A Strange Bizarre Creations CD Appears...

We've covered Metropolis Street Racer with alarming regularity in the recent past, looking at some cool locations and trackside details you may have missed; the mystery of the hidden missing persons posters and finally the treasure trove of development images and press releases we were sent by a mysterious benefactor. If you've never heard of MSR, it's a racing game set in three cities around the world and spawned the seminal Xbox series Project Gotham Racing. Also, what are you doing here if you've never heard of MSR? Go and play it!

Anyway, said mysterious benefactor has once again bequeathed The Dreamcast Junkyard with a fairly esoteric item related - we think - in some way to Metropolis Street Racer, and here it is:
As you can see, it's a CD case. The cover shows a bunch of car keys with a Dreamcast logo on the keyring, and the date '30.03.99,' which equates to the 30th March 1999 by UK date standards. Or any standard come to think of it, there only being 12 months and all.

The spine of the case has a sticker with 'Invitation Cover 9.3.99' written in biro (bit of an inconsistency there, Columbo fans):
The CD-R itself has 'Invitation Cover 9/3/99 Bizarre Creations Confidential' written on it in marker:
The back of the case is empty so there's no other detail as to how or why this thing exists, and delving into the contents of the CD itself, there aren't really any other clues to work with:
There are Quark Xpress, PhotoShop and TIFF files, along with a TrueType font file; and the image files are basically just the image from the font cover - a bunch of car keys and the date 30.09.1999 (well, the PSD file does - the TIFF is free of a date). Note: I can't open the Quark Xpress file because the last known person to use Quark Xpress vanished up his own backside 9 years ago and has never been seen since.
Quite what this date means and what the 'invitation' is for, I'm not totally sure but cross referencing this date with the MSR development diary we published a while back could shed some light. See, the penultimate entry in the dev diary is from 29th January 1999, and this passage references an upcoming demonstration of MSR to some 'Sega VIPs':

"Last week was the week of the big telly. We have to demo the game to some Sega VIPs next week, and showing it on a little 15" monitor or a 14" portable TV wasn't really showing it at its full potential. So we went out and got a HUGE 29" TV, which really makes it look cool! Matt (the Lead Coder) has it weighing down his desk and giving him eyestrain at the moment!"

The dates don't line up perfectly, but there in the same ball park so I'm guessing that the artwork on the CD-R, plus the use of the word 'invitation' has something to do with the previewing of MSR to various Sega bigwigs.
So, not the most Earth-shattering of items and nothing as exciting as the confidential press disk (from which the image above is from - see here), but I'm sure you'll agree that it is pretty interesting to see something like this which was never intended for public consumption. Thanks go once again to the nameless benefactor supplying us with all these goodies!

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7 comments:

jon lee said...

typesetting instructions for a printer. (As in a person who prints things not an hp deskjet)

Tom Charnock said...

Why would somebody go to the lengths of creating a multi-layered PSD file of keys, the shadow and the DC logo if it was for type setting?

pcwzrd13 said...

@Tom Government conspiracy! Cover-up! Aliens!!!

RJAY63 said...

Nice find! The "Matt" they mention above was Matt Birch who left Bizarre Creations about two months later. At that time, the game was very different in concept and style, and gradually become more "realistic" as time progressed.

Tom Charnock said...

Cheers RJAY - you’re the authority when it comes to MSR, thanks for reading sir

Guru Larry said...

A fan just sent me a huge box of assets from Bizarre Creations, literally over 1000 CDs. and quite a few have Nightwing written on them, I just can't find any info on it.

These are dated 2009 as well, so 100% not Dreamcast related sadly.

Tom Charnock said...

Wow - over 1000 CDS?! Man I'd love to have a dig through those! Cheers for the comment Larry, if you make a video on the CDs, please let us know :)