News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Evil Twin 2: The Messenger [Cancelled – PS2]

The original Evil Twin: Cyprien’s Chronicles was a horror platformer developed by UbiSoft and In Utero originally planned as a Dreamcast project, but then also released on PlayStation 2 and PC in late 2001 / early 2002. Players takes control over a young orphan called Cyprien, who is taken to a nightmarish world and possesses the ability to transform into a “demonic” version of himself.

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As told us by Omar Cornut during an interview published in our “Video Games You Will Never Play” book, in 2002 In Utero started working on a sequel to Evil Twin, planned to be released on the Playstation 2:

“Near the end of the company they started designing and prototype what would become Evil Twin 2, with an older character manipulating a stick. After the company closed Diego, Nino and Cedric from In Utero formed their studio Fandango working on a PSP game called Carnival: Theorem One which I think was inspired by those early Evil Twin 2 design. The game unfortunately was not finished.”

This cancelled sequel was also referred to as “The Messenger”. While we were not able to get a confirmation (other former In Utero developers never replied to our emails unfortunately), we can speculate that as the first game received mixed reviews and low sales, they later decided to change their sequel into an original IP, trying to find another publisher.

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In the end In Utero closed down soon after and Evil Twin never got a sequel. Only a couple of screenshots from their early Evil Twin 2 prototype are preserved in this page, to remember its existence.

If you know someone who worked on this lost game and could help us to save more, please let us know!

Jacks of Evil [PC – Cancelled]

Jacks of Evil is a cancelled horror FPS which was in development between 2003 and 2004 at Fear Studios. Unfortunately, little information is known about this game and the team behind it. It was planned to come out in July 2005, but the exact period and reason for its cancellation remain undetermined.

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As stated by a developer in an old interview on GenGamers, the backstory was as following:

“You’re working in secret organization, that opposite Dark Forces. It’s name is “Jacks Of Evil”. People in this organization call each other as “hunters”. Killing creatures of Dark Forces, such as Demons, Vampires, Zombies etc – is their usual work. You are a professional hunter. Your name is Aleksey Gromov. Once our hero is sent to Shanta city in Siberia. It seemed to be usual work, but… something went wrong. It seems that happened we all were aware of. People and Evil cooperated to help each other.“

The Studio also described some ideas they planned to implement in their canned FPS, such as slow-motion effects with motion blur and a damage system. Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies, and Demons were some of the classic enemies players would have to hunt down during the game, giving it some recognizable characters in the horror genre. More ambitious concepts and mechanics were also considered by the team:

“It’s planned to make a game scenario with key scenes, that can be generated randomly. I.e. you are walking through the room and then suddenly you’re attacked by a Vampire. Youīre losing the battle, then loading your save-game, walking to this place and … there is no vampire! And of course there will be different story lines. Probably there will be 3-4 different endings. I think that’s enough for such games.“

Fear Studios also wanted to implement a multiplayer mode, featuring mod-support (to be available soon after the game would‘ve come out) to bring even more variety to the game. 

In the end we can speculate the team did not find a publisher for their project and Jacks of Evil was quietly canned.

Article by Vipaah, thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Apros: Tenku no Sho (WolfTeam) [Sega Mega CD – Cancelled]

The original “Apros: Daichi no Shou Kaze no Tankyuu Sha hen” was an adventure game based on a series of Japanese Sci-Fi Fantasy novels, developed by WolfTeam (now Namco Tales Studio, mostly known for their Tales Of series) and published in 1992 for PC-98. A few months later they were already working on a sequel for Sega Mega CD, titled “Apros – Tenkū no Shō” (アプロス天空の章), but in the end was quietly cancelled when the main developer / designer has left the team.

As noticed by Kid Fenris on the Lost Levels forums:

“The only screenshots I’ve found are in this vaguely worded capsule preview from the February 1993 issue of (Diehard) Gamefan.”

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“Apros was mentioned again in the June 1993 Gamefan, where the letters columnist informed a reader that the guy who was developing Apros has left Wolfteam (along with many others) and is starting his own company. He told Kei that he will continue development but is unsure of what format Apros will appear on. (It may be several.)”

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As noted by Zigfried these images from the Sega Mega CD version of Apros are completely different from their first PC-98 game, so we can assume it was really going to be some kind of sequel:

“It’s a fantasy adventure game with lots of (non-CG) animation. I’ve got the PC-98 game, and I’ve got a magazine that shows screens from *before* the Mega CD version was canned… and I’ve got to say, it looks nothing at all like those pics from the Gamefan mag.”

VGDensetsu also found more images in Beep! Mega Drive magazine (November 1992 + February 1993)

If you find out more about this lost game, please let us know!

FGB [Game Boy Color – Cancelled]

FGB is a cancelled action RPG / hack ‘n slash in development between 1999 and 2001 by Plasma Works, planned to be published on the Game Boy Color. You could imagine it as a mix between Gauntlet, Robotron and Zelda, featuring coop multiplayer (using GB’s link cable), 128 Levels and 50 different Monsters to kill during your adventure.

In 2000 IGN wrote a preview of the game with their impressions:

“To add to the gameplay, you will be able to play through the game with different characters, each with their own abilities and attributes. Playing the game as one character will key different conversations than another character, so half the fun is discovering how each character handles the same situation.

The look of FGB is very old-school, but very appropriate. Instead of focusing on detail of characters, the artists instead made basic shapes to represent enemies and heroes. What’s more, the programmers have made an engine that can push an amazing number of sprites without flicker the Game Boy Color has a 10-sprite-per-line limitation, but through a bit of programming trickery Plasma Works was able to get around it. According to the company, up to 256 enemies, bullets and explosions can be on-screen at once in FGB. Not too shabby.

Plasma Works is currently looking for a publisher for the game”

In the end Plasma Works did not find a publisher interested in funding FGB’s development and the project was cancelled. A few years later, the team released their own prototype online, to be preserved by the community.

As we can read in the description file shared among the ROM:

“Hi there! You hold in your hard drive a great Game Boy Color game called FGB (the name doesn’t stand for anything). It is a weird and wonderful game that combines elements of an adventure/RPG like “Zelda” with those of an action/shooter like “Gauntlet“.

FGB was developed by Plasma Works over a period beginning December 17, 1999, and ending May 16, 2001. That’s about a year and a half, if you’re counting. Being a small, independent developer, we approached quite a few publishers over that time but were unable to come to an agreement. Game Boy Advance was just around the corner at this point and everyone was slobbering over it, so sadly we decided to terminate FGB and move on to other stuff.

So it was that the adventures of Captain Flour and his merry crew went unheard of and unplayed… until now. To ring in the New Year, we are releasing the final build of FGB to be freely distributed. The game is 100% complete in terms of programming and locations, and 50% complete in terms of quests, conversations, and upgrades – don’t worry, there’s still lots to do, and the game plays through to a definite ending that’s just shy of reaching the grand finale that was originally planned.”

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Star Wars 1313 [Cancelled – PS4, Xbox One, PC]

Star Wars 1313 was one of the most anticipated titles in recent memory. Following the success of the Jedi Knight series and the critical and commercial acclaim of the Knights of the Old Republic Series, fans were aching for an authentic single-player Star Wars experience. Since The Force Unleashed series didn’t manage to fill that void, fans were understandably excited for Star Wars 1313, planned to be published for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Sadly, the project had a short life. Although the game was still officially in development when Disney acquired Lucas Film (October 2012), on March 2013 several news outlets reported that Star Wars 1313 and other projects were put on hold since the acquisition. On April 2013, The Walt Disney company announced that internal development was ceased at Lucas Arts and that it laid off its staff, effectively cancelling the upcoming 1313:

‘’After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.’’ –  statement by Lucas Arts representative to Game Informer.

Star Wars 1313 was planned to be set in a familiar, yet unexplored area of the Star Wars universe, namely the underground slums of Coruscant known as Level 1313. Before it was cancelled, the story was supposed to revolve around a young Boba Fett as he was navigating the sleazy underbelly of the metropolis and taking contracts from local crime lords:

“Star Wars: 1313 dives into a part of the Star Wars mythos that we’ve always known existed, but never had a chance to visit,” Paul Meegan, former president of Lucas Arts.

The gameplay itself, as well as the game design, was allegedly inspired after the popular series Uncharted. The game’s title was trademarked in May 2012, and was officially revealed at E3 2012 the following month. It was planned to feature fast-paced combat and universe-specific gadgets rather than the Force. Star Wars 1313 was to be developed in the Unreal Engine 3, which was top of the line back then.

As the game was cancelled very early into its development, few vestiges of what it could’ve been remain, and even fewer were revealed publicly. Apart from the official E3 trailer and a 6 minute demo shown during the same conference, all that remains of 1313 are a few scattered concept arts and additional details about the story, which revealed that the game would’ve included more explorable planets, such as Tatooine.

More recently, Naughty Dog’s animator Jonathan Cooper, who worked on 1313, shared an animation reel on Twitter that showed a droid partner and several movement animations.

Although there were signs that the title was going to be picked up after all, fans hope for a miraculous revival was officially crushed when Disney decided not to renew the Star Wars 1313 trademark. The expired trademark, Disney’s decision to license all Star Wars related video games to EA effectively in perpetuity, and the upcoming Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order means that the chances of 1313 to ever be released are slim to none.

Article by Marco Giuliani

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