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Burnt Out Cop [PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

Burnt Out Cop is a cancelled action game that was in development by Infinite Lives and HotGen Studios around 2002 – 2003, planned to be published by Sega for Playstation 2 (and the original Xbox). Infinite Lives spent a few months developing a playable demo and creating an extensive Game Design Document (that was later shared online on their official website). HotGen Studios was impressed by their work and offered them more funding and resources, while the game was proposed to Sega for publishing. Unfortunately internal issues between HotGen and Infinite Lives caused the latter to lose the IP and in the end the game was canned.

More details about Burnt Out Cop can still be found in the original Design Doc:

“Unorthodox methods and unnecessary force alienate this street-wise cop from his precinct. This adrenaline-fuelled, arcade style, third-person shooter is predominately viewed from a top-down position. The gameplay is heavily based on classic arcade games combining the art of Street Fighter with the frenetic frenzy of Smash TV and Powerstone. Rather than using standard rendered 3D models, the game employs a hand drawn look giving it an unconventional comic book edge. Exaggerated movement and animation, as opposed to life-like motion capture, emphasise the speed and power of the characters. In contrast to Burnt Out Cop’s fast gameplay and slick image, its action is often humorous. Taking a tongue-in -cheek approach, it features many cop movie clichés, including larger than life characters and recognisable locations and set pieces. The cop’s manoeuvres are heavily based on those found in many John Woo films (for example, Hard Boiled and Mission: Impossible II) combined with the slapstick nature of Jackie Chan fight sequences. A fictional Hong Kong environment containing eighties undertones provides the backdrop for the explosive showdowns.”

  • Advanced gunplay: Floor bad guys and catch their guns out of the air or grab an opponent and use him as a human shield.
  • Rapid Targeting: Aim and shoot at the press of a button. Hold two guns and simultaneously target multiple opponents.
  • Extensive Weapon Range: Contains plenty of slapstick action: use traditional ballistic weapons mixed with everything you can get your hands on, including frying pans, chickens and prosthetic limbs.
  • Humour: A true crowd pleasing game featuring a witty send-up of classic cop movies and other games.
  • Self-Improvement: On his path to redemption his mental state and physical abilities are regained and improved.

“Guns play a key role in the game, both in terms of how they are acquired and how they are used. Another important feature is the relative lack of ammunition available. Unlike games where this would result in more cautious and frugal play Burnt Out Cop creates a mad scramble for any guns left by dead guys. When shot, their gun would fly from their hand or skid across the floor, allowing the cop to quickly collect it or catch it out of the air – just like the movies.”

Check the footage below to see how the game would have been played, if only completed.

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Alien Alliance [Cancelled – Playstation]

Alien Alliance is a cancelled sci-fi / space combat game that was in development by Orbital Studios around 1995, planned to be published by Virgin for Playstation and PC. As we can read in an old issue of Computer Gaming World magazine:

“In addition, Virgin and Orbital Studios will present a space game called Alien Alliance that could surprise a lot of gamers. It is a  space combat game in the X-wing and Wing Commander traditions, but it has a much more robust structure to it. Gamers will work their way up through the  ranks of a space navy, starting with wingman and working up to fleet commander. Each stage will give the player more power to direct the war as they see fit.

In Electronic Entertainment magazine (December 1995) we can also read:

“Virgin’s Orbital Studios is hard at work on an exciting strategy and space simulation game called Alien Alliance for DOS CD-ROM, due by the end of the year. The game  features strong graphics, two different terrain engines, and the ability to graduate from wingman to fleet commander in an intriguing conflict between several alien races.”

A couple of screenshots were found by Youlute in CD Consoles magazine (issue 10, September 1995). The game seems to have been later reworked and released as a PC-exclusive under the name “Forced Alliance” in 1997.

 

Mean Arenas [Playstation – Cancelled]

Mean Arenas is a cancelled multiplayer game that was in development for Playstation by SCE Studios Team Soho (the same team behind Porsche Challenge and The Getaway) around 1996 / 1997. Unfortunately the project was never officially announced and it was soon forgotten when the team decided to focus on other games.

It was conceived as a 4-player beat ‘em up, to take advantage of Playstation’s multitap peripheral. Not much is known about Mean Arenas and as far as we know only 1 image remains today, preserved below to remember this lost Playstation project.

If you know someone who worked on Mean Arenas and could help to save more details and media, please let us know! 

Jason Bourne: Treadstone (Radical Entertainment) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Treadstone is a cancelled action video game based on the Jason Bourne novel series by Robert Ludlum, that was in development by Radical Entertainment (The Simpsons: Hit & Run, Prototype) around 20072008 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The Bourne license was revived in 2002 through a new film series and another Bourne video game titled “Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Conspiracy” was already published in 2008.

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The name of the game was taken from a top-secret black ops program of the CIA in the Jason Bourne series of novels and movies. This cancelled Treadstone game was never officially announced by the company, but footage was leaked online around 2011 and some details were already rumored around 2008 thanks to an article by Variety’s Ben Fritz:

“What is Treadstone?” you ask, in your best Matt Damon impersonation. According to Variety “it’s a multi-player online game set in the world of the spy agency that trained Bourne.” We’ll assume that contraction is short for “it was” because, whad’ya know, “production has stopped” on the project. Perhaps once Ludlum Entertainment finds a new publisher for Bourne, whatever work Radical has already invested in “Treadstone” will find a new home, but that sounds unlikely to us.”

It seems the game was canned because of Activision Blizzard’s merge and their abandonment of the Bourne property rights once owned by Sierra / Vivendi (among all of their other IPs), of which they did not want to publish another game:

“Activision Blizzard is also reviewing Sierra’s other properties that they will not be publishing: think Bourne, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, World in Conflict, et al. Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith says, “We are reviewing our options regarding those titles that we will not be publishing.” Those games won’t be published by Blizzavision because they’re not “a strong fit with [Activision Blizzard’s] long-term product strategy.” No word on the fate of Sierra’s classic adventure games like King’s Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, etc.

As for the status of Sierra’s in-house developers, Blizzavision will “realign staffing at Radical Entertainment and High Moon Studios” – the developers of Prototype and The Bourne Conspiracy respectively – while “exploring options regarding Massive Entertainment and Swordfish Studios” – the devs behind World in Conflict and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, respectively. Those “options” include “the possibility of divestiture.”

Some more details on the game development and cancellation were published online by a former employee who worked on the project:

“After wrapping up my work on Prototype I moved onto a new project helping to build a new team and new game. We went on to create an action adventure playable game demo in the spy genre. In less than a year while developing a new engine and building a new team we delivered an “open neighborhood” playable demo with cover based gunplay, vehicles and parkour style locomotion.

In 2008 Activision and Vivendi merged. The above mentioned project was cancelled for several reasons. They said the game looked great but needed to turn into something else. They expressed their decision with the fact they already had the James Bond Franchise, and stated several other decision points based around the IP and the game’s potential returns.”

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MediEvil Legends [PSP – Cancelled]

MediEvil Legends is a cancelled hack & slash developed by ChocChip Moose team for Sony as a part of the MProf Games Development course. This prototype was based on a brief given by Sony to students of the course with plans to possibly fully developed it into a PSP Mini commercial release.

While this should be considered a course-prototype and never announced by Sony as an official MediEvil game, some details were found online by fans:

“For the second semester, we were given the task of developing a small prototype by Sony that could be carried over and fully developed for sale as a PSP Mini game. The game was part of the established Sony franchise MediEvil and the concept was Dan retelling the story of his heroic deeds in the form of tall tales to his fellow heroes that the player had to relive. It took the form of a simple 3D top-down hack and slasher with humorous dialogue and banter between the listening heroes and Dan. This game was also developed in PhyreEngine.”

“The gameplay was a linear set of enemy waves, each wave getting progressively harder by spawning more enemies for longer periods of time. in addition, the final prototype contained 5 different enemy types, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The zombies, numerous and weak, the mummies, rare but significantly tougher and hard-hitting, Scarecrows, extremely fast and agile, Headless zombies who run in straight lines very fast across the map, bouncing off walls and providing both comic relief and a surprising hazard, and Shadow Demons, deadly, fast and tough.

Waves were interspersed with humorous dialogue between Dan recounting his tale, and the heroes listening in, chiming in with their own comments and version of events, mocking and supporting Dan’s achievements.”

In the end sony never completed the MediEvil Legends prototype into a full PSP game and it soon became a lost and forgotten project.

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