Microsoft

INCorporated [PC X360 – Tech Demo / Cancelled]

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?

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Ace Squadron [Cancelled – GameCube / XBOX / PS2]

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.

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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. 

Retribution [XBOX 360 / PC – Cancelled]

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.

[spoiler /Click here to read the original Press Release/ /Hide the Press Release/]Retribution uses Artificial Studio’s advanced game engine – Reality. It is a FPS or 3rd person shooter (your choice) with a movie like script. A large variety of photo realistic scenes to explore as you work your way through the game ensure that you never feel the game is repetitive. Featuring open play which enables you to hire and improve your crew members and their abilities, build an arsenal of weapons, acquire a range of equipment, and complete numerous mercenary tasks for cash. Attempt the main storyline missions at your leisure.

Primary Objective- Take retribution on your parents’ murderer.
Sounds – Simple
Difficulty – Hard
Problem – Finding him
Problem – Women…well…one woman
Problem – Your target commands a navy vessel and has a trained army at his disposal

Intense action, coupled with the most intelligent team management seen to date, artistic diversity rarely seen in a computer game, and a script that reads like a movie. Plus the advanced features of the Reality engine which utilises the latest in artistic techniques. At U-235 Studios just having the ability to do something isn’t enough, we set out to fully utilise and exploit every new technique. It’s not good enough to have an advanced physics system, but each object in Retribution is carefully modelled to our ‘game standard’ so interactivity is realistic.

Couple this with a multiplayer element across 11 unique scenes, each very different and so well crafted you’ll forget you’re playing the same game.

Key Features
Scenery: 11 unique land-based scenes, ranging from your tropical beach hideout, a marine corps camp, a drug lords compound, the port area of Miami and more.
Ocean: Realistic water techniques never achieved before in real time in a computer game.
AI: Elaborate and intelligent AI which makes you re-think the way you play computer games – without taking away the joy of beating impossible odds.
Damage System: A unique damage system devised in conjunction with gamers to enable enjoyable game play, visual effects, and a realism level that doesn’t detract from the fun.
Crew Advancement: Once you hire your crew members they begin to advance depending on the action they see, or the training they have been placed in.
Crew Battle Management: Unique battle management techniques to interact with your crew that are sure to become standards once other companies see what we’ve come up with.
Interaction: A detailed level of interaction between characters including realistic cause and effect. The days of ‘3 phrase characters’ are officially over.
Transport: Buy, hijack, steal or ransack boats in the Caribbean. Clean them up and sell them for cash. All attacks on vessels are done in FPS/3rdPS mode, use your brain as well as brawn to make your attacks as clean as possible.
FPS or 3rdPS: Play in first person or 3rd person modes (switch at any time) throughout the game.
Hostages: Take hostages from a battle, be it an attack on a vessel in the Caribbean you have coordinated, or a mercenary task. Manage your hostage negotiations and build up your cash, but be careful not to attract too much attention.
Environment: Realistic day/night cycles and advanced world time system which ties into various elements such as crew advancement, financial management etc.
Time warp: Retribution is played over a large geographical area, however, a unique time warp system ensures you won’t waste time waiting while travelling.
Multi-Player: Death match, team death match, cooperative and team cooperative modes.[/spoiler]

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Thief: Deadly Shadows [Beta – Xbox / PC]

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!