Can you imagine finding an unreleased Xbox game on an old hard drive? Well, that’s what happened to Modern Vintage Gamer, a YouTuber dedicated to exploring the world of retro consoles and their secrets.
In one of his videos, he tells us how he got a hard drive from a dev kit of the original Xbox, the console that came out in 2001 and was Microsoft’s first foray into the video game market. Despite finding a title already known from the console’s catalog, he found a surprise that would amaze racing fans.
Finding a needle in a haystack
Like all consoles, the original Xbox came with a dev kit. These dev kits were special versions of the console that were used to develop and test games before they were released. As such, a dev kit hard drive is something of a holy grail among video game collectors and preservationists.
What Modern Vintage Gamer was hoping to find was a collection of classic Xbox games, such as: Halo, Fable, or Forza Motorsport. And he did, finding some well-known titles such as Ford vs. Chevy, a racing game released in October 2005.
But what was not expected was to find a version of Fast and the Furious, the game based on the famous saga of action movies and cars. The funny thing is that this game was only released on PlayStation 2 and PSP in 2006. An Xbox version was never announced, nor was it even known to exist.
How is it possible that there was a copy of this game on an Xbox Dev Kit hard drive? Was it a canceled project or a leak? Modern Vintage Gamer set out to find out and share it with all of us.
An intricate process
To do this, he had to extract the information from the dev kit’s hard drive safely and without damaging it. This is not an easy task because these disks are very old and fragile. In addition, they have a protection system that prevents access to them without a special password.
Fortunately, Modern Vintage Gamer had the help of a tool created by the community of original Xbox fans on GitHub. This tool makes it possible to create an exact copy of the contents of the dev kit hard drive without opening or modifying it.
The process was very slow because the hard drive had a capacity of about 9 GB and a very slow speed. Modern Vintage Gamer had to wait more than 30 minutes to get the full disk image – an eternity compared to today’s hard drives!
Once he had the disk image, he was able to access The Fast and the Furious game files. However, he encountered another problem: the game was not working properly. Apparently, it was a very early version of the game, with many bugs and glitches.
So much effort but it was worth it
But Modern Vintage Gamer did not give up and decided to fix the game so that it would work and show it to the world. To do this, he enlisted the help of another member of the original Xbox community. One with great experience in the field of development, who helped him to create a patch to fix the most serious problems of the game.
The result was surprising: the game booted up and he was able to play it without much difficulty. However, the game was far from being finished. It had many bugs, broken sound and mediocre gameplay.
The studio responsible for the game was Eutechnyx Limited, a British company specializing in racing games. The date of the version found by Modern Vintage Gamer was July 7, 2006. But when comparing it with other previous versions of the game’s development, he realized that it was one of the oldest and least advanced.
What do you think about this find, would you like to try this unreleased Xbox game? If so, you’re in luck, because Modern Vintage Gamer has shared the patch he created to make it work. All you need is a modified original Xbox and a little patience.
This is just another example of how the retro community can rescue and preserve lost or canceled games. Thanks to people like Modern Vintage Gamer, we can learn the hidden stories behind these forgotten gems.