Level 100: Bioforge Plus (English Version)

Some time ago I set out to find out as much as I can about the fate of „BIOFORGE PLUS“ – the official add-on to the 1995 Origin Systems‘ action title „BIOFORGE“ which, after a short and quite chaotic development cycle, was unfortunately never released. Two years and one quite convoluted information scavenger hunt later I’m immensely proud to present to you the most comprehensive analysis of „BIOFORGE PLUS“. Which rightfully earned itself the honour to being the 100th main episode of „Game Not Over“. And which also is the very first episode here that I’ve double-recorded in German as well as in English in order for our non-German speaking friends all over the world to join the cool kids club and be in the know about this very obscure piece of video game history as well.

Commence enjoyment!

Heartfelt thanks to Bill Armintrout, Bruce Lemons, Jack Herman, Eric Hyman, Billy Joe Cain, Jeff Morris, Artie Rogers, Brendan Segraves, Joe Garrity, Jörg Neumann, Paul Barnett, Richard Garriott, Starr Long and Ken Demarest for answering my many questions.

Text excerpt:

People like to say that I prefer to talk about retro games that nobody has ever heard of. This might not be completely wrong from time to time – but now I thought that I should fully embrace this particular prejudice. Because is there a better opportunity to focus on a game that hardly anyone has ever heard of, simply because it has never been released, than the 100th main episode of „Game Not Over“? Nah, don’t think so. Therefore: Welcome to the big and very special anniversary of „Game Not Over“. That’s all about „Bioforge Plus”.

„Bioforge“… hm. I can’t seem to let go of it. I’ve played through the game easily a dozen times since its release in 1995, and despite all its obvious flaws, it’s still one of my favorite games of all time – I’d like to think that I know it really well by now. Back in 2018, I did a dedicated podcast episode about it, Level 21, for which I also talked to Ken Demarest, the game’s lead developer, at the time. And I really thought that was the end of the topic for me as well. One of my last sentences in that episode was, translated to English, „And that would be the conclusion of the „BioForge“ saga from my side.“

But now – I might be wrong. At some point that had to happen, statistically speaking. At the beginning of 2021, I was in the mood for „Bioforge“ once more, played through it again over the course of a few days, got annoyed by the terribly open ending like every time – and then started to seriously wonder how the game and its storyline were supposed to continue. Of course, I knew the broad strokes – it’s not a particularly big secret that the work on „Bioforge 2“ had started right after the completion of the original game. Which then, after it became clear that „Bioforge“ wasn’t going to be a big seller, was turned into the add-on „Bioforge Plus“. Which in turn reached beta status after only a couple of weeks of development, but was then canceled under cloak and dagger and disappeared from the surface of this world. For which the blame was of course put on Electronic Arts, the parent company of Origin Systems…



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