Octopussy (1983) - Cancelled

 

Game Data
Released: Cancelled (Planned 'Summer 1983')
Publisher: Parker Bros
Developer: In-House

Platforms
Atari Video Computer System, Sears Super Video Arcade, Sears Video Arcade, Intellivision, Intellivision II, Tandyvision

Official Blurb
Based on the daring train sequence from the James Bond adventure, "Octopussy." Take the train ride of your life with Agent 007 in this fast-moving action video adventure.

A deadly knife-thrower and some trigger happy gunmen are on your heels as you battle across the top of a speeding train. Think fast - and act even faster - as you try to avoid their attacks without being knocked off the train. 1 or 2 players.

Left: One of the many full page advertisements that Parker Bros ran in comics and magazines to promote the game months ahead of its planned launch. The adverts contained made up quotes from fake sources.

In late 1982, videogame publisher Parker Bros was developing a game tie-in for the upcoming James Bond movie "Octopussy", to be released the following summer. Nobody had created a videogame alongside a 007 movie before. Unfortunately, it would be another two years before a different publisher succeeded, as Octopussy was ultimately deep-sixed.

"James Bond 007 as seen in Octopussy" was a single screen game based on the train sequence from the film, and would have seen players battle gunmen and knife throwers, leap between train carriages and collect Faberge 'gems'.

Despite spending thousands of dollars hyping the upcoming game in comic books and magazines with full page advertisements (complete with fake quotes), and showing the prototype at CES in Chicago and the Electronic Fun Expo in New York in early 1983, Parker Bros played the old bait and switch trick on expectant fans.


Above: Screenshots from the "Octopussy" prototype game.

For reasons which are unknown, the "Octopussy" game was shelved and replaced with another Bond game which was developed in parallel. The released "James Bond 007" was a terrible side-scrolling "Moon Patrol" rip-off with only the loosest connections to the Bond canon, and shoe-horned references to "Diamonds Are Forever", "The Spy Who Loved Me", "Moonraker" and "For Your Eyes Only." Only the planned cover art from the game would survive the switch.

Although no known copy of the "Octopussy" prototype exists anymore, there are sufficient witnesses who were present at the 1983 trade shows to confirm its existence, despite suspicions that the screenshots included in Atari publicity materials were actually from an Intellivision version.

Atari historians suspect that either Parker Bros were unable to complete the "Octopussy" game in time for the summer 1983 launch (perhaps as the game was actually being developed on the Intellivision system), or that marketers play-tested both games and selected the "Moon Patrol" knock-off as the superior title. It was common practice in in the early 1980s for marketers to select which games saw release.

The mysterious legacy of an "Octopussy" game would not end here, though. Almost ten years later, an unofficial and unlicensed game based on the film was released in Slovakia for the ZX Spectrum.

Above: Parker Bros catalogue from early 1983 promoting the "Octopussy" game.

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