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Jacks of Evil [PC – Cancelled]

Jacks of Evil is a cancelled horror FPS which was in development between 2003 and 2004 at Fear Studios. Unfortunately, little information is known about this game and the team behind it. It was planned to come out in July 2005, but the exact period and reason for its cancellation remain undetermined.

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As stated by a developer in an old interview on GenGamers, the backstory was as following:

“You’re working in secret organization, that opposite Dark Forces. It’s name is “Jacks Of Evil”. People in this organization call each other as “hunters”. Killing creatures of Dark Forces, such as Demons, Vampires, Zombies etc – is their usual work. You are a professional hunter. Your name is Aleksey Gromov. Once our hero is sent to Shanta city in Siberia. It seemed to be usual work, but… something went wrong. It seems that happened we all were aware of. People and Evil cooperated to help each other.“

The Studio also described some ideas they planned to implement in their canned FPS, such as slow-motion effects with motion blur and a damage system. Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies, and Demons were some of the classic enemies players would have to hunt down during the game, giving it some recognizable characters in the horror genre. More ambitious concepts and mechanics were also considered by the team:

“It’s planned to make a game scenario with key scenes, that can be generated randomly. I.e. you are walking through the room and then suddenly you’re attacked by a Vampire. Youīre losing the battle, then loading your save-game, walking to this place and … there is no vampire! And of course there will be different story lines. Probably there will be 3-4 different endings. I think that’s enough for such games.“

Fear Studios also wanted to implement a multiplayer mode, featuring mod-support (to be available soon after the game would‘ve come out) to bring even more variety to the game. 

In the end we can speculate the team did not find a publisher for their project and Jacks of Evil was quietly canned.

Article by Vipaah, thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Star Wars 1313 [Cancelled – PS4, Xbox One, PC]

Star Wars 1313 was one of the most anticipated titles in recent memory. Following the success of the Jedi Knight series and the critical and commercial acclaim of the Knights of the Old Republic Series, fans were aching for an authentic single-player Star Wars experience. Since The Force Unleashed series didn’t manage to fill that void, fans were understandably excited for Star Wars 1313, planned to be published for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Sadly, the project had a short life. Although the game was still officially in development when Disney acquired Lucas Film (October 2012), on March 2013 several news outlets reported that Star Wars 1313 and other projects were put on hold since the acquisition. On April 2013, The Walt Disney company announced that internal development was ceased at Lucas Arts and that it laid off its staff, effectively cancelling the upcoming 1313:

‘’After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.’’ –  statement by Lucas Arts representative to Game Informer.

Star Wars 1313 was planned to be set in a familiar, yet unexplored area of the Star Wars universe, namely the underground slums of Coruscant known as Level 1313. Before it was cancelled, the story was supposed to revolve around a young Boba Fett as he was navigating the sleazy underbelly of the metropolis and taking contracts from local crime lords:

“Star Wars: 1313 dives into a part of the Star Wars mythos that we’ve always known existed, but never had a chance to visit,” Paul Meegan, former president of Lucas Arts.

The gameplay itself, as well as the game design, was allegedly inspired after the popular series Uncharted. The game’s title was trademarked in May 2012, and was officially revealed at E3 2012 the following month. It was planned to feature fast-paced combat and universe-specific gadgets rather than the Force. Star Wars 1313 was to be developed in the Unreal Engine 3, which was top of the line back then.

As the game was cancelled very early into its development, few vestiges of what it could’ve been remain, and even fewer were revealed publicly. Apart from the official E3 trailer and a 6 minute demo shown during the same conference, all that remains of 1313 are a few scattered concept arts and additional details about the story, which revealed that the game would’ve included more explorable planets, such as Tatooine.

More recently, Naughty Dog’s animator Jonathan Cooper, who worked on 1313, shared an animation reel on Twitter that showed a droid partner and several movement animations.

Although there were signs that the title was going to be picked up after all, fans hope for a miraculous revival was officially crushed when Disney decided not to renew the Star Wars 1313 trademark. The expired trademark, Disney’s decision to license all Star Wars related video games to EA effectively in perpetuity, and the upcoming Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order means that the chances of 1313 to ever be released are slim to none.

Article by Marco Giuliani

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Pilot X (Tornado Studios) [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox 360, PC]

Pilot X is a cancelled space combat adventure game that was in development by Tornado Studios for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. While it remained mostly obscure, it was officially announced sometime in the late ‘00s, and we can still read the official press-release on Gamepressure:

“Pilot X is an arcade shooting in the atmosphere of space opera. The player controls a small spacecraft and his task is to destroy enemy forces in distant star systems. Pilot X is a project of Tornado Studios, an independent development studio known for its Project Runway game. This time the creators decided to use the classic genre of space shooters, adapting proven solutions to the technical capabilities of modern hardware platforms.

The action of the game was set in the distant future. The player plays the role of a star fighter pilot, and his task is to perform various dangerous combat missions in remote corners of the galaxy.

Pilot X’s gameplay is based on classic, genre-specific solutions. Watching the action from behind the ship (TPP) the player fights dozens of enemy units, including board bosses – huge star ships or perfectly protected planetary bases. In the course of the game he can gain a number of bonuses allowing for example to turn on the shields, change the weaponry, replenish ammunition or repair the damage suffered.

The game is characterized by an eye-catching three-dimensional visual setting, which clearly stands out from the competition. Both models of ships and objects drifting in space look very impressive, and the dynamic action is full of spectacular explosions.”

We don’t know what happened to the project, but we can assume it was canned because the team was not able to find a publisher interested in it.

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Flux (Eight Cylinder Studios) [GameCube, PC – Cancelled]

Flux is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by forgotten team Eight Cylinder Studios, planned to be published for Nintendo GameCube and PC (by Microsoft?). Eight Cylinder survived in the gaming market for just about 2 – 3 years, between 1998 and 2001.

As far as we know they never released any of their games. Few details about the existence of their Flux project can still be found online, on Mobygames’ profile for Franck De Girolami (Eight Cylinder founder) and in an old website for Dark Reigns 2, as Adam Marquis (now at Naugthy Dog) also worked at Eight Cylinder before joining Pandemic Studios. On Next Generation Magazine (issue 40, April 1998) they also published a short update about them:

“Eight  Cylinder Studios, remains hard at work on the tentatively titled  Flux, a 3D action / platform game, which according to one employee,  will be the first game to offer “varying planes of gravity.” As of press time, Eight Cylinder had not  announced a new publisher for Flux but was courting several larger, unnamed companies with strong distribution channels.”

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We were also able to save a short description about the project and some concept tiny art from a (now offline) website of another former developer:

“FLUX Gamecube, Action Adventure, Eight Cylinder Studios / Microsoft (unreleased). A unique mechanic where the player rotates the world along 3-axis in order to move through it, and to control the action.  I envisioned architecture that was built at different orientations; out of it came irony, humor and contradiction: guard towers became bridges that spanned divides, water mills became waterfalls that caused floods, and slums turned sideways dumping all their ‘stuff’ into the world, into this I folded themed zones that carried the narrative, mechanic, and pacing of the game.  These are only the initial sketches – art bible and screendumps were destroyed

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We can assume the team was not able to find a publisher to keep funding their project and had to close down. If you know someone who worked at Eight Cylinder Studios and could help us to know more about what happened to Flux, please let us know

Alex Carver: Futurebrighter [PC – Cancelled]

Alex Carver: Futurebrighter is a cancelled FPS that was in development by Heaven X, a small and obscure development team from Poland. The game was announced in 2004, sharing some details and screenshots.

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As wrote by IGN:

“AC:F is a first-person shooter that follows Alex Carver, a convict on his way to a distant planet that houses a prison for the galaxy’s least desired criminals and murderers.

Along the way the prison transporter carrying our hero is attacked by an unknown adversary. The ship goes down and Alex is given a chance to escape. One small problem. The planet the ship lands on is run by a tyrannical dictator who has been working on secret genetic experiments.

Equipped with pistols, sniper rifles, plasma rifles, and a cynical outlook on life (funny what prison does to you), Alex must do everything in his power to stay alive.”

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On the old Heven X website we can read:

“An independent developer group Heaven X deals with creating computer games and multimedia programs. We’re those players who have begun working on our own titles since 2001. Our team has gained much experience when working for Techland, Leryx Longsoft and L.K. Avalaon, while preparing games like Chrome, Xpand Rally, Small Army, Indiana Jack, Pet Racer, Pet Soccer, Golem, or Kokomando.

Earlier, we were working for various producers. Now, however, we’ve joined our forces and experience under the name Heaven X in order to create our own virtual worlds, which, hopefully, will attract many players. We are working on authorial projects, as well as on titles that we develop for Polish publisher companies.

We were “brought up” playing the greatest games that serve as a point of departure for our projects. Unreal, Half-Life, Deus Ex, Soldier of Fortune, Serious Sam and even Rayman are just a few names of the worldwide hits that are a great source of inspiration for us. Our goal is to create games that would simultaneously provide the players with great feel, engrossing and entertaining gameplay experience, and satisfaction (not only for the players but also for us).

We have our authorial 3D engine Magnum Engine at disposal. The engine is capable of creating environments inside the buildings (indoor) as well as in open spaces (outdoor). Magnum Engine uses the newest graphics technologies and special effects, therefore, it keeps up both in quality and beauty with other Western and Polish productions:

  • Vast and open spaces and indoor environment
  • Expanded animation system that features bone system / skeleton
  • Vehicle handling system together with the driving model and physics
  • Physics allowing for an interaction with the game’s environment
  • 50.000 to 100.000 polygons per frame
  • Particle system
  • Dynamic interplay of light and shadow
  • Varied weather effects (rain, snow)”

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More info was published by Polish websites at the time, but it looks like the project never got far into production. We can assume they never found a publisher interested in backing up their game, so Alex Carver: Futurebighter had to be cancelled.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!