Playstation 2 (PS2)

Ion Runner [Cancelled – GameCube, PS2, Xbox, PC]

Ion Runner is a cancelled racing / on-rail shooter game that was in development around 20022003 by Attention to Detail, the team mostly known for such titles as Rollcage, Lego Racers 2 and Drome Racers. The project was planned to be released for GameCube, Playstation 2, Xbox and PC, but unfortunately the team did not find a publisher interested in supporting it.

Some details about this lost game was shared online by former developers, who started working on Ion Runner after the cancellation of Lego Racer 4:

“A more ambitious project, Lego Racers 4, was canned after substantial development effort. This was technically interesting as the design called for streaming of the entire game world from DVD, allowing much larger and more intricate play area than earlier Lego games, or most console titles at the time. The team involved went on to work on Ion Runner […]

Two complete levels of Ion Runner were programmed and demonstrated to many publishers, but there was no time to sign a deal before venture capitalists 3I pulled the plug on the company in August 2003.

Since then the demos have been seen by many in the industry who were surprised that the project was never finished – but the price, calculated to refloat the group as well as to cover the development costs, meant any deal on this new IP was hard to arrange.”

It seems the game initially started as a classic 3D racing – on rail shooter, in which players would drive their overbike through different levels while shooting down enemies. After a while the team toyed with a more open adventure-alike gameplay, possibly with HUB world to explore, NPCs to talk to and other action-adventure mechanics. As far as we know, not much was done on this version before the cancellation.

In the end with no more funds to keep the studio alive, Attention to Detail had to close down for liquidation:

“UK developer ATD (Attention to Detail) went into liquidation last Thursday, it has been revealed. While most of the country’s attention was directed at the ECTS trade show approximately 50 staff was laid off after a failure to sign the developer’s Ion Runner title.”

If you know someone who worked on the game and may have saved footage or more screenshots, please let us know!

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Vietnam: The Tet Offensive [PS2, PC – Cancelled]

Vietnam: The Tet Offensive is a cancelled FPS that was in development around 2004 by Atomic Planet Entertainment, planned to be published by Oxygen Interactive on PlayStation 2 and PC. As you can assume by its title, players would take the role of an American soldier during the Vietnam war, throughout the historical Tet Offensive to be precise.

Not much else is known about the game, apart from the original press-release and old news from IGN:

“Due in September, Vietnam: The Tet Offensive will feature a range of action-packed missions and an innovative damage system, packed with accurate historical details.”

While some websites have listed this game as published in Europe, as far as we know it was never really released in there. While another Oxygen / Atomic Planet FPS collaboration titled “SAS: Against All Odds” was later released as “SAS Anti-Terror Force”, Vietnam: The Tet Offensive just vanished without traces.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Invasion [PS2 – Cancelled]

Invasion is a cancelled massive online multiplayer shooter in development by Turbine Inc (mostly known for other online games such as Asheron’s Call and Dungeons & Dragons Online) for Playstation 2 around 2003. The team worked on a single-player prototype to test gameplay using Driver-Inter‘s proprietary engines, but in the end the project was cancelled, probably because of difficulties in creating a proper MMO game on the 6th generation of consoles.

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As you can see from the prototype footage and screenshots preserved in this page, the game was quite impressive for its time, at least graphically. Some details about Invasion can still be found on Driver Inter’s website:

“Invasion is a third-person shooter where player searches an abandoned Martian colony for its secrets in order to prevent a menace of an alien invasion on Earth.

The game is a demo with several types of weapons, powerups, enemies, quest items, an NPC that requires protection from player and a boss at the end of the last episode. The demo contains three episodes in three different areas: abandoned outpost, canyon and underground lab.

This project was a first stage of development of a unique massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) “Invasion!” where players were expected to:

  • Explore and defend a Martian-invaded earth
  • Guide “smart actors” who experience the world as a personalized sci-fi epic
  • Fight creatures great and small in entertaining monster movie battles
  • Evolve new abilities, new body parts, and new ways to play the game

The MMOG project “Invasion!” was cancelled.

In 2010 Turbine was acquired by Warner Bros and renamed WB Games Boston, working on MOBA Infinite Crisis and smartphone versions of  Batman: Arkham Underworld and Game of Thrones: Conquest.

Thanks to Mihapsx for the contribution!

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L42 (Blue Planet) [GameCube, PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

L42 is a cancelled cyberpunk mission-based driving game that was in development around 1999 – 2000 by Blue Planet Software (the same company that today act as the exclusive agent for The Tetris Company) for “next gen consoles”: GameCube, Playstation 2 and Xbox. We can speculate it would somehow play as a sci-fi version of Driver, set a cyberpunk “open world”.

From the few images preserved in the gallery below it looks like L42 was still in its early concept phase, as these looks more like target renders than real-time prototype screens. While the game was officially shown in their old website, we cannot find any other detail or announcement about it online: it seems it was soon cancelled and forgotten by everyone. 

As L42 would feature art design by popular American designer and concept artist Syd Mead (Blade Runner, Tron, Short Circuit), it’s strange Blue Planet did not promote their concept in any way, but we can assume they were still pitching it to different publishers before it was finally canned. In the end, the company is more profitable just focusing on their Tetris license.

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