Xbox

G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra [PS2, Xbox, GameCube – Cancelled]

G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra is a cancelled action game that was planned by Radical Entertainment (mostly known for their The Simpsons: Road Rage, The Simpsons: Hit & Run, Crash of the Titans, Prototype series) and Hasbro around 2002, to be developed for Playstation 2, Xbox and GameCube. As you probably assume it was meant to be a tie-in for the popular G.I. Joe franchise, conceived when Hasbro published a new G.I. Joe vs. Cobra toy line around the same time. While the game was never officially announced, in 2018 a former developer shared a few details and some photos from their design document:

“One day I’ll be able to discuss how in 2002, Hasbro and Radical Entertainment secretly concocted a mission-based G.I. Joe video game. Dubbed G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra, the game broke down into sixteen separate missions of 4 acts each. Developed for 6th generation consoles (XBox, PS2, and GameCube), Hasbro went quite far in the design process – to the extent where they assigned mapping for the consoles’ controllers.”

As far as we know, Radical Entertainment did not fully start development on the game and the project was canned before any prototype was made.

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XGirl [Xbox – Cancelled]

XGirl is a cancelled “girlfriend simulation” game that was in development by Angel Studios (the modern Rockstar San Diego) around 2000, planned to be published by Microsoft as a launch game for their original Xbox. You can imagine it somehow like Seaman or Hey You, Pikachu! but with a “girlfriend” as the main character to interact with. As far as we know XGirl did not use voice-commands and it was more like a traditional pet / life simulation, such as the Creatures or Tamagotchi series.

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While the project was never officially announced, details about its existence were found online on resumes of former Angel Studios / Rockstar San Diego developers.

Carlos Pedroza, who worked as Lead Artist at Angel Studios, listed the game on his website. Michael Limber, who worked as Chief Creative Officer at Angel Studios, wrote on his old website:

“Interactive test application for Microsoft for the launch of the XBox. Kind of an interactive girlfriend project, XGirl had natural engaging facial animations and reacted to various controller inputs.”

We tried many times to get in contact with former Angel Studios developers to preserve more information about XGirl, unfortunately we never got any reply. In Japan Microsoft did release a somewhat similar game to xGirl on the original Xbox, titled “[email protected] Natural Ultimate Digital Experiment”, developed by Red Entertainment.

We can assume the concept behind a “virtual girlfriend” could have been too controversial for the american market in 2001, so Microsoft and Angel Studios canned the project. Angel Studios was then bought by Take-two in 2003 and renamed Rockstar San Diego. They then moved on to work on such popular titles as Red Dead Revolver, Midnight Club and Grand Theft Auto V

Tiltronica [Xbox – Cancelled]

Tiltronica is a cancelled racing / flipper / puzzle game that was in development by Vision Scape Interactive for the original Xbox. You would use some strange vehicles inside a sphere, somehow like in Super Monkey Ball, moving and shooting around arenas inside giant flippers. You main objective seems to have been to shoot down targets and collect balls.

A playable prototype was found in 2009 and a few collectors got copies on the Xbox debug-kits. This was in development by the same team who worked on the Sonic Extreme pitch.

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Star Wars Fighting Game (Studio Gigante) [Xbox – Cancelled]

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.”

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CZ [Xbox – Cancelled]

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!

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