Link to the Past: 2021 is already the year of holy grails for Prototypes; What's next?

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In this weekly column where our Deputy Editor Daryl finds some great retro content, it’s all about the recently discovered prototypes, previously considered impossible to find.

It's standard practice in the games industry where a build of a game is tested every day. That could be broken down into two, four, or even every hour being compiled, depending on what state the game is in.

Nowadays, these are usually stored on servers, encrypted away, never to be seen. However, as recent as fifteen years, they were stored on discs and other mediums for security.

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There are classic games that have leaked because of this, and in 2021, we've already seen the likes of Sonic, Tomb Raider, and now GoldenEye be released to the public in their unofficial, incomplete state.

With these holy grails appearing, one wonders what's next to be uncovered in the future.

What's Been Released So Far?

While we've written about the 'Sonic 3 Prototype' and 'Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary' being unveiled, others have appeared from the depths.

Back on New Years Day, 'Hidden Palace' obtained a prototype of Sonic 1, confirming years-gone screenshots of 'Sparkling Zone', 'Clock Ork Zone' and much more.

While we've spoken before of CORE Design's 'Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary Edition' being released, it was only in the last week that the remastered Xbox 360 port of 'GoldenEye 007' was shown off, and then released earlier today.

Featuring widescreen support, and a feature where you can change between the new textures and the classic N64 ones, similar to the Halo MCC, it works surprisingly well. It looks like it was complete; just that the rights from Microsoft, Nintendo and EON stopped it in its tracks.

READ MORE: A Sonic 3 Prototype has been discovered!

What's left in the Grail List?

There's plenty still remaining. Back in 1990 for example at the 'Tokyo Game Show', an even earlier version of Sonic 1 was shown, with a night-time Green Hill Zone appearing, with signs and enemies not seen in the final game. It's seen as 'the last' holy grail of the classic Sonic games to try and attain.

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Sonic 1 Alpha Tokyo Game Show 1990
click to enlarge
Thanks to Sonic Retro for the reference.

Another is a previous version of 'Conker's Bad Fur Day' from RARE. While 'Banjo Kazooie' was in development, Conker was in concurrent development, but called 'Twelve Tales: Conker 64', which had a 'toon' theme, and not what the final version brought. It was rumoured to be near-complete, but scrapped due to the similarities of what 'Banjo' brought.

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Finally, Resident Evil. While the '1.5' version with 'Eliza Walker' and 'Zombie Gorillas' are well-known, there were also multiple versions of what became Resident Evil 4.

Called 'Resident Evil 3.5' by the fans, it would involve Leon suffering from hallucinations, to being set solely in 'Spencer Castle' with zombies, instead of the enemies you would face in the final version.

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The versions of Sonic 1, Tomb Raider, and GoldenEye have only recharged the communities' efforts in tracking down more prototypes. These were accepted as being unobtainable, but now, there's every hope that prototypes like the above are now a possibility.

We're only two months into 2021, so who knows what could be appearing in the next few months.

READ MORE: Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary Edition has been leaked!