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New Dreamcast Prototype Found: Panic World

If you've had your eye on the Dreamcast community as of late, you'll probably agree with us in saying that 2021 is definitely the year of Dreamcast prototypes.

The latest unreleased game to enter our collective attentions comes courtesy of Mike Mika, the studio head at the California-based game studio Digital Eclipse. Last night, Mike tweeted a string of tweets that I presume came about as a result of him looking through a treasure trove of Sega stuff. The tweet that peeked everybody's attention, however, was one of a GD-R for a mysterious unreleased game 'Panic World.' "What is Panic World for Dreamcast?," asked Mike (source). Unlike many other legendary unreleased Dreamcast titles, this is one that we've never heard of before. Much speculation occurred as a result. Was it somehow related to Hello Kitty: Garden Panic? Maybe the unreleased Sega puzzler Aqua Panic? Many people hoped it was some kind of sequel to the trippy-as-hell point-and-click title Panic! for Sega CD. Basically, we were all pretty eager for Mike to answer his own question for us.
Luckily, Mike had a System Disc 2, which would allow him to boot the GD-R up on a normal Dreamcast. A few hours later, Panic World was unveiled to the world, for the first time ever. 

Turns out Panic World was a 2D puzzle game (in the vein of something like Tetris Attack) that Digital Eclipse had been developing for Dreamcast that had reached the prototype phase. Mike shared some gameplay footage, then two screenshots of the title screen, as well as what appears to be a character select screen (source). It definitely looks like it could've been quite interesting. The game's aesthetic makes me think less of a Western-developed Dreamcast game, and more of one of the odd but fascinating titles that might have been released exclusively in Japan. Check the gameplay footage and screenshots below:


Rather amusingly, Mike's fellow Digital Eclipse colleague Chris Kohler tweeted "lol let's finish it and ship it" (link). While pretty obviously said in jest, we'd still like to see this game released and preserved in some manner, even if it's just a prototype for us to tinker with on a GDEMU to see what could've been. We're sure the community are already reaching out to Mike to see if he'll dump it online for us all to take a look at, so watch this space!

What do you think of this prototype? Does it look like something you might have enjoyed back in the day? Let us know in the comments below, or on our various social media pages!