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Clockwork Aquario just got the Guinness World Record for longest game development

Clockwork Aquario now holds the Guinness World Record for the longest time between a video game project start and release.

Long thought lost to the sands of time, Westone’s lost arcade platformer Clockwork Aquario is finally here. Rescued by developer ININ Games and publisher Strictly Limited Games, the game is finally seeing a release on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch 30 years after it began development. Now that it’s finally here, Clockwork Aquario has another incredible mantle to its name. It now holds the Guinness World Record for the longest time between video game project start and final release.

Development on Clockwork Aquario began in 1991 at Westone. The game didn’t officially see a release until Nov. 30, 2021. The game’s 30-year development cycle absolutely crushed the record previously held by Duke Nukem Forever, which reigned with a still-impressive 14 years between conception and release.

INIT and Strictly Limited are evidently proud of breaking this Guinness record. Makes sense, as this is an awesome celebration of Clockwork Aquario‘s launch. It’s safe to say that it’ll be a while before the record gets broken again.

Clockwork Aquario and the Guinness World Record

In reality, the claims of the game’s 30-year development are only somewhat true. Clockwork Aquario began development in 1991 but Westone cancelled it in 1994 as they worried about the game’s commercial potential. However, efforts from fans to restore the game eventually led to ININ and Strictly Limited securing the rights to complete the game from SEGA.

ININ and Strictly Limited detailed the process behind the game’s development, shelving, and restoration:

The initial development of Clockwork Aquario started in 1991. It was the last arcade game ever developed by the legendary company Westone. With the advent of 3D gaming and other genres vying for dominance, Clockwork Aquario’s development was canceled. Nearly 30 years later, ININ Games and Strictly Limited Games – two labels dedicated to preserving popular but also forgotten or never-released retro gems – joined forces to unearth this video game treasure.

ININ Games / Strictly Limited Games

As our own Alex Lehew put it in our review of the game, Clockwork Aquario is ” a relic of a forgotten time in SEGA’s history. One that I am glad was not lost forever, handed to a team that brought it back to life with compassion and care”. Now, Clockwork Aquario can add “Guinness World Record holder” to its list of accomplishments — a high honor indeed.

Via Games Press.

Daniel Hein

Daniel Hein is either A) a lifelong video game fanatic, writer, and storyteller just sharing his thoughts on things, or B) some kind of werewolf creature. We're not quite sure which yet. He also makes mediocre video game retrospectives (and other content!) on YouTube where you can watch him babble on for hours about nothing.
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