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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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BackSpace (Obsidian) [Cancelled – PC, Xbox 360, PS3]

BackSpace is a cancelled sci-fi RPG that was in early development by Obsidian Entertainment from January to April 2011 (around the same time they were finishing Dungeon Siege III), to be published by Bethesda on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The project was pitched as “Sci-Fi SKYRIM with Time Travels” and it was led by Jason Fader (who also worked on Obsidian’s cancelled Aliens RPG, Fallout: New Vegas, and the System Shock remake at Nightdive Studios).

While the game was quickly canned by the studio and it was never officially announced, Kotaku published a short article on the game in 2013, showing off remaining concept art created by Obsidian and sharing a few details on its gameplay:

“BackSpace is a single-player action-RPG set in a scifi space environment with simple elements of time travel. The combat is paced similarly to Skyrim, but slightly faster since there is no concept of blocking. The easiest way to look at it is a mix of Mass Effect, Borderlands, and System Shock 2 for gameplay and setting.”

“It was to be developed in some sort of partnership with Bethesda, I’ve heard, and it’d use the same engine as their ridiculously-successful role-playing game Skyrim. Although BackSpace wasn’t an open-world game, players would be able to travel between a number of planets as well as one large space station.”

“This station is huge,” a BackSpace design document reads. “It can be compared in size to The Citadel of Mass Effect [or] Babylon 5. The station has several locations devoted to diverse research fields which would allow us to have vegetation overgrowth, high-tech disasters, and mutations of science as visual themes.”

“[…] a technical error would fling your character ten years into the future, and you’d spend a bulk of the game hopping back and forth between the time of the attack and a dismal, alien-occupied future. Quests in the game would task you with hopping between timelines in an attempt to save humankind.”

In 2017 Jason replied to a few questions on Reddit, sharing even more details on what happened to BackSpace:

“I was working closely with Bethesda on BackSpace. Since there were no other projects lined up after the Old World Blues team finished their work, I took it upon myself to try to find another project for the company. I reached out to Bethesda and directly asked them what type of game they’d be most interested in publishing next. From there, I started working on a pitch based on a prior game I made, ThreadSpace: Hyperbol (story only, not gameplay). The gameplay was something designed around Bethesda’s interests at the time. No other publishers were pitched on it, to my knowledge, but there was interest from a 3rd party in creating a TV show based on it.

I actually started working on the project a bit before that by myself after hours. Probably as early as October (2010). It was an “after school project” for a very long time, and after a few months, more and more folks would join me after hours to volunteer their time to help. I don’t think we actually worked on it by day until the final month for the prototype. Then the layoffs happened. Then I stuck around for a few more years. Then the big layoffs (including me this time).”

In April 2011 Obsidian had to lay off part of their team, including many of those developers who were working on BackSpace. With financial difficulties in keeping the team active they worked on South Park: The Stick of Truth and many cancelled ventures (such as Stormlands for Microsoft), until they found success on Kickstarter with Pillars of Eternity.

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