Werewolf: The Apocalypse [PC – Cancelled]

Werewolf: The Apocalypse was a game planned for PC that was being produced by ASC Games and developed by Dreamforge Intertainment, both of which have worked together previously on the horror point and click game Sanitarium for PC.  The game was based on the popular pen and paper tabletop series of the same name created by White Wolf Publishing and would have run on the Unreal engine by Epic Games. The game, along with other popular series such as Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Ascension, took place in the “World of Darkness” universe wherein a secret battle for the fate of the Earth is waged by various factions of monsters, ghosts and demons behind the scenes of seemingly normal everyday life.  Travis Williams, who was one of the original developers on the original tabletop version of the game, was the executive producer of the game and stated that he was there to make sure the game was as “authentic to the original” as possible.  Because of this the game’s storyline incorporated the already extensive backstory associated with the series.


The protagonist was a teenager named Ryan Mcullough who discovers that he is a member of the Garou tribe of werewolves after being attacked by monsters who serve the Wyrm – a supernatural force of destruction that wants to warp reality by corrupting all living things with its sickness.  Ryan comes to find that not only is he a werewolf but that he also carries the blood of the White Howlers – a powerful tribe who has been extinct for years after trying to stop the Wyrm and falling under its corruption.  With his new found abilities Ryan goes on a globetrotting journey to save the heart of the Earth itself from the clutches of the grotesque Wyrm as well as finding out the truth behind his father’s disappearance when he was still a child.  Along the way he makes allies with fellow werewolves and other mystical beings to help him battle the twisted agents of the Wyrm such as the Fomori, humans who have been possessed by evil spirits that serve the Wyrm, and the Black Spiral Dancers, werewolves that have been corrupted by the Wyrm.  His travels take him to places such as Greece and the Pentex Corporation, which is a powerful conglomerate that serves as a front for the Wyrm.

Gameplay has been described by Williams in several interviews as being similar to the Jedi Knight series of games as there would have been both long range and close combat fighting options along with the ability to switch between 1st and 3rd person camera angles.  The player would be given the choice to shapeshift on the fly between Ryan’s human form, his “Crinos” form – which is similar to the popular image of a werewolf, and his “Lupus” form – which is a regular wolf.  In human form the player would utilize a series of guns ranging from pistols to machine guns to “experimental” weaponry while the Crinos form consisted of melee combat with claws and a large sword called the Klaive which can be imbued with powers such as fire or ice damage.  To make melee combat easier the player would be able to lock on and strafe around enemies while in the Crinos form.


Another aspect about the game that was similar to Jedi Knight was the ability to unlock special abilities, known as “gifts” in the game, for all three of Ryan’s forms depending on the choices the player made throughout the game.  There were over 20 available and they would have been divided into 3 categories- temporary, permanent, and Klaive effects.  An example of an “evil” path gift was the Seed of Gaia, which was a seed you could shoot into enemies that would make spikes shoot out from their insides, and a “good” gift example was a mystical armor spell known as Luna’s Armor.

A multiplayer versus mode was also planned for the game in which the player would have been able to choose characters out of the 13 different tribes of werewolves to do battle with one another.  It also featured “totems” that you could attach to your character to give them special abilities.  Many standard multiplayer game modes would have been available such as Blood Moot (deathmatch) as well as King of the Hill and a Tag mode.

Information about the game was being steadily released from late 1998 all the way up until September 1999 when ASC announced that the game was put on hold indefinitely.  However despite this announcement they assured IGN that the game would still be released in Q1 2000 even though there were reports at the time that ASC Games would be permanently closing their doors.  The reports ended up being true and ASC games shut down on January 7th, 2000 with Dreamforge Entertainment following suit shortly thereafter.  A majority of the cut scenes for the game have been released since as well as some screenshots and a brief gameplay video that shows Ryan running around a warehouse area and transforming between his 3 different forms.  A 10 part prequel series written by White Wolf veteran Phil Bucato was also released on the ASC website as the game was leading up to its release, but all of the chapters seemed to have disappeared along with the ASC website.  Another game Dreamforge Entertainment was working on, Myst IV, was taken over and finished by Ubisoft Montreal.

Thanks to Jon and Mix Bouda for the contribution!




Whore of the Orient (Team Bondi) [Cancelled]

Whore of the Orient is a cancelled game from Team Bondi and Kennedy Miller Mitchell, it was a spiritual successor to L.A Noire and planned to be released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Like L.A Noire you would play as a detective but this time in 1930s Shanghai, it would also use the motion scan technology that was first used in L.A Noire. From leaked gameplay in 2013 it showed that the game had a focus on hand to hand combat, but still retained the usual cover shooting mechanics found in L.A Noire. In interview with Eurogamer Brendan McNamara (writer and director at Team Bondi) described the game saying “It’s pretty interesting. It’s one of the great untold stories of the twentieth century. So I think it’ll be good”

When Team Bondi sought a publisher for Whore of the Orient, it was reported that no publisher was interested due to claims of poor working conditions during the development of L.A Noire. When Team Bondi closed it’s doors in 2011 its assets were sold to Kennedy Miller Mitchell where development continued, and Warner Bros Interactive had taken interest in the game, but later abandoned the project in 2012. In 2013 it was rumored that the game had been put on hold and in June of 2013 it was reported that Kennedy Miller Mitchell had revived $200,000 of funding from an investment board. It was then reported that Whore of the Orient was set for a 2015 release date, but that never happened and we would not hear anything more about the game until 2016. In June of 2016 in an interview on the GameHugs podcast with Derek Proud (former producer on Whore of the Orient) he was asked “so will we ever see that game” and he replied “I don’t think so“.

There are still screenshots of the game on the internet, the aforementioned 2013 leaked footage of the game can also be found online.

Article by Nathan Coe.




Heroes of Might and Magic 5 [PC – Alpha / Beta]

Heroes of Might and Magic 5 is a turn-based strategy game developed by Nival Interactive and published by Ubisoft in May 2006, as a reboot of the series. As we can read on Wikipedia Ubisoft acquired the rights to Might and Magic as far back as 2003, when 3DO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At the time New World Computing were already working on a new 2D Heroes of Might and Magic for 3DO, but when Ubisoft bought the franchise they ditched NWC’s versions to start a new, fully 3D game. In 3 years the new version of HoMM5 changed a lot and thanks to a leaked alpha version of the game we can see many of these “beta differences”:

– the interface is completely different in nearly every respect with a lot of prototype stuff

– hero portraits are completely different (Isabel is a photoshop of Kate Beckinsale)

– many creatures have different textures

– the priest/inquisitor has a different model, which was replaced when Games Workshop confronted Ubisoft for plagiarism

– many structures have different models and textures

– different sense of scale in the adventure map, much closer to Heroes 3 (in retail version everything is bigger and more “epic” than practical)

– battlefields of varied size (some battlefields are smaller than the one size in retail)

– the town screen is very different, a static 3D shot similar to previous games (in retail it’s an elaborate flyover)

– only one scenario/map, and the map doesn’t exist in the retail game

– only one faction (Haven)

– there is no world of Ashan (Ubisoft’s fictional world from the retail game), it’s set in Axeoth (the world of Heroes 4)

– different and reshuffled/repurposed music

Thanks to Erwin for the contribution!



Prax War 2018 [PC – Cancelled]

Prax War 2018 was an ambitious FPS that was in development in late ‘90s by Rebel Boat Rocker and would have been published by Electronic Arts, but it was cancelled in january 1999 when the publisher pulled the plug on the project because “things were not progressing as quickly as they would have liked”. The project was quite hyped at the time, because Rebel Boat Rocker was composed of former 3D Realms developers (such as Billy Zelsnack, Jason Zelsnack, Lee Kime, James Storey, Dirk A. Jones, Brian Martel, James Storey and Randy Pitchford), a team that previously created such classic FPS as Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior and Blood.

The game was being developed using a Java 3D engine, to permit a different number of polygons shown depending on the distance of the player from the enemies and enviroment:

“As players pull back from an adversary, the polygon count will go from a high of 1,000 up close to 150 at a distance. This will allow RBR to “bring back the mow-down,” according to Pitchford, where you’ll face a platoon of up to 50 soldiers at a time.”

Gameplay would have been somehow similar to Half Life, with players being sent to the field to take out a terrorist menace:

“The story for Prax War was this. In 2032 the megalomaniac known as Dante takes over Prax Industries using Nikki Praxus, recent inheritor of the company, as a pawn. He is now using the power source Praxium to create an army of mutants and you, along with your military squad known as the Eclipse Team, must stop him from causing global havoc.”

The story would have unfold through a quite open-ended series of areas to explore, with players being able to interact with the environment and vehicles, for example by stealing a mech from enemies to gain more firepower. Online multiplayer with classic modes such as Capture the Flag and Rocket Arena was planned too.

Prax War’s cancellation became quite infamous because it was announced through Randy Pitchford’s .plan file (a system used at the time to log a developer’s task list, notes and future plans):

“The word from EA that’s out there about why Prax War was cancelled just about sums it up. “EA’s reasons were that they missed their technology window on this product and that things were not progressing as quickly as they would have liked.”

I need to mention, however, that the RBR content team was working closely with the on-site EA director of development on tight content schedules and milestones right up to the end. This includes all game art, models, levels, animation, artist objects, sound effects, etc.

[…] I am truly sorry that the gaming public will never get to play Prax War, for it was truly becoming something remarkable.

It was with sad but optimistic fever I cleaned my office yesterday, I am proud of my work on Prax War and am rewarded by the respect it had received from those who had the almost unique pleasure of being exposed to what we were creating. It should’ve been revolutionary for single-player gaming.

But, alas, “our game is but a dream“.”

The last sentence from Randy’s .plan file is a reference to something wrote a few weeks before by Apogee / 3D Realm’s Scott Miller, still angry with Rebel Boat Rocker because they left 3D Realms. After the early rumors of Prax War’s cancellation, Miller celebrated / joked about it saying “Row, row, your boat, Our game is but a dream”.

Some more details about Prax War 2018 were shared by Pitchford in an article on Loonygames:

“Some interesting things were happening in the industry that influenced us two years ago when we were designing the game. The third person 3D game was evolving and it was exciting a lot of people. We had played Tomb Raider and Mario 64 and were taken by some aspects of what those games provided. I concluded that it wasn’t the third person perspective in itself that was so great. After all, we (like everyone else) had difficulty adjusting to the problems of the control interface for both Tomb Raider and Mario 64. It seemed to be consistent that every third person game was much more difficult to control than the first person games we were used to. However, the thing that was uniquely cool about the third person game was that you could witness your character up-close performing cool moves and displaying animations and behavior that were fun to watch. That perspective was impossible, by definition, in a first person game. Our solution was to add several characters that were partners with the player that could exist in the game with the player and give us all the cool advantages of a third person game without the disadvantages of an indirect interface. It just looked cool to see a guy back flip off a wall or something. Since you’d never see your own character perform the act (as your eyes are in his head), we used the other friendly characters to show off the cool animations. The key to this would be hundreds of custom scripted animations and some good friendly partner AI.”

“Prax War was becoming a first person shooter with a squad, but I wouldn’t call it a squad based game. “Squad based game” implies that the player must give commands to the other members of the squad. In Prax War, the friendly characters would act on their own. Our player wasn’t required to command the other teammates any more than Luke commanded Han Solo in the movie.”

“In addition to developing an amazing 3D rendering engine, the Zelsnacks were big fans of physics. The content developers had just come off working on Shadow Warrior, which was one of the first 3D shooters to feature vehicles that the player could jump in and out of. The game didn’t do vehicles realistically because of the limits of the sector based engine, but it was still fun. And, we were seeing how vehicle combat gaming with more realistic physics could make a really fun deathmatch in I-76. Our engineers were sure they could outdo the physics in I-76 (which they did) so vehicles became a big part of Prax War.”

“Finally, most of us knew that the future of the 3D shooter was going to finally have to take the player outdoors. Attempts at outdoor areas within engines designed for corridor shooters up that point had been not believable, at best. But, fortunately, the engine that was being constructed at RBR was based around the concept of arbitrary polygons. This would allow us to have small and detailed geometry for complex indoor environments and have huge polygons that could build a vast terrain mesh. We were going to be the first 3D shooter that did outdoor environments in the quality of a racing game or military sim.”

“[…] another game appeared that made extensive use of scripted animations and presented friendly characters. Half-Life turned out to be a huge success which begged questions from our publisher about whether or not we could compete. Considering that at the time of Half-Life’s release, we had tons of quality content and some great rendering features, but no actual game, I must assume that some worried that we could not.”

After Prax War 2018 was cancelled, Rebel Boat Rocker was closed down but a few members lead by  Randy Pitchford went on to fund Gearbox Software and created popular Half Life expansion packs Opposing Force and Blue Shift. In Half Life: Blue Shift, there’s an easter egg about Prax War: “In the laundromat, a scientist and a security guard are playing a fighting arcade video game, named Prax Wars 2: Dante’s Revenge; the security guard eventually loses the game.”


Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis [Beta – PC]

Disclaimer: This is mostly a backup of an old page created by ATMachine with details about the beta differences in the early versions of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. It seems that the original page does not exist anymore, so we re-posted this to archive all the interesting details and changes. Enjoy!

The game was developed by LucasArts and released in 1992 as a sequel to “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure”. Originally Fate of Atlantis was meant to be a tie-in to Indiana Jones and the Monkey King/Garden of Life, a rejected script written by Chris Columbus for the third, lost movie. In the end Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein wrote an original story and chosen the Atlantis setting for the project. Many beta screenshots were released in gaming magazines at the time and below you can see all the differences spotted by ATMachine

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