Lost & Found: The Lost Artwork

No legs, shame about the face.

While it was never going to be a PC game, there’s historical interest in Irrational’s first attempt to make a game before the console. The Lost was a third-person horror game for the PS2 which was trying to put in a mass of the sort of System-Shock-2 RPG-elements into a Dante-esque world. Irrational have been rooting through their files generally, and released some of the concept art and design notes, which are fine to stare at/read. As picked out by Chris Remo, I especially like the contrast between really specific guidelines (like the door hole being precisely 216 x 128 units) to the gloriously foggy (I quote: “Any other cool shit you can dream up”).


  1. LewieP says:

    Also of similar historic interest, apparently someone on the internet has found (currently not working on normal hardware, needs a devkit) beta builds of System Shock 2 and Theif 2 for the Dreamcast.
    link to segaforums.com

  2. karry says:

    Quoting from the link : “The 3D technology of 2001 wasn’t quite up to the task of bringing the design to life.”

    Really ? Is that so. As the “general 3D guy” in my company, i’m still mad that SOMEONE, someone actually got paid for the modelling/texturing/animation work they did on Thief/SS2. Maybe they should have found someone that was up to the task, and not blaming technology.

    • Midnight says:

      And yet those ugly polygonal creatures in both games were still able to scare the crap out of most everyone who played them. Never found the animations to be a problem but the low quality models do make it difficult to get immersed 10 years later, still there are some good mods to make SS2 characters (and weapons) a whole lot better.

    • blah says:

      @karry: that’s probably one of the worst comments I’ve ever read.

    • DrGonzo says:

      What was wrong with the models? They looked pretty good when it was released.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Gonzo: They didn’t. They were roundly mocked around the PC Gamer office, though what everyone remembers is the fear caused by the monkeys.


    • Shadowcat says:

      They were working to a very low polygon budget, and did the best they could. As it eventuated, the engine was actually capable of rendering far more detailed models (or certainly was by the time the game was finished — see the SS2 Rebirth mod for proof) but by that stage it was too late.

  3. Gromit says:

    I’d give up all past and future Bioshock games to get Idle Thumbs back. There, I said it. Fuck ’em.

  4. Jake says:

    Perhaps they could re-use some of these concepts in a grim and dark whack-a-mole game.

  5. NightSod says:


    Those gfxIn the late 90’s you talk about were only slightly below par for the time. They were built to very low poly limits, on much older versions of Max.
    They might be the weakest part of the game; but the weakest part of a game that featured my favourite sound design, easily my favourite storyline and plotting, and some of my favourite level design ever isn’t much to crow about.

  6. A former LG-er says:

    Just after shipping SS2, someone in the office (I forget who) did some speculative performance testing, and found something embarrassing — we could have afforded twice the poly budget on the creatures as we actually used, without hurting performance. So a great deal of the modeling issues can be blamed on someone giving the artists a minuscule estimated poly budget, and forgetting to check it against reality.

    • Nick says:

      Thanks for working on at least one (possibly many..) of the best games ever.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      What Nick said.

    • DrGonzo says:

      While in hindsight it would have been better maybe. At the time I could barely run the game, with anything looking better it would have been unplayable on my machine so, in a very selfish way I’m kinda pleased it turned out like that.

      Also, what Nick said.

    • Taillefer says:

      I would also like a post next to an ex-LG-er.
      You created games that not only affected my games-playing, but my life. So, what Nick said.

    • Lachlan says:

      I’ll join the chorus here. Even with low poly counts, Shock 2 was a magnificent game. Well done, sir (or madam).

  7. Michael says:

    All games became ugly the moment 3D took over (circa 1996, the release of Quake). They became playable again around 2001 but have only recently started to actually look good in places. Polygons are no substitute for either the photographic or comic book art on which they are based.

  8. jackshandy says:

    Is that “Dante-esque” as in Devil May Cry, or Dante’s Inferno?

    • earsauce says:

      Dante’s Inferno. As the article said, it was based loosely on The Divine Comedy. It’s a shame this game was never released.

  9. Shadowcat says:

    The last I saw, “The Lost” had morphed into a game called “Inferno” being developed by FXLabs.

    Did that ever come out?