News on Beta & Cancelled Games

WET 2: Double Feature [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox 360]

The first Wet was a third person hack n’ slash shooter inspired by grindhouse / exploitation movies, developed by Artificial Mind & Movement (later renamed to Behaviour Interactive) and published by Bethesda Softworks for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2009. As described on Wikipedia:

“Wet is an action game that combines shooting and swordplay with acrobatics and gore. The main character, Rubi, carries twin pistols and a sword (she can also carry dual shotguns, submachine guns, or crossbows), and can fire while jumping, sliding on her knees, and running on walls. In some sections of the game, Rubi’s face will get covered in blood and she will go into a murderous, berserker-like rage. These sections are presented in noir style, with bold red, black and white visuals.”

While the game received average reviews and sales, it became a cult-classic for fans of fun action games and grindhouse stories.

In late 2010 Behaviour Interactive officially announced Wet 2 during an interview:

“As part of today’s announcement that the developers of last year’s WET, Artificial Mind & Movement (A2M), would be changing their name to Behaviour, the independent studio has revealed plans to continue the story of Rubi Malone. No formats were discussed, but it is likely that the sequel will follow the original release onto the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.  When discussing the future of ‘triple-A’ productions from the studio in an interview with Develop Online, CEO Remi Racine stated; “I think the triple-A market has become very difficult for independents. I’m not saying we’re avoiding it – of course we’re making a triple-A game with WET 2. But it is a very difficult market. It’s very difficult to be successful with those kinds of games.”

Wet 2 would have follow the same gameplay and grindhouse style of the first game, with new missions and enemies to defeat. The team was able to create some concept art (using placeholder images and photos from popular movies), design documents and an early prototype for Wet 2, but after about a year of development the project was canned.

As noted by Behaviour Interactive’s CEO, around 2010 / 2011 the gaming market was quite difficult for small / medium developers. Many great companies had to closed down during those years and lots of promising games had to be cancelled. Wet 2 was one of these failed ideas: we can speculate it was cancelled for lack of funds or because they thought it would have not sold enough copies to justify its completion

Some images and early HUD tests created for Wet 2 were found online by fans of the original game, and are preserved in the gallery below to remind the existence of this lost project.

After some years working on tien-in games and less successful projects, in the last few years Behaviour Interactive were able to work on such popular games as Fallout Shelter, Dead by Daylight and Star Citizen.

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SuperBot’s “Rival Schools” [PS3 – Cancelled]

SuperBot Entertainment was an American studio formed in 2009 by Sony, to work on PSP, PS Vita and Playstation 3 exclusive games such as PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, released on November 2012. Unfortunately after the release of All-Stars Battle Royale, Sony cut ties with the company due to “inadequate sales” of the game. In 2013 SuperBot tried to pitch new IPs and worked on a few different projects, one of which was an untitled fighting game inspired by Capcom’s Rival Schools.

We don’t have many details about this cancelled fighting game: it was never officially announced and only some concept art remain preserved in the gallery below, to remember the existence of this lost game. We can assume that it would have been played more like a traditional fighting game than a Super Smash Bros clone, with high-school protagonists using weapons and special powers. In the end they never found a publisher interested in this project and it was quietly cancelled.

Then SuperBot had to work on “CuddleFish Friends”, an edutainment game for kids published in late 2013 for iOS and Android. Unfortunately this was not enough to keep them alive and soon the company had to close down.

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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.

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Death Monsters [PS3, Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

Death Monsters is a cancelled horror beat ’em up in development by french studio Birdies Road (formerly Punchers Impact) around 2010 / 2011 for Xbox 360 and PS3. Not many details are available on this lost project: it was quietly announced in early 2011 on some French websites but was soon canned after a playable prototype was completed. The main protagonist could transform himself into a werewolf and levels would have been played as in a side-scrolling game, fighting enemies (zombies, monsters), resolving simple puzzles and jumping around to avoid  traps.

Unfortunately it seems their publishers (Mindscape) did not pay the team for a few months, and without money Birdies Road had to close down for bankruptcy in July 2011. Death Monsters was then cancelled and lost forever. Only a few screenshots, artworks and videos from the prototype are preserved below, to remember its existence.

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Star Trek: Voyager (Looking Glass) [PC – Cancelled]

Star Trek: Voyager is a cancelled PC point and click adventure game that was in development by Looking Glass Studios, directed by Ken Levine and was to be published by Viacom New Media. It was in development between 1995 and 1997. It was to be based on the then currently airing Star Trek: Voyager television series, the fourth iteration in the overall Star Trek television franchise. The game was to follow the bridge crew of the USS Voyager as they attempted to rescue members captured by the Kazon, a villain race featured within the series.

Not much more is known about the plot or the overall game itself, as the game was not revealed to the wider public in any significant fashion, outside a brief showing at E3 1996, and was quietly cancelled before any significant information was revealed on the plot or gameplay. It is known the game would be split between “episodes” mimicking the format of the actual TV series. One of the producers of the game, Alan Dickens said,

“We want to make it a lot like you’re watching the TV and yelling at the characters. You’re giving them, as a team, guidance and direction on where they should go and how they should address the various problems that come before them”.

Star Trek: Voyager would have featured interactions with the environment involving typical Star Trek staples such as tricorders, allowing you to scan and take items in a typical point and click adventure fashion. The game was also to feature 3D laser scans of the actors heads, to make the game mimic and feel like the television series as much as possible. Other than that, information on the game is practically non existent, so the game remains a mystery. Screenshots from the game were leaked online a few years ago.

The game was to the first game released in a multi-title agreement between Viacom and Looking Glass, even resulting in Viacom buying a minority stake in Looking Glass. The deal fell through after Viacom decided to exit the video game industry in 1997, leading to the cancellation of the game. This abrupt cancellation led Ken Levine and others to form Irrational Games, out of frustration with Looking Glasse’s handling of the cancellation. According to Ken Levine, the technical limitations in allowing characters to express emotion especially frustrated him, and this impacted his future writing of games such as Bioshock: Infinite, making this cancelled Star Trek game a pretty influential cancelled game.

Article by Let’s Have A Discussion

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