PC / MAC

Heavy Gear 3 (Savage Entertainment) [PC – Cancelled]

Heavy Gear 3 is a cancelled mecha based FPS that would have been the third chapter in the HG series, in development around 1999 by Savage Entertainment and planned to be published by Activision on PC. The team wanted to expand the mechanics found in previous Heavy Gear games, adding more robots, on-foot fighting and exploration, similar to what Titanfall did 15 years later.

Some details about this lost game were shared online by former Savage artists and producers:

“This was Savage’s first project after being “spun-off” from Activision. It was an exciting opportunity to build on the success of Heavy Gear 2 and a coinciding children’s TV show based on the series. We started with a very small team of 6 to handle environments, characters, and animation. Some new visual advances were spectacular maps to add shine/material variation, multiple texture terrain painting and emissive alpha.  We were able to expand the universe by introducing a new class of “Gear” called the Paladin. His  design was inspired by a medieval suit of armor and was backed by the new “Bishop” Reich. Many of our features were ahead of their time, such as the Gear Pilot being able to get out of his Gear and fight on foot, while the Gear protected him – this is a major element of “TitanFall” being released March 2014. […] Unfortunately, Activision couldn’t decide what kind of game they wanted to make (single player or massive multiplayer) and cancelled the title.”

“Our first project was to be Heavy Gear 3. Our goal at Savage was to have one team where no one was a pure manager. Everyone would work directly on the project. I worked as a 3D artist on Heavy Gear 3 in addition to my role as Producer, and CFO of the company. Sales of Heavy Gear 2 didn’t live up to expectations and Activision exited the giant robot combat market, cancelling Heavy Gear 3.”

Concept art from this lost game are preserved below, to remember its existence.

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Hordes (System 3) [PC – Cancelled]

Hordes is a cancelled real-time strategy game that was in development by System 3 around 1998, planned to be released on PC. At the time the company was quite beloved by gamers, thanks to such titles as The Last Ninja, Myth, International Karate, Putty and Constructor, but they also worked on many fascinating cancelled projects. While Hordes is listed on the official System 3 website under their unreleased projects, not many details are available online.

A short preview and a few screenshots from the game were published in Edge magazine (issue 55, 1998) and concept art is available on Dan Malone’s portfolio.

“Tipping the usual good VS bad story on its head, Hordes is a PC strategy game of commendable difference. The player controls one of three unholy “Clags” gods: Arclite, Cankor and Blacrot, each of whom has a particular theme. Blacrot’s hordes, for instance, can attack with various rot-based weapons. […] Hordes is intended to be far more action based than many of its contemporaries, with the player having 36 counties to battle through before reaching the seat of the Light Queen Edwinia. With 3 different forces to play, 36 levels and a totally non-linear plot, Hordes should have a serious amount of longevity.”

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Under Pressure (Rage Software) [Cancelled – PC, Playstation]

Under Pressure is a cancelled underwater shooter adventure that was in development by Rage Software Newcastle around 1997, planned to be released on PC and the original Playstation. By looking at the few screenshots available it seems you would have been able to play in first and third person, exploring a 3D sea filled with fishes and robotic enemies.

As it happens for many other cancelled games, today not much can still be found online about Under Pressure. Screenshots were published on Edge magazine in February 1997 and a former developer mentioned the title in an interview with Arcade Attack:

Have you ever worked on any games that were never released, and if so, which unreleased games do you feel would have been the most successful?

After Power Drive Rally, I designed and helped create ‘Under Pressure’ running on PC for Rage Newcastle, an underwater submersible/action adventure game in 3D. EA were funding the game development at the time, but unfortunately they pulled the plug mere months away from release. The next game we made was the co-op space shooter Expendable, also known as Millennium Soldier on the Dreamcast/PC.”

 

Dragon (Eclipse Entertainment) [PC – Cancelled]

Dragon is a cancelled action RPG that was in development around 1998 – 1999 by Eclipse Entertainment, planned to be published on PC by Microsoft. The game was based on the chinese mythology, somehow similar to another Microsoft published RPG: Jade Empire. The game was quite hyped at the time and it was featured on Eclipse’s old website and on their 3D Engine page:

“Step into a 3D world more beautiful, more dangerous, and more amazing than any you have ever seen. Explore an ancient Chinese temple, teeming with evil. Play as one of 6 champions, alone, with, or against friends. Bone crunching martial arts, sizzling spell effects, and richly detailed world make Dragon a Grandmaster among games.”

Some more details about the game were published in a preview by Next Generation magazine (issue 51, march 1999):

“Although start-up Eclipse has only one game under its belt (last year’s Jack Nicholas for Accolade), its employees have experience in the game industry everywhere from Infocom to EA to 3D0 to Origin. And Eclipse has already built the engine on which the game will be based, the impressive Genesis 3D, which supports such features as realtime light detraction, true mirrors, vertex morphing, and soft-skin polygon characters.”

“The story is based largely on Chinese mythology. You take the role of either the grandson (slower but stronger) or granddaughter (faster but weaker) of a martial arts master, who has been kidnapped and placed in the dungeons of Quinggong by your father. Quinggong is the Teetering Palace, a temple that borders the mountains, the ocean, and the spirit world. Your job? Infiltrate the temple, defeat your father’s army of supernatural beings, and rescue your grandfather.”

“Although play balancing has yet to begin (which may change things dramatically), the game is about 50% combat and 50% exploration and puzzle solving. The puzzles, thankfully, look to be more than just the “find the switch” dreck that has come to characterize too many action/adventures. In one room, for instance, players are confronted with a river of lava they must cross. Too wide to jump, the solution is to smash a huge clay pot in the room, causing water to flow onto the lava, cooling it.”

“Players fight by using a combination of martial arts and supernatural powers (spells) and grow in skill (by learning new fighting moves and spells) as the game progresses, and separate bars will measure physical and spiritual health.”

Unfortunately Dragon quietly vanished and was never released: today it seems no traces remain online of its existence, but this page on Unseen64. We don’t know what happened to the project, but in late 1999 WildTangent acquired the team: maybe their new owners were not interested in continuing such an ambitious game or Microsoft was not happy with how it was shaping up, deciding to cancel their collaboration.

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Reprisal (Power Infused) [PC, Xbox – Cancelled]

Reprisal is a cancelled first person shooter / RPG that was in development from 2001 to 2004 by Power Infused Productions for PC and the original Xbox. The team conceived it as a hybrid between Quake, Thief and Deus Ex, featuring 3 different playable races, each one with their own gameplay mechanics, weapons and abilities. For example you would use stealth to play as humans, direct assaults to play as a cyborg, and manage resources to play as an Alien.

In august 2004 the team was searching for more developers on the CGSociety forum:

“Reprisal is the story of conflict between three races over a space station (Joshua 20) at the edge of our solar system Humans have kept their CAT battle machines stationed there in case of conflict for centuries. The invading alien army, guided by a Prince who seeks to prove himself, struck the station first, seeking to turn these weapons against their masters. The plan goes awry, causing the CATs to turn against both human and alien, and trapping all three races together in a desperate struggle for survival.”

As the game progresses, players would have taken control of the three sides and learn to use their unique powers. These races were:

  • Cyborg Assault Tanks (CATs) – Vicious and overwhelmingly powerful, these killing machines were once used to fight wars for humans. In Reprisal, they have turned against their masters and gone into a killing frenzy.
  • Humans – Weak and devoid of natural armaments, humans are the most adaptable of the three races. They are also able to squeeze into areas of the space station the others can’t access.
  • Aliens – Masters of genetic engineering, aliens are capable of altering their own bodies to suit their needs. While not as overwhelming in force as the CATs, aliens have the distinct advantage of being able to retreat from battle only to return more powerful than before.

“Playing each race requires a different skill set. For example, while CATs can charge into battle, wildly firing at everything, Humans need to sneak around conflicts, searching for a safe place to attack from.

While the game is set entirely on a space station, it has been designed to contain a large enough variety of environments to satisfy even the most hard-core gamer. During the course of the game, the player will venture through enormous mechanical devices, simulations of alien worlds, zoos filled with genetically engineered monsters, infested hallways that come alive, and even venture out onto the hull of the station itself.”

Reprisal would have offered some interesting features for its time:

  • Adaptive characters – The player will be able to adapt the look and abilities of the characters they play. In some cases, these changes will be minor and other cases will be major (replacing the lower torso with wheels).
  • Destructible weaponry and environments – Certain weapons will become available that allow the player to knock holes in some walls and destroy some weaponry (to keep it out of the “wrong hands”).
  • Body specific targeting and damage – over forty different spots on the body where the player can cause damage to the opponents.
  • Overlapping storylines – Players will encounter themselves in previous and future incarnations as they play through the scenario.

Unfortunately the team was not able to find a publisher interested in Reprisal and the project had to be canned in late 2004.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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