The Guardian is a cancelled adventure game that was in development in 2002 / 2003 by The Whole Experience (WXP Games) to be published by Capital Entertainment Group for the original Xbox. The game’s protagonist would die in a car accident during the introduction and then players would use his ghost to interact with NPCs to resolve different tasks. The Guardian featured an interesting gameplay mechanics involving NPCs hidden thoughts, that could have been read by the ghost, absorbed and used to manipulate the thoughts and reactions of other NPCs. Evil ghosts would also appear during the adventure, suggesting some kind of demonic presence to be eradicated from the game’s world as the final objective.
Attack of the Killer Rabbids from outer Space, later retitled Killer Freaks from outer Space, was a first person shooter developed by Ubisoft Montpellier that would eventually become ZombiU for the Wii U.
Originally planned as an untitled horror shooter for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2010, the game was already intended to be a part of the Rayman spinoff seriesRaving Rabbids wherein earth was attacked by a much more frightening “cousin” of the Rabbids. Early concept art depicts them as being very similar looking to the Rabbids but with sharp teeth and, in some instances, missing their eyeballs. Also revealed in concept art were designs for different types of enemies such as a basic trooper, a shield trooper, a giant Rabbid, UFOs, and a variety of other alien vehicles. Multiple soldiers can be seen fighting the Rabbids in some of the art, suggesting that would the player would not only be taking the role of one of these soldiers, but there would be co-op multiplayer as well.
This more “mature” tone and the level of violence in the game began to cause concern among the game’s developers as they felt it was begin to stray too far from the child friendly franchise. “We thought about making them cousins to the Raving Rabbids,” designer Jean-Karl Tupic-Bron stated in in an interview with Polygon, “but quickly decided to split [it off]- This is not what Raving Rabbids is all about.”
In response to the issue they changed the invaders from “Killer Rabbids” to “Killer Freaks” and officially revealed the game under that title at E3 2011 as a launch game for the Wii U. While the Freaks remained very similar to the Rabbids in size and stature they were given a much more reptilian appearance to differentiate them from their earlier counterparts. Set in a post-apocalyptic London, the game pitted 1-4 players against hordes of the Freaks with an arcade run n gun style of gameplay complete with a point system. An early trailer and gameplay video revealed a variety of weapons that could be used against the Freaks ranging from handguns and shotguns to a buzzsaw launcher and electricity gun.
Despite the early footage getting a positive response the team still wasn’t satisfied with what the game was turning out to be. The driving force behind this was their desire to create an experience tailor suited for the Wii U, something that the fast paced shooter that they had made didn’t deliver on. Another reason was that the Freaks, despite being well liked by the team, were too small and forced players to look towards the ground for a majority of the game. It is because of these pacing and gameplay issues that the team decided zombies were the next logical step.
Many of the aspects were completely overhauled in the transition to ZombiU, with Tupic-Bron citing the one vs many book and film I am Legend as a major inspiration towards the change. First and foremost the pace of the game was significantly slowed down, hence the change to zombies as they are generally depicted as being slow and stumbling. They introduced a focus on preparation, patience, and inventory management as opposed to the frantic gameplay in the previous installment.
This allowed them to utilize the Wii U pad more effectively, as it was now used for vital gameplay features such as displaying the map and organizing the player’s inventory. They also abandoned the more comical aspects of the game in favor of a darker and more serious tone. Co-op was also removed and instead was replaced by a unique “one death” in which every survivor the player controlled only had one life, and the next survivor the player controlled would have to make their way to the now zombified previous survivor and kill them for their supplies. One of the only aspects that remained relatively unchanged was the vs multiplayer in which one player would control an army of aliens/zombies with the game pad, while the other would try and survive as long as possible with a Wii-mote and nunchuck.
ZombiiU was released on November 18th, 2012 and ports for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC were released on August 18th, 2015. News of a sequel in development began to spread when creative director Jean-Phillipe Caro mentioned working on a prototype, but It has since been 100% denied by the Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot as the game was not financially successful for the company. It has been more recently revealed that this proposed game would have re-instated co-op gameplay like in the previous installments. Ubisoft Montpellier continues to work on big franchise games such as the next Ghost Recon and the sequel to their cult hit Beyond Good and Evil.
Whore of the Orient is a cancelled game from Team Bondi and Kennedy Miller Mitchell, it was a spiritual successor to L.A Noire and planned to be released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Like L.A Noire you would play as a detective but this time in 1930s Shanghai, it would also use the motion scan technology that was first used in L.A Noire. From leaked gameplay in 2013 it showed that the game had a focus on hand to hand combat, but still retained the usual cover shooting mechanics found in L.A Noire. In interview with EurogamerBrendan McNamara (writer and director at Team Bondi) described the game saying “It’s pretty interesting. It’s one of the great untold stories of the twentieth century. So I think it’ll be good”
When Team Bondi sought a publisher for Whore of the Orient, it was reported that no publisher was interested due to claims of poor working conditions during the development of L.A Noire. When Team Bondi closed it’s doors in 2011 its assets were sold to Kennedy Miller Mitchell where development continued, and Warner Bros Interactivehad taken interest in the game, but later abandoned the project in 2012. In 2013 it was rumored that the game had been put on hold and in June of 2013 it was reported that Kennedy Miller Mitchell had revived $200,000 of funding from an investment board. It was then reported that Whore of the Orient was set for a 2015 release date, but that never happened and we would not hear anything more about the game until 2016. In June of 2016 in an interview on the GameHugs podcast with Derek Proud (former producer on Whore of the Orient) he was asked “so will we ever see that game” and he replied “I don’t think so“.
There are still screenshots of the game on the internet, the aforementioned 2013 leaked footage of the game can also be found online.
After finishing Medal of Honor: Vanguard and Medal of Honor: Airborne, in 2007 EA Los Angeles started to work on a new game for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, titled Gunhero. While keeping a first person view as their previous MoH titles, this new project would have been set in a post zombie-apocalypse world, focused on using melee weapons and close quarter combat, somehow preceding what Techland did 4 years later with Dead Island and one year before the release of Left 4 Dead. The project was still in early development and many features were not decided yet, as the plan for a possible coop multiplayer mode, but unfortunately it was cancelled before to be completed. The game was noticed in 2011 by Siliconera after Gunhero’s Art Director Zach Schlappi published a few concept art online.
The main character in Gunhero was a volunteer SAR pilot whose crew fatally died after their Jayhawk was brought down by a rescued survivor who was hiding the zombie infection. Caught in the middle of the quarantine zone, the pilot had to survive through zombies to rescue scientist who may hold a cure.
Even if their early prototype did garnered a lot of internal praise, Dead Space was also pitched to EA during the same time and they decided to cancel Gunhero as there was not room in their portfolio for two survival horror games. Even if Dead Space became a success for EA, the popularity of open world, first person zombie games in the following years marks the cancellation of Gunhero as a huge missed opportunity for the studio.
In 2010 EA Los Angeles would be re-branded as Danger Close Games, but 3 years later after the commercial failure of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, the studio was dissolved and some employees moved to DICE Los Angeles.
The Lord of the Creatures is a cancelled fantasy strategy / adventure game that was in development by Spanish studio Arvirago Entertainment (a team composed of former Pyro Studios devs, creators of the Commandos RTS series) for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. The main feature of the game was to capture and use monsters in combat, somehow similar to a real-time Pokèmon action adventure mixed with Kameo, in a classic fantasy setting with orcs, elves and other strange creatures. The game was originally announced in 2003 but after a few years of development it was quietly canned and not much more info was ever released.
Players would be able to collect over one hundred different creatures, each one with exclusive abilities to use directly by impersonating one of them or by giving orders like in a real time strategy game. Enemies would attack in groups and we had to think about the best creatures for the fight, depending on their characteristics, weapons and items. Five different main characters were available, each one with a different play-style. Online cooperative and competitive modes were also planned, to test your tactical abilities and creatures along or against other players.
We don’t know what happened to Arvirago, but it seems that the studio does not exist anymore and they never released any game before to vanish forever.