Tron Evolution

One of the most underutilized properties in all of entertainment is Tron. It's such a cool concept that lacks proper exploitation in the realm of film, TV, music and especially video games. In the realm of games, there was going to be a very different Tron game made by the developers of F.E.A.R 3, Day 1 Studios, compared to what we got in Tron: Evolution.

Eurogamer did a write-up based on an Unseen64 short documentary centered around Day 1 Studios' Tron game that never was. A prototype of the game was created, but they were underbid by Propaganda Games who eventually went on to make Tron: Evolution, which is a surprisingly addictive game thanks to the seamless blend of being able to hop back and forth between multiplayer and single-player during the campaign mode. Day 1 Studios, however, came off of the tumultuous development of Fracture for LucasArts, lost the bid to Tron and then went on to knock it out of the ballpark with F.E.A.R. 3 for Warner Bros., Interactive Entertainment.

According to the reports, Disney was so secretive about Tron: Legacy at the time that they wouldn't allow developers to take a look at concept art for the movie. Instead they let developers craft their own vision for the game, and Day 1 Studios' Tr2n: Liberation was based on the visuals used in the original film. The game's single-player mode would be similar to Tron: Evolution's multiplayer arena mode, insofar that players would be able to ride the lightcycles or run around on foot at the press of a button.

The lightcycle battles would be similar to other games in the series, allowing players to destroy opponents by walling them off with the light walls, forcing them to crash. There would, however, be a jump button made available so players would be able to leap over the walls with ease.

The biggest separation between Day 1 Studios' take on the game and Tron: Evolution would have been in the disc battles. In the case of the latter, the battles involved multiple opponents, and players were required to duke it out using various combos and special attacks, while also dodging and counter-attacking enemy attacks- similar to Assassin's Creed or the Batman: Arkham games. Day 1 Studios would have focused more on one-on-one fights, using timing, precision and calculated combat prowess to overcome opponents, similar to what was featured in the original Tron film.

The idea was that the discs would have been more dangerous in Day 1's game, requiring more finesse and critical reflexes to avoid being killed, as opposed to the hack-and-slash system employed for Tron: Evolution. On the upside, I can at least attest to the fact that Tron: Evolution's combat system is still extremely fun and a total blast to play, but it would have been just as cool to see what Day 1 Studios' system would have looked like in its finality.

You get hints and glimpses of how a more fatalistic, single-hit combat system would work in Tron: Evolution when using upgraded discs that can disperse enemies in a single hit, but the more "tennis" oriented design of Tr2n: Liberation seemed really cool, and it's a shame that it didn't come to fruition.

They do showcase a little bit of the prototype footage in Unseen64, where they breakdown what went wrong, what didn't happen and what didn't come to fruition.

Some gamers really wanted to see Day 1 Studios' vision of Tron come to life for the home consoles and PC. Others were fine with what was delivered by Propaganda Games. In my mind, there's no such thing as having too many Tron games and the more of them, the merrier.

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