Superman: The New Superman Adventures (found build of cancelled PlayStation port of Nintendo 64 action-adventure game; 1999-2000)

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Supermanps1.png

Still image from gameplay footage.

Status: Found

Date found: 28 Nov 2020

Found by: Richard Evan Mandel

In 1999, Superman: The New Superman Adventures was released on the Nintendo 64 by Titus Software, a now-defunct French-based studio. Also known as, Superman 64, it was met with an overwhelmingly negative reception for buggy controls, bad graphics, and terrible gameplay.

Soon after its release, Titus commissioned BlueSky Software to commence work on a PlayStation port of the Nintendo 64 game. However, since the PlayStation couldn't handle the free-roaming Metropolis of the original, BlueSky had to re-create the game from scratch.

Development

The development of this PlayStation version had progressed far enough that magazine ads were published, pre-ordering made available, and the game was being officially licensed by Sony Computer Entertainment America.

However, BlueSky lost rights to the Superman franchise, forcing them to cancel the game in order to avoid copyright issues.

Findings

Since its cancellation, glimpses of the game had been seen out in the wild on several occasions. The first being a prototype recovered by the PlayStation Museum, who released two seven-minute clips in 2007 and 2011. Another had been seen at a game prototype enthusiast forum ASSEMbler Games on January 14th, 2014. One ASSEMbler Games forum-goer, Richard Evan Mandel, had provided an intimate look into the prototype's internal files, including the SLUS code, via a physical disc of the prototype that he had acquired in an auction the previous year. However, a feud broke out between Mandel and the rest of the forum when he asked for a cash sum in exchange for releasing the prototype, with the fight ending in Mandel breaking his disc, wiping his backup ISO, and reformatting the drive it was stored on, seemingly destroying any chance of that copy being ripped and uploaded. In the summer of that year, another ASSEMbler Games forum-goer provided unique footage of a prototype version of the game dated June 22nd, 2000.[1] On that same thread, another member disclosed that he had possession of that same prototype but misplaced it.[2]

On October 7th, 2018, user dizzzy uploaded one of the prototype betas of the PlayStation port onto Archive.org.[3] The newly found beta dates back to October 29th, 1999, and contains 9 levels, up to the "Brainiac" level.

On November 28th, 2020, Mandel made a now-deleted journal post on his DeviantArt page, "DigitalExplorations," explaining his side of the feud from 2014 and revealing that he had managed to recover the wiped backup ISO the previous spring using iCare Data Recovery, a piece of software designed for recovering accidentally erased digital files. At the end of the journal post, Mandel includes a MediaFire link to a free .rar file containing the recovered ISO, thus allowing the 2000 build to be publicly available for the first time, six years after the ASSEMbler Games feud that had stalled its release.[4] While Mandel eventually deleted his journal post and the download link, the ISO was reuploaded to the Internet Archive on December 1 by yorkiewastaken.[5]

Known Available Footage

PlayStation Museum's video on the PlayStation port.
Part 1 of gameplay footage.
Part 2 of gameplay footage.
Part 3 of gameplay footage.
Trailer for the port.

References