A Game Boy Color game named Infinity which was supposed to be released back in 2001 was finally released this month after 15 years. According to developers, about 90 percent of development of the game was completed back then but the project had to be dropped after the publisher Crave Entertainment backed out of it.
Releasing games back in 2001 on a Nintendo platform wasn’t an easy task at all, that too without a publisher. Even Steam didn’t exist back then and the difficulty of producing cartridges and their expensiveness led to the project to be dropped.
A statement on Infinity’s official website back in 2001 read, “Quality design and artistic talent gave way to statistical analysis.”
The statement was directed to the publisher Crave Entertainment who decided to pull out of the game at a very crucial point.
Designer of the game, Justin Karneges said, “My feeling is that they were never really that into the game, and they were stringing us along in order to try to hire us. There were several times when they tried to get us to abandon Infinity and join different game projects of theirs.”
Infinity was developed by a team of developers of which most were teenagers and the game was based on several popular games like Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana etc. The game was more of a kind of American tribute to some of the popular RPGs at that time.
Initially the team started the development of the game without a publisher. They did private financing for the project and started searching for a publisher. They also met with Square EA to discuss the project. (Square EA was the partnership between Electronic Arts and Squaresoft).
“EA was still making games for Nintendo platforms,” said Karneges. “And so I figured through their relationship with Square they might appreciate a Final Fantasy-style RPG.”
Although the meeting was an informal one, Karneges hoped that they would be able to get the big fish on board for Infinity. However, things didn’t work out as planned as he couldn’t meet anyone when he visited the office as it was deserted.
He said, “I just happened to pick a moment right after they’d moved away. Getting a publisher was always a long shot, but I sometimes wonder what could have happened if I’d visited a day earlier.”
After he continuously failed to set up proper meeting Infinity roped in Crave Entertainment in 2001. Crave Entertainment was known for publishing low budget games such as Casper’s Scare School: Classroom Capers, Tokyo Xtreme Racer, Jade Cocoon etc.
At that point Nintendo was on the verge of rolling out their next generation hand held Game Boy Advance along with popular RPGs like Golden Sun. This was one of the reasons why Crave Entertainment pulled out of the project leaving the developing team low on morale.
Writer Mark Yohalem said, “At the end, what’s the point? Why would we pick up and do the last 10 percent of the game? We can’t get a publisher, we can’t sell it, we can’t really distribute it.”
The team couldn’t even finish the remaining 10 percent of the game, which would have taken only a couple of weeks.
“Nobody could bring themselves to do that last push,” Yohalem added. “… It’s like getting into a wet bathing suit. As long as you’re swimming, you’re totally fine. But if you get out, you dry off, and you put on your pants again, the concept of getting into a cold, wet bathing suit is repugnant. I guess in 15 years, the bathing suit dried out. Justin was ready to get back into it.”
“Every few years we’d take a look at it and not make any progress,” said Karneges.
However the game was kept alive by composer Mathew Valente as he kept publishing videos on his YouTube channel. He always assured the fans that steps are being taken to release Infinity as soon as possible. He is also the person who kept the website of the game online since 2000.
In 2015, Valente said to his YouTube fans, “We don’t have the rights to it.”
“The only blocker to a free, unfinished release has been the team itself,” he added. “We did not have consensus amongst ourselves to do this until last month.”
There was also some talks about releasing the game as ROM on 2007. The idea, however was scrapped because the game was deemed ‘too old’ by that times standard. After that, Infinity remained untouched until this year.
Infinity was finally released earlier this month and the game is the same one of which 90 percent was completed back in 2001. However, the remaining 10 percent are only the pieces of the game which required final touch ups. Hence the developers have released a limited preview of the whole game along with warning that playing beyond the 90 percent might not be really fun.
A statement on their official website reads,”Maybe if we don’t finish the game anytime soon, someone else can.”
This means they have released the game’s source code for everyone to access and if someone’s interested in completing it can do so.
Kargenes finished by saying, “I can cross it off the bucket list.”
Fifteen years is a long wait indeed. (Via, Vice)
Have a look at Infinity’s trailer below: