Leaked

Black Death (Darkworks) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

Black Death is a cancelled FPS / Survival Horror game somehow similar to Condemned and Dead Island, in development by Darkworks around 2011. Darkworks was an independent French studio not widely known by the average gamer, but they released a couple of fan favorite games as Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (Playstation, Dreamcast and PC) and Cold Fear (PS2, PC and Xbox). Black Death was announced in June 2011, as the team tried to get attention from publishers to find money and resources to fully develop their idea. This was the last project they tried to pitch before closing down after a series of unfortunate failed projects, such as their Onechanbara reboot, State of Crisis and The Deep.

After Ubisoft took away I Am Alive from Darkworks in 2008 to complete it under Ubisoft Shanghai, the team worked on many different prototypes. We can assume at the time the team tough that shooters were the most marketable genre to be greenlighted by publishers, so they conceived a few ones (such as Black Death) with interesting / original features.

Some more details about Black Death were published in the (now removed) official website:

What is Black Death? Black Death is a new survival horror from Darkworks. Black Death is the personification of the fear generated by the recent pandemics and the mistrust which has been associated to their supposed origins (natural apocalypse, scientific, industrial, or military ones… or else… ).  Our goal with Black Death is to go one step further by focusing the game on three essential elements: speed, fluidity and freedom of action, to offer the player a sensation of freedom and the possibility to create his own arsenal.

Pitch: Today, The  American North East coast, a city is suddenly hit by a massive cloud of smoke. Mysterious swirls of this black smoke appear and infect everybody. This new disease is spreading all over the city making it a place full of sick people sunk into a comatose state. As they mutate into strange creatures with various powers and group behaviours, they start to become violent and invade the whole city. The player is a survivor who will try to stay alive and wipe out this scourge from the city.

Gameplay Experience: THE FOG PLAYS WITH YOU, PLAY WITH THE FOG
Survive in the fog
Be Creative: Create your own chemical weapons and test them on your enemies
Cure or kill infected you meet and choose your fighting strategy
Spectacular: Have fun discovering a unique bestiary, and experiment with multiple weapons and devices
Fight: Fast action, it’s difficult to kill, you must finish on contact
Control the fog
Discover the black death evolution

A playable demo / prototype for Black Death was also released in July 2011, but it failed to gain much interest from gamers and publishers. With no more money to keep working on their projects, in October 2011 the studio was placed into Compulsory liquidation and was closed. In about 15 years of activity, Darkworks were able to successfully complete and release only 2 games, while all their other projects were either cancelled or moved to different developers. There are already a good number of interesting lost Darkworks games in the Unseen64 archive, but many more still remain unseen and even if we tried multiple times to get in contact with people that worked at the studio, it seems almost impossible to know more about what happened to them or to their cancelled games.

Images:

Videos:

 

Sacred Line Zero: Mega Drive Prototype Released

Sacred Line is a first person dark adventure / surreal thriller developed by Sasha Darko (a Russian music producer, game developer and writer), released for free in 2013 for PC. In 2015 an extended version of the original Sacred Line game was released for Mega Drive (phisically and digitaly), titled “Sacred Line Genesis“.

A prequel titled “Sacred Line Zero” was also in development for Mega Drive / Genesis, but in the end the project was canceled. In 2018 the Sacred Line Zero prototype was revised and released to public for free.

You can download the prototype ROM here. You can launch it via any emulator and it was tested with Fusion 3.64. It should work on real hardware via Everdrive.

Huge props to Sasha Darko for releasing the prototype!

 

Super Shadow of the Beast (IGS/ Psychnosis) – [SNES – Cancelled]

Super Shadow of the Beast would have been the Super Nintendo port of an old Amiga side-scrolling action game which was originally developed in 1989  by Reflections Interactive and published by Psygnosis. The game since then has been ported to almost every known platform at that time, so why not a Super Nintendo version?

The SNES version was developed by a company called IGS (Information Global Service) and was first reported seen at the summer edition of the 1992 Consumer Electronics Show (CES): in an article on Nintendo Power it was mentioned as a promising upcoming title for the SNES.

The original Shadow of the Beast game and most of its ports to other systems contain many grim, dark looking and bloody details such as bloody spikes, bouncing bloody eyeballs, flying skulls and decapitated enemies. To get approval from Nintendo and thus a license to publish the game on the SNES platform this port of the game had to undergo some serious censoring, mostly graphical adaptions like removal of blood,  redesigned levels and removing or redrawing of enemies.

Some screenshots of this censored SNES port were found at a site called Schnittberichte.com: they did an excellent job in showing the differences between the SNES version VS the Mega Drive one. Apparently all the efforts from IGS to change the game weren’t good enough for Nintendo USA and thus Super Shadow of the Beast was not approved.

Other rumors however state that the mature content cannot have been the only reason why Nintendo dropped the game. It’s possible that Super Shadow of the Beast was just not good enough to be released, with its poor graphics and colorful style it became something too much different from the original game and its dark atmosphere.

However  the SNES version of the game is not entirely lost: a rom of the game was leaked a while ago and it appears to be fully playable (segameplay videos below). I even came across some reproductions of actual SNES cartridges of the game if you prefer to play it directly with your original Super Nintendo console (if you still own one in working condition of course)

Censored SNES version vs SEGA Mega Drive version (Thanks to Schnittberichte.com):

Youtube gameplay video, end sequence & credits & music:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshots various:

  

Saints Row: Undercover – watch the live streaming in a few hours!

Update: you can now download the playable prototype of Saints Row: Undercover

Some days ago we wrote about Saints Row: Undercover, the cancelled PSP game revealed by Volition during one of their weekly Twitch Streams. Today you will be able to see even more from the game thanks to a dedicated stream (watch it live at 2pm pacific time), in which they will play the Saints Row: Undercover prototype, share their memories on the project, explain how they were able to save it from being lost and answer to all your questions.

The Stream is Over!

If you missed it, you can rewarch the full episode on Volition Twitch Archive

Join us on the Volition Stream at 2pm pacific time, to watch live the prototype being played and to learn more interesting details about its development! As we wrote before, please show Volition your support during the stream (ask questions in the Twitch chat, share the stream on your social accounts, etc.), as if they will get enough good feedback then in the future they could show even more lost games that are still hidden away in their archives! 

Saints Row: Undercover [PSP – Cancelled]

Saints Row: Undercover (also known as Saints Row: The Fall in its early phase) is a cancelled chapter in the popular over-the-top open world series by Volition, planned to be released for Sony’s PSP. This game was meant to be the first entry of Saints Row for portable consoles and while a 3DS version was also announced many years ago (titled Saints Row: Drive-By), neither of them were ever released.

Development on Undercover was originally started by Mass Media Games (that already worked with Volition on the PS3 version of Saints Row 2) and then transferred to Savage Entertainment (the same team that ported Star Wars: Battlefront II and Medal of Honor: Vanguard to the PSP). Initially Volition wanted to simply port Saints Row 2 to the PSP, but after a while the project became a new, original sequel, with its own story and characters.

Saints Row: The Fall  was to be set between Saints Row 1 and 2, but thanks to the success of SR2 they later decided to create a sequel to the second game, to expand its story and making it more interesting for the fans. In Saints Row PSP the city would have been split as a result of a civil war within the Saints. The Third Street Saints, who the player would have joined, possessed only a little area in the middle. We would have took the role of an undercover cop, charged with investigating the civil war within the Saints, and at the end of the game we could have decided to join them and betray the police.

The plan for Undercover was to create something similar to the GTA games for the PSP, keeping the core gameplay of the series, with crazy gameplay, a fun world to explore, character customization and coop multiplayer. The game would have had 20 main story missions to complete, along with the usual SR side activities to earn respect points.

Savage Entertainment developed a short playable prototype, but unfortunately after multiple reviews Volition decided that Undercover just wasn’t meeting the standards of what they thought a Saints Row game should be. The game was cancelled and the PSP dev kit on which the project was created was hidden away in one of Volition’s storage rooms.

Only many years later Saints Row: Undercover was found again thanks to Josh Stinson (Associate Video Editor at Volition), that stumbled upon that PSP dev kit while looking around their office. After talking about it with colleagues and with the support of Alexander Mejia (Video Producer at Volition) and Mike Watson (Community Manager at Volition), they were able to convince their bosses that such a lost games should have been shared with the fans, as an interesting curiosity and a piece of gaming history to preserve. During Volition’s stream on Twitch on the 22January 2016 they officially shown Saints Row: Undercover to the world and this Thursday (Jan 28) they will do a dedicated stream around 4pm CST.

Please join their stream on Twitch the 28th of January to see more from this lost game and to ask every questions you have directly to Volition! This is really important as if this stream will be successful Volition will release even more info on other cancelled games!

Below you can download Saints Row: Undercover walk through, design doc and fully playable prototype, also shared by the lovely people at Volition. Huge props to them!

Images:

Videos: