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Gorge Tour (New Media Generation) [PC – Cancelled]

Gorge Tour is a cancelled comical FPS that was in development around 2002 – 2004 by New Media Generation, planned to be released on PC. Inspired by such titles as Quake and Unreal, Gorge Tour would have mixed horror shooting and humorous moments, thanks to its parodist story, weird enemies (such as rolling pumpkins) and funny weapons.

At the time some details were shared by the team on their official website:

“Classical First Person 3D action where a hero fights innumerable hordes of extraterrestrial monsters.  Year 2327. Mankind is actively exploring the profound space, but has not yet found any alien civilization. People founded a big colony on planet Tersa, a place rich in minerals and suitable for human life. Unfortunately a near galaxy is populated by various ugly and bloodthirsty, but intelligent monsters who spend all the time by ravaging the neighboring planets. The powerful scanners detected the human colony and sent their spaceship to it. Annihilate the greedy monster! The main hero wakes up in an isolated underground bunker and finds out the colony has been destroyed by a hateful monsters horde. The whole population has been exterminated. Now his main goal is to reach the spaceship and to leave the captured planet. Classical 3D First Person Action, unordinary game plot, 20 missions, 5 complexity levels, huge number of different monsters and weapons are waiting for you!

Former New Media Generation’s PR manager Kitaitseva Anna also had an interview with HomeLAN:

“We would like to make out a typical landscape of the lost-in-the-space setting, what would be determinative for creation of the right feeling of the inimical environment and anxious situation in the game.  The action takes place on a planet of the Earth type, where there are several moons in the light-green sky, poor vegetation and crooked trees. Rain falls in several locations, which are connected by several passages. The staggering music will intensify fillings appearing in this or that location.  We would like to diversify the game space and propose manifold locations and settings to the gamer. One will find the locations and settings of every sort and kind. Among them there are: various factories, workshops, laboratories, farms and combines as well as underground mines and nuclear reactors. Besides a lot of “ordinary” settings and locations will be available for training and mastering the skill of the combat against the extraterrestrial monsters. You will roam about the labyrinth of tangled streets, end up in a military garrison, administration offices, a police station, a sports complex, a club with a casino, a souvenir boutique of a luxurious hotel, a space center and finally in an alien spaceship on board of which you will manage to leave the planet.”

“In the game it is planned to use a lot of different kinds of weapons. Among them there are some weapon types for the close and distant combat as well as cold steel and fire-arms: a pistol, a shot-gun, a rocket-launcher, a grenade, a minigun, a flame thrower, a plasma gun, a lighting gun, a light axe and a laser mine, a tranquilizer and a butcher’s knife. But the player will have a possibility to use a unique specialized weapon of mass defeat “BANG!” It is a comic type of arm with a specific effect: all the enemies in its range fall on the ground bursting out laughing. The game space is interactive, so the player will be able to apply to various objects of the outward things as a kettle, the surrounding constructions and so on.

All the enemies in the game are extraterrestrial monsters. There are odd humanoid or lizard-like creatures, some of them can fly another are a cephalopoda, which move by rolling. The monsters will be able to pursue the hero, escape, try to take in rear, attack collectively and make common cause. We have planned the game with some parody elements on all games of this genre. So, sometimes the characters will be a little comic and odd with slightly hypertrophied characteristic features.”

We don’t know what happened to Gorge Tour, but it soon vanished after an impressive trailer New Media Generation published on their website in 2004.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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queen of Fighters [GP32 – Cancelled]

queen of Fighters is a cancelled fighting game that was in development around 2003 by obscure team Icon for the ill-fated GP32 handheld console. After so many years this game seems to have been forgotten by most of the internet, and just a few proof of its existence are still available online. From artwork and a single screenshot preserved in the gallery below we can assume it would have been a classic 1 VS 1 fighting game, featuring female warriors. As it often happens with lost games for less-known consoles, we’ll probably never know more about the project unfortunately.

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Poacher (Exileworks) [PC – Cancelled]

Poacher is a cancelled “illegal hunting game” that was in development around 2003 – 2004 by Exileworks Inc, planned to be released on PC. When it was announced magazines and gaming websites were a bit concerned about the concept of hunting endangered species (rhinos, elephants, tigers, gorillas, etc.) and maybe this could have been one of the reasons the game was never completed.

Players would have to use stealth to weave through the bushes and avoid being seen by the animals, while fighting off natural reserve wardens as they try to stop you across the entire globe. Many different areas would have been available, such as the South American forests, snow covered Russian reserves and the African Savannah. Your main objective would have been to earn more money by hunting rare and dangerous species, selling them on the black market. With this money you could then buy new weapons, equipment and vehicles (ATV, Truck, or helicopter), to help you hunt down even bigger and more difficult animals. We can read more about the game from the original press release:

“This upcoming title represents an entirely new facet of gameplay for all first person shooter and resource management enthusiasts. You are Roman Sar, a poacher with a bad attitude and big guns. You fight and struggle your way through the African Congo to the deep jungles of India as you hunt for the most famous of endangered species; all the while avoiding and battling the dreaded Game Wardens.

Poacher is a free form game that allows the player to choose their hunting grounds, and to upgrade their character as time goes by. You control your destiny as you plot your way through some of the most dangerous places in the world. You must avoid capture and defeat the Game Wardens who constantly attempt to capture or kill you! Trade your goods on the black market to gain more money and power!

It should be noted that the game is very dependent on the players stealth ability. The animals are far from defenseless, and therein lies the challenge! The hunter is often the hunted and lack of caution will lead you to a quick end. Before you know it a tiger has you in its claws, or an elephant is using you as a doormat.”

In 2004 HomeLAN published an interview with Peter Khojasteh, at the time working for Exileworks on the project:

HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the basic gameplay for Poacher?

Peter Khojasteh – The game is played from a first person perspective emphasizing stealth. Using a wide variety of weapons, including some explosives, the player will move through wilderness environments hunting animals while trying to avoid getting killed. At the same time the player will also have to avoid or engage the wardens who will actively hunt the player. Vehicles will also play an important role.

When the hunt is over, the player is taken back to the GWI (game world interface) where they will manage resources. This includes planning trips to other hunting sites, buying and selling the goods you acquire, buying new equipment including vehicles and weapons, and checking the status of goods on the global market. The GWI is essentially the player’s portal into the various 3d environments, and also adds its own unique gameplay elements.

HomeLAN – What types of animals do you hunt in the game and how is the combat handled between the poacher and animal?

Peter Khojasteh – There are Rhinos, Elephants, and gorillas to name a few. In addition to this there are some things that the player will simply not expect. Combat will involve pre-planning and intelligent use of resources. Given certain situations, the player will not be able to succeed easily unless they have the right equipment for the job.”

Peter was also interviewed by Gengamers:

Let’s talk about the gameplay, please! Is Poacher a typical action game or will you implement interesting gameplay variations?

Poacher is a hunting game with quite a bit of action. If you’re not chasing down an elephant, or outrunning an insane crocodile along a riverbank, chances are you’re being shot at by game wardens or Interpol. The game mixes this sort of enjoyable gameplay with resource management that is not just an afterthought. The choices you make with your resources really affect the way Roman (the main character) can interact with the various environments and challenges he faces. We’ve worked extensively on the AI to help the player become truly immersed in the game world.

Will the player be able to drive vehicles?

We have helicopters, Atv’s, Trucks, and even a barge. There are so many vehicles in this game, the player will always have something awesome to crash.”

“How many weapons will appear, and what’s up with the equipment? Will we see some helpful goodies?

There are many different types of weapons ranging from hunting rifles to machine guns and c4. The weapon a player uses directly affects the outcome of many situations. It’s important to remember certain circumstances require different weapons and different tactics. The equipment really gives Roman his edge. For example, the night vision and various forms of camo are really important to maintain a stealthy profile.

How long will it take for the player to finish the game? Will you include different endings? Is there any replay value?

The game is essentially endless, so the reply value is substantial. Along with proposed multiplayer modes, the player will have many gameplay choices.”

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Raiko (Blizzard + Flextech) [PC – Cancelled]

Raiko is a cancelled action RPG that was in development by Flextech between 1996 and 1998, planned to be published by Blizzard Entertainment for PC. The game was conceived as a “3D Diablo with samurai”. At the time Raiko was not officially announced by Blizzard, but its name was later shown in a list of cancelled games they talked about at DICE 2008. In 2017 former Flextech founder and developer Felix Kupis published a few screenshots of their Raiko prototype on Linkedin:

“Raiko was a Diablo style game with a 3D engine set in ancient Japan. Even though the game got cancelled for various reasons, we did manage to have a working 3D engine, RPG system and a level editor. I can still run the engine today almost 20 years later on windows 10. Here are some screenshots from March 1998.”

Just a year before we had the pleasure to interview Felix for our bookVideo Games You Will Never Play”, when he shared some of his memories working on Raiko:

“As a fan of Diablo style games and Asian folklore I wanted to make a game that was essentially a 3D Samurai Diablo. This was built on a 3D engine but was played from a similar view to Diablo. You could turn the camera around to see more of the environment and the game was coming along but got cut when Vivendi bought Blizzard.

Myself and my crew of a couple people that did the work on the game traveled down to E3 when it was held in Atlanta and set up a meeting with Alan Adham and Bill Roper on this game demo we made for Raiko. I got to know Alan Adham when I told him my story of basically being kicked out early from Westwood (I was leaving after finishing Red Alert) for wearing a Blizzard shirt.  At that time the heads of Westwood hated Blizzard for “stealing” their RTS ideas so after wearing the shirt to piss off my boss I got the boot early. Anyway I was a good in with Mr. Adham and got me the meeting at E3, it was actually the very last meeting of the show for Blizzard.  After looking at our demo I remember Alan and Bill Roper both had a huge smile on their face and told us this is the game we have been looking for.”

“After Raiko got cancelled, Blizzard kept all the rights to it so we were basically looking for a new project before we ran out of funding.  We pitched Disposable Heroes to a bunch of publishers including GT interactive, Atari, and some others.  Disposable Heroes was basically Halo way before Halo but nobody would give us the funding for the game before money ran out and we had to shut down Flextech.  I still have the original documents for Disposable Heroes, it’s really funny reading them now and looking at how close it was to Halo.”

Thanks to Robin for the contribution!

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Blue Vault (Elixir Studios) [PC – Cancelled]

Blue Vault is a cancelled sci-fi strategy game similar to Syndicate / X-Com, that was in development in 2004 by Elixir Studios, the team lead by Demis Hassabis, a skilled programmer who co-created Theme Park and worked with Peter Molyneux during their Bullfrog and Lionhead days. Players would take the role of a secret team of agents with the mission of stopping aliens from invading our planet, while hiding their existence from the population.

At the time Elixir Studios had released two interesting but ill-fated games: “Republic: The Revolution” (2003) and “Evil Genius” (2004). Blue Vault would have been their third project, offering players more than 30 missions to resolve using strategy combat, managing the squad’s finance, keeping up the team morale and upgrading their skills. During missions civilians must have been protected but at the same time you had to not let them know what was really happening. As we can read from IGN:

“Blue Vault’s strategy element involves the usual research, resource-gathering, unit recruitment and skill advancement, but the team is going into a lot of detail that’ll be “almost to an RPG level” according to Sutherland. There’ll be 40 unique unit characters, each with their own features, toolset, stats and hopefully, voice. “X-COM missions were quite similar with very little characterization. We want to push the character element further, so you really care about your teams. Imagine each Blue Vault operative shouting orders or screaming in agony with a different voice.”

Some more details were published in PC Zone Magazine (issue 141, May 2004):

“[…] tension is the crux of the gameplay, so  even if you manage to deal successfully  with an interplanetary nuisance, if you  scare the bejesus out of too many people  – what Elixir is calling ‘culture shock’ –  you’ll fail the mission

Ops are your standard tactical soldier,  whereas Indigo Ops are your elite  troopers that utilise alien technology.  Obviously, the latter are more adept at  dealing with space tourists, but you have  to be careful not to freak out bystanders,  who will notice their strange uniforms and  hybrid weaponry.

Engineers, on the other hand, repair  stuff, allow you to recover valuable alien  artefacts, hijack cars to build barricades  and also reinforce any cover-up with  visible evidence, such as releasing  weather balloons to explain that bizarre  ‘meteorological event’ annoyingly  witnessed by dozens of people.

Finally, there are your Conspirators –  the ‘Men in Blue’ who’re crucial for crowd  control and ensuring that you protect the  populace from mass panic caused by first  contact. This is where Elixir’s ‘stimuli system’, also used to a certain extent in  Republic, comes into play, where  individual Al-controlled characters react  to things they see and hear. So, if a member of the public has a  glimpse of alien technology, for example,  or is confronted by a Blue Vault soldier  pointing a gun at them, they’ll become  fearful, but this will soon recede if you  manage to tell them to move out of the  danger zone. However, if the person is  left in the vicinity of an alien visitor, they  will go into culture shock, meaning they’re  so scared and irrational that they  become a danger to themselves. In this  case, you quickly have to use your  Conspirators’ special persuasive powers  to calm people down, or you’ll quickly fail  your objectives. Up to 1,000 people can be rendered on screen, with up to 3,000 polygons each.

Blue Vault has a total of six alien races  and 15 different model types with  emergent behavior, so it’s extremely  important how you deal with the  combat and containment of these  creatures. “If you get it wrong, say a  friendly alien race comes along and you  decide to blow them back to the Stone  Age, the next time they appear, they’ll be  aggressive,” says Hewitt,  “take the time to find out about them, work with them, then next time  they’ll be more helpful.” Elixir is working towards a total of  more than 30 scripted missions, ranging  from rescuing and escorting a stranded  alien so it can repair its vehicle and  launch, to a spaceship full of warlike  alien convicts that crashes in a  downtown leisure zone on a  Saturday night. There’ll also be  random spanners in the  works, such as an  epidemic of  intergalactic  spores that bury  themselves in  human skin.”

Unfortunately in 2005 Elixir Studios was faced with serious financial problems. Their publisher abandoned Blue Vault, possibly because Republic and Evil Genius did not sell as expected. It seems the team tried to pitch the game to other publisher, possibly using a possible “Men in Black” license, but without any luck. With no money to keep the studio alive, Elixir had to close down: Blue Vault and all of their other planned projects (Republic Dawn: The Chronicles of the Seven , Evil Genius 2) were canned and lost forever.

Thanks to Ross Sillifant and Josef for the contribution!

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