PC / MAC

Nyx (SharkStorm) [PC – Cancelled]

Nyx is a cancelled FPS that was in development around 2004 by German team SharkStorm. The game was set during a conflict between Russia and Turkey, with a mutant / zombie pandemic unleashed after the use of bio-chemical weapons.

As we can read on an old preview published on the now-closed Gengamers:

“In 2005, conflicts between Russia and Turkey reached their peak. The russian president gives the order to attack Turkey with a biochemical rocket. But the cheap technique Russia uses, fails. The biochemical rocket defects a short moment after it’s start and changes launching-coordinates with target-coordinates. The biochemical rocket flies back and hits the rocket-launching-station. The worst catastrophe in russian history began. People mutate because of the aggressive virus in the rocket. Some of them are dead before they can notice.

Vitali Adanov wakes up after some hours and looks around. In his room there is just silence, nothing sounds in from outside. Vitali asks himself what to do and decides to go outside. He goes through the cold floor and suddenly he hears some strange sounds. Doesn’t matter to him at this moment and he leaves the house. Near the sidewalk he can see a corpse. It seemed to be a woman, admittedly she looks a bit strange. Vitali realizes that she is hiding something in a fabric. Cautious he takes off the fabric and frightens when he sees a dead child in the cold bleach arms of the woman. Vitali is confused and turns around, just not to see this horrific thing. After a short time of concentration and revitalization he sees a group of people coming nearer to him. Vitali wants to know what happened and shouts in their direction but he got no answer. Coming nearer to Viatli he recognizes fresh blood and open wounds all over their bodies. In their faces, a touch of green color

He is shocked, he can hardly not move his feet. One man of the group walks straight to him… Vitali doesn’t know what to do so he makes a step to the man, suddenly the scary hands of the thing rush right to his face and clings in the clenched body of Vitali. With a terrible cry the mutant tries to bite him. Vitali kicks him away and begins to run. The game starts ….

In Nyx you have the mission to reach a research station which is the only place on earth where you have the possibility to find an antivirus for the mutants. During the game’s progress Vitali has to fight against more and more enemies, which were “bred” by the Russian military. During the game, many cutscenes will show moments of Vitali´s past. There you can find the reason why Vitali’s body doesn’t get infected with the substance in the biochemical rocket.”

It seems Nyx was canned when SharkStorm were hired to develop another project, but in the end the studio just closed down sometime later and it’s now forgotten by everyone.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Ugo Volt [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

Ugo Volt (AKA FLOW: Prospects of Mayhem) is a cancelled FPS – TPS Adventure game that was in development by Move Interactive around 2005 – 2007, planned to be published on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. The game was officially announced in 2006 and it was shown at E3 of the same year: graphically and stylistically it looked like a strange mix between Halo, Too Human and Fable, with cross-settings between sci-fi and fantasy.

As we can read on IGN:

“Ugo Volt will switch from third-person view to a first-person perspective as players move through these two areas of the game, but we didn’t see much of any gameplay mechanics.

[…] In the near future, global warming melts the polar icecaps and floodwaters ravage the earth, covering all but the highest altitudes. (Waterworld?) Things, well, things don’t look good. Out of the ruins, the World Order Corporation harnesses nanotechnology to construct buildings and sanctuary for the population quicker than humanly possible. As the world’s savior, mankind gives ruling power to the World Order Corporation, which by expertly misleading the population, gradually takes away more and more liberties from the population, and eventually goes so far as to instill a dictatorial leadership, complete with emperor and creepy throne room (Revenge of the Sith?).

In 2031, in order to create the first advanced human prototype, the WOC selects a worthy man and woman to give birth to and raise the child. The prototype will use powerful artificial implants and the test period will last 60 years. If successful, mass production will begin. The child’s name is Ugo Volt. At 15, one of Ugo’s neurotransmitters malfunctions and sends out a shockwave that pushes his father into a pit of molten lava. […] Ugo internalizes his anger toward the WOC and eventually creates an alter-ego bent on revenge.”

By looking at available footage Ugo Volt seems like an interesting project. There’s something fun in its style and setting that could have made it enjoyable to play, just like watching a b-movie with friends. In prototype videos we can see some of the first-third person shooting gameplay: the protagonist uses special powers to resolve physic-based puzzles and some kind of black-hole gun, which attracts objects scattered through the levels to use them as projectiles (somehow like the Gravity Gun in Half Life 2). You could also assembly and edit your weapons to create new ones by mixing their parts together, open up shooting gameplay to experimentation.

Unfortunately it was still in early development when the team had to put the project on-hold, for lack of funds. They started working on a tie-in game for Portuguese TV series Floribella, receiving some money from SIC publisher. This was not enough to keep the company afloat and without any new investor interested in Ugo Volt, Move Interactive was closed down in 2008.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Hell or High Water [PC – Cancelled / Prototype]

Hell or High Water is a cancelled jet-boat shooter that was in development by Wild Child Studios for PC. You can imagine it somehow like a mission-based Wave Race set in different levels from all around the world, where you had to shoot down enemies and collect key-items to complete your objectives.

As we can read in the prototype description:

“Hell or High Water fits players in a heavily armed military-type jet-boat. You have to use your best skills to outmaneuver and destroy AI-controlled opponents with your arsenal of rockets and machine-gun. The game consists of several episodes in various parts of the world with different mission objectives. For example, in the episode at Amazon River your goal is to collect dynamite and use it to mine and blow up a river dam, while in the Nord episode you have to find and destroy a crashed plane prototype and pick up the black-box. The whole game is an intense race against time in the world of water, fire and explosions!”

The team worked on this prototype to test gameplay using Driver-Inter‘s proprietary engines, but in the end the project was cancelled, possibly because they did not find a publisher interested in funding it. Wild Child Studios were also working on another water based game titled “Extreme Wakeboarding”, which was also canned in 2002.

Thanks to Mihapsx for the contribution!

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Cult County (Renegade Kid) [Cancelled – 3DS, Wii U, PS3, PSVita, PC]

Cult County is a cancelled psychological horror game that was in development by Renegade Kid around 2013, originally announced for Nintendo 3DS at PAX 2013 and later also planned for PS4, PS3, PSVita, Wii U, PC, and Xbox One when they unsuccessfully tried to fund the game on Kickstarter. Their plan for the project was to create an episodic horror tale, something like “The Walking Dead meets Silent Hill 2 from a first-person perspective”.

The team is mostly known for cult-classic Nintendo DS horror titles such as Dementium: The Ward and Moon, plus fun platforming adventures such as Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter. While they always showed skills and love for Nintendo consoles, their games never sold much unfortunately.

Some details about Cult County can still be read on their Kickstarter campaign page, which raised just  $ 46.736 of their $ 580.000 goal:

“Cult County is an all-new first-person survival horror game that blends the episodic story-telling of The Walking Dead with the classic tension-filled exploration and action of Silent Hill and Resident Evil, presenting an opportunity for fans to help a veteran team produce a new experience that is fresh, exciting, and scary!

Rebirth of the survival horror FPS genre, crafted with fan input.
Story-driven gameplay, featuring memorable character interactions.
Small West Texas town filled with tension, mystery, and scares.
Vulnerable and personalized melee and firearm combat.
Varied cast of creepy enemy encounters and devious boss battles.

You assume the role of Gavin Mellick, whose mother has fallen deathly ill. Unable to reach your older sister, Alissa, by phone you drive the 6 hours across Texas to visit her in person and share the sad news. You return to the small town where you spent your summers as a child with Alissa, at your late aunt’s house. There is a particularly savage dust storm rolling in when you arrive.

Unable to locate your sister, you ask some of the locals for help. You quickly learn about their suspicions of a cultish group that recently moved into town, and the unexpected suicide of Father Pearce. The locals offer very little help finding your sister, and it isn’t long before your search takes an unexpected dark turn, leading you down a road of no return.

You are alone. You are unarmed. You see strange “people” linger on the edge of the dust storm, who seem to be watching your every move. But, as soon as you turn your head to face them, they disappear. Who are they? Where do they go? What do they want?

As you explore deeper into the town, searching for any clues that might lead to your sister, you meet various town folk who offer their own anecdotes on what the “people” might be. Some claim they are just your imagination, and some say they are part of the new cultish group who recently moved into town. One person even goes as far to name them “Dust Devils“!”

With no support on Kickstarter, Renegade Kid possibly tried to find a publisher for Cult County, but without success. After releasing Moon Chronicles and Dementium Remastered on Nintendo 3DS, in August 2016 Renegade Kid announced that it was shutting down. It’s currently unknown if Cult County could be resurrected in the future, but if so we could see it from Infitizmo, the new team created by former Renegade Kid cofounder Gregg Hargrove.

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Spectac (Cauldron) [Xbox 360, PS3, PC – Cancelled]

Spectac was an ambitious cancelled project that was being developed in 2004/2005 by Slovakian studio Cauldron. It was planned to be a prequel to Cauldron’s 2003 game Chaser: a futuristic First Person Shooter similar to Red Faction in tone, set in a time when humanity has successfully colonized Mars. Spectac in turn was to be set before these events, dealing with the hunt for a terrorist group threatening to unleash a viral weapon on the world, and the team tasked with putting an end to their plans.

From what we can tell, Spectac was to be a stealth-action affair, very inspired by other espionage and military-science stealth series such as Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell, but played from a first-person perspective. And like in the latter franchise, the player was to make heavy use of sound and shadows for things such as masking their actions or distracting enemies, along with a strong emphasis on climbing, swimming, and other means of infiltration.

Players would have been helped by other team members, in a feature that would show some inspiration from the Rainbow Six or SWAT series. This would add a strategic element of choosing what individual skill sets would be useful in each mission and what paths they would open. This would in turn allow for greater replayability, as not only could a level play out differently depending on what team members are present, but one could also step in their shoes and play from their perspective. A sniper and a security expert/hacker, named Isis and Evac, respectively, would also be available to help the player at all times.

The engine that had powered Chaser (CloakNT) had been upgraded, and its 2.0 version allowed for many innovative features. The Havok physics engine had been integrated as well, and Cauldron was ready to take full advantage of their new technology by allowing for extensive interaction with the environment in Spectac. For example, to use a simple numeric keypad or keyboard, the player would have to physically move the character’s hand in order to press the individual buttons. The same approach would be used if they needed to swipe a keycard to open a door, or use a mouse at a computer terminal, and so on.

The hand-to-hand combat would apparently also use this system to some degree, with different techniques such as neutralizing an enemy by choking or pistol-whipping requiring active player interaction.

Graphically, the game was to take visuals to the next level as well. The geometry was now much more complex, allowing for more detailed models. In conjunction with the aforementioned first person interaction, the lighting would have offered a great deal of immersion as well, filling the levels with dynamic shadows. Spectac looked a bit like F.E.A.R. another game that became known for its rich lighting and physics interaction, developed by Monolith and released in 2005. In addition, missions in Spectact were to take place in locations heavily inspired by real-life landmarks, such as the Hoover Dam.

All of this, however, seemed to be just a little too much for Cauldron. Spectac was conceived as a possible next-gen title to be released on PC and the then-upcoming PS3 and Xbox 360 platforms, but apparently even the most powerful computers of the time were struggling to run it in 2004. Possibly for this reason, the project was eventually abandoned some time around 2005, after being deemed too ambitious, and never entering full production.

Cauldron themselves would infamously continue on to create lower budget games in a partnership with the Activision Value publishing brand, such as Soldier Of Fortune: Payback and a string of hunting-themed and war-themed First Person Shooters for the Cabela’s and History Channel brands, respectively. We know the team also worked on the cancelled Project Revolution and Seven Days, before being acquired by Bohemia Interactive in 2014 and renamed to Bohemia Interactive Slovakia.

Article by António Pedro Pinto

Thanks to Chris and Piotr for the contribution!

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