Microsoft

Crimson Skies [XBOX – Beta]

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is a flight-shooter game developed from 2001 to 2003 by FASA Studio (part of Microsoft Game Studios) for the original Xbox. Series creator Jordan Weisman noted that the game had a “difficult development,” and went through many different creative directions.

When development of Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge was first assumed by FASA Studio, it was conceived that the game be made into an “interactive movie,” a concept that would have involved an elaborate storyline and a large number of cutscenes. This process would have needed a linear mission design, potentially restricting gameplay.

Consequently, developers pushed back the game’s release date by a year in favor of increased development time. At this point, both playtest feedback and inspiration from games that offered more gameplay options helped shape the game’s development. The game’s “interactive movie” concept was scrapped, the storyline simplified, and the original linear mission design was reworked to promote more choice-driven gameplay.

When the game was first announced in 2002, features for the game included destructible environments which could be used to eliminate enemies, hidden areas containing bonus weapons, and “danger zones” similar in function to those featured in the previous Crimson Skies for the PC. Sadly many of these features were scrapped from the final version of the game. [Info from Wikipedia]

As noticed by Xenomrph on the Something Awful Forum, in the original Crimson Skies trailer (embedded below) we can see some removed levels:

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge on the Xbox was going to have a bunch of other levels, and a completely different tutorial level that centered around robbing a flying casino over the ocean off the coast of Louisiana. You can see remnants of it (and other content) in the early trailer. It would have included destructible terrain, different cutscenes, and a bunch of other stuff…. but no online multiplayer.

Crimson Skies became a launch title for Xbox Live, and that involved totally overhauling the game to include Xbox Live multiplayer and cutting a lot of content to make room on the disc.

There’s still some remnants of the old content, though – the game’s dialogue includes references to the casino heist, the music from the above trailer was included on the game’s soundtrack CD (although the music never plays in the game itself), and the game’s tie-in novel ends at the casino heist (which, at the time of the book’s writing, wasn’t cut from the game yet).

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Total Overdose 2: Tequila Gunrise [Cancelled – Xbox 360 PS3]

Total Overdose 2: Tequila Gunrise is a cancelled open world action adventure that was in development by Deadline Games in 2006 for the PS2 and PC, but soon moved to next-gen consoles (Playstation 3 and Xbox 360) before being canned. The project was a sequel to the original Total Overdose, a combo-focused action game with over-the-top gunfights that was published by Sci Entertainment / Eidos in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and XBOX.

Deadline Games started to work on an updated Total Overdose graphic engine to use it in this next gen sequel, but the game was never finished. It seems that their publishers were not interested in a sequel, so the team moved their resources on new original projects. As we can read from an old Gamespot interview with Deadline Games’s former CEO Chris Mottes:

GS: And can we assume that your next game is going to be a quality action title?

CM: I would almost guarantee it.

GS: Tell us what little you can about the project.

CM: It’s a game that is set in an environment similar to Total Overdose, although the project is very different. We’re actually, I have to say, not doing Total Overdose 2, which a lot of people seem to still assume, because unfortunately Eidos pulled out of that, and you know, once bitten, twice shy. So, the next project is an action game, and it’s going to be based on some really cool things that happened in the real world.

On May 2009, Deadline Games filed for bankruptcy, only a few months after releasing Watchmen: The End Is Nigh. The company has previously been reported to have been struggling to find new projects and publishers for their games. Shadow Hunter, Faith and a .45, Killing Pablo Escobar and Total Overdose 2: Tequila Gunrise, vanished with the closure of the studio.

Thanks a lot to Jonas Springborg and Adam Rishede for the help in preserving their artworks created for this project! Some more images are from Carsten Brandt’s website. All images are copyrighted Deadline Games.

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Killing Pablo Escobar [X360 PS3 – Prototype]

Pablo Escobar was a real Colombian drug lord that gained world infamy from the drug trade:  two major feature films on his life, Escobar and Killing Pablo, were announced in 2007 and in the same year Deadline Games started to work on a prototype to create a licence game based on the films, with the title “Killing Pablo Escobar”. The project was planned to be released on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Killing Pablo Escobar was going to follow the true story of how Pablo Escobar was killed and his Medellín cocaine cartel dismantled by US special forces and intelligence, the Colombian military, and a vigilante gang called Los Pepes, controlled by the Cali cartel.

The gameplay could have been similar to other Deadline Games’ titles as Total Overdose (an open world / sandbox action game) but with a more realistic feel and team squad cooperation. After some time and a playable prototype, Killing Pablo Escobar’s development had to be halted because of lack of resources.

On May 2009, Deadline Games filed for bankruptcy, only a few months after releasing Watchmen: The End Is Nigh. The company has previously been reported to have been struggling to find new projects and publishers for their games. Shadow Hunter, Faith and a .45, Killing Pablo Escobar and Total Overdose 2: Tequila Gunrise vanished with the closure of the studio.

Thanks a lot to Jan Ditlev for the help in preserving his artworks created for this project! Some more images are from Carsten Brandt‘s website. All illustrations are copyrighted Deadline Games.

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Shadow Hunter [X360 PS3 – Concept]

Shadow Hunter was a pitch project created by Deadline Games in 2009, probably planned to be developed for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. We dont have much details on its gameplay, but from the look of the concept arts, we can speculate that it was going to be a sandbox action game, in which the player had to hunt down huge shadow demons in a post-apocalyptic city, using psychic powers and an energy sword + shield. From the sound of it, Shadow Hunter could have been played somehow like a mix of Shadow of the Colossus and Prototype.

Sadly On May 2009, Deadline Games filed for bankruptcy and had to close down, only a few months after releasing Watchmen: The End Is Nigh. The company has previously been reported to have been struggling to find new projects and publishers for their games. Shadow Hunter, Faith and a .45,  Killing Pablo Escobar and Total Overdose 2: Tequila Gunrise vanished with the closure of the studio.

Thanks a lot to Jonas Springborg and Jan Ditlev for the help in preserving their artworks created for this project! All illustrations are copyrighted Deadline Games.

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Project Dagger [PS2 XBOX – Prototype]

Project Dagger was an internal prototype for a new cooperative action game developed at Digital Illusions (DICE) during 2004/2005. When EA bought the studio, they did not greenlight the title for full production. From the look of the few videos preserved (that are probably target renders), the game was going to be about robbing bank and other criminal affairs, using 4 characters with different abilities. It seems that they wanted to have an online coop mode too.

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