Wildman (Gas Powered Games) [PC – Cancelled]

Wildman is a cancelled action/Real-Time Strategy/Role-Playing hybrid game developed by Gas Powered Games around 2012-2013 exclusively for the PC.

The game was set 200,000 years ago, in an alternate prehistory where animals and insects had evolved like humans towards civilization and technology as well as magic. You play as the Wildman (or Wildwoman) with the aim of conquering the various enemy civilizations that you were going to encounter.

It was officially revealed on January 14, 2013, with the launch of its Kickstarter as an “evolutionary” Action RPG”. Here is what we could read as main features:

“Wildman delivers an action-role-playing experience that only a developer like Gas Powered Games can deliver. Think of it as a spiritual successor to our classic PC game Dungeon Siege, with a twist.

This is what Wildman is all about:

Explore the World: Go on RPG Adventures in amazing and epic environments; discover secret dungeons; fight battles against rampaging hordes of monsters; find and equip new weapons and armor.

Evolve or Die: Steal technology from your defeated opponents and use it against them in future battles.

Smash and Destroy: Advanced physics and destructible environments deliver highly visceral (and bloody) combat.

Go to War: Build your army and fight against opposing champions armies for great rewards in hand-crafted War Zones.

Imagine a game where you control a single hero—the “Wildman”—dropped into the middle of a War Zone. The battle starts. Your own army begins to engage the approaching enemy.

You support your troops with your own combat abilities and skills. You shape-shift into new forms that grant you new abilities. You upgrade your armies with new technology. You construct defenses. Your opponent switches tactics; you reconfigure your army to counter.

You push the enemy back to their citadel, their home base. You face your opponent’s champion. You each rally your troops for support. You execute your special abilities with precision. Your opponent is devastated.

You survey the battlefield: the bodies strewn on the ground, the trees burned down and smoldering, the buildings turned to rubble. You collect your rewards. You evolve.

Victory is yours. For now.

Now imagine that between these War Zone battles you can go on role-playing adventures. You can explore fantastical environments. You can discover ancient dungeons full of mystery and treasure. You can earn new skills. You can discover and equip new weapons and armor. You can collect materials. You can craft new items. You can fight relentless onslaughts of men and monsters.

Wildman has fast-paced combat and deep role-playing that rewards strategic thinking. The more you play, the greater your power.

Wildman represents the union of our experience working on pure RPG and RTS games, and we’re pulling some of the best features from our past games into the Wildman experience.

From Dungeon Siege: The core action-RPG experience. Equip weapons and gear, cast spells. Fight monsters. Level-up. Find loot.

From Supreme Commander: The core RTS experience. Create armies. Explore a tech tree that lets you customize your hero and armies. Adjust your strategy on-the-fly.

From Demigod: You don’t fight alone in Wildman. Waves of allies fight alongside you in the War Zones as you push the battle ahead, seize key control points, and destroy the enemy citadels.

Wildman is exciting because it’s something new, but it’s also reminiscent of these games we’ve made and loved. We want to make this game, and we have the right people to do it.”

The same day, PCGamesN got more information by interviewing Chris Taylor who was lead designer on the project:

“The battles against other tribes and races will be a combination of MOBA gameplay, where you steer your hero around the battlefield killing creeps and acquiring resource, and RTS mechanics as you spend those resources on buildings and advanced units. While your spawn buildings will naturally create cannon fodder at whatever is the baseline tech level of your tribe, you can also spend gold to churn out advanced units like catapults or powerful longbowmen instead of the basic archers. These forces will spawn for as long as your gold holds out, so you can basically control where and when to start launching more powerful creep waves.

“When you defeat [the enemy], your quest reward is to pluck one of their technologies from them,” Taylor said. “So it’s got kind of a Civilization vibe. It can be passive technology, where it applies to everyone, and as soon as you get it you’ve got it across the board. Or it could be active technology where it could be… complex catapults. They’re expensive, so we can’t just turn them out by the hundreds.”

Taylor wants the war zone combat to be intense. He wants players to be turning off the ringer on their phones and sitting on the edge of their seat. But he also wants players to be able to relax after the battle with an adventure.

“Think Dungeon Siege or Diablo. But this is more of an overland adventure. You’re travelling, expanding out into the world. The battles are not as frequent, it doesn’t feel like you’re just going from whacking skull after skull, like some sort of zombie apocalypse where they’re just standing around waiting for you to come along and pop ‘em on the head. That’s almost arcade. We want a little less arcade, we want a little more sense that you really are adventuring.”

Gas Powered are asking for $1.1 million, though obviously they hope for more. Taylor says that GPG have already spent close over a million dollars just laying the groundwork for Wildman, and there are a number of features they would love to include if they achieve greater funding, like PvP multiplayer. But at its heart, Wildman is a single-player game with co-op focused multiplayer.”

However, only four days after the launch of the crowdfunding campaign, Gas Powered Games was forced to lay off 40 employees following an increasingly difficult financial situation, as we can read on Kotaku. Asking the backers if he had to continue the campaign, Chris Taylor spoke that the course of the Kickstarter would decide the fate of the studio on Gamasutra:

“The studio is still operating, but we had to slim WAY down to conserve cash reserves,” studio head Chris Taylor confirmed to Gamasutra, following earlier reports from Kotaku. As Taylor told us earlier this week, the studio is betting all it has on Wildman, and has little funds left to continue operating. “We spent all the last dough that we’ve had, and the last several months working on it. So we’re betting the company on it,” he said.”

Sadly, on February 11, the studio decided to cancel the Kickstarter after collecting 504,120 US$ on a goal of 1 100 000 US$, cancelling Wildman in the process. Still on Kotaku, we could read:

“Greetings Kickstarters.

We have some news today. We are canceling the Wildman Kickstarter.

At this point, it makes sense for us to focus our attention on other ways to keep Gas Powered Games running. Unfortunately, we are unable to share any specifics in public. When we have news to share, we will be posting it on our site. If you want status updates, or if you want to continue discussing Wildman and/or this Kickstarter, please consider migrating over to forums.gaspowered.com.

We are profoundly grateful to those of you who backed this project and Gas Powered Games. Your passion and hard work put us in a position to write this exciting new chapter in the history of GPG.”

A few days later, Gas Powered Games was bought by Wargaming and was becoming Wargaming Seattle. The studio was shut down on July 22, 2018.

Wildman looked quite interesting, though, sadly, we will never get a chance to play it. Currently, Chris Taylor worked on it’s new game, Intergalactic Space Empire, within his new company Kanoogi.




Parabellum (Acony Games) [PC, PS3, Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

Parabellum is a cancelled Free to Play multiplayer First-Person Shooter developed from 2005 to 2010 by Acony Games and published by K2 Network, for the PC alongside, for a while, potential Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions. Set in 2018, the game was about two factions, terrorist organization named “The Syndicate” and the counterterrorist forces (The CTF), fighting on maps based on districts from New York City. The project was first showed at the Games Convention 2006, where Gamespot was able to see it in action:

For starters, the city that the Delta Force is attempting to save in Parabellum comprises 12 distinct maps arranged on a grid with industrial, commercial, and residential themes. At the start of each timed campaign game, the terrorist players will get to choose which map they want to plant the bomb in, and then it’s up to the Delta Force to find it. The time limit that you choose for the game should determine how many of the city’s maps are in play, though this won’t necessarily happen automatically. After a campaign gets underway, the Delta Force players will need to defeat the terrorists on the current map before getting to choose which adjacent map to fight them on next, as they continue their search for the bomb. If the terrorists win a map, the same one will be played again–eating away at the Delta Force’s time limit.

When the Delta Force team chooses a new map, they’ll find that each one can be played from four different starting points (or in four different directions, if you prefer), so although there will only ever be 12 maps that need to be searched, there are 48 different gameplay experiences available. If the terrorist players correctly guess which map the Delta Force will choose to move into after winning a game, they’ll have an opportunity to spawn early and set up an ambush for the good guys.

The first map that we got to see the Delta Force scouring was from the city’s industrial zone and incorporated a building site and what appeared to be a factory of some description. When bullets started flying around the rain-soaked level, we noticed that practically every object in the nicely detailed environment appeared to be destructible to some degree, including a water tower high above the ground that leaked out of bullet holes when it was shot.

The destructibility of the maps will have a noticeable impact on gameplay in Parabellum, not only because you’ll be able to destroy items that could provide cover, but also because one of the three different ammo types available to you is capable of shooting clean through up to 20 meters of wall. To show us how this might be useful, the Acony representative who was demoing the game fired off a few rounds at a wall that he suspected an enemy might be hiding behind. It might also have been possible to take out the enemy by shooting from around a corner, since Parabellum supports ricocheting bullets, but it seemed like most of the projectiles ended up splashing harmlessly into puddles when this feature was demonstrated.

After watching a couple of fast-paced battles on the industrial map, we had an opportunity to check out a very different one set inside a large subway station–complete with deadly moving trains. After exploring the map for a while and showing off its impressive level of detail, the Acony player found the nuclear bomb and disarmed it.

Parabellum currently supports up to 32 players simultaneously, but the maps have apparently all been designed with six-on-six battles in mind at this point. Based on the two maps that we saw, we’d say that slightly larger groups of players shouldn’t pose any problems, but a full roster of 32 would almost certainly make the game feel a bit overcrowded.

One of Parabellum’s features that we didn’t get to see in action is the weapon-selection screen, which we understand you’ll use to customize your arsenal before each round. In addition to ammo, range, and rate-of-fire considerations, you’ll need to bear in mind the weight of the weapons you choose, since heavier options will purportedly slow down your movement quite noticeably.

However, after this presentation, the title went silent for nearly two whole years, with the exception to a couple of screenshots published by Acony from time to time. Parabellum was eventually showed again in September 2008 to Gamesradar:

(…) Powered by the Unreal Engine 3, coats of physics, lighting, and animation tech color its two main modes: a non-linear campaign and team deathmatch. We’re trying out the former, a scenario that sees us (and our four counter-terrorist teammates), with just 10 minutes to stop a nuke in New York. But before we can cut wires dramatically, we have to complete our immediate objective: disarming/planting/rescuing stuff of lesser value. So far, still so Counter-Strike. A first map takes us just a few minutes.

Quickly, we’re progressing through different maps, attacking additional objectives. The aim is to keep campaigns, like the rounds, brief. At the moment, they’re somewhere between 10 and 40 minutes, with the map list differing depending on which campaign you select. It’s not long before we’re running the final map, disarming the big, bad nuke that wants to blow the Big Apple’s house down.

Just before its launch into closed beta, Acony signed a deal with K2 Network in March 2009, planning to host the game on their Gamersfirst portal:

GamersFirst, a service of K2 Network and one of today’s most popular free2play online game destinations, announces Parabellum, a brand new Free2Play massive multiplayer online First persons Shooter.

“Parabellum will set the standard of what to expect from Free2Play games,” said David Demers, Associate Producer of Parabellum. “Bringing quality Triple-A titles to the Free-to-Play market raises the bar for all and sets GamersFirst apart from the rest.”

Set in a world in a not too distant future, the privatization of global military forces has created highly profitable opportunities for ex-soldiers, mercenaries and adventurers. Gamers must choose their alignments carefully to survive. You must join forces with one of the two foremost covert reconnaissance organizations in the world. The CTF; an organization avowed to keeping anarchy at bay, or the Syndicate; a legion of bloodthirsty rebels bent on destruction and chaos. Each of them are solicited by the C.I.N. a Global Mercenary Network that provides contract missions to each of these factions who vie against one another with the fate of the World as the ultimate prize.

Unfortunately, after going into closed beta, then into public beta during the course of 2009, the development of the game seems to have slowed down before being stopped in October 2010, when K2 Network announced that they were withdrawing from the game:

The Unreal Engine 3-based free-to-play first person shooter Parabellum is now without a US-based publisher. GamersFirst, who announced plans to publish the game back in 2009, have now posted up a note on the company’s message board that, “{developer) Acony and GamersFirst have mutually agreed to stop operating Parabellum on gamersfirst.com. Further information will be made available at a later date.”

The modern day-themed first person shooter also appears to be AWOL on the game’s own web site. The site currently seems to be in a design holding pattern. The game’s official message boards also don’t offer much in terms of development updates.

Parabellum was canceled soon after this announcement.

After Parabellum’s cancellation, Acony will go on Bullet Run, another Free to Play multiplayer First-Person Shooter, which used assets and design ideas initially made for Parabellum. The game was met with negative reception by the press and Acony was soon forced to shutdown their operations, alongside the servers of Bullet Run.




Aries (First Eye Interactive) [PC – Cancelled]

Aries is a cancelled Free to Play futuristic sci-fi Massively Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter developed from 2010 to 2012 at least, by First Eye Interactive, exclusively for the PC. The game was officially revealed during Spring 2012 on Kickstarter:

The game takes place during Earth’s destruction the human race began an expedition to a new habitable planet they could call home. However, they were detoured during their travels and crashed landed on an unknown planet soon named Aries. During their time on Aries, civil rivalry between ranks broke out and sides were chosen on who should lead. Earth survivors soon realize many of their own technologies were found on Aries and a bigger story for the destruction of Earth starts to surface. The objective now for survival is to find resources to help rebuild the survival ships and to get back on course to the second Earth in the mean time surviving the dangers that Aries presents to Earth’s survivors.

Aries is a massive multiplayer online game filled with the latest weapons and vehicles. Players will be able to dictate their own reputation through weapon choice, class abilities and profession. Play as several class abilities that are unique in there own ways from Special Forces, Sniper, Naturalist, Artillery, Engineer, Medic, Spy, and many more to master in the world of Aries; not only will there be hundreds of weapons you can choose from, there will also be vehicles, alien domestic creatures  that can be driven or ridden. You will have to use your skills and wits with strategic tactics to do well. To avoid getting conquered in the player versus player in this game you should go through the top secret missions and raid missions.

Aries brings amazing scenery and destructive scenarios from town battles to remote locations hidden in the forest and jungles. Players will need to know what the advantages and disadvantages of weapons, vehicles and professions.

Team strategy and tactics is a major key to this game. Squad leaders will be able to call all the shots, call out enemy movements, and call in supplies, reinforcements, air support and artillery. You will need to use each team’s profession tactically when in battle

Gaining rank in Aries will bring you more rewards and influence with the side you choose. Gain General status and become your leaders go to unit. Rank can provide better missions for better rewards. Develop bases to be known in Aries and for refugees to seek out for safety. Establish your own special unit to be known in the world of Aries and build your own base to defend.

Aries will be operating on the Unreal 3 engine – a stable and proven medium for games with breathtaking visuals and visceral combat. Players will be able to experience both First and Third-Person Shooter gameplay, made possible by the Unreal 3 engine. This allows player to enjoy a combat experience similar to hit games like Mass Effect or Gears of War.

Aries’ game world is one of mysterious alien ruins, monstrous creatures, and inhospitable jungles. First Eye Interactive is committed to creating a game that is both accessible and incredibly immersive. Aries will achieve cinematic quality in both visual interaction and sound design. Players will be amazed by a lifelike and realistic world they can interact with in ways that have not been explored in other contemporary MMOs. Collision detection, visual degradation and destruction of both environments and items is all possible with Unreal Technology.

However, their first crowdfunding campaign didn’t work, the project only collecting 951 U.S.$ on a total sum of 275.000 U.S.$, Nonetheless, another Kickstarter campaign was launched by First Eye:

Does not look like we will reach our goal. However, I will repost ad at a lower amount to work on things in phases.

During this second crowdfunding campaign, some more information regarding the background had been shared:

Faction Choice

Choose the side of Solace, Kyridian, and Ghost. These legendary leaders from the old world Earth have their own plans to help protect the survival of the human race.


Solace is a man of action. For him, power is directly correlated with brute strength and the iron fist. Solace forces tend to exhibit many of his traits. Combat forces can acquire heavier armor than their alter-faction counterparts, and all Solace’s troops have access to weaponry that can pack a serious punch.


Doctor Kyridian’s forces make up a more gruesome side of war. He has embraced the art of biological and surgical enhancement to make his forces more powerful. Though the extremes of his experiments have led many to suspect that his mind has crossed into madness, no one can argue his results. Kyridian troops are bioengineered super soldiers, enhanced and modified to fill their roles perfectly. Doctor Kyridian uses an amazing array of implants, prosthetics, bio-engines and chemicals to increase performance


Ghost’s troops are true to their nature, they are ghosts. Lethal and deadly assassins preferring to strike from the shadows and disappear just as quickly. They use their stealth as a tactical advantage over bombarding their enemy in open combat. Ghost’s forces tend to use highly coordinated strikes to disable and dismember their enemies.Ghost forces tend to shy away from heavy or clumsy armor and focus on training and equipment that aids them in fighting with smart tactics versus pure brawn.

First Eye also planned this time to launch the title first on mobile devices, then, eventually, on PC.

However, it was another fail, the title collected this time 437 U.S.$ on a total of 10.000 U.S.$. Despite this second attempt, developer announced that they planned a third campaign:

We thank you so much for your support. We are not stopping development at all. We will open up another Kickstarter page soon. However, we want to get a lot of our followers aware of our facebook page and twitter page. Check us out there to get up-to-date info every week. New art work and information about the game.

However, it didn’t materialize and the last glimpse about the game was on November 2012 on the project’s Facebook profile. Since then, main developer Derrick Smith turned into a fantasy author and has written two books.



The Amazing Eternals [PC – Cancelled]

The Amazing Eternals (formerly known as Keystone) is a cancelled Free-to-Play sci-fi team-based multiplayer online first-person shooter and cards game hybrid developed and published by Digital Extremes, from 2015 to 2017, exclusively for PC. It used collectible cards to determine the character’s additional abilities during a match and included deck-building for customized gameplay.

Players was traveling through a 1970s-themed “multiverse” represented by a virtual game board with decks of cards that confered special bonuses, powers, and weapons. The game moved into closed beta in September 2017 with a total of 6 playable characters named Eternals:

Winter – A ruthless Carythian bounty hunter, the most infamous in the galaxy. Rumored to have assassinated the King of the Cosmos, he rarely rejects a job.

As word spread of the arrival of alien heroes into his reality, whispers of a galactic prophecy began to circulate. Winter is now contracted to track down and stop the rebel scientist responsible.

Winter, Skirmisher specializes in intense frontline combat. With a well-timed Red Vora stim, he stabilizes his health and jump starts regeneration, keeping him in the fight.

Nautica – Shipwrecked at the age of five she survived on her own, clinging to the debris of her ship for weeks on end. Found and rescued by the World Turtle, Nautica grew up with the colorful residents who lived on her protector’s back.

Imbued with the powers of the ocean, and trained by powerful water elementals, Nautica has returned to save the planet and heal the world.

Nautica, Sea Star calls forth a giant, shimmering sea star to shower allies with healing water.

Ray – Mission Specialist Raymond Windstone: Astronaut. Mechanic. Nozzle enthusiast.

Four-time “Action Science” Magazine”s Man of the Year, Ray is a man out of time. Pulled from his reality by mysterious forces and facing danger on the fringes of known space his wit and mechanical skills keep him alive… and looking good doing it.

Ray, Combat Engineer supports ally positions with a Pulse Turret, putting additional pressure on enemy forces or just causing a clever distraction.

Niia – A resourceful huntress. Surviving in the harsh desert wastes, she’s become a master marksman and tracker out of necessity. Spending almost her entire life alone she drifts between settlements taking odd and often unsavoury jobs that suit her particular set of skills. She has never lost a quarry and has never missed a shot. Charging her bow increases effectiveness. She also uses a Ritual Spear, an ancient family heirloom.

Her unnatural talents may stem from her ability to attune her spirit to those of her ancestors, calling on them in times of need.

Niia, Elusive Trapper throws a slowing trap that makes enemies easier targets. Can help Niia evade pursuers. Her Haunt ability tracks and exposes targets.

Bristle – A creature of myth; a manifestation of pure primal terror.

Folktales tell of Bristle taking children in the dark of night when nothing stirs, their bones discovered years later, meters from where they had entered the forest.

He comes for you: a creature born of your fear of the forgotten places. A ravenous legend.

Lumbering. Hungering. Pitiless. Starving for the nourishment of your blood, and bone.

Bristle, Bark Wall springs forth a dense woodland barrier that blocks pathways and sightlines, allowing allies a safe place to take cover.

Dread – Grotesque and vile, Dread is both a monstrosity of creation and a marvel of science. After a series of forbidden experiments to resurrect the dead a husband and wife team, to their great misfortune, discovered the secret of eternal life.

A horrible accident crippled Anabel, killed her husband and leveled their lab. Years later, obsessed and mad with grief Anabel, harnessing the blackest of machinery and unholy electricity, honored their work by reanimating her husband; but what came back was something else. Something… not him.

Dread, Havoc Bag throws a volatile contraption that explodes with electric fury, dealing damage and disabling enemy devices for a short time.

But unfortunately, the game was quickly put on-hold on October 27th, 2017, less than two months after lauching into beta, as we can read on MCV:

“After many discussions internally on the state of The Amazing Eternals, we have decided to hit the pause button on development at this time,” a Digital Extremes statement confirmed. “This decision didn’t come lightly. We worked hard to make a game that we are proud to say was shaping up to have great potential.

“However, we took an honest look at the current gaming landscape and how the game was performing in Closed Beta. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t attracting players fast enough to support a viable matchmaking player base with the current game design direction, which is the lifeblood of this type of game. So, with heavy hearts, we’re taking a step back to reevaluate the design and may revisit our intrepid heroes in the future.”

The game was announced last spring and only received its official name in August. It was to be a free-to-play multiplayer “hero shooter”. Early footage had a whiff of Overwatch about it, but it certainly boasted its own style, leaning into a 1960/70s aesthetic.

Some months later, on July 9th, 2018, Meridith Braun shared to PCGamesN more information on why they decided to pull the plug on the project:

“A lot of things were converging at the same time then and what we realised was that it was the right game at the wrong time. The competitive landscape at that time was pretty hefty. We just saw LawBreakers not do so great, and it was a fantastic game, so that was sad. That happened right when we were starting our closed beta for Amazing Eternals.”

LawBreakers got plenty of negative publicity around its release, but it was directed more at the game’s low player count than its actual quality. The game reviewed well enough, and the few players it had seemed to enjoy sticking with it, though it wasn’t enough to compete against the likes of Overwatch and the rising tide of battle royale. At the time, director Cliff Bleszinski pointed to Warframe as an example of a game able to escape low player counts.

At around the same time, Digital Extremes announced the Plains of Eidolon expansion. Braun says “that really blew up and doubled the numbers on Warframe, and suddenly that became the resource hog that we hadn’t realised.”

“We weren’t seeing the traction we had hoped for in the closed beta, and weighing that against the success of Plains of Eidolon it just made good business sense to pour those resources back into Warframe.” Thus, The Amazing Eternals was cancelled. “It was a hard decisions but it was the right decision at that time.”

But the developers aren’t giving up entirely on launching a new game.

“I think we’ll try again, but I don’t know when.”

Today, Digital Extremes is still around and kicking, thanks to the huge success of Warframe, whose last expansion was released on September 7th, 2022. On July 2022, they announced a brand new game called Soulframe, alongside a game developed by Airship Syndicate that they will publish.



Twilight War : After the Fall [PC – Cancelled]

Twilight War : After the Fall is a cancelled futuristic post-apocalyptic Massively Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter developed by Smiling Gator Productions, then General Computers Inc, from 2003 to 2007 at least, exclusively for the PC. As we can read on the old defunct website, the game took place in 2296 after a cataclysmic catastrophe called “the fall” by the survivors have wiped out most civilizations from the planet. It was pretty similar to the Fallout series.

Twilight War: After the Fall is an Extreme Online Roleplaying Game (XORG): a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) with an integrated First Person Shooter (FPS) style combat system, where thousands of online players come together in an expansive and immersive three dimensional world. Twilight War takes place on a unique world where vast areas of the planet have been reformed following a catastrophe of cataclysmic proportions called The Fall by survivors.

Some areas of the World remain relatively untouched, but the ravaged areas are mixtures of wastelands, wilderness, mutant and alien biology. Nomad tribes, lawless brigands, and mutants roam the ruined Outlands, and in the darker places twisted animals and horrible creatures prowl. Bioengineered creatures and mutants resulting from radiation make the world dangerous to traverse. The remnants of Human civilization are scattered and divided both by vast stretches of wilderness, and by ideological rifts.

Another race lives alongside the remaining Humans, a dying alien race desperate to find a new home world. The Skel came with advanced technology, genetically manipulated warriors, and the will to conquer. These aliens lurk in the wilderness, adding to the danger.

Seek shelter and a more orderly existence in the pockets of civilization that remain, or explore kilometers of wild Outlands and ruined cities. Find, buy, or create a vehicle to suit your needs – but remember that fuel and spare parts are rare. Find and train, or purchase, a mount – more vulnerable than a vehicle but more affordable and nearly self-sustaining. Think you have the perfect high tech rifle? It is the bullets that are sometimes hard to obtain. Battle among the ruins against creatures and brigands. Scavenge Pre-Fall materials and sell them for a profit. Join an allegiance and fight against their enemies, or remain neutral and indifferent to everyone but yourself.

There are four types of character associations in the game – factions, alliances, allegiances and clans.

Factions refer to in-game groups of associated characters, such as the Silics or the Hell Riders. Factions are not player-controlled entities, though player activity can influence them. Every character has a faction rating with each of the factions, based on many factors such as race (Human or Mutant), how many of the faction members they have slain or wounded, and the results of faction-based missions that they choose and complete. How other characters react to you is based on your faction rating with them, as well as on your actions (if you shoot a friendly character, you take negative faction hits and the character may defend themselves or run away).

All characters start the game “neutral,” though faction ratings are adjusted based on whether or not the character is a Human or Mutant. Characters can eventually join an alliance, if they like. To declare allegiance to a faction, characters work toward the common goals of the faction. For example, to become a member of the Silic Republic, one would take Silic missions, hunt down and destroy Silic enemies, or exterminate local nuisance creatures. Once a character declares an allegiance to a faction, they can gain faction ranks, which in turn allow the character to use special faction items, take special faction-only missions, provides access to faction-only areas, own property on faction land, etc.

Characters can only join one faction at a time, though you can nullify your allegiance and join a new one after a period of time – but beware! Leaving a faction will to some degree hurt your faction rating with your former friends. Also, if your faction rating drops below a certain point, you may find yourself forcibly removed from your faction!

Clans are player-created and controlled entities like you find in any MMORPG. A clan can be formed by player characters wanting to make their own in-game community. The clan leader’s character determines what kind of other characters can join the clan. Members of enemy or warring factions will not be able to join, and if an existing clan member’s faction rating drops far enough, they could be automatically ejected from the clan. Though clans are player-created and controlled, they still have to abide by faction restrictions. If your faction ratings are neutral enough, you will probably be able to join any clan. If a clan becomes large and influential, they may have an impact on the in-game factions and story plot.

Using the Source Engine, development was progressing quite well during the first two years and Smiling Gator’s members Matthew Simmons and Kingsley Montgomery were interviewed on RPG Vault:

R.A.: What is the game’s basic underlying concept or premise, and what are the core gameplay elements we can expect?

K.M.: Twilight War takes place in Earth’s future, with a virtual environment encompassing over 1,000 square kilometers of total terrain on release, with plenty of expansion space. In the late 21st century, a recently united Earth is devastated by a war with an alien race called the Skel, a war that, over the course of several years, utterly destroys civilization and most of Earth’s inhabitants. Two centuries after this Doomsday War, remnants of humanity, a new breed of biogenetically and radioactively altered mutants, and the descendants of the Skel fight to survive in a hostile world. Skirmishes are fought over scavenging rights in the skeletal remains of once great cities, and over the limited resources and remaining technology that litter the landscape. Exploration and scavenging will be a large part of the game. There will be far fewer resources compared to most games, so in many ways the game will be a quest for resources.

R.A.: How much of a backstory and story element are you planning, and to what extent will the latter be ongoing?

K.M.: The setting takes place in 2296, 200 years after the Doomsday War and The Fall destroyed human civilization. A number of survivor factions have emerged to stake their claims on the remaining resources and hidden technology left behind. Player characters can join many of these factions, and fight for their supremacy, or choose to remain aloof and forge their own destiny in the wastelands.

R.A.: Aside from post-apocalyptic settings being relatively uncommon, how do you intend for Twilight War to differ from other upcoming online worlds?

K.M.: First, the combat system will be a true merging of RPG and FPS – you will point and shoot, and move more like you do in a shooter game, but the effectiveness of your attacks will be partially based on your character’s skill with the weapon. We are also going for realism and depth – there will be complete systems for encumbrance, item decay, economics, item modification and exploration.

R.A.: Will the gameworld be varied in terms of having different types of terrain and architecture? And what means of travel will be available to cover long distances?

M.S.: The world will be large and diverse, with areas of alien forests, volcanoes, seas, wastelands, old battlegrounds and ruined cities. Travel and exploration will come in many forms. Players will be able to train and own mounts, and find and modify vehicles, each with advantages and disadvantages. Driving an armored buggy may be superior to riding a destrier, until you run out of gas or blow a tire in the middle of the wastelands! Most long distance travel is expected to involve mounts and vehicles, since there will be encumbrance restrictions placed on carrying items. But there are also skills that allow the adventurous types to live off the land and explore areas inaccessible to vehicles and most mounts.

R.A.: Just how combat-oriented will the gameplay be, and what are your primary goals what will obviously be a pretty major element?

K.M.: The game is highly combat-oriented. The future is all about survival. This also plays into the FPS-style combat system, which will make combat very intense. There are many reasons to fight other than outright survival. You may choose a faction and fight for its ideals. You may fight over scavenging rights, fuel, ammunition or that fine-looking, partially rusted 2291 model year sedan that still has a working fuel cell engine. You may fight over drugs, or you may fight to destroy a nest of energy vipers to make the nearby village a safer place. You may also take bounties out on Outlaw player characters.

R.A.: What kinds of computer-controlled enemies will players encounter? Will they face a large assortment, and what are some interesting examples?

K.M.: Outlander vagrants, biker gangs, wasteland wanderers, bandits, brigands, slavers, drug runners, cannibals and faction soldiers will be some of the main challenges you will meet. There are also many creatures, most of which are either alien in origin or the descendants of 21st century genetic engineering, which was all the rage before The Fall. One such creature is the Colossus, which is about the size of a house. Another is the Smilodon, one of several prehistoric animals recreated originally to entertain the masses but who now more often prey on the masses!

R.A.: At this point in development, what can you tell us about weapons, armor, items in general, how they” be acquired and how important they’ll be?

K.M.: Weapons and armor are very important. There will be everything from scale mail to advanced composite power armor, from crossbows to plasma weapons, as some of the survivor cultures have more tech capability than others. Most equipment will be usable halfway up the skill progression tree. Most of the advanced equipment will be rare, and it will need expensive maintenance. Equipment can be acquired many ways – through spoils of combat, scavenging in ruins, rewards for completed missions, trading with other characters – player characters and NPCs – and as a reward for faction service.

M.S.: Also, all items will degrade with use. Keeping the game world from filling up with tens of thousands of items is one of our goals, and maintaining equipment to keep it from falling apart fits with the genre. This will also help to maintain a realistic in-game economy, so there will never be a glut of something and most everything will have some value.

Unfortunately, troubles occured on January 3rd, 2006 with the closure of Smiling Gator:

Unfortunately, the end of 2005 is also the end of SGP’s development effort for Twilight War. Our committed funds have run dry and we were not successful in the hunt for additional investment. Thanks again to our fantastic forums community for all the support and contributions! We hope you find another project and give them the devotion and incisive comments we’ve enjoyed reading for the past 17 months.

Only a month later, a new developer was found to help completing Twilight War, the Chinese studio General Computers:

We are very pleased to announce that Smiling Gator has concluded an agreement to license the Twilight War concept and sub-license Valve’s Source engine to a new partner company, General Computers, to fund and continue development on our behalf.

General Computers is an independent information technology vendor with offices in Long Island, NY and Beijing, China. Founded in March 2001 to build customized IT products, it is rapidly growing and expanding into new areas. The agreement with Smiling Gator marks the company’s entry into the gaming world.

Following this announcement, Gamecloud got in touch with General Computers president Junhua Chang in order to know a bit more:

GC – How did the deal to continue work on Twilight War come about?

J.C. – After we have made the decision to enter the area of game development in early 2005, we have investigated several ways to start our new business. One of the first thoughts came to our minds was to develop a MMORPG using Valve’s Source Engine. Since Valve’s huge success with Half Life 2, a new MMORPG employing Valve’s technology would be a natural choice for Half Life 2 fans if they want to meet lots of people and play large-scale online games. We wanted to be the first company in the world to make this happen. However, after some closer investigation, we were very frustrated that somebody else (Smiling Gator Productions) already had the same idea (Twilight War: After The Fall). However, things totally changed when the year 2006 came, and SGP announced the discontinuation of Twilight War. We made the decision the same week to partner with SGP and continue the original idea.

GC – Does General Computers have plans to change the game play of Twilight War or does it intend to continue to stay the game’s course?

J.C. – Smiling Gator Productions has contributed many original ideas and content to the project, and we certainly want to continue to stay on the game’s original course. However, because of the dynamic nature of MMORPG, there will be some modifications and we will implement some new features when it’s necessary.

GC – When does General Computers plan to announce more about their plans for Twilight War?

J.C. – We are currently investigating the existing content and source code, so it will be about 1 or 2 months before we can get up to speed and contribute any original work. We plan to push a playable version monthly for internal testing purposes once we start to add more content, so there will be monthly updates and new screenshots starting from as early as April 2006.

But the game still went silent for a whole year, and it seems from this point on, that a closed beta was launched around 2007. However, Twilight War quietly vanished and was never mentionned again thereafter. We can speculate that something went wrong during the development, and General Computers had to take the decision to cancel the title. The very short gameplay sequence available below was from 2008, the beta could have been playable at least until that year.