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Chrome 2 (Techland) [PC – Cancelled]

Chrome 2 is the cancelled sequel to Techland’s 2003 FPS, announced in 2006 by the company. This second chapter would have featured the same vast open areas and non-linear gameplay that made the first game quite impressive for its time, adding multiplayer squad-based play for up to 64 players, new vehicles, weapons and items to use. Early screenshots show a huge, mechanical spider roaming the area, with players moving between thick trees and grass killing off enemies.

As we can read on GamePressure:

“As in the first part, the main advantage of Chrome 2 is the vast expanses of space, and the authors have filled them with a living world like those known from MMOs. The gameplay is non-linear, so the player has much more freedom than in the original. With the ability to take over different bodies, Chrome 2 requires a slightly more tactical approach to solving the problems encountered. For example, in order to neutralize the giant walking machine, we have to enter the engineer’s body, which has a deactivator installed to protect the moss of the power field.

The authors were tempted to introduce to the game powerful mosses, the size of which exceeds even those known from the game Shadow of the Colossus. On our way we will meet many such moss. However, not all of them need to be eliminated. Some will turn out to be much more useful in combat when we sit behind their control cockpit.

There was no shortage of the well known from the previous part of the system of implants and implants increasing the coefficients, our body is stuffed with the latest achievements of genetics, cybernetics and bionics (e.g. exoskeletons). Hundreds of different types of weapons and a wide range of vehicles, gliders, ships and combat machines are at the player’s disposal. All of this will be used to fight against the cunning opponent who reacts to our previous actions in the game.”

Unfortunately the game was put on hold soon after its announcement, when Techland had to focus their efforts and resources on Dead Island. As we can read in an old interview by OnPause:

Lastly – please tell us one thing for each of your three upcoming games, Dead Island, Warhound and Chrome 2 that you’d want your community to know.

Regarding Chrome 2 and Warhound I can only repeat our official statement we issued a while ago: those games are on hold for the time being. We may revisit them in the future but for now we’re focusing on other titles including Dead Island which is doing great! Stay tuned for more announcements from Techland and our partners.”

Thanks to Piotr for the contribution!

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Rites of Acerbus (Crest of Dharim) [PC – Cancelled]

Rites of Acerbus (AKA Crest of Dharim) is a cancelled Action RPG that was in development in the late ‘90s / early ‘00s by OMG-Games, a small, forgotten studio founded in 1998. The project started as an Unreal mod, changing the popular FPS into a role-playing game. Soon the mod evolved into a full-fledged game with some interesting features for its time:

“You are Jordan – the son of Eldric, King of Arzaron. Your birthday is a shamble as you are arrested for the murder of your father, rushed through a mockery of a trial and thrust headlong into prison – forever. You’ll be seeing more of your world than you ever wanted as you follow the effects of the rituals of a dark, ancient prophecy bent on the destruction of life on your planet. Step through the political intrigue, militaristic maneuverings, and just plain treachery in search of your father’s killer and the answers you need to stop Acerbus Caelestis from engulfing the world in darkness. You’ll be stepping in style, too, disguising yourself as anyone you can to get the information you need; from a soldier in an enemy army to a priest behind the confessional lattice. You won’t be stepping alone either – several people will find it necessary to join your cause along the way, be it for their own reasons or the noblest cause of all.”

  • Third-person 3D Action/Adventure/RPG
  • Dramatic and compelling storyline and characters, with in-game cinematics
  • Puzzle-based and action-based challenges
  • Ability to disguise yourself as the enemy and other characters
  • Up to three AI characters in your party
  • Multipath dialogue tree-based interaction with all NPCs
  • Real-time combat system based on unique weapon skills
  • Unique magic system
  • “Beast of Burden” for travel and inventory storage
  • Vast game world covering 4 different kingdoms
  • All unique races
  • 70+ hours of gameplay

According to the developers you could meet hundreds of NPCs in this world, each one with its own side quests. They planned an action-combat system against crowds of enemies, and it would have been possible to climb rocks to freely explore the land (just like what Zelda: Breath of the Wild did 17 years later).

The plot followed the misadventures of a certain prince, sent to jail after being accused of killing his father. After escaping the protagonist would try to find out who set him up:

“Once a world of magic and beauty, the Kingdom of Arzaron has fallen into Darkness. You are Jordan, First Prince and sole heir to the throne of Eldric, King of Arzaron. Your father led his nation honorably and fairly, and you have followed closely in his footsteps. It is the eve of your twentieth birthday when the King dies mysteriously in his sleep, of poisoning, says the royal physician; a vial of poison is found in your bedchambers the next day. By law, a prince is old enough to govern the nation without the supervision of the Council on his twentieth birthday. According to the law, a prince must be raised to the crown the day after the king dies.

The coronation proceeds directly after the funeral, which is cut short by the magistrate and a number of guards who accuse you of murdering your father and arrest you. You are shuffled through a mockery of a trial, branded as a slave (tattooed on the inside of your left forearm), and nearly dragged behind a horse across your nation’s borders to a slave camp where five years pass.

You must travel through distant, foreign, not-always-friendly lands in order to gain support and learn about the conspiracy against you in any way you can. You’ll disguise yourself as anyone you can to get the information you need. What follows is a quest into the depths of evil as you discover that your fathe’rs murder was but a small part of a much larger chain of events. Ancient prophecy speaks of the six Rites that would bring about the return of Acerbus, the Ruler of the Dark. “

Development of Rites of Acerbus continued until 2002, but as it often happens with cancelled games by small teams, it was probably too ambitious for their skills and resources. With no publisher backing the project, the game was canned after four years of development.

Thanks to Josef for the contribution!

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GunForge [Nokia N-Gage – Cancelled]

GunForge is a cancelled run ‘n gun that was in development in 2005 by TKO Software for the ill-fated Nokia N-Gage. As far as we know the game was never officially announced by the company and was soon cancelled when TKO Software was closed down by their parent company. A few GunForge sprite animations created by a former TKO employee are preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost project.

TKO were also working on another canned N-Gage game titled “Leisure Suit Larry – Pocket Party”, but part of the team later formed Method Solutions, who were able to release Call of Duty and Space Impact for Nokia’s console / cellphone hybrid. 

Dead Justice (Cat Mother) [PC, Xbox – Cancelled]

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.

Thanks to Piotr for the contribution!

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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!