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Thread: Does anyone remember "Picasso" game under development long ago?

  1. #1

    Does anyone remember "Picasso" game under development long ago?

    Since I solved my own puzzle, I'll strikethrough my intro. Skip past if don't want the initial words of the post. Completely bypass this thread if you struggle to read when there are more words than a tweet, or when strings of words haven't gone through the editorial police.

    I swear I remember a game being developed in around the late '90s or early 2000s called, "Picasso". Might have been mid-2000s. Anyone else remember and know who was developing it, and whatever happened to it? I've always been curious.

    At the time, I'd check probably IGN.com or Gamespot.com for the info, looking for an update on the scant info they had, but it never got updated. They always just had the game title and a tiny text blurb, I think saying something to the effect of it being a game where you'd be a thief stealing paintings in a museum or something. (Unless my mind is inventing descriptions, where it's what I was hoping for it to be.) Never saw any media for it.

    Eventually, the title just got entirely dropped from the site, and I've never been able to find info on it again. No Google searches have found it, and I just tried a couple gamer site searches in the Internet Wayback Machine to no avail.

    Sooo, just wondering if anyone else remembers this and has any info, since I feel it's in the stealth/Thief genre? I've always assumed the title got nixed or the developer went under, which happens a lot in the gaming industry. Either way, I'm curious. And it sucks because I was always really looking forward to learning and seeing more about it, but it never got updated info. Just a big mystery.

    ---


    EDIT!!! Ooh, I did just find this! I guess I never tried hard enough before: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...tendo_consoles, saying "Picasso" was being developed for GameCube by Promethean Designs, but got canceled.

    And if you look at the List of References on that Wiki page "#131" it says, ""GameCube Uitgesteld?". Power Unlimited. April 2001. pp. 15–16.", which links to a page that links to here --> https://gcgalaxy.tripod.com/GameCube/picasso.htm

    Which shows these screenshots (I've put them on imgur), which I'm pretty sure I've never seen before!





    The page also links to a promo video (http://n64movies.ign.com/media/previ...o/PICASSIO.avi), but it's a broken link. I was able to download the .AVI from the Internet Wayback Machine (1,024 KB) "https://web.archive.org/web/2000*/http://n64movies.ign.com/media/previews/video/PICASSIO.avi", but neither VLC, nor Windows Media Player can play it.

    BUT, now I was able to find this video on YouTube. Yayy!!! A pretty long video, too! --> https://youtu.be/IUAJbnMrsnE -- which may or may not be the same video as the promo AVI? Probably is.

    ---

    It's all coming back to me! I had a Dreamcast and Picasso was one of the titles I was really looking forward to hearing more about and playing someday! So when it got quietly nixed from the list of preview/upcoming games, I was bummed. All this time since, I assumed it was a PC game. No wonder I never found anything... it was going to be Dreamcast and other consoles.

    Good grief, so now knowing it was Dreamcast, I now easily find this old, big write-up at IGN... where they called it "Picassio", not "Picasso" -- and a header saying, "What would happen if you mixed GoldenEye with Half-Life and removed all the violence? Find out here" -- https://web.archive.org/web/20000620...ews/13902.html

    Going back to the GCGalaxy GameCube page I linked to a bit above, it has this brief write-up, as well:
    "You basically play as an art thief who has just been hired by a wealthy art collector to steal some incredibly expensive pieces of art. This art collector is out to prove to his friend, who is also a wealthy art collector that he has a better art collection. This supposed friend of the person who hired you will not be beaten that easily, so he also hires a thief to steal artworks. I imagine that at some stage you will have to confront this other thief or race him to steal a piece of art or maybe they have come up with something else, but I think there has to be something.

    "This game sounds unlike any other game that we have ever seen: it is a minimum violence, strategic, skilful, heart pounding, art-thievery action game. Maybe it will even fit into some kind of Sub-genre, like Action-Strategy or Action-thievery. I don't know what it will really fit into, but what I do know is that I want this game and when Dolphin comes out, and I get one (which I hope so), it will have to be one of the first games I get.

    "What I mean by minimum violence is that you only get a small line of weapons: a dart gun and chloroform. The dart gun will stun a guard for a short time, but once he wakes up he will just run off and get help from his friends. The chloroform will render guards senseless, but I betcha' you won't get much of that just sitting on the ground, waiting for you.

    "The Dolphin version of the game will include multi- player capabilities, enabling you to go against other thieves in an all out stealing frenzy. If Dolphin has internet capabilities than playing online is surely going to be a feature included.

    "Picasso is not only coming to the Dolphin, but to all of the Next Generation consoles. Of course, we all know that the Dolphin version will be the best. "
    ---

    Well, I guess I solved my own puzzle that I've thought about off and on for years. Hope some of you enjoy hearing about this, or maybe it's a walk down memory lane for some.

    PS: Here's a MobyGames entry for Promethean Designs: https://www.mobygames.com/company/pr...n-designs-ltd/. Its website was, www.prodesigns.com. The Main tab at MobyGames says it was also known as "East Point Software Ltd. (from May, 1994 to 1997)." The History tab at MobyGames says:
    * "May, 1994 - Company founded as a conversion house creating new versions of popular video games."
    * "1997 - Changed name to Promethean Designs, shifting the team's focus to the design and creation of original, triple-A grade games for all ages on..."
    If anyone has any additional info about the game or media from it, or knows why the game got canceled, I'd be interested in hearing. Thanks! I wonder if they saw Thief 1 and 2 come out and were like, "Dang, we can't compete with that. Game over, man. Game over!" and then canceled the production? Still, I would've really liked it if this got released. Would've liked to have played it. I wonder if there's a playable, unreleased demo floating around somewhere.

    I looked at the dev's old website... it has more screenshots, and they call it "Picassio" there: https://web.archive.org/web/20000819...reenshots.html
    Last edited by Darkness_Falls; 14th Jan 2021 at 02:17.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2011
    I read a very short article about it in a russian gaming magazine around the year 2000 and never read about it since then.

  3. #3
    Oh, cool, zajazd! Hope you liked seeing some updates on it via my post. Take care

  4. #4
    New Member
    Registered: Jan 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by Darkness_Falls View Post
    If anyone has any additional info about the game or media from it, or knows why the game got canceled, I'd be interested in hearing. Thanks! I wonder if they saw Thief 1 and 2 come out and were like, "Dang, we can't compete with that. Game over, man. Game over!" and then canceled the production? Still, I would've really liked it if this got released. Would've liked to have played it. I wonder if there's a playable, unreleased demo floating around somewhere.
    The project had a long development cycle: it started as a Dreamcast game, then it was postponed and passed through PS2 and GameCube. In all that time the only playable build that was made was a very basic one, and is the one that you can see in the video below: basically the character creeping about and some very basic AI. Most of the gameplay ideas did not get implemented at all. It seems that they started the game with a man protagonist in mind, but in later screens we can see a woman as the main character, so it could have been changed to appeal more to the young public.

    The project got radically changed halfway through development when the company boss saw the then newly released Shenmue and basically decided to copy it. Picassio then turned into a half adventure, half stealth type game but didn’t get any further than some character/level designs before getting canned.

    The company fell into severe financial difficulty and employees weren’t being paid for months. Subsequently they all left to work elsewhere and Promethean Designs went bust.

  5. #5
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    There's a lot of games like this, where you hear some blurb about it, get intrigued, and then never hear from it again. The one I remember that this reminds me of is a game about Mozart, but that was back around like 2003 or 2004 or maybe 2007 or so, and I can't even find a reference to it now.

    It may or may not be Mozart: Requiem or Mozart: Last Secret or Mozart: Conspirators of Prague, and those may or may not be the same game with different titles at different places or times, and it/they may or may not have been released last year.

    It/they at least don't look as intriguing is the blurb I saw almost 20 years ago now though, not enough for me to actually read up on what they are now and if/how they relate to what I read in the past. Time & game development are weird like that.

  6. #6
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Quote Originally Posted by Darkness_Falls View Post
    Since I solved my own puzzle, I'll strikehthrough my intro
    So the intent is to make it obnoxious and annoying for anyone to read the first few paragraphs of your post? That was the full extent of your thought process?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
    So the intent is to make it obnoxious and annoying for anyone to read the first few paragraphs of your post? That was the full extent of your thought process?
    Yes, that was exactly the intent. You're welcome! I'm sure there could be no other reason for me to keep it there. Thanks for trudging through. Much appreciated!

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