Mike Clarke (a former Psygnosis musician) recently posted a rare video of Software Creations' cancelled N64 platformer Moon Jelly onto YouTube.
Moon Jelly (or Space Jelly as it has also been referred to) was in development inside the Manchester studio in the mid-90s and appeared in several magazines before it was later cancelled and vanished from public view.
The Pickford Brothers were the ones initially responsible for designing the game's world and setting, with the concept artist (and former Cosgrove Hall alum) Stephen Hanson taking over the game's design after the two eventually departed the company following disagreements with new owners BCE Holdings and Rage Software. Others who apparently worked on this doomed project include the artists Francis O'Brien and Deborah Graham, and the programmer Carleton Handley.
Clarke writes that he found this video, containing footage of a previously-unseen demo, on a VHS discovered in his dad's attic. However, he can't seem to remember how or why it is in his possession. Software Creations self-funded the project at the time, but Software founder Richard Kay was apparently trying to pitch the project around, according to Unseen64.
We've reached out to Kay to see if Psygnosis was on his list of potential publishers. He responded:
"Yes this was one of ours but don't remember ever pitching it to Psygnosis. It was pitched to Sony, so that might be the link to them"
When we informed Clarke about this, he said:
"People don't realise that throughout the 90s Psygnosis *was* Sony Europe. The Sony offices were Psygnosis satellite offices and our Managing Director was also the Managing Director of SCEE. It was probably pitched in the London office and someone brought it up to Liverpool."
As for the video itself, it appears to show the protagonist called Johnny Forbidden running around a huge 3D interior with some Tim Burton-esque enemies scuttling about the place. Many former Software employees we've interacted with in the past have spoken fondly about Moon Jelly's concept art but claimed that it never had a strong enough design. Handley seemed to echo this opinion online in May 2020, claiming "it must have been a real money pit".
Something that should be noted is that Moon Jelly wasn't the only game from around this time to be cancelled or retooled at Software Creations. Other cancelled games include Spiral Saga and Blade & Barrel. Software's Creator was also retooled into the N64DD-exclusive Mario Artist: Paint Studio. Many former employees we've spoken to in the past credit the change in technology from 2D to 3D graphics and a collection of poor management decisions for why Software struggled with so many projects during this period.