A previously unknown sequel to the Gex video game franchise has seemingly been discovered, with a demo for a title known as Gex Jr. surfacing on the Internet Archive and Hidden Palace on 2 April 2022. According to files uploaded by user justz00t, Gex Jr. was originally in development for the PlayStation One, with the build dated for 25 January 2001.
This would place development after the release of Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, one of the biggest video game platformers of the late 1990s. The original series remains very popular – and while Gex is often known as one of the ‘forgotten’ video game mascots, he occupied an important place in pop culture in the lifecycle of the original PlayStation.
Decades on, he still certainly has his fans.
The newly discovered demo allows you to control a new character, known as Gex Jr. – it’s unknown if this is a baby version of Gex or his son – as he jumps through a world in the Media Dimension. He can collect soda cans, fart, tail spin and perform an attack with his tongue.
As he roams through the demo, he’ll spout off quips about Star Wars, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and other popular franchises, as Gex did in his own series of games.
The build appears to be fairly polished, although the voice acting does sound rudimentary, and several of the flashing TV shows depict an odd, stretched-out face that doesn’t appear to fit the visual style of the demo.
You can check out the footage below:
The proximity of this discovery to April Fool’s Day is fairly suspicious, but it does fall out of the global date range for the event and the game appears fairly legitimate. If this isn’t an official Gex prototype, it’s certainly a very good replica of one.
Should this turn out to be real, it raises a lot of questions – namely, who developed the demo, and why it was left by the wayside for a good 20 years. If the timeline noted in the Internet Archive listing is accurate, the game would have been developed by Crystal Dynamics, the original Gex rights holders – although the company has never spoken of this planned spin-off.
We do know Square Enix filed a new trademark for the Gex franchise in late 2021, but it’s widely agreed this is more to do with routine IP maintenance and the protection of the franchise name. We also know the company recently launched the Square Enix Collective, a project designed to help indie developers work with classic IPs, but this has yet to bear any real fruit.
It could be that Gex Jr. is a result of this program, but there’s no current indication that it’s a title in active development at all.
With nothing further to go on, we can assume Gex Jr. was in development as a legitimate sequel at one point in the past – but beyond this mystery demo, which has arrived without any context or fanfare, we don’t know a lot about the game. Still, a Gex spin-off is a tantalising prospect – the series has gained a cult popularity since the late 1990s and the character remains a popular gaming icon.
At this stage, it appears there were bigger plans for the character in the works – although we may never learn more about what exactly Crystal Dynamics had in store for this baby version of Gex. The prototype build is all that remains for this adorable little tyke.