A while back while looking at the LEGO Island page on Wikipedia, I noticed something a bit odd. In the talk page, somebody had said they had visited the website of Wes Jenkins (the creative director of LEGO Island and script writer for LEGO Island 2). They said that, on his website, there were mentions of several LEGO projects that never actually made it to the public. The first was a mention of a game called "Beneath the Phanta Sea", the second was a clip from an unreleased TV show episode of some sort that had the same animation style as the LEGO Island animations and a few LEGO Island characters. I looked on Wes's website, and while I didn't see an animation clip or the exact mention of "Beneath the Phanta Sea", I did see mentions of the TV show. Wes's email was on the site, so I sent him a message with a few questions. Here's what he said about the canceled games and TV show:
"1> Ha! There were many games planned. Strange politics and "business" cancelled subsequent titles planned and the company (Mindscape) thought it made more money to fire us the day before the product was released (in 1997!) Technology sure has advanced since we started in '95-96 but it was pretty advanced for its day. I was really trying to make a toy that had gaming features and not a "game" where you just kind of blow stuff up or die. We wanted to play and let kids make up stuff.
I have binders full of LEGO games that I designed.
2>It was a prototype, a pilot. A place called Delaplane Creative (formerly Flying Rhino) animators put it together. LEGO wasn't interested but it's pretty cool. I have an old DVD of some of it. LEGO was planning other stuff at the time with robots and transformers and licenses. The pilot show was about the Pirate theme kit and characters with new pirates that basically steal the LEGOs that kids leave around they rooms when they go to sleep. The story is a fun one."
I was really quite surprised at this. Delaplane Creative did the animation for the cinematics in LEGO Island, so the wikipedia description did seem accurate. A few emails later (and not just from me), he told us a bit more. Here's a few interesting snips from the messages:
"Hey, thanks, Jamie. There were games based on just about all of the kits. What would I look at under Wikepedia to see that info about "Beneath the Phanta Sea" ? I thought me and only a few people knew about that one. This online stuff is amazing. Oh- the cave door was intended to lead into the next LEGO island II game but that never happened...so it was a bit of a tease."
"There's a lot of stories that never made it to the public. In fact, we were going to do five more until "business" took over Mindscape (the company who coerced LEGO to enter the video game world). That in itself is an interesting story. Mindscape fired everybody the day it was released so they wouldn't have to pay us bonuses- which was standard in the industry in those days (the bonus-not the firing)."
"The door in the cave had some ideas behind it but time and money didn't let them happen. That happens. In those days too- we had to be concerned if it would all fit on a CD...Technology was pretty different then. The cancelled games were about other themes- although I really wanted to do more on the Island."
"The other products were in design proposal phases. It was all on paper though: storyboards and scripts. Phanta-Sea: Our team went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and started meeting and working with some experts of the ocean. It was looking pretty cool. There was an Archeological one: DIG which was kind of cool and in the works too and several others but who knows- maybe I can do them with somebody in the future...maybe one of you guys?"
"Captain Click was a "teaser". His cave was just there to inspire you guys to make up stuff. Ideally we wanted the door to open up into the next product...but well..."
"No extra mini games (in LEGO Island) were planned via the score box. All of the stuff on there almost didn't fit on one CD in those days. We did have plans for a lot of separate games though- different products."
"I just have the design and stories for phanta sea. we did have some cool animation for it-way back when though."
I'm quite surprised about all this unreleased stuff, and very, very happy Wes is willing to share info on it. I'm just rather ticked off at Mindscape for canceling this stuff!
So, here's the question. What you see here is about all we know on these canceled games and the TV show. Do they deserve pages on this wiki? We don't know the official name of the TV show, and we only know the names and basic themes of two of the five canceled games. So, should they get pages? And if so, how should they be set up?