News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Pest! (Rocket Science) [Playstation – Cancelled]

Pest! is a cancelled action game that was in development by Rocket Science Games around 19961997 for the original Playstation. As far as we can speculate from the short video preserved below players could take the control of “rat leader” or “pest-control guy”. When playing as the rat leader you had to collect cheese around the levels while setting up traps to stop your enemy. When playing as the pest-control guy, you had to find a way to stop the rats. You can imagine Pest! as some kind of “Tom & Jerry” type of action game, where you had to escape from your rival or trap them.

Rocket Science was quite active during the mid ‘90s and were working on many different prototypes for PS1 and Sega Saturn, but only some of them were released. Other projects such as Flying Aces, Rocket Boy, Dark Ride and Loadstar 2 were quietly cancelled. Unfortunately while some of their games were critically acclaimed, none of them did particularly well financially. Unable to secure additional funding, RSG was forced to close down in 1997. 

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Necessary Evil (Illusions Gaming) [PC – Cancelled]

Necessary Evil is a cancelled online adventure game that was in development around 1996 – 1997 by now forgotten developers Illusions Gaming Company (Blazing Dragons, Beavis and Butt-Head Do U), planned to be published by Segasoft for PC. Illusions Gaming was a video game company founded in Sausalito (California) in the early 90s,  mostly working on point & click games based on several licensed properties.

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Necessary Evil was an ambitious project for its time: it merged point & click adventure gameplay with RPG mechanics and an online multiplayer mode for up to 2 players. One player would take the role of a vampire, while the other would be the hunter who tries to kill them. To defeat your rival you had to manipulate and talk to NPCs to put them against the other player, changing the course of the story and the in-game factions.  

Unfortunately there’s not much more information about this lost game and the only proof of its existence is some footage shown on Electric Playground TV show (Season 1, episode 8, November 1997). If you know someone who worked on Necessary Evil and may know more about it, please let us know!

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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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Nomos (Haven) [Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

Nomos (previously known as Haven) is a cancelled sci-fi action adventure that was in development by Coded Illusions for Xbox 360 and PS3. Not much is know about it’s settings and gameplay, but from what we gathered it looks it would have been set in some kind of alien planet threatened by a new world order regime. 

The project was started by the team in 2005, but in 2008 they had to close down because of lack of money to keep the studio alive “following the effects of the financial crisis that made it difficult to find a publisher”. Some of its former employees founded a new studio called Vertigo Games, reworking part of the ideas and 3D assets conceived for Nomos into a different game titled “Adam’s Venture”, released in 2009.

Some footage and concept art from Nomos was shared online by former developers, preserving what the team had originally in mind for their project.

“The level shown in the video is part of a bigger level known as the ‘Sanctuary’, which is an underground cave-system inhabited by a peaceful group of people who found refuge from the terror of a new world order regime.”

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Angel quest (Virtual Studio) [PS1, PC – Cancelled]

Angel Quest is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by french company Virtual Studio (Ar’Kritz the Intruder, S.T.O.R.M.) around 1996 / 1997, to be published by GT Interactive (Driver, Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus, Critical Depth) for Playstation and PC. You could freely explore a huge (for its time) 3D world by flying around with its winged protagonist, somehow similar to a 3D Kid Icarus. You would fight against enemies in real time, helping NPCs and resolving quests as in a classic Action RPG.

As far as we know GT Interactive never officially announced this project, but thanks to Stéphane de Luca who shared some images and details on his website, we can preserve the memory of this lost game: 

“This project was the first to use optical motion capture for real time animation: we pioneered this advanced technology. The heroes was an Angel living in a very large world: he could make use of his ability to fly to speed up its move towards the next location to visit. Numerous characters were also there to help him find his way, giving him potential clues through interactive dialogs. 

Angel Quest was running on PlayStation on which I programmed the engine and the game in C and assembler. All the characters were in 3D and animated through motion capture: I developed a compression tool that reduced the data stream (curve) that was moving each node of the skeleton. The word was really huge: I had to stream all blocks silently from the CD-ROM drive as the heroes was moving: it was a big challenge due to bandwidth limitation.”

In the end Angel Quest was canned for unknown reasons. Virtual Studio later worked on other cancelled action games for PS1, such as Commando and Valerian.

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