PC / MAC

Cartel (Cat Daddy) [PC – Cancelled]

Cartel is a cancelled FPS game that was in development in 2002 / 2003 by Cat Daddy Games (mostly known for their Carnival Games series), planned to be released on PC and possibly on Playstation 2 and Xbox. As you can assume from its title, you would have played as a DEA special agent against the drug cartel. The team wanted to offer a simple gameplay mixing first / third person shooter with light strategy mechanics.

In an old interview published on HomeLAN we can read more about their hopes for the project:

“HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the storyline for the game?

Harley Howe – We wanted to do a thriller. It has a big twist just about the time you think you’ve figured out what is going on and you’re about finished, you’re not.

HomeLAN – What sort of settings and locations will be seen in the game?

Harley Howe – Our team over the last few years has built content for several AAA titles that were released under other company’s logos. We really know our stuff here and one of the big separating factors of our game will be the unique environments. What we see in most of the existing games out there now is a lot of the same old thing rehashed over and over. You got your warehouse level, your barracks level, your factory…etc. We wanted to bring a new look and feel to the environments in Cartel. Our game will offer plenty of new and exciting environmental eye candy for the player. We promise you will almost smell the stench on some of them.

HomeLAN – What kinds of weapons will be featured in Cartel?

Harley Howe – Ok, the guy doing the weapons is always yapping about ‘my bothers a seal, my brothers a seal” so we most definitely have some nice weaponry. We feel that weapons are one of the single most important components of a 1st person shooter. One big point here to make is the style of the Cartel story lends itself well to new weaponry. As we are doing with the levels we also wanted to take advantage of some of the newer technologies out there and give the player some neat effects to the weapons that they have never seen before. My 12 year old son will run around and play a game just to pick up all the different guns to see the way that each of them shoot, err wait that’s me, anyway good weapons will be in abundance.

HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the game’ s multiplayer features?

Harley Howe – I can tell you that if it did not have multiplayer I personally wouldn’t play it myself. Today you have to have good multiplayer or the game has a very limited appeal. Attention to the layout of the multiplayer levels will be done in great detail. A good level can make or break it. We also have had multiplayer built in to our engine from day one so it’s not something that will be approached as an afterthought.”

In early 2003 they released a tech demo for Cartel, but the same year the team was acquired by 2K Games and the game vanished. Only in 2005 Cat Daddy officially announced the project was suspended. We can assume when 2K bought the team, their parent company decided to switch their resources on less ambitious games.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Planetfall 2: Floyd’s Next Thing [PC – Cancelled]

The original Planetfall is sci-fi text-adventure written by Steve Meretzky, published by Infocom for DOS PCs in 1983. As we can read on Wikipedia:

“The game starts with the user assuming the role of a lowly Ensign Seventh Class on the S.P.S. Feinstein, a starship of the Stellar Patrol. Overbearing superior Ensign First Class Blather assigns the player to mop decks, not exactly the glorious adventures promised by the recruiters on Gallium. But a sudden series of explosions aboard the ship sends the player scrambling for an escape pod, which eventually crash-lands on a nearby planet. There are signs of civilization, but curiously no traces of the beings that once lived there. Eventually encountering a helpful but childlike robot named Floyd, the player must unravel the mysteries of the single deserted structure on the planet, Resida, and find a way to get back home.”

3 years later the company was bought by Activision and in the mid ‘90s they tried to create a sequel titled: Planetfall 2: Floyd’s Next Thing. The project was started at least a couple of times, but it was always cancelled in the end.

Two trailers were released promoting the two versions of the sequel: the first one looked a bit like Myst, with per-rendered graphics, while the second version of the game was in full, real-time 3D.

In 2012 Archive.org user Swizzley uploaded a playable demo of Planetfall 2 and another prototype was later uploaded in 2016 by Agustin Cordes. As we can read from the file description:

“Don’t get your hopes up: this is a very early prototype from the cancelled sequel to Infocom’s classic text adventure. It’s barely playable, though it does provide an interesting look at how the game would have played with a realtime 3D engine. The prototype does introduce a puzzle (at least the only one I could find) and features voice acting as well as a pretty cool soundtrack tune. Judging by the puzzle, you were able to give orders to your robot companions similarly to how Infocom’s classic text adventures worked.

[…] back in 2007, an alleged ex-employee from Activision was auctioning this CD on eBay. He couldn’t verify the contents of the disc, but many enthusiasts including myself still pledged hoping it was legit. My top bid was $40 (hey, it was a pretty decent sum at the time) but the CD was sold at a whooping $90. I wasn’t going to give up, so I contacted the seller who in turn put me in touch with the buyer. Turns out he was a nice guy who exchanged the same ISO I’m uploading right now for a physical soundtrack of Scratches and a signed copy of the game. It was a fairly good deal. This prototype brings back great memories.

It’s been almost ten years since that transaction happened, and I think the time has come to properly preserve this rare piece of software history. Enjoy!”

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Goblins (Psygnosis) [PC – Cancelled]

In the mid / late ‘90s Psygnosis was one of the most prolific and loved development teams for the original Playstation, releasing such fan favorite projects as Wipeout, Destruction Derby 2 and Colony Wars. At the same time they also worked on lots of cancelled games that never seen the ligh of day: titles such as Team Buddies 2, Entropy, Blood Bowl, ODT 2, Mutatis and many more remain forgotten even by most of their hardcore fans.

Goblins is another lost Psygnosis project we don’t know much about, that was in development for PC (and possibly Playstation?) around 1997 by their San Francisco office. Some images and 3D animations were published online by former developers, such as Cristopher Gray, Egan Hirvela and Matthew Carlstrom, preserved in the gallery below to remember its existence. 

As far as we gathered it would have been some kind of real time strategy / adventure game, in which giving orders to a group of Goblins.. somehow like a mixe between Pikmin and Lemmings. In the end it was canned when the studio closed in late 1997 / early 1998:

“You’ve heard the rumors for months that Psygnosis’ San Francisco-based internal developer studio was closing its doors. Well, the company is confirming those rumors today as it trims about 20 employees in its latest in a series of belt-tightening measures to achieve cost efficiency and higher profitability. Officially, Psygnosis says that the main reason for the studio closure has to do with location. The company’s US headquarters is located only 15 miles south of the city, and having two locations seemed inefficient.”

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1171 (Parallax Arts Studios) [PC – Cancelled]

1171 is a cancelled action adventure with fantasy medieval settings in development by Parallax Arts Studios for PC around 2000 – 2003. For today’s standard these screenshots don’t look so good, but for it’s time it could have been a great looking project if only released. As far as we can still find online Parallax was based in the USA but their development team was located in Russia. 

There’s not much more available on the game and by searching online you can just find a few Russian websites with these old images. It is indeed an obscure and forgotten project. After 1171 was canned somehow Parallax Arts were able to work on 3 other published games: Utopia City (2005), Liquidator 2: Welcome to Hell (2005) and Exodus from the Earth (2007)

If you can find more details on this lost game, please let us know!

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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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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