- PAL release: N/A
- NA release: N/A
- JP release: N/A
- Developer: Zono, Burst
- Publisher: Virgin Interactive
- N64 Magazine Score: N/A
Virgin Interactive really wanted to get onto Nintendo’s “Dream Team” – a group of developers that got special treatment because Nintendo were interested in their projects. However, they could not come up with anything that they thought was special enough. One member of staff had a friend that was about to pitch an idea to Sony, but Virgin managed to get him on board and sent him to pitch his idea to Nintendo, who were impressed by the concept alone that Virgin Interacted were granted “Dream Team” status. The developer, William Novak, and his team, Zono, were put to work with Burst studios to develop the game.
Freak Boy was planned to be a 3D platformer with puzzle elements. It centred about Freak Boy, an alien that consisted of three parts. He could absorb powers that applied to his legs (well, tail thing), torso and then head – each power having a slightly different function depending on where it was applied. The goal was to use these powers to get through 25 different levels.
For a simple example, the drill power would let Freak Boy drill downwards if applied to his feet, break through objects in front of him if applied to his torso and drill upwards if applied to his head. A shooting power up would fire projectiles in different ways based on where it was. An armour power was just protection (usually a single hit would make you lose your highest part) and a bomb power would do nothing until discarded, when it would explode.
Unfortunately, internal problems at Virgin Interactive caused the project to be changed and restarted many times. As other projects at Burst got cancelled, staff were moved onto Freak Boy in what Novak called a “revolving door of producers”. Lots of interesting ideas, artwork and concepts were crapped by various producers and the hodgepodge meant that the code became an unstable mess. Virgin Media also went though multiple owners at this stage.
Eventually, Burst studios were sold to Electronic Arts (and were renamed Westwood Pacific) and Freak Boy was finally cancelled. A prototype of the game surfaced in 2015, and so the basic idea can be seen.
The prototype is definitely a rough one, as you would expect form its troubled development. There are little boxes that fire out the powers for Freak Boy to collect, and he moves around and hovers in a satiating way. There are a few small areas in the prototype and a few powers to mess around with.
The idea is really nice, and a large point of the game would be about using the different powers to navigate the levels. Freak Boy himself has quite a unique design. It’s a shame that the development did not go well.
And, finally, Freak Boy. What to make of it. it was confirmed, then cancelled, then confirmed, then cancelled and now it’s been confirmed again. But Virgin UK are remaining schtum (In truth, we’d wager, they don’t even know). So, expect another cancellation soon..N64 Magazine #9
Should it be finished?
It would be lovely for the designers to get a chance at fulfilling their original dream. It feels like it could have been a fun 3D platformer.
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