Microsoft

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!

Images: 

Bladeball (Cat Mother) [Xbox, PC – Cancelled]

Bladeball is a cancelled extreme sport game that was in development by Cat Mother around 2002, for PC and the original Xbox. It was inspired by the Rollerball movie and you could imagine it as a more “violent” version of soccer / football: two teams in an arena, trying to score their point by any means. The team was able to develop an early prototype, but it was not as fun to play as they imagined it to be and decided to cancel it, to work on another game (Dead Justice, which was also canned). Unfortunately only a few, tiny screenshots remain from this lost project: we tried upscaling them to have a better idea of how Bladeball could have looked like in 2002. You can find them in the gallery below.

Thanks to Piotr for the contribution!

Images: 

Zombies Ate My Neighbors 2 [PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

The original Zombies Ate My Neighbors was developed by LucasArts and published by Konami for the SNES and Mega Drive in 1993. A “sequel” titled Ghoul Patrol was released in 1994, but it was originally conceived as a different game. Many years later a true Zombies Ate My Neighbors sequel was pitched for Playstation 2 and Xbox, but unfortunately it was never fully developed. This project was never officially announced, but in 2020 Daniel Ibbertson (Slopes Game Room) shared a couple of screenshots from this cancelled project, sent to him by a former developer:

“A good few years ago I was contacted by one of the lead devs of the original Zombies Ate My Neighbours game. He was a fan of the channel and thanked me for making a video on the franchise :)

If that wasn’t cool enough he then went on to explain that a TRUE sequel was pitched but sadly not successful. Here are a couple of pics he showed me from that original pitch. The plan was that I would interview him and show off more, but sadly that never happened :(

We have lost contact over the last couple of years now and I have been sitting on these images for a long time not really knowing what to do with them! So, before I accidentally delete them I feel it is best that I share them with the world :P”

Images: 

The Saboteur [Prototype – Xbox]

The Saboteur is an open world action game developed by Pandemic Studios and released on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC in 2009. Initially the project was pitched with a prototype built using the same 3D engine Pandemic used for Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, running on the original Xbox. In this early version the protagonist was William Grover-Williams, a real life race car driver turned SOE agent during the Second World War: he was the inspiration for what later became Sean Devlin, the protagonist of the final game.

This Xbox prototype was graphically impressive for its time, with some destructible environments and explosion psychics. In the footage below you can see a mission in which players had to capture a Nazi truck, following it with a racing car. You would then enter into a Nazi base, destroying a huge building with a sniper rifle.

Unfortunately Pandemic Studios was shut down in 2009, leaving behind many canned projects: Legends, Mercenaries 3: No Limits, Mercs Inc, The Next Big Thing and Batman: The Dark Knight.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

Images: 

Pac-Man World 4 [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

After releasing Pac-Man World 3 in 2005, between 2008 / 2010 Namco America (Namco Hometek) were working on a “Next Gen” Pac-Man 3D platformer for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. While this “Pac-Man World 4” was never officially announced, fans of the series found a concept trailer created for the project by a former Namco animator. Gameplay looked similar to previous Pac-Man World chapters: Pac-Man would have been able to roll and run around the levels, transforming itself into different forms such as a propeller and some kind of spiky drill.

We don’t know why this project was never completed and fans had to wait till 2013 for another Pac-Man platformer, when Namco released Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. Concept art created for this lost game are preserved below, to remember its existence.

Thanks to Marie for the contribution!

Images: