Sony

Gunhero [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox 360]

After finishing Medal of Honor: Vanguard and Medal of Honor: Airborne, in 2007 EA Los Angeles started to work on a new game for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, titled Gunhero. While keeping a first person view as their previous MoH titles, this new project would have been set in a post zombie-apocalypse world, focused on using melee weapons and close quarter combat, somehow preceding what Techland did 4 years later with Dead Island and one year before the release of Left 4 Dead. The project was still in early development and many features were not decided yet, as the plan for a possible coop multiplayer mode, but unfortunately it was cancelled before to be completed. The game was noticed in 2011 by Siliconera after Gunhero’s Art Director Zach Schlappi published a few concept art online.

The main character in Gunhero was a volunteer SAR pilot whose crew fatally died after their Jayhawk was brought down by a rescued survivor who was hiding the zombie infection. Caught in the middle of the quarantine zone, the pilot had to survive through zombies to rescue scientist who may hold a cure.

Even if their early prototype did garnered a lot of internal praise, Dead Space was also pitched to EA during the same time and they decided to cancel Gunhero as there was not room in their portfolio for two survival horror games. Even if Dead Space became a success for EA, the popularity of open world, first person zombie games in the following years marks the cancellation of Gunhero as a huge missed opportunity for the studio.

In 2010 EA Los Angeles would be re-branded as Danger Close Games, but 3 years later after the commercial failure of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, the studio was dissolved and some employees moved to DICE Los Angeles.

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Disruptor [Playstation – Beta]

Disruptor is FPS developed by now popular Insomniac Games for the original PlayStation and published in 1996 by Universal Interactive Studios. Disruptor was initially planned for the 3DO game console back in 1994 but due to the bad reception of the 3DO development of Disruptor was quickly shifted over to the PlayStation 1.

As we can read on 1UP:

“I think we were very lucky to get out of the Disruptor development process alive,” says Price. “None of us had ever been in the game business before. We were just guessing that it might be fairly easy to do, and man, were we wrong.”

It was 1994. The 3DO, a platform created by EA founder Trip Hawkins, was the cutting edge of game-console technology, a CD-based system retailing for an insane $700. Insomniac took advantage of the CD format‘s low price and dove into Disruptor. Within a year, the rug was pulled out from under the team. “3DO tanked, big time,” says Price.

They shopped a demo around to publishers up and down the West Coast, looking to move Disruptor over to Sony’s newly released PlayStation. It wasn’t going well. “Everybody had turned us down,” says Price. “We were down to no money in the bank, and this was really our last shot.” Their final meeting was with Mark Cerny, a veteran game designer/producer whose work spans 1984’s Marble Madness to the recent Jak and Daxter series. At that point, Cerny was scouting developer talent for Universal Studios Interactive in Los Angeles. He found it in Insomniac.

“Mark saw the engine that Al [Hastings] had programmed on the 3DO and said, ‘Wow, these guys have potential.’ We signed a three-game deal with Universal based on that meeting,” says Price. “It saved our asses.” Ted Price was 24. Al Hastings was 21.

Some more details can be found on IGN:

“We began on 3DO because when I started Insomniac, 3DO was the first really viable CD-based system out on the market,” Price explained. “They had dev kits available for very low prices. And Sony, at the time, wasn’t making dev kits available to everybody. So I was able to purchase a dev kit for about $8,000. We kind of set our path.”

Hastings told me more. “We started on 3DO, because… I guess when we were starting, it was before anybody like us could get our hands on a Sony dev kit. I don’t even know if they were out or not. But the 3DO, they were pushing it to anyone who wanted it. At the time, I think a lot of people thought it might succeed. I don’t think we were alone in our naiveté. But pretty soon, maybe halfway through [development], it became clear that 3DO was just never going to be viable. It was about that same time that Sony and SEGA were putting out the alternatives,” in the form of PlayStation and Saturn, respectively.

The gallery below includes some early beta screenshots from the PS1 version of the game, with some small differences from the final game.

These beta screenshots was found on the official interplay website for the game. They are pretty similar to the final game with the exception of the HUD, where the health bar is moved to the bottom corner and features a different design than the final game, the Psionics icon seems to be a little bit different than in the final game and the Ammo count has been moved to the opposite corner of the screen.

These beta screenshots were found in a small article in the French PlayStation Magazine (issue 4). It’s much of the same from the other ones.  The last one is the most interesting one, as the enemies appear to be actual 3D models, however in the final game all the enemies are pre-rendered 3D-looking sprites in a 3D environment. The psionics icon had red eyes which is not present in the final game. And the weapon shown does not directly match any weapons from the final game.

Article by Hennamann 

The Lord of the Creatures [Cancelled – PC, Xbox 360, PS3]

The Lord of the Creatures is a cancelled fantasy strategy / adventure game that was in development by Spanish studio Arvirago Entertainment (a team composed of former Pyro Studios devs, creators of the Commandos RTS series) for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. The main feature of the game was to capture and use monsters in combat, somehow similar to a real-time Pokèmon action adventure mixed with Kameo, in a classic fantasy setting with orcs, elves and other strange creatures. The game was originally announced in 2003 but after a few years of development it was quietly canned and not much more info was ever released.

Players would be able to collect over one hundred different creatures, each one with exclusive abilities to use directly by impersonating one of them or by giving orders like in a real time strategy game. Enemies would attack in groups and we had to think about the best creatures for the fight, depending on their characteristics, weapons and items. Five different main characters were available, each one with a different play-style. Online cooperative and competitive modes were also planned, to test your tactical abilities and creatures along or against other players.

We don’t know what happened to Arvirago, but it seems that the studio does not exist anymore and they never released any game before to vanish forever.

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Strelka Stories [PS3 – Cancelled]

Strelka Stories is a cancelled action adventure game planned for Playstation 3 that was in development by CyberConnect2 (Tokyo Studio and Fukuoka office), as a new chapter in their “Little Tail Bronx” series of anthropomorphic animal characters and fantasy floating world, composed of three main chapters: Tail Concerto (1998, Playstation), Solatorobo: Red the Hunter (2010, Nintendo DS) and Little Tail Story (2014, Android and iOS). The series is not widely known to the main public and sales were not great, but thanks to its fun gameplay, light hearted animal characters and interesting world-lore (mixing Jules Verne-steampunk style technology, mechs, magic, Laputa style floating islands and airships) it grown a cult following of fans in the last 18 years.

cyberconnect2-strelka-stories-PS3-cancelled

Strelka Stories was originally announced in July 2010 when CyberConnect2 were celebrating their 15th anniversary and opened a teaser site for this new PS3 game, showing artworks featuring their usual anthropomorphic animal characters, a 19th-century fantasy town (feeling like something out of a Studio Ghibli movie, especially if you think about Sherlock Hound) and a space-conquering theme.

Over those artworks there are a series of sentences in Japanese, that can be roughly translated as ““I will surely go to space, surely”, “To the children who depart someday”, “The world’s first man-made crystal power plant, it was built against the press-cutting international public opinion”, “This country was always engulfed in restless shadows” and “The road was collapsing, they gathered Strelka, a rocket engineer…”. By reading these, we can speculate that Strelka Stories could have told the story of how the world of Little Tail Bronx became a series of floating islands and the efforts of its inhabitants to escape from the collapsing of their planet.

The title “Strelka Stories” is also inspired by the name of one of the Soviet dogs used for sub-orbital and orbital space flight tests in the ‘60:

“Belka (Белка, literally, “Squirrel” or, alternately, “Whitey”) and Strelka (Стрелка, “Little Arrow”) spent a day in space aboard Korabl-Sputnik 2 (Sputnik 5) on 19 August 1960 before safely returning to Earth. […] Strelka went on to have six puppies with a male dog named Pushok who participated in many ground-based space experiments, but never made it into space.”

In November 2010 Impress Watch published an interview with CyberConnect2’s president and CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama where he shared a few more details on Strelka Stories:

“Solatorobo was set in an imaginary scientific world, which targets the current generation of boys and girls. The content for this one [Strelka] will target ‘Adults who were once youths’. I believe those who like Gurren Lagann and Evangelion will enjoy it. We actually didn’t get approval of the project from a client or publisher. It’s a title that we started because we wanted to make it.”

In December 2012 during a fan event for the 2nd anniversary of Solatorobo, Matsuyama said that they were still working on a new game in the Little Tail Bronx series, but he could have been talking about Little Tail Story and not Strelka Stories.

cyberconnect2-strelka-stories-Playstation-3

The lack of a publisher for Strelka Stories is probably the reason why the game was never completed, with CyberConnect2 busy to work on other projects for which they were hired. In fact the studio released many games for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 (such as Asura’s Wrath, .hack//Versus and the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series), but unfortunately it seems that Strelka Stories never found support and had to be quietly cancelled. CC2 also planned a Tail Concerto sequel in late ‘90 / early ‘00, but it had to wait 12 years to be finally released (as the spiritual sequel Solatorobo), so we can assume that one day we could still see the ideas conceived for Strelka Stories in a new chapter of the “Little Tail Bronx” series.

CyberConnect2 are a big company today, they are currently working on the Final Fantasy VII Remake for Square-Enix and opened a new studio in Montreal (Canada). In April 2016 Famitsu magazine published another interview with Hiroshi Matsuyama, in which he teased a new game codenamed “Project Venom” or “CyberConnect Creative (CCC)” (it’s not clear if the two titles are for the same game or for two different projects) a self-published digital shooter planned to be released the next year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The artworks revealed in the magazine show a fantasy setting with characters similar to the ones seen in “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” and no space rockets, so we can assume that this will not be directly connected to the Strelka Stories concept.

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MediEvil 3: Fate’s Arrow [PS2 – Cancelled Pitch]

MediEvil was a hack and slash adventure series that consisted of two games on the original Playstation (MediEvil in 1998 and MediEvil 2 in 2000) and a third game on the PSP (MediEvil: Resurrection in 2005). All three games were developed by SCE Cambridge Studio (now Guerrilla Cambridge), and although the series was moderately successful it was never granted the greenlight for a true third installment (MediEvil: Resurrection just being a remake / re-imagining of the first game). However, a concept for a MediEvil sequel on the Playstation 2 was actually pitched back in early 2003, when the developers within Sony Cambridge were considering several options after the less than amazing sales of Primal.

This new game would have been called “MediEvil 3: Fate’s Arrow”, a title that was later reused as an inside Easter egg for the name of a mini-game (Arrow o’ Fate) in MediEvil: Resurrection. Loosely, the story would continue from where MediEvil 2 left off, with Sir Dan travelling back in time to Gallowmere. Specifically, he travels back 100 years before the events of MediEvil 1, and just a few weeks before the Battle of Gallowmere is due to occur. We know that by rights, Sir Daniel Fortesque will be shot in the eye by the first arrow thus freeing up his men to fight on to victory, unburdened by his ‘leadership’. But Dan learns that the timeline has somehow changed: a mysterious new figure has aligned herself with Zarok – an Egyptian sorceress: Kiyante.

medievil 3 ps2 cancelled

Kiya has played Dan like a fiddle: tricking him into rescuing her, stealing the Time Machine and delivering her into the company of the one figure from history whose evil ambitions (and talents) mirror her own. By using the fabled Anubis Stone she will aid Zarok by raising an army of undead. She will ensure that living Sir Dan doesn’t die so soon and instead sticks around long enough to truly doom his brave compatriots. If that happens, together Zarok and Kiyante would achieve a crushing victory, the earth would be overrun with demons and mankind enslaved.

The aim of the game was for Sir Dan to keep the timeline pure by stealing the Anubis Stone and ensuring that his cowardly living self is firstly compelled into leading the battle charge and falls at the first arrow, allowing Zarok to be defeated and history to play out as it should. This was also to be a chance to reflect on the real story of Sir Dan and in doing so to appreciate the true hero he has become in death compared to the miserable individual he was in life (there would have been a few shades of the British comedy series Black Adder here, season one specifically).

The-Black-Adder-MediEvil-3

MediEvil 3 would have borrowed a few ideas from Primal, featuring a companion sidekick character who would be a key figure to the game. In this case, the companion is Lupo – Sir Dan’s originally-under-appreciated, but utterly faithful hound who first meets skeleton Sir Dan at the beginning of the game and then joins him in his journey.  A squeaky dog toy was going to be an item you could throw around to direct his attacks, especially against larger enemies and bosses. Generally he would tear around as an AI character, loosely following you and doing general side-kickey stuff.

The game also would have featured a more open, hub based structure to the world with story driving things forward. Dan and Lupo would travel to both old and new locations of Gallowmere in their attempt to find allies to aid them against Zarok and Kiya and one ally they meet is an eccentric genie named Al-Zalam. The developers were also planning to bring back the Hall of Heroes after it was lost in MediEvil 2.

This third chapter of Medievil for Playstation 2 of course would have also featured some exciting new weapons, puzzles, and power ups. One new addition would be beast riding, where Dan gets a mount in the form of one of those weird elephant-dragon things that were seen in the underwater portion of The Lake from MediEvil 1. Below you can see one of the concept arts created for the MediEvil 3 pitch, with Sir Dan and Lupo riding the beast mount:

medievil 3 fate's arrow for Playstation 2

The depth of this game would have expanded the MediEvil universe in a whole new way and would have featured a satisfying conclusion to Sir Dan’s heroic journey. Sadly, this never came to be. At the time this game was pitched, a couple things happened: the popular 24 TV-series license became available to Sony Cambridge, and the PSP became a significant company focus. MediEvil: Resurrection on the PSP was ultimately conceived as a way to re-introduce the franchise with a shorter scale project. A couple elements from this MediEvil 3 concept were carried over into Resurrection – one of them being the Anubis Stone and another being the character Al-Zalam.

This lost MediEvil 3 project for PS2 was never more than a design proposal plus a few lovely artworks made to shown some of the new features and characters, but it would have been a great conclusion to the MediEvil trilogy. In January 2013 Sony restructured their Cambridge Studio to develop Killzone Mercenary for the PlayStation Vita and the team was renamed into Guerrilla Cambridge. Sony did not forgot MediEvil and they tried again to develop a third MediEvil in the following years with different developers, one game for Playstation 3 and another for Playstation 4: this time they even created a playable prototype, but in the end both projects were also cancelled. We’ll have more on the lost PS3 and PS4 MediEvil sequels in the future. 

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