March 5, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili
With the new Alice in Wonderland film debuting in theaters across the country this weekend, PlayStation Museum published a retrospective on PS1's Malice, a 3D platformer loosely inspired by Lewis Carroll's novel, for its Cancelled PlayStation Game Of The Month (previous featured titles include Iron Man Football, QAD, and Jet Moto 2124).
Malice is special for a few reasons:
Thought it released on PS2 and Xbox, the cancelled PS1 version featured noticeable differences in storyline, graphics, design, and gameplay.
Singer and disputed Hollaback Girl Gwen Stefani was originally supposed to voice titular heroine Malice.
The game was partly to blame for developer Argonaut's closing months after its Xbox release. The company spent millions of dollars and six years developing Malice.
What makes the PS1 edition even more interesting is that PlayStation Museum, which I imagine has played a lot of unreleased PS1 titles, describes it as the "greatest game never released"! The site has some great comments about the project and Argonaut's demise from former CEO Jez San:
"I have lots of good memories of Malice. Mostly that it was a wildly overambitious idea that had a truly awesome tech demo that wowed a billion of people. ... But it got pulled around from Microsoft, and then from publisher to publisher and eventually, died a death and released on a 'B' game label.
The blame? Partly due to mismanagement on our part, partly down to some of the team who were as creative as they were egotistical, partly due to overzealous publisher involvement -- making wholesale changes that were unnecessary and unwarranted -- and partly just because it was too damn big a project to be done 'at our own risk'!
Malice definitely contributed to bringing down the company. I can't blame all our woes on one game (far from it), but it sure sucked a lot of cash out of the company (millions!) and that can't have helped."
You can read PlayStation Museum's full article on Malice, which includes a thorough breakdown on why the PS1 version was cancelled and a video comparison between the PS1 and PS2 versions. I've also embedded a clip that the site produced with samples of Gwen Stefani voicing Malice below: