of geist) of optimism for Sega when it was unveiled in 98 at the Tokyo Game Show . The visual effects of this sci-fi shooter were breathtaking. Nothing had sparked more interest in Sega's new console than these previews of Geist Force . We unfortunately know the rest ...
Video presentation at the Tokyo Game Show
Overall the game is really reminiscent of Starfox . The player evolves on the screen when seeing his ship from behind. It is then necessary to face the adversaries who arrive in waves.
This prototype suggests a game that still had some great trumps up its sleeve. We Weren't Going to Say No to a Lylat Wars Clone ! Kill the most enemies with a single missile shot, we would have asked for more !!!
Geist Force was not going to revolutionize the genre. Some ideas were good, like the possibility of destroying part of the decor. We were going to put people on the streets by destroying their houses!
With a good calibration of the difficulty, an adjustment of the number of enemies present at the same time (there are not enough of them), a tweaking of the graphics, it could have been a good game, especially for one of the first to have to go out on Dreamcast. He could never have dethroned the Nintendo juggernaut.
Information meteor shower from the Kuiper belt
History does not tell us if the Voyager probe encountered Geist Force spacecraft in infinite space.黃心健 Hsin-Chien Huang , the game's artistic director, passed them on his way:
"I was the artistic director in charge of 6 artists + 1 artistic director. The studio, called SEGA of America , consisted of 4 programmers, 2 game designers, 1 producer, 8 artists. "
The storyline was based on a human who arrived on a planet and befriended a local alien. Then a strange creature that had the ability to turn a machine into a monster appeared. So the human and the alien allied to fight it. The model of the game was Star Fox.
"All the artistic elements were done, the basic flight mechanic had been implemented, so that you could fly through all the levels. 2 maps had been made by the programming team (also with the boss of each level). The 6th was to take place in space. It involved special flight mechanics and was not completed. "
"It was fun working on this game. I am very sad that it was canceled, because I think it could have been a great and fun game ..."
Inspired by Alien films and some Japanese manga, the Team's mission was to create a 3D Shmup on Dreamcast. This Rail shooter was unfortunately canceled. The reason was that the management had decided to close the studios after the end of the development of Geist Force. But this information leaked and the programming team decided to quit before being fired.
"Game development is about solving a continuous succession of problems."
Another major info, a 2-player mode was planned, he confirms to us. Probably for Adventure mode!
Finally, he offers us 2 videos related to Geist Force. The first was the initial animation proposal for the game (at 1:00). The second is a technical setup video.
Geist Force, initial proposal animation, video presentation at E3 1998
Geist Force, technical configuration video
After research, the original animation proposal video is the one used at E3 1998 to present the game to journalists. Bernie Stolar had said it was in real time when it was wrong. The trade press had been disappointed when they saw Geist Force at TGS 98 a few months later. An old article mentions a stint of a few seconds with a giant spider in a canyon (0:57) as well as floating islands with towns built on them followed by a fight against a species of jellyfish (2:08).
Music for Geist Force Dreamcast was taken from the prototype. Audio uses the same format as the Saturn SDK. There are 5 different tracks. These are catchy electro sounds that stick well to the spirit of the game.
Geist Force Dreamcast Original Sound Track (Youtube)
Text and audio dialogues
All lines of text and audio dialogue, in Japanese, are present in the game files. Many of them are unused.
While testing the prototype, STAGE 6 is empty, it is not finished. This level has its dialogues which make it possible to understand, to interpret the unfolding of the mission as if the development of Geist Force would have been to the end. We also learn the name of some areas. Here is an example :
stage6,L6C1E1D1,L6C1E1.STR: Alpha Team, you've come this far. Our reconnaissance team has confirmed the presence of an enemy base on Boreas, the largest moon of the planet Susania.
stage6,L6C1E1D2,L6C1E1.STR: Intelligence suggests the enemy is regrouping inside the moon.
stage6,L6C1E1D3,L6C1E1.STR,この第７艦隊は周辺の敵をおさえる 君たちはボレアス内部に潜入し、敵基地を襲撃せよ 健闘を祈る
stage6,L6C1E1D3,L6C1E1.STR : This Seventh Fleet will control the enemy in the area. You must infiltrate inside Boreas and storm the enemy base.
Stage 6, L6C1E2D1, L6C1E2D1.STR, Boreas...? Mother Moon...
stage6,L6C1E2D3,L6C1E2D3.STR, you remember my mother was digging some ruins in Boreas, it was like a communications facility, but in the end, I don't know, the civil war was over and...
stage6,L6C1E2D4,L6C1E2D4.STR, What's up now, these ruins?
stage6,L6C1E2D5,L6C1E2D5.STR,They were locked up and left alone. Every time Mom looks at the moon, she says, "I almost knew."
You can download the Geist Force dialogue pack below:
As for the dialogues, many of the textures present on the GD-R are not used in game. It is possible to imagine unknown environments, new characters and even what the end of zone bosses could look like with their different transformations.
The 12 different characters (Icon during the dialogues):