A fourth Gex game, Gex Jr., has been discovered. This unreleased game would have starred Gex’s son and was in development for the PS1. A very early build was leaked on Archive.org earlier this month, which gives us a brief look at what could have been.
What is Gex Jr., and why does anyone care?
Gex might be little more than a meme these days, but it was once a prosperous franchise. The Gex trilogy sold 15 million copies, and all three received decent reviews.
Gex was originally created during a time when developers and hardware makers were fixated on mascot characters. The wise-cracking gecko with an attitude was designed to contrast with the more family-friendly Mario and Sonic. The original game was first released on the ill-fated 3DO console and was later ported to PC, PS1, and Saturn.
In a time when the majority of games being released were platformers, Gex stood out for its style, level design, and of course, the gecko himself. People liked his “too cool” attitude and his constant pop culture references. Later games changed format from 2D to 3D platformer, but the pop culture parody motif remained consistent throughout the series.
Unfortunately, there’s little information about Gex Jr.. It seems like ImageBuilder was developing the title instead of Crystal Dynamics. According to developer quotes on Hidden Palace, it was made as a development exercise. So the game likely wasn’t part of an official project but was created to be part of a pitch. The demo is dated January 25, 2001, and features a small playable area that players can guide Gex Jr. through. Since it was aimed toward kids, his quips are more family-friendly and reference kids’ shows from the time like Teletubbies and Blues Clues.
Despite there not being a ton of content, It’s a very cool look at a lost piece of gaming history. The ISO is freely available on Archive.org and works on actual (debug or modified) hardware.