New Cancelled Games & Their Lost Media Added to the Archive

Werewolf: The Apocalypse [PC – Cancelled]

Werewolf: The Apocalypse was a game planned for PC that was being produced by ASC Games and developed by Dreamforge Intertainment, both of which have worked together previously on the horror point and click game Sanitarium for PC.  The game was based on the popular pen and paper tabletop series of the same name created by White Wolf Publishing and would have run on the Unreal engine by Epic Games. The game, along with other popular series such as Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Ascension, took place in the “World of Darkness” universe wherein a secret battle for the fate of the Earth is waged by various factions of monsters, ghosts and demons behind the scenes of seemingly normal everyday life.  Travis Williams, who was one of the original developers on the original tabletop version of the game, was the executive producer of the game and stated that he was there to make sure the game was as “authentic to the original” as possible.  Because of this the game’s storyline incorporated the already extensive backstory associated with the series.

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The protagonist was a teenager named Ryan Mcullough who discovers that he is a member of the Garou tribe of werewolves after being attacked by monsters who serve the Wyrm – a supernatural force of destruction that wants to warp reality by corrupting all living things with its sickness.  Ryan comes to find that not only is he a werewolf but that he also carries the blood of the White Howlers – a powerful tribe who has been extinct for years after trying to stop the Wyrm and falling under its corruption.  With his new found abilities Ryan goes on a globetrotting journey to save the heart of the Earth itself from the clutches of the grotesque Wyrm as well as finding out the truth behind his father’s disappearance when he was still a child.  Along the way he makes allies with fellow werewolves and other mystical beings to help him battle the twisted agents of the Wyrm such as the Fomori, humans who have been possessed by evil spirits that serve the Wyrm, and the Black Spiral Dancers, werewolves that have been corrupted by the Wyrm.  His travels take him to places such as Greece and the Pentex Corporation, which is a powerful conglomerate that serves as a front for the Wyrm.

Gameplay has been described by Williams in several interviews as being similar to the Jedi Knight series of games as there would have been both long range and close combat fighting options along with the ability to switch between 1st and 3rd person camera angles.  The player would be given the choice to shapeshift on the fly between Ryan’s human form, his “Crinos” form – which is similar to the popular image of a werewolf, and his “Lupus” form – which is a regular wolf.  In human form the player would utilize a series of guns ranging from pistols to machine guns to “experimental” weaponry while the Crinos form consisted of melee combat with claws and a large sword called the Klaive which can be imbued with powers such as fire or ice damage.  To make melee combat easier the player would be able to lock on and strafe around enemies while in the Crinos form.

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Another aspect about the game that was similar to Jedi Knight was the ability to unlock special abilities, known as “gifts” in the game, for all three of Ryan’s forms depending on the choices the player made throughout the game.  There were over 20 available and they would have been divided into 3 categories- temporary, permanent, and Klaive effects.  An example of an “evil” path gift was the Seed of Gaia, which was a seed you could shoot into enemies that would make spikes shoot out from their insides, and a “good” gift example was a mystical armor spell known as Luna’s Armor.

A multiplayer versus mode was also planned for the game in which the player would have been able to choose characters out of the 13 different tribes of werewolves to do battle with one another.  It also featured “totems” that you could attach to your character to give them special abilities.  Many standard multiplayer game modes would have been available such as Blood Moot (deathmatch) as well as King of the Hill and a Tag mode.

Information about the game was being steadily released from late 1998 all the way up until September 1999 when ASC announced that the game was put on hold indefinitely.  However despite this announcement they assured IGN that the game would still be released in Q1 2000 even though there were reports at the time that ASC Games would be permanently closing their doors.  The reports ended up being true and ASC games shut down on January 7th, 2000 with Dreamforge Entertainment following suit shortly thereafter.  A majority of the cut scenes for the game have been released since as well as some screenshots and a brief gameplay video that shows Ryan running around a warehouse area and transforming between his 3 different forms.  A 10 part prequel series written by White Wolf veteran Phil Bucato was also released on the ASC website as the game was leading up to its release, but all of the chapters seemed to have disappeared along with the ASC website.  Another game Dreamforge Entertainment was working on, Myst IV, was taken over and finished by Ubisoft Montreal.

Thanks to Jon and Mix Bouda for the contribution!

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Whore of the Orient (Team Bondi) [Cancelled]

Whore of the Orient is a cancelled game from Team Bondi and Kennedy Miller Mitchell, it was a spiritual successor to L.A Noire and planned to be released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. You would play in 1930s Shanghai and the game would use the motion scan technology that was first used in L.A Noire. From leaked gameplay in 2013 it showed that the game had a focus on hand to hand combat, but still retained the usual cover shooting mechanics found in L.A Noire. In interview with Eurogamer Brendan McNamara (writer and director at Team Bondi) described the game saying “It’s pretty interesting. It’s one of the great untold stories of the twentieth century. So I think it’ll be good”

When Team Bondi sought a publisher for Whore of the Orient, it was reported that no publisher was interested due to claims of poor working conditions during the development of L.A Noire. When Team Bondi closed it’s doors in 2011 its assets were sold to Kennedy Miller Mitchell where development continued, and Warner Bros Interactive had taken interest in the game, but later abandoned the project in 2012. In 2013 it was rumored that the game had been put on hold and in June of 2013 it was reported that Kennedy Miller Mitchell had revived $200,000 of funding from an investment board. It was then reported that Whore of the Orient was set for a 2015 release date, but that never happened and we would not hear anything more about the game until 2016. In June of 2016 in an interview on the GameHugs podcast with Derek Proud (former producer on Whore of the Orient) he was asked “so will we ever see that game” and he replied “I don’t think so“.

There are still screenshots of the game on the internet, the aforementioned 2013 leaked footage of the game can also be found online.

Article by Nathan Coe.

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Lethal Encounter [N64 – Cancelled]

An article published in the August 1998 issue of the beloved Edge Magazine is all the information that we currently possess from Lethal Encounter, developed by Digital Image Design, a British software house that had earned its place in the market with its cutting-edge PC flight simulators and training programs for the military. What could have taken Digital Image Design, the studio behind titles such as F29 Retaliator, Epic or F22 Air Dominance Fighter out of its comfort zone in the personal computer ecosystem and aim for the Nintendo 64, a Japanese console that by then had clearly lost the lead against its most direct generational rival? According to studio co-founder Martin Kenwright, interviewed in Edge, although Digital Image Design managed to have their ambitious 3 Dream engine running on the first PlayStation, the ongoing development process of the PC title EF2000 (a critically-acclaimed combat flight simulator that served as sequel to their previous game TFX) and perhaps the already crowded market that Sony’s machine amassed, made them give up on that train and instead engage with Nintendo’s 64-bit system, whose kits were already in their possession.

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Back in 1989 and after having worked for two years in the British software company Rowan Games, Kenwright founded Digital Image Design together with Philip Allsopp and they quickly specialized themselves in the flight simulator genre with the launch of F29 Retaliator, while also exploring other fields, such as science-fiction with Epic or arcade with the Robocop 3 version for Amiga, Atari ST and PC. These would however constitute exceptions, as the majority of the company’s titles would remain true to their simulation roots. Even if the company, which would continue expanding until reaching the 80 in-house employees, was making a hefty profit offering their products to notorious customers such as the Royal Airforce or British Airways, they quickly determined that the videogame simulators payed better than their real life counterparts, so around 1997 they started widening their reach and quickly turned to the blooming console market.

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Surprising as it might have seemed back in the day, Nintendo 64 was the platform of choice of Digital Image Design’s next outing, Lethal Encounter; almost antipodal to the company’s previous work and instead presenting players with a fairly straightforward, arcade-style third person action game. We must however not forget that given the company’s background with more strategic and complex titles, it is indeed very possible that the developers had envisioned the addition of more strategic elements to the gameplay. At least we do know that Lethal Encounter was definitely not going for realism in regards to its plot, which involved an alien invasion poisoning the Earth ‘via giant terraformers laid beneath ancient historical sites such as the Incan city of Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat and the Nasca Plains’, as described by Edge in a short preview. According to the few details available, it is unlikely that the title had any resemblance to others available on the system. Nintendo 64 did amass a quite generous library of 3D action games but few of them had the player in control of a tank and consequently the most obvious comparisons could be made to BattleTanx: Global Assault or perhaps more accurately, and due to the arcade and science-fiction setting, to the Landmaster levels of Starfox 64 (known as Lylat Wars in Europe), although it seems quite unlikely that Lethal Encounter would have chosen an on-rails gameplay like Nintendo’s title instead of a free-roaming one.

At the end of 1998 however, circumstances changed drastically and Ocean Software, which had been until then the sole publisher of Digital Image Design’s titles, became Infogrames UK, completing an acquisition process that the French holding company had already started back in 1996. This situation led Infogrames to also start a takeover process upon Digital Image Design, eventually causing the departure of six key members, including co-founder Martin Kenwright. It is therefore not preposterous to assume that the studio’s delicate position, with some of their most prominent members gone led to the eventual abandon and cancellation of some of their titles under development, situation which most probably affected Lethal Encounter but did not prevent Digital Image Design from still releasing Wargasm, another PC title that broke away from the usual flight simulator genre, offering instead a complex, real-time strategy game in which the player could take control of various tank models, infantry troops and even helicopters, offering an interesting mix between action and strategy that most probably met and even exceeded the company’s original ambitions in Lethal Encounter.

The departure of Kenwright was not the last staff exodus Digital Image Design saw, with an important part of the total workforce parting ways after another sale of the British studio, this time to Rage Games and the subsequent formation of Juice Games after Rage went under in 2003. Kenwright on his side went on to form Evolution Studios, a software house which reached notorious success as one of Sony’s first European development teams with the World Rally Championship franchise for the PlayStation 2 and afterwards with the PlayStation 3 launch title turned into their own IP, MotorStorm.

Thanks to Ross Sillifant for providing these pages from Edge magazine!

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Video Games You Will Never Play: the Unseen64 Book is now available!

It’s finally here, after almost two years of work: our book about lost videogames! In this volume you can read about more than 200 cancelled games, starting from early ‘90s computers, to 8-bit games and all the way through to the 7th generation of consoles with Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. In this book you can find the most interesting cancelled games from the Unseen64 archive plus a few previously unknown lost games, new screenshots and details. For example, in this book you’ll find the full story about the mysterious game cancelled by Bungie because of Halo, concept art from the unseen version of Maximo for Nintendo 64, what happened to Jade Empire 2, the truth about Halo DS, the ambitious action RPG in development by Junction Point Studios before they were acquired by Disney to develop Epic Mickey, the story behind the unreleased Virtual Reality console by Hasbro and a few more surprises. To celebrate this release we also published a huge list with our favorite video games books, check it for more interesting reads!

Here you can download the table of content for our book: Index PDF (400 kb)

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Also included are essays about the preservation of unreleased games, articles about how we do researches for Unseen64 and 20 interviews with museums and developers who worked on lost games. This is a crowdsourced book by the whole Unseen64 collective: more than 45 contributors from all over the world worked on the project. The book is almost 500 pages long and the physical cost to print the full-color version is quite high even if we kept the price as low as possible, but we also released a much cheaper black and white version. The black and white version of the book is identical to the color one, the only differences are the cover and the interior color: this black and white version is less than half the price of the full color book (we also earn more on the b/w version!).

You can buy our book on Amazon worldwide:

USA, Full Color Book
USA, Black / White book
United Kingdom, Full Color Book
United Kingdom, Black/White Book
– Brazil, Full Color Book: coming soon?
Brazil, Black/White Book
Canada, Full Color Book
Canada, Black/White Book
Germany, Full Color Book
Germany, Black/White Book
France, Full Color Book
France, Black/White Book
Italy, Full Color Book
Italy, Black/White Book
Spain, Full Color Book
Spain, Black/White Book
– Search your local Amazon website to see if it’s available! You can search for “Video Games You Will Never Play” or “Video Games You Will Never Play Color” for the full-color version.

eBook | Digital Version (PDF)

Patrons who support Unseen64 on Patreon for 5 $ can download the full-color, full-version of our book in PDF! For sure to own the physical version of the book is nicer, but with a PDF more people will be able to read it and this is also a way to thank you for your help on Patreon. It really means a lot, without support on Patreon we would not be able to keep this site online.

New Low Price Edition!

In September 2017 we also started to release a new low-price edition of the book, divided into different volumes, so you can choose your favorite consoles. At the moment the first volume is available, dedicated to cancelled 8 bit and 16 bit games (NES, Master System, Game Boy, Turbografx 16, Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive). The content of this edition is the same of the original book (we just fixed some errors), but divided into short books. You can find this new budget edition on Amazon and Createspace:

+ Amazon USA
+ Amazon UK
+ Amazon Italy
+ Amazon Spain
+ Amazon France
+ Amazon Germany
Search your local Amazon website to see if it’s already available!

Please keep in mind that:

  • The lost games featured in this book are just a small sample of all the titles we will never play. It would be impossible to list them all in just one book.
  • This book is published in Good Faith and under Fair Use.
  • This book is fully in English, but most articles were written by Italians and people from other non-English countries. Each article was proofread by English native speakers, but there could still be typos and random engrish.
  • This is a 100% independent project, we worked on this book with our own efforts, time and energies, with a super small budget supported by our Patrons! The book was self published thanks to Amazon’s print-on-demand service (Createspace).
  • Originally the book was meant to be more than 700 pages, but Createspace has a limit of 480 pages, so we had to resize the fonts and space layout, cut images, interviews and articles. Everything that was not included in the book will be published on this site in the following months!
  • We know that it would be impossible to satisfy everyone, so there will be people that will complain about not enough images, not enough space between paragraphs, not enough interviews, not enough games for a console or another, typos or layout colors they don’t like. Don’t worry, if there will ever be another Unseen64 book, we’ll follow your advice, for now we are just happy to finally publish the book after all the work and efforts we put into it :)
  • Feel free to record video reviews of the book, write a sincere review on your website or on Amazon, take photos, share what you like with your friends! Just consider to support Unseen64 on Patreon or buy another copy of the book as a gift if you want to help our mission to remember lost games :)
  • Let us know if you find any print issues or other errors! Each printed book has slightly different colors and placement, each copy is unique!
  • This book was made with love and sleep deprivation.

The main objective of this book is to let our readers to support Unseen64 by buying a copy for their collection and the earnings will be used to keep working on Unseen64 and make it even better in the following months and years! Now that the book is finally published, we have many new things planned for the future of Unseen64 :)  If you have any question about the book, let us know in the comments!

Unseen64 summer break to complete our book!

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It’s super hot here in Italy, our PCs are melting down while we are working 9+ hours a day to complete the Unseen64 book, but we really want to finish everything in time to publish it in September! Will we able to finish it in time? Fingers crossed :) There’s still a lot to do, so to rise our chances to reach our objective we will pause new site updates for a few weeks, and we’ll be back with new articles when work on the book will be done!

We are really excited to finally publish this huge volume, it’s even bigger than what we planned, with more than 700 pages full of lost games we had to resize the font and margins with smaller ones to be able to fit as much as possible in the 480-pages limit to publish it through Amazon’s print on demand service. What will you find in Unseen64’s first book? Among updated versions of many articles already published on Unseen64 during our 15-years of existence, there will be new interesting researches, interviews, screenshots and exclusive details: we don’t want to spoil the surprises or to hype our project too much, so you’ll find out when the book will finally be available :)

We put a lot of time and efforts into this book, probably it will not sell much (how many people are interested in games they will never play?) but if you want to support us buying the book will be a great way to do it, as all revenues will be used to keep the site online and to improve our archive in the following months.. we have some nice plans for Unseen64 in 2017. While you wait for the site to be back in full, here’s a few things you can do:

Look and read: Check our archive with more than 3.000 beta and cancelled games.

Contribute: Would you like to help the U64 Archive? Read how you can help us to preserve more screens, videos and info!

Interact: Join the U64 FB Forum to discuss about unseen games with other geeks!

Donate: if you want to support our daily work to archive unseen games, please consider to donate 1$+ on Patreon, to help us to keep the site online and to improve it even more! As we wrote before, there will be some changes in our Patreon goals as soon as the book will be released, following what our current patrons want more of :)

Thanks to everyone that supports Unseen64 with love. See you all very soon!

The Unseen64 Staff