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.
Dead Justice is a cancelled third person shooter that was in development by Cat Mother between 2001 and 2003, planned to be released on PC and Xbox. As far as we know the game was never officially announced, but after the team closed down for lack of funds they decided to release online the full Dead Justice source code and prototype PC demo. While this is just an early demo for a linear shooter, it’s cool that Cat Mother decided to share it online, huge props to them! Just think about how many lost games we could preserve if every team could do something like this.
Before closing down they were also working on another project titled “Bladeball”, but it seems only a few, tiny screenshots remain in their old website.
Gravity Kings is a cancelled overboard / overbike racing / skateboarding game that was in development by Microsoft Game Studios for the original Xbox. Unfortunately there are basically no details on this lost project, but just a few images from an early prototype: by looking at these we can speculate it could have been similar to the Tony Hawks’ Pro Skater games (exploring the levels, doing tricks), but with an alien twist. The game was set in a modern-looking city, but with strange, orange-skinned aliens.
Images from this early prototype are preserved below, to remember the existence of this cancelled game. If you worked on this lost project and could help save more details, screenshots or videos, please let us know!
In 2008 a former developer shared some details about this canned project on CG Society:
“So… this image is 5 years old, low poly realtime model created for a project that could have been. No photos were used in the creation of the textures and the render was not retouched.
This was done at Collective Studios, now known as Double Helix, sometime after Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb shipped. Hoping to work on another game, we did some R & D for a possible sequel. New, polished character models were created and the Indiana Jones model completely redone.
There was an amazing prototype that was up and running with updated gameplay, but unfortunately this project never happened. Probably could have been the greatest Indy game ever. Unfortunately due to things out of the hands of the studio and surprisingly, even the publisher, nothing came about.”
“Six or seven years back, I won’t say who I was working for, but we were working on an Indiana Jones trilogy game based on the first three movies,” says Rex Dickson, lead single-player level designer at Kaos Studios (Homefront). “That game ended up not coming out for whatever reason — I can go on a long diatribe about why — but it was just really cool, because we had the full Hovitos temple built out with the rolling boulder, and it was all awesome. That would’ve been Xbox/PS2 — that generation.”
If you know someone who worked on this lost game and could help preserve even more screenshots or footage, please let us know!
Battle Rigs (AKA Construction Derby) is a cancelled vehicular combat game that was in development by Rage Software Sheffield around 2000 – 2001, planned to be released for the original Xbox and PC. At the time the team was mostly known for their work on Gun Metal and Incoming, proving their skills with first person and third person shooters. In Battle Rigs players would have been able to build their own sci-fi tank / spaceship to fight in single player and online multiplayer deathmatches.
While Battle Rigs was never officially announced before being canned, former Rage developer James Sutherland found a playable prototype of their lost project and shared one screenshot on Twitter.
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