Have Any Developers Ever Compiled and Released Collections of Old Alpha/Beta Builds for Retail?

by Hyper__Cynic. Posted on Aug 02, 2020    0    24

Basically what the title says. I was just reading about how Onimusha was originally planned to be for the N64DD. Development then began on a PS1 version which was about "50% complete".

I thought, how cool would it be to get a compilation of old unreleased concepts of games, early drafts of games and various alpha and beta builds to show the progression of some of our favourite franchises. I know these things leak all the time, but I don't understand why I don't seem to recall a developer ever making a compilation like this and selling it for 20 or 30 bucks. I mean, I assume a lot of you would buy something like this right? At least those of you interested in development would I'm guessing?

Would love to see what you guys think though and if there is anybody who knows of something like this existing!

(Also sorry if I'm rambling, enjoying my Canadian right to dabble in the devil's lettuce... I apologize!) <3



Most of the games that went through early access. Not collections of builds, but sometimes have some support so you can do an earlier version that your mods were still working with. Games like Minecraft and that wierd murder anime, school girls game.

TheYoungLiar 1

Shadow Warrior Classic Redux has early versions you could pick and play from. Always thought it was pretty neat to put those in.

Supposedly 3d realms also has the original Duke Nukem Forever 2000s build at 90 percent and have said they could put it out if they wanted. That's the one I'm waiting for, but i don't see it happening with Randall Pitchford bring in charge of letting that happen.

Dudensen 1

Not developer made, but there are several Half Life mods that aim to recreate early Half Life builds or restore cut content like this one


Tonkarz 1

It could be interesting to some, but the majority of those builds would have very little of value to 99.9999% of players, including those with a special interest in such builds or the IPs they concern.

People simply won't understand that these builds are buggy and boring because they are incomplete.

And even the people who can tolerate having to use a command line to set up a level before using it the teleport the player character to the level simply aren't going to keep at it for long enough to justify the purchase.

Mini-Wumbo 1

Don’t think so. I mean that’s literally releasing an unfinished game. And if a AAA studio did that I guarantee people would get mad, but not if an Indie studio did it.

namapo 2

I know Space Engineers lets you play the old alpha version if you bought the game on Steam, and I think AMID EVIL lets you play a prototype.

  Hyper__Cynic 1

Very cool! I didn't know you could play the amid evil prototype, I need to check that out.

assassin10 2

Do you mean something like Minecraft has? Its launcher lets you go back all the way to the May 13, 2009 version of the game. That's pre-alpha.

  Hyper__Cynic 2

Well, I just somehow happened to stumble upon the Double Fine 20th Anniversary bundle on Humble Bundle and it happens to have exactly what I was looking for. It contains 3 collections of prototypes that they've released. Really cool!

Somehow managed to answer my own question here so I'll take that life karma! Thanks for the comments guys :)

andehh_ 2

I think it's very niche.

In-progress games by nature are going to be very unpolished, unstable, and unoptimised. You can't just slap it in a box and ship it. It's not really a product.

Early Access works because its an evolving product but I'd say the majority of them don't really turn out great in the end anyway.

CapsuleJX 1

Early builds are pretty much only something you'd be interested in for documentary purposes rather than as an enjoyable piece of art, which significantly limits their commercial appeal; Hollywood doesn't even release rough cuts of movies most of the time unless the final cut was something that got messed with in a bad way during production. Releasing early or alternate takes/mixes on later reissues is pretty common in the music industry, but that's mainly because a rough mix of a song is still much more listenable than a beta version of a game is playable.

  Hyper__Cynic 1

That is a good point though, I don't know how niche it is, which is one thing I'm curious about. I have always been fascinated by video game development so to me it's a given haha

Evidently it's not a popular opinion.

  Hyper__Cynic 1

Well I'm aware you can't just stick the code in a box and ship it. They would of course have to make a runtime environment that's able to utilize the code. That's why it would cost money because it would require some development time to get it working to where a casual user could check it out.

Shardwing 3

The Exclusive Edition DLC for Gunpoint includes 9 prototypes of the game in various stages of development.

  Hyper__Cynic 2

Oh wow that's really cool! I just grabbed the base game when it was on sale, might have to grab that behind the scenes pack with the prototypes too! Thanks for pointing that out.

gumbenzoin 5

gsc released a prototype build of their game "stalker" due to fan requests. this was a huge deal when it first occurred, as this build was sought after for a long time and contains a wealth of unused content. many of the larger mods for the game utilize the content found in this build to various degrees

JpDeathBlade 5

Sorta related:

Double Fine has a yearly event they call Amnesia Fortnight. They take 2 weeks off and create a ton of prototypes for new games. It's a fun way to be creative and just kind of blow off some steam after working on the same game every day. They have released the final prototypes online and even have some YouTube videos walking you through the process.

HERE is the one for 2014 where they had Pendleton Ward, created of Adventure Time, run one of the teams. They have others on their YouTube channel but this seems to be right up your alley.

You can buy the prototypes on Humble Bundle too.

  Hyper__Cynic 2

Yeah I just posted about that, I happened to just be looking at the humble store after I posted the OP and bought that bundle just now! Absolutely amazing bundle, I owned a bunch of the games already but those prototypes are sweet.

I've always loved those game jams that various sites have, there are some brilliant ideas that come ouf of those.

demondrivers 5
  Hyper__Cynic 2

Damn that's really cool!


I think it's a cool idea in theory but to me I think for it to see any success it'd need to be free. With that in mind I think it'd be really hard for devs to justify putting times and resources into something like that. I dunno, it feels to me more like an extra feature you'd get on a DVD like a 'Behind The Scenes' than something you'd pay extra to see.

  Hyper__Cynic 2

That'd definitely be a cool "Extras" style thing to toss in these 'HD Collections' then. Obviously it won't be done because yeah, the dev time would be counter-intuitive. I guess I can dream...

giulianosse 12

Aside from very specific indie developers, I don't think any double or triple A dev will ever intentionally release something like that simply because there's zero incentive for them to do so.

Pros: a very very niche community of fans will be satisfied

Cons: only an infinitesimally small share of the playerbase will actually play them; it may have scrapped ideas or placeholder assets that the public was never meant to see (internal only); people will eventually bitch and whine because certain features were removed (people already do this with trailers, imagine if they had whole beta builds in their hands); it's not positive for the brand image to associate themselves with a unstable, unfinished and usually ugly pre-release footage... and most importantly, it takes time and resources.

  Hyper__Cynic 4

Yeah this was clearly one of those post-bongrip thoughts that was way more hopeful than I realized at the time. It is definitely a shitfest when you see fans complain about x,y,z in various games not being as it was at E3 or whatever.

I guess it's also different as I have dabbled in MMOs my whole life where Public Test Realms and Alpha/Beta access is a more common thing for the community as a whole to focus on.