Raphael is a cancelled third person action game that was in development by Sensory Sweep Studios for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The game was a free-flying / platform adventure inspired by Dante’s Inferno, in which archangel Raphael would explore hell and fight Satan’s demons. As far as we know this project was pitched by the team to different publishers, but in the end it was never fully developed.
Sensory Sweep closed due to bankruptcy in 2005, with employees working without being paid for months. As we can read on Mobygames:
“The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2005, but kept all projects going with two name changes (including Fooptube). In early 2008 the employees stopped receiving contributions, even though their paychecks were still deducted for the next few pay periods. Soon after that the paychecks bounced and Sensory Sweep lost Brash Entertainment as a big client when it folded at the end of 2008.”
What remains of Raphael today is just some concept art, preserved in the gallery below to remember the existence of this lost game.
Project Ragtag, a third-person action-adventure game set in the Star Wars Universe, was cancelled in 2017. The game was under development by Visceral Games and planned to be published by Electronic Arts. In the end EA shut down Visceral Games, following the game’s irreversible demise.
Led by former Uncharted series Creative directorAmy Hennig, Project Ragtag was an ambitious single-player adventure, focused on a ragtag group of space thieves. While it seemed like a sure-hit for a game that started development in 2013, EA cited dwindling interest in single-player experiences as the main reason for its cancellation.
An interview by US Gamer with Ms. Hennig explained how things went for the project. Henning said the game had been beset by challenges that the whole management didn’t foresee. Additionally Kevin Kiner (music producer of Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels) also shared his thoughts on the project. He mentioned he worked on the game for a couple of years and managed to create a good amount of music for it. Unfortunately it seems these scores can’t be used in future Star Wars projects.
Making a Star Wars game that looks and feels like Uncharted was a big challenge. For instance, Visceral Games had to use DICE’s Frostbite Engine to develop Project Ragtag, which was mostly designed for first-person shooters, not third-person adventures. They had to re-implement lots of code and animations, from third-person platforming to climbing.
Unfortunately, this was not enough to save the project. In 2017 EA officially announced Project Ragtag’s cancellation: though it had bittersweet comments and feedback from the online community, Hennig and the other team members have moved on. For players and fans of Star Wars, it’s sad to see such a promising game fail. The cancellation of Project Ragtag was also a tough experience for the staff who poured their efforts into it.
DogTag is a cancelled shooter that was in development around 2005 by DiezelPower for PC, Xbox and Xbox 360, to be published by British company Digital Jesters. It was going to be a third-person squad based shooter, featuring cover mechanics and basic orders that could be given to teammates. It would encourage players to use the environment for defensive and offensive maneuvers, with blindfire, flanking and enemies that would counter tactics being used against them.
For the gaming press some of its elements drew comparisons to other cover-based shooters such as Kill.Switch and the then-upcoming Gears Of War, but DogTag had a slightly different gameplay style in mind. By mixing the fast action gameplay of traditional shooters and the slower, tactical combat of games like Full Spectrum Warrior, DiezelPower wanted to create a breed of game in which both these styles would come together. It would create a gritty, but arcade-like tactical shooter, in which players would have to think to defeat their opponents, but could also have fun in fast-paced shooting. Online co-op was also going to be a major feature.
The story would have certainly helped with that grittiness. Described as “controversial” by publisher Digital Jesters, the plot focuses on one of the civil wars that frequently ravage a large number of nations in Africa. After a United States-backed group is forced to retreat from the conflict, the U.S. sends in a battalion of Marines to replace them. For reasons unknown, however, the colonel of this battalion revolts and leads a mutiny against his own country. The U.S. once again send in a small elite force tasked to bring the colonel back for questioning. Hell breaks loose when they arrive in Africa, as they are immediately met with heavy resistance from the rebelling American forces, starting a long fight that would pit U.S. soldiers against each other, something rarely seen in a video game.
The most obvious inspiration for the storyline would probably be Apocalypse Now, but it is also eerily similar to another controversial title that would come out in 2012: Spec Ops – The Line (which also featured streamlined tactical combat and a story about a U.S. force led by a mutineering officer and the special ops team sent it to capture him, with the setting changed to an evacuated Dubai stricken by a catastrophic sandstorm). But if the storyline in DogTag was intended to be as psychological or as critical of violence as it was in Spec Ops: The Line, it is unknown.
DogTag was to be released in 2006, and would have been a next-gen title at that point in time. Initially, it would only be released on PC and Xbox, but an Xbox 360 port was planned later on with added content. However, it seems the game was not meant to be.
Towards the end of 2005 publisher Digital Jesters became the center of controversy when it faced several accusations of wrongdoing from many of their business partners. These accusations included lack of payment for games developed by external studios, price changing and selling of games in territories not covered by their contracts, and doing business under different names in what seemed like an attempt to escape financial troubles. Despite a substantial investment that Digital Jesters claimed had left them “110 percent financially secure”, KaosKontrol (the company that owned DiezelPower) petitioned the UK High Court to force Digital Jesters into liquidation, in what is known as a winding-up order. Legal action was also threatened against the key people in the company directly and many of their publishing deals were cancelled. The Digital Jesters website disappeared not long after that.
KaosKontrol claimed that it still owned the rights to DogTag, that its development was not affected and was ready to seek out another publishing deal for their game. However, nothing else was heard about it. With the team presumably unable to find another publisher and left in financial trouble (and possibly accumulating legal fees) they had to close down some time afterwards. DiezelPower themselves seem to have survived in some form and are still around to this day, with their two most recent games, Nation Red and Versus Squad, being available on Steam.
MechAssault 3 is a cancelled sequel to the MechAssault series, which seems to have been pitched by Day 1 Studios to Microsoft for their Xbox 360 (or Xbox One) console. The first 2 MechAssault titles were also developed by Day 1 Studios and were published by Microsoft for their original Xbox (MechAssault in 2002 and MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf in 2004).
We can assume MechAssault 3’s gameplay would have been similar to previous chapters, with players using mechs, tanks and other vehicles to resolve missions in a sci-fi military setting. The third chapter was never officially announced by the company but fans found out about it thanks to some pages from a MechAssaul III promotional book, uploaded online by the creative agency which helped Day 1 Studios to pitch the game. Some details can be extracted from these pages, as we can read on Sarna:
“MechAssault 3 would have taken 300 years after the events of MechAssault 2, which would put us way beyond anything we’ve ever seen from official sources and certainly way beyond the current Dark Age/IlClan era that we’re in now, narratively speaking. And the future is weird. The Clans are still around, with Clan Wolf still being in separate Warden and Crusader factions. Clan technology has also advanced considerably, with Elemental power armor replaced by sleek, sexy, almost anime-style power armor with animalistic features.”
We don’t have any more information on this canned game, but we know it must have been pitched before 2012. In February 2012 Day 1 Studios announced a different mech game, titled “Reign of Thunder” which may have been an evolution of their MechAssault 3 pitch. Just a year later (January 2013) the team was then acquired by Wargaming (the creator of World of Tanks), they were renamed to “Wargaming Chicago-Baltimore” and Reign of Thunder vanished forever.
Marvel artist Roger Robinson drew concept art for this Streets of Rage Online pitch, which was shared online on his DeviantArt profile in 2010. As far as we know development for this pitch by BottleRocket did not went much further, possibly because Sega reconsidered their plan after seeing what happened with Golden Axe: Beast Rider.