A prototype for Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe appears online, giving fans of the Sega franchise a glimpse at the Dreamcast game that was cancelled in 2001.

Although it seems like a different era altogether, Sega was once one of the biggest names in video game hardware. The company saw huge success with the Sega Genesis, which is considered one of the best video game consoles of all time, and its Master System predecessor also proved successful. Unfortunately, Sega’s success in 2D gaming did not quite transfer into the 3D realm, and the commercial failures of the Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast saw the company turn solely to the world of publishing.

This caused a number of beloved franchises to disappear from view, and chief among these was the Ecco the Dolphin series. The character had a string of hits leading up to PS2 and Dreamcast title Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future, but with the discontinuation of the Dreamcast, Ecco’s adventures were soon to be no more, with another sequel cancelled in the Dreamcast’s wake. However, thanks to Hidden Palace, gamers can now try out what remains of Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe.

Hidden Palace found a hard copy of the game in the early stages of its development process, and has uploaded several screenshots of the title, as well as a video showcasing some of the early build gameplay. What’s more, a version of the game can also be downloaded to play on PC Dreamcast emulators, as well as a CDI image that can be burned and played on an actual Dreamcast. Although the title itself does not include any music or sound, it still gives gamers a glimpse at what could have been.

This version of Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe is dated from February 19, 2001, which sits extremely close to when Sega announced that Dreamcast support was going cease. Given the very early version of the game that can be seen, this may explain why developer Appaloosa Interactive decided not to continue development on the PS2, in spite of its predecessor appearing on the console.

The first two Ecco games for the Genesis have long been considered classics of the system. Combining a unique setting and gameplay with impressive atmosphere for the time, the series’ legacy is often called upon for Sega compilations. 2000’s Defender of the Future was also well received, with a fairly successful jump from 2D to 3D.

Unfortunately for those hoping for more games from the Ecco franchise in the future, it’s likely that this is as close to another sequel that fans are going to get. Then again, with ToeJam & Earl getting a crowdfunded successor, perhaps there’s life in the dolphin yet.

Source: Hidden Palace

tags: Dreamcast, Sega