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Gladiator 3000 (by Ion Storm) [Cancelled Pitch – PC]

Gladiator 3000 was a pitch from Ion Storm (the team behind such titles as Daikatana, Deus Ex and Anachronox) to Origin for a 3D man-to-man RPG combat simulator that would have been developed for the PC. Ion storm were looking for a budget of around $500,000 depending if an engine was already available for them to use. Ion Storm were awaiting concept approval so they could start development.

The game was going to use the ancient lore of Gladiatorial battles from ancient Rome and put them into the future on a very inhospitable planet in the farthest reaches of the Galaxy. There would only be one complex on this planet and it would be solely use for gladiatorial combat. Players would have taken the role of a warrior who had been enslaved by an alien race and the only way to win his freedom was to fight for it. This would have been against other gladiators, robots, animals and alien monsters.

The game was going to utilize a very popular RPG system where players would allocate points to their warriors in different stats that they would want to excel in, they would also have the option to pick a pre-generated warrior or randomize them. Many different alien races would have been available for the player to choose and each of these would have different strengths and weaknesses. The arena that the player would fight in would have different scenarios and landscapes and was described in the document as infinitely variable. There would have been water, fire, ice pits and mazes included, and the player would have to change tactics depending on the arena they were going to fight in.

The other main features that were to be included in the game were limbs that could be chopped off, dozens of weapons from primitive to advanced alien technology, numerous different combat manoeuvres, three levels of difficulty, head to head combat online. Graphically Ion Storm wanted to use bitmapped images over rendered 3D skeletons.

Described as the main risk for the game, was the actual 3D figure technology that would be used to animate the characters in the game. Ion Storm wanted to minimize the risk by utilising technology that Origin had already started developing, such as the corridor rendering technology form Bounty Hunter, Ion Storm thought that if they could not utilise the technology the risks would greatly increase in developing this game.

This game does not look like it was taken any further than the initial pitch and so there is not much more information that can be found on this game, if you do have any please feel free to contact us.

Many thanks to Joe Martin for the document.

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Shot (by Housemarque) [PC – Cancelled]

Shot is a cancelled first-person rail shooter developed by Housemarque (a team mostly known for Super Stardust, Outland, Dead Nation and Resogun) that was slated for release in 1999 for PC. While it run on other 3d accelerators too, the real-time polygonal engine (which used “photosurreal technology”, a term coined by the programmers themselves), was clearly optimized for Voodoo 2, the most powerful 3dfx card at the time.

The plot was quite original for a shooter: the player controlled the gunner of a UFO ship, which object was to help fellow aliens escape from Earth (or, in alternative, kill them before they got captured by humans), after a failed invasion.

Even if the basic gameplay was similar to other first-person rail shooters (the CPU pilot handled most of the flying, while the player used the mouse to control the sight), in Shot we also had the possibility of killing a distant enemy with the sniping mode, and, though it would quickly drain our life energy, to control time by slowing everything down except for the speed of our viewfinder. 

Morever, according to Jani Penttinen, project manager and senior programmer of Shot, sometimes we had to protect the pilot of the airship:

In critical missions, the pilot actually leaves the ship to pick up something from the ground, and the player is responsible for protecting him. If the pilot dies, life gets a whole lot harder, if the player manages to survive on his own for a while, a new pilot will be beamed down from the alien mother ship and he will be able to continue the mission.

Just like other examples of the genre, each stage had multiple paths to explore. But Shot was interesting in having a map from which it was possible to select all the levels from the beginning. However, the longer we waited to play a stage, the stronger and more smarter the enemies inside it became (the AI was specifically programmed to learn over time from players tactics).

Thankfully, other fellow aliens sometimes would have helped us, and the viewfinder cleverly pointed out the most dangerous enemies currently on screen. Apparently, most of the game’s stages were hit-and-run rescue missions. After successfully beating a level, our ship was given better weaponry.

Unfortunately, Shot ended up being cancelled because Housemarque wasn’t able to find a publisher for the game.

Sources:
Next Gen Magazine issue 40
Edge issue 56
Conversation with Jani Penttinen on twitter

Thanks to Maik Thiele  for the contribution!

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City Diver [Arcade – Cancelled]

City Diver is a cancelled arcade 3D shooter that was being developed by Taito in 1994 / 1995. A demo of the game was shown at AOU Show 1994. According to an article published on Edge 8 (may 1994), City Diver was supposed to feature a glasses-free 3D display:

Sanyo – in conjunction with NHK Engineering Services and Toppan Printing – have developed an LCD projector and lenticular lens array which splits the picture into right- and left-side images, providing the viewer with full depth perception.

city diver taito

The same article described this title as a “stunning four-player 3D shoot ’em up with a mixture of gorgeous rendered images and 3D polygons“.  Virtua Cube-x was another game that was going to use the same technology, but it got probably cancelled as well or converted into a ridefilm for Taito IDYA.

City Diver was apparently planned to be fully unveiled at JAMMA show in September, but it’s currently unknown if the game was present at the arcade exhibition in any form.

Two videos of the game surfaced on niconico in 2013. Thankfully, the clips’ description was translated by lostlevels.org user Boco:

“From a promotional video I received as a gift. Canceled arcade game from Taito in 1995. I played this when it was out for a location test in Shibuya. It was a helicopter flying game similar to “Air Inferno“, with a singleplayer “Mission mode” and a 2-player “battle mode” that used two linked cabinets. I think after it was canceled it got turned into one of those CG movie games used by the Taito IDYA. “

Going by this description, a playable build of City Diver must have existed at some point, then. Unfortunately, we don’t have any additional information about this location test or the IDYA ride film version. The two niconico videos were joined together into a single Youtube clip that can be seen below.

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Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox 360, PC]

Announced in 2011 at Ubisoft’s E3 press conference Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 was to be the next instalment in the Brothers in Arms franchise after Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway. The game was originally set to be released sometime in the first half of 2012 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, but that never happened. However, in 2012 Ubisoft let go of the Brothers in Arms IP and The Furious 4 trademark granting the games developers, Gearbox Software, full ownership of both. The president of Gearbox, Randy Pitchford, then announced that the Brothers in Arms name was being dropped from the title due to negative fan feedback and from now on the game would just be called Furious 4. Pitchford also said that internal discussions held within Gearbox led to the same conclusion that Brother in Arms and Furious 4 should be separate IPs. He said that there would be another Brothers in Arms game sometime in the future when the time is right but for now Gearbox was concentrating on Furious 4 which would be undergoing some drastic changes.

Brothers-in-Arms-Furious-4-cancelled

While previous Brothers in Arms games followed Sargent Matt Baker and the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division in a serious historical setting, Furious 4 would have taken a quite different approach to the World War 2 setting. Furious 4 looked like a cross between Borderlands and Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film Inglorious Bastards. The plot followed a group of four characters as they massacred their way through Germany in 1944 all the way to Hitler, and that’s all we really know about the plot itself.

There is a small bit of information on each of the four playable characters. Firstly there was Chok who was a Native American soldier with a fondness for hatchets. Next up was Stitch who was an Irishman with a few lose screws who seemed to enjoy taking out his enemies with a custom made taser a little too much. Crockett was from Texas and could use a cattle prod to brand enemies. Lastly there was Montana who was a Nazi killing lumberjack with a large machine gun, a chainsaw and bear traps. There was also a narrator who spoke over the gameplay and was just as much of a character as the other four. He would clue you into the moment to moment plan and often hinted that he felt the members of the Furious Four were quite stupid. The only gameplay shown for the game was behind closed doors at E3 2011 and judging from what the people who saw it said historical accuracy was not a concern in Furious 4, apparently they even had a helicopter in a WWII shooter. The only other thing discussed about the gameplay was it’s over the top trigger happy violence that attempted humour.

On the 16th of July 2015 Randy Pitchford was speaking at the Develop: Brighton conference and said:

“Furious 4 is not a thing anymore, right? Creative development is a trip. The idea that something started as a Brothers in Arms game, through some absurd convulsion, ended up as Battleborn is evidence of what’s possible.”

With that Furious 4 was officially cancelled although as Pitchford said it transformed into Battleborn so it’s likely that a lot of Furious 4’s assets will end up in that game. In fact Furious 4’s Montana character will feature in Battleborn.

The good news for Brothers in Arms fans is that Gearbox is going to start development on the next “authentic” game in the series soon which will more than likely follow on from Hell’s Highway. Gearbox has been under fire in recent years for Duke Nukem: Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines although their Borderlands series has been positively received and proves that they are talented developers. Gearbox is currently working on Battleborn and their website says they’re hiring for the next Borderlands game so we can expect news on that soon.

Article by Conor Hutton

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Rainbow 6: Patriots [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox360, PC]

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots is the cancelled sequel to Tom Clancy Rainbow Six Vegas 2. It was being developed by Ubisoft Montreal with additional development support by Ubisoft Toronto and Ubisoft Red Storm. It was going to be released for the PC, PS3, Xbox 360 originally, then was planned to be released for the PS4 and Xbox One. 

The game was a first person tactical shooter with squad mechanics and third person cover based mechanics.  It was first planned to be released in 2013, before being delayed to 2014, and then finally being cancelled to be replaced by Rainbow Six: Siege. On the game’s themes of modern “eco-terrorism”, creative director David Sears said:

Terrorism has evolved, and so has Rainbow 6. In Rainbow 6 Patriots, all the team play, tactics, and realism that fans of the series love have been coupled with an exciting new narrative direction. This adds an unprecedented level of humanity that will make Rainbow 6 Patriots an extremely tense and immersive experience.

Rainbow 6: Patriots would have tackled a domestic terrorist group called “The True Patriots”, a populist militia group who have taken it upon themselves to act as judge, jury, and executioner on behalf of the ‘victims of Wall Street corruption’. Some of them were intended to be former military servicemen and women, who returned home from fighting abroad to discover that their country had abandoned them. The leader of The True Patriots was a man named Jonah Treadway, an influential figurehead planning to cause havoc across America; targeting New York in particular.