Pac-Man Ghost Zone (lost build of cancelled PlayStation 3D platformer; 1996-1997)

From The Lost Media Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Pmgz box-art.png

Mock-up of the game's box art.

Status: Lost

Pac-Man Ghost Zone was a 3D platformer for the Sony PlayStation that was being developed by Namco Hometek in 1997, but it was ultimately cancelled due to company politics and quality concerns.


The game revolves around a kid in an arcade wanting to play the hottest new game, but he can’t be able to play it because it was being used by many other kids in the arcade. A teenager then says to the kid, “Beat it. We were here first.” as he flips a coin to the kid and tells him to go play some Pac-Man. The kid then finds a Pac-Man arcade machine in one part of the arcade. He goes up to the Pac-Man arcade machine as he says “No 3D? No fighting? No blood? Where’s the fire button? This is so lame! This game is for my grandma. Eh, stupid old game, you stink!” The ghosts as well as the main antagonist: The Ghost Lord inside the Pac-Man arcade machine hears the kid rambling about how lame the game is. As a result, the kid gets sucked into the Pac-Man arcade machine turning him into Pac-Man. (This was because Namco did not allow Hometek to use the “REAL Pac-Man” in their game. So the team decided that the lead was someone turned into the character.) The kid has to go through 14 different worlds and defeat the Ghost Lord in order to escape the arcade machine. The game uses tank controls, which are very similar to the controls used in Bubsy 3D. And some of the levels in the game looked pretty unfinished.


In mid-1997, after a few appearances in a few magazines and trade shows, Bill Anderson, Scott Rogers and a few other Hometek members presented a demo of the game to Masaya Nakamura, the then-president of Namco. Nakamura-san loved the concept, but despised the actual game, storming out of the room and swearing after seeing the gameplay.[1] The group got quickly escorted out of the building after that. Despite the negative reaction, Nakamura-san allowed the game to continue in production, but slashed the development schedule in half, leaving the game to be rushed. After a second meeting with Nakamura-san, nearly all of the Hometek staff, except for one designer; Scott Rogers, one programmer; Gil Colgate and one artist; Neil Strudwick, were fired as a whole and so the game was cancelled. The game would later be reworked from scratch with the few remaining staff members under entirely new management. This improved version would be released in October of 1999 under the new title: Pac-Man World.


Since its cancellation in 1997, a single prototype of the game emerged in the hands of the PlayStation Museum in December 2009. And as of the time of writing this, it has yet to be dumped and released online.

On June 3rd, 2021, most of the game’s art assets such as the 3D models, sprites and textures have been recovered by Namco Hometek 3D Artist; Bernie Bernstone and released by the Gaming Alexandria.

In September of 2021, on the VG Resource Discord, user R7CrazyCanucks made a shocking discovery when he was collaborating with Discord user RaccoonSam in making an extractor for Pac-Man World for the Sony PlayStation. R7 managed to find a bunch of leftovers from Pac-Man Ghost Zone hidden within the game’s files including a ton of textures and sprites that were used for the game, even some that were missing from the Art Assets, and only a few leftover 3D models and levels. Some of which were documented on The Cutting Room Floor.[2]

On April 19th, 2022, Bill Anderson (The lead designer for the game) has found and dumped an E3 rolling demo of the game. Although it doesn’t contain actual game logic, it plays a video showing off clips of the gameplay and the opening cutscene as seen in some footage from E3 1997.



Art Assets/Model Renders


Gameplay footage of the early prototype from the PlayStation Museum.

Gameplay footage of the early prototype in the First Person camera mode.

E3 footage of the rolling demo and the game in a much more complete state.


MrBones' video on the subject.

See Also

External Links