While we’re finally getting a proper Stargate game soon, we could have had an authentic Stargate SG-1 game over a decade ago — and it would have been Australian.
The game was worked on by a Sydney studio called Perception, and was built for the PC, PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox. The project was cancelled back in 2006, although one of the developers and long-time Kotaku Australia reader White_Pointer believed it would have been finished with another 12 to 18 months of work.
The project had a ton of support not just from MGM, owners of the Stargate IP, but also the original cast and crew. Richard Dean Anderson, Christopher Judge (who’s since won awards for his video game voice acting), Amanda Tapping, Don S. Davis, Michael Shanks and Gary Jones all provided voice-overs for the Sydney studio, and many of the alien races from SG-1 made an appearance in The Alliance, too.
The gameplay structure is akin to something like Republic Commando, which launched around the same time. But Perception had a huge advantage: it was more of a squad-based shooter, with each member of the SG-1 crew having their own unique powers. Teal’C, pictured below, had a special charge/tackle, while Daniel Jackson had a Hand of Light that was also used out of combat to decipher hieroglyphics. O’Neill had a massive sniper rifle, and Carter had the iconic Goa’uld hand device, the kara kesh. Missions would force you to play as different characters, but you could also issue basic commands to the rest of your party.
Some uncommentated footage from Stargate SG-1: The Alliance appeared online last year, but White_Pointer’s new footage also has the benefit of perspective since he worked on the project. The Sydney-made game would have also had a multiplayer component, they explained over private messages. It would have featured typical deathmatch and capture the flag, as well as a “System Lord” mode that split players into a Jaffa and SGC team, with each side controlling a base that required defending.
What’s upsetting watching this old footage is seeing just how far along the game was. According to White_Pointer, the project was complete enough that it’d hit an internal alpha, with only the cutscenes and polishing left to go.
Around 60 staffers were working on Stargate SG-1: The Alliance at the time, and the whole game was built in Unreal Engine 2.5. Fans will recognise the full suite of Stargate weaponry — you could run with the human’s typical miltech gear, but weapons like the Golden Staff, which had unlimited ammo, were super helpful.
A neat touch was that each member of your crew had a personal shield that could absorb a couple of hits, but not much more. Much like Halo, it’d recharge over time. But you could also use its energy in other ways, like with a personal cloaking device that could be used for some stealth segments.
It’s great that we’ve got a massive chunk of footage, but it’s also a little sad knowing that something this good never saw the light of day. Stargate SG-1: The Alliance was an unfortunate casualty of legal troubles after the developers sued the original publisher, JoWood.
Peter DeLuise, one of the original writers and directors on Stargate SG-1 and one of the scriptwriters for the game, said the game’s cancellation would have been upsetting for fans. “I mostly was involved in the audio portion of it and the dialogue and so the fact that it is cancelled is very disappointing because I think the fans would have really, really enjoyed that game,” DeLuise said back in 2006.
He’s right: Stargate SG-1: The Alliance would have been really good. The nostalgia people have for mid 2000s shooters like Republic Commando — that could have been The Alliance. It was clearly made by people who loved the Stargate franchise, there was a ton of variety in the environments, the missions looked fun in that post-Quake 3 / Halo era kind of way, there were some great technical additions for its time, and it had all the quips, sounds and references Stargate fans would appreciate.
White_Pointer mentioned in the video that they received the approval of their former boss to release the footage. But if you’re hoping that all the files might be uploaded online some day for fans to finish off The Alliance and give it the love it deserves, I have some bad news.
“There’s no chance of that happening,” they said in a private message.
It’s a shame. The Alliance is the sort of authentic project Stargate SG-1 deserved.
Thanks to White_Pointer for the tip and all the work involved in getting the footage playable and released.