Back in 2008 F.E.A.R. 3 and Fracture developer Day 1 Studios was developing a Tron game to tie into the films sequel, Tron: Legacy. Unfortunately, Disney pulled the plug.
Now Unseen 64 has unearthed prototype footage of Day 1’s cancelled Tron title, tentatively titled TR2N: Liberation.
Weirdly, Disney was so secretive about Tron: Legacy that it wouldn’t even show concept art for the film to the handful of developers it had asked to whip up prototypes for the tie-in game. As such, Day 1 was flying blind and had to base its aesthetic off the visual stylings of the original film. Coincidentally, both visions ended up being quite similar as the original Tron’s art direction is so distinct.
Day 1’s Tron game was to be a fairly linear adventure, but one comprised of open-ended levels in which players could swap between being on-foot and on a lightbike at the touch of a button. Enemies could likewise transform into bike-mode and chase you around should you attempt to flee.
The on-foot combat was going to be more like a tennis match than the game that actually came out, Tron: Evolution. Where that title opted for more of a hack-and-slash system with multiple enemies and discs zipping about, Day 1’s vision was for a slower, more measured pace. Fights would involve fewer foes, mostly being one-on-one affairs, and the focus was on precise timing as you dodge and deflect enemy projectiles.
PvP lightbike combat was going to be a racing affair in which you would also create walls of light in your steed that your opponent could crash into. Unlike the film, players would have a jump function to leap over said walls if they got the timing right.
Reportedly Disney liked Day 1’s pitch for TR2N: Liberation, but ultimately Turok (2008) developer Propaganda Games underbid them, claiming it could make its Tron game cheaper and faster, meeting the film’s holiday 2010 deadline.
As such TR2N: Liberation wasn’t greenlit and Day 1 had to lay off roughly a dozen staffers.
The studio eventually recovered, however, making the surprisingly great F.E.A.R. 3 before getting acquired by Wargaming in 2013 to the tune of $20m. The studio has since been branded Wargaming Chicago-Baltimore, where it works on World of Tanks.