Fallout and The Outer Worlds co-creator Tim Cain has began a YouTube channel masking tales from all through his over 30-year profession within the video games trade. One of the vital stunning tidbits he is shared within the week since coming on-line is that the corporate he co-founded with fellow ex-Interaction Fallout luminaries, Troika, virtually made a Lord of the Rings RPG.

Cain nonetheless has footage of the demo he mocked up again in 2000. It is on the Arcanum engine, and even boots up with that game’s principal menu and shares a lot of its UI components. Curiously, it has this actually attractive pre-rendered background artwork like Baldur’s Gate as a substitute of the admittedly drab (however nonetheless charming) Fallout-style modular tiles of Arcanum. If I did not know higher, I would have guessed this was a prototype of Troika’s later Temple of Elemental Evil (essentially the most D&D of all D&D video games).

To listen to Cain inform it, Troika was contracted to make the demo by now-defunct writer Sierra after it acquired the rights to the LotR books (however not the flicks! A really familiar-sounding scenario). “Sierra favored what they noticed,” Cain mentioned within the video, “then determined to drag all the event internally. So we did not get to make the game.” Sierra went bust in ’02, and the LotR CRPG went the best way of the Dodo or the Jess Mariano spinoff of Gilmore Women.

Cain says the game would have adopted a type of “shadow Fellowship” clearing the best way for Frodo and the gang, which to me sounds so much like EA Redwood’s PS2 Lord of the Rings JRPG, The Third Age. Actually this one does not bum me out an excessive amount of to have misplaced on this timeline, although it does rule to gawk at a never-before-seen, prototype Troika RPG on Arcanum’s engine, or at the least it does for a freak like me.

In one other video, Cain does get right into a game from Earth 2 I actually do want I might have performed one way or the other: Arcanum 2: Journey to the Centre of Arcanum, which by no means acquired previous the design doc part. As an apart: you may peep a cheeky PC Gamer Editor’s Alternative medallion on the Arcanum large field Cain holds up⁠—it is definitely nonetheless this PC Gamer editor’s selection. Although if Troika had tried making a Source engine, first-person sequel to Arcanum, who is aware of in the event that they ever would have gotten round to creating one among my all-time favourite video games: Vampire: The Masquerade⁠—Bloodlines.

In one more video from this previous week, Cain reveals that the legendarily fraught improvement of this primary particular person vampire RPG was virtually much more bold: Troika proposed a multiplayer mode Cain affectionately refers to as “Counter-Chew,” where a group of vampires would sq. off in opposition to a group of Vampire Hunters to attempt to wake or stake a strong, sleeping, elder vampire. Activision (maybe very correctly) judged Troika had an excessive amount of on its plate already, and outsourced Counter-Chew to a different studio earlier than axing VtMB’s multiplayer component fully. Rapidly, battle royale VtM game Bloodhunt appears a lot much less of an “on the market” concept to me.

It is solely been like, every week, and Cain’s already blown this RPG fan’s thoughts a number of instances over with these candid appears to be like into his video games’ improvement⁠—and I have never even began the video titled “The True Objective of Vaults in Fallout.” Cain says he is entered a semi-retirement now, nonetheless consulting on tasks with Obsidian and different builders, and his Cain on Video games sequence is effectively value watching⁠—he is gotta do an episode on Troika’s Fallout-like put up apocalyptic RPG prototype ultimately, right?

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Isometric Gameplay of canceled lord of the rings game on Arcanum engine showing green fields, a river, and a hobbit hole door

(Picture credit score: Tim Cain)
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Isometric Gameplay of canceled lord of the rings game on Arcanum engine showing green fields, a river, and a hobbit hole door

(Picture credit score: Tim Cain)