Category Archives: Microsoft

An archive with screens, info and videos for cancelled, beta and unseen videogames for the Microsoft consoles. Check our archive to understand what it means to preserve lost games.

Untitled Cavia FPS (aka “Catacombs”) [Cancelled - PS3 / X360]

October 31, 2013 by
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Catacombs is a cancelled FPS that was being developed by Cavia for Square-Enix in 2010. The game was never officially announced and the project was shelved in 2011, but in 2012 Siliconera leaked some screenshots and informations about it.

Catacombs was basically an interesting crossover between a RPG with random-generated dungeons and a team-based shooter. The player could upgrade the guns that he found in the ruins but also use magic. Four different characters were available, each one with its own story, which according to the narrative director Brandon Sheffield had an important role in the game:

Since we’re all inherently different and our mind is the only thing we can truly know, then our reality exists only inside of our brains. So each stage was about these people destroying their own fears and doubts and also their identity. They were supposed to be overcoming their sense of self, and how that related to their identity as an American, but also their otherness.”

EDGE in 2012 played an early build of the game that run on a heavily modifed version of Mindjack engine.

For more informations check Siliconera article and EDGE special feature.


Wildlife: Forest Survival [XBLA / PSN - Cancelled]

October 27, 2013 by
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Wildlife: Forest Survival is a canceled game developed by Electronic Arts which it was supposed to be released in 2011 for XBLA/PSN.

The object of Wildlife was to survive in one of the eight different arenas available by exploiting the unique characteristics of the four selectable animals (a hawk, a rabbit, a gator, a fox).

Up to twelve players could also battle each other online. Sadly, it seems that EA decided to shelf the project for good. For more informations about the game check Destructoid preview.



Fallen Frontier [PC / XBLA / PSN - Cancelled]

October 11, 2013 by
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Fallen Frontier is a 2d shooter developed by  Moonshot Games which it was supposed to be released for PC, XBLA and PSN. As we can see from the video and the screenshots below, it seems that the game was directly inspired by Bionic Commando, inasmuch as  the main character could use his grappling hook to pull enemies and to swing across gaps. An offline and online co-op mode was also available.

It looked quite interesting, but unfortunately Moonshot Games decided to cancel Fallen Frontier in 2013  because, as we can read on joystiq, they wanted to focus on mobile and social games instead:

Post-PAX we came to the grim realization that the market had shifted pretty substantially since we first started working on the game,” Isla said. “The console downloadable platforms had plateaued somewhat, and publishers were less excited about investing there. A game that had sold itself easily the first two times all of a sudden became a much harder sell the third time. By that time, the real interest and the accompanying dollars seemed to had moved on to mobile and social.”

For more informations check the co-optimus hands-on.



INCorporated [PC X360 - Tech Demo / Cancelled]

October 3, 2013 by
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INCorporated is a cancelled multiplayer FPS set in a gritty, Orwellian future, that was in development by Galahan Games for PC and (maybe?) Xbox 360. The game was created with Artificial Studios’ Reality Engine and a single-level tech demo was released in 2005, but today we cannot find any info on the team, their official website is vanished and after all these years of we can assume that INCorporated will never be released. Did anyone still have that tech demo saved somewhere?


Ace Squadron [Cancelled - GameCube / XBOX / PS2]

September 17, 2013 by
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Ace Squadron is a cancelled flying shooter that was in development by Atomic Planet for the Playstation 2, GameCube and Xbox. The game was set in World War II and offered various arcade air-combat missions to play and as we can read from the official press release “gamers will be given the opportunity to shout ‘Tally Ho!’ and dive their trusty Spitfire into a dogfight with swarms of Nazi aircraft. There are scores of missions to play, from the heady days of the Battle of Britain to dangerous raids on secret weapons factories in the last days of the war, and dozens of different and powerful warplanes to fly, such as the majestic Spitfire, the nimble Mosquito and the sturdy Lancaster”. The project was never released for unknown reasons and we don’t even know if the game was finished or not as the few screenshots available look like target renders and not actual gameplay.


Ordinary Joe (Rare Ltd) [Prototype - Xbox 360]

July 9, 2013 by
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Ordinary Joe is a cancelled prototype for a new survival horror game, that was in early development for Xbox 360 at Rare LTD, designed by Chris Seavor. There are basically  no info about this project, apart from a short interview with Chris at  Rare FanDaBase:

As for projects finished or otherwise, well first there was Killer Instinct (called Brute Force for a time).. then Killer 2, Killer Gold, Twelve Tales, Bad Fur Day, Other Bad Day, Arc Angel, Getting Medieval, Urchin (really regret not pushing harder on this one), PD Core, and a small team prototype my last job as a designer called Ordinary Joe which despite the innocuous name was my take on the survival horror genre (nothing to do with Jo Dark) .

Also, in another interview at Eurogamer:

Chris Seavor: Yeah. We did some tech for it. It was all right. It was okay. But I knew at that point I was never going to get a team to finish this, so it was just a matter of time. I only worked on it for three or four months, and there were three of us in a corner with a big sign saying, keep out. I really enjoyed that period because we were just being really creative. Even though no-one else could give a s**t, we were being really creative and doing some really good stuff. It’s a pity no-one really seemed that bothered, certainly Microsoft, who were only interested in Banjo. That was fair enough I guess.

We hope that in the future someone that worked on this Ordinary Joe prototype could share some images or videos, to preserve the existence of the project.

Retribution [XBOX 360 / PC - Cancelled]

June 27, 2013 by
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Retribuition is an early XBOX 360 & PC first person / third person shooter, that was in development in 2005 / 2006 by U-235 Studios. It was planned for the “XBOX 2″ even before the final spechs of the console and it would have been created thanks to the “Reality Engine” developed by Artificial Studios. The player would have been able to hire a crew to help in battles, and they would had learned to fight depending on the action they saw, or the training they have been placed in. Also, it would have been possible to buy, hijack, steal or ransack boats, to go aroung the sea or to sell them for cash. Sadly U-235 Studios never found a publisher interested in the project and Retribution was then cancelled.

Click here to read the original Press Release ▼


Video (Reality Engine Tech Demo):

Thief: Deadly Shadows [Beta - Xbox / PC]

June 5, 2013 by
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As we can read in Wikipedia, Thief: Deadly Shadows is a stealth game developed by Ion Storm and published by Eidos Interactive in 2004 for Xbox and PC. After Looking Glass Studios, the developer of the original two titles, went out of business in 2000, many former employees moved to Ion Storm Austin. Here they began developing the long-anticipated third part of the series, Deadly Shadows. It is the last game produced by Ion Storm before its demise in February 2005.

The idea originally was that Thief: Deadly Shadows would let you customise difficulty similarly to in System Shock, with you able to tweak how smart the AI was, what your objectives were and so on. It’s a feature which survived until the last betas, but was suddenly cut out of the final game due to the extra work it created for testers. Instead, Thief: Deadly Shadows only has the usual Easy/Normal/Expert skill settings from the older Thief games.

You can get more detail on the cut, as well as RPS co-founder and comics writer Kieron Gillen’s take on the game, in the Unlimited Hyperbole Podcast. If you have more info, screens or videos with beta differences for Thief 3, please let us know in the comments below!

Thanks to Joe Martin for the contribution!

The Urbz: Sims in the city (2004) [Beta / Prototype - PS2 / Xbox / Gamecube]

May 18, 2013 by
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In 2004, the urbz was announced for all 3 major platforms (PS2,Xbox,Gamecube) and Gameboy/DS. The Urbz, is a spinoff of The Sims Series. It was originally planned as a mini series (That was to contain around 3 games according to an EA employee on mod the sims forums), but that never happened. Instead only 2 games in the planned series released: The normal version and a portable version (Which both differed by around 90%)

The video showing real beta gameplay was much different than the final game released. It shows more open ended locations, such as a large downtown area. Also some characters introduced in the trailer were never introduced in the final game. (While Jayde was shown in the final game only as a pre made player preset, she was supposed to of had a much larger role in game).

Additionally, its been said on many forums and sites that these unknown locations may of been in the cancelled enhanced PC port, which reportedly was to release in 2005, but was cancelled.

In this photo, You can see a cut location:


In the game files on the PS2 disk, there is unknown strings that refer to a deleted location known as “Main Street“.

This may of been that location.

Another thing is that in this picture of a cut subway (which also may be a beta of central station), we can see the beta version of the travel system, where you could travel. In it, is 4 unknown locations. (Daves Place, Moms Place, Museum and Noodle Shop).

A trailer of this version in action can be seen here:


Max Payne 3 [Beta - PC / Xbox 360 / PS3]

May 9, 2013 by
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Although Max Payne 3 isn’t drastically different from its original beta design, there have been some interesting things cut out or changed. The majority of the research here has been done by me over some long nights.

Article by Dean

The Logo and Design
One of the first minor things changed was the logo for the game. In the picture below, the top logo was first used in promotional material and screens and was likely used to signify the run-down favelas that were first revealed of the game. It’s possible it was changed to accompany the new design choice of chromatic abberation and disorientation that’s currently in the game.

In a 2009 Game Informer article, the game was also initially supposed to take 12 years after the events of Max Payne 2. This was later changed to 8 years in the final product.

The Voice and Body of Max Payne
Something else that was changed during early development was the voice and face of Max Payne. In Max Payne 1, Max’s face model was that of the lead writer, Sam Lake, as there wasn’t a big enough budget to hire an actor. When Max Payne 2 came around, they had a big enough budget to hire actor Timothy Gibbs. Rockstar Games ended up having the series mainstay voice actor, James McCaffrey, as the face model for Max Payne 3. However, he wasn’t always the main choice for the model or even the voice.

In early promotional material and game screens, Timothy Gibbs was still the face model for Max in Max Payne 3. In this image, you can see a promotional image of Timothy Gibbs for Max Payne 2 on the left, and an early promotional image for Max Payne 3 on the right.

In this one, the top is an early beta ingame image of Max Payne 3 using Timothy Gibbs’ face, with the final version of Max Payne 3 using James McCaffrey’s face at the bottom.

There were also changes to Max’s model a few months from the game’s release, as evident by some early screenshots after James McCaffrey was announced as Max’s face model. In this image, you can see the beta texture for Max Payne’s tropical shirt on the left, and the final release shirt on the right. It is also possible to see a small part of the texture for the beta shirt in one of the final tropical shirt textures if you use a texture viewing tool for Max Payne 3.

Actor James McCaffrey, who voiced Max in the first two games, also wasn’t always enlisted to voice Max Payne in the third installment. In a 2009 issue of Game Informer, Rockstar Games stated in an article that James McCaffrey wouldn’t be returning to voice Max, citing age difference as the reason.

Rockstar believes it needs someone older, but doesn’t intend to replace him with an established star, VP of development Jeronimo Barrera pointing out, “We’re good at [casting].”

In the end, James McCaffrey ended up being the voice actor, face model, and doing the majority of the motion capture for Max in the final version of Max Payne 3.

Cut Gameplay
Max Payne 3 was always intended to have the Shootdodge and Bullet-Time gameplay staples of the series, but some new mechanics were added into Max Payne 3 to accommodate modern audiences. The majority of these additions made it into the final game: Last Man Standing, a cover system, and slow-mo action setpieces. One addition that was not in the final game was the ability for Max to take human hostages. This was likely changed because it didn’t fit the fast-paced, dynamic gameplay that is standard in the Max Payne series.

Max will be able to take human shields, and will be able to recover from near-death with a last-minute bullet to his murderer restoring some adrenaline.

Kidnap Gamemode
That’s about as much as I could find for the singleplayer, but there were also things cut out of multiplayer. There’s evidence inside Max Payne 3 code that suggests a kidnapping gamemode was planned. These are entries inside a language file, which contains on-screen prompts for singleplayer and multiplayer.
“|0\ Kidnap Victims Freed” (where the |0\ is a number that would be displayed in a user’s multiplayer statistics)
“|0\ Kidnap Victims Recaptured”
“KIDNAPPED” (this would be displayed if you were kidnapped, obviously)

This also appears to be the description for the gamemode for the different teams playing:
“Get the kidnap victim back to your safehouse. The victim will follow the designated player. Victims will try and escape – shoot to recapture”

“Prevent your team member from being taken to the safehouse. Shoot their kidnappers to give them a chance to escape”

There’s no code left of the gamemode, but it’s likely that there were two teams with one or two players appointed on one team as VIPs, with the other team attempting to kidnap them and bring them to a certain spot on the map alive, while the first team attempts to get their VIP(s) back.
“You are the kidnap victim – while kidnapped you will automatically follow an enemy player. If they get you to their safehouse, your team lose”

Payne Killer
The Payne Killer multiplayer gamemode was in the final release of the game, but it underwent some small changes. In the final version, one to two players are on one team as Max Payne and his buddy Raul Passos respectively, with the other players on a team trying to take down Max and Passos and try to play as them. Whoever plays as Max or Passos the longest with the most kills wins.

It wasn’t always just Max and Passos, however. Looking into the same language files from earlier, there’s evidence that show Mona Sax, the femme fatale from Max Payne 2, was supposed to be playable in Payne Killer. It’s unknown if she was supposed to be a third player, or if she was intended as a substitute for Passos in some maps. Here are some of the lines found in the code of Max Payne 3:


It should be noted that Mona Sax was available as a Deathmatch character in multiplayer if you purchased the Classic Characters DLC pack.

Unused/Scrapped Multiplayer Characters
Max’s Missing Model
There are a number of unused multiplayer character models in the files of the game. I’d like to start off with the ‘Classic Max Payne Character’ DLC. You can buy this DLC for a dollar and play as Max’s model from Max Payne 1 in Deathmatch modes. The actual ingame model used is a high-definition and completely redone one by Rockstar for the game. This isn’t a big issue, except that the picture advertised for this DLC uses a model that is nowhere in the game’s files. The one in the advertisement appears to be Max’s low poly model directly from Max Payne 1, but his jacket texture is redone with modern shaders. It’s likely this was unused. This was the picture used in the advertisement:

And these images are of the HD remodel done by Rockstar and the original model directly from Max Payne 1 from left to right:

The model used in the advertisement may have been scrapped late in development, or acted as a placeholder.

Classic Characters
Continuing along the same line of classic Max Payne 1 and 2 characters in Max Payne 3, there was also a Special Edition DLC pack released for the game’s multiplayer. Included in it are many of the series’ most famous and notable characters, from Mona Sax to Jack Lupino. All of these characters were remodeled with high-definition textures and shaders by Rockstar’s staff, but there were also the low-polygon models directly from the characters’ respective games included in the files of Max Payne 3 that were unusable (with one exception that I will mention in a minute).

I thought these low poly models were initially left in the game accidentally, and were used merely as placeholders for the Special Edition pack while modelers made the high-definition models. However, there’s some code in the game that mentions the high definition and low definition models as completely separate characters. It’s possible they were intended to be in a different pack, or included as alternate versions of the HD models. Like most of the characters in this section of the article, they can be used online again with some code altering.

Going back to the one exception where the low poly character is used, one of the last DLC packs released for Max Payne 3 was called ‘Painful Memories’. This pack included an HD remake of Roscoe Street Station from Max Payne 1 as a multiplayer map. If you happened to play the map in the Payne Killer gamemode, the person playing as Max got to use the low poly model directly from Max Payne 1. A very nice little Easter egg and nod to the original game. Here are a few examples of the low and high polygon models in the game:

Captain Baseball Bat Boy
The case of Captain Baseball Bat Boy as a multiplayer character is very peculiar. He was originally featured in Max Payne 2, and was in several television easter eggs in Max Payne 3′s singleplayer. A few weeks after Max Payne 3 launched, a few people found multiplayer taunts for Captain Baseball Bat Boy in the game’s files. It’s worth noting here that only his sound files were in the game at this point. You can listen to some of these taunts here.

A scrapped character is understandable, but that’s not the peculiar part of this story. Those taunts were included with the game, but not the model. When the very last DLC pack came out, ‘Deathmatch Made in Heaven’, it added a few new gamemodes. One of the gamemodes added was called ‘Run & Stun’. The goal for this gamemode is that one player acting as ‘Saci’, a character from the Captain Baseball Bat Boy universe, has increased health, stamina, and a stungun and must convert players to his side by stunning and punching them. Players on Saci’s side respawn with a stungun and a novelty Saci mask on their character. There were three extra unused models released with this DLC pack, and I have absolutely no idea what they were going to be used for. One of them is actually Captain Baseball Bat Boy’s model as a teenager, another version of CBBB as an old man, and a CBBB mask similar to Saci’s. One can only speculate at what these could have been used for in the gamemode.

The Rest of the Unused Gang
There are a couple other multiplayer characters left in the files of Max Payne 3 that weren’t used in the final game. It’s possible they may still be unlocked, but it seems very unlikely. Looking into the code, the majority of them were supposed to be rewards for winning Rockstar Social Club Multiplayer Events, but it has been a year since the game came out and none of these Deathmatch characters have been unlocked. I am taking that as a sign that they won’t be unlocked. Some of these include some characters unlockable for use in the game’s ‘Arcade’ mode but not in multiplayer, like the black & white noir Max Paynes or the Gameboy Advance Max. Some of these characters are just plain bizarre, like the inverted Max Paynes (the white Max Payne in the picture below) and the Curupira, which is a demon baby with backwards feet out of Brazillian folklore. The Curupira is by far the strangest thing in the game, and even has a black & white version of its model complete with terrifying taunt audio.

I have no idea why it wasn’t included as a usable character in the final game’s multiplayer.

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