Microsoft

Heist [XBLA/PSN/PC – Cancelled]

Heist was a stealth action/adventure game being developed by TrapDoor, the independent studio responsible for 2012’s Warp. It was planned as a digital title for Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network and PC platforms.

The Indie Stealth Game That Never Was

Work began on the project codenamed Heist in early 2012, “almost immediately after” development on Warp had commenced, according to one former Trapdoor employee. The game was a high concept, ambitious experiment in creating a 2D stealth experience with slick visuals, seamless combat and intelligent, dynamic AI.

Heist Tradpoor concept art - ballroom level

The greater narrative planned for Heist still mostly eludes us, but the central premise revolved around the player assuming the role of a nameless thief to infiltrate a number of top security complexes, stealing valuable items of interest and escaping undetected. Enemy forces carried taser weapons capable of downing the player in a single hit, meaning stealth was key. 

Dead or Alive: Code Chronus [Xbox / 360 – Cancelled]

Dead or Alive: Code Chronus was a cancelled rogue-like game set in the DoA world, that was in development at Team Ninja during early 2002 for the original Xbox. It was intended to take the fighting game series in a new direction, transitioning it into a full action adventure similar to Ninja Gaiden. Code Chronus was meant to serve as a prequel to the main series and Tomonobu Itagaki spoke in various interviews of how the game would have told the story of Ayane and Kasumi before the first Dead or Alive tournament.

In March 2014, Itagaki replied to a question from one of his fans from his Facebook page about the game:

I miss games made by you! I still wish that dead or alive code chronus got made. Is it true that the game would have been more of a double dragon type game than a regular dead or alive game? but with ayane and kasumi?

Me too, I love DOA:Code Cronus as it is the father of the DOA universe. So I find it strange that some people said DOA:Code Chronus was never in production. If that’s “true”, I guess that means I’m free to say whatever I want about it? ;D Let me fill you in on the “truth”
DOACC was a Rogue-like in production. If someone wants to try to reverse that reality, they’ll first have to own up to their lies. But it’s not something you should worry about too much. ‘Cause creating a game isn’t easy, you know? Only people with an ability to play inside their own head, even before sitting down to write code, are able to be a game designer. Whoever thinks that development is only concerned about things “visible” and “playable” should pack up their bags and go back to the countryside.
This is also an important truth – I’ll put that down here as a tip for anyone interested in developing brand new original games.

As we can read on Wikipedia, the game was supposed bear some relation to the part of the opening cinematic of Dead or Alive Ultimate that showed the child versions of Kasumi and Ayane.

As Dead or Alive Ultimate was released for Xbox in 2004, it’s possible that this video could have been originally made for Code Chronus and was later reused as the intro for Ultimate. With the release of Xbox 360 in 2005, it seems that the game was moved to the “next generation” console, as a placeholder box for Code Chronus can be seen in a Dead Or Alive 4 promo ad published in various Japanese magazines:

dead or alive code chronos promo

In 2008, Itagaki left Team Ninja and Code Chronus was lost; its legacy limited to being nothing more than a dream project of his that never was. In 2010, the new CEO of Team Ninja told Famitsu magazine that Code Chronus was officially cancelled. Unfortunately, Team Ninja never released any screenshots or videos from this project to the public and only its logo can be found online. We hope to be able to preserve more from this lost game in the future.

dead or alive code chronus cancelleddoa code cronus box 

Deus Ex 3: Insurrection [Cancelled Concepts – PC, XBOX]

Deus Ex is a highly popular sci-fi first person action RPG set in a dystopian future on Earth. There are currently four games in the series: the first two were developed by Ion Storm, while the third and fourth games were developed by Eidos Montreal. However, it was  Ion Storm who worked on two ultimately scrapped, alternative versions of the third installment, which were called Deus Ex: Insurrection and Deus Ex 3 respectively.

Art Min was a programmer on the second game in the series Deus Ex: Invisible War, as soon as development was finished on this he became project lead on Insurrection. There were at least four different story lines set out for this iteration of the game and many of the core concepts, were thought out.

deus-ex-3-cancelled

In a initial design document submitted in February 2004 many of these concepts can be seen with the team vision for the game being to create an accessible and believable Deus Ex game with emotional depth and epic choices. It was slated to be released on both the Xbox and PC platform but what is interesting is, it is noted that a PS2 version would be made if an external team could be found to make it, and the “Xbox 2” for launch if green lighting was approved as soon as possible.

At the time of writing this document the team were in pre-production and were ready to go to full production by July 1st, 2004, it was written that they would have the game finished by January 2005. There is a very high concept for the game that is described, the game was to be based in 2027 and that there were five superpowers in the world who would either rise or fall depending on the intelligence that you would give to them.

The game setting was that America was falling into bankcruptcy and the other rising superpowers like China and Russia were trying to utilise this and bankrolling insurgents on U.S. soil. The EU was also trying to bring the U.S. under the jurisdiction of international bodies like the UN. The U.S. is also split in two with patriots who want to keep the U.S. as is and the globalists who want the EU control. 

RAGE 2 [Cancelled – PS3, XBOX 360, PC]

Rage is a FPS developed by ID Software and published in October 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. A sequel was planned soon after they ended working on the first game, but development on Rage 2 was slowed down because ID was busy  working on their original, unreleased version of Doom 4.  After a while it seems that Zenimax Media, the owner of id Software, definitely cancelled all projects related to RAGE 2 in order to make the team to fully work on Doom 4.

As we can read on Rage Wiki, John Carmack stated that he still plans to do a sequel to RAGE after Doom 4 ships:

“After Rage certifies, the heavily-lifting code team will be migrating over to do new systems (for the Doom team). Building up the new team has been challenging to bring that many new people in and bring them up to speed” […] “We’re going to migrate more of the RAGE 2 team people, and then we’re going to roll onto RAGE 2.”

On August 4th, 2013 at Quakecon 2013, RAGE co-founder Tim Willits has mentioned that RAGE 2 is “Not dead”.

“I’m proud of what we did, I’m proud of the universe that we built. The franchise is not dead. We’re not doing anything immediately with it, but when I designed the universe, I designed it in such a way that it would be easy to step back into. I’m still proud that we did something that was different – it wasn’t like the games that we’ve done in the past.”

Willits also said that Rage’s development fueled innovations in ID Tech 5 that continue to pay off as the engine is adapted for use on next-gen consoles and in other Bethesda products.

As ID Software are now dedicated to create games for the new consoles (PS4, Xbox One, PCs), probably if / when RAGE 2 will ever be released it would be much different from its PS3 / Xbox 360 version. It’s fun to notice that there is an hidden Rage 2 Easter Egg in the original RAGE. During one of the missions in Dead City Centrall, a poster can be seen with “50% less on Rage 2, Doom 5!” on it.

Thanks to SGBillXS823 for the contribution!

rage 2 cancelled

Videos:

 

DJ Hero: After Party [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, Wii]

DJ Hero: After Party is a cancelled spin-off to the original DJ Hero game, which was briefly being worked on by Zoë Mode, the UK based subsidiary of Kuju Entertainment, for Activision in 2009. It was proposed as a game for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

Another Spin On DJ Hero

As FreeStyleGames was in the final stages of developing the first DJ Hero, Zoë Mode set a team of artists on formulating ideas for a spin-off game to it in July 2009. The developer had, in the recent past, created other such music games as Rock Revolution and Disney: Sing It! when the project began.

Leading Light, the design studio of Christian Bravery, was contracted to help make concept art for the company, as the vision behind game was steadily being realised. Together, they imagined an alternative approach to the formula of DJ Hero, one developer explained.

“It would have had a very different vibe to it than the other games. We wanted it to have its own personality and feel. More relaxed and laid back.”

DJ: After Party would have made for a more casual-friendly approach to the series. Another developer described the possibility of it being made up of “slower, more up beat” tracks, although work on the title never got as far as assembling a set list.

The general idea behind it was that most of the show venues, as you might imagine, were after parties. Leading Light and the developers put together images of some of the events, which included celebrity wedding receptions, boat parties and a private luxury island.

Activision allowed the developer to use the DJ Hero license in developing conceptual documents and a prototype demo for their potential spin-off, as well as the opportunity to present a proposal to their management. Zoë Mode ended up working on the concept for a few months before Activision ultimately decided against pursuing the project, rejecting the pitch in October 2009; the month of DJ Hero’s first release.

According to one artist, the concepts were, however, retained by Activision and some of their ideas were later used in DJ Hero 2.

Character art:

More concepts including pitch documents/research: