News on Beta & Cancelled Games

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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Pilot X (Tornado Studios) [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox 360, PC]

Pilot X is a cancelled space combat adventure game that was in development by Tornado Studios for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. While it remained mostly obscure, it was officially announced sometime in the late ‘00s, and we can still read the official press-release on Gamepressure:

“Pilot X is an arcade shooting in the atmosphere of space opera. The player controls a small spacecraft and his task is to destroy enemy forces in distant star systems. Pilot X is a project of Tornado Studios, an independent development studio known for its Project Runway game. This time the creators decided to use the classic genre of space shooters, adapting proven solutions to the technical capabilities of modern hardware platforms.

The action of the game was set in the distant future. The player plays the role of a star fighter pilot, and his task is to perform various dangerous combat missions in remote corners of the galaxy.

Pilot X’s gameplay is based on classic, genre-specific solutions. Watching the action from behind the ship (TPP) the player fights dozens of enemy units, including board bosses – huge star ships or perfectly protected planetary bases. In the course of the game he can gain a number of bonuses allowing for example to turn on the shields, change the weaponry, replenish ammunition or repair the damage suffered.

The game is characterized by an eye-catching three-dimensional visual setting, which clearly stands out from the competition. Both models of ships and objects drifting in space look very impressive, and the dynamic action is full of spectacular explosions.”

We don’t know what happened to the project, but we can assume it was canned because the team was not able to find a publisher interested in it.

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Perfect10 [PS2 – Cancelled]

Perfect10 is a cancelled adventure racing game that was in development around 2003 by Rage Games Birmingham. We don’t know much about its gameplay, but we can speculate it could have been similar to Road Trip Adventure (Choro Q HG 2), with a big open world to freely explore while driving around doing quests.

The project was never officially announced by the company and only a few 3D models / concept art were found online, preserved in the gallery below to remember its existence. As we can read on Wikipedia in 2000 Rage began to expand into publishing. However, the costs of publishing and a run of games that did not sell as expected eventually led to the company closing in January 2003 due to bankruptcy.

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Flux (Eight Cylinder Studios) [GameCube, PC – Cancelled]

Flux is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by forgotten team Eight Cylinder Studios, planned to be published for Nintendo GameCube and PC (by Microsoft?). Eight Cylinder survived in the gaming market for just about 2 – 3 years, between 1998 and 2001.

As far as we know they never released any of their games. Few details about the existence of their Flux project can still be found online, on Mobygames’ profile for Franck De Girolami (Eight Cylinder founder) and in an old website for Dark Reigns 2, as Adam Marquis (now at Naugthy Dog) also worked at Eight Cylinder before joining Pandemic Studios. On Next Generation Magazine (issue 40, April 1998) they also published a short update about them:

“Eight  Cylinder Studios, remains hard at work on the tentatively titled  Flux, a 3D action / platform game, which according to one employee,  will be the first game to offer “varying planes of gravity.” As of press time, Eight Cylinder had not  announced a new publisher for Flux but was courting several larger, unnamed companies with strong distribution channels.”

next-generation-magazine-40-april-1998

We were also able to save a short description about the project and some concept tiny art from a (now offline) website of another former developer:

“FLUX Gamecube, Action Adventure, Eight Cylinder Studios / Microsoft (unreleased). A unique mechanic where the player rotates the world along 3-axis in order to move through it, and to control the action.  I envisioned architecture that was built at different orientations; out of it came irony, humor and contradiction: guard towers became bridges that spanned divides, water mills became waterfalls that caused floods, and slums turned sideways dumping all their ‘stuff’ into the world, into this I folded themed zones that carried the narrative, mechanic, and pacing of the game.  These are only the initial sketches – art bible and screendumps were destroyed

flux-gamecube-eight-cylinder-studio-cancelled

We can assume the team was not able to find a publisher to keep funding their project and had to close down. If you know someone who worked at Eight Cylinder Studios and could help us to know more about what happened to Flux, please let us know!