Playstation 2 (PS2)

(b)Last (quantic dream) [PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

Before to became a hugely popular studio among Playstation fans thanks to successful games such as Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, Quantic Dream was a somewhat obscure French studio mostly known for their cult adventure games Omikron: The Nomad Soul and Fahrenheit.

In early ‘00s Quantic Dream was trying to expand their portfolio with many different projects for the 6th generation of consoles (Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, GameCube), announcing a few titles that never seen the light of day: Omikron 2, Quark and (b)Last.

(b)Last is for sure one of their most obscure and mysterious project, with only a few details and low-quality images to remember its existence. As far as we know it was meant to be an action game / beat ‘em up in a sci-fi / fantasy setting mixing together Lovecraft tales and the Matrix movies, with weird tentacle monsters, laser weapons, super powers and many different characters to interact with.

While Omikron 2 was probably Quantic Dream’s major focus at the time, only a small team of artists and developers were working on (b)Last: unfortunately the project was soon canned for unknown reasons, but we can speculate the studio fell into some issues while developing so many different games at the same time, making it hard to create a quality, fun game.

As we can read in an old interview with David Cage:

UL: Does QD canceled projects live in this new project? bLast, Quark… other?
DC: We usually start several projects at the same time. Over the last years, one of them get so much interest from publishers that we had to cancel or at least postpone the others. Each Quantic Dream’s project requires up to 80 people and all our attention. It is difficult to start several original project with the same ambition in matter of quality…

At the moment only a couple of images are preserved from (b)Last, we hope to be able to save many more artworks in the future with the help of former developers who worked on it. If you know someone who worked on (b)Last, please let us know!

Thanks to Maik for the contribution!

Images:

Swords of Yi [PS2 – Cancelled]

There is scant information about Swords of Yi. The game was co-created by Artoon and Melbourne House around 2002, planned to be published by Atari as a PS2 exclusive fighting game. Players would have been able to use weaponry, which likely judging by the title would have included swords. The game is also reported to have utilized story-based themes, which was not a very common element in fighting games at the time. Expected to launch sometime in mid to late 2004 initially, Swords of Yi was canceled early in its development and never made it past internal testing phases before being work on the project ended.

Unfortunately neither Artoon or Melbourne House ever released any images from Swords of Yi, but we hope to find some screenshots in the future, maybe with the help of former developers.

In the end Artoon only published two games for the PlayStation 2: Ghost Vibration in 2004 and Swords of Destiny in 2005.  In April 2011 Artoon merged with their parent company “AQ Interactive“, along with Feelplus and Cavia. In June of the same year, AQ Interactive merged with Marvelous Entertainment and Liveware, closing down their original studios. Melbourne House released Transformers and Test Drive Unlimited on the Playstation 2, before being sold to Krome Studios and renamed Krome Studios Melbourne.

Article by Blake Lynch, thanks to Tim Reimer for the contribution!

 

 

Project Carbondale (Sega) [Xbox, PS2 – Cancelled]

Project Carbondale is a cancelled survival horror game that was being development by SEGA in 2003 for Xbox and Playstation 2. While the game was never officially announced, the public found out about its development thanks to a few articles published online by various websites, including The Southern Illinoisan, in which they wrote about Sega employees exploring the city of Carbondale (Illinois) to take inspiration and capture reference for the project.

“CARBONDALE – Aliens have landed in Carbondale and they are killing anything that moves. Your natural instinct is to flee, but a severe mid-winter blizzard has cut off all hopes of escape. Quick! Grab a gun, a sledgehammer, a scythe, any weapon you can get your hands on. Your only hope for survival is to stand your ground and fight – in the mall, the old Carbondale high school, city hall, even the sewer system if you have to. This is a fight to the death and it’s going to be bloody.

The battle isn’t real, though. It’s one of the biggest video game releases of 2004 being developed by Sega. Thousands of people, maybe even millions, will be fighting to save Carbondale from alien beasties next year. “Initially Sega said ‘We want to place this game in a small town,'” said Cord Smith, product manager for Sega of America. “Initially they said an East Coast town, but they just wanted something that wasn’t the West Coast. (The Japanese game designers) are familiar with San Francisco and California culture, but to them, that’s not America. America is what’s between the two coasts.”

carbondale sega game cancelled

Smith is now spending nine days leading a team of eight game designers from Tokyo around key Carbondale locations, including University Mall, the old high school central campus, the police station, city hall, water treatment plant, local homes and apartments, and yes, even the sewer system. “They’re soaking all this in, with the biggest smiles on their faces,” Smith said. “They keep saying this is kind of what they imagined, but they’re blown away that everyone has a yard, everything’s beautiful, everything’s so lush and green.”

The game’s designer, Shinichi Ogasawara, says bringing the design team all the way from Tokyo to see the Midwest for themselves is the best way to create a realistic small-town environment. The team is shooting digital videotape and still photographs that will be used to provide the textures of the games’ three-dimensional environment. Some team members photographed close-ups of anything that could be interactive, such as light switches and the weights used by Carbondale firefighters. Other team members photographed walls, ceilings, floors and artwork hanging on walls.”

Shinichi Ogasawara had previously worked on many different light gun arcade games, such as “Gunblade NY: Special Air Assault Force”, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “The Maze of the Kings”, but it seems this would have been his first console project.

At the time, Cord Smith was resigning from SEGA and about to join Ubisoft, but his sister was the acting City Attorney of Carbondale, and – through her many city contacts – he was able to grant unlimited access to many locations that could have been used in the game: the abandoned high school, hospital, shopping mall, fire station, police station (and armory and shooting range), water treatment plant, and even the underground waterways & sewer system. The team met in Illinois and toured together for multiple days at the various sites.

carbondale-sega-game-cancelled-3

As far as we were able to gather, Carbondale was being developed for Playstation 2 and Xbox, but at that time, many devs were also looking into next-gen tech. We were told that the early prototype of Carbondale seemed to be on the PS2. Unfortunately it appears that this early prototype simply wasn’t of high enough quality to receive the green-light for its next milestone, but there is not enough info available to know exactly what happened to the game, and additional details about its gameplay mechanics are scarce.

It seems that the game was meant to be a traditional survival horror with moments of more “bombastic action”, potentially through the invasion of alien enemies. People who talked with Ogasawara at the time got the sense that they wanted it to be SEGA’s answer to the Resident Evil franchise, featuring a much more realistic Western setting (hence the research), but also SEGA’s leanings towards action and arcade-like fun factor.

We were able to exchange a few emails with Cord, who shared a few memories about this lost game and their Carbondale exploration:

“One of my favorite locations was an abandoned high school. The city had built a new one and left the old in an eerie state, with lots of books, equipment, and other items left behind. We visited it at night, so it was as if a apocalyptic event had occurred and everyone evacuated in a hurry. In other words: perfect video game reference.

The mirrors behind the theater stage still had cosmetics nearby, the cafeteria had trays out on the tables, and textbooks were strewn about the classrooms. We split up into two teams, each with cameras and flashlights, and in one area I found a CPR dummy, which amounted to a dressed male mannequin torso. Without hesitation, I took it and returned to the main stairway near the school’s foyer. I could see the other team’s flashlights scanning the walls along the distant hallway, and faked a scream before sliding the torso along the floor towards them. As the seemingly severed body moved into the beams of their flashlights, the school erupted with the other groups’ terrified screams. And we laughed, and laughed. So much fun!”

We hope to be able to preserve more details and footage from the game in the future.

Thanks a lot to Mortimer for the contribution!

Images:

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. 

Metal Arms 2 [Cancelled – Xbox, PS2, GameCube]

The original Metal Arms: Glitch in the System was a third-person shooter developed by Swingin’ Ape Studios and published by Vivendi Universal and Sierra Entertainment in late 2003, for Playstation 2, Xbox and GameCube. While the game did not sold a lot, it soon became a cult classic and many loved its fun gameplay in the story mode and multiplayer. The game story ended with a cliffhanger and the team did start on Metal Arms 2 soon after the first game, but unfortunately the project was stopped when they were signed to work on Starcraft Ghost for Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Ghost was initially in development by Nihilistic Software, but in June 2004 they were removed from the project and Blizzard gave it to Swingin’ Ape Studios to continue.

Swingin’ Ape were just a small team and to assure quality work on such an important and hyped game as StarCraft: Ghost they had to use all of their resources and were not able to continue their Metal Arms sequel. Only a few concept art and early ideas for Metal Arms 2 were conceived before the cancellation of the game. One of the developers remember a few details on the characters that you can see in the gallery below:

  • Goliath: The next-generation Titan, designed for crushing/smashing Droids like ants.
  • Pinto (pictured here after one has been captured and repurposed by Droids): A light, fast hit-and-run buggy that can carry 4 grunts (1 driver, 1 gunner, 2 clinging desperately to the sides).
  • Commando: An elite Mil shock trooper, similar in abilities to the Droid Commando but more heavily armored.
  • Corrosive Suit: Krunk was going to turn the wrecked shell of General Corrosive into a mech suit that Glitch could jump into and use like a vehicle.”
  • ATAB: I don’t remember what it stands for, but it’s an armored Droid troop carrier. Troops can ride on top, and the shields on the legs allow them to use it for advancing cover in combat.
  • Droid Explorer: An old, battered robot that’s been off exploring Iron Star for years. For so long, in fact, that he completely missed that whole Mil/Droid war thing.
  • Droid Engineer: Mister Fixit, able to build/repair just about anything.
  • Droid Trooper: The first Droids actually designed for combat, rather than re-purposed from some other job. Fairly effective grunts.
  • Droid Commando: Elite combat troops (or at least as “elite” as Droids get). Faster, stronger, smarter, and more heavily armed than the Troopers.

While work on StarCraft: Ghost proceeded, in May 2005 Blizzard Entertainment decided to acquire Swingin’ Ape and they became part of the popular company. After a while StarCraft: Ghost was also put on indefinite hold and never completed.

Thanks to KRaZiGLiTcH and Josiah from the WeWantMetalArms2 fanpage for their contribution!

Images:

Page 1 of 7512345...102030...Last »