The history of video games if full of forgotten titles. Most of the time, they are game projects cancelled before completion. But, sometimes, full and complete games are cancelled just before their commercial release. We call them "unreleased games", as they are waiting to be be discovered by historians or collectors who can reveal their existence to the world.
Today, Ludoscience is proud to present you an "unreleased" PlayStation game called X-PO : 2089 Cyber Revolution. This game is also available on PC, in French and Japanese. You'll find links to download the three versions of the game at the end of the article. Meanwhile, we would also like to tell you the history of this unique game.
At first glimpse, X-PO looks like a traditional 3D platformer game. In 2089, you are playing as Koji, a hero tasked with the mission to protect Internet from an evil entity. You'll explore many levels in search of several objects and information that will guide you through the story. The player character can jump and punch, but the most efficient method to get rid of the enemies is to jump over them, like a famous italian plumber!
What makes this game stands out from the others is the nature of the objects you'll collect in the levels. For example, the first level tasks you to develop a photo, and explains you how photography was invented in 1827 by the French scientist Nicéphore Niépce. Later in the level, you'll find a film roll, and the game will then explain you how the French Lumière brothers invented cinema. During a water level, you'll have to find the missing propeller of a submarine invented by French diver Commander Jacques Cousteau. In another level, you'll meet Lucy, one of the oldest fossilized human skeleton, discovered in 1974 by Americans and French researchers. Among others examples, you'll also have to avoid getting hit by a Foucault pendulum, and to help a TGV (french type of high-speed trains) stuck on its rails.
Long story short, this game, while being quite fun, is also educational. This dimension is perfectly presented by one of the sponsor of the project: the then-President of France, Jacques Chirac. During the speech he gave for the official announcement of the game, he said: "It is an action game, mainly aimed at children, to talk about France: the role of our country in the great discoveries throughout History, but also how the country is participating in the recent technological innovations."
Developed by the French studio Kalisto, X-PO is scheduled to be released in Japan in 1999, during a major cultural event: the Year of France in Japan.
In order to present France to Japanese people, the Year of France in Japan took place between April 1998 and March 1999. It gathered a high number of cultural events (more than 500 in a year), such as several art shows, an agriculture expo dedicated to goods produced by French farmers, and several conferences by French Nobel Prize winners. Meanwhile, Kalisto is tasked by the organizers of Year of France in Japan to create a video game to be released during the event.
The original plan is to release the game to retail stores in Japan, on PC and PlayStation. Unfortunately, Sony quits the project during its course, thus cancelling the release of the PlayStation version, although its development is fully completed. The PC version is planned to be published by NEC, via its NEC Interchannel subsidiary. Sadly, NEC changes his mind and, instead of selling the game, it decides to give it away during some kind of promotional event, and also through some games magazines. Therefore, the Japanese PC version of the game, the only one to be actually released officially, is very rare today! Last but not least, a French PC version of the game is also developed. Kalisto seeks to get it published in France, but, unfortunately it never happened due to the crash of the "Internet economy" in the beginning of the 2000's. Alongside many other IT companies, this financial crisis sadly forced Kalisto to close doors in 2002. Kalisto was then one of the leading and largest French video game studios, with over 300 employees all over the world (France, USA, China).
You'll find below links to download the different versions of the game we are currently aware of.
Download the PlayStation version of X-PO 2089 [French Version - February 10, 1999]
Extract the content of the .zip file to find a CD image of the game in cue/bin format. You can play this CD image in any PlayStation emulator you want. Beware, some emulators may suffer from graphical glitches or problems to run this game. For example, ePSXe is unable to display the "question" screens at the end of each level: if you encounter a black screen, the game hasn't crashed, you simply need to press one of the gamepad button (circle or cross) several times to answer the questions and go to the next level.
However, the game is first and foremost designed to be played on an actual PlayStation. You simply need to burn the game onto a CD and insert it in your console. If your console has a "mod-chip", or if you are lucky enough to have a "debugging Playstation" able to read CD-R, you'll then enjoy X-PO the way it was meant to be released!
Download the PC version of X-PO 2089 [Final French version - March 03, 1999]
Download the PC version of X-PO 2089 [Final Japanese version - March 03, 1999]
Extract the content of the .zip file to find a CD image of the game in .iso format. You'll then have to burn the game to a CD, or to use a virtual CD device, to install it on your computer. The game is originally designed to run on Windows 98. It also runs on Windows XP and Windows 7, but may have some compatibily issues.
To play the game on Windows XP, Windows 7, and above, you'll certainly need to do the following actions:
- Copy the content of the "WinXP & Win7 Compatibility Patch" folder (included in the .zip file) to the installation folder of the game.
- Add the parameter -D3D when running the game .exe (create a short-cut, it'll be easier).
- [Windows 7 only] Change the name of the file "dbghelp.dll" located in "C:\WINDOWS\system32", AND in "C:\WINDOWS\SysWOW64" (if are on a 64bit system). You can change its name to anything you want, just make sure the game can’t find it.
N.B.: Please note that none of the two PC versions of the game have ingame music, while several music tracks have been developed for it, as you can hear in the PlayStation version. This is obviously due to the PC version using CD-Audio tracks, that are missing from the versions of the game we managed to uncover so far (but it should be possible to convert the music tracks from the PlayStation version to add them to the PC version, if anyone feels up to the task).
If you want to learn more about the history of this quite unique video game, we have interviewed seven persons who participated in the project, and wrote an in-depth article (in French) that you can find inside Pix'n Love magazine #28. Available online for 9.90€, this issue also tells the history of some famous games, such as Pokémon, Virtua Fighter and Nightmare Creatures. Our article is only available in French for now, but if anyone is interested in it, we might translate it into English (contact us if you're interested).