Author Topic: More info on Chase HQ 2  (Read 1874 times)

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Offline ralferoo

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More info on Chase HQ 2
« on: 13:44, 29 January 13 »
I thought I'd do some further digging into Chase HQ and as I work with one of the Pang developers, I asked him if he knew anything about it. He gave me someone's name who was producer at Ocean at the time and so I've exchanged a couple of emails with him about it.

I'm going to do this post in two parts. First, what he's prepared to be quoted on and what I can infer from reading between the lines.

It's obviously a long time ago and he's worked on a lot of games since, so I can fully understand him not wanting to say categorically that the game had never been released, but he did say that I could post that "as far as he can remember, the producer on the product at the time believes the project was never finished and production on the retail cartridges never occurred."

Offline ralferoo

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #1 on: 13:50, 29 January 13 »
Just to re-iterate. None of this section is a quote, just reading between the lines.

I asked if maybe they were magazine review copies as they seem to be complete with box art and manuals, and he suggested that the art department at Ocean probably built the boxes and manuals based on production schedules and the final game code was probably just never delivered. From this, we can infer that the art department very much worked independently of the game production department. Normally, they'd both deliver at the same time, in this case it appears the artwork was finished but the game wasn't.

Apparently they did have prototype test cartridges with EEPROMs, so I'm assuming that these are what were used to send an early version to press for review and possibly made to look like retail cartridges - especially if his guess that the art department might have made the boxes and manuals in expectation of the game being finished is correct, they'd have had labels available.

Obviously, it's such a long time ago that he couldn't remember the specifics about why the game wasn't finished, but it's certainly his recollection was that it wasn't. Even with a poorly selling game, I'd expect more than 2 copies to have surfaced, so I'm very inclined to believe his memory is exactly right on this point, but I can understand why it's hard to state that categorically after such a long time.

I guess also this makes it super important that we get an archival dump of this game if the opportunity arises because it is therefore highly likely that these are in fact the only two copies in existance but also that as game was never finished, the current game on the catridges really wasn't representative of what the game could have been with further work.
« Last Edit: 13:51, 29 January 13 by ralferoo »

Offline Gryzor

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #2 on: 14:52, 29 January 13 »
Oh man, great job there... very interesting stuff, and thanks for your efforts! Here's hoping more will surface.

Just a couple of notes:

-Not sure what printing techniques they were using back in the day, but I'd be willing to bet my right arm that small print runs were (as they are now) done with much different procedures than large runs. Therefore, it would be possible to discern if a package was produced in a small qty or not. (why would the art dept deliver at the same time? I'd say probably quite earlier than the code... since the code is the big thing, flow-wise it makes much sense to just get the art done and wait for the code instead of risking it).
-would it be really possible, if they did produce a handful of packages for press purposes, to send them out without labelling them as such?

Online Bryce

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #3 on: 14:56, 29 January 13 »
On modern titles they tend to show real screenshots, so I could understand the printing being done pretty late nowadays. But back then, they usually did some non-screenshot art (which made the game look much more exciting than it actually was) and this could easily have been finished earlier.

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #4 on: 15:16, 29 January 13 »
Well back then it wasn't unheard of to even put ads in the magazines before the game was finalised!

Offline steve

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #5 on: 18:57, 29 January 13 »
I seem to recall adverts for CPC games in magazines that showed Amiga graphics!, as if that would be indicative of the graphics in the CPC version.

Offline TFM

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #6 on: 23:46, 29 January 13 »
Yes, right, for CPC games they showed nearly always screenshots and more often they were from AtariST, Amiga or even C64.
 
When you did see a CPC screen shot, then you did know that it is a good game  ;)
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Offline MartynC

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #7 on: 16:15, 01 February 13 »

A bit of extra info. I spoke to the game's programmer Ian Morrison about SCI when I was researching that article for Retro Gamer. Ian couldn't remember much about the game at all and didn't know whether it was properly released or not (although he seems to think it wasn't released). Here's the brief Q&A I did with him via email:


Me: The game plays very much like the Spectrum version. Was the game ported from the Spectrum to the CPC or vice versa?

Ian: Speccy first. I may be completely wrong but I seem to recall that [the CPC version] was completed too late for Christmas release as we focused on the Spectrum version first. I also think that projected market sales figures were not high enough to justify its release.

Me: The game uses a different 'race engine' to the original. Was there a reason for this, and was the engine you used a continuation of the one you developed for Enduro Racer, Out Run etc on the Spectrum?

Ian: You got it - all continuation of the same. I still remember being proud of 2D-3D raster road drawing algorithm. Sniff sniff. For an 18 year old it was something to be proud of.

Me: Ocean chose to release the game on cartridge for the new CPC Plus computers rather than the standard CPCs. Do you recall making use of any of the CPC Plus's advanced capabilities such as hardware scrolling or the increase colour palette?

Ian: Palette only.


I can confirm that the Spectrum version definitely came out just before Xmas as I got it for Christmas that year. I can also confirm that the CPC version I played is very similar to the Spectrum version - plays the same (similar speed, handling), sounds exactly the same, the only difference being more on-screen colour. I'd say almost certainly that the Spectrum version was finished, and then the CPC was quickly bashed out. Not the first time that's happened of course.


It's a complete mystery as to why only a few copies seem to have fallen into the hands of a mail order company. But I feel it's very unlikely that the version 'out there' is either 'pre-release' or an elaborate fabrication.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #8 on: 16:22, 01 February 13 »
Aw, thanks a bunch for your trouble and the info mate...

So it seems to me rather definite that it never saw even a limited release...?

Offline MartynC

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #9 on: 16:44, 01 February 13 »
No problem! What's so confusing is that everything about the game is 'legit' - the case, inlay, manual, cart etc. Just like any other Plus game release. The only oddity is a small printing error on the cart label, resulting in part of the 'S' missing. See this photo:
 
http://gx4000.co.uk/gamebase/images/specialcriminalinvestigations/chasehq2_1.jpg
 
I actually took this photo when I had James' cart in my possession.

Offline TFM

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #10 on: 23:15, 01 February 13 »
So what could be the source of that Carts?
 
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Offline Gryzor

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Re: More info on Chase HQ 2
« Reply #11 on: 17:38, 03 February 13 »
Marketing has been mentioned as a possible source...