New Cancelled Games & Their Lost Media Added to the Archive

World War Z (Midway Newcastle) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

World War Z is a cancelled action game based on Max Brooks’ book, that was in development at Midway Newcastle around 2008. This was the same team behind the Wheelman video game, that after working on it pitched two different projects: one based on a new IP (Necessary Force), the other based on World War Z. Midway decided to let the team work on the new IP, so their zombie game pitch was just canned.

In the end Midway Newcastle closed in July 2009 and Necessary Force was also cancelled. Concept art from their World War Z project was later shared online by former Midway artists.

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Paparazzi (Widescreen Games) [PS2 – Cancelled]

Paparazzi is a cancelled photography adventure game that was in development in 2005 by Widescreen Games for Playstation 2. This project must not be confused with the European conversion of “Simple 2000 Series Vol. 53: The Camera Kozou”, which was renamed “Paparazzi” by 505 Game Street.

As far as we know Widescreen Games’ Paparazzi was never officially announced, and only a single image with a 3D model made for the game is preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost game. We can assume players would have to take photos of celebrities, then sell them to tabloids.

If you know someone who worked on this game and could help saving more details or screenshots, please let us know!

Hab-12 (Ratloop) [Cancelled – PC]

Hab-12 is a cancelled, third-person action-adventure game in-development at Ratloop from 1998 to 1999. The company was founded by 5 people, one of which being Lucas Pope, who would go on to make Papers Please and Return of the Obra Dinn. Ratloop started out making the full-conversion Quake mod Malice while under the name Team Epochalypse, then moved on to something much more ambitious.

Hab-12 was to be their next game, a sci-fi adventure about surviving various hostile environments. A documentary about the game was released on Youtube by Massimiliano Camassa discussing many aspects of the game and it’s development. Camassa was given access to many development materials including the design document and 2 demos of the game, one from 1998 and the other from 1999

Hab-12’s gameplay would have been a mix of classic 2D adventure games, like the Monkey Island series, and a more traditional third person shooter. Camassa’s documentary also discusses how media and the public viewed the game:

Tomb Raider was the game most people thought of upon hearing that Hab-12 was an action adventure game. Yet, Hab-12 is a slower-paced, cinematic, puzzle-based adventure game experience. The demo is highly scripted and after playing the demo and studying the game design document the rest of the game would likely have a similar game structure.”

Like many adventure contemporary to Hab-12, puzzles were a major part of the demos, even starting with one. Miray, the game’s protagonist, would be stuck in a venus flytrap-like plant and would have to swing from side-to-side to escape. Other puzzles in the demos included having to distract monsters to sneak around and maneuvering around a giant slug alien’s breath to survive.

Cassan’s documentary reveals how Ratloop intended to make Hab-12’s plot stand out. To achieve this, the devs intended to focus the game’s story on the ever-changing relationship between the down-to-earth Miray and the outlandish biological A.I PAX. After a cataclysmic event occurs on board The Sentient, a research ship, Miray would have to make his way through all 12 habitats (or Habs) in order to escape. The documentary summarizes the game’s story with a quote:

“Hab-12 is all about man vs. wild, but also a remarkable story about a normal guy and an unhinged bio-computer.”

The games levels were intended to take place across the 12 habitations, with each hab featuring a different ecosystem for Miray to overcome. Revealed in screenshots and demos were an autumn-like red forest, an icy cave system, a swampy area with gigantic trees, a volcanic area, and more. The variety in level design was quite impressive for the era, and Miray was to have several costume changes to reflect the surroundings. These levels were also planned to be intensely detailed and impressive, the documentary even shows how amazed publications were with the red forest level, saying “Every leaf is rendered. Every damned one. That’s how good the graphics engine is.”

Despite the game impressing media outlets with its graphics and gameplay, the project failed to find any publishers. Hab-12’s ambition, along with Ratloop’s relative inexperience at the time, was what ultimately killed the project. The project was planned to have a sequel and a novel adaptation written by a member of the team. Ratloop now exists as 3 companies, Ratloop inc, Ratloop Asia, and Ratloop Games Canada. Ratloop Canada is currently working on the turn-based FPS shooter Lemnis Gate.

Article by Alex Cutler, thanks to Jackgrimm99  for the contribution

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How to do an interview with a video game developer

We tend to play games without acknowledging who creates them. Developing a game is tremendous work that requires lots of resources, people, and time. And although we play full-fledged, smooth, and interesting games, the actual process of creating games is way more fascinating and complicated.

Talking with a game developer is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn how the industry works from the inside out. Also, it is stunning to know the nuts and bolts of game developers’ life, their daily routine, what they do apart from work, etc. But can you ask anything your heart desires? Absolutely no!

Many questions exist that developers naturally don’t like answering. For instance, asking a direct question about video game addiction may stop the interview straight away. So how to do an interview, you might ask. This article reveals the best approach toward interviewing a game developer.

Ask about when it all started

No matter how proficient a game developer is, they used to be children who attend school, play with friends, and perform some extracurricular activities. And every developer had a moment that simply had determined that they wanted to coin games. Ask about such a turning point. When did it happen? How old were they? Did they realize it would lead them to where they are now?

If they were young, how did their parents react? These questions will cast some light on the beginnings and motivations. Many top-notch developers started off as academic writers. They used to work in writing services and design first-class papers on programming. They have helped numerous students review model works and gain lots of valuable knowledge on programming languages.

Ask about the project they are most proud of

Don’t know how to make a developer talk? Ask them about the project they are most proud of! Indubitably, it will be hard to understand everything they will tell you. But since it is an interview, ask them to use simple terms so that those who don’t know anything about the programming world can understand them. Focus on specific questions. Why is the project so valuable to them? How can they justify their opinion? What was their role as developers, and did they undertake other functions because of work complexity? Asking this question at the beginning will stimulate the interview and make it more open, honest, and priceless in the long run.

Ask about completed roles

It depends on a person’s experience in the field, but asking about completed roles will give you a clear picture of how involved the person is in programming. Ask what their position was when they entered the industry. Many programmers were junior developers at small corporations, or working freelance, or even serving unpaid internships. Each and every individual works hard, and their career takes off at some point. Your job is to learn when and create a logical chain of complete roles over their active programming period.

Ask about the simplest and most challenging jobs

We might think that if the game looks exciting–the entire picture is impressive, and the animations are superb–it was very hard to create. But that’s not always true. Simple, at first glance, games can require much more energy and skills to develop a code, glue it together, and make sure everything works cohesively. Ask a person what games were the simplest and most challenging in their programming career. Since a few people ask such questions, their responses will be pretty insightful.

Delve into some private questions (but don’t exaggerate)

Game developers also live outside gaming studios. They have families, pets, children, and friends. Ask them to describe their daily routine. What do they always do? What do they like doing? What don’t they enjoy doing? How do they spend their free time? You can practically ask any question, but don’t go too far because you might not get an answer.

Ask to be self-critical

Everyone has made mistakes. And no matter how competent a game developer is, they had a time when they failed or weren’t happy with a task they worked on. Ask them to be critical and evaluate completed projects. What led to such mistakes? How soon did they realize it was their mistake? Of course, the point of such questions is not to humiliate them and question their competence. It is to talk about what they learned and how others can avoid this mistake in the future.

Ask for any dreams/goals/regrets

Ask about their dreams. They don’t necessarily need to correlate with programming. Embarking on a scooter trip can be an interesting dream coming from a game developer. Listen to their goals and ask when they want to accomplish them. Finally, ask about regrets. Whatever they say–be it knowing about homework hacks, studying harder, or spending more time with family–will be a precious lesson for every person fond of games.

Ask about their cancelled video games

Of course, you should always try finding details about possible canned games they worked on! Ask about their memories of the project, its gameplay, how it started and why it was never released. Do they still have any image or video from the game? Maybe even a playable prototype? Just ask them! It’s always worth trying :)

Demon Isle (Sierra) [PC – Cancelled]

Demon Isle is a cancelled online-focused action RPG that was in development by Cat Daddy Games around 1996 / 1997, planned to be published by Sierra Entertainment for PC. For its time it was graphically impressive, promising a huge 3D island to explore, full of dungeons you could tackle in 16-players online multiplayer. While the game was previewed in a few gaming magazines (such as Next Generation June 1997 and Inter Action Summer 1997), soon it quietly vanished and was never completed.

“The game is set in the world of Magincia, which has been invaded by armies of evil creatures swarming off Demon Isle. The military, unable to destroy the island’s seven Temples to Evil, recruits mercenaries and adventurers to complete the job, which is where the players come in.”

“Set in a dangerous, medieval time. Demon Isle features a state-of-the-art 3-D engine with a first person perspective to tempt your waking hours. It incorporates Fantasy Role-Playing elements into an action-oriented environment that is not for the weak of heart”

“Explore the surface of an entire island and battle the evil that lurks in temples, caves, and the caverns below. Improve your skills and build up your character, and you may just find yourself in an all-out demonic war.  And if you thought demons were enough to keep you up at night your on-line warriors will keep you goin’ until breakfast Play head-to-head or cooperatively with up to 16 players over a LAN  or the Internet and battle for fame and glory.”

“Demon Isle has been built from the ground up as a multiplayer game. It runs either on a LAN or over the Internet, using the same client-server model as Blizzard’s Diablo on battle.net: players connect through their own provider, the game contacts Cat Daddy, and a session is launched with one player’s machine as the server. However, unlike Diablo, which limits games to four players, Demon Isle handles literally dozens of players, depending on the capabilities of the server’s hardware.”

We can also still find Sierra’s original press release for the game:

“Enter the land of Magincia where hordes of evil creatures have been driven off the main continents, and pushed back to their apparent source, Demon Isle. The ruling powers of Magincia are willing to pay a handsome bounty to anyone brave and strong enough to venture to Demon Isle and destroy the seven temples of evil, obtaining the missing pieces of the magic relic, and obliterate the root of all evil itself – the Demon Zorax.

In this first person, action-oriented, fantasy role-playing game, players will face numerous exhilarating predicaments and intense combat as they battle a motley bunch of nasty creatures. Demon Isle is designed from the ground up as a single and multi-player game, promising to set new standards by allowing up to 16 players to play head-to-head or cooperatively via LAN, modem or Internet. In addition, Demon Isle boasts a revolutionary proprietary 3D engine, creating fractally enhanced terrain and polygon-based objects for unprecedented level of detail, and features custom MMX support and Direct3D support for acceleration on 3D cards.”

If you know someone who worked on this lost project and could help us finding out why it was canned, please let us know!

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