New Cancelled Games & Their Lost Media Added to the Archive

Vatan (Fy Software) [PC – Cancelled]

Vatan is a cancelled futuristic First-Person Shooter/Role-Playing Game developed by Portuguese studio Fy Software from 2003 to 2005, exclusively for PC. Inspired by titles such as System Shock and Deus Ex, the game was set in the 23rd century after humanity colonized numerous parts of the galaxy. The player took the role of a Republic legionnaire brought to fight a rebel faction seeking independence.

Revealed in October 2004, we learned more about its features and background in December of the same year thanks to an interview led by Warcry:

“A couple hundred years from now, in this part of the galaxy…” Okay, so it’s not Star Wars. But it does have a Republic, and rebels, and a massive galactic conflict between the forces of tyranny and the champions of freedom. And personally, I’ve always been down with blowing up stuff in space.

In the dark future of 2234,” Bruno Cesteiro, of FY Software, intones in his most Lorne Greene-esque voice, “the known universe is split into two factions. On one side, there’s the Republic, a powerful economic group that wants to subjugate all the known colonies. On the other side, there’s a small group of people that we call the Rebels, that fight for freedom from the claws of the Republic.”

While it may not be the most creative backdrop for a game we’ve ever seen, it does offer an intriguing premise that promises both a strong FPS and RPG experience. Certainly not an easy task, as Cesteiro confirms. “We want to get both game types in the game,” he said, “but that’s a very hard thing to do. I’ll have to say that primarily the game is an FPS. However, the player does evolve, and does have the ability to evolve in a direction, either as a strong fighter, a computer expert, etc.” While creating a game that operates on a level comparable to System Shock or Deus Ex is bound to be difficult in myriad ways.

Technologically, Vatan will be middle of the pack. “We’re not trying to compete with million-dollar budget titles,” Cesteiro says. “Doom 3 technology using stencil shadows, per-pixel lighting, etc., won’t be in Vatan. That kind of technology doesn’t work in outdoor environments.” And while it may not be the cutting edge graphically, Vatan isn’t pulling any punches with its physics engine. “We are putting a great effort into physics. Physics in Vatan are real physics,” he went on, “with real friction and mass, and not fakes like many games do.”

The game experience is the real focus of Vatan, and it makes some pretty big promises. “The player has the ability to choose which direction his character will go,” Cesteiro says as he describes the gameplay to us. “His choices will affect the gameplay and how he completes his missions. If you are a good fighter, you can go into a room full of soldiers, kill all of them and get access to a certain location. If you are a computer expert, maybe it’s wise to avoid those folks, hack into a terminal, and open a door from there.”

FY Software is hoping to have Vatan ready to release in the first quarter of 2005, but nothing–including the publisher–is carved in stone at this point.

During the following months, communication around Vatan was essentially based on the publication of screenshots. In September 2005, Bruno Cesteiro was interviewed by Planet 3D Games:

P3G: As the project is unknown to many of our readers, could you please present your work in brief words?

B.C.: (…)The game is divided into several missions, and each mission has it’s own type, the player can be in a mission in where he doesn’t need to take a single shot, or he can be in a mission with lots of action.

P3G: Thanks for this introduction. As we know the game takes place in a futuristic 23rd century environment. Can you give us further information about the game world?

B.C.: The game world, as you know is in a distant future. Many worlds are being colonized by either the Union or by the Rebel faction.

Usually worlds that have Rebel presence are poor and under developed, structures and other facilities are constructed with raw materials that are at hand, so, there’s a mix of really old-tech with high-tech in the constructions.

Usually worlds that have a Union presence look more advanced, but it depends on the proximity of central planets.

P3G: Will the game world be level based or world based where the player has the possibility to explore a big world without have to follow a certain path?

B.C.: The game world is level based, however everything that is picked up, skills gained, etc, are transported from level to level.

P3G: What locations await the player? Can you give our readers some examples?

B.C.: We try to create a rich mix of different environments so that the player doesn’t get bored and always wanders through the same types of landscapes. Currently the game includes various tropical locations, desert regions, swamps and two different city types.

P3G: Let’s talk about the protagonist: The player will assume the role of a legionnaire who serves in a special infantry unit. How important has story design been in your development process so far, and can you tell us a bit more about the core plot? What will be the player’s primary goal and how did you come up with this idea?

B.C.: The whole plot was worked out before we actually started developing the game. All the levels have been built around this story, so it has to be said that it has played a very important role in our development work so far. The player’s task is relatively easy to describe at the beginning of the game: complete the mission that your superiors have given you. But that will change as the game progresses.

P3G: What kinds of tasks will there be to solve?

B.C.: There are basically two different types of missions: First, we have the FPS missions, where there will be a lot of action and the game will play like a shooter. The second mission type are the so-called RPG missions, in which the player is given the task of exploring an undiscovered area or solving various problems.

P3G: Can you tell us something about the actual gameplay? What things will the player be able to do in the world?

B.C.: There is a wide spectrum of challenges for the player: e.g. it will happen that he will be assigned to a whole platoon, so he is not always alone. He will be able to decide whether he prefers a frontal attack on the enemy troops, or prefers to proceed slowly and undetected. The latter option in particular offers some nice gimmicks: For example, it will be possible to throw picked up stones into a room to distract individual enemy forces in order to distract them and slowly sneak around them.

You will also be able to use vehicles or hack into computers to open bridges, for example. Many objects found throughout the game can be taken away. What is special about our object system is that each object is assigned its own physical properties. For example, it is possible to pick up a cartridge magazine, take it with you, drop it again, e.g. throw it into the water or if it is on the ground, kick it.

P3G: Apart from the inventory, what specific RPG elements will be included in the finished game and will they affect the gameplay?

B.C.: There will be several elements that may change as development progresses. As of this writing, the skills are: Hacking, Charisma, Strength, Agility, Sneak, Vehicles, and Weapons. Each of these skills has an impact on how the player can solve a mission.

For example, he may find a vehicle in a mission but his vehicle skill is not yet high enough to use it. As a result, he cannot use it and must complete the mission on foot. If he finds a weapon extension and the player mounts it on one of his weapons, it is also possible that his weapon skill is still relatively low and the extension is not bringing the maximum possible benefit.

P3G: What types of weapons will the player be able to use?

B.C.: There are different weapon systems that the player can use. Each weapon can also be improved with various upgrades such as a telescope, an improved aiming chip or a grenade launcher. Of course, the same applies here as in the previous example: In order to be able to assemble such objects, a certain skill is required. Speaking of items, it should be mentioned that there are also a large number of other types: e.g. repair kits to repair the weapons, binoculars or various explosives.

Unfortunately, the project vanished after this, as it was clear that its developer didn’t manage to secure a publisher. Vatan was quietly cancelled and Fy Software shutted down not so long after its cancellation.

Bruno Cesteiro, alongside his brother Ricardo, founded in 2009 Camel 101 and are still active in the video game industry to this day. In 2010, while promoting their next game, Gemini Wars, Destructoid spoke to them about their journey. Vatan was briefly mentionned:

The three core team members started out years ago by working on an FPS game, which later evolved into a creating an engine called the ‘Vatan game engine’ from scratch. Together they managed to get the Vatan engine to win a games competition in Portugal back in 2006, and it inspired them to become more serious about game development.



The Stalin Subway 3 (B-Cool Interactive) [PC – Cancelled]

The Stalin Subway 3 (codenamed Metro-3) is a cancelled First-Person Shooter developed around 2009 by B-Cool Interactive and published by Buka Entertainment, exclusively for the PC. It was going to be the third installment of The Stalin Subway‘s franchise. The setting of the games takes place in the 50s, in Moscow, where the player take the role of a member of the KGB who must investigate various plots within the Soviet communist party.

The existence of this game was, just like Los Angeles Guerilla 2040, revealed by former developer Eugene Duranin on his old blog. Only some concept arts, 3D models and glimpse of gameplay are preserved below to remember its existence. We can speculate that it would have been similar to the previous games, but it looks like, by seeing the concept arts, that it was going to take a more futuristic approach in its art design.

The title was cancelled with the closure of B-Cool Interactive in September 2009, alongside Los Angeles Guerilla 2040 and the sequel of Scorpion: Disfigured.

If you know someone who worked on The Stalin Subway 3 and could help us preserve more screenshots, footage or details, please let us know!



Los Angeles Guerilla 2040 (B-Cool Interactive) [PC – Cancelled]

Los Angeles Guerilla 2040 is a cancelled military First-Person Shooter developed by Ukrainian studio B-Cool Interactive in 2009, exclusively for PC. As suggested by the title and the trailer, the game was set in the year 2040, in Los Angeles, where the player had to rescue an American spy pilot held prisoner by the Chinese army after the latter took control of 9 states in the west of the United States of America, following a serious economic crisis.

The existence of this project was revealed on the old blog of one of the co-founders of B-Cool Interactive, Eugene Duranin, explaining the short time they had to make the trailer:

It is latest B-COOL’s product. L.A. Guerilla 2040 (trash, VERY LOW-BUDGET shooter) was under developement from May 2009 (June in the fact) til August 2009. This trailer was created for Köln Game Exhibition.

We (me, Maxim Rodionov and Sergei Tishenko) made it in one week (including capturing and game levels set-up – game was only 2 months old, but THEY wanted gameplay).

B-Cool Interactive had to shutdown their office back in September 2009, causing the cancellation of numerous games, including a sequel to their only available title Scorpion: Disfigured. Other cancelled project was Metro-3, the third game of The Stalin Subway‘s franchise, for Russian publisher Buka Entertainment.



The Boondock Saints: The Video Game [PC, Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

The Boondock Saints: The Video Game, sometimes referred as Boondock Saints: The Game, is a cancelled action cooperative shooter game developed by Critical Mass Interactive in 2012, for PC and Xbox 360, with a potential Playstation 3 version. It was based on the movies of the same name.

The game was first mentionned in February 2012 when cast members from the movies told to Joystiq that they would make a gaming announcement at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival 2012:

Joystiq has learned that cast members from the 1999 cult classic film The Boondock Saints will be making some manner of gaming announcement during the ScreenBurn Arcade portion of next month’s SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, TX. Now, whether that announcement is actually Boondock Saints related is anyone’s guess, but that seems like the logical conclusion.

Two days later, the project was officially announced by its developer, as we can read on Gamespot:

The Boondock Saints are making a comeback. Speaking to G4TV, Critical Mass Interactive president and CEO Matt Scibilia revealed that the studio is at work on a “full-on co-op shooter” based on the film for the Xbox 360 and PC.

A PlayStation 3 version of the game is possible, but not confirmed, according to the report.

Scibilia told the site that he wants Boondock Saints: The Game to ship to retail, but conceded that it is too early to tell, and the game may end up being released episodically through digital channels.

As for the story the game will tell, Scibilia said the developer is keen on “staying true to the content” of the film, but is also looking at “expanding the story.”

“The Boondock Saints characters are so strong. The banter, the relationships between Rocco and the brothers, the Catholicism, that will all be featured in the game,” Scibilia said.

Boondock Saints: The Game will be discussed by Critical Mass Interactive and the film’s actors at a South by Southwest (SXSW) panel on March 11, before a bigger reveal at the E3 2012, which runs June 5-7.

Following this, a short teaser was shown at the SXSW.

However, it was the last time that we heard of The Boondock Saints: The Video Game, as it was never showed at E3 2012 and totally disappeared after that. We can speculate that something went wrong during its development or that Critical Mass Interactive didn’t secure a publisher. It is currently hard to know if the game even reached a playable state.

It wasn’t the only cancelled game made by Critical Mass Interactive. In their beginning, the studio had planned to make a First-Person Shooter based on the comic-books franchise Sword of Dracula, dropped due to lack of publishers interested in the project. The company took the decision to focus on outsourcing during nearly an entire decade before trying again with The Boondock Saints. According to Matt Scibilia’s LinkedIn profile, studio went bust in August 2014.

If you know someone who worked on The Boondock Saints: The Video Game and could help us preserve more screenshots, footage or details, please let us know!

Sword of Dracula (Critical Mass Interactive) [PC, Xbox – Cancelled]

Sword of Dracula is a cancelled horror First-Person Shooter developed around 2004-2005 by Critical Mass Interactive for PC and Xbox. It was based on the eponymous comic-books franchise.

Few details are currently available about this game. According to its developers, their Sword of Dracula’s project was inspired by Call of Duty in terms of gameplay.

It was officially revealed by Critical Mass Interactive in February 2004 with a press release indicating that a demo would be showed at the Game Developers Conference the next month, thanks to Gamespot:

Critical Mass Interactive (CMI) has today announced the development of Sword of Dracula, a first-person shooter based on the Image Comics series of the same name. No release date or platforms for the game have been confirmed at this time, but CMI and the series’ creator, Jason Henderson, have stated that they plan to have a demo of the game ready for next month’s Game Developers Conference in San Jose.

“The moment we saw the Sword of Dracula comic, we knew this was the franchise to jump on,” said Critical Mass Interactive Vice President of development Billy Cain. “We’re talking a commando-vampire war in fierce, cinematic, Call of Duty-style gameplay. You could see it from the first issue. We knew we had to make this happen.”

In the Sword of Dracula comics, Dracula is portrayed as the world’s foremost terrorist, using the blood of thousands of victims to build himself a vampire army. Henderson describes his take on Dracula as “a king, a massive 300-year-old ubervampire with an army of vampires and zombies, and it’ll take every Humvee, cannon, and Blackhawk Ronnie has to bring him down.”

The character Henderson refers to as Ronnie is the character that players will assume the role of in the game, a covert agent named Veronica Van Helsing, who leads a UN-connected antivampire operation known as Polidorium.

Shortly after, HomeLAN was able to get an interview with Billy Cain, where some more informations about it’s Call of Duty approach was shared:

HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the graphics engine that the Sword of Dracula game will use?

Billy Cain – Unfortunately, we cannot make a final decision on the engine until we sign on with a publisher. Right now, we’re using Call of Duty to pre-visualize the game for potential publishers.

HomeLAN – What is the current status of the game’s progress and when will it be released?

Billy Cain – At this point, we have secured the license for all video games based upon the comic book, Sword of Dracula. We are in the process of building a demo to show publishers one way to visualize the game, and we happen to be using the Call of Duty engine, and modifying it to suit our needs. As for release dates, that will be part of our negotiations with publishers. We want to find a publisher that will give the game the time it needs in development, so that it can compete with the best games out there.

After all of this, developers went silent about the game for some months, only briefly mentionned in june of the same year by GenGamers, where we learned that they were in negotiations with different publishers:

Critical Mass Interactive´s Billy Cain sent over a few words in which he mentions that Critical Mass Interactive is still in negotiations on their upcoming FPS Sword Of Dracula with a number of publishers.

It was only in February 2005, almost a year after its official announcement, that the game was talked about again thanks to NoFrag, announcing a change of graphics engine and the addition of an Xbox version:

Without news of Sword of Dracula since last June, I contacted the developers of the game: it is still in development at Critical Mass Interactive. After its first prototype, the developer changed the engine to please some publishers interested in the project and is currently preparing a new prototype (this time on PC and Xbox) with the aim of signing a contract with a publisher. In any case, the release of the game is therefore still a long way off.

Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on Critical Mass Interactive’s side as they never managed to secure a publisher, forcing them to definitely cancel the game and refocus on outsourcing. As an outsource company, Critical Mass worked on games such as Rift, Ultima Online, Tabula Rasa and Borderlands, before disappearing. The licence was, in the end, never adapted into video games.