PSP

Shitkickers [PSP, PS2 – Cancelled]

Shitkickers is a cancelled action shooter that was pitched by David Jaffe on PSP and PS2, possibly when he was working with Incognito Entertainment o Eat Sleep Play. Just as with his Twisted Metal series, Shitkickers would have heavily used vehicle-combat during missions, with the high concept being “Max Payne set in the deep South of USA“.

While the game was never officially announced and possible not greenlighted by Sony, Jaffe shared a couple of pages from their original pitch on Twitter:

“Shitkickers gives the Nascar fan their own action hero. Shitkickers is not goofy, silly ‘dumb rednck” humor, it actually glamorizes the Red State culture. Think a hard edges Dukes of Hazzard or Smokey And The Bandit. Game would have country music and southern rock soundtrack with country stars even starring in some of the smaller NPC roles (Willie Nelson, Faith Hill, Dolly Parton, etc.). Kind of like what the Urban Rap games do with the rap star (i.e. 50 Cent’s BulletProof).

Be cool to get the actual licenses for specific trucks, guns, stores and such that are indigenous to the Red State Culture. Game itself is a shooter and driving game (lots of vehicles to use in the missions). A streaming environment would be great, but I don’t know if this will work on the PSP. In an ideal world we’d be making this on PS2 as it has the more casual audience at this point and the casuals would probably dig this more than hardcore, elitist gamers who may make fun of the subject matter.

That said, if our hero is just bad ass in every way (think The Rock in Walking Tall) we could be fine on any platform. I see this as a hard T-rating, something dads and their sons can play together, it’s rough and tough and down and dirty, but it’s not nasty and dark and violent. Hell, maybe we should just get The Rock and scan him and do the 50 Cent thing? Right now, it’s just a vibe and a setting, we would have to work to really make the third person shooter gameplay feel fresh and to give it some unique ideas. But that doesn’t worry me so much.

Overall, I think it’s a fresh, fun theme that may very well be one of the last remaining cultural avenues that games have not exploited. Could this be the action game for those droves who bought ATV OffRoad Fury?”

As far as we know these 2 pages are the only remaining document proving the existence of this lost project and the team may have not started any prototype before it was rejected.

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ZTA (SDP Games) [PSP – Cancelled]

ZTA is a cancelled open world action game that was in development by french studio SDP Games (Smack Down Productions) for Sony PSP. As you can imagine from its name, the game was meant to be a clone of GTA, but focused on the zombie apocalypse. This lost game was revealed some years ago by a French website, with a few details directly from the developers. It seems SDP Games tried to pitch their project to Rockstar Games, but without any luck.

As we can read from the original article (“translated” with Google Translate):

“This is our very first game prototype! It was indeed a GTA with Zombies on PSP, very zany with the music of Weird Al. We were in contact with Rockstar for the edition, but we never could agree on a budget. Unable to find another publisher, we had to abandon it to move to Nintendo DS ”

Only a bunch of screenshots from the ZTA prototype survive today after the closure of the studio, preserved below to remember the existence of this lost game.

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MediEvil Legends [PSP – Cancelled]

MediEvil Legends is a cancelled hack & slash developed by ChocChip Moose team for Sony as a part of the MProf Games Development course. This prototype was based on a brief given by Sony to students of the course with plans to possibly fully developed it into a PSP Mini commercial release.

While this should be considered a course-prototype and never announced by Sony as an official MediEvil game, some details were found online by fans:

“For the second semester, we were given the task of developing a small prototype by Sony that could be carried over and fully developed for sale as a PSP Mini game. The game was part of the established Sony franchise MediEvil and the concept was Dan retelling the story of his heroic deeds in the form of tall tales to his fellow heroes that the player had to relive. It took the form of a simple 3D top-down hack and slasher with humorous dialogue and banter between the listening heroes and Dan. This game was also developed in PhyreEngine.”

“The gameplay was a linear set of enemy waves, each wave getting progressively harder by spawning more enemies for longer periods of time. in addition, the final prototype contained 5 different enemy types, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The zombies, numerous and weak, the mummies, rare but significantly tougher and hard-hitting, Scarecrows, extremely fast and agile, Headless zombies who run in straight lines very fast across the map, bouncing off walls and providing both comic relief and a surprising hazard, and Shadow Demons, deadly, fast and tough.

Waves were interspersed with humorous dialogue between Dan recounting his tale, and the heroes listening in, chiming in with their own comments and version of events, mocking and supporting Dan’s achievements.”

In the end sony never completed the MediEvil Legends prototype into a full PSP game and it soon became a lost and forgotten project.

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FarCry [PSP – Cancelled]

A PSP FarCry game was in development around 2006 by Ubisoft Montreal, as found out thanks to a FTP leak and a developer’s resume. Unfortunately this PSP project was never officially announced by Ubisoft so we don’t have any detail on its gameplay. It seems it would have been a FarCry 2 conversion, but we can assume it would have been much different from the original PS3 and xbox 360 version.

farcry-psp-cancelled

If you know someone who worked at Ubisoft Montreal around 2006 and could help us to preserve more details about this lost game, please let us know! 

Heartland (Homeland) [PSP – Cancelled]

Heartland (originally titled “Homeland” in its early stage) is a cancelled FPS in development by Incognito Entertainment / SCEA, planned to be released on the PSP. The project was conceived by David Jaffe as a mature shooter focused on making players thinking about their decisions and the consequences of war, with political themes related to George W. Bush’s administration and their “war on terror”.

Jaffe wanted to arouse players’ emotional reactions with a strong setting and series of dramatic events, which would have been directly affected by their choices during the game. A couple of examples of these difficult / morally ambiguous decisions would be to “blow up a bridge, stranding the townspeople, but preventing the ground assault” and “obey or disobey the order to douse an innocent family and their house with gasoline, and set them on fire”.

Heartland was meant to be a metaphor of the real US invasion of Iraq in 2003, with North American being the invaded country by a foreign army. The game was to be set in “heartland” of the US in an alternate history in which China invaded America. The main protagonist was a soldier debating whether to stay in the army and fight for America or go AWOL to find his family.  As revealed by Jaffe in a few articles on 1UP and Escapist:

“On one hand, it was supposed to be emotional, we wanted players who are sensitive types like myself – that cry at Hallmark commercials – we were hoping that those types would actually cry, and that other players would still feel something that came close to an emotional response.”

“We were trying to put in a lot of gameplay that would evoke emotion. You had sequences where you’d go into homes and your commanding officer would tell you to shoot innocent Chinese-Americans. It was very dark and was meant to cause players to consider what it’s like to live in America and be an American today.”

“It wasn’t supposed to make you hate the Bush Administration so much as, as a layperson political junkie, it was supposed to put into light – using games as a medium – all the things I didn’t like about the Bush Administration.”

The team planned to use many different and original ways to unfold Heartland’s story and its themes, for example by letting players to find a tape they could watch: initially one would see the execution of a Chinese soldier, but by rewinding the tape you could discover older footage with the soldier’s family during a vacation at Disneyland.

The Incognito team was full of talented developers and after their experience on the PSP with Twisted Metal: Head-On they were planning on making a full 1st person shooter experience to “create the definitive shooter for the PlayStation Portable.”

You can imagine Heartland’s gameplay as an open ended FPS, with several objectives in each area and many different ways to resolve them. It was meant to be more similar to a “Deus Ex” set in a contemporary american settings than another “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield”. As said by Jaffe “I was really excited about creating this almost homage to Deus Ex.” On his old blog Jaffe wrote:

“HEARTLAND: Was going to be a return to more old school, opened up single player (and co-op) Goldeneye/Doom II style level design. Plus a little Deus Ex thrown in, in terms of multiple solves, as much emergence as we could intentionally create (not the mention the happy surprises)”

 

Unfortunately Heartland would never seen the light of day: the team worked on the project for about 6 or 8 months, creating concept art, 3D models and an early engine running on the PSP, before most of them were moved to the Warhawk team to help finishing the game. As more and more people left the Heartland team, they thought to cut some parts (such as the planned multiplayer mode), but in the end with less than 10 people available it was clear they did not have enough resources to fulfill their original concept. For Sony Warhawk was a much more important project to complete and it had the priority over an ambitious PSP game.

With such a small team David Jaffe and Scott Campbell left Heartland behind and decided to start a most suitable project, which later became “Calling all Cars“, released for Playstation Store in May 2007. In mid 2007 Incognito was splitting to create two new studios: Eat Sleep Play lead by Scott Campbell and David Jaffe – which later created Twisted Metal (2012) – and Lightbox Interactive lead by Dylan Jobe – which later created Starhawk (2012).

Unfortunately we still did not save any image from Heartland (the ones you see in this article are from random videos related to the chinese army), we got in contact with a few former developers who worked on the game but they did not have any screenshot or concept art anymore. If you know someone else who worked on this lost game, please let us know