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Vampire Hunter (Square Enix + Digital Extremes) [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox 360, PC]

Digital Extremes is a Canadian video game developer founded in 1993, best known for creating Warframe, Dark Sector, The Darkness II and co-creating Epic Games’ Unreal series. Around 2012 the team was working with Square Enix to develop a new action adventure set in a fantasy vampire world, possibly to be published for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

Unfortunately the project was never officially announced and they cancelled it in the end: we don’t have any more information about how it would have been played nor why it was never completed. Some concept art from this Vampire Hunter game is preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost project.

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Ninth Doctor Who (2005 Video Game) [Cancelled / Tech Demo]

A Doctor Who video game, based-off the science-fiction series of the same name, was being developed by Australian developer IR Gurus Interactive (later rebranded Transmission Games). The game would have coincided with the first series of the revived 2005 tv-show starring Christopher Eccleston as The Ninth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler. Development lasted half a year and was funded through substantial government subsidies. The reason for its cancellation according to Paul Callaghan who worked at the studio was simply “It’s complicated”.

“I’d wanted to work on a Doctor Who game since I was about 11 years old, so this was kind of a dream project for me,” said Callaghan. “When it was cancelled, I had to take a step back to work out whether or not this was the career I wanted to pursue.”

As to the plot for the game, it is vague whether the details given by Callaghan are what was planned for it. From the Sydney Morning Herald article:

“He conceived a plot around aliens modifying the human race with airborne nanobots, allowing companion Rose Tyler to undergo some changes: “We could give her some cool alien powers!””

According to Andy Widger, then head of communications for BBC Worldwide, there were no intentions of releasing it as he told website GamesRadar:

“The news of a Doctor Who game is a little premature. At present the only work being done is on an interactive demo for internal evaluation. There is no firm proposal for a game and no commitment to particular formats or an idea of a potential release date – and no screenshots.

Article by Vitas Varnas 

Battle Rigs (Rage Software) [Xbox, PC – Cancelled]

Battle Rigs (AKA Construction Derby) is a cancelled vehicular combat game that was in development by Rage Software Sheffield around 2000 – 2001, planned to be released for the original Xbox and PC. At the time the team was mostly known for their work on Gun Metal and Incoming, proving their skills with first person and third person shooters. In Battle Rigs players would have been able to build their own sci-fi tank / spaceship to fight in single player and online multiplayer deathmatches.

While Battle Rigs was never officially announced before being canned, former Rage developer James Sutherland found a playable prototype of their lost project and shared one screenshot on Twitter.

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Warhound (Techland) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PC]

Warhound is a cancelled open-ended FPS that was in development by Techland (the team behind such titles as Call of Juarez, Dead Island and Dying Light) in 2007, planned to be released for Xbox 360 and PC. The game was quite ambitious for its time, offering RPG-like mechanics, fully destructible environments, usable vehicles, roguelike elements and freedom of choice on many aspects of your character’s development. Players would take the role of a mercenary: you would have been able to freely explore each area and resolve missions as you please, choosing how, where and when to complete each objective.

You could image Warhound as a mix between Crysis, Far Cry and Dead Island. As we can read from the (now offline) official website:

Warhound is an open-ended First-Person Shooter (FPS) set in modern times. In the game, you will play as an ex-Delta Force operative, now working for the world`s largest military company. In Warhound, you`ll complete a variety of challenging missions in battlefields around the world, while later uncovering a massive terrorist plot that targets the United States and thousands of its citizens.

Warhound focuses on complete freedom of choice, and as such, you will have unprecedented opportunities to pick your missions, weapons, battlefield tactics and vehicles. You will select mission start times, insertion/extraction points and the types (land, sea or air) of insertion. You will also need to keep on top of your training, finances and position in the highly-competitive mercenary market to ensure you receive only the most select missions. More successful missions equal more money, which can be used to buy new equipment and weapons for future jobs. Warhound`s innovative First Person Perspective (FPP) cover system will allow you to bring the battle to your enemies in ways you`ve never dreamed of before.”

Unprecedented freedom of choice in an FPS:

– Tackle missions in the order you choose, create your own path through each mission`s objectives

– Plan your tactics and equipment load-outs

– Buy satellite photos, recon data and other intelligence about the battlefield situation

– Pick a deployment time and location, then pay for the means of getting in and getting out

Character development:

– Train your character in several skills, including climbing, repair, and weapons proficiency

– Skills are earned and developed as in the real world  – for ex., shooting ranges improve accuracy, running tracks and climbing walls boosts cover and movement skills

– Develop and use skill specializations to gain advantages in combat; new skills offer fresh opportunities for advancement through the mercenary ranks, and new ways to complete missions

FPP cover system:

– For the first time in FPP/FPS games, you’ll be able to use the innovative cover system, which will forever change your way of looking at FPS games. Use items, trees, buildings and other elements of the environment to hide from the torrent of bullets. Shoot at your enemies from behind safe covers.

Detailed and realistic economy:

– Earn money for each successful mission and by selling materials picked up on the battlefield

– Use your newly earned riches to buy weapons, ammo and new gadgets

– Invest in learning new skills

Constantly changing battlefields:

– Every mission is laid out differently each time you play it, enemy units take up new positions, post new patrols, lay traps in different locations, set up ambushes, etc.

– Enemy A.I. takes into account how you`re playing the mission, and counters with unique strategies and tactics

Interactive, destructible game environments:

– A fully interactive environment means plenty of surprises for the enemy – destroy buildings they are hiding in, set villages on fire to “smoke them out”, cause avalanches and knock down trees to clear your line of fire or to create obstacles for the enemy and cover for you

Rivalry with other mercenaries:

– Climb up the career ladder and increase your reputation among the elite mercenaries of the world

– Successful players will earn prestige among their peers, which leads to better and more lucrative contracts

Some interesting details can also be found in an interview by GGMania:

“Adrain Sikora: There are two primary unique features. First up, we have RPG elements that allow you to specify the characters specialization. This influences the kind of tasks you can undertake and allows you to choose different approaches to achieving a given goal. The second unique element is the economic layer of the game. You need to constantly keep an eye on your finances, and plan expenses ahead. Some missions will require a particular kind of weapon, equipment or vehicle, and you’ll need to buy that. We’ve also played around with various gameplay ideas and solutions, because with got the new Chrome Engine, but it’s too early to talk about that.”

“Adrain Sikora: Weapons and guns are still an open issue. We keep adding new types and models. You’ll get off-roaders, half-trucks, quads, APC’s, tanks and choppers. We’re still planning and testing other stuff. I can’t state a precise number of weapons right now, because we’re still working on it. We want to introduce some variety, but also we want to have all the usual stuff: pistols, SMG’s, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, etc. You’ll also get to use fixed guns and vehicles. We’re not planning a weapon upgrade mode, but most guns will come in different variations.”

“Adrain Sikora: We want to have classic modes, like deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag and so on, with up to 32 players. We are also working on our own ranking system for online players, which will also allow you to create custom character classes. You’ll also get to use skills and choose equipment just as you’d do in single player. There’ll be vehicles in MP too.”

“Adrain Sikora: The game is 50% done at the moment. We want to release the game in Q4 2007. Warhound will be available in North America, though we haven’t chosen a publisher just yet.”

Warhound was quite hyped at the time, so many screenshots, details and footage can still be found online today. Unfortunately today the project is mostly forgotten by everyone. In the end Warhound was put on hold because the team had to focus their resources and efforts on such titles as Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and the promising Dead Island. As we can read on Engaged:

“Blazej Krakowiak, the company’s international brand manager, told us, “We reached a certain development stage and had to postpone it because of Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood.” He continued, “A release of an ambitious and well-received title is always a good moment to unwind a little bit and reevaluate all the options,” speaking to the recent release of Bound in Blood. “It wouldn’t be a good idea for us to discuss them right now.” Though Krakowiak doesn’t exactly confirm our suspicions on the fate of Warhound, his caginess on the game’s fate speaks volumes.”

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Witchblade Video Game (The Collective) [Xbox – Cancelled]

Around 2002 The Collective, the team behind such games as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Marc Ecko’s Getting Up, pitched a Witchblade beat ‘em up for the original Xbox, but unfortunately it was quickly canned. The studio developed many tie-in games based on popular intellectual properties (such as Star Trek, Men in Black, Star Wars, and the cancelled Dirty Harry) so we can assume they pitched many, many more similar projects to publishers and IP holders, but most of them were never fully developed.

This cancelled Witchblade video game was probably one of the latter, and by looking at The Collective work on the Buffy beat ‘em up we can speculate it would have been quite similar to it if only completed. As far as we know the team prepared a playable demo for Witchblade, possibly by reusing animations / models from their Buffy video game. Unfortunately as this project was never officially announced, we don’t know any more details on what they planned for the franchise.

Some 3D models created for this Witchblade Xbox demo are preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost project.

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