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Robotech was in development by now defunct American game developer GameTek who is known for numerous tv game show spinoff games, such as Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune - even the Nintendo64 got its own version of those,
developed and published by GameTek of course.
Not only would Robotech be an opportunity for GameTek programmers to take a break from making tv game show games, but it would also be the biggest task for the company to date and that on a system that wasn't even
finished when GameTek began developing Robotech early 1995 and it was officially announced in May 1995 as one of the Nintendo64 launch titles.
The initial title was "Robotech Academy" and one of the programmers, Doug Lanford, told Robotech.com in an interview that...
If I remember correctly, the basic idea was that it took place before the cartoon series began. You were bascially a cadet and most of the gameplay was supposed to take place inside simulators where you were trying to
improve your skills as a cadet and graduate from the Robotech Academy. Once I came in, I realized that really didn't give us a way to hook you into the characters and some of the other things that we wanted to do. So
I tossed out that storyline and we basically started over from scratch, when I joined.
So Robotech Academy was scrapped before it even got into development, Doug Lanford joined Gamtek in December 1995 so by the the game had already been on the drawingboard with no real progress. So Doug and utility
developer Lizard Harac came up with a new idea for the game as well as the new title "Robotech: Crystal Dreams".
The title was based on a new sort of enemy for the game that was already decided at GameTek before the two programmers joined. Crystals were the new enemy and they were chosen because they at the time had no idea of the
powers of the Nintendo64 but Crystals were easy to draw and they'd be doable no matter what what the hardware would be like and they would be able to put a lot of them on screen.
In the interview with Robotech.com Doug Lanford went on to say...
By the time we had actually seen actual Nintendo hardware and had gotten much farther into the production of the game, it started to become more and more obvious that we could've done what we wanted to without the
But by then we'd already been working on the storyline for a year or so. So, the crystals stayed in the game. By then we'd already recorded the dialogue and all that. It was too late to change it. But the original decision to put the crystals in the game was purely technological.
The idea behind Crystal Dreams was also to make a huge open universe, with everything scaled correctly, an idea by the other Robotech programmer on board, Chuck Romberger. The game would supposedly not be divided into
levels, but it would let you fly anywhere you'd want to and during the flight missions would occur, you "live" about six months in the game and are in the cockpit of the Veritech transforable fighter plane, it's then up to you how
the game unfolds the programmers explained to IGN.
Crystal Dreams was the most ambitious GameTek project to date, the people assigned was more than double of any other project ever started and yet it still wasn't enough to meet the deadline for the Nintendo64 launch.
· Crystal Dreams Interview - Robotech.com
· Robotech palace Chat Transcript - ign.com