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The Halo treatment of Vectorman Playstation 2 and its five prototypes

To find out more about Vectorman Playstation 2 (its history, development and more) and to discover 6 other prototypes and documents from the game, visit the home page of the preservation project linked to the Pseudo Interactive title: The 11 prototypes and documents from Vectorman Playstation 2: the transition from 2D to 3D of our best friend SEGA's robot

Vectorman PS2 didn't always resemble the design finally chosen for these 5 prototypes. Initially, the game was more in line with the two previous Mega Drive episodes, one of the elements retained being the aesthetics of Vectorman's orb (4 prototypes to discover here). This more faithful approach lasted only 3 or 4 months before development was restarted.

The abandonment of the visual appearance was the result of a test session. Young viewers were baffled, during the review of early versions, by the design of the Vectorman orb. They were unfamiliar with Jason Weesner's series, which had perhaps fallen into oblivion. Test participants had reacted better to a more mature aspect of the hero and a darker graphic style of the game. Vectorman had just lost his trademark, a character in the form of amalgamated orbs.

SEGA's producers also wanted a more modern shooter, drawing inspiration from popular games of the time such as Halo. These decisions prompted the developers at Pseudo Interactive to reboot their production to offer what can be found in these 5 new Vectorman Playstation 2 builds. Nothing went as planned, however, and the game was cancelled in 2003. Vectorman never made the transition from 2D to 3D.

SEGA no doubt realized that all these changes had distorted the Vectorman license to the point where it was no longer recognizable. To make matters worse, SEGA of America was, at the time, on the verge of layoffs. In 2003, SOA lost interest in their IP after Toejam and Earl 3 underperformed on Xbox.  It wasn't the right time to resurrect the Blue Hedgehog's most famous robot franchise.

For the analysis of this series of prototypes, the May 7, 2003 build is the reference version of Vectorman Playstation 2. Betas are not sorted by release date, but by interest (fully playable level). Before getting to the heart of the matter, it's vital to understand that the grappling hook was to play a key role in this Halo approach to Pseudo Interactive's Vectorman 3D. Before the project was abandoned, the team deliberated over whether the game world should be open-ended or simply vast. The developers were also mulling over the concept of an alternative path to the level objective, an idea they had experimented with in certain builds.

Have fun and don't destroy everything in your wake, even if the temptation is great - the physics are excellent. FPS or TPS, the choice is yours!

Some ideas from the developers concerning the use of grappling hooks

Pseudo Interactive's aim was to exploit their physics engine as much as possible to create unlimited opportunities for the player to manipulate the environment. The grappling hook that Vectorman would acquire in a level built around this anchoring device was designed with this in mind. It was intended to bring a touch of originality to the gameplay by potentially being wielded in a variety of ways. As the "More Grappler Notes" document suggests, the developers had thought of several ambitious ways to use the grappling hook:

Doc Grapper Notes VM

1) Pull an object towards you: Explosive containers are placed on a ledge above a group of enemies. Using his grappling hook, Vectorman can grab hold of them and pull them towards himself, dropping the object onto his opponents, Boom! Pseudo Interactive experimented this feature, just once, in the February 6, 2003 prototype.

More Grappler Notes (Doc)


2) Transformation into weapons: Using the grappling hook, Vectorman can pick up objects close to him, such as a medium-sized crate. Once attached, he can spin it around or throw it at opponents to eliminate them like a lasso or whip (exaggerated). The crate degrades with each impact. This spectacular fighting technique can backfire, as enemies can counter his attack by catching the crate and knocking him down.

3) Throwing objects: Vectorman must venture into a corridor dipped entirely in darkness, protected by turrets all along the way. The sentinels go into self-defense, targeting enemies only if they detect light sources. Once the turrets fire, they become hot, enabling Vectorman to destroy them from afar with heat-detecting homing missiles, and safely clear the area from a distance. Equipped with his grappling hook, and spinning around like an Olympic hammer thrower, he can hold on to and catapult light boxes down the corridor, fooling the turrets and destroying them in the process.

It would have been conceivable to implement these ideas in a game, even if technically, on paper, it might have seemed complex for the Playstation 2. Above all, it's a question of resources, technology, time and, above all, money. It's in assessing the value of ideas in their early stages and deciding what will actually be executed that the bulk of video game development lies. Teams that have been working together for a long time, with technologies they know perfectly well, can achieve great things.

You can download documents about the Vectorman Playstation 2 grapple below

Suggested grappling ideas: More Grappler Notes (Jun 17, 2003 document)

Explanation of the level in which the grapple can be obtained: Vectorman NOTES - Grapple (May 10, 2003 document)

Explanation of the level in which the grapple can be obtained (update) : Vectorman NOTES - Grapple Level (May 12, 2003 document)

The world of Vectorman and the concept of alternative paths

The world of Vectorman, in its Halo treatment, was going to be very vast. Prior to its cancellation, the development team was debating whether their game was going to be open world or simply expansive. Pseudo's game engine was super-powerful and could easily integrate zones to give the illusion of a homogeneous world, and the destruction and physics were perhaps the best in the industry at the start of the second millennium.


Grapple Level (doc)


Exemplary care had to be taken in the construction of Gamma 6's every detail, as the developers were building a "world", not consecutive levels for players to complete. Gamma 6 would have been what Liberty City was to GTA. They wanted the city to be alive, to give players a place they could come back to, again and again...

Gamma 6 is the former capital of Gamma City, a jewel of Orbot design (Orbots, whose bodies are generally composed of spheres, are the classification of most characters in the Vectorman series). Floating skyscrapers and suspended highways are erected here in an astonishing array of lights and metal.

Pseudo Interactive had no plans to stop there, and intended to offer multiple paths for each map in their game. The intention was to surprise players by turning standard structures on their head. In fact, some of the game's prototypes allow players to take different itineraries to complete their mission in their respective playable levels.

Note Misc Ramblings 1 (doc)

Vectorman NOTES - Misc Ramblings1.jpg

This concept was to contribute to the replayability of Vectorman 3D, guaranteeing players a different experience depending on the routes they chose. Each one had to offer something exciting and challenging in its own right. Not only alternative enemy patterns and different physical obstacles, but also several "opportunities" to use very different powers and abilities, as well as varied combat strategies. The developers, as suggested in the document "Vectorman NOTES - Misc Ramblings1", had started to think about this with this fanciful example:

The concept of non-linear gameplay: On the first path of this imaginary level, while shooting barrels, a bridge explodes and falls on the door of a secret hangar with incalculable upgrade treasures to be collected inside. If Vectorman decides not to damage the platform, preferring the second route, he'll be able to access an energy station that will later help him accomplish his mission. The most attentive players will notice that near the roof of the mysterious warehouse, elements can be destroyed. Once demolished, they will reveal anchor points for the grappling hook, enabling players to take advantage of all the level's secrets, rather than just one path.

You can download documents about Vectorman Playstation 2's non-linear gameplay below

The world and the non-linear gameplay of the game: Vectorman NOTES - Misc (May 11, 2003 document)

The world and the non-linear gameplay of the game (update): Vectorman NOTES - Misc Ramblings1 (May 12, 2003 document)

Vectorman (May 07, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

This build of the Vectorman prototype series treated as Halo is, to date, the most exhaustive one in terms of gameplay. The level, the same one previewed in the E3 2003 trailer, is colossal and, like all Pseudo Interactive games, is largely destructible.

VM Halo May 07

Vidéo du prototype du 7 mai 2003

The aim of this Vectorman 3D level is to demolish a telecommunications transceiver housed in a secret room in a building. You'll need to open the building's doors to reach your final destination. To do this, Vectorman must climb to the top of a tower to hack its locking system. The introductory cutscene describes the first stages of the mission. Other short animated sequences will appear as you progress through the level.

A second way into the locked building is via the stage's basement, from a huge air shaft close to where the hero appears in the level (see prototype video). A button inside another building activates the excavation's opening mechanism. Since Vectorman can disintegrate virtually anything in his passage, for the reckless among you  or the speedrunners, all you have to do is blow up the entrance to the cavity and let themselves fall...

This Halo-Like prototype is one of only two with music. To listen to it, as it is muted in the game's default settings, you need to configure it in the Pause menu options.

Soundtrack of the build (May 07, 2003)


Vectorman's arsenal comprises four main weapons: the Incinerator, Force Hammer, Rocket Launcher and Devastator. Recharging stations are strategically placed throughout the level to replenish ammunition. What's more, they allow the hero's health to be restored to 100%.

SEGA's robot can wield a second-hand armament consisting of the Temportal Grenade, Demo Pack, Grappler and Frag Grenade. In this build, the grappling hook can't be anchored just anywhere, but only at locations marked by a decorative luminous square. Vectorman wants to imitate his idol Indiana Jones!

The cooperative multiplayer mode is initialized, as in this beta, in the eponymous START menu option. In other builds of Vectorman 3.14 or Halo-Like, the second player is revealed after pressing the "L1" button on the controller connected to port B of the Playstation 2.

The Free Camera development and VM frame rate slowdown options have been removed from this version of PI's game. Instead, the "SELECT" button on Player 1's pad displays a photo of a PS2 controller with the function of each button.

SEGA is stronger than you (this was Sega’s tagline in France in the 90s)

Sega logo Vectorman Ps2 Unreleased.jpg

Pseudo Interactive logo

Pseudo Interactive Logo.jpg

He's finally back


Stock up on ammunition


Try to remember all that


You can download this Vectorman Playstation 2 build below

Vectorman (May 07, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

You can download this modified build of Vectorman Playstation 2 with Debug Menu below

Vectorman Debug Menu (May 07, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

Vectorman (Apr 07, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

This beta starts with a level selector offering a choice between the E3 map (Dt_OAF) or a level that can only be played on this prototype (rhHangO).

Video of the April 7, 2003 prototype

Already in Cel Damage

VM Halo Apr 07

The Dt_OAF map

Some of the models in the map environment, such as the helicopters and vehicles, must have been originally modeled for Vectorman 3.14 (PI's initial vision). Their rounded, distorted style does not correspond to the serious tone of the Vectorman Halo-Like mounts, but to the cartoonish look of the first builds in 2002. They will later be replaced by models more in keeping with the more mature VM universe shown in the betas on this page.

Once the level's highpoint has been reached in order to unlock the portico of the main housing complex, a freight elevator (which will be removed in more recent Vectorman prototypes) offers players the chance to descend a tier after making it appear by flipping a switch.

Vectorman in its early days


The hall in which the transmitter to be knocked down is installed at the end of the stage has a different configuration and a reduced surface area. There's no lifting platform to reach the high ground, making it easier to destroy the relay antenna. Instead, a ramp provides access.

Evolution of the last room on the E3 level


Build (Apr 07, 2003)


Build Apr 14, 2003)


Build (May 07, 2003)

Hmmm which level to choose...


Crazy helicopter design

The cinematic visualization of the map is unfinished, with only a fixed shot of the building you have to enter. At this point in the development process, cutscenes during the level's progress had not yet been realized.

The rhHangO map

The purpose of this new stage is to restore the zone's power supply, open the entrance portal of a broken elevator and escape from the level. Five terminals hidden in the level's meanders must be activated for the power to return.


The playground is unusual, even extremely disconcerting. It's divided into two gigantic rooms that are almost identical in every aspect. If Vectorman takes one of the two connecting tunnels located in each section, they will lead him to another part of the level. The structures are numbered, above them, from 1 to 4. Number 4 (Bay 4 to Bay 2) leads to the first section of the level, while number 1 (Bay 1 to Bay 3) leads to the second.

In this level of the prototype only, the grappling hook can be clipped to any part of the scenery, rather than just to an anchor point designated by a luminous white square.

High voltage rock 'n' roll


Hypothesis: This stage was later abandoned for unknown reasons. However, it was undoubtedly recycled, serving as the basis for part of the E3 map. The similarities are striking!

General information

This prototype appears to be very early in the development of Vectorman PS2. Objects not yet modeled are temporarily replaced by 3D geometric shapes (this method of working is called "block out" or "grey box"). Most textures are generic. Destructible and non-interactive elements are distinguished by the temporary color of their skeleton. This subtlety provides a glimpse of the method used by VM's designers to define things, in red and beige, that could be damaged and separate them from others.

Normally, by pressing and holding the jump button, the Jet Pack engages in just a few seconds. In this prototype, Vectorman will have the opportunity to fly without time restrictions. But he's not blond and muscular like Duke!

Only one type of hand grenade is available. The ground bomb with timer (Demo Pack) is not yet available. The appearance of the main weapons is rudimentary.

Don't shoot the red

Vectorman_Playstation 2_ Pseudo_beta.jpg

He thinks he's Duke Nukem


You can download this Vectorman Playstation 2 build below

Vectorman (Apr 07, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

Vectorman (Jun 17, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

The level in this sample of Vectorman Playstation 2 isn't really a level at all. It looks like an unfinished multiplayer map, since the connecting corridors to various secondary locations are blocked off. It can only be tested by playing this most recent documented prototype of PI's creation.

VM Halo Jun 17

Video of the June 17, 2003 prototype

SEGA's Orbot benefits from more substantial proprietary weaponry. It can be fitted with new weapons such as the Target Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun and, for snipers, the Sniper Shiffle. Something for everyone!

Objective: destroy everything

Pseudo Interactive Vectorman.jpg

Graphically, the title has evolved from earlier prototypes. The overall look is perhaps too dark, and the lighting and brightness could easily have been rectified had Vectorman's development been completed. The appearance of the hero's and enemies' armor is reflective, and a great deal of work had been undertaken by Pseudo to give this sensation of brilliance. Particular care was taken with the appearance of the hostile creatures that populate this level.

A green rectangular marker, based on the same principle as the yellow sights on the weapons, now indicates the grapple's attachment points. Its use has been made more dynamic and striking.

Death is close at hand

Enemy of Vectorman Playstation 2.jpg

The life bar in the bottom left-hand corner and the radar in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen change to make them more consistent with the rest of the user interface.

The effect of jumping and the sensation of gravity with the Jet Pack have been improved. The character looks less rigid and lighter. Animations have no doubt been added to these movements.

Hypothesis: This prototype isn't necessarily the most captivating to play, as it corresponds to a kind of technical demo with no precise goal. Its polished graphics and choice of additional weapons are the build's strengths. Pseudo Interactive was heading in the direction of what their Vectorman 3D would definitely look like if released commercially. Older versions of Vectorman may have been attempts at experimentation.

The grapple is life


You can download this Vectorman Playstation 2 build below

Vectorman (Jun 17, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

You can download this modified build of Vectorman Playstation 2 with Debug Menu below

Vectorman Debug Menu (Jun 17, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

Vectorman (May 01, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

After thinking he was Duke Nukem with his Jet Pack, Vectorman now dreams of becoming the mercenary Mac Elliot from the film Predator. Equipped with a Gatling machine gun with rotating barrels - it's called Chain Gun in this prototype and not Devastator as in the May 7, 2003 build - SEGA's robot will pulverize anyone who gets in its orbit. This anomaly was already visible in earlier versions of VM Halo-Like.

VM Halo May 01

Video of the May 1, 2003 prototype

The VMMUSIC audio track is included in the beta files, but cannot be heard once the game has started. It is, ”nosetheless” (you need an acute sense of smell) configured for in-game listening in the April 14, 2003 build. This song will not be available in later versions of Pseudo Interactive's uncompleted production.

The best


Just for the photo


The cutscene introducing the stage stops just after the first phase of the mission to be carried out (getting to the main building). In the May 7, 2003 prototype, this cinematic is more fully developed, detailing other important steps required for Vectorman to triumph in the level.

By choosing the second way to finish it, the base of the level will undergo adjustments and a new layout during the 6 days between this build and the next. The metal doors in the central room tunnel don't open. Vectorman (aka Mac Nukem Jones) can still pass through them (no collision detection). These characteristics were already apparent in VM's older Halo-Like prototypes, except that until now the game created "default" textures.

Evolution of the E3 map basement


Build (Apr 07, 2003)


Build May 01, 2003)


Build (May 07, 2003)

Vectorman must not be aware that the game's toughest enemies - large, robotic blue spiders - are not yet implemented in the title, as he already thinks he's in Starship Troopers.

Conclusion: The eleven prototypes in the Vectorman Playstation 2 archive, with a few exceptions, allow you to switch between first-person view (FPS) and third-person view (TPS) at any time. The subjective view in this build stands out from the rest, as players feel as if they're holding SEGA's robot weapon in their own hands. In other betas, when viewing the scene through the avatar's eyes, Vectorman's weaponry is not visible on screen. The magic happens when you press the "Up" direction on the D-Pad!!!!

Vectorman Halo like enemy.jpg



Nothing can stop him


You can download this Vectorman Playstation 2 build below

Vectorman (May 01, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

Vectorman (Apr 14, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

This is no longer the Pause menu of the first prototypes (3.14 and Halo-Like) or of Cel Damage, but a brand new one, conceived specifically for the Vectorman PS2 project. Its structure is and will remain embryonic.

VM Halo Apr 14

The VMMUSIC soundtrack is set by default to be heard from the very first seconds of play.

The transition from the old (explained above) to the new models for flying and rolling vehicles must have occurred at or around the date of this build. Here, army aircraft and tanks have been removed. They will reappear when PI burns the next VM prototype.

Evolution of vehicle models and point of appearance in the E3 level


Build (Apr 07, 2003)


Build Apr 17, 2003)

Beta of Vectorman Playstation 2.jpg

Build (May 17, 2003)

The parabola to be blown up to achieve the level's objective had not yet been put into volume - it simply doesn't exist. Instead, the universe's most famous Orbot must disintegrate a red rectangular parallelepiped on the top landing of the last room of the level.

Arachnophobes are going to have a field day when they learn that the atrocious metallic spiders, with their frankly sketchy modeling, have finally been added to this version of Vectorman. If they can't conquer their fear, they'll have to make do with earlier versions of the game when they weren't already there. Maybe it's just new monsters used only in this beta, where VM's designers will cut a few centimetres off the legs of these arachnids to make them look smaller in future prototypes?

The action button for jumping and Jet Pack is assigned to the "Square" button, rather than "L1" as before. Employees at the Canadian development studio must have been testing a new controller configuration with this prototype, since the button assigned to this action will revert to "L1" as of the May 1, 2003 build.

A little too dull


What's that thing?




You can download this Vectorman Playstation 2 build below

Vectorman (Apr 14, 2003 Playstation 2 Prototype)

We'd like to thank the entire Pseudo Interactive team (Mobygames link to Full Auto Xbox 360) involved in the Vectorman Playstation 2 project for making the transition from 2D to 3D for Mega Drive's most famous robot. We can only feel sorry for them that they weren't able to follow through on their desires and creations!

Special thanks to:

  • LemonHaze (from Team Wulinshu) for digging through the game files

  • Wolvie (former journalist at for proofreading, reformulating and correcting the text

  • Vince for the English correction of the article

Feel free to have a look at the "other cancelled games" I've found. For the more curious among you, I've created a "list of all Dreamcast Unreleased games".

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