Sunday, May 22, 2011

D

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D
Developer - WARP
Publisher - Acclaim Entertainment
Release date - March 2, 1996



D is a psychological horror puzzle adventure game developed by WARP and produced by Kenji Eno. It is the first entry in Eno's D series and features CGI full-motion video.




The story of D follows Laura Harris as she goes to investigate a hospital after learning her father went on a mass murdering spree and barricaded himself inside. The hospital morphs into a castle upon her arrival, which she must explore to find her father. Since the storyline and graphics depicted violence unlike anything seen in a previous video game, Eno deliberately chose to bypass censorship. He submitted a "clean" version to pass publisher approval late, knowing that they would be require him to hand deliver the game to the manufacturer. On his way to the manufacturer, he switched the "clean" with his master version, containing the more disturbing content.

Although it sold over a million copies in Japan, D was not commercially successful in North America. Eno attributed this failure to Sony not printing enough copies to match PlayStation pre-orders. WARP would later take revenge on Sony by releasing later games exclusively on Sega platforms. Reception of D was positive, with critics praising the horror elements, story, presentation, and graphics. The game was followed by Enemy Zero and D2, which star the same "digital actress" Laura although their stories are unrelated.

Story

The game presents no options for pausing the game or saving progress, thereby forcing the player to experience the story in real time. The story begins when Laura Harris is contacted by Los Angeles police, receiving a disturbing message: her father, Dr. Richter Harris, has gone on a mass murdering spree and barricaded himself in the hospital. Laura rushes to the scene of the crime, desperate to find an explanation for the well-respected doctor's actions. Upon entering the hospital, she is so horrified at the murdered bodies lying about the halls that she covers her eyes. When she uncovers them again in the 3DO version, she finds herself in an unknown dark castle. In later versions of the game, she is still in the hospital and explores further, until taken by a small metallic entity to the castle.

There are four endings available depending on the players' actions at the end.

Characters

Laura Harris: Laura is a scholar in her late twenties at a school in San Francisco. Her father, Dr. Richter Harris, is the director and supervisor of a hospital in Los Angeles. Her mother, the wife of Dr. Harris, was violently killed years ago; she was found stabbed to death with her limbs amputated. Laura’s only keepsake from her deceased mother is a blue compact (which also appears in D2). The mirror holds a power that can show hints of the future and as such, is of great use and value to Laura.

Dr. Richter Harris: Father of Laura Harris. He was the supervisor of a hospital in Los Angeles and is in his late fifties. Years ago, his wife was brutally murdered. He has gone insane and killed a large number of patients and staff at the hospital. He is noted as a quiet and studious man, which makes his killing spree all the more puzzling.

Development

WARP began development of D in 1994 for the 3DO console. With use of only three Amiga computers, WARP was able to harness impressive 3D visuals.

Because the storyline and graphic FMVs were more horrifying than any video game that had yet been released, head developer Kenji Eno resorted to a trick in order to get D published. The game was originally developed with no storyline, and Eno kept the story sequences a secret even from the other members of WARP. When the game was finished, he submitted a "clean" version (i.e. without the violent and disturbing story content of the complete version) for approval. He deliberately submitted the master late, knowing that part of the penalty was that he would have to deliver it by hand to the manufacturers in the USA. While on the plane ride to the USA, he switched the phony "clean" discs with the finalized discs, thus completely bypassing all censorship.

Though it sold extremely well in Japan (the Saturn version reached number 1 in the Japanese charts in its first week, D initially failed to make an impact in the US. Nevertheless, Acclaim took it upon themselves to not only port D over to the Sega Saturn, PlayStation and MS-DOS, but to localize all three versions to both the USA and Europe. While most of these releases sold well, Sony failed to manufacture enough units of the PlayStation version to match preorders, resulting in sales of less than a third of what they otherwise would have been. Kenji Eno explained:

When I released D on the PlayStation... the sales people gathered orders for 100,000 units, but Sony had given their other titles manufacturing priority. So Sony told me that they had only manufactured 40,000 units... But then, in the end, they had actually only manufactured only 28,000 units, which is very bad. So the sales people had gotten 100,000 preorders from retailers, but Sony wasn't able to manufacture all of them. I was very pissed about that, because one title like that for a small company is very important. If that game doesn't sell well, then that's very bad for the company.

WARP took revenge on Sony by releasing the games Real Sound: Kaze no Regret and (more famously) Enemy Zero as Sega Saturn exclusives.

There is a very rare edition of D called D's Diner: Director's Cut. It features never before seen sequences, four trailers for the game, a "D" "sound novel" that tells the history of Laura's family, ending as the events in the game unfold and a MiniDisc featuring three tracks from Kenji Eno's D soundtrack on it. Additionally, after completing the game with the "Good" ending and watching the credits roll, players are treated to a long trailer for the original version of D2, which was initially scheduled for the 3DO and later, upgraded for the 3DO M2 Player before being completely reworked for the Sega Dreamcast.

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