Playstation 2 (PS2)

Dragonkind [XBOX/PS2 – Cancelled]

Dragonkind is a cancelled fantasy action adventure game developed by TriLunar for Xbox and PlayStation 2, around 2002.

Set in the fantasy world of Vermilion, Dragonkind follows the adventures of a young man named Grail who has the mysterious ability to control the power of dragons. This ability causes problems as well as provides great benefits, and launches Grail on a series of escapades that carry him across the world. The game story evolves as Grail journeys into and out of adventures and to a final conclusion that answers questions about his past and his role in the future of the world…

The game was officially revealed in April 2002. Worthplaying wrote:

TriLunar, LLC announced today their newest game title, Dragonkind. Combining the action and exploration of classic platform games with the depth of story and character found in console role-playing games, Dragonkind promises to deliver a unique experience that is only possible with the power and flexibility of today’s newest generation of console platforms.

Set in the fantasy world of Vermilion, Dragonkind follows the adventures of a young man named Grail who has the mysterious ability to control the power of dragons. This ability causes problems as well as provides great benefits, and launches Grail on a series of escapades that carry him across the world. The game story evolves as Grail journeys into and out of adventures and to a final conclusion that answers questions about his past and his role in the future of the world… or does it? In the spirit of classic comic book tales, things in Dragonkind are not always as they appear to be.

“I’ve always been fascinated with video games,” says Joe Madureira, President of Creative Development, “and I had been looking for the opportunity to express myself creatively in real-time 3D. Our goal is to make Dragonkind feel like a real-life comic book with all of the great characters, story and action found in today’s best comics. With today’s technology, you can create fantasy worlds of unprecedented depth and detail.”

Game play in Dragonkind will feature a mix of action and adventure. Key features in the game include:

  • Stunning 3D world featuring the art, look and feel of noted comic book artist, Joe Madureira.
  • An epic tale of good and evil; of love, honor and destiny! (With a little humor squeezed in when you weren’t looking)
  • Unique friends and enemies, each with their own roles and personalities. Crafty rogues, roguish sea-pirates, piratical warlords – you get the idea.
  • Extensive 3D lands of mystery and adventure to discover and explore. Secret areas and special locations will keep you searching for more.
  • Run, jump, climb, swim, ride, sail and fly your way to success. (And even go on a train ride or two).
  • Devious enemies and nefarious traps that require timing and strategy to defeat. Race across a field of ice floes with a sea serpent at your heels, ride an avalanche, wrestle a dragon, and much more!
  • Story driven quest objectives and open game world allow a high degree of non-linear game play.
  • Great battles of swords and strategy that increase in difficulty as you yourself become mightier. Summon the power of dragons to your aid with lava rain, ice comets, and earthquakes!
  • Thrilling music and thundering sound effects.
  • Cinematic camera control heightens the sense of adventure.
  • Simple, intuitive interface keeps you focused on the game, not the controls.

“Today’s video game fan demands great story in addition to great game play,” says Greg Peterson, TriLunar’s CEO. “With Dragonkind we are taking the best aspects of console platformers and blending the best aspects of console role-playing games. We will know we’ve created a hit when people will be able to walk up to our game and start playing immediately, and still be hooked days later. Our story, game play, and technology will all support one another, so that the final package will take people on a journey of entertainment that remains fresh and engaging all the way through the game finale.”

Dragonkind is being developed for the Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox. Scheduled release date is 2004.

However, the project was quickly cancelled after its announcement. It was announced in August 2002 on the now-defunct website of TriLunar:

TriLunar Shuts Down Operations – August 27 • 2002

We have a disappointing announcement. Due to lack of resources, we have had to cease development of the game Dragonkind as well as close down TriLunar. The company was funded 100% internally, and without access to an external source of capital, we are unable to continue operating. This decision disappoints us as much as it probably disappoints all of our fans and supporters.

TriLunar has ceased all internal development. Work on the game Dragonkind has stopped and will not be starting up for the foreseeable future. Additionally, we are no longer accepting solicitations or employment applications.

We at TriLunar appreciate the unprecedented level of support we received over the course of development. We know it has been a tough road for our friends and fans as well as ourselves.

One thing which never failed was our team’s unflagging enthusiasm which was buoyed by support from the fans, the press and our families. We would like to thank all of you. We hope one day to return to you as much as you gave to us.

Take care and continued success.

-The TriLunar Team

In March 2003, it was revealed that Joe Madureira was working on another game, Exarch, which will become Dungeon Runners.

In November 2009, French website Gameblog got in touch with Joe Madureira. Dragonkind was briefly mentionned:

G.B.: Did you immediately experience the same success in video games?

J.M.: No, not at all. But do you really want to talk about this?

G.B.: Yes, of course! It’s interesting to know what that might have brought you…

J.M.: In fact, my first attempts at video games were horrible. I created a game called Dragonkind, but our previous company (TriLunar) lost too much money and we went bankrupt. The game was never finished. Today at Vigil Games, we work with people I met through Dragonkind. So this experience finally allowed me to meet the right people. It’s still very important.

Article by Daniel Nicaise

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Aliens: Colonial Marines [PS2 – Cancelled]

Aliens: Colonial Marines is a cancelled squad-based First-Person Shooter video game developed by Check Six Studios and published by Fox Interactive and Electronic Arts, exclusively for the Playstation 2, from 2000 to 2002. It was based on the eponymous movie franchise, and was going to take place between the second and third films, with a rescue team of colonial marines and a salvage team went on a search-and-rescue mission for the missing United States Colonial Marines ship, Sulaco. It is not related to the 2013 game of the same name.

The game was officially revealed in May 2001 by EA and showed at E3. You would play as Lt. Nakamuri who could command up to 4 marines (from a pool of 12), all of which had their own personalities and skills. IGN was able to see the game in action and wrote:

Aliens: Colonial Marines pits players in a brand new story that follows the second movie in the series, Aliens. In short, the game begins as your ship discovers a drifting marine space ship floating far too close to a powerful sun that’s pulling it in at a rapid pace. Your team boards the seemingly empty ship, and then you discover a team of rogue scavengers has taken over the ship, hoping to steal equipment, food and resources of any kind. You also discover that aliens are onboard, and killing off the scavengers. As you fight off aliens and find the pilot cabin, you must redirect the vessel before it crashes into the sun.

In one of the early scenes in the game, you confront the alien queen in her egg chamber. She is laying hundreds of alien eggs, and when she notices you, she breaks off from her birthing carapace, and begins chasing you through the ship.

It is a squad-based game in which players can determine the shape of their squad, by simply pressing a button. There are several different configurations, among them a few shaped in a square, a dome, and a triangle, and the squad walks with you and protects you from rogue alien attacks.

The game is remarkable similar to Alien Resurrection on the PlayStation in its pace and look. Players don’t zip around the game like a standard FPS. Instead, you walk around, paced and are constantly on the lookout for alien attacks, which run out of different corridors in front and behind you when you least expect it. Many aspects of the movies have been incorporated into this game, including set design and sound. As you walk through the corridors, knocked out humans, incased in alien goo are strung up along the walls, some dead, and some still living. You can actually save the live ones, who will then join your squad. They will stay with you throughout the game, unless you are unlucky, in which instance they bear little baby aliens from their chest. Then you’re in trouble. (…)

The game moves a slow framerate right now, but the controls were imminently better than in Alien Resurrection, with quick response and rapid turnaround times. I was glad to finally play a game that played like the movies, and that is also good. Now they just have to speed the game up to 60 fps, speed up and tune the controls and work story-based scripts into the game, hopefully like in Half-Life or Red Faction, and they’ll have a hit on their hands.

Initially scheduled for a release in Fall of 2001, the title was pushed back to a release somewhere in Spring of 2002 and then for November of the same year, before being put on-hold by EA in May 2002. It was officially cancelled in October 2002 with EA citing that “there were no plans to pick up its development in the future”. The project was far from complete but no reason were given about why it was cancelled back then. In October 2018, Wumpagem got an interview from former Game Director Joel Goodsell. He explained briefly that Aliens: Colonial Marines was cancelled for technical issues:

Check Six also had a contract for an Alien Colonial Marines game being worked on simultaneously with Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. The game had some amazing lighting – on the order of what we see in Alien: Isolation or Dead Space – way ahead of its time. Unfortunately, performance and production issues killed that title.

It wasn’t until 2020-2021 that more lights were shared about the game thanks to a short investigating documentary by Youtuber Mr. FO1. AVPGalaxy repeated the words from developers Clancy John Imislund, Jamien McBride and Franck de Girolami:

I was a junior programmer for a short period of time on the project. When they were doing the concept, there were other kinds of brand new Xenomorphs and you would have to fight them in the game. Check Six was just too small of a company to make a game as big as Colonial Marines. Spyro: Enter the Dragon was basically funding the game. – Jamien McBride

I was a graphics artist at Check Six and did some work on Aliens and Spyro. I left after a couple of months because of how stressful the work schedule was. The codebase was very difficult to work in. – Franck de Girolami

Check Six got a deal with Maya and they were told to write a SDK for Maya so people can write games. When I started work, I was told to work on Aliens Colonial Marines instead of the SDK. I told the team at Check Six that it was terrible and broken and it needed to be documented so people could work on it. This caused some issues with Maya as four companies bought the SDK and returned it as it wasn’t documented. It was 70% done and the 70% that was, was terrible, slow, buggy and it crashed all the time.

One time, Check Six went to Fox with a DVD they’d burnt. It was a sequence showing the Queen and it worked perfectly prior to the visit. When they showed them the video, the Queen appeared but she was half faded. An explosion occurred which was faded because the shaders were buggy.

The last time they went to Fox, they burnt another DVD of the intro video which worked fine before that. When they showed Fox, the video plays and the game just crashes. You could make out a human character on the screen but the textures weren’t loading and it was about to have some dialogue when the video crashed. This was a surprise to Fox as they’d visited Check Six before and thought the game was looking great. It was at this point, Fox just cancelled the project altogether. – Clancy John Imislund

According to some developers, the game was broken into levels and was mission-based. There were three main acts in the game, and each one was made up of about seven levels. The first act took place on the USS Sulaco. It was hinted that the final act would take place on the aliens’ home planet. There were flamethrowers, pulse rifles with grenade-launcher attachments, and the shoulder-mounted smart gun. As for the aliens, alongside Facehuggers, Chestbursters, Warriors and Praetorians, new types were planned.

Although not related, it is worth mentionning that the second Aliens: Colonial Marines game, this time published by SEGA and initially made by Gearbox Software, also went into development hell as it was announced too soon, in December 2006. Gearbox worked briefly on it until the beginning of 2008 before being focus on the first Borderlands, which was itself modified from its initial form, before SEGA temporarly put on-hold the project in 2009 because of the economical crisis. The development was re-launched in the end of 2010 with TimeGate Studios as the main developer.

Article updated by Daniel Nicaise

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Images from the Gearbox Software prototype – circa 2008:

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2008 teaser from the Gearbox Software’s version

 

White Fear (Inuits) [PS2/PC – Cancelled]

White Fear, later renamed Inuits, is a canceled action-adventure game developed by Widescreen Games, first published by Microïds, then by Playlogic Entertainment, from 2002 to 2004 for PC and Playstation 2.

Announced in the spring of 2002 for a release initially scheduled for November of the same year, White Fear tells us the story of Iru, a young shaman who has to help the inhabitants of a polar village. An evil witch named Sukko not only destroyed their homes and settled the area with her servants, but also cast a terrible curse on them: turning them into monsters of ice. In addition to various melee weapons, Iru would also have magical powers taught by four spirits to take on a total of 21 various monsters such as trolls and goblins through diverse environments across four worlds. As the game progressed, Iru was called upon to increase his powers through various items found throughout the adventure. Futher information can be read on Gamespot:

The game is set in a 3D fantasy world filled with frozen wilderness and magic. It will include fast-paced combat as well as puzzle-driven adventure elements.

As we can read on Queutimes.com, it seems that Microïds made the decision to let go the project in 2004 after a certain number of postponements, and left the hand to Playlogic which canceled the game very quickly, not without having to change the name in the process. No statements were made about why it was dropped by Microïds neither canceled by Playlogic.

At the beginning of 2019, a prototype of the game dating from May 2002, leaked onto the Internet.

After its cancellation, Widescreen Games will work on many other projects, some also canceled, before filing for bankruptcy in 2009.

Article updated by Daniel Nicaise

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Plague of Darkness [XBOX/PS2/PC – Cancelled]

Plague of Darkness (also known as The Plague) is a canceled action-adventure game developed by Widescreen Games and published by Namco Hometek for Playstation 2 and Xbox around 2003-2004.

The game was announced during the ECTS 2003 for a release planned in the summer of 2004 as we can read on Gamezone:

“Gamers Beware: Namco to spread gaming fever next summer with Plague of Darkness title to infect action adventure genre on PlayStation®2 and Xbox®.

Leading video games publisher Namco Hometek Inc. promises intense, nonstop action in its newest thriller, Plague of Darkness (tentative title), announced today.  Scheduled for release on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, Plague of Darkness will ship in the summer of 2004.  Developed by Widescreen Games in Lyon, France, Plague of Darkness will feature Xbox Live functionality, complete with downloadable content, as well as PlayStation®2 online support with exclusive extras.

“Plague of Darkness will raise the bar in the action adventure genre through its haunting original storyline, close combat elements, stunning graphics and intense action,” said Jon Kromrey, Producer at Namco Hometek Inc.

“We think gamers will be infected with its immersive and addictive gameplay.”

In Plague of Darkness, Namco transports players to ravaged Medieval Europe during the time of the Black Death. Eight brooding environments with 58 sub-locations will put players to the test, each containing new objectives, enemies and obstacles. A linear storyline with deadly puzzles, fascinating characters and chilling discoveries allow players to experience unique game play mechanics and participate in over-the-top fantasy combat. In a time where advanced weaponry doesn’t yet exist, players have a multitude of basic weapons, special tools and magic at their disposal. Over five weapons are featured in the game, including a variety of swords, crossbows, daggers and the ability to cast magic spells. The game’s outstanding cinematic effects set an additional ambient tone for Plague of Darkness, immersing players deep into the dark world environments.

The game’s story features a Knight of the Order, Douran, who sets out on a mission to bring down a terrible demon.  The demon has been haunting the land of the living by feasting on the black souls of the dead, in order to bring about its own resurrection. During the course of his adventure, Douran encounters other characters that may hold answers to the mystery behind the demonic plague, but can he trust them? In the course of the story, the hero fights the omnipresent evil demon by using the game’s sacred relic in a quest to spread peace throughout Europe.”

In December of the same year, Gamekult revealed a little more about the game:

“In a medieval Europe ravaged by the Black Plague (1348), the young knight Douran sets sail for the island of St. Angui, to join Jacques de Villemort, the head of the Order, and his father, whom he has seen attacked by an evil spirit in a recent nightmare. Offshore, Douran sees a thick dark fog with a Death’s face, which quickly takes the form of a claw to trap the ship and capsize it. At the back of his cabin, our hero hears the horrified laments of the members of the crew, before seeing the strange tablecloth rush under his door … Small peculiarity, the combat system will propose to assign tarot cards to get special spells. Equipped with an online function on Xbox as on PS2 to obtain new equipment, Plague of Darkness is scheduled for next June in the United States.”

In April 2004, Sliced Gaming Australia shared a bit more about the game design:

“As you progress through Plague of Darkness you’ll be able to upgrade Douran’s weapons, magic and armour Role-Playing Game-style. As the game has an emphasis on action and combat, Douran will have more combat-based moves than simply attacking; he’ll also be able to block enemies’ attacks and even grab them to execute throw moves. Twenty-five enemies will be featured in the game, some with non-magical attacks and some with magical attacks.”

However, Plague of Darkness quietly vanished without a trace after this. We can speculate that something went wrong during it’s development process and Namco decided to pull the plug. Oddly enough, a partnership between Widescreen Games and Namco will eventually come to fruition with the making of Dead to Rights 2, released in the end of the 2005 year, after a troubled development.

Article by Daniel Nicaise

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Spirit Under Control (Widescreen Games) [PC, PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

Spirit Under Control is a canceled futuristic sci-fi action/adventure game that was developed in the mid 2000’s by Widescreen Games for the PC, Playstation 2 and Xbox. It seems it was set in the distant future, on a planet called Jun. The main feature of this project was the use of a capacity named “spirit” which would have allow the player to take control of various characters such as the enemies in order to solve various situations. We can speculate that its gameplay could have been very similar to games like Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, The Nomad Soul and Messiah.

Few information are currently available on Spirit Under Control, as the game was never officially revealed to this day. It was discovered on the now-defunct website of Widescreen Games. Here was what we could read about this title:

Game Overview

Spirit Under Control is a 3rd person action / adventure game in 3D real time dedicated to PS2, XBOX and PC.

The adventure takes place on Jun, a mysterious planet located in a remote solar system.

The gameplay of Spirit mixes skilfully Action and Adventures, it is based on the use of a super capacity called “spirit”. The spirit makes it possible to remotely take the control of the enemies.

Key features: An action game with a brain

– Explore a fascinating universe: a world populated with exotic aliens with exciting powers you can take control of.

– Use your spirit powers to solve complex and puzzling situations.

– Take the control of different characters to experiment various gameplays.

Game Genre : 3rd person action adventure game

Universe : Space Western

Platforms : PS2 / XBOX / PC

Playable PS2 demo

Target : mature audience

It seems that Spirit Under Control was playable as we could read it on the general information section, but, to this day, no such playable demo was made available on the web. Only four tiny screenshots are available here to remember the existence of this obscure, interesting project. It isn’t the first lost cancelled game made by Widescreen Games. In the same category, we could add titles such as Amon Ra, Ghostman or even Paparazzi.

If you know someone who worked on Spirit Under Control and could help us preserve more screenshots, footage or details, please let us know!