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The Dig

MobyRank MobyScore
DOS
83
3.9
Macintosh
...
3.6
Windows
76
4.0

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Dig appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Alien and planet name

The planet and aliens are not given a name, however the credits refer to the "Cocytan leader".

In the novelization, Brink decides to name the planet "Cocytus" from Dante's Divine Comedy, Cocytus being the exterior circle of the Underworld and the only way out. The aliens thus are referred to as "Cocytans". However, these concepts are not taken into consideration in the game.

Development

The Dig is based on the original concept of Steven Spielberg who originally created the storyline to be an episode in his Amazing Stories tv series. It would have been too expensive to shoot, so Spielberg approached LucasArts in 1989 with an idea of making it a game. The game itself went through several re-writes at LucasArts, so only the main storyline and a couple of puzzles were carried out from Spielberg's original ideas.

The Dig went through three phases of development while in production, each with different project leaders.

The first phase was led by Noah Falstein. In this version, the game was set upon a jungle planet, very unlike the final version. One major part of this version apparently was that you had to collect and consume food and water to keep your character alive.

The second phase was led by Brian Moriarty. Moriarty tossed out all of the old art from the first version, as well as the "collecting resources" RPG-style elements.

In this version, there were four characters: Boston Low, Ludger Brink, Judith Robbins, and Toshi Olema, a Japanese physicist. As in the final game, this crew was transported to an alien planet via a ship disguised as an asteroid.

This version was controlled via a standard LucasArts-style interface at the bottom of the screen containing visual icons for the functions Examine, Pick up, Use, Move, and Talk, as well as inventory items. Strangely, the game was not programmed in LucasArts' standard SCUMM engine, but instead something called StoryDroid Development System.

After a long series of internal conflicts, Brian Moriarty left the company and Sean Clark took over the project. Clark was the one who actually got the game finished. He changed Judith's name to Maggie and removed Toshi Olema from the plot.

In early betas of Sean Clark's version, the characters looked the same as they did in Brian Moriarty's version (with Low and Robbins both having blond hair). These sprites were later changed and made more visually striking.

In addition, though early betas of this new version used an interface at the bottom of the screen with the same icons for interaction as in Moriarty's game, this was later rejected for the final "one-click-does-it-all" interface which the public saw.

Also, the voices in the final game were not the same as those heard in early betas of Clark's The Dig. Those unused voices lasted long enough to be present in the official demo of The Dig.

Extras

Some copies of The Dig came with a free copy of the Trade Paperback version of Alan Dean Foster's game novelization (a $12.95 value according to the box sticker).

Novel

Although there's no movie based on it, there is a book based on the game, also called The Dig, written by science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster.

References

  • Main character Boston Low is voiced by Robert Patrick, who incarnated the evil liquid terminator in the movie Terminator 2. At one point in the game, Boston shows Maggie a photo of lost comrade Brink, and asks her "Have you seen this boy?", paraphrasing the evil terminator's trademark question in that popular movie. Also, when the player looks at his PenUltimate he's gonna say that it's the "T-1000 Model".
  • According to the game's demo, the ship that carries out the Attila mission in the first part of the game is Space Shuttle Atlantis. However this reference was cut from the final game.

Shapes

Take a look at the PenUltimate communicator and you will notice that there is a geometric shape on it. It is what the plates inside Atilla look like when they are put together.

Soundtrack

Even though Michael Land's score for the game was released on CD (albeit in a very low amount), it suffered from the worst 'disease' of all official soundtracks, painfully well known to collectors of film scores - it was cut, and not all the music appearing in the game was included. However, the tracks can be extracted with external utilities. Details can be found in the tips & tricks section.

Title

After finishing the game, you might start to wonder if the game's title is in any way connected to the over-usage of the shovel item in the game (main character digs holes every now and then, and rather often), because there is definitely no dig site to explore (not assuming half-blasted asteroid).

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #3 Top Vaporware Title in Computer Game History
Information also contributed by ATMachine, Boston Low, ClydeFrog, Daniel Albu, Dirk Struan, G J, Jaromir Krol, MAT, Swordmaster and Trixter

Contributed by Mickey Gabel (357) on Apr 20, 2000. [revised by : FatherJack (43446) and Patrick Bregger (112025)]. -- edit trivia