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Is This Concept Art From The (Cancelled?) TRON Escape Game?

By TronFAQ on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 7:11 PM
UPDATE: The game was not cancelled. Instead, the "leaked" concept art and screenshots were part of a marketing stunt. But the game is now called TRON RUN/r instead of TRON Escape, and is currently only available as a Steam Early Access title. More details about it can be read in this article.

So I’ve been seeing some images floating around lately, in various places. I sourced (what appears to be the complete set of) them from this tumblr page: http://abandonedproducts.tumblr.com/


The first time I saw one of these, I thought maybe it was TRON Evolution concept art. But now — unless these are fake — I’m thinking they may be concept art for the TRON Escape game that was rumored about, months ago.

These leaked images, sadly, lead me to conclude that TRON Escape is probably dead. (Also, the name of the tumblr page these came from is "abandoned products" which could be taken as another hint.) Otherwise, these images would not be leaking out. (Again, provided they aren’t fake.) The development and release of a new game very likely hinged on a new film being released as well.

November 22nd, 2015 UPDATE 1: Two more concept art images have been added. A friend of mine on Steam (MAK777) suggested that these concepts indicate the title was going to be an infinite runner style of game, and I tend to agree with that assessment. The game's "TRON Escape" moniker would also lend weight to that idea.

I've always believed that the rumored new TRON game would be a budget title, rather than a big AAA release, and an infinite runner would fit that category. It was supposed to be released on PC, PS4, and XB1, but a lower-budget simplistic style of game could easily be ported to mobile platforms as well, and was probably the impetus behind this kind of gameplay design. Again, provided all of these images aren't fake.

Too bad Disney didn't seem to learn from TRON Evolution, because it was exactly the parkour/running/on-rails sections of that game that players have stated they enjoyed the least. (Phrases like "Prince of Persia clone" were bandied about frequently.) But, Disney probably weren't too concerned if this was meant to be a simpler, budget title.

November 22nd, 2015 UPDATE 2: And now screenshots have appeared, sourced from this DeviantArt page: http://post-proto.deviantart.com/gallery/


November 24th, 2015 UPDATE: The pages that were the sources of this concept art and the screenshots, have been deleted. Reinforcing the conclusion that these are indeed leaked TRON Escape pre-production materials. (If they're fakes, then they're awfully good ones.) I'll leave the links to these pages in place, even though they are now devoid of content.

November 26th, 2015 UPDATE: It seems our source is back, with 3 more screenshots.


December 3rd, 2015 UPDATE 1: Our source has returned again, this time with 9 additional screenshots.

It seems plausible, judging from all of the shots released so far, that TRON Escape was cancelled at a fairly early stage. Since the geometry and texturing in the environments of certain shots appear to be incomplete. Also, the other page (from the same source) that some of the screenshots came from was named "post-proto". In other words, suggesting it was post-prototype (aka demo) or "vertical slice". But still not complete.


December 3rd, 2015 UPDATE 2: IGN has posted an article regarding these concept images, and linked to my article here on this site. The author provides additional speculation as to what the images could be, and his article also includes one new image I've never seen before. (I hope he doesn't mind my including it here.)


While the author provides other potential explanations as to what the images could represent, this latest screenshot more or less helps support the conclusion that they've all come from TRON Escape. (Hint: Look at the title in the window title bar.)

Note the "October 16 2015" build date in the screenshot. If TRON Escape has been cancelled, then it happened pretty recently.

December 3rd, 2015 UPDATE 3: After taking the time to scrutinize IGN's article, I've noticed some interesting details.

  • The article mentions sound assets. Interesting. I haven't come across any yet. No one has.

  • The previous point, new screenshot, and the higher quality versions of existing screenshots in the article, suggest IGN has been in contact with the leaker. Or, at least, the author of the article has better Google search skills than I do.

  • Also curious is the "Advertisement by ENCOM International" subheading on IGN's article, and the disclaimer at the bottom stating that it's part of a "special advertising section". Does IGN know something we don't? Does this mean TRON Escape isn't cancelled? And these leaks are part of an elaborate marketing stunt ahead of the 2015 Game Awards show?


December 3rd, 2015 UPDATE 4: All of these TRON Escape "leaks" were apparently a marketing stunt. A preview of the game was on the 2015 Game Awards show. Only now, it's called TRON Run/r. I suspected as much when the IGN article had a "special advertising section" disclaimer attached to it.

TRON Run/r is on Steam now! http://store.steampowered.com/app/392000/
(Thanks to Neo aka @Employee_427 on Twitter for pointing this out.)

December 3rd, 2015 UPDATE 5: An entry on SteamDB reveals that TRON Run/r is being developed by Sanzaru Games, who were responsible for the Sonic Boom games.

It also shows that the game will have a lot of DLC (7 so far) and also lists the achievements. One of the achievements is named "TRON 3?". Hmm.

(Thanks to @alexislightus on Twitter for the tip!)

December 4th, 2015 UPDATE: Adding some additional speculation, here. I wonder if TRON Run/r was indeed almost cancelled. Or else why release it as an Early Access title on Steam? Might this have been the only way to save it? Release the game unfinished, and see if the interest is out there, to convince Disney execs to allow development to continue?

December 5th, 2015 UPDATE: I've created a video about TRON RUN/r and featured the video in a new article. It goes into the rumors and events leading up to the title's release.
 
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1 comment so far.

  1. TRONFan November 22, 2015 10:30 AM
    I feel bad for those who still like the TRON franchise. Unfortunately, T:L massively underperformed. As a result, the executives went into panic mode, bought the "Star Wars" property (which allowed them to check off the box titled "Science-Fiction franchise") and breathed a sigh of relief to themselves.

    If I was an ambitious group of TRON fans, I would start pooling my money and keep quiet for five or so years. Put out feelers to Disney executives about a possible purchase of the franchise. Allow for any possible transfer to have that Disney can keep operation of their Shanghai TRON rollercoaster (probably the largest sticking point for this franchise transfer) and must sell off all of their consumer product stock of the franchise within one year of the sale.

    Once the franchise is acquired, I would go about turning it into a console/computer game based franchise only. No more movies, TV shows, graphic novels or the like. A toy line for adult enthusiasts (with robust price points to match) if absolutely necessary. T-shirts, buttons... Anything especially cheap to create that doesn't add to TRON lore could be created to achieve some quick initial revenue. Reprints of the movies only to serve new media formats (whatever equivalent of Blu-Ray and whatnot transpires a decade down the road, Netflix, etc.)

    Specific steps would be to release the TRON 2.0 & TRON: Evolution source code and art assets into the wild. Have at it. You will not make any significant money off of those properties anymore. Offer no support for those titles at all; They have now been freed.

    Next, I would quickly crank out some mobile phone / tablet games and/or apps based on the aesthetic of T:L. Developers are cheap and would love to put the TRON franchise onto their resume to boost their cred.

    Next, I would reboot the entire franchise from top to bottom. Everything before the acquisition could still be respected but it wouldn't be added onto. It exists in it's own separate universe and the two (the original and the reboot) shall never meet.

    The product mix for the reboot will start cheap (multiplayer-only first-person / third-person shooter) and go to more integrated (PC MMO) as the franchise is built around a central story. Each game builds upon the new lore but can be played separately.

    If all went according to plan, in 20 years, you could have a viable franchise again built around a mature industry (computers). Divisions could be spun off as needed (educational, machinima, etc.) under the ENCOM label.

    It's not a perfect plan but better than Disney's "buy our buttons / T-shirts / coffee mug" future for the franchise.

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