Toys for Bob is an american video game studio owned by Activision, mostly known for their work on such games as Pandemonium! and the Skylanders series. In 2008 Toys for Bob with support from Underground Development tried to pitch a new Crash Bandicoot game, but without any luck.
Airtight Games was a development studio founded in 2004, formed by former members of FASA Studio, Will Vinton Studios and Microsoft. Between 2010 and 2011 the team was working on a new, unannounced AAA action adventure project titled “Fate”, possibly to be published by Square Enix or another unknown japanese publisher.
“Rather, this Square Enix game seems to be Airtight’s primary project – an “unannounced AAA title” it has been developing since the completion of work on Dark Void. The company’s website describes this project as “another ambitious AAA title in a genre that is both unique and refreshingly unexplored”.
Given the development timeline, Airtight’s current AAA effort is likely a continuation of a project called Fate, a post-Dark Void project for an unnamed Japanese publisher, which was temporarily placed on hold in April 2011 so that work on the game “could be reassessed”. That decision resulted in much of the team working on Fate being let go. Assets from the time of the developmental pause suggested an aesthetic influence from BioShock, but the game has likely changed considerably since then.”
Only a single logo for this cancelled project was shared by the team. As we can read on Engaged:
“Aside from a job listing popping up late in the year for “several AAA titles,” and the high-profile hire ofPortal lead Kim Swift just before Dark Void‘s launch, the studio kept mum all the way until this past summer. […]
“There are currently two projects at Airtight: ours, and another unannounced project,” Swift told me during a pre-New York Comic Con preview for Square’s titles. “I can’t speak to what the game is,” she added (unsurprisingly).”
Unfortunately there aren’t any more details about what kind of game Fate was. Some years later the project or at least the collaboration with Square Enix was restarted, with heavy changes on its original concept. Somehow the “Fate project” morphed into “Murdered: Soul Suspect”. As we can read on Kotaku:
“They used to call this game Fate (Studer even did by accident a couple of times during the demo). It’s the adventure of a detective named Ronan O’Connor. He’s been killed at the start of the game after poking his way through a house in the spooky American town of Salem. A mysterious figure throws him out of a three-story window onto the pavement below and then shoots him for good measure.”
We tried to get in contact with former Airtight Games developers to preserve more info on their lost game, but without luck. If you know someone who worked on Fate, please let us know!
Studio Gigante was a small team established in 2000 by several former developers of Midway’s popular Mortal Kombat fighting game series. They were able to sign a contract with Microsoft to develop an exclusive “Mortal Kombat Killer” titled Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus. Unfortunately the game received mixed reviews and in 2005 the studio closed down, after releasing their second Xbox exclusive for THQ: WWE WrestleMania 21.
As we can read on an interview made by Polygon with Studio Gigante co-founder Josh Tsui, their team also pitched a (never released) Star Wars fighting game. They develop a tech demo with Darth Maul and Anakin Skywalker fighting each other:
“Gigante was ready to roll onto a proper Tao Feng sequel, and Microsoft wanted it – but the proposed deal gave the team pause, as it didn’t quite offer the resources desired to pull off the more elaborate design, which featured wildly destructible stages. Simultaneously, THQ swooped in with an offer to develop WWE Wrestlemania 21 – a richer contract that could not only help build up the studio further, but possibly also secure a lucrative annual franchise. After much agonizing, the studio principals opted for THQ’s deal, leaving Tao Feng 2 dead in the water.
“Our team was completely crestfallen by that,” says Tsui. “We made the best of it; it’s not like we didn’t work our hearts out,” says David Michicich, another Studio Gigante principal and longtime Tsui associate. “But that was my first experience where I’m working on something that I’m enjoying, but my heart wasn’t into it. We should have found a way to do both deals.” Michicich says exclusivity deals from both publishers prevented such a move.
Not only did the team lose its passion project, but the WWE deal backfired. An incomplete build of the game was accidentally pressed and released, leading to backlash and an eventual recall and revised release. Relations between Gigante and THQ had already soured prior to release, and the poor reaction was the final nail in the coffin.
The Xbox series was dead, and the studio was running out of money. Using a proprietary engine, Gigante prototyped potential Kill Bill and Star Wars fighting games and sought new projects, but decisions weren’t being made quickly enough. By July 2005, just three months after Wrestlemania 21 shipped, the studio closed its doors.”
During many years of saving media from lost video games, we often find a game with no more details than a few screenshots, not knowing who was working on it nor even its title. This is the case with this cancelled project planned for Xbox, of which we just have screenshots with a file name “CZ”: what was this exactly? We are not sure.
From the look of it we can assume it was a first / third person shooter, possibly with online multiplayer? It has cool robots and a sci-fi look. Does it look like something you have played? Did you work on this game and could help us to identify it? Please leave a message below or send us an email!
As you probably know Gremlins is a 1984 comedy horror film directed by Joe Dante and released by Warner Bros, a commercial success spawning a sequel and lots of merchandise. A few officially licensed video games were published for Atari 2600, Commodore 64, Game Boy Color, Wii and DS. A Playstation 2 Gremlins was in development in the mid ‘00s, but soon cancelled.
Many years later, Krome Studios (mostly known for Ty the Tasmanian Tiger and Spyro: A New Beginning) pitched another Gremlins video game, planned for Xbox 360. In the end the game was not green lighted by Warner Bros, and it became another cancelled Gremlins game we’ll never play. A few screenshots were found by fans of the series, preserved in the gallery below to remember the existence of this lost project.
A former Krome developer shared some details on this pitch on NeoGAF:
“[…] you played ad gizmo running around hiding from adult gremlins setting up elaborate rude goldberg – incredible machine style physics traps to kill them in all sorts of gruesome ways. Even had a little street scene modelled of the town in the first movie with snow and Xmas lights, gremlins everywhere running amuck overturning cars and shit.”