We all know that, from time to time, games suffer delays and slippages. Release dates are pushed back, developers need more time to work on a game, or a publisher sees a better launch window that may generate more revenue. It’s pretty common, and even big name titles can be affected. However, delays aren’t the only problem to hit games, and there’s a whole graveyard of cancelled titles, with interesting ideas and unique innovations resting in piece as they failed to make it to stores.
Some of these games are cancelled for good reasons. They may not meet the initial design spec, publishers may worry about quality, budgets can dry up, or they may simply be bad, not fit for public consumption. However, some are not necessarily worthy of cancellation, and these are games that we’d actually like to see. These are interesting titles that could well have been good games, or at the very least, have been interesting releases we’d like to try out.
Here are 50 of the most interesting-sounding cancelled videogames for your perusal. It’s an eclectic mix, with Hollywood big hitters, 80s cartoons, new IPs, and more. So, have a look at what you could have played.
With all of the attempts to re-create crime epics in videogmes, such as Rockstar’s GTA and Eidos’ Kane and Lynch, it’s amazing to think that a game based on one of the most famous, fictional American law enforcers will likely never see the light of day.
Back in 2007, developer, Foundation 9, and publisher Warner Bros. were working on a game adaptation of Dirty Harry. This wouldn’t be a simple name on a box, however, oh no, this actually had Mr Eastwood himself on side, using both his likeness and his own vocal talents. It was set to be a 70s police classic that would loosely follow the plot of the film, and looked very promising.
Sadly, Foundation 9 closed its doors before the project was finished, and despite promises to the contrary from WB, the game never surfaced. With the current trend of only releasing big name sequels or movie tie-ins, Detective Callahan may not make his jump into gaming any time soon.
Over the years, we’ve developed a defensive ability to shield us from the exaggerated promises of Peter Molyneux. Whilst he and his studios have made some great games, these titles rarely, if ever, deliver his grand designs, and many of his claims fail to live up to his ever-lofty promises. One title that did spark our interest at the time, though, was B.C.
This was perhaps one of his most ambitious titles, and saw players control tribes of cavemen as they attempted to survive and thrive in a dangerous world populated with all sorts of threats. Throwing the history books to the winds, these dangers even included dinosaurs, despite their extinction by the time man arrived on the scene.
The game, as always, promised the usual Molyneux scale. Not only would your tribe be able to grow and develop as you progressed, but you’d also drastically change the ecosystem as you went. Hunting too many of one species, for example, could destabilise the delicate balance of nature, and this could lead to major repercussions if you didn’t take steps to prevent it.
It bore the typical Molyneux feel, a title that was epic in scale, yet accessible and fun, but even Peter himself thought better of it, and considered it too problematic and ambitious, cancelling it before it could emerge.
If you grabbed a cocktail shaker, threw in Manhunt, Tekken and a dose of extra sadism, you’d end up with Thrill Kill, a cancelled fighting title that was too strong for EA’s stomach.
Taking fighting violence to the extreme (for the time), Thrill Kill was a polygonal gore fest populated with odd characters, such as crazed surgeons, cannibals, and paraplegics to name a few.
The goal was to simply beat your foes into a bloody pulp, doing enough damage to the opposition to activate a kill move, often a decapitation, to eliminate an opponent. There was little pretence here, it was all about the gore, brutal combat and hardcore death metal, with tracks from the likes of Dying Fetus.
When EA pulled the plug, however, the game’s commercial future was derailed, and the publisher didn’t make it available to anyone else to publish either. Luckily, for those who wanted to play the game, some of the developer’s employees decided to leak a nearly complete version onto the Internet, so fans did get to play it, albeit not in a complete, or entirely legal guise.
Six Days in Fallujah
Despite the overwhelming number of war games already on the market, Six Days In Fallujah was a victim of pressure from the media, and families affected by the war in Iraq. Very controversial, even before it was released, the game was set in the city of Fallujah, seeing players take on the role of US Marines sent into the city during operation Phantom Fury. This was a long and very bloody operation in the real war, and quickly sparked outrage.
The real-world depiction of war and use of a real scenario proved to be too much for those affected by the war, and fearing a damaging backlash, Konami, which was set to publish the title, backed away.
The game itself wasn’t going to be a typical shooter in the same vein of Call of Duty but would instead attempt to depict the real side of war which the developers claimed would be ‘half game, and half documentary’, enforcing morality instead of glorying violence. Basically, this was a game that aimed to show what it was really like for those involved in the terrible events of the war. They even had an actual US Marine commander who served in the same operation on board to help make the title as accurate as possible.
Developer, Atomic games ploughed on with the title even after Konami jumped ship, vowing to release its game, but it never arrived, despite being reportedly finished and ready to go.
Faith and a .45
A very promising third-person co-op shooter, Faith And A .45 was an all-action title starring two lovers, Luke and Ruby, who were both crack shots, able to pull off some deadly moves, complete with Sniper Elite-style kill cams.
It was a potentially very interesting cover shooter, and the promise of co-op play, or character alternation if playing solo, was appealing. It looked good, and could have been a big hit. That was before developer, Deadline Games, went under, and took the title with it. Ah well.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Armada Of The Damned
Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean is a huge movie franchise, and one that’s very popular. With a couple of fairly ropey games failing to do the series justice, it was good to see a game that actually looked like it could be good, that was, until it got canned.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Armada Of The Damned was to be an RPG that looked like it was part Fable and part Mass Effect, set in a large world that was to be affected by your actions. Not only did it look visually great, the RPG style and open world suited the franchise perfectly. It even had its own identity in the world, with its own story and characters, not relying on the movie’s roster to sell it.
Unfortunately, when Disney decided to shuffle its deck of developers and reorganise its studios, the game lost its workforce, and no one else stepped in to fill the gap, and so the project remains dead.
This was one of those games that popped up and surprised everyone at E3 with a trailer that made jaws drop and expectation sky rocket. Developed by Sony’s London Studio, this was set to be a PS3 title that brought dynamic gunplay to a storyline set in the Arizona desert.
Then, when the lights came back up and people started to talk about the trailer they’ve just seen, questions were asked about the authenticity of the project, and whether or not the so-called gameplay trailer was actually a cleverly produced CG movie. This soured a lot of the title’s appeal.
The game itself was later canned, reportedly due to the lack of the increasingly essential multiplayer mode, so we’d never get to see if the game was as good as that reveal trailer made it out to be.
There are classic games everywhere getting the re-release or HD up-scaling treatment, and EA’s Road Rash is one title that, for some reason, has not yet officially been revisited, and that’s not including Road Redemption on Steam Greenlight. We’re talking the official series return here, and it was actually set to make a comeback via EA, but was a project of the publisher’s Warrington studio, which was closed, killing off Road Rash‘s return.
Over the years people have shown interest in the title, including Criterion Games, which even suggested a Road Rash/Burnout mash-up, but EA has never shown the same interest in bringing the title back.
This is crazy, and the original games were excellent, and different takes on the racing genre, and a modern version utilising today’s tech and online multiplayer could be brilliant. Well, if we can’t have Road Rash, at least we’ll have Road Redemption.
This one certainly falls into the interesting category. A Wii survival horror, the game utilised the Wii remote to perform all actions, including attacks, smashing obstacles into the path of pursuers and using a torch. The game would have also allowed the use of almost any object as a weapon.
According to reports, Sadness, although it was never actually seen by most, looked promising, and was one of the earliest titles announced for the Wii. It was to be set in a pre-war Ukraine, and saw players protecting a blind boy from enemies, and looking after his own mental state.
It was to feature monochromatic visuals and make full use of the Wii’s tech, but sadly it languished in development hell, with a poorly managed studio. No actual gameplay build ever surfaced, and the project was cancelled, and studio shut down.
One of the most famous ‘cancelled’ games around, Blizzard’s Starcraft Ghost was a title set to bring the traditionally strategic title into the third-person, action stealth genre. It was supposed to star protagonist, Nova, a psychic Terran operative of the called a Ghost, and events would take place after the events of StarCraft: Brood War.
It was planned to be released on the Xbox, PS2 and GameCube, but switched developers and suffered all sorts of delays. The GameCube version was binned, and although it’s still not surfaced to this day, Blizzard continues to refuse to officially cancel the project, instead leaving it on indefinite hold. Most consider it dead and buried, though.
Little information about the actual game or the story has been released, save the prequel graphic novel, StarCraft Ghost: Nova, which tells the story of the game’s main character.
A cancelled game from BioShock developer, Irrational Games, Division 9 was going to be a zombie survival game seeing players leave the relative safety of their strongholds to find supplies and other survivors. When players succeed in their excursions, they would improve and upgrade their hideouts, either with additional resources, or help from new allies like mechanics, who could improve the base. In the meantime, the zombie menace would continue, with and endless army of the undead for the player to deal with.
Unfortunately, during the game’s development, Irrational was purchased by Take Two, and this caused the project to be put on indefinite hold. We would eventually get to play a similar game to Division 9, though, in the shape of Undead Lab’s breakout XBLA hit, State Of Decay, but Irrational’s skills could have produced a truly magnificent zombie title, which we’ll never get to see.
Star Fox 2
The sequel to the orignal SNES hit, Star Fox 2 was a departure from the original. It featured the same kind of space combat gameplay, but also introduced new, open arena sections with both air and ground combat. The gameplay was also non-linear, with a map screen showing a selection of locations and enemy movements.
The game’s release was shelved in order to shift focus to the upcoming 3D-centric Nintendo 64, which arrived sooner than expected, and Nintendo wanted a gap between the SNES’ attempt at 3D and the Nintendo 64’s tech.
The game is available via emulation, but officially, Fox McCloud’s second outing was canned before it could be released on its intended platform.
Mega Man Universe
Mega Man Universe was set to be a Mega Man title like no other, and would have allowed players to actually customise their own levels. It would have featured classic Mega Man gameplay, and be delivered to the loyal Mega Man fan base via XBLA and PSN. Needless to say, anticipation was very high, so it hit very hard when Capcom pulled the plug.
Not citing specifics, other than various circumstances, Capcom didn’t reveal exactly why the project was cancelled, but many believe a big part of the game’s demise was due to the departure of Mega Man creator, Keiji Inafune. Whatever the reason, it was a game that fans mourned the loss of, and the Mega Man series has taken fall after fall of late. Mega Man Legends 3 also suffered the same fate.
Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds
Most veteran gamers will be well aware of the titanic calamity that arose from Nintendo’s deal with Philips and its ill-fated CD-i console. The games that released on the unit were awful, dragging legendary classics Zelda and Mario down to the depths of abysmal gaming. The titles that saw release weren’t the only ones planned, though.
Philips, determined to make the CD-i a success, realised that they needed a big hitter, and as the existing Mario game, Hotel Mario, wasn’t a traditional Mario title, it began work on Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds.
This would look and play very much like the Super Nintendo’s Super Mario World, but was instead going to be set in the real world, spread across various locations, such as Greece, the Arctic and Egypt.
The game was cancelled due to poor sales of the CD-i, which is perhaps luckily for Mario fans if the previous releases were anything to go by.
The California Rasins: The Grape Escape
A cartoon that could only be the product of the 80s, The California Raisins were a bunch (no pun intended) of humanoid raisins that formed a band. It was odd, sure, but one of those cartoons that people loved, so much so it won awards and was set to spawn a videogame from Capcom.
The game would have been a side-scroller which would have played in a similar style to the classic NES title, Duck Tales. It looked okay, but the anthropomorphic fruit group’s popularity waned, and so Capcom cancelled the game before it could ripen. A full prototype can be found online.
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Yet another game cancelled by Capcom, Dead Phoenix was planned as a 3D shooter that was part of Capcon’s timed exclusive titles for the Nintendo GameCube (the others being Resident Evil 4, P.N. 03, Viewtiful Joe, and Killer7).
If starred a winged warrior who could fly around open 3D areas that featured armies of enemies, and large-scale beasts, including massive dragons. The hero could also turn into a phoenix, able to decimate his foes.
Development problems prevented the title from release, though, and Nintendo wasn’t happy with the title when it was submitted to the company’s strict quality control, and it never managed to spread its wings.
As it was set to be the only real Sonic game on the Sega Saturn, it’s surprising that Sonic X-Treme was cancelled by Sega before it could be completed. Looking a little like Super Mario Galaxy, long before the plumber’s gravity-based outing was ever planned, Sonic X-Treme may have been a terrible name, but the game itself looked interesting, and was a cross between traditional Sonic gameplay and another Sega Saturn title, Bug.
It was scheduled for a release during the Christmas season of 1996, but the game’s developers were unable to complete it before the specified deadline, and Sega would eventually cancel the game for good.
Call Of Duty: Devil’s Brigade
There’s no limit to the scope of games that can suffer from the cancellation curse, even Activision’s mighty Call Of Duty series. Planned for release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Call Of Duty: Devil’s Brigade was an instalment of the series that didn’t make it out of development as it wasn’t considered good enough. According to reports, those involved with the game’s production claimed that it was far too clichéd and trite, including everything people hated about the genre. Ironic really, as this is something that’s argued by critics as the main issue the series suffers from today.
It’s even more surprising as Devil’s Brigade was, according to the leaked video footage, a third-person shooter, taking Call Of Duty from its first person roots and trying something new. Again, this is something many say the series needs to do today, instead of sticking with the tried and tested. It would have been interesting to see what would have emerged if the game was released, even more so in the long run, and the effect it would have had on the series as a whole.
Before Grand Theft Auto V or Payday rolled onto the scene, Midway was ahead of the curve when it came to emulating the pay-off of an intricately planned heist. Career Criminal was set to be a third-person action title based around a series of robberies. These heists would need to be pulled off carefully, according to detailed plans.
The game would have apparently been set in a sandbox, open world, and would feature a lot of elements we see in the likes of GTA, but due to concerns about economical viability, the project was shelved.
Midway’s president went on record as saying “The Career Criminal title was a large, ambitious, open-world project. Midway management recognizes that ambitious games need extensive resources and can require lengthy development cycles with much iteration. We are willing to invest in the long run and we need to continue developing new intellectual properties. But all of our projects have to demonstrate a likelihood of success and profitability. The resource needs, feature set, schedule and financial profile for the Career Criminal project were not converging towards a reasonable chance of success.”
In the wake of GTA V‘s record breaking sales, it’s crazy to think that Midway cancelled an open-world sandbox crime sim fearing it wouldn’t sell. Then again, you know what they say about hindsight.
Yes, it’s another cancelled robbery title, this time with a 70s, more comic vibe to it. Developed by Codemasters, this was going to be a crime-spree with plenty of over the top combat and getaway antics.
The title was cancelled when Codemasters decided to move on to more high profile ‘quality’ titles, and so the gang never did get away with any money. Again, with robbery in games now being much more popular, Codemasters may have made the wrong move.
Cops: The Police Experience
This was a title in development at Pyro Studios, and was going to focus on the right side of the thin blue line for a change, putting players in the role of a police officer in the Lockport Police Department.
Not much is known about the game, other than some video footage of the title showing animation and some in-game content, but it would have been a third-person title, presumably featuring plenty of gunplay, of course, along with some form of detective work.
Studio lay-offs and money-saving meant that the game was never to be, and the title was cancelled.
Darth Maul Star Wars title
Recently discovered as being in development when LucasArts closed last year, there was a game in the works starring the Sith Lord, Darth Maul. Resurrected for the game, and reportedly for inclusion in the Clone Wars series, Maul was going to team up with ally, Darth Talon, in a title very reminiscent of the Force Unleashed games.
It was being worked on by Red Fly Studios, and George Lucas pitched the game idea as being that of a buddy cop-style affair. This isn’t the kind of style we’d associate with Darth Maul however, but the fast-paced, dual-lightsaber combat and mixture of force moves would certainly suite the red and black Sith Lord.
Before the Arkham games rose to finally give gamers the Batman game they deserved, Pandemic Studios was at work on a game to tie-in with the second Christopher Nolan film. Dark Knight was the name of the title, and with Pandemic behind it, it cold have been a very interesting release.
Sadly, according to sources close to the title’s development, the game was pulled as there were concerns over the game engine, as well as legal issues relating to the Batman license. Never mind, Arkham, here we come…
Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy
The Assassin’s Creed series is a veritable license to print money for publisher, Ubisoft, and Nintendo’s 3DS a strong seller, holding up the company today, even when the Wii U is doing so badly. So, it’s surprising that a 3DS Assassin’s Creed title was cancelled.
Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy was set to be an exclusive 3DS title starring the protagonist of the time, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. It would tell the story of his journey to find the assassin stronghold in Masyaf, where previous protagonist, Altair was based.
The game was cancelled, however, and the focus of the studio was shifted solely to the main console release, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, considered by many to be the weakest entry in the series after the game’s mediocre debut outing.
The Fallout series was a big hit on the PC, and before Bethesda injected the series with new, and commercially successful life on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, there were other console attempts, including Fallout: The Brotherhood of Steel (which also had a cancelled sequel).
Fallout Extreme was another proposed title for the Xbox, and it was supposed to revolve around the player controlling a squad of soldiers in an organisation called The Cause. Their goal was to defeat a Brotherhood of Steel outfit in their region.
The game would have expanded on the Fallout world and lore, but didn’t find its way above ground, and out of the concept stage.
Fallout 3 (Van Buren)
No, this isn’t the Fallout 3 we all know and love, but it is instead the Fallout 3 that was set to come from the series’ original developer, Black Isle. Also known as Van Buren, this version of Fallout 3 would continue the classic style of the original isometric games, adding in 3D visuals and improved combat.
It was set to the backdrop of a faction war to control the Hoover Dam (which would go on to be the central premise of Fallout: New Vegas), and was practically complete. Lack of funding, however, lead to the project being canned, never to see the post-apocalyptic light of day.
Double Helix was working on a game based on the vampire killer, Jonathan Harker, but abandoned it to work on Silent Hill: Homecoming instead. This may or may not have been a good move, as the Harker game showed some promise.
It took the classic character and injected him with a does of the Punisher, executing brutal environmental kills and engaging in hand to hand combat with vampires. It didn’t look like your typical outing for the dapper vamp hunter, but it could have been good.
Highlander: The Game
Although the classic original spawned some truly awful movie sequels and that terrible TV series, Highlander is a franchise that could easily be made into a good game, and one was planned by Eidos for release back in 2008.
Players would step into the immortal shoes of Connor MacLeod, fighting his never-ending battle to keep his head in a modern day setting, and the game would have found itself on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The game didn’t make the cut, however, and dropped off the radar.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know why this game was cancelled. Rendition: Guantanamo was a game that centred around the controversial US prison camp, tasking players to escape the facility. It wasn’t a current day setting, though, instead set in 2020, and it saw the player captured and sent to the prison illegally for money to be experimented on. The goal was to escape in order to find your son, who was held elsewhere.
Although it may not have been based on real events, the game quickly drew media attention in the US, and reports that an actual Guantanamo Bay prisoner was brought on board as an advisor didn’t help matters. Needless to say, the project didn’t survive for long.
The Flash hasn’t really been embraced by videogaming, but he was on track to have his own adventure back in 2008. This would have been a title in the same vein as the Spider-Man games from Treyarch, replacing web swinging with super speed, jumps and rapid-fire combat.
Games like the recent Infamous: Second Son have proven that super speed powers can work well, and like Second Son, The Flash in the cancelled game could jump great distances and run up the side of buildings, and it could have been pretty good by all accounts. The speedy superhero stalled, though, and was binned before he could make the grand stage.
The Witcher: Rise Of The White Wolf
This was a simple one – take the already successful PC RPG, The Witcher, and port it to console so it can reach a larger audience. Sounds like a winner, right? The success of the sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings proved that, but unfortunately, prior to the sequel’s arrival, the needed confidence in the original title’s port was lacking. This, financial issues, and disagreements between CD Projekt RED and Widescreen Games stopped the original game appearing on console as planned.
It would have featured the same content as the PC original, only with an action-oriented combat system, possibly like that seen in The Witcher 2. As many fans still consider the first game to be superior to the second, it would have been a great console release. Who knows? Now that the third game is on the way, maybe RED will relent and release the original at some point.
The movie was a massive hit, and Marvel’s heroes just can’t do any wrong at the moment, so you’d think that a game based upon the super hero ensemble would be thrust onto the market with gusto, wouldn’t you?
Well, yes, you would, but THQ’s untimely demise meant that this would never happen with its own Marvel project, and this is a big shame, as the game actually looked good. It was a first person shooter in which you could play the various Avengers, each with their own move set and abilities.
It featured an XP system, QTE finishers, and areas and enemies not seen in the film from the comic books. It looked impressive, and may have had a great co-op mechanic, but simply wasn’t to be. Damn.
This Is Vegas
A GTA clone with a focus on Las Vegas high life and partying, this was a unique sandbox title from Midway and Warner Bros. Planned as an ambitious open-world game featuring all sorts of mini games and interiors, including fully interactive night clubs that you could help bring to life, the game went through a large amount of cash (around $40-50m apparently) before financial issues brought the game down.
Whether or not the game would have worried Rockstar’s GTA or THQ’s Saints Row will never be known, but open-world titles are always big draws, especially those with an underworld feel, so this may have been a big missed opportunity.
Warhammer 40K Dark Millennium Online
This was a major title for THQ, before the company met its demise, and it began life as a proposed MMO, which is the perfect genre for the long-running tabletop RPG. For various reasons, however, it was then scaled back to a smaller single and multiplayer title.
The game, if it had been completed, would have featured various playable races, including the Imperium, Orks, and Chaos, and although the game had been pruned down from the MMO concept, it still looked pretty solid. Luckily, we did get Space Marine, and there was the older Fire Warrior, but this would have been a welcome addition.
Based on the popular sci-fi film and series, Stargate Worlds would have been a huge MMO encompassing all manner of worlds linked by Stargates. Players would have been able to choose from a collection of classes, which were open-ended, and if you didn’t’ feel like fighting, and simply wanted to explore, you could do that. Some classes could eschew combat entirely, but could still progress through the game, solving puzzles and performing other activities.
Sadly, the game never emerged, and now that Stargate isn’t as popular as it once was (even though Stargate Universe was great), it’s unlikely to be revived any time soon.
Warcraft Adventures: Lord Of The Clans
World Of Warcraft may well be the single most popular game ever made, certainly the biggest MMO, but before the series dominated the online RPG genre it was a strategy title akin to the likes of Age Of Empires or Dune II: Battle For Arrakis. It was a crowded genre, with masses of similar titles available, but the series held its own, and would lead on to the massive hit that is Starcraft.
Another direction the series could have taken was the point and click adventure. Warcraft Adventures: Lord Of The Clans was the foot in the door, and it boasted a non-too serious adventure in the Warcraft world, and tried and tested point and click adventure gameplay.
Fearing that the market was too difficult to crack due to plentiful competition, and the shrinking popularity of the point and click adventure, Blizzard caned the game.
In the 90s, few developers were as respected as Rare, and the company’s first SNES title was originally going to be the wrestling title, Wrestlerage. This would have been a scrolling beat ’em up-style game, similar to classics like Final Fight or Double Dragon, but it would feature wrestlers performing impressive moves instead of the usual selection of martial arts.
The snag was Rare’s inability to secure any official licenses, such as WWF (now WWE, of course) or WCW. So, the team had to create their own combatants, and this didn’t impress the bean counters, so the game was axed.
Nope, not the recent Thief release from Square Enix. Before its closure, and following Thief: Deadly Shadows, Ion Storm Austin was planning a fourth Thief game, but this was going to be no ordinary entry in the series.
The team had planned a modern day reboot for Garrett. Still set in a strange, steampunk universe, the game would simply transpose existing characters and plots into a modern day era, retelling the previous games’ stories. Garrett would still be the same hero, and wouldn’t resort to guns, he’d just sport more modern tools and wear a hoodie.
Fans may be appalled at such a move, but Eidos CEO at the time, Rob Dyer, was convinced the game’s normal setting was done, “People want another Thief, too. We’ll make that series more modern, though…the medieval thing’s run its course.”
With the closure of Ion Storm, the modern day reboot of Thief never got past the planning stages. This may please most hardened series fans, but some may have found a modern take on Thief quite interesting.
The odds are pretty good that you’ve never heard of TimeO. This was set to be a third-person action title, and was originally planned as a Ghostbusters release, but the arrival of the other Atari Ghostbusters game sporting Dan Aykroyd’s approval scuppered this.
Based in a nightmarish New York, TimeO featured the city itself as the antagonist, with the very buildings trying to off the player. The goal was to destroy these buildings before they could do so.
Ignoring the relative insensitivity of destroying buildings in New York at the time, the closing of original publisher, Brash Entertainment, and subsequent failures to rustle up interest for other parties meant the game never did, and probably never will, see the light of day.
Most will be well aware of the reasons for the cancellation of not only FEZ II, but developer, Phil Fish’s, career. Despite various development issues and delays, which were shown in Indie Game: The Movie, the original indie title was released to much critical acclaim, even if many people didn’t quite get wheat Phil Fish was attempting to do. An initial buggy release didn’t help, and the delays and issues overshadowed the release. Fish received a lot of online criticism, which he characteristically responded to, saying gamers are the worst people, after some said they were going to pirate Fez.
Things came to a head after a particularly heated argument with Marcus Beer of Gametrailers, and shortly after, Fish not only cancelled Fez II, but said he was exiting the game development industry.
“Fez 2 is cancelled. I am done. I take the money and I run. This is as much as I can stomach. This isn’t the result of any one thing, but the end of a long, bloody campaign. You win.”
Eternal Darkness II / Shadow Of The Eternals
Few would argue that Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem wasn’t one of the best games for the Nintendo GameCube, even if it didn’t do all that well commercially. The game has a loyal fan base, and is a critical hit, so a revisit to the series should have been inevitable. And it would have been if developer, Silicon Knights, hadn’t run into big legal issues with Epic Games. This, and other reasons lead to the original sequel plans to be cancelled, even though Nintendo remained interested in the IP, extending the trademark.
The game then resurfaced under Precursor Games, which was made up of ex-members of Silicon Knights. The spiritual project, called Shadow of the Eternals was launched on Kickstarter with not one, but two funding campaigns. There were then stopped by Precursor, which cited new opportunities to make the game even better. A future campaign was promised, but before that could happen, co-founder, Kenneth McCulloch was arrested on child pornography charges. He was distanced from the company and the new Kickstarter project was started, but this failed to hit its goals.
Now delayed indefinitely, any future of the series lies in limbo, with an investment from Nintendo possibly being the only real chance it has. With Nintendo suffering through its own troubles at the moment, though, that’s not all that likely.
Is it real? Is it cancelled? Who knows? Prey 2 has had a tumultuous time of it, to say the least. Originally under development at Human Head Studios, the sequel to the underrated Xbox FPS was rumoured to be cancelled after it was acquired by Bethesda owner, Zenimax. Reports then surfaced that the game hadn’t been cancelled, but simply delayed due to overall quality concerns. The game was then removed from Bethesda’s website.
Although it looked very promising from what was shown of it, it was then reported that all of the work Human Head had put into the title was to be scrapped, and developer, Arkane Studios, was to take over on the project from scratch with Obsidian Entertainment also previously working on the game.
Later, Pete Hines of Bethesda denied that Arkane Studio was working on Prey 2, sending the title further into developmental limbo. This was called into question when leaked internal emails seemingly revealed that Hines’ claims were actually incorrect, and Prey 2 was, indeed, in development.
Whether it’s in development or not, and with Arkane Studios or someone else, Prey 2‘s Human Head incarnation did look interesting, and for all intents and purposes, that version is well and truly cancelled, so it finds itself here.
Oculus Rift Minecraft
VR is making a big comeback, and the Oculus Rift is at the forefront of the new wave. The technology has impressed all and sundry, with major developers and publishers showing interest. The company even snagged programming legend, John Carmack, who will surely give the whole platform a boost.
What didn’t go down so well, however, was the acquisition of Oculous VR by Facebook. Yes, a social media company has purchased a virtual reality firm. Make of this what you will, and you may or may not be a fan of this turn of events.
One person who’s clearly not a fan is Mojang’s Markus ‘Notch’ Persson. He and his team were working on a deal to bring a version of Minecraft to the Oculous Rift, but on hearing that Facebook brought the company, he promptly pulled out of the deal, scuppering the hopes for a virtual reality Minecraft powered by the Oculous tech. This could have been amazing, and Minecraft would be a perfect pairing for the VR tech. Although not official, mods will still make it possible, though.
Tremors: The Game
A great sci-fi comedy horror starring Kevin Bacon (ignore the sequels, though, they’re guff), Tremors isn’t the first movie you’d think of when coming up with the idea to create a videogame, but someone at Rock Solid Studios did.
Planned as a third-person action title set in the desert town of Golden Rock, the game would have utilised classic survival horror mechanics and weapons, with the added challenge of staying off the ground and not alerting the deadly Graboids. These subterranean foes would be taken from the whole films series, and so would feature more than the large worms seen in the first film.
Not much else is known about the game as it was reportedly cancelled in 2003.
The open-world horror FPS set in and around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is one of the best FPS/RPG hybrids on the PC. Three instalments for the game were released, with two being spin-off side stories, but a true sequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2, was cancelled by GSC Game World after a falling out with potential investors and the end of GSC itself.
As the game sported the number two, it would likely have been a totally new story in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R world, possibly spreading from PC onto consoles. This won’t happen now, although Vostock Games, a company made up of various ex-GSC staff members, is working on a new title called Survarium . This is going to be an MMO set in a post apocalyptic world, similar to S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
Whilst the main game’s sequels remain in limbo, one release in the Shenmue series has certainly been axed if rumours and lack of information are anything to go by. Shenmue Online would have been, as the title suggests, an MMO. It was going to incorporate events of Shenmue II, and would allow players to join one of three gangs seen in the second game.
Various elements from the games would be included, such as arcade games, jobs and collectables, as well as martial arts combat. Even QTEs were planned. Partner company JC Entertainment pulled out of the project, but the game’s designer, Yu Suzuki said the title’s development would still continue. After some more screens and footage were shown, however, nothing else emerged since 2006, leading many to believe the project is dead in the water. Sega has not officially commented on this, but with Shenmue‘s main series struggling to get anywhere, an MMO release for the franchise isn’t all that probable.
Okay, so the Wii U itself hasn’t been cancelled, but many big name game releases for the system have, including many of EA’s Frostbite-powered titles like Battlefield, and Crytek’s Crysis 3. Citing poor sales and lack of hardware capabilities, developers and publishers left, right, and centre are dropping the platform. Even DLC releases for games on the Wii U have been pulled, as demonstrated by the cancellation of Batman: Arkham Origins DLC for the unit.
These cancellations have damaged the Wii U greatly, and Nintendo now finds itself in a tricky situation. Sure, it’s been here before and survived, with commercial failures like the Virtual Boy and GameCube, but how many flops can the company soak up before something gives? Who knows? What we do know it that big name publishers cancelling titles for your platform is bad news, whichever way you look at it, hence its place here on the list.
An MMO based on the Fallout universe sounds like an amazing idea. Just as The Elder Scrolls has made the transition to the online market, there’s simply no reason that Fallout couldn’t do the same, and Interplay believed this too. So much so, it was going to make just such a title.
Unfortunately, Bethesda wasn’t so sure, and after much legal battling about license rights, and lawyer intervention, to the point that Interplay could even use the Fallout license, the project was killed off.
If The Elder Scrolls Online does well, however, we highly expect to see the formula reproduced by Bethesda with Fallout, which may explain some of the beef the company had with Interplay.
The Lord Of The Rings: The White Council
The Lord Of The Rings is hardly a franchise you’d worry about putting your money into, and even though the movie trilogy’s commercial weight had waned when this game was announced, the eventual arrival of The Hobbit films would have spurred it on. Even without the movies, this sounded great regardless.
EA wanted to make a game to take on The Elder Scrolls, and this was it. It was set to be a huge open-world RPG that would crib AI and behavioural mechanics from The Sims, making for far more believable and lifelike NPCs and a fleshed-out world.
Even with the huge license behind it, and potential to be a truly great release, the project was put on hold back in 2007, and hasn’t surfaced since, despite EA’s commercial success with Dragon Age.
The Getaway 3
The first game may have failed to live up to Sony’s lofty promises, and it has a terrible sequel, but for all its faults, The Getaway was an interesting, and even enjoyable game. Its attempt to create a photo-realistic, and geographically accurate London was impressive, if clunky, and the Cockney drama was decent enough, if a little cheesy.
Sony obviously had enough faith in the series to start work on a third game, the PS3 tech demo of which impressed onlookers in 2005. After this, however, news dried up and the GTA clone was eventually officially cancelled when Sony confirmed the London studio was to focus on other projects, such as the amazingly gimmicky Eye Pet.
The sandbox crime genre may be a little busy, and dominated by GTA, but there’s still room for a UK-based title, and The Getaway 3 could have finally nailed it. Oh well, maybe we’ll eventually get a reboot of GTA London instead.
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