Microsoft

END (Faramix Enterprises) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PC]

END is a cancelled FPS / RPG / MMO / Action Adventure hybrid that was in development by Faramix Enterprises around 2007, planned to be released on Xbox 360 and PC. The concept was quite ambitious and the team wanted to renovate the FPS genre in gameplay and immersion.

Some details about END were available on their old website:

“Not only is “End” a hand to hand combat adventure, but weapons are widely available for use based on the wants of the player. Many moves are available to stay in stealth, including but not limited to – picking locks, stealing, or interrogating others for information. The control is left in the player! Do you sneak through the level or alert everyone you are there and run and gun? Do you interrogate and knock them out or kill in rage? The control is in your hands and your fate will change based on your actions.”

We can also find an article written by former Faramix Enterprises founder Michael Dehen, sharing his memories working on the project:

“I’m the creator of the storyline and gameplay for End. I designed and wrote the backbone that it was built on top of. This is my dream and my life, and now I share my dream with others on the team, and it has become our game.

We made the mistake of submitting our company and game title for review too early. We spent a hard three months after our first publisher encounter fleshing out more ideas, developing more artwork and most importantly, finishing the demo, before even thinking about approaching other publishers.”

Dehen also had an interview with Gamasutra in 2007:

“The FPS genre is boring and new ideas need to be incorporated. Most of the new FPS video games being released or scheduled to be released follow the same basics, which were cool at first but are beginning to get stagnant. Companies today are scared to try something new and unproven, because it could bring a loss in revenue.

“The different designs and ideas we have incorporated into our video game title END will bring a new front to the FPS genre by including other aspects from RPGs, MMOs, and Action/Adventure games, creating a kind of hybrid. We didn’t start designing the gameplay for END until many aspects of the storyline were near completion. The type of game play we chose helped drive the storyline and immerse the future video game players.”

“We recently finished our technical demo to show off game play and our abilities at designing, and are moving into the Unreal Engine 3 to being smaller demos of what we can visually produce as we having already begun talking to many publishers around the world.”

Unfortunately it seems Faramix Enterprises were not able to find a publisher or funds to keep working on END and the game vanished along with the company a few years later. Only some concept art is currently preserved for this lost game.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Reprisal (Power Infused) [PC, Xbox – Cancelled]

Reprisal is a cancelled first person shooter / RPG that was in development from 2001 to 2004 by Power Infused Productions for PC and the original Xbox. The team conceived it as a hybrid between Quake, Thief and Deus Ex, featuring 3 different playable races, each one with their own gameplay mechanics, weapons and abilities. For example you would use stealth to play as humans, direct assaults to play as a cyborg, and manage resources to play as an Alien.

In august 2004 the team was searching for more developers on the CGSociety forum:

“Reprisal is the story of conflict between three races over a space station (Joshua 20) at the edge of our solar system Humans have kept their CAT battle machines stationed there in case of conflict for centuries. The invading alien army, guided by a Prince who seeks to prove himself, struck the station first, seeking to turn these weapons against their masters. The plan goes awry, causing the CATs to turn against both human and alien, and trapping all three races together in a desperate struggle for survival.”

As the game progresses, players would have taken control of the three sides and learn to use their unique powers. These races were:

  • Cyborg Assault Tanks (CATs) – Vicious and overwhelmingly powerful, these killing machines were once used to fight wars for humans. In Reprisal, they have turned against their masters and gone into a killing frenzy.
  • Humans – Weak and devoid of natural armaments, humans are the most adaptable of the three races. They are also able to squeeze into areas of the space station the others can’t access.
  • Aliens – Masters of genetic engineering, aliens are capable of altering their own bodies to suit their needs. While not as overwhelming in force as the CATs, aliens have the distinct advantage of being able to retreat from battle only to return more powerful than before.

“Playing each race requires a different skill set. For example, while CATs can charge into battle, wildly firing at everything, Humans need to sneak around conflicts, searching for a safe place to attack from.

While the game is set entirely on a space station, it has been designed to contain a large enough variety of environments to satisfy even the most hard-core gamer. During the course of the game, the player will venture through enormous mechanical devices, simulations of alien worlds, zoos filled with genetically engineered monsters, infested hallways that come alive, and even venture out onto the hull of the station itself.”

Reprisal would have offered some interesting features for its time:

  • Adaptive characters – The player will be able to adapt the look and abilities of the characters they play. In some cases, these changes will be minor and other cases will be major (replacing the lower torso with wheels).
  • Destructible weaponry and environments – Certain weapons will become available that allow the player to knock holes in some walls and destroy some weaponry (to keep it out of the “wrong hands”).
  • Body specific targeting and damage – over forty different spots on the body where the player can cause damage to the opponents.
  • Overlapping storylines – Players will encounter themselves in previous and future incarnations as they play through the scenario.

Unfortunately the team was not able to find a publisher interested in Reprisal and the project had to be canned in late 2004.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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World War Z (Midway Newcastle) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

World War Z is a cancelled action game based on Max Brooks’ book, that was in development at Midway Newcastle around 2008. This was the same team behind the Wheelman video game, that after working on it pitched two different projects: one based on a new IP (Necessary Force), the other based on World War Z. Midway decided to let the team work on the new IP, so their zombie game pitch was just canned.

In the end Midway Newcastle closed in July 2009 and Necessary Force was also cancelled. Concept art from their World War Z project was later shared online by former Midway artists.

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TY the Tasmanian Tiger 4: GUNYIP! [Cancelled – GameCube, Xbox, PS2]

GUNYIP! Is a cancelled dogfighting shooter set in the TY the Tasmanian Tiger universe, focused on flight missions using TY’s mecha-airplane (the Gunyip, as seen in Ty 3). It was initially conceived for GameCube, Xbox and Playstation 2 as the official 4th chapter in the TY series but gameplay would have been similar to titles such as Crimson Sky, Ace Combat and Star Fox’s all-range mode. The game was in development by Krome Studios around 2005 – 2007, started after the release of Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan. While the team was pitching the idea to publishers they were hired to work on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and GUNYIP! had to be canned.

Most of what we know about this unreleased project was revealed by Krome Studios’ artist and TY co-creator Steve Stamatiadis on his Tumblr account:

“Here’s the promo trailer we put together to pitch Gunyip to publishers. It starts with stuff from TY 3 minigames, then has some early test capture footage then ends with some rendered stuff from the TY 3 trailer.”

“There was the whole first version of TY 4: Gunyip which got shelved to make way for Star Wars. There’s a whole book just of stuff from that.”

“Flashback to the unmade TY 4: Gunyip which was Star Wars AF. The Frills were Scout Frills (the best of the bucket heads!), there were all these Star Wars style flight suits and there was even a Wookiee like character called Po (he’s a Kakapo)

If you thought the 2D game was a departure you would have hated this version even more – it was a flight combat game. Where you flew around doing missions on Gunyips. Basically Ace Combat in the TY universe. The best bit was that it was all told as a story being recounted by Lenny. Also you got to play through the “story” mode 3 times as different factions unlocked and you got more of the full story. It was ambitious to say the least.

Also I do enjoy the irony that the game was dropped mid production so that we could work on an ACTUAL Star Wars game.”

“The original TY 4 was not going to be a 3D platformer – it was a story driven air combat game in the TY universe. It was put to rest when we had the chance to make a Star Wars game and it’s probably for the best. While the game was looking pretty hot I know now that TY fans would have lost their shit because it was different. You only need to look at the reaction to the Win 8 game with it being 2D – even though everything else is pretty much exactly the same.

Anyway apart from flying around in cool transforming Gunyips the game featured a story mode that let you play through as three different factions each with their own sets of Missions. There was TY and Bushrescue, Cass and his Cold Blood Empire and finally a new group the Metalskull pirates led by Ginger Knut the flying fox.”

TY the Tasmanian Tiger: Gunyip! – The Gunyips

The gunyips are the top level of air combat machines. Each faction would have it’s own unique design that the player would control when playing their missions. They were also designed to show your pilot character flying them. This was so players could have something ‘human’ to relate to and so that they could respond to the surrounding events much the same way TY sat in the back of the Fourbie and Crabmersible.

Bush Rescue: The Woomera class Gunyip.

Design wise the BR Gunyip has elements of both the plane version from TY 3 and both the unused designs for the Jet Bunyip. It had a variable geometry that would allow it to take different forms depending on it’s flight mode. And yes it was meant as a homage to Macross’ Gerwalk mode.

Cold Blood Empire: The Raptor

This one was designed to look like a bird of prey. I used the head of Cuddles (Fluffy’s mech from TY 3). The wing “feathers” would change shape based on its speed and the tail would look nice reacting to the physics of Gunyip flight.

It’s pilot is another Thorny Devil called Lizzy. She was going to be Fluffy’s replacement for this game. When you first saw her inthe game she would appear as Fluffy but as the game progressed you’d quickly learn that it was Just Boss Cass – who was now just a little bit more unhinged – seeing her as Fluffy.

Metal Skull Pirates: The Pteropus

A flying fox flown by Ginger Knut, who is also a flying fox. This is the first pass at the Pteropus and It’s a little more basic than the others but I really liked the feel of it being a big powerful motorbike with wings.

“This is Liz, she was going to be Fluffy’s replacement in TY: Gunyip! The way it was going to work was that you’d see her in cutscenes with Cass and she’d look exactly like Fluffy. But then we’d reveal that she actually looked like this and it was just Cass who had gone a little loopy from guilt seeing her as Fluffy. “

“Here’s the look of the Frills for TY: Gunyip! They were called Scout Frills because they are meant to look like my favorite Imperial troops, the Biker Scouts. I tried a few color variations but I was going to stick with the white version.”

“Po the Kakapo – I love the idea of flightless New Zealand birds piloting stuff in the TY universe (Duke the Kiwi) so the Metalskull pirates get Po – he’s sort of Chewbacca to Ginger’s Han Solo.

Fluffy Destrofluffy – A callback to the boss from TY 1 except this time you have Harpoons and Tow Cables. I wanted to name a level the Battle of Mount Hotham – for obvious reasons.

Robot Destrofluffy – what it’s like underneath when you burn the fake fur off them.

Young Tiberius – I never quite worked out how this would fit in the game if it even could but I wanted to have a flashback element where you’d play as Tiberius the Thylacine hero in a 1920s steampunk TY world. Maybe some other time.”

In 2013 Krome released a different Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 4 on PC, but maybe the idea of a flight-combat TY game could be resurrected in the future.

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Siren in the Maelstrom (Silicon Knights) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Siren in the Maelstrom is a cancelled fantasy adventure that was in development by Silicon Knights in the late ‘00s, but never officially announced. The title of this lost project was leaked online in different ways, when Canada Telefilm (an organization that lists projects approved for government grants) announced they would invest into Silicon Knights for their new game “Siren in the Maelstrom”. As we predicted at the time, unfortunately the game was never released.

Siren in the Maelstrom was again mentioned in a disastrous legal case between Epic Games and Silicon Knights. As we can read on Wikipedia:

“On May 2012 Epic Games defeated Silicon Knights‘ lawsuit (opened in July 2007) and won its counter-suit for $4.45 million on grounds of copyright infringement. Silicon Knights was directed by the court to destroy all game code derived from Unreal Engine 3 and to permit Epic Games access to the company’s servers and other devices to ensure these items have been removed. In addition, the studio was instructed to recall and destroy all unsold retail copies of games built with Unreal Engine 3 code, including Too Human, X-Men Destiny, The Sandman, The Box / Ritualyst, and Siren in the Maelstrom.”

Maelstrom (maelström; [ˈmeɪlstɹəm])  is a north-european word used to indicate powerful water whirlpool, produced by opposing currents or a current running into an obstacle. Many of these maelstroms are located near the Norwegian coast and knowing Silicon Knights’ history with the Norse mythology, many fans speculated Siren in the Maelstrom would also have been set in Vikings folklore.

Unfortunately the team never showed any official screenshot from the game, but some concept art is preserved in this page, to remember the existence of this lost project.

In May 2014, following the loss of the court case, Silicon Knights closed their office and filed for bankruptcy. As far as we know, files related to Siren in the Maelstrom had to be deleted, so it could already have been lost forever. As Epic Games had access to Silicon Knights’ server, someone may have saved parts of their cancelled games. We can only hope one day someone could be able to share more screenshots, footage or details from these projects.

If you know someone who worked at Silicon Knights on Siren in the Maelstrom and may help us to save something more from the game, please let us know.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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