The Ghostman is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by Kawaii Studio and Widescreen Games (mostly known for Dead to Rights II) around 2004 / 2005, planned to be released for PS2 and Xbox. The project was officially announced by Widescreen on their website, but was soon forgotten by everyone and vanished along with the team when they closed down in 2009 for bankruptcy.
The Ghostman was going to be similar to other ghost-based games, such as Murdered: Soul Suspect and Geist, using your “ghost powers” to resolve puzzles and combat your enemies. As we can read from the official fact-sheet:
“Winter in London. Nicolai Liptsky is killed by a strange mafia and becomes… a ghost. But he refuses to disappear unless he can save his family.
He discovers his new powers like possessing briefly abandoned bodies or moving objects by telekinesis. Now he travels back and forth between the world of the dead and the world of the livings.
Half of the time you will be a ghost (able to fly, to move objects with psychic force but invisible to the living people).
The other half you will briefly come back to life by reincarnating yourself in many different bodies! Of course you will get the skills of the bodies you use.
> Explore a fascinating universe: the ghost world.
> Use your ghost powers like telekinesis, flying or pass through some walls
> Come back to life and take control of different characters (“Body jacking”)
> Choose the best strategy to live your adventure. Dead or alive: it’s your choice!”
A few screenshots and a trailer for Ghostman are preserved below, to remember its existence.
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!