G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra is a cancelled action game that was planned by Radical Entertainment (mostly known for their The Simpsons: Road Rage, The Simpsons: Hit & Run, Crash of the Titans, Prototype series) and Hasbro around 2002, to be developed for Playstation 2, Xbox and GameCube. As you probably assume it was meant to be a tie-in for the popular G.I. Joe franchise, conceived when Hasbro published a new G.I. Joe vs. Cobra toy line around the same time. While the game was never officially announced, in 2018 a former developer shared a few details and some photos from their design document:
“One day I’ll be able to discuss how in 2002, Hasbro and Radical Entertainment secretly concocted a mission-based G.I. Joe video game. Dubbed G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra, the game broke down into sixteen separate missions of 4 acts each. Developed for 6th generation consoles (XBox, PS2, and GameCube), Hasbro went quite far in the design process – to the extent where they assigned mapping for the consoles’ controllers.”
As far as we know, Radical Entertainment did not fully start development on the game and the project was canned before any prototype was made.
Warrior’s Lair (working title ‘’Ruin’’) was an action role-playing game set in a medieval fantasy universe. Developed by Idol Minds (now known as Deck Nine), Ruin was supposed to feature gameplay similar to Diablo and Torchlight, which were pretty big in the early 2010s.
‘’Both games will be packaged together. You can play the game at home on PS3, save your data on our PSN server on the cloud, and you can continue playing the game on PS Vita by downloading the save from the PSN. And you can do vice versa. It’s a continuous experience, playing the same game on PS Vita and PS3.’’
The game was presented in June 2011 at E3. The seamless gameplay and cross-connectivity were arguably the biggest selling points of the game. Its isometric view and dungeon-crawling elements were reminiscent of games such as Diablo, confirming their main inspiration for the project. Ruin was also supposed to contain simulation of destructible environments and ragdoll physics.
During the same E3 conference, Sony Entertainment demonstrated the ability to transfer active games between the two systems using cloud storage. Warrior’s Lair/Ruin was supposed to feature social media integration, allowing players to post their progress on Facebook and Twitter. Players could show up in each other’s games and either collaborate or compete.
‘’Sony Computer Entertainment can confirm that Warrior’s Lair for PS Vita is no longer in development’’; We apologize to those who pre-ordered the title and ask that they contact their retailer directly to cancel their pre-sale.’’
We don’t exactly know why the game was canceled. All that we know is that Sony Entertainment San Diego was supposed to add the finishing touches back in 2012, and when the game didn’t show up at E3 2012, the future of the game was put into question.
“Apparently, when the title was canned, Idol Minds had been working on the project for a full year. The game was supposedly just three months away from release, with Sony having already invested “millions of dollars” into it. But the plug was pulled nevertheless, even if the reasons behind its cancellation weren’t even clear to those that worked on it.
“First, I assume it had to do with the weakness of the Vita,” Floyd explained. “Sony internal studios, to me, looked like they never had much faith in it. As far as we were concerned, the game was primarily a PS3 game; we weren’t going to bank on the Vita.” Regardless, the title apparently looked and played great on the troubled handheld, with the cross-save feature working like a charm.”
Unfortunately, the chances of Warrior’s Lair eventually seeing the light of day are slim. After Reddit user u/nduval emailed the developers asking about the future of the title, they said:
It’s great to hear from you. Ruin was a passion project for the entire team and we were heartbroken when Sony ran out of funding to finish it.
Things are different over there now, with the success of the PS4, so building fan interest in the game and communicating that to Sony would be the only way forward.
We would love to return to that game and finish it.
“I’m not sure how much I can say about the gameplay […] I’ll try and give an overview. It was a third-person action platformer with puzzle solving elements. It definitely had a steampunk feel to it, but it was also very magic-based.
I had designed a mechanical familiar for one of the main characters and based it on the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch but with legs […] I’d also designed some zombie gardeners as well.
There was a long way to go with the game’s production […] In a meeting showcasing future projects from other companies we noticed that another studio was doing something very similar and was far into production, so we called it a day.”
Thanks to another article on Retro Gamer magazine (June 2018), we know this similar game was Primal by Sony Cambridge studio:
[…] was working on Fall of the Artificer, a big-budget, high-concept, third-person action game. “It was going okay but then we visited our Cambridge studio and saw how they were getting on with Primal. […] We thought, ‘Holy shit, these guys know what they’re doing!’ That got us thinking maybe we should be doing something else.”
The original Evil Twin: Cyprien’s Chronicles was a horror platformer developed by UbiSoft and In Utero originally planned as a Dreamcast project, but then also released on PlayStation 2 and PC in late 2001 / early 2002. Players takes control over a young orphan called Cyprien, who is taken to a nightmarish world and possesses the ability to transform into a “demonic” version of himself.
“Near the end of the company they started designing and prototype what would become Evil Twin 2, with an older character manipulating a stick. After the company closed Diego, Nino and Cedric from In Utero formed their studio Fandango working on a PSP game called Carnival: Theorem One which I think was inspired by those early Evil Twin 2 design. The game unfortunately was not finished.”
This cancelled sequel was also referred to as “The Messenger”. While we were not able to get a confirmation (other former In Utero developers never replied to our emails unfortunately), we can speculate that as the first game received mixed reviews and low sales, they later decided to change their sequel into an original IP, trying to find another publisher.
In the end In Utero closed down soon after and Evil Twin never got a sequel. Only a couple of screenshots from their early Evil Twin 2 prototype are preserved in this page, to remember its existence.
If you know someone who worked on this lost game and could help us to save more, please let us know!
Star Wars 1313 was one of the most anticipated titles in recent memory. Following the success of the Jedi Knight series and the critical and commercial acclaim of the Knights of the Old Republic Series, fans were aching for an authentic single-player Star Wars experience. Since The Force Unleashed series didn’t manage to fill that void, fans were understandably excited for Star Wars 1313, planned to be published for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Sadly, the project had a short life. Although the game was still officially in development when Disney acquired Lucas Film (October 2012), on March 2013 several news outlets reported that Star Wars 1313 and other projects were put on hold since the acquisition. On April 2013, The Walt Disney company announced that internal development was ceased at Lucas Arts and that it laid off its staff, effectively cancelling the upcoming 1313:
‘’After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.’’ – statement by Lucas Arts representative to Game Informer.
Star Wars 1313 was planned to be set in a familiar, yet unexplored area of the Star Wars universe, namely the underground slums of Coruscant known as Level 1313. Before it was cancelled, the story was supposed to revolve around a young Boba Fett as he was navigating the sleazy underbelly of the metropolis and taking contracts from local crime lords:
“Star Wars: 1313 dives into a part of the Star Wars mythos that we’ve always known existed, but never had a chance to visit,” Paul Meegan, former president of Lucas Arts.
The gameplay itself, as well as the game design, was allegedly inspired after the popular series Uncharted. The game’s title was trademarked in May 2012, and was officially revealed at E3 2012 the following month. It was planned to feature fast-paced combat and universe-specific gadgets rather than the Force. Star Wars 1313 was to be developed in the Unreal Engine 3, which was top of the line back then.
As the game was cancelled very early into its development, few vestiges of what it could’ve been remain, and even fewer were revealed publicly. Apart from the official E3 trailer and a 6 minute demo shown during the same conference, all that remains of 1313 are a few scattered concept arts and additional details about the story, which revealed that the game would’ve included more explorable planets, such as Tatooine.
More recently, Naughty Dog’s animator Jonathan Cooper, who worked on 1313, shared an animation reel on Twitter that showed a droid partner and several movement animations.
Although there were signs that the title was going to be picked up after all, fans hope for a miraculous revival was officially crushed when Disney decided not to renew the Star Wars 1313 trademark. The expired trademark, Disney’s decision to license all Star Wars related video games to EA effectively in perpetuity, and the upcoming Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order means that the chances of 1313 to ever be released are slim to none.