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Carnivalé was one of the Nintendo 64 games that never were, that is in the hands of who it was intended for - consumers. The game was being developed
by Schaumburg, Illinois, based TerraGlyph Interactive Studios - which was a game development leg of the TerraGlyph Group which also included an
animation studio located in Dublin, Ireland, and a Web/media division based in Chicago.
It was to be a game based on a cartoon by the same name, which launched on 9 February 2000. Carnivalé would be a mix of adventure and racing, with
the player playing as Chenzo from the movie. The publisher, Vatical Entertainment, mentioned the following features in their E3 2000 press kit:
Carnivalé was initially showcased at E3 back in 1999, however it was very incomplete then and didn't provide a whole lot of details, however the story of the
game goes like this:
- Adventure Mode: Based on the story of the movie
- Explore park grounds, ride the rides to discover the secrets of Carnivalé
- Race Mode: Challenge the computer or a friend
- 5 Boss characters to defeat
- 5 different rides
- Mysteries to unlock which unfold when races and Midways are completed
- 4 unique Carnivalé Midway games
- Racing weapons and power-ups
- Unlock secret races and tracks
For some people, being trapped in a carnival would be like a dream. Unfortunately, for five kids who have been captured by the wicked masters of
CARNIVALE, it's more like a nightmare! In order to escape the park, you as each kid at various points of the game must defeat each of the masters
of Carnivale in a top-down race through a different section of the park. If you're lonely, link up with a buddy and race through the weird
amusement park environments.
In Carnivalé for Nintendo 64, you must escape the grasp of a wicked group of carnival masters! The masters of Carnivale have captured an
unfortunate group of kids and are holding them in separate areas of the park. Playing as each of the five kids (at different points), you'll
challenge the wicked masters to a duel for your freedom. The duels come in the form of races through each of the bizarre sections of the
Carnivale, which you must win in order to gain your freedom. Each of the five events takes the form of a top-down race through brightly colored
and spooky locations filled with traps and other obstacles. You can also hook up with a friend for head-to-head racing through the strange park.
Can you win your freedom from this terrifying carnival of evil?
In September back in year 2000 IGN.com made a preview article about the game, at even at that point no playable version of the game had been shown to the
press, and that was probably that last anyone heard of the game until Vatical Entertainment pulled the plug on the project, announced on February 8, 2001.
According to an article at IGN a Vatical Entertainment representative told the site that 2 of their upcomming released probably never would see the
light of day on any console, being Carnivalé and VR Powerboat Racing.
(IGN) VR Powerboat has yet to begin production so even under the best case scenario the
product would not be available until sometime next year. However, after carefully reviewing the state of the Nintendo 64 market, Vatical has
decided not to pursue the game. Carnivale, meanwhile, a piece of software based on a movie that was never released, has suffered some serious
development problems that have directly affected the game's progress.
The studio creating Carnivale, TerraGlyph Interactive, recently laid off a major portion of its teams and was unable to complete the title. As it
stands, Carnivale is an estimated 50-60% complete, according to Vatical, and the company is currently deciding whether or not to transfer the
remaining work to a new developer and release it, or simply cancel it altogether. In IGN64's experience, it's usually the latter.
On a positive note, the firm's other N64 project, Sea-Doo HydroCross, has recently passed Mario Club and is going into lot check. It should ship
to retailers sometime this spring. The remaining Nintendo 64 games release list through the year 2001 is now five.
So there you have it, Vatical pulled the plug on Carnivalé due to TerraGlyph probably not being able to complete the game. Not even SeaDoo HydroCross made
it to the shelves though, but that's a whole other story. TerraGlyph got into financial trouble in 2001 and shortly after closed its doors.
With that said though, Stephen Geering who worked as Sound Designer on Carnivalé, was quite sure that the game was in fact completed.
(Stephen Geering) This was a game based on a movie - the movie got released in Europe, but
couldn't generate interest to the studios in Hollywood to make a US distribution happen. Thus the game publisher Vatical didn't release it ..
I believe the game was finished..
Carvinalé could have seen in Europe release, the movie made it out here, had TerraGlyph put an effort into finding a publisher for the European market and
was the game in fact completed. I doubt however that it would have been possible to find anyone willing to take on another N64 project/release that late
in the N64s lifespan.
Vatical Entertainment is no longer in business either, though I have been unable to find out what exactly happened to them.
Anyway some of the music for Carnivalé was composed by Mike Connelly who also made a small tune from the game, called Haunted Carnival, available on his
website, you can download the MP3 right here.
(Mike Connelly) When the movie fizzled out, it killed any shot of the game getting
any attention at all. It was a racing game with a 3rd person exploration mode in between races, and frankly it was a terrible game. There were only about
five tracks, and the "adventure" component was mostly walking around and finding tickets to unlock the tracks. The 3D engine and vehicle control were
Other people who were involved in the making of Carnivalé:
Stephen Geering (Sound Design)
Randy J. Skach (Dialog Edit, Sound Design?)
Jeffrey B. Croke (Lead 3D Animator?)
On a side note it can be mentioned that also a Gameboy Color game based on Carnivalé was in the works and also went unreleased. It was being
developed by Vicarious Visions, a racing game featuring 5 different tracks and dual player mode using a link cable.
The game was just like its Nintendo 64 counterpart showcased at E3 2000.
It's unknown how far into development the GBC version was.
Judging from a post
made on Vicarious Visions own website the game was probably completed.
To be honest though the game looks absolutely awful and that might have killed it along
with the fact that the movie went unreleased in the states and that Vatical Entertainment was the publisher.