Die Hard 64 (found builds of cancelled Nintendo 64 movie tie-in game; 1999-2000)

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DieHard64.png

Fan made cover art for the game.

Status: Found

Date found: 30 Aug 2017

Found by: 10ahu

Die Hard 64 was an unreleased first-person shooter video game in development for the Nintendo 64 throughout 1999 and 2000 that was based on the Die Hard film franchise. The game was developed by Bits Studios and was set to be published by Fox Interactive.

Development History[edit | edit source]

Prior to the Nintendo 64, British developer Bits Studios had a positive working relationship with Nintendo. The company had developed near-exclusively for Nintendo platforms throughout the entirety of its history, with Nintendo even going so far as to publish some of the company's games, such as R-Type DX and Warlocked. Based on this, Bits Studios were contracted to develop three titles for the Nintendo 64: a military themed-shooter named RiQa, a stealth-based heist game named Thieves World, and a first-person shooter named Die Hard 64.[1]

Die Hard 64 initially began life as an original IP titled Muzzle Velocity, in which the player-controlled a SWAT team member named Jack who was tasked to suppress a crime wave taking place in Los Angeles. However, Muzzle Velocity as a premise didn't last very long, as Bits Studios soon partnered with Fox Interactive to publish the game, and were required to instead base the game on of Fox's films. The game was initially set to be based on Speed 2: Cruise Control, but following that film's financial failure, it was changed to instead be based around the Die Hard films (presumably based on the success of the 1996 multi-platform action game Die Hard Trilogy).

The game was a first-person shooter in the vein of Goldeneye 007, and featured a variety of different locations for levels, such as a hospital, a prison in the midst of a riot, a police department building, and the streets of Los Angeles. The game also featured a wide variety of melee weapons such as knives, baseball bats, tasers, and police batons, along with guns like M16s, Uzis, handguns, automatic shotguns, and various other machine guns, with the option to dual wield weapons. The game also featured a bullet-time mechanic similar to Max Payne, along with plans for a 4 player deathmatch multiplayer mode.[2]

While RiQa was prominently featured at E3 1999, Thieves World and Die Hard 64 would never be officially announced, though news of the latter game would later leak to the press, with screenshots of Die Hard 64 allegedly being featured in various gaming magazines, and IGN publishing an article about the game on June 9th, 1999.[3] No further word on Die Hard 64 was given after this until the following year, when IGN contacted Fox Interactive for an update as to the game's state, with a Fox Interactive representative saying "to be honest with you, I don't see [the game] coming to fruition."[4] While this announcement didn't outright confirm the game's cancellation, it was very easy to infer as such, and this did ultimately turn out to be the case. RiQa, Thieves World, and Die Hard 64 had each been cancelled, with Die Hard 64 specifically being cancelled due to the game beginning development very late in the Nintendo 64's lifespan, with the next generation of game consoles already being on the horizon.[5]

Following the cancellation of Die Hard 64, development of the game would be shifted over to the GameCube, with Bits Studios CEO Foo Katan and the game's producer Mario Aguera stating in a 2002 interview with IGN that "We originally started designing the game when the N64 was out, but in Spring 2000 we decided to start our design again for the Gamecube."[6] The finished game would eventually come out as Die Hard: Vendetta, which was released in 2002 for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox to largely mediocre reception all around.

Following the release of Die Hard: Vendetta, no more information about Die Hard 64 would be released for over a decade, with none of the alleged screenshots ever surfacing, and no visual information about the game being released at all until 2017. It was on February 26th, 2017 that a thread would be created in the (now defunct) ASSEMbler Games forum by user 10ahu that featured screenshots of Die Hard 64 never previously seen by the public. As it turned out, 10ahu had been an employee of Bits Studios at the time of the game's development and was in possession of 3 different Die Hard 64 ROMs.[7] These ROMs contained 8 levels each, the majority of which were either unfinished or were unplayable test levels. 10ahu would later create a separate thread on August 30th, 2017 in which they provided a Dropbox link containing the 3 ROMs, rendering the game found.[8]

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