New Cancelled Games & Their Lost Media Added to the Archive

Ghost Recon 2 [PC – Cancelled]

The original Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon (2001) turned out to be a very successful game, therefore the announcement of the sequel for PC in March 2004 did not surprise anyone. Ghost Recon 2 showcased better graphics thanks to a new 3D engine, featuring a fun single-player experience and polished multiplayer. At the same time, it was announced that Ghost Recon 3 would have been released in early 2006.  Sometime later, Red Storm announced even more details: Ghost Recon 2 would also be released on PS2 and Xbox. The engine and storyline in all three versions would be different and the release date has been pushed back to the first half of 2005. Unfortunately the release for the PC version was again pushed back, and in April 2005 Ubisoft canceled it altogether, explaining that they would just release Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter instead.

Thanks to Josef for the contribution!

Images:

A Nightmare on Elm Street [NES – Beta]

In 1989 Rare and LJN released A Nightmare on Elm Street tie-in video game on the NES, but it was quite different from what it was originally announced. The main difference in this prototype / concept version of A Nightmare on Elm Street is that you could play as the iconic 80’s slasher icon. Screenshots of the game appeared in a few issues of Nintendo Power and other magazines, sharing some details on the gameplay:

“It’s your greatest dream and your worst nightmare. You are Freddy Krueger… the gruesome star of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies. Use all of your evil powers and special abilities to track down and destroy your pursuers before they bury your bones.” – Nintendo Power.

“You are Freddy Krueger. A horde of obnoxious teenagers are trying to get rid of you by finding your bones and burning them. Killing them is the only way to stop them. You can travel along elm street through various lines (electrical and plumbing) or by stepping into a mirror and entering another room. The kids have weapons and some of them possess “Dream Alter Egos”.. If you strike them before they wake up, they’ll trouble you no more. Sharpen up those finger razors and get ready to slash, ’cause Freddy’s here!”

In one of these screenshots you can see the dream killer as a snake and in another Freddy is normal but going after some random kids, not a character from the film. In 1989, another issue of Nintendo Power addressed the game in an article about the Nintendo Satellite. This one had two different screenshots, one where Freddy is seen with two enemies and a cool title card. The description was different and it described what we got in the final game:

“You may never go to sleep again once you enter the nightmare world. You and your crew, the elm street neighborhood gang, have the power of the satellite to get you through in this LJN horror PAK.”

Thanks to Roxas for the contribution!

Images:

Videos:

Indiana Jones Trilogy (The Collective) [Cancelled – Xbox, PS2]

A cancelled Indiana Jones video game based on the original trilogy was in development around 2003 – 2004 by The Collective (who also worked on the cancelled Executives / Career Criminal for Midway), after releasing “Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb”.

In 2008 a former developer shared some details about this canned projet on CG Society:

“So… this image is 5 years old, low poly realtime model created for a project that could have been. No photos were used in the creation of the textures and the render was not retouched.

This was done at Collective Studios, now known as Double Helix, sometime after Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb shipped. Hoping to work on another game, we did some R & D for a possible sequel. New, polished character models were created and the Indiana Jones model completely redone.

There was an amazing prototype that was up and running with updated gameplay, but unfortunately this project never happened. Probably could have been the greatest Indy game ever. Unfortunately due to things out of the hands of the studio and surprisingly, even the publisher, nothing came about.”

In 2012 a show reel that contained footage of this canned Indiana Jones game was found online (and then taken down, but the video was preserved by Indiana Jones Brasil) showing Indy and Satipo manoeuvring through environments similar to that of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with gameplay elements similar to Emperor’s Tomb. (This demo reel also contained footage of the project known as Prince of Persia: Assassins).

In 2010 now-vanished gaming website 1UP also published some information:

“Six or seven years back, I won’t say who I was working for, but we were working on an Indiana Jones trilogy game based on the first three movies,” says Rex Dickson, lead single-player level designer at Kaos Studios (Homefront). “That game ended up not coming out for whatever reason — I can go on a long diatribe about why — but it was just really cool, because we had the full Hovitos temple built out with the rolling boulder, and it was all awesome. That would’ve been Xbox/PS2 — that generation.”

If you know someone who worked on this lost game and could help preserve even more screenshots or footage, please let us know!

Thanks to Duarte for the contribution!

BackSpace (Obsidian) [Cancelled – PC, Xbox 360, PS3]

BackSpace is a cancelled sci-fi RPG that was in early development by Obsidian Entertainment from January to April 2011 (around the same time they were finishing Dungeon Siege III), to be published by Bethesda on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The project was pitched as “Sci-Fi SKYRIM with Time Travels” and it was led by Jason Fader (who also worked on Obsidian’s cancelled Aliens RPG, Fallout: New Vegas, and the System Shock remake at Nightdive Studios).

While the game was quickly canned by the studio and it was never officially announced, Kotaku published a short article on the game in 2013, showing off remaining concept art created by Obsidian and sharing a few details on its gameplay:

“BackSpace is a single-player action-RPG set in a scifi space environment with simple elements of time travel. The combat is paced similarly to Skyrim, but slightly faster since there is no concept of blocking. The easiest way to look at it is a mix of Mass Effect, Borderlands, and System Shock 2 for gameplay and setting.”

“It was to be developed in some sort of partnership with Bethesda, I’ve heard, and it’d use the same engine as their ridiculously-successful role-playing game Skyrim. Although BackSpace wasn’t an open-world game, players would be able to travel between a number of planets as well as one large space station.”

“This station is huge,” a BackSpace design document reads. “It can be compared in size to The Citadel of Mass Effect [or] Babylon 5. The station has several locations devoted to diverse research fields which would allow us to have vegetation overgrowth, high-tech disasters, and mutations of science as visual themes.”

“[…] a technical error would fling your character ten years into the future, and you’d spend a bulk of the game hopping back and forth between the time of the attack and a dismal, alien-occupied future. Quests in the game would task you with hopping between timelines in an attempt to save humankind.”

In 2017 Jason replied to a few questions on Reddit, sharing even more details on what happened to BackSpace:

“I was working closely with Bethesda on BackSpace. Since there were no other projects lined up after the Old World Blues team finished their work, I took it upon myself to try to find another project for the company. I reached out to Bethesda and directly asked them what type of game they’d be most interested in publishing next. From there, I started working on a pitch based on a prior game I made, ThreadSpace: Hyperbol (story only, not gameplay). The gameplay was something designed around Bethesda’s interests at the time. No other publishers were pitched on it, to my knowledge, but there was interest from a 3rd party in creating a TV show based on it.

I actually started working on the project a bit before that by myself after hours. Probably as early as October (2010). It was an “after school project” for a very long time, and after a few months, more and more folks would join me after hours to volunteer their time to help. I don’t think we actually worked on it by day until the final month for the prototype. Then the layoffs happened. Then I stuck around for a few more years. Then the big layoffs (including me this time).”

In April 2011 Obsidian had to lay off part of their team, including many of those developers who were working on BackSpace. With financial difficulties in keeping the team active they worked on South Park: The Stick of Truth and many cancelled ventures (such as Stormlands for Microsoft), until they found success on Kickstarter with Pillars of Eternity.

Images:

Some anticipated video games which may have been canceled (or not)

Probably, you know how it feels to wait for the release of your most hyped game, promising attractive plot and gameplay. Sometimes it happens that such a game was announced several years ago, but it is still yet to be released.

A long wait can prompt us to think that games like Hytale, Beyond Good and Evil 2, Dead Island 2, Wild (by Wild Sheep Studio), and Dragon Age 4 will remain at the development stage forever. Anything can be. But do not forget that many internal and external factors can affect the work of the development team.

Remember: release delay does not always equal cancellation. For example, the Last Guardian was released nine years later after it was announced on the PS3.

Here are some games that were announced many years ago and are still unreleased: could these be the next unseen games to be archived in our site?

Hytale

Hytale is an open-world sandbox game with RPG elements and the impact of randomness on game events. Work on the game was officially announced in December 2018, but in fact, work on it began even earlier.

Initially, Hypixel Studios did not announce the Hytale release date. The issue behind was a financial factor: in April 2020 Riot Games bought Hypixel Studios and announced at least an approximate Hytale release date: 2021. The question of when will Hytale be released was discussed by Insider.Games in more detail. But we can state that work on Hytale continues. The developers published a big update in December 2020.

Beyond Good and Evil 2

Beyond Good and Evil 2 is a prequel to the first game. The plot tells the story about the consequences of the program for people and animals crossing to study space.

Ubisoft Montpellier originally announced work on the game in May 2008, and that version was indeed canned. Unfortunately, commercial failure predicted the developers to wait until they could represent the game at a press conference in 2017.

In September 2020, the developer Michel Ancel left the team, which is why work on Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still ongoing. According to the financial statements of Ubisoft, the game should be released after April 2021.

Dead Island 2

Dead Island 2, like the first game, is not going to strain players with a complex plot. By genre, this is a role-playing action in which the player will have to survive in California, where infections have occurred, and zombies are threatening humanity again.

The development history of Dead Island 2 is sad and may no longer inspire confidence in many gamers. The game had changed three developers since 2012 when it was announced. 2019 is the last time a new developer (Dambuster Studios) was appointed. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the development process. We have only the vague promise “the game will not be canceled,” announced in December 2020 on Twitter by Deep Silver.

Will the game get a new developer? Will it be released in 2021? Will it be canceled? Only time will tell.

Wild

Wild from French developer Wild Sheep Studio promises to be an interesting open-world survival game. Events will unfold in the Neolithic period, and the player will be able to control the first people and animals thanks to shamanism.

Work on Wild was announced back in 2014. In 2017, journalists speculated that Wild Sheep Studio had never actually worked on the game, but in April 2020, the developers published new images.

Unfortunately, Michel Ancel’s resignation affected not only Beyond Good and Evil 2 but Wild as well. Though Ancel stated that the game is in good hands, the gaming community has never received a specific release date or updates on the work process.

Dragon Age 4

Fantasy game Dragon Age 4 continues the story of the mainland Thedas, whose habitual existence is now threatened by the Dread Wolf. The Dread Wolf is one of the first powerful elves to cause the fall of his race. He wants to fix everything, but there is no room for non-elves in the world he sees.

Unlike previous games, we can be sure that Dragon Age 4 will be released. Since 2018, when the developers announced work on the new game, the gaming community has received several videos covering the main plot, locations, and characters. However, due to the volume of work on the game and the resignation of some key developers, fans of the series and the genre will not be able to play Dragon Age 4 until 2022 or 2023.