Tim Cain shows us (or talks about) things we’ve never heard of!
Cain was the co-creator of Fallout and was also behind The Outer Worlds. He is partially retired from the gaming industry but continues to be a consultant. He launched a YouTube channel that looks back on a career spanning over 30 years. That’s how we learned that Troika (created by team members who worked on Fallout after leaving Interplay) almost made a Lord of the Rings RPG! Cain was clever in preserving footage from the past, so the material from 2000 is invaluable.
The game ran on the Arcanum engine, and the main menu and interface were similar. It has pre-rendered backgrounds (a la Baldur’s Gate), so it doesn’t have modular tiles (a la Fallout) like Arcanum. Sierra approached Troika for the project because they acquired the rights to the Lord of the Rings books (not the movies!). According to Cain, Sierra liked the idea but brought development in-house, which was never completed because Sierra went bankrupt in 2002.
According to Cain, the game was supposed to have a “shadow Fellowship” to clear the way for Frodo and his family (similar to Electronic Arts Redwood’s PS2 JRPG Lords of the Ring: The Third Age). In another video, he mentioned Arcanum 2: Journey to the Centre of Arcanum, which has only reached the design documents phase. If Troika had made a first-person Arcanum sequel running on the Source engine, it could have been a similar experience to Vampire: The Masquerade- Bloodlines (VTMB).
Then in a third video last week, Cain talked about Counter-Bite. It hints at the ambitious multiplayer mode of the first-person vampire RPG. Vampires were supposed to fight vampire hunters, but Activision said Troika was overcommitted, so they gave the development of VTMB’s multiplayer mode to another studio before canceling.
So if you know English and like older RPGs, you might want to spend some time with Cain’s video…