Pain Boarders is a cancelled “snowboard ragdoll” game in development in 2009 by Idol Minds (now known as Deck Nine, the team that worked on Life Is Strange: Before the Storm) for Playstation 3. Since the late ’90s Idol Minds developed such snowboard games as Cool Boarders 3, Cool Boarders 4 and Cool Boarders 2001. In 2007 they released Pain for PS3, a strange ragdoll puzzle game in which you had to shoot a character with a slingshot to destroy the environment or hit targets. As we can read on Wikipedia:
“In Pain the player attempts to damage the ragdoll character they play and the environment as much as possible by flinging them from a rubber-band slingshot, using the Havok physics engine. The characters have distinctive poses and phrases, can move by “ooching” and can grab things to throw or hang from”
As you can imagine from the title, Pain Boarders would have been a mix between Pain and their Cool Boarders games. While Pain Boarders was never officially announced nor any footage of it was ever shown to the public, we can speculate players would have to fling a snowboarder down the snow slope and possibly creating chaos on the ski run.
Many crazy characters would have been available, such as a cool yeti snowboarding on a log. Pain Boarders could really have been a fun game, but unfortunately it was canned when Sony stopped funding the project. Only a couple of images remains to remember the existence of this lost project.
Enders Project (also know as Zone of the Enders 3) is a cancelled game which seems to have been planned for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 (and possibly also for PS4 & Xbox One) by Hideo Kojima and Konami. The game would have been the third chapter in the popular Zone of the Enders game series, but it was scrapped at a very early stage in development.
Zone of Enders, the series
The first Zone of the Enders is a third-person shooter / hack and slash type of video game set in 2172 where the player assumes controls of a mecha (known as Orbital Frame) called Jehuty. His mission is to free Jupiter’s colony Antilia from the military force BAHRAM. Its sequel, Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner (know in Japan as Anubis: Zone of the Ender), followed the same style but improved on many aspects, introducing more enemies, abilities and a more immersive environment. ZOE 3: Enders Project was conceived as a direct sequel to Second Runner, without taking place on futuristic colonies but rather in an “ancient civilization”.
As detailed at Famitsu.com, Kojima indicated that the game is currently in an early prototyping phase. Producer Ryosuke Toriyama and other key staff are currently conducting tests on what can be done using the internally developed Fox Engine, explained Kojima. Toriyama took the stage and revealed that he and his staff are at the state where they’re making models (real models) and converting them into Fox Engine assets.
There would have been different gangs to choose from, each one with their own style and car-type, somehow like in Twisted Metal. Players could also been able to fully customize their vehicles with new parts, colors and decals, before destroying them during missions.
Only a few images remain to remember the existence of this interesting project. As you can see it looked really promising. Many different arenas would have been available to play in, set in such locations as a demonic amusement park, a shuttle launchpad and many more.
This string of failed projects can attributed largely by the shifting focus of the company, and THQ’s own goals during the time after purchasing Juice Games in 2006. With the studio itself undergoing a transition away from boxed retail products and moving solely into digital goods, Juice Games was also undergoing its transformation into THQ Digital Studios Warrington.
Shortly after releasing their two digital games, THQ Digital Studios were then closed down by THQ in June 2011 due to “lackluster sales of Red Faction: Battlegrounds”. Talking to Eurogamer, an inside source who worked at the studio claimed that THQ had cancelled several projects over the years, and that they “struggled to find an idea THQ were happy with”.
Project X is a cancelled third person action game for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, which was in development around 2005 / 2007 by Z-Axis studio (later known as Underground Development) for Activision. The game was never officially announced by the company and it’s just one of many more unreleased games (such as Call of Duty: Devil’s Brigade) the team was working on, before Activision decided to close them down in 2010.
Only a few screenshots and a short video remain to remember the existence of this lost game. By looking at these, we can assume the game would have been somehow similar to other action games with super-powers like Prototype and Infamous. The main protagonist was able to morph itself into different forms of elemental energy, for example a body of ice or fire. By switching elements it would have been able to easily kill different kinds of enemies of the opposite element.
It seems only an early prototype was developed before Activision cancelled the project, maybe to switch the team to work on the PS3 version of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.
Dark Matter: The Baryon Project is a cancelled sci-fi shooter RPG that was in development by Pixelcage, planned to be released for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. The project was quite ambitious for a rather small and obscure team, promising to offer both on-foot first-person shooting and third person spacecraft combat.
The development of the game started around summer 2003. The game was planned to be released in 2007.
In their old – now closed – website, we can read they wanted to create a vast universe in which to freely fly around, inspired by such games as “TIE-Fighter” and “Freespace”. You would fight in space against huge spacecrafts planned to be up to 100 km (62 miles) in size – something that would be considered a massive open-world even by today’s standards (SKYRIM’s world is about 5 km wide), gigantic spaceships-worlds in which you could also break-in to continue attacking your enemies on foot.
“When playing such games in the past, I always wondered how it would be to just ram one of that bigger vessels and just “clear the bridge manually”. With today’s hardware capabilities, we now do a swing on it. – Marco Sobol, former Pixelcage developer”
If this was not enough to hype up the project, they also wrote about “graphic details up to a grade of millimeters!”, “experience speeds of up to 3000 km/h!”, “have a million polygons on your screen – in realtime!” and “can you handle hundreds of enemies?”. For sure the team had big dreams for their first project.
For this objective the studio created it’s own ambitious 3D engine, during 3 years of development. Their expectation for the game’s graphic was quite high.
Thanks to an old interview with Pixelcage by Gengamers, we can read that work for the game began in 2003 with a core team of only 7 people, with plans to expand the studio to more than 40 people when they would finally find a publisher.
The game also didn’t want to limit itself to a “pure space shooter”, planning more ambitious features such as directing a vessel and fighting against other space ships. Marco Sobol (former developer of the game), described Dark Matter’s gameplay as follows:
“Dark Matter is a first person shooter/ space shooter with some RPG elements, such as an inventory and improving skills, but without the flaws of pondering about tables and character sheets. It will feel much like a common FPS when it comes to game controls and speed, but comes with hours of dynamic scripted scenes, a non-linear storyline and state-of-the-art sound effects and music.”
Not only gameplay and huge environments would have been quite ambitious for its time, Dark Matter: The Baryon Project was also planned to have a open-ended storyline with different endings. Pixelcage wanted to have several playable characters appearing in the game and time travelling would have played an important role, featuring morphing aliens and fierce “time warriors”.
Its settings were heavily inspired by such movies and agems as The Matrix, Ghost in the Shell, TIE-Fighter and Freespace. Aliens, humanoids and shape-shifters would have been some of many characters and enemies players had to face. Plenty of NPC‘s would have behaved depending on players’ action, whether being friendly or evil towards them.
If such an immense game like this was not complex enough to develop, the team also wanted to add online multiplayer:
“We will put much efforts in the multiplayer part. There will be several deathmatch and teamplay modes, we even plan to include a mode in which you can play the single player campaign together with your friends. This is generally possible because there is more than one prime character in the game.”
They also wanted to publish a playable demo but we don’t know if they ever got something playable to release to the public.
It’s easy to see how Pixelcage were a passionate team with many ambitious ideas for their project, but unfortunately it seems they never found a publisher interested in funding it. In the end they had to abandon Dark Matter: The Baryon Project to work on other, simpler games such as Switchfire (published in 2006) and Jekyll & Hyde (2010), before to close down the studio.
If you know someone who worked on this game and could help us to preserve more screens, videos and details, please let us know!
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