Microsoft

Strike Force: Red Cell (Vision Studios) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PC]

Strike Force: Red Cell is a cancelled tactical FPS that was in development by Vision Studios around 2005, planned to be published by Graffiti Entertainment on PC and Xbox 360. The team previously worked on a popular Unreal Tournament mod with the same name, but Red Cell would have been a full stand alone game with single player missions and online multiplayer.

Players would have been able to explore 8 levels from all around the world, completing them in a non-linear way. Each level would offer a series of missions conceived with the help of Navy Seals and USA military Officers. Some details were shared by the team in old interviews with FiringSquad and WebCloud:

Gamecloud – On your web site you have a little info about Strike Force Red Cell, the upcoming commercial version of Strike Force. What can you tell us about this game and the differences between it and the mod version?

Michael Hamlett – The Strike Force Red Cell game will have a full single player based campaign with new maps, AI coding, animations, character models, weapons, etc. The single player campaign is also being designed by Red Cell Associates. This is a group of X military Navy Seals and Officers who advised the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the President and the Department of Defense on counter terrorist activities. So we actually have a huge anti terrorist team working on the scenarios and game types. The full commercial game will also have new multiplayer game types to go along with the SP campaigns.

Gamecloud – What can you tell us at this time about the single player campaigns in Red Cell?

Michael Hamlett – The single player scenarios in Red Cell will work with you and a squad. Except your squad will actually be hidden during these missions. Meaning your character may be into a heavy battle to get out of a certain area and you can’t seem to bypass this area without any help. Your squad will radio in that one of your team mates are located on a upper hill or roof of a building with heavy guns. Then you will get a count down message and heavy fire will take out the enemy. So you will have your team helping in certain ways for the entire mission. Another scenario example may be where one of your team members is trying to cut power and you’ll have to hold at a certain point until this is done. So the interaction will play out somewhat like that.

 

Gamecloud – What are some of the more unique features in Red Cell that make it different than your typical first person shooter?

Michael Hamlett – One of the main things is what I explained above with the actions of your team helping you through but not actually being a direct part where you have to guide each one behind or beside you the entire way. Instead the team will be there to support in certain parts when needed. Also the amount of detail we are putting into maps, characters and weapons will really stand out from other shooters out there. Finally we have actually partnered with a huge X military team to help us write out and produce the single player campaign.

FiringSquad: What sort of locations and settings will the game have?

Michael Hamlett: The locations will be set world wide. As I’m sure your aware terrorist activities today happen all around the world. Sticking true to the Strike Force theme we will have map locations all over… from USA, Russia, Egypt, China, Korea, Sweden, Canada, etc.

We don’t know what happened to Vision Studios and their game, but they both quietly vanished and were never seen again.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

Images:

Videos:

 

Severity (Escalation Studios) [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox 360, PC]

Severity is a cancelled eSport-focused FPS that was in development around 2007 by Escalation Studios (later renamed to Bethesda Game Studios Dallas) in cooperation with John Romero and funded by the Cyberathlete Professional League. It was planned to be released on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

As we can read in an old article published on FiringSquad:

“Mustaine told us that he already has a group of about 10 team members working on Severity and plans to expand that team to about 20 members in total.

Mustaine isn’t revealing much about the game itself at this stage but he did tell us that the game will be a mix of modern day and futuristic themes in terms of weapons and level settings. While the game will not have a lengthy single player experience except maybe for tutorial levels, he did say they did plan for AI bot play for people to practice offline.

Of course, creating a game for pro gaming tournaments means adding more features that will make the game better not just for the players but also for the spectators. In addition to support for tournament ladders and detailed stats for players, Mustaine told us that Severity has plans to expand its options for spectators, including in-game cameras that can be controlled by commentators and finding ways to display important stats to the spectators in order to get them more fully involved in the matches. Mustaine compared what they wanted to do to how professional poker matches became a huge draw among the general public thanks in part to how TV had commentators and stats for the poker matches. As far as Severity’s game modes, Mustaine told us that they are planning to have modes with different player speeds, different game physics and different weapon loadouts.”

Some more details can be found in an interview published by PSU:

“PSU: There have been beliefs floating around that the game will play exactly the same as Quake III Arena. If there’s a game with a similar gameplay style to Severity what game would it be?

Angel: It will not play identical to Quake 3 or any other game, but Quake 3 is definitely one of the major inspirations for the development team. Severity will have very unique characteristics and a rich visual environment, but it will also be a faced-paced game.

PSU: Will there be the ability to have cross-platform gaming? i.e. PlayStation 3 vs. Xbox 360 vs. PC gamers?

Angel: That is absolutely the plan!”

It seems Severity’s development was already canned or slowed down in 2008, as told by John Romero to That Gaming Site. Later Escalation Studios denied the game’s cancellation, but in the end it was never released anyway. After working on small projects such as Samba de Amigo on Wii and Doom Resurrection for iOS, in 2012 the team was acquired by 6waves Lolapps and then sold to ZeniMax Media in 2017 after they helped with the development of Rage and Doom reboot.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

Images:

Videos:

 

Axeman (Pipeworks) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Axeman is a cancelled musical on-rail shooter that was in development around 2011 by Pipeworks Software and ImaginEngine, planned to be released on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Players would follow a linear path in the city, using a guitar as a “weapon of mass distortion” to take out enemies, bosses and recruit girls into their crew of fans. While there is no gameplay footage available, we imagine Axeman as a mix between REZ and Guitar Hero: by playing different songs, following the rhythm and taking down enemies, you would complete each level and improve your scores.

Axeman was meant to be part of an advertisement campaign for AXE Body Spray, something similar to what Burger King did with Sneak King and Big Bumpin. As far as we know Pipeworks and Axe did release an Android version of Axeman, but the Xbox 360 and PS3 games were canned for some reasons.

Images: 

Kill Bill (Studio Gigante) [Cancelled Prototype – Xbox]

In 2005 Studio Gigante created a Kill Bill hack & slash prototype, pitched to be fully developed on the original Xbox. Players would have been able to follow the story of Tarantino’s movie, using the Bride to fight enemies with her katana. The team was mostly known for Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus, another Xbox-exclusive fighting game published by Microsoft in 2003. While they had a great 3D engine and talent for fighting mechanics, unfortunately they had to close down before being able to find a publisher interested in their Kill Bill proto.

As we can read in an old article on Polygon:

“Gigante was ready to roll onto a proper Tao Feng sequel, and Microsoft wanted it – but the proposed deal gave the team pause, as it didn’t quite offer the resources desired to pull off the more elaborate design, which featured wildly destructible stages. Simultaneously, THQ swooped in with an offer to develop WWE Wrestlemania 21 – a richer contract that could not only help build up the studio further, but possibly also secure a lucrative annual franchise. After much agonizing, the studio principals opted for THQ’s deal, leaving Tao Feng 2 dead in the water.

Not only did the team lose its passion project, but the WWE deal backfired. An incomplete build of the game was accidentally pressed and released, leading to backlash and an eventual recall and revised release. Relations between Gigante and THQ had already soured prior to release, and the poor reaction was the final nail in the coffin.

The Xbox series was dead, and the studio was running out of money. Using a proprietary engine, Gigante prototyped potential Kill Bill and Star Wars fighting games and sought new projects, but decisions weren’t being made quickly enough. By July 2005, just three months after Wrestlemania 21 shipped, the studio closed its doors.”

Images: 

Daybreakers (Trilogy Studios) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

Daybreakers is a cancelled episodic time-traveling first-person RPG that was in development since 2006 by Trilogy Studios, planned to be released for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. The company was founded by game industry veterans who worked in such companies as Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, RockStar Games and Vivendi Universal.

In Daybreakers players would have been able to explore different time-periods to find a solution to save our doomed world. The game was talked about by major websites such as IGN and Playstation Universe:

“The world is falling apart with war, disease, insurgency, and starvation rampant among humanity. The only hope lies with the Nexus Corporation, a U.S. funded group using volunteer convicts as experimental guinea pigs in an operation called “Project Daybreak.” Utilizing Project Daybreak, the Nexus Corporation studies time travel to find the means to cure the world of its problems.”

“Developed by Trilogy Studios, Daybreakers puts players in the role of undercover US secret operative Nolan Reeves who is asked to enter the world of the criminal underground, joining the Nexus Project and time traveling in order to find three escaped convicts. Upon returning from his task, Reeves finds that the only people aware of his mission, of his existence – have been killed. From this point forward he must rely on the ability to manipulate the relationships with those in the world around him: inmates, factions, and the corrupt officers and officials who permeate Nexus Island.”

“We would like to be the first team to truly monetize the online gameplay of first-person shooters,” Pole proclaimed. “It hasn’t been done. First-person shooters traditionally have not done a very good job of rewarding players. The way they reward players is that you run through a level, shoot everything on the level, finish the level, and you go to the other level and get a bigger gun. Our goal and our objective is to get a player a sophisticated and very detailed level of gameplay that hasn’t been delivered in first-person shooters by offering gamers a moment-by-moment reward system versus a level-based reward system. All these RPG elements that we mentioned will allow players to build upon their characters so they can see how well they are doing.”

“Instead of describing the game as an open world title, he told us that Daybreakers was a “dynamic world simulator“. He added that the game would feature more interactivity and more of a sense that the player’s actions have consequences in the game world. “I think that’s where games need to go, especially first person shooters,”

The first Daybreakers’ episode was planned for 2008, but the project quickly vanished and was never completed. As far as we know Trilogy Studios worked on a few social games before closing down around 2010.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

Images:

Videos: