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Prototype Rare Kinect sim Savannah would have let you rear lions

"I think we got some of the nicest looking in-game fur I've seen"

Remember Viva Pinata, Rare's delightful paper-based animal husbandry sandbox? Well, the studio once planned something similar but not quite so arts-and-crafty for Kinect, a simulation known as Savannah in which you rear your very own, beautifully animated lion cub.

"Savannah was the brain child of [15 year veteran] Phil Dunne," former Rare modeller Donnchadh Murphy revealed to Not Enough Shaders. "Phil's concept was to create a realistic savannah environment where you raised a lion cub from birth to its adult life, teaching it survival and social skills to survive the harsh life in the wild.

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"We knew of the Kinect coming out but we had no real info on how good it was, but the plan was to try and use that technology in Savannah." We're picturing Mufasa-style monologues from the clouds, perhaps with motion-controlled thunder.

"It was an interesting concept and it was fun to work on, we really tried to push the technology of the 360 to get the most out of the graphics," Murphy went on. "The lions and Hyenas were using a custom shell system for the fur, and with the help of a great programmer called Cliff Ramshaw, I think we got some of the nicest looking in-game fur I've seen."

He was unable to give reasons as to why the title never saw daylight. "It was only ever a prototype, and it never got a green light."

Would you have bought it?

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