A long-lost Sega erotic thriller FMV game has been found and leaked online after 25 years.
Sega was going to release The Sacred Pools in 1997, but ultimately decided to cancel the project after it was negatively received by the press at E3 1996.
However, game save site Gaming Alexandria found and posted prototypes of the PC, Saturn, and PlayStation versions of the game online.
The latter option is perhaps the most interesting, as it could mark the first time Sega developed a game for the PlayStation, which at the time was a rival console.
The Sacred Pools was developed by SegaSoft, a studio that was formed in 1995 instead of the Sega of America development group with the goal of releasing games for “all platforms”, but ultimately only releasing games for the Saturn and PC.
The game was reportedly budgeted at $3 million, a huge amount for the time, and used a technology SegaSoft called VNRS (Virtual Navigation in Real Space) that seamlessly connected FMV clips, giving the impression that the player was moving through 3D worlds without pausing to load the next clip.
While rumors that the prototype still exists have been circulating online for several years, nothing has been found until recently, when a game collector told Gaming Alexandria in May that David Gray (Associate Producer of The Sacred Pools) still owns disks.
After receiving the discs from Gray, the site was able to copy the content easily and now shares the prototype disc images (which can be played on an emulator) along with a lengthy article explaining the game’s development history.
“Truth be told, while the game is often confusing, there’s a lot to appreciate here,” Gaming Alexandria says of the prototype. “It’s no more vulgar than other FMV games released by Sega, like Night Trap, Wirehead or Surgical Strike.”