Before Rockstar San Diego developed Red Dead Redemption, the company was known as Angel Studios, and now an interesting anecdote from the studio’s history has come to light.
Founder Diego Angel–for whom the studio was named–shared a story with Polygon about the time when Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto visited Angel Studios to provide feedback on their in-development Nintendo 64 racing game Buggy Boogie.
Angel said he prepared for 45 days in the lead up to the meeting, adding that he was especially honored that Miyamoto was coming to him for the meeting instead of the other way around.
As Angel remembers it, Miyamoto only needed a few minutes to determine Nintendo did not want to pursue the idea that Angel Studios had for the game at the time.
“Mr. Miyamoto went and spent 10, 15 minutes look[ing] at [the design document], closed the big f**king book, got his hand behind [the book], pushed it to me, looked at me and said, ‘Diego, I don’t want this.’ My balls got frozen. I lost my legs. I said, ‘F*ck, f**k. I blew it.’ He said, ‘This is not what I want.'”
Angel said he followed up with Miyamoto to ask what his team could do differently. Instead of different designs, Miyamoto told Angel that his team should spend three more months working on the actual technology that would make the game “feel good.”
The team was never able to get Buggy Boogie into a good enough place, and the game was canceled. Angel Studios’ former software director Clinton Keith said in a 2008 interview with Gamasutra that Nintendo’s thinking at the time was to ask its partners to “fail fast” to avoid ballooning budgets. The idea for Buggy Boogie was that the cars would eat other cars and adopt their special powers.
While Angel Studios never completed Buggy Boogie, the team did develop three Nintendo 64 games–Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr. (1998), Ken Griffey Jr.’s Slugfest (1999), and the port of Resident Evil 2 (1999).
Angel Studios was eventually acquired by Rockstar’s parent company, Take-Two, in 2002. As part of the buyout, Take-Two got the rights to Angel’s in-development western, Red Dead Revolver, which was going to be published by Capcom before the sale. Angel Studios rebranded as Rockstar San Diego, and the company developed 2010’s Red Dead Redemption and contributed to the 2018 sequel.
The full Polygon piece is a fantastic and eye-opening interview with Diego Angel that is well worth a read for anyone interested in a behind-the-scenes look at a man who shaped the games industry.
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