News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Nyx (SharkStorm) [PC – Cancelled]

Nyx is a cancelled FPS that was in development around 2004 by German team SharkStorm. The game was set during a conflict between Russia and Turkey, with a mutant / zombie pandemic unleashed after the use of bio-chemical weapons.

As we can read on an old preview published on the now-closed Gengamers:

“In 2005, conflicts between Russia and Turkey reached their peak. The russian president gives the order to attack Turkey with a biochemical rocket. But the cheap technique Russia uses, fails. The biochemical rocket defects a short moment after it’s start and changes launching-coordinates with target-coordinates. The biochemical rocket flies back and hits the rocket-launching-station. The worst catastrophe in russian history began. People mutate because of the aggressive virus in the rocket. Some of them are dead before they can notice.

Vitali Adanov wakes up after some hours and looks around. In his room there is just silence, nothing sounds in from outside. Vitali asks himself what to do and decides to go outside. He goes through the cold floor and suddenly he hears some strange sounds. Doesn’t matter to him at this moment and he leaves the house. Near the sidewalk he can see a corpse. It seemed to be a woman, admittedly she looks a bit strange. Vitali realizes that she is hiding something in a fabric. Cautious he takes off the fabric and frightens when he sees a dead child in the cold bleach arms of the woman. Vitali is confused and turns around, just not to see this horrific thing. After a short time of concentration and revitalization he sees a group of people coming nearer to him. Vitali wants to know what happened and shouts in their direction but he got no answer. Coming nearer to Viatli he recognizes fresh blood and open wounds all over their bodies. In their faces, a touch of green color

He is shocked, he can hardly not move his feet. One man of the group walks straight to him… Vitali doesn’t know what to do so he makes a step to the man, suddenly the scary hands of the thing rush right to his face and clings in the clenched body of Vitali. With a terrible cry the mutant tries to bite him. Vitali kicks him away and begins to run. The game starts ….

In Nyx you have the mission to reach a research station which is the only place on earth where you have the possibility to find an antivirus for the mutants. During the game’s progress Vitali has to fight against more and more enemies, which were “bred” by the Russian military. During the game, many cutscenes will show moments of Vitali´s past. There you can find the reason why Vitali’s body doesn’t get infected with the substance in the biochemical rocket.”

It seems Nyx was canned when SharkStorm were hired to develop another project, but in the end the studio just closed down sometime later and it’s now forgotten by everyone.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Battle Choice (Konami) [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Battle Choice is a cancelled fantasy style chess – beat ‘em up that was in development by Konami for the NES / Famicom, around 1988. It was based on the Japanese game of chess, Shogi, but mergeing simulation and action gameplay. In addition to fantasy knights, it seems there would have been even high school girls as playable characters in the game. We can assume it would have been a fun, comical take on classic Shogi.

The gameplay would have been the same as in the original shogi, up to the point where players take turns. When the pieces come into contact with each other, action-battles begin. The combat gameplay was basically a beat ‘em up.

Unfortunately the game was never seen in screenshots from magazines of its time and little is known about it. Music tracks from Battle Choice were included in the soundtrack album “Konami Famicom Chronicle Vol.3 ROM Cassette”, released in August 2015.

Thanks to Heimao for the contribution!

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Ugo Volt [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

Ugo Volt (AKA FLOW: Prospects of Mayhem) is a cancelled FPS – TPS Adventure game that was in development by Move Interactive around 2005 – 2007, planned to be published on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. The game was officially announced in 2006 and it was shown at E3 of the same year: graphically and stylistically it looked like a strange mix between Halo, Too Human and Fable, with cross-settings between sci-fi and fantasy.

As we can read on IGN:

“Ugo Volt will switch from third-person view to a first-person perspective as players move through these two areas of the game, but we didn’t see much of any gameplay mechanics.

[…] In the near future, global warming melts the polar icecaps and floodwaters ravage the earth, covering all but the highest altitudes. (Waterworld?) Things, well, things don’t look good. Out of the ruins, the World Order Corporation harnesses nanotechnology to construct buildings and sanctuary for the population quicker than humanly possible. As the world’s savior, mankind gives ruling power to the World Order Corporation, which by expertly misleading the population, gradually takes away more and more liberties from the population, and eventually goes so far as to instill a dictatorial leadership, complete with emperor and creepy throne room (Revenge of the Sith?).

In 2031, in order to create the first advanced human prototype, the WOC selects a worthy man and woman to give birth to and raise the child. The prototype will use powerful artificial implants and the test period will last 60 years. If successful, mass production will begin. The child’s name is Ugo Volt. At 15, one of Ugo’s neurotransmitters malfunctions and sends out a shockwave that pushes his father into a pit of molten lava. […] Ugo internalizes his anger toward the WOC and eventually creates an alter-ego bent on revenge.”

By looking at available footage Ugo Volt seems like an interesting project. There’s something fun in its style and setting that could have made it enjoyable to play, just like watching a b-movie with friends. In prototype videos we can see some of the first-third person shooting gameplay: the protagonist uses special powers to resolve physic-based puzzles and some kind of black-hole gun, which attracts objects scattered through the levels to use them as projectiles (somehow like the Gravity Gun in Half Life 2). You could also assembly and edit your weapons to create new ones by mixing their parts together, open up shooting gameplay to experimentation.

Unfortunately it was still in early development when the team had to put the project on-hold, for lack of funds. They started working on a tie-in game for Portuguese TV series Floribella, receiving some money from SIC publisher. This was not enough to keep the company afloat and without any new investor interested in Ugo Volt, Move Interactive was closed down in 2008.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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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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Hell or High Water [PC – Cancelled / Prototype]

Hell or High Water is a cancelled jet-boat shooter that was in development by Wild Child Studios for PC. You can imagine it somehow like a mission-based Wave Race set in different levels from all around the world, where you had to shoot down enemies and collect key-items to complete your objectives.

As we can read in the prototype description:

“Hell or High Water fits players in a heavily armed military-type jet-boat. You have to use your best skills to outmaneuver and destroy AI-controlled opponents with your arsenal of rockets and machine-gun. The game consists of several episodes in various parts of the world with different mission objectives. For example, in the episode at Amazon River your goal is to collect dynamite and use it to mine and blow up a river dam, while in the Nord episode you have to find and destroy a crashed plane prototype and pick up the black-box. The whole game is an intense race against time in the world of water, fire and explosions!”

The team worked on this prototype to test gameplay using Driver-Inter‘s proprietary engines, but in the end the project was cancelled, possibly because they did not find a publisher interested in funding it. Wild Child Studios were also working on another water based game titled “Extreme Wakeboarding”, which was also canned in 2002.

Thanks to Mihapsx for the contribution!

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