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Hybrid (Vulcan Software) [PC – Cancelled]

Hybrid is a cancelled FPS focused on high-level enemy AI and environment interaction, that was in development by Vulcan Software, planned to be released on PC. After working on many beloved Amiga titles, in 1999 Vulcan switched to PC development and started creating MOTHER3D, their set of 3D game development tools. Preliminary work on Hybrid started in late 2003 and in 2004 they released a tech demo of Hybrid through their website but in the end the project was never completed.

As we can read on their old website:

“Hybrid is Vulcan Software’s first game to be entirely developed using their MOTHER3D engine, and will benefit from an impressive array of engine features, which include advanced physics, complex A.I. and fully interactive environments. […] There will be countless ways to kill, evade or fool the enemy characters, who will eventually possess A.I. systems that allow them to use the interactivity of their environments to their own advantage.

The player, equipped with a wealth of firepower must embark on a single-handed assault on the alien hybrid race that has killed both the crew of the NAVASOTA and the occupants of the research and mining facility on the moon’s surface”

More details were shared by the team in a few interviews with IGN, GameGossip and HomeLan:

“Hybrid’s combat system will be varied and change according to the environment the player finds himself in, and the type of alien he engages in combat. […]  Successful outcomes at this stage will be based on the player’s ability to act in a subversive fashion, avoiding direct confrontation until more powerful weaponry is discovered, and instead using objects at his disposal to set numerous traps.”

“Hybrid presents us with an opportunity to truly interact with our environment, and as a logical progression, introduce NPC’s that have the same abilities to interact with their environment as the player. Well it’s only fair, and along with that, makes for more challenging game-play if your adversary is well able to change the dynamics of a location, i.e. by turning off lights, opening and closing doors, moving objects around to create obstacles in your path, and then proceeding to hide behind or inside them. In other words we’ve upped the ante on the freedom endowed on the player, and mirrored this in the capabilities of the NPC’s. “

“There will be opportunities for the player to modify weaponry to create more powerful versions, enhanced for specific uses, and there will be several weapons that can be set up in suitable locations and then operated remotely. The most powerful weapons will incorporate alien technology and will be available to the player as the game progresses. Examples of two such weapons are the DNA reversal gun and the force-field implosion gun.

Exploration will be a major factor of Hybrid, and blueprints of the locations involved will be made available to the player. There will frequently be more than one route through any one area, and as each will have its share of obstacles, it will be up to the player to identify the best route and to plan his advance accordingly, taking into account his current arsenal of weaponry and its suitability for destroying the alien types within each vicinity.”

“The AI system is one of Hybrid’s key features, as it’s an area we felt is still open to exploitation within the FPS genre. To that end, the challenges have not been great, there are few examples of awesome AI for us to aspire to, and as a result, we’re having a ball creating characters with skill sets, behavior patterns and even their own unique psychology.

Our enemy NPCs will not allow you to just shoot them; they will evade your fire, they will hide, or they will pack hunt if necessary – anything to push the odds in their favor. If a weapon is lying on the floor between you and an enemy NPC, don’t expect it to act like it isn’t really there; they are more likely to kick it out of your reach, or pick it up and use it against you.”

“There will be a lot of friendly NPCs in Hybrid, and presented in a variety of circumstances. In some situations, you’ll be faced with the responsibility of their welfare, especially those that are still alive within the mining facility. There will be options to aid in the rescue of some of the friendly NPCs, although it may be just kinder to put some of them out of their misery.

The importance of many of the NPCs however, is found in the psychological aspect of their presence within the aliens’ hybridization laboratories. You will see them in many disturbing scenarios, there will be a degree of nudity, and some scenes will be verging on grotesque. This is designed to psychologically disarm the player, adding new dimensions of fear to the overall experience.”

“We are science fiction fans, so it seemed logical to create a sci-fi themed game, drawing off our extensive experience of the genre gleaned through reading endless books and years of watching movies such as Alien, 2001, etc. Our previous games were the best they could be based on the platform they were created for… the Amiga. We adopt the same philosophy here and now; Hybrid is the best it can be in every respect for current high spec PCs.

It may be some time before Hybrid is seen on shop shelves. Development time is a hard thing to quantify, as constant release date slippages of other games tell you. The engine work is more or less complete, but there is a great deal of content work still to be done. I would imagine another year of development time at the very least.”

Unfortunately it seems that working on such an ambitious project was too much for a team used to Amiga titles and in the end Hybrid was never completed.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

  

Dead Next Door: Life After Death [PC – Cancelled]

Dead Next Door: Life After Death is a cancelled FPS that was in development by The Zombie Squad around 2003, planned to be released on PC. It was officially based on the homonymous 1989 zombie horror movie by Director JR Bookwalter: players would begin as a rookie officer in the agency known as the Zombie Squad, an elite group of soldiers formed to dispose of the zombie threat created by an accidental virus outbreak. You would ultimately discover a new breed of “intelligent zombies” that are attempting to gain control of the humans.

Today this game is basically forgotten by everyone and major websites do not have any news about it, but we can read some details in an old interview published at the time by HomeLan:

“HomeLAN – What sorts of locations and settings will be seen in Dead Next Door?

Brad Gaffney – The game’s locations and settings will be a real-world environment. Frankly, I’m tired of space stations and future cities. The player will be exploring in a city environment (unnamed city at the moment). A dark a dreary atmosphere will be the driving force for creating suspense. To add to the suspense, most sections will not be wide open spaces. Besides, there is nothing scarier than being trapped in a narrow hallway with 6 zombies and 2 bullets.

Some of the settings include a hospital, the city streets, office buildings, apartment buildings, warehouses, and a chemical plant. Of course, all the levels will be a rampaged mess, due to all the zombie activity. “

“HomeLAN – What other unique gameplay features will Dead Next Door have?

Brad Gaffney – The game will start out similar to a survival horror title, but then blend into a mission based game. It’s very easy to have a player wander around blasting everything that moves. But in later levels the game evolves to a mission based levels. It seemed like a good and smooth transition while writing out the design. Stealth will also be a key advantage to finishing the game. After all, do you really want to draw the attention of several zombies, when you don’t have unlimited ammo.

HomeLAN – What is the current status of the game’s progress and when will it be released?

Brad Gaffney – Currently, we are working on a tech demo. A few publishers have shown some interest in the title. So we are working on the tech demo to prove we can deliver. Once the tech demo is done, we will have the completed groundwork for the game. “

The game soon vanished and was never released, so we can assume the team did not find any publisher interested in funding the project.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Heaven vs. Hell (TKO Software) [PC – Cancelled]

Heaven VS Hell is a cancelled RTS that was in development by TKO Software around 2004 – 2005, planned to be released on PC in 2006. It was set in a dystopian future in which God wants to punish mankind and reset the world, but Satan wants some fun too. You would choose between one of the 3 factions (God’s army, Satan’s arm, human army) to play in many strategy-focused missions, following each side of the storyline.

The game was previewed by many websites at the time, such as IGN and Gamepressure:

“In Heaven vs. Hell, mankind in the 25th Century has grown arrogant with technology, manipulating natural order enough to finally get the Big Guy’s attention. God unleashes wrathful vengeance, hoping to cleanse Earth and start again.”

“God gets a little miffed about humanity’s meddling in his design so he decides to reboot the whole system and start from scratch. Rather than dooming all of humanity in the process, God decides to let them wait out the reset period in heaven. The devil considers this a breach of the rules and decides to launch an attack on heaven. There are three campaigns, one for each faction and plenty of multiplayer options. “

“In total, it should take about sixty hours to complete the crossing. It is obvious that each side of the conflict is diametrically different, and its aspirations are different in relation to wild people (called “primates”), who in Heaven vs. Hell play the role of one of the three raw materials (the other two are sulphur and farms). The forces of hell want to incarnate them into the legions of the condemned, the armies of heaven try to save them, and the people want to understand them and use them as slaves.

Just like in the classic RTS, here too, we are building bases that are the centre of our missionary forces. As in the Warcraft and Kohan series, for example, the construction of certain buildings affects the area around them. Therefore, the hell bases are accompanied by burnt and destroyed earth, and the angelic ones by truly paradise views.”

Up to 2,000 units can be seen on the screen during the skirmishes, including giant flying demons, succubus, hell worms, angelic archers and proud cavalry in shining armour, as well as special and exceptionally strong heroes such as the Archangel Gabriel or the Messiah.”

Unfortunately in 2005 TKO Software was closed down by their parent company, leading to the cancellation of Heaven VS Hell and 60 developers losing their job.

Thanks to Jackgrimm99 for the contribution!

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Barnyard [Beta – GameCube, PS2, PC]

Barnyard is an action game based on the movie of the same name, developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment and published by THQ for GameCube, Wii, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, and PC. Footage of beta gameplay has been uploaded to the IGN youtube channel as a video titled “Barnyard GameCube Video – Clip Compilation 2”.

The main differences in this beta footage are:

  • animals could freely walk around the map
  • there was a life-counter (was completely removed in the final version)
  • players had “happiness level
  • the map was completely different
  • The mobile phone had a music player, battery energy, and an integrated camera that could take photos.
  • There was also a multiplayer mode for some of the minigames such as chicken coop (this minigame was heavily changed in the final version).

Besides IGN’s gameplay on Youtube there’s an official trailer where the Beta version was shown for the first time. It’s still not known if the version in this trailer was different from the one IGN previewed.

In 2021 more beta gameplay footage was found with other differences from the final version:

  • The NPCs still had an AI
  • currency was different
  • the models of the trees and of the fences were different
  • map still had some difference, but it’s pretty close to the final appearance
  • minigames with up-to 4 players multiplayer were still there.

This gameplay was found on a Spanish website named 3DJuegos. The released Barnyard seems to have been built from a canceled, unannounced game in which all NPCs could interact with each other, build relationships and more. This is why the beta version of the game had more advanced NPC AI, but it’s still not known why it was later removed.

Article by InfiniteC0re and @longhorn#5853

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Ghost Recon 2 [PC – Cancelled]

The original Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon (2001) turned out to be a very successful game, therefore the announcement of the sequel for PC in March 2004 did not surprise anyone. Ghost Recon 2 showcased better graphics thanks to a new 3D engine, featuring a fun single-player experience and polished multiplayer. At the same time, it was announced that Ghost Recon 3 would have been released in early 2006.  Sometime later, Red Storm announced even more details: Ghost Recon 2 would also be released on PS2 and Xbox. The engine and storyline in all three versions would be different and the release date has been pushed back to the first half of 2005. Unfortunately the release for the PC version was again pushed back, and in April 2005 Ubisoft canceled it altogether, explaining that they would just release Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter instead.

Thanks to Josef for the contribution!

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