Setting a game in New Orleans just seemed like a cool idea since my first trip there in 1996. No other place in the US has that amazing sense of carefree creepiness. After we received the letter of intent from Microsoft, ten of us went down there. This was partly to celebrate finally landing a publisher after a year of shopping the concept, but most of our time was spent gathering an immense trove of visual reference.
We poked around in the bayou, various plantations and of course the city itself. Besides the usual touristy pictures we took many gigs of texture reference from walls, streets, puddles and trees. The textures you seen in Voodoo Vince really are from New Orleans and the surrounding areas.
This was taken near a backwoods hunting shack. The water was teeming with alligators. The fanboat driver/guide was kind enough to advise against trailing our fingers in the water, otherwise the gators might enjoy a "Fing-uh Mac-nugget."
After we got back to the Northwest, and I dove into writing the design doc for Voodoo Vince. This was in the Spring of 2001. I was aware that flooding was a persistent issue with New Orleans. Even the first city engineer in 1718 advised against building a city there saying "Dudes, this place is gonna flood... a lot!" or something like that... only in French. I thought a flooded portion of the French Quarter would make sense as part of the destruction our villain levels against New Orleans. And no ordinary flood would do. I specified water oozing with toxic waste.
This segment of the French Quarter was to be called Toxic Alley. The idea was to have Vince use a frail hanglider to go from one end to the other, using updrafts and tiny landing places while avoiding powerlines and the toxic waters below.
Copyright 2001 Microsoft Corporation
In light of events a year ago in New Orleans, it is fortunate that this part of the game was cut, though there are some eerie parallels. This sub-level of the game never made beyond the first draft of the design document. Toxic Alley only exists today as pieces of concept art by the ridiculously talented Doug Williams.