Well before it did work on such projects as Star Wars: Battlefront and the Battlefield series, DICE was known as Digital Illusions and got its start with smaller games like Pinball Dreams/Pinball Fantasies and Rallisport Challenge for the Xbox. Shortly thereafter, it would move into Battlefield 1942 and more entries in that series, but there was one project it worked on way back in 1994 that never saw the light of day.
That game was called HardCore, and it was actually set to move the Metroidvania genre to new heights well before Castlevania: Symphony of the Night could. However, the game’s publisher, Psygnosis, chose to scrap it, feeling that it wasn’t a proper fit for the market, even though hardcore Sega Genesis and Sega CD owners would’ve gotten a kick out of it.
But fret not, as the team at Strictly Limited Games has announced that it’s bringing HardCore back with a vengeance. The game is back in production, working off the original code produced by Digital Illusions, and set to release sometime in 2019 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Switch.
Originally known as Project HardCore, the game is all about exploring huge levels and taking on enemies with a serious amount of firepower. “Project HardCore (working title) is a eurostyle MetroidVania-platformer appealing especially to classic 2D-action-game enthusiasts with its intricate level design and numerous mid- and end-bosses. Vertical-scrolling Shoot ‘Em Up-stages, originally planned to be exclusive to the Sega Mega CD version, will also be integrated into the final version, delivering the most complete experience possible and bringing back memories of games like SWIV for the Commodore Amiga,” the company noted in its press release.
So how did it come back from the dead? The company notes, “In 2017, thanks to some fortunate circumstances and the help of some friends, Strictly Limited Games managed to locate a copy of the original build. Supported by some of the most talented minds and experts of the gaming industry, the two founding members Dennis Mendel and Benedict Braitsch have since then been working on the recovery of this retro-treasure for current-gen gaming platforms under the working title “Project HardCore”. Involved in this project are, among others, the long-time DICE-employee Mikael Kalms as well as members of the 1994 original development team, Fredrik Liljegren and Joakim Wejdemar. Additional support is provided by Matt Phillips from Big Evil Corporation, specialist in 68000-coding and all Mega Drive-related things, as well as by emulation expert Steve Snake, porting-ace Mathew Gambrell and level designer Gerhard Weihrauch.”
Fredrik Liljegren, one of the original members that worked on the project, noted, “I know the care, love, sweat and hard work that went into creating Hardcore it in the first place by all involved parties. Thus, I think it is fantastic that this product finally gets to see the light of day and for people to be able to play it finally.”
You can check out the game in action in the trailer above. It definitely looks hardcore to us...and the fact it’s reintroducing a piece of DICE’s legacy is pretty nifty. You can learn more about it on the official HardCore page!