Video game preservation has become an increasingly important aspect of the industry, as the steady shift to a streaming future makes it more difficult to maintain games as they are upon release. That makes the work of preservation groups like The Hidden Palace invaluable. And now, the group has dropped more than 700 unreleased PS2 game demos and prototypes online for fans to pour over.
The Hidden Palace held a 6-hour stream on Saturday, playing through some of the biggest names contained in the dump. Among the demos and prototypes, many of which were created specifically for the purpose of E3 demos during the PlayStation 2 era, were such high profiles as God of War 2, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2, and many more.
Dubbed “Project Deluge” the entire list of prototypes and demos is available on the group’s website, with the total count currently sitting at 752. It’s a mind-numbing number as it is, but according to The Hidden Palace, more games will be added over time, and not all PlayStation 2 titles. The team has spent almost a year going through and verify the integrity of the software currently listed there, with the list taking up roughly 900 Gb of storage, all told.
According to The Hidden Palace, this list of software comes from a variety of sources, like developers and collectors, but it was mostly the “herculean” effort of a single person, who stopped the games from being sold or destroyed. That donor has remained anonymous, but it’s fair to say that they’ve made a massive contribution to games preservation as a whole.
The PlayStation 2 era of games is a particularly interesting one, as it marks a time when 3D games were truly beginning to come into their own. Having such a broad library of games will offer an unprecedented look into what game prototypes were like back then, which is a huge deal considering how much things have changed in the time since. Plus, the promise of more on the way is equally exciting, so it will be good to see what comes of it.
In the meantime, anyone with access to an emulator now has a peek into a bygone era of video games, and not just any video games. Games tend to evolve quite a bit between the time they enter development and when they release, so comparing these to the games that released will certainly be interesting.