Survival Horror

Kurayami (Suda51) [Cancelled Pitch – PS3]

Kurayami is a cancelled psychological / horror game that was pitched by Grasshopper Manufacture as a PS3 exclusive and originally announced in Edge Magazine issue 162, in May 2006. Being inspired by Franz Kafka novels (a writer known for his stories about alienation, physical and psychological paranoia), in Kurayami players would had to explore a mysterious european castle (that we can relate to Kafka’s The Castle) and the near village filled with creepy inhabitants, using the light from his torch to resolve puzzles and move through the darkness. Light and darkness would have been a central theme in the game, similarly to what happens in Alan Wake (announced in 2005 but released in 2010), in Kurayami the protagonist would have been safer in lit areas while dangers would have been lurking in the darkness.


Talking about this concept, Goichi Suda said:

“When I considered the visuals, I immediately thought of darkness, and I imagined a hero within this night, with a light that would in a way symbolise his life. That became the core concept of Kurayami: literally, ‘darkness’ (in Japanese). […] It’s not about some hideous monsters or evil creatures coming out of the darkness, but playing on our natural fears of the dark, and the uneasiness that comes from the absence of noise and life. […] “Kurayami’s ideas are not about violence or eroticism, but fundamental problems in the human mind, which may find some conflict with the rating system. […] Though I expect the rating level to be quite high for Kurayami, I also expect the PS3 to be mainly purchased and used by an adult audience. I’m making a game for an adult audience, one that shows what life is and what being human is.”

Players would have had to pay attention to the townsfolk too, as the game would have been ambiguous about their intentions and personality:

“It shows how people change when faced with their fears – in a way, you could see a little bit of what Japan, or the world, is like in this town.”

While there are no in-game screenshots available (only the concept arts that you can see in the gallery below) it’s know that Kurayami would have used a cell-shading style focused on the contrast between colors and black, evolving the 3D engine Grasshopper already used in Killer7. From what was said by Suda during an interview with Joystiq in 2009 it seems that the game never entered into a prototype form:

“It’s not even in development right now. We aren’t even really working on it. We’ve just been talking about it, but there hasn’t been time to work on it. Actually it was really just for Edge. The artwork was just something we submitted them. We’re not working on this project yet. They had some special coverage about Grasshopper and we talked a little bit about Kurayami, and so we gave them some artwork.”

Originally Suda51 told to Edge that they wanted to make Kurayami appealing to more people than their precedent games, saying that “The challenge now is to go beyond simple recognition, and transform our original games into a mainstream success”. Only a year later Grasshopper released No More Heroes for the Wii and it became their most successful games until that point. While Kurayami sounded like a dark, introspective and uneasing experience with european inspired environment and characters, No More Heroes was an explosion of over-the-top action, japanese fanservice and quirky personas.

This could have been the reason why Kurayami was quietly cancelled: in the next few years the team was busy developing Zero: Tsukihami no Kamen (Wii, 2008, a new chapter in the popular Fatal Frame / Project Zero series) and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii, 2010), supporting Nintendo’s motion-controlled console and finding a new market for their projects.

While Kurayami was never released, its main concept of light and darkness was reused for another Grasshopper Manufacture title: Shadows of the Damned. SotD was a much more linear, over-the-top horror / action game than what Kurayami appeared to be, and even if the released project is a good one, unfortunately there’s no trace of Kafka influences anymore.


Dino Crisis [GameBoy Color – Cancelled]

Dino Crisis [GameBoy Color – Cancelled]

The original Dino Crisis was a widely popular survival horror (marketed as survival panic) game developed by Capcom and released on the original PlayStation in 1999. It was created by the same team that made the first Resident Evil game and contained many of the same tense elements but focused on more of an action feel.

A portable version of Dino Crisis was being developed for the Gameboy Color by British studio M4 Ltd, who had released Tasmanian Devil: Munching Madness and were due to release Jerry McGrath Supercross 2000.  M4 stated that the game would not be complete until Q4 of 2000 but development had started early in the year, this was reported by IGN who spoke to the developers. M4 said that Dino Crisis for the GBC would be a top down adventure rather than how the original was, it would also be developed exclusively for the GBC by-passing any kind of black and white compatibility. Virgin interactive handled development for Capcom in the UK and so they were handling this game, there was no word on where it would be released. M4 Ltd version of Dino Crisis GBA was never released, but they developed top-down Resident Evil Gaiden, published by Capcom in 2001.

It seems that this unreleased version of Dino Crisis was used as a base to develop the released Resident Evil Gaiden. As we can read at NowGamer:

As I recall, we produced a very impressive demo for a GBC version of Dino Crisis. Resident Evil was already in development as an over-ambitious port from the PlayStation version. This was scrapped and Capcom asked us to do a bespoke game with our Dino Crisis engine.

Capcom had requested Virgin for a Dino Crisis demo, Virgin asked us to create it. It used the exploration mode and [similar] battle system as Gaiden would use.

It was playable. The dino sprites in exploration mode were large. I have entire backups of everything from M4, absolutely everything, but I’m in Brazil and the backups are in the UK.

This is not the only version of a GBC Dino Crisis that can be found on the web though, as on two separate Spanish websites Vandal and Dino Crisis Wiki the game was reported to be being developed by a different studio. This other cancelled game was said to be being developed by the now missing Fluid Studios another British developer who released games such as Top Gun: Firestorm (GB) and Army Men: Air Combat (GB and N64). This was also said to be being developed late 1999 early 2000, for the GBC.

There are a few more details for this version of the game though: it would not be a top down adventure but rather using static backgrounds and images accompanied by text sequences. Some presumed screenshots from Fluid Studios’ Dino Crisis seem to have been leaked online too, but we don’t know their source. These sites also report that the game was to be 7 maps with 100 rooms in total. There were to be four characters in the game Regina, Rick, Gail and Dr Kirk all who appeared in the original game on the PlayStation. Also it was said that there was going to be five types of dinosaur two unspecified with the others being the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor and Pteranodon.


Update: While this article was being uploaded to the site I have been looking through documents that were released (you can find the design doc online) regarding the game that was in development by Fluid Studios. In this document it is revealed that what Fluid actually wanted to produce was a scaled down version of the original Dino Crisis, they wanted to keep all the original maps, plot-lines, dinosaurs and the look and feel of the original. This is quite a bold statement as the original was on the PlayStation 1 which is a more powerful system. Fluid were worried about the restrictive nature of the GBC especially in regards to the sprite size and how they would recreate the dinosaurs.

The story had a very brief background written about it, there was to be an undercover agent (Regina who had infiltrated the compound and was trying to capture Dr. Kirk and take him back to her government agency. Fluid also intended to have different game modes for this and it was said that they would have bonus missions if you had completed the game. This was said to contain three missions in which the player would have to kill a set amount of dinosaurs in a certain period of time.  

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. 

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

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. 

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