PC / MAC

Adellion (MMORPG) [PC – Cancelled]

Adellion was a medieval MMORPG set in a world of the same name, in development by HonourBound, a British company. Development started with a full team in 2000 and ended in 2010. The first engine used for Adellion was a custom engine designed by the team but later they switched to Torque 3d by Garage Games.

The team consisted of a group of approximately 12 writers as well as artists, programmers and a project manager: all of them were working for a share of the profit when the game would release. Lore was important for the game and it was the main framework for the stories created by players. Role-play was central for the online community and in-game mechanics were created to support role play. Players could choose from six factions as well as a neutral multicultural city, Caeril.

These factions were: Aethans, Dalmites, Drulons, Sakoians, Salanians and Tarians. All of these factions were humans and there were no fantasy races appearing in the game. Each group had its own traditions and history, along with specific strengths and weakness. For example, a desert dwelling Sakoian would be more comfortable in hot dry climate than in wet swampy climate of the Drulons. These traits would affect players stamina and other stats. Food and drink also influenced characters’ stamina.

In the world’s lore these different cultures were either allies or enemies. The main story began during a major conflict when people took sides. The actions of players could change the outcome of the war: skirmishes could be fought, supply lines could be attacked, and even realms’ borders could change. Players could only choose one character per server to avoid using a second characters to pass sensitive information between factions of the same server.

In an early interview, Adellion was described by a developer:

“Adellion is a very different world to the current crop of massively multiplayer online games out there. We’ve tried to make the world as realistic as possible; we want players to feel like the world they are in could exist in real life. Our main focus is to get the players involved in the world, to make them feel like they are making a difference. To that end, the whole of Adellion can change through player actions – they can take over towns, wipe out cultures and make peace with one another if that is what they wish to do.”

The game evolved as time went by becoming more and more focused on role play and less on strategy. However, PvP was an important part of the game. Perma-death is another feature which was planned to be implemented in the game, to made players think wisely about their actions.

Gameplay mechanics included a skill-based system with no levels. Players could choose many different skill to shape up their character and a daily skill-capping system limited players from spending all their time grinding. Players housing was planned to be included into the final game, as well as the ability to hire NPCs for specific tasks, including let them work as shopkeepers and as troops in combat. Well feed NPCs would work harder than those who were neglected.

Developers gave away beta keys to about 1000 players early during development, but time frame was underestimated and Adellion never reached its beta stage. At the peak of development, there were about 18.000 forum members in 2010, with at least a third of them being very active. After the game cancellation in 2010, forums remained online for a couple of years before they were taken down. This allowed the community to come to terms with the cancellation and continue their relationships for a bit longer.

Adellion was to be published by Alchemic Dream, a Canadian company. A change of management occurred a few years into development when the original creators left the project and it was picked up by the remaining developers. They worked on the game for a number of years. Unfortunately engine issues, overwhelming ambitions and loss of funds killed the game.

Article by Vipaah, thanks to Laura “Teila” Wampfler for the contribution

 

Team Buddies 2 [PC – Cancelled]

Team Buddies was an interesting merge of top-down shooting and real time strategy elements, developed for the original Playstation by Psygnosis Camden Studio (later SIE London Studio) and published in 2000 by Sony Computer Entertainment in Europe and Midway Games in North America.

As we can read on Wikipedia, its gameplay was quite fun and original for its time:

“The game is a mix of Wormshumour and a typical real-time strategy game. Central to the game’s theme is the ability of a team of buddies to stack crates in a 2×2×2 pad located in their starting area. Stacking the crates in different ways make different items when the resulting larger crate is broken; for example, a single crate on a stacking pad produces a light weapon, four crates positioned horizontally makes a heavy weapon, and filling the pad creates a vehicle.”

This was the last game released under their Psygnosis name, before they were completely absorbed by SCEE. The same team was working on a new version of Team Buddies for PC, that was internally treated as a sequel because of how much more freedom they had when not constrained to the PS1 limitations.

Unfortunately Sony did not want to invest money into the PC market and all Psygnosis games in development at the time for Computers were either cancelled, moved to PlayStation consoles, or licensed to different publishers. This “Team Buddies 2” was then canned and the team was moved to other projects, such as Dropship: United Peace Force and World Tour Soccer 2003 for PlayStation 2.

A few years ago a small indie team started working on a fan-remake of Team Buddies and a former Psygnosis Camden developer got in contact with them, sharing a video of this lost sequel. You can watch the footage below:

Thanks to Matthew for the contribution!

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Cleric (Plutonium Games) [PC – Cancelled]

Cleric is a cancelled game that was in development for PC by Texas based studio Plutonium Games, and from what we have found, this could have been a quite unique and interesting project. It was a First Person Survival Horror (game) mixed with puzzle elements, action and role playing.

There were plans to release it around the month of December in 2003 but that didn’t happen. On April 14 in 2004  it was announced it was put on indefinite hiatus or cancelled altogether according to a post on the main website of Plutonium Games. There were hints that they had difficulties finding a publisher for their game:

“After a long trip, it looks as if Cleric may not be made for a long time to come, if ever. I want to thank everyone that has supported us over the years. This site will remain up as will the forums. I have recently (3 months ago) taken a job with another studio (Destineer Studios) as a 3D Artist on their tactical shooter project “Close Combat – Marines: First to Fight“. Who knows? Maybe a few years down the road, I’ll get the opportunity to start Plutonium Games back up again. Until then, I’ll be building up my portfolio & experience with Destineer. Thanks again for all the great support!”

The website isn’t up anymore, and no more information can be found about Plutonium Games anywhere on the internet, so we assume the company no longer exists.

As for more information pertaining to how the game would have turned out, here’s a brief story and design summary. Cleric’s story is set in 16th century Russia and the dead are walking again. Women are disappearing and it is up to Reverend Father Aronos Schuler (the main character of the game) to investigate this mystery and to put an end to the plight of the undead. What was interesting is regardless of his position, he was meant to be a character of little faith and the story would have developed around the mystery of the undead of course but also of the Reverend’s internal struggles. Multiple path scenarios were considered with multiple endings as well depending on the player’s actions throughout the game.

Players would have had 2 different holy symbols to use for their main weapons. These would have given a series of different abilities like flying, sensing danger, re-animating the dead, healing and summoning, to list a few. Some traditional weapons like swords, maces and old muskets would have also been weapons the Reverend could find during his travels. Fore more story and gameplay details, you can check an old Gamespot preview and their image gallery.

Judging from the video, you can tell the focus wasn’t exactly just about shooting since the musket would need reloading after every shot. You have a symbol that repels the undead used like a holy cross and if held long enough, they start to catch fire. It seems the mission was to escort a woman to a shelter whilst protecting her from the undead. Later in the video the reverend approaches a statue and acquires a miracle power that lets him summon lightning to strike the undead!

Lastly, for the last bit of information we have for Cleric, there’s a very interesting interview with CEO/Lead Designer Matthew Doyle of Plutonium Games.

If Cleric had not been cancelled, we believe it could have been remembered as quite the cult classic of its time.

Article by Alex Bérubé

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Contra Online [PS2, Xbox, PC – Cancelled]

After the cancellation of Castlevania: Resurrection and the death of the Dreamcast, the same team at Konami of America pitched a few other projects for different consoles. One of these unrealized games was a new 3D Contra with online multiplayer, planned to be developed for PS2, Xbox and PC.

They wanted to have classic single player and local coop story mode for old-school fans of the series, but at the same time testing online multiplayer for the first time.

Some details about this lost Contra game were found by fans, and preserved below to remember the existence of this cancelled concept.

“Contra’s HQ have intercepted SOS from the biggest Russian nuclear submarine that is sinking to the bottom of Barents Sea. While Contra’s HQ continues monitoring the unsuccessful rescue attempts, suddenly the submarine crews stop responding to the Russian Northern Fleet hails. Meanwhile, Contra’s spy satellite registers the beginning of nuclear missiles launch form the sub, and transmission to Russian Navy operations that Red Falcon is demanding to stop the rescue attempt otherwise there are will be a missile strike retaliation. After analyzing the spy satellite data, Contra intelligence realizes that Red Falcon is preparing its third attempt to conquer Earth by using Russian submarine as its base to assemble and power it’s robotic war machines in the safety of deep sea.

Members of Contra Forces are called in and ordered to stop the Red Falcon, and were successful in defeating evil alien entity and its forces. Or, at least they thought so. The “Red Falcon” had actually been merely wounded. It escapes the submarine blast to a secret retreat located in the mountains of Bosnia. Were alien forces lie dormant aviating for decoy Barents Sea invasion to begin, so they can start a real attack of the Earth forces? The Contra intelligence is learning that Red Falcon is not the brains behind an operation but just a pawn controlled by a mysteries alien only know as “Dark Queen”. Contra marines are called again for the final showdown.”

Story mode would have been divided into 3 worlds (Submarine, Mountain Trail and Underground Base): each one with several levels and Bosses. Past Contra protagonists could have been unlocked during the game, to be used as playable characters.

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The team planned many different modes for online multiplayer. An idea was to have online coop up to 4 players, split in 2 teams that would fight through different missions before meeting again to kill the boss together. Online Versus mode was also planned, set in a virtual-reality world similar to VR missions in Metal Gear Solid. This could have been a third person or first person shooter, depending on the best prototype they could work on.

As this was only an early pitch they were still thinking about the best Konami IP to use for their first online game. If Contra could have been a risky series (because of its hardcore fans), other possibilities were open such as using the Project Overkill IP instead.

In the end disagreements between Konami of Japan and Konami America killed the american team. Many of their latest games were canned, such as Survivor: Day One for Nintendo 64

Big Brother (George Orwell’s 1984 Video Game) [PC – Cancelled]

Big Brother is a cancelled point and click adventure game based on the book 1984 by George Orwell. The project was in development by Media X around 1998, planned to be released on PC. We only know about this lost game thanks to a preview published in Next Generation magazine (Issue 48) in December 1998, but we cannot find anything else on Media X online: they seems vanished forever with no trace.

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In the original preview we can read:

“LucasArts’ Hal Barwood has made  the excellent point before that unless adventure games stay on the cusp of technology, they are doomed as a genre. Enter Media X. The company’s goal is nothing short  of redefining the traditional adventure game.

To that end, the company has discarded the 2D point-and-click interface  that has dominated the genre since the death of infocom. In its place is a realtime  3D engine and a combination of inventory, slider, and Mario-style environment puzzles. To reduce player confusion – a  common problem for anyone who has played Myst or its descendants – text messages (for instance, “You unlock the steam vent”) appear on the screen at  appropriate times.

Initially disconcerting, these  messages quickly blend in and enable  players to concentrate on the game without wondering what they are  supposed to be doing. That’s good because the game should be exceptionally difficult on its own.

Set in  George Orwell’s 1984 universe, players  must rescue their fiancee from the Thought Police. It’s a simple goal, but one  that requires traversing 12 levels and solving hundreds of puzzles (there were originally 60 levels, but since early play testing indicates that each level takes about five hours, the number was culled).

Graphically, the game should be very  impressive. Media X has created an original first-person 3D engine for the  game, and, notably, the textures are very, very high-resolution, with little or no blurry filtering noticeable (the game will  require a 3D card to run), even when directly against objects. The art direction is equally good: The plot is slightly different from that of 1984, with a corrupt  regime that’s crumbling even more than in the book. The disintegration has carried over well – think crumbling brick buildings and steam vents.

Sales of adventure games (and  publisher support for them) is down, but  if ambitious projects like Big Brother and  GT’s Wheel of Time manage to become hits, this genre could quickly pick up  momentum. Based on early looks. Big Brother has a better chance to help the flailing genre than anything else we’ve  seen in years.”

Sounds promising? Maybe it could have been..

If you know someone who worked at Media X and could help us to preserve something more on their lost game, please let us know!

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