John Dark: Psychic Eye (lost build of cancelled PC game; 1995)

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John Dark.png

Status: Lost

John Dark: Psychic Eye is an unreleased PC game that was being developed by the Russian-American studio Animation Magic that also worked on Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans. It was to be their next project after Mutant Rampage, and their first project to be created in collaboration with Capitol Multimedia/CapDisc that acquired Animation Magic in December 1994.

It was to be released for PC first, and then ported to CD-i.

Storyline and gameplay

The game was to be about the adventures of a ghost hunter/private investigator John Dark confronting numerous foes. It was to be in 3D, and to have both puzzle and fighting elements.


List of .pcx files from Test.scn

The first mention of the game was in a February 1995 issue of the Dutch version of the gaming magazine CD-i, in the context of a private press conference, at which materials from the game had been demonstrated. However, CapDisc dissolved soon after that, and Animation Magic was acquired by Vivendi, so the project never came to fruition.

About a decade later, a former CapDisc employee mentioned the project in his interview, stating that they had seen some of the game's cutscenes and written the game's intro:

"John Dark was one of the last things I worked on there. I started writing a little sorta intro story for that, but got laid off in the grand restructuring before I finished, I think. I remember seeing some of the animation they'd done for that sometime later when I dropped by the office to visit the folks who were still left. I don't really remember even what sort of game it was - I think there were both puzzle and fighting elements to it. I'm still indirectly in touch with some of the other CapDisc folks, so I'll pass the request along. Actually, the "grand restructuring" is an interesting story, in case you don't already know it. In early '95, CapDisc merged with a company that had most of their staff in St. Petersburg, Russia. The people there got paid a fraction of what we did. Our management figured that we were all pretty interchangeable, and laid off half of us. The first sign that they'd made a mistake was that they had to hire back a bunch of people as contractors to finish the projects they were working on. The second sign was that most of us were immediately hired by their competition. The third was that, a few weeks later, half of the remaining people quit because all of their friends had been fired. They hired a bunch of new people to fill in the gaps, but they had lost a lot of expertise. On top of that, I heard that coordinating with the folks in Russia didn't go quite as smoothly as they had hoped. The company went down the tubes about a year later".

In addition, the "Test.scn" file in studio's another game Chill Manor contains a mention of numerous files with .pcx extension that have "Dark" in their name. This can imply that a large number of the game's cutscenes have been completed by the time when it was scrapped, and the game prototype may still exist in some archives.

An old post in a CD-i online group also mentions John Dark as a game due to release in 1996, which may also mean that the game was close to completion around this date.