An unfinished version of the announcement trailer for Kingdoms of Amalur MMO, Project Copernicus, has slipped onto the internet.
38 Studios - the now defunct developer - confirmed its authenticity.
The video is a mix of narrated cartoon-like illustrations and gameplay footage - the two styles blending into one another as the scenes chop and change.
We're given a montage of the playable races of Copernicus - broadly: elves, ogres, humans and dwarves - and offered a glimpse at some of the world's most dramatic sights: architecture, statues, geography.
We're even treated to a shot of an absolutely gigantic lizard-like boss whose flaming hand comes crashing down on the tiny adventurers below. In short, there's an evil attacking the world and you'll have to fight it together.
Copernicus is immediately reminiscent of World of Warcraft. Characters are stylised in much the same way, as is much of the world - maybe even more so. And Copernicus looks very pretty.
The game's creative director - struck off now like the rest of 38 Studios - was keen to point out that this was far from the trailer's final cut.
In fact, this was a "rough cut" to get the pacing right, Steve Danuser wrote online. "Pretty much every asset would have been reworked or replaced by the time it went final," he commented. The script had changed, too.
That illustrated, cartoon-like style was more than a gimmick - it was to be a recurring theme throughout Copernicus.
"The illustrated style showcased in the teaser was something you would have seen throughout the game," Danuser revealed. "Our cinematics team was packed with amazing illustrators, and we were using animation like this to introduce our races and tell little bits of history you'd encounter as you travelled through Amalur."
"Seeing this video posted online gives me a mix of emotions. On the one hand, I love this teaser and am very proud of the work it represents. On the other hand, it makes me sad to be faced once more by what could have been."Steve Danuser, former creative director, Project Copernicus
He added: "The finished teaser was intended to be released at the time of the MMO's announcement. It likely would have been accompanied by a video of gameplay footage, or possibly with a live hands-on demo depending on when and where it was first revealed."
38 Studios, the production company responsible for Kingdoms of Amalur and Copernicus, couldn't pay its bills, and so, closed earlier this year. Owned developer Big Huge Games went with it, although many of those staff may now be hired to work at a new Epic Games studio - light at the end of the tunnel, if you like.
For Steve Danuser to see this video online - aired by Kotaku, but also posted below - leaves a bitter-sweet taste.
"Seeing this video posted online gives me a mix of emotions. On the one hand, I love this teaser and am very proud of the work it represents. On the other hand, it makes me sad to be faced once more by what could have been," he shared.
"Anyway, I wanted to get these points across because it would be unfair to the cinematics or audio teams for anyone seeing this to think it represented a final version of a trailer.
"Even though it's really cool, it would have been spectacular by the time we were done with it. I wish you could see it with the same context we did on the inside of the studio, through the eyes of a passionate team that wanted to make something really special."
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