Xbox 360

Ryse (Kingdoms) [Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

Ryse: Son of Rome is an action adventure game, which was developed by Crytek and published by Microsoft Studios in late 2013 on the Xbox One at the console’s launch. However, it was originally planned to be a first person brawler exclusively for the Xbox 360 under another title. This great turn in direction is just one of the numerous twists that occurred throughout its development.

Kings & Kingdoms

Years before the name ‘Ryse’ would come to be, the basis of the project was born in 2006. It was the brainchild of Crytek Co-Founder, Cevat Yerli, and was imagined then not as one game, but two. One half of the coin was a title called “Kings” – an ambitious MMO where the player joins the ranks of various factions to fight for supremacy in a mythical world of monsters and sorcerers. The other was Kingdoms, a smaller scale first person game focussed around more intimate ground combat between soldiers of warring sides. At this time, no platform was attached to it.

Kingdoms 2006 Concept Art

Early concept art for Kingdoms from 2006.

The initial plan for these two games was that they would have been set in the same fantasy-themed universe, informing one another as development went on. Crytek put together a variety of concept art and basic prototypes for them, attempting to flesh out their ideas and convey their ideas more thoroughly as the company began showing them privately to publishers.

Behind the scenes, the world of Kings & Kingdoms was steadily coming together and over the years that the developer toiled away on it, a multitude of concepts for everything from characters to settings was produced. Fortunately, we have been able to preserve a good amount of these for your curiosity. 

Rayman Legends [Beta / Concept]

Rayman Legends is a 2D platformer by developer, Ubisoft Montpellier, and the follow-up to Rayman Origins. It was released in 2013 on Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Vita and PC. It originally started as a Wii U exclusive, billed as a launch title for the console’s November 2012 release.

Leaked NFC Concept Trailer

On April 27 2012, the very first footage of Legends emerged online. This was a conceptual video intended for internal purposes only, which was leaked by an anonymous source on YouTube from inside Ubisoft.

The build of the game shown in the reel wasn’t terribly different from the final release, but it did reveal one quite significant feature that was never implemented; nearfield communication support. Towards the end of the clip, it demonstrates a work-in-progress concept for NFC figures, which would have worked with the Wii U gamepad’s built-in chip.

Rayman NFC

Ubisoft’s video contained two uses of the proposed accessories: a heart figure, which would replenish the player’s health and a Rabbid toy that would cause Rabbids to appear in the game as enemies, as well as in the backgrounds of levels. Towards the end of the video, it hints towards the possibility of other Ubisoft characters, when a figure of Ezio from the Assassin’s Creed series appears. 

The Evil Within [Beta Differences]

The Evil Within (AKA Psycho Break in Japan) is a survival horror developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softworks for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC in 2014. As we can read from Wikipedia, work on The Evil Within started in late 2010 under the codename “Project Zwei” by Shinji Mikami, but the game was officially announced to the public only in 2013 and most of its beta elements were never shown.

Yousef was still able to notice some differences in the early trailers from the game, as the one below: from 8:11 you can see some beta gameplay, a different inventory and 2 unused (?) weapons, a knife and a mine trap. 

Gun Runner [Cancelled – Xbox 360/PS3]

Gun Runner is the cancelled sequel to John Woo’s Stranglehold game from 2007; which was, in turn, a follow-up to the action movie, Hard Boiled. It was being developed by Midway’s Chicago studio and was slated to be released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in late 2009.

The title entered pre-production in May 2008, shortly after Stranglehold’s release in September 2007. It was planned to continue the ongoing story of Hard Boiled and Stranglehold. Chow Yun-fat was down to reprise the lead role of the gung-ho Inspector “Tequila”, lending again both his likeness and voice to the character.

A New Identity

Gun Runner was proposed as the start of a campaign to rebrand Stranglehold, in order to increase its mass appeal. Despite taking place after the first game, its story was going to be completely self-contained, one developer told us.

A key aspect of this new direction for the series was the introduction of Vin Diesel. The actor would have voiced another character, alongside Tequila. A former member of the team we got in touch with described Midway’s idea for the two as “a buddy cop story“. Full multiplayer co-operative support was planned for the story mode, wherein players would have each controlled of one of them. 

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