The Videogame Graveyard: 16 of the most promising cancelled titles

By: - 19th Jun 2013
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Why do some of the very best ideas die before us gamers get our grubby hands on them? This list provides years of video-game heartbreak, and all the available footage from these long-lost loves.

A whole lot of video-games are released every year, but a lot more never make it that far. There are too many to remember, but below here are just a few to ponder on what could have been, and whether we may see them in the future.

Division 9 and S.W.A.T.: Special Division

From the creators of the Bioshock series, the basic premise was to bring the core gameplay of the S.W.A.T. games to a horror-driven universe, and thus S.W.A.T.: Special Division was born. It would follow a dark, gritty story while sticking to what made the previous games great. On top of that, this new creepy setting would provide plenty of supernatural oddities for your squad to deal with.

Eventually, the game was moved out from the S.W.A.T. universe and renamed Division 9. Unfortunately, it never got much further than that, as Irrational Games were purchased by another company and the idea died away.

Likelihood of a revival: With Irrational Games now focused on the Bioshock series, it is also pretty unlikely to be revived, which is a damn shame when considering how much a new S.W.A.T. game would be appreciated to help change up the stale FPS genre.

Six Days in Fallujah

A historically accurate tactical shooter, Six Days looked to encompass the Iraq War in video-game form. The premise was that the player would follow a squad of U.S. Marines fighting in the Second Battle of Fallujah that took place in 2004.

Ultimately, it was the game’s concept that caused its downfall; people felt that the subject matter was inappropriate to show in a video-game, especially due to the fact that it was based on a real event that is within recent history. It is a shame, as a modern-day Brothers In Armcould have been fantastic, and video-games have a lot to prove when it comes to handling sensitive topics; perhaps this game would have helped prove that video-games can be something more than just ‘explosive’ entertainment.

Likelihood of a revival: The game is not ‘officially’ canned – there has been no word since 2009 – so we may see something of it in the future, however at the moment it is more likely that Six Days has been put on the back-burner for the foreseeable future.

Aliens: Crucible

This one is truly daunting. As the above game footage shows, this had so much potential, and that is without even seeing what the developers Obsidian Entertainment are good at! With their history being in classic RPG’s such as Fallout and Planescape Torment, Crucible could have given us the Aliens game we deserve.

Instead we got that Colonial Marines atrocity. Nothing else really needs to be said.

Likelihood of a revival: It is not impossible, but is also very unlikely; the game was progressing happily, but was cancelled anyway, so the chances of it being picked back up are very low. At the very best we can hope that we get a substitute by Obsidian in a similar universe.

Dirty Harry

In retrospect, perhaps this cancellation wasn’t a bad thing. With the history of movie-to-videogame adaptions being so terribly poor, keeping Dirty Harry as a well-respected franchise may be worth the loss of a possibly good video-game.

Still, though, the game had a lot of potential – Clint Eastwood aimed to reprise his role and lend creative input, and the game was to bridge the gaps between the first and second Dirty Harry movies.

Likelihood of a revival: Clint Eastwood seems to have really finished up his career, and as an aging icon, it is reasonable to assume that he will probably steer clear from a demanding voice role in a high-production video-game. Without Eastwood, the game has no immediate, exciting selling point. You may as well just make a cop game with an anti-hero of your own, rather than pay out for the license and deal with the hate from Dirty Harry fans who have been denied their Eastwood fix.

Warhammer 40k Dark Millennium Online

A flagship title for the now extinct THQ, Dark Millennium was originally a massive open-world MMO, but eventually was downsized to a traditional single-player game with a multi-player mode.

Warhammer 40k has long been something that should have had an MMO built around it, and it was a shame to see this fall to pieces alongside THQ. Three races had already been confirmed (the Imperium of Man, Chaos & Orks), and game-play footage had been demonstrated, which really proved that this game was on its way to completion. This, then, was another tragic loss of the THQ bankruptcy.

Likelihood of a return: It might not retain the original title, but the newly announced MMO Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade looks to fill the void that Dark Millennium left behind, and the fact that it sounds like Planetside 2 on a bigger scale helps quite a bit.

Stargate Worlds

The Stargate universe is one that is rife with unlimited potential, and a video-game based in this setting may have been truly fantastic. This one passed by year-after-year with no new details or footage, but all the information the public was fed always sounded extremely interesting.

The game was to be a huge MMO with an open-ended class system that allow players to play whatever role they wished, be it medic or simple soldier. A unique idea as that you didn’t have to play a combat-focused class; the archeologist, for example, solved puzzles and avoided combat, and still progressed through the game by doing such.

Likelihood of a revival: The Stargate franchise isn’t faring too well as of late, so currently it isn’t likely that we’ll see the development of this resumed. However, perhaps an MMO is exactly what the series needs – if the Defiance MMO takes off, there might be a calling for more cross-promotional TV series and games.

Tiberium

It may have been cancelled for good reason – EA executives stated that it was failing to meet “quality standards set by the development team and the EA Games label” – but the idea of getting a look at the Command & Conquer series through a fresh perspective was an interesting premise to all the fans, ever since they were teased with Command & Conquer: Renegade.

The Red Alert series would have also been interesting to see in this form; a retooling of the game to better fit into the Red Alert universe would have made this even more intriguing.

Likelihood of a revival: This one is definitely near the top of the revival list; with EA set to revamp the entire Command & Conquer series, a FPS may be part of that master plan. Or since a division of Bioware is handling the franchise, maybe we will see a game more akin to the Mass Effect series.

Indiana Jones

Before you call me out on this one and claim that this did release as Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, let me just say that The Staff of Kings wasn’t what we asked for, and certainly wasn’t the same game as the one we saw announced in 2005.

Baring similarities to the Uncharted franchise, this Indiana Jones title could have beaten Naughty Dog to the punch and revolutionized the action-adventure genre. It ended up being a frustratingly dull Wii and PS2 game, as they couldn’t bring the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions up to the ‘required quality’ level.

Likelihood of a revival: Unless another Indiana Jones film gets the green-light, another try at this game probably won’t happen.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned

The most complete looking game on the list, Armada of the Damned was looking to take Fable and stick it into the popular Disney universe. The game featured a wonderful art style, simple accessible combat and your very own pirate vessel to sail the seas.

You also had dialogue choices and could become either the most respected pirate or the most feared – why in world this fell apart alludes us all.

Likelihood of a revival: Disney seem to enjoy focusing their games on younger kids rather than making them accessible to all, nowadays, and with Pirates of the Caribbean being a prominent part of the new Disney Infinity game, it looks like Armada of the Damned is not present in their future plans.

The Agency: Covert Ops

This covert operation certainly went under the radar; as an online shooter, it looked to bring lighthearted fun to the PC and PS3, but eventually disappeared as the developing studio shut down. Players would choose between two agencies and fight against one another in a series of multiplayer missions that contained gunfights, espionage and other always-awesome spy stuff.

Missions would be separated by the amount of time they took to complete; those looking for shorter games could play through 10-15 minute levels, while lengthier ‘set-pieces’ would also be available. If done right, we can all agree that this could have been something special.

Likelihood of a revival: The impending release of the PS4 is lingering over everyone’s heads, and as Sony Online Entertainment are establishing a strong presence on the console with Planetside 2 and DC Universe Online, we could see a next-generation reincarnation of The Agency.

Faith and a .45

The cause of death for this one is widely well-known; no publisher would pick it up and give it a chance. The game was just a few years too early; now-a-days they could easily throw their creation on Kickstarter, and avoid publishers completely.

Focusing around a relationship between the two main characters, this co-operative third-person shooter was said to be a story-driven tale based in the time of the Great Depression, as the two heroes embark on a bank robbery spree. Not much else was known, apart from various gameplay elements present in the trailer, but the game certainly looked fantastic when announced, and its ultimate fate is a huge crime that demonstrates why publishers really ought to take risks.

Likelihood of a revival: The developer has now been closed since 2009, so unless the team reassemble for a reunion and Kickstart the title, there is not much hope that we’ll ever get to see how this tale plays out.

Star Wars: 1313

Yes, that trailer you just watched above was that incredible, and yet the game has been cancelled due to the collapse of Lucasarts. Looking like an Uncharted title set in the Star Wars universe, 1313 saw the player take control of a bounty hunter on the planet of Coruscant. The best thing about it is you had no Force powers or lightsaber; this was a Star Wars tale told free of Jedi, demonstrating a part of the universe we hardly ever get to see.

With Disney taking over, the production slowed grounded to a halt, and was eventually put on hold as game production for Star Wars titles was leased out to third-parties.

Likelihood of a revival: This one may rise from the ashes in a fantastic spectacle; with EA firmly holding the ability to solely develop Star Wars games, they have already announced Battlefront, so more are yet to come. Is it possible that they’ve saved much of the production of 1313 and plan to finish it off? It certainly seems so.

This is Vegas

Over $40 million was spent on this giant production that aimed to rival Grand Theft Auto IV, but it never came into fruition; the publisher, Midway, dissembled due to financial troubles. The game recreated Vegas and gave the player plenty of activities to participate in, and looked rather stunning.

The webpage is still about, however, and does state that it is coming soon, but when ‘soon’ will be is hard to tell.

Likelihood of a revival: Much of the games assets were sold to Warner Bros., so perhaps this has been secretly in development for a long time. Writing this one off as never returning isn’t all too logical.

Eight Days

Ah, those times when we were shown CG and told it was gameplay… Wait – this still happens today?! Even if it was entirely fake, Eight Days still had an awesome premise, and could have been something special. Unfortunately, we haven’t had word since 2009, and while it could be a large PS4 title, perhaps there is no point to resurrect something that was never really alive in the first place.

Set over the course of eight days (believe it or not), the game allowed players to choose between a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ character and follow their individual, unique plot-lines as they traveled through eight different states. Hell, the game also included a real-time clock that mimicked the time in the real world; if you played at night, it would be night-time in the game. In retrospect, that sounds pretty inconvenient for those with busy daytime schedules.

Likelihood of a revival: As stated above, it wouldn’t make all too much sense to bring back a game that only a handful of people cared about in the first place. Though, we could see this title combined into The Getaway series as a PS4 title. The Getaway: Eight Days, anyone?

Tabula Rasa

A fantastic MMO that made release, but its lifetime was cut short just as it was becoming astounding. This one is harrowing, as all the game needed was a little more love, bug fixing and content, and it could have been a huge contender of the modern online game market.

The first MMO to feature half-decent third-person shooter combat, the game focused around capturing and holding bases from alien threats, while also progressing through a traditional open-world. The game failed to capture a large enough audience, however, and was terminated with a final, epic battle.

Likelihood of a revival: Hopefully, this one may get a clean slate (sorry for that one) as a F2P title in the near future. A perfect fit for a freemium game, Tabula Rasa could encompass a larger fan base this time round, and allow us to play one of the best MMOs in recent history.

Duke Nukem Forever*

It is a huge shame that Duke Nukem Forever was never released. It looked fantastic, but perhaps a game that looked this good should never release simply because of the fact that it could never hold up to anyone’s expectations. As the above trailer shows, it was a game that would truly redefine the FPS genre, and it genuinely looked amazing.

Likelihood of a revival: We predict that after years of getting handed around between developers, Gearbox Software will pick up the game and it will be a broken, ugly mess that makes everyone very sad. Let’s hope we are extremely wrong about this.

*the release of Duke Nukem Forever was so traumatic for this author that we cannot refer to its release in any way. We apologize for its inclusion in this list.

There are so many more promising titles that have been axed during development – what are some of the ones you want to see revived?

 

 

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