Oni 2 (Angel Studios)
- For instructions on how to run the game, see HERE.
- For information on each level in the game, as well as stills/video footage, see HERE.
- For technical documentation of the game, see HERE.
Oni 2: Death & Taxes was a sequel to Oni which was in development from 2001-2002 before being cancelled. The game was being developed by Angel Studios for the PlayStation 2 under publisher Take-Two Interactive before Angel was acquired by Rockstar and renamed Rockstar San Diego. An ISO of a late or final development build of the game leaked in 2016 and was promptly documented by the game preservation YouTube channel PtoPOnline here. The name of the game seen on the main menu was likely a working title or a light-hearted placeholder; the game data internally uses the name Oni 2: Rebirth.
Shortly after Oni was released, it was rumored that Take-Two had put Oni 2 into production; however, no sequel was ever officially announced. In 2007, the rumor of a cancelled sequel was bolstered by a leak which asserted that Oni 2 had been under development by Angel Studios for the PS2. In 2016, the full story finally came out when an actual development build of the cancelled game was leaked, documented by PtoPOnline, and covered by Kotaku.
At this time, interviews with former developers revealed that the game had started development at the beginning of 2001 or even late 2000, which might mean that its development overlapped with Oni's. Since the development build is dated Dec. 10, 2002, that means that the game was in development for as long as two years. After all that time, it was apparently not even close to completion. The project suffered from a lack of clear direction, and when Angel was acquired by Rockstar and renamed as Rockstar San Diego in 2002, Oni 2 was cancelled in favor of other projects.
The game binary contains various strings which demonstrate that it ran on the Angel Game Engine (AGE), the in-house engine used by Angel Studios. Since Angel almost exclusively developed racing games at the time Oni 2 was started, it's difficult to understand why T2 assigned them a third-person brawler with a heavy focus on bipedal animation. It seems likely that Angel had to do a tremendous amount of coding to add support for this type of game to their engine. Interestingly, Angel was apparently bought by Rockstar for their engine, and AGE became RAGE, the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine, which Rockstar has used to power the Grand Theft Auto games from IV onward.
A concept artist for Oni 2, Eric Lin, has done some original art in subsequent years that reflects his work on the game. Click here to search his gallery for Oni-related art.
Oni 2's melee combat was shaping up to be considerably more complex than Oni's, incorporating the grappling and parrying that some Oni fans have wished for in a sequel. Other additions to Oni's gameplay include ledge grabbing, AIs that can disarm the player, contextual attacks, and blocks that stun the attacker. Gunplay is still present, and is as simple as it is in Oni. Konoko retains her agility, with the ability to perform melee strikes in all four directions, strafe sideways, and perform a jump-flip while still using her weapon. A curious choice was made in allowing Konoko to double-jump as if she is a character in a platformer (of course, no design decisions were finalized at this point in development). Konoko can also perform wall flips (see "Controls" section). When she is facing a wall, the wall flip sends her backward away from the wall, but when her back is to the wall, she comes back into it with her flip, and can continue to perform additional backward wall flips ad infinitum. This allows her to climb any wall, which is essential to clearing level 8, The Rooftops.
It doesn't seem that the Oni 2 project actually had any writing done for it yet, so any story-like elements in the build are probably placeholders. This is the likely explanation for the fact that Konoko is depicted as working for the TCTF, an organization that previously tried to kill her, not to mention that Mai is called "Konoko" again instead of her real name (though that may be because she is working for the TCTF). Konoko is briefed on missions by an artificial being named Amaya who looks more like a robot than an SLD. The organization of bad guys is simply called the Neo-Syndicate, also likely a placeholder. The setting of the game is a traditional cyberpunk atmosphere. We see all sorts of cyborgs, as well as scavengers living off collected junk.
Oni 2 is meant to be played with the DualShock 2 in analog mode, so that the left thumbstick can be used for movement and the right stick to move the camera. In digital mode (the "Analog" light on the DualShock 2 is off), the D-pad has to be used as the movement control, but in analog mode, the D-pad is freed up to serve as the inventory control. In the following tables, analog mode is assumed to be on unless otherwise noted. Note that ledge grabbing does not work everywhere; only where the devs intended it to.
The closest thing to a developer mode that has been discovered is pressing both analog sticks at once to cycle through camera modes. Note that when moving the camera in free-fly mode using the left analog stick, Konoko still responds to the thumbstick as well, meaning that in some of the more precarious levels she is likely to fall off the map and die, leading to a Game Over a little while later. The camera must be in free-fly mode for the controls described below to work.
|L3 + R3||toggle camera mode: standard, polar, free-flying|
|left analog||move camera|
|right analog||aim camera|
|L1 + move camera||faster camera movement|
In the following tables, a '*' means a short pause.
Δ is the strike (fast attack) button, and it produces various punches and kicks based upon your position in a combo sequence or the use of a directional modifier (that is, beginning to move in a certain direction right before attacking). O is the heavy attack button, producing slower, presumably more powerful attacks. O and Δ attacks can be interleaved and still build a combo, e.g. Δ, O performs the same second attack as O, O does.
Note that grappling was a work-in-progress and can cause animation glitches after it ends. After holding a target for a while, he will break free, but this sometimes causes the game to hang. When you have someone in a hold, you can press Δ one or two times to elbow him in the head, but a third Δ will kick him away. So the elbow attacks are intended as an optional prelude to either releasing him with X, kicking him with Δ, throwing him with O, or placing him in a painlock stance with □. When the victim is in a painlock, you can punch him in the head an unlimited number of times with Δ, but you can no longer throw him, only release him.
|movement||walk with victim (human shield tactic)|
|Δ x3||elbow to head x2, kick away|
|O||overhead rolling leg throw|
|□||place victim in painlock stance|
|Δ while in painlock||fist to head|
|X||release victim from hold or painlock stance|