G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra is a cancelled action game that was planned by Radical Entertainment (mostly known for their The Simpsons: Road Rage, The Simpsons: Hit & Run, Crash of the Titans, Prototype series) and Hasbro around 2002, to be developed for Playstation 2, Xbox and GameCube. As you probably assume it was meant to be a tie-in for the popular G.I. Joe franchise, conceived when Hasbro published a new G.I. Joe vs. Cobra toy line around the same time. While the game was never officially announced, in 2018 a former developer shared a few details and some photos from their design document:
“One day I’ll be able to discuss how in 2002, Hasbro and Radical Entertainment secretly concocted a mission-based G.I. Joe video game. Dubbed G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra, the game broke down into sixteen separate missions of 4 acts each. Developed for 6th generation consoles (XBox, PS2, and GameCube), Hasbro went quite far in the design process – to the extent where they assigned mapping for the consoles’ controllers.”
As far as we know, Radical Entertainment did not fully start development on the game and the project was canned before any prototype was made.
Star Wars 1313 was one of the most anticipated titles in recent memory. Following the success of the Jedi Knight series and the critical and commercial acclaim of the Knights of the Old Republic Series, fans were aching for an authentic single-player Star Wars experience. Since The Force Unleashed series didn’t manage to fill that void, fans were understandably excited for Star Wars 1313, planned to be published for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Sadly, the project had a short life. Although the game was still officially in development when Disney acquired Lucas Film (October 2012), on March 2013 several news outlets reported that Star Wars 1313 and other projects were put on hold since the acquisition. On April 2013, The Walt Disney company announced that internal development was ceased at Lucas Arts and that it laid off its staff, effectively cancelling the upcoming 1313:
‘’After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.’’ – statement by Lucas Arts representative to Game Informer.
Star Wars 1313 was planned to be set in a familiar, yet unexplored area of the Star Wars universe, namely the underground slums of Coruscant known as Level 1313. Before it was cancelled, the story was supposed to revolve around a young Boba Fett as he was navigating the sleazy underbelly of the metropolis and taking contracts from local crime lords:
“Star Wars: 1313 dives into a part of the Star Wars mythos that we’ve always known existed, but never had a chance to visit,” Paul Meegan, former president of Lucas Arts.
The gameplay itself, as well as the game design, was allegedly inspired after the popular series Uncharted. The game’s title was trademarked in May 2012, and was officially revealed at E3 2012 the following month. It was planned to feature fast-paced combat and universe-specific gadgets rather than the Force. Star Wars 1313 was to be developed in the Unreal Engine 3, which was top of the line back then.
As the game was cancelled very early into its development, few vestiges of what it could’ve been remain, and even fewer were revealed publicly. Apart from the official E3 trailer and a 6 minute demo shown during the same conference, all that remains of 1313 are a few scattered concept arts and additional details about the story, which revealed that the game would’ve included more explorable planets, such as Tatooine.
More recently, Naughty Dog’s animator Jonathan Cooper, who worked on 1313, shared an animation reel on Twitter that showed a droid partner and several movement animations.
Although there were signs that the title was going to be picked up after all, fans hope for a miraculous revival was officially crushed when Disney decided not to renew the Star Wars 1313 trademark. The expired trademark, Disney’s decision to license all Star Wars related video games to EA effectively in perpetuity, and the upcoming Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order means that the chances of 1313 to ever be released are slim to none.
Pilot X is a cancelled space combat adventure game that was in development by Tornado Studios for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. While it remained mostly obscure, it was officially announced sometime in the late ‘00s, and we can still read the official press-release on Gamepressure:
“Pilot X is an arcade shooting in the atmosphere of space opera. The player controls a small spacecraft and his task is to destroy enemy forces in distant star systems. Pilot X is a project of Tornado Studios, an independent development studio known for its Project Runway game. This time the creators decided to use the classic genre of space shooters, adapting proven solutions to the technical capabilities of modern hardware platforms.
The action of the game was set in the distant future. The player plays the role of a star fighter pilot, and his task is to perform various dangerous combat missions in remote corners of the galaxy.
Pilot X’s gameplay is based on classic, genre-specific solutions. Watching the action from behind the ship (TPP) the player fights dozens of enemy units, including board bosses – huge star ships or perfectly protected planetary bases. In the course of the game he can gain a number of bonuses allowing for example to turn on the shields, change the weaponry, replenish ammunition or repair the damage suffered.
The game is characterized by an eye-catching three-dimensional visual setting, which clearly stands out from the competition. Both models of ships and objects drifting in space look very impressive, and the dynamic action is full of spectacular explosions.”
We don’t know what happened to the project, but we can assume it was canned because the team was not able to find a publisher interested in it.
XGirl is a cancelled “girlfriend simulation” game that was in development by Angel Studios (the modern Rockstar San Diego) around 2000, planned to be published by Microsoft as a launch game for their original Xbox. You can imagine it somehow like Seaman or Hey You, Pikachu! but with a “girlfriend” as the main character to interact with. As far as we know XGirl did not use voice-commands and it was more like a traditional pet / life simulation, such as the Creatures or Tamagotchi series.
While the project was never officially announced, details about its existence were found online on resumes of former Angel Studios / Rockstar San Diego developers.
Carlos Pedroza, who worked as Lead Artist at Angel Studios, listed the game on his website. Michael Limber, who worked as Chief Creative Officer at Angel Studios, wrote on his old website:
“Interactive test application for Microsoft for the launch of the XBox. Kind of an interactive girlfriend project, XGirl had natural engaging facial animations and reacted to various controller inputs.”
We tried many times to get in contact with former Angel Studios developers to preserve more information about XGirl, unfortunately we never got any reply. In Japan Microsoft did release a somewhat similar game to xGirl on the original Xbox, titled “[email protected] Natural Ultimate Digital Experiment”, developed by Red Entertainment.
We can assume the concept behind a “virtual girlfriend” could have been too controversial for the american market in 2001, so Microsoft and Angel Studios canned the project. Angel Studios was then bought by Take-two in 2003 and renamed Rockstar San Diego. They then moved on to work on such popular titles as Red Dead Revolver, Midnight Club and Grand Theft Auto V.
Tiltronica is a cancelled racing / flipper / puzzle game that was in development by Vision Scape Interactive for the original Xbox. You would use some strange vehicles inside a sphere, somehow like in Super Monkey Ball, moving and shooting around arenas inside giant flippers. You main objective seems to have been to shoot down targets and collect balls.
A playable prototype was found in 2009 and a few collectors got copies on the Xbox debug-kits. This was in development by the same team who worked on the Sonic Extreme pitch.