This week’s Tale of Games that Never Were features Cyberthug from MGM Interactive and Saffire. In the works for PC and PlayStation in 1996, the game looks like a period-appropriate 3D action title with pixelated textures and lots of industrial environments but it has a peculiar history.
In the Summer of 1996 MGM released the movie ‘Fled’ starring Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin as two escaped crooks who happen to be handcuffed together. Stephen’s the computer hacker and the plot revolves around a mysterious floppy disk. Rather than turn the movie into a straight licensed game the “creative inspiration for the character Cyberthug came from a character in the film”.
Weirder still is the game’s pitch which bills it as “a satirical 3-D action adventure that pits the game’s hero against bizarre cyber-enemies led by an evil computer hacker who has released alien code onto the Internet”. From what little exists of the game it looks like it would have included symbology, hidden messages and tackled some pretty controversial subject matter; self-righteous preachers and Christian fanatics were mentioned as enemies in one preview.
I couldn’t dig up any reason that the game was scrapped (I did find this hot concept art of the Cyberthug though). Both MGM Interactive and Saffire continued publishing and developing games for years after. My only guess is that Fled turned out to be less than a box office hit and MGM pulled the plug or maybe the subject matter was just too daring and Saffire pushed back on changing it?