Spirit Master

Cancelled game

Gwendolyne was my first fully functional real-time character. It was done by using Nichimen World 3.1. It was fully skinned and was made of approximately 800 polygons, which was pretty high for a PSX game at the time. This clothing style was inspired after the fashion I saw girls wearing at London's Slimelight Club. (They did not have horns though..!)

Spirit Master

This little known fighter from Acclaim London Studios (formerly known as Probe Software Inc.) appeared at the 1997 ECTS in London. According to Artist Miha Rinne, "The game's design was very ambitious. The [development] team used motion captured movements from real martial artists, weapons, spells, and slightly interactive 3D environment (you could fall off a cliff, there were hills to climb). The team was also pretty good though understaffed, George Allan (who did Venus the flytrap and switchblade2 for Amiga) was the lead programmer, Pierson Lippard and Darren Goodacre were the lead artists (and probably the best artists I've ever worked with)." Neil Maguire was also involved as a concept artist on the project.

Miha states "We had about 6 skinned characters with individual motion captured movement, as well as numerous spells, environments, and weapons. Problem was that because so much of the technology was new, everything had to be created from scratch, and during most time of the project we just did not have the tools to work with. Tools from Acclaim (when they finally arrived) were very first generation, and painful and slow to work with. Furthermore, since directors and executives at Acclaim and Probe were accustomed to quick conversions and licensed games with recycled concept and technology, they just simply could not grasp the idea that creating something new and ambitious takes staggering amount of times and resources. Spirit Master was seen simply as something that ate bucketloads of money and resources without giving immediate returns in sight. Well, we all know what happened to Acclaim and their fate shall be the testament for their shortsightedness.
It should be noted that Spirit Master was the pet project of Tim May, and it was approved by Probe founder Fergus McGovern before he sold his company to Acclaim. It was cancelled at the time when Fergus disappeared from the company."
Above are PlayStation Museum EXCLUSIVE screenshots from a work in progress version with three playable characters. However, you will notice 14 characters as a possibility to fight with. Pressing L1 or L2 will cause your fighter to sidestep. By pressing the R1 and R2 buttons on the controller, your fighter will power up with a weapon. Gwen powers up with two light sabres and Omega powers up with a light scythe. Special signature moves are evidently available for each character. For instance, Gwen will jump in the air and a laser will shoot diagonally downward and burn everything (this concept has obviously been influenced from another fighting game). The characters are quite large on screen. The movement is stiff, but I have played a lot worse fighting games. Animation is what to be expected from a Work In Progress. This particular version only has 3 fighters available, each character has an unlimited power gauge, and each fight is timed whereas it will reset to the main menu after a few minutes. This game has the markings of either a concept demo, or it was made exclusively for the E3 expo.


If you are able to add more information about the development history of this game, please contact the PlayStation Museum.

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