New Cancelled Games & Their Lost Media Added to the Archive

Blur 2 (Bizarre Creations) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

Blur 2 is the cancelled sequel to 2010 arcade combat racing title of the same name (basically “Mario Kart with Real World Cars”) developed by Bizarre Creations and planned to be published by their parent company Activision for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. It would have expanded Blur’s gameplay with a new 3D engine and more interactive tracks, for example by using rainstorms and avalanches to spice-up the course, or adding a new ability to race sideways on buildings.

Unfortunately Blur 2 was cancelled due to low sales of the first game, when Activision decided to close down the team in 2011. As we can read on Shacknews:

“Over the past three years since our purchase of Bizarre Creations, the fundamentals of the racing genre have changed significantly. Although we made a substantial investment in creating a new IP, Blur, it did not find a commercial audience. Bizarre is a very talented team of developers, however, because of the broader economic factors impacting the market, we are exploring our options regarding the future of the studio, including a potential sale of the business.”

A few years later footage from Blur 2 was leaked online, showing off some new ideas they had for the game:

“This video shows us trying out some new visual effects, partly just because we thought it would be cool, and partly to see how more intense effects would effect the player’s experience (i.e. is driving through a storm shooting and dodging weapons fun and exciting or stupid and annoying).

So we built a load of big storm effects into the Brighton level from Blur and did some fancier animated turn markers. The ‘Shunt’ power up also got an overhaul from the big red ball in Blur, to a big refractive energy pulse here. This new one would throw tear up the road as it homed in on its target, leaving a trail of broken tarmac and scattered, twisted lamp posts.”

In late January of 2020 a Blur 2 playable prototype was also leaked online, preserving what was done on the game before its cancellation. From this proto we can learn the game would have had tracks based on Detroit, Dubai, North Africa, a ski resort, Odessa, Miami, Liverpool, and Hong Kong. Each location would have around 3-4 tracks, along with several test maps, but most of them are just whiteboxed in this build.

Several new cars would have been added, ranging from Ultima, Ferrari, Mazda, RUF, Bugatti, Mitsubishi, and more. There were also a couple of new powerups added, such as a star and a variant of the Shunt powerup, that unfortunately have no effect when used in the proto build. Lastly, a new mode was planned to be added, called “Fans”. It seems that it would have been a competition to get the most fans in a race.

Thanks to AceArroww for the contribution!

Images:

Videos:

 

 

Raphael (Sensory Sweep) [Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

Raphael is a cancelled third person action game that was in development by Sensory Sweep Studios for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The game was a free-flying / platform adventure inspired by Dante’s Inferno, in which archangel Raphael would explore hell and fight Satan’s demons. As far as we know this project was pitched by the team to different publishers, but in the end it was never fully developed.

Sensory Sweep closed due to bankruptcy in 2005, with employees working without being paid for months. As we can read on Mobygames:

“The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2005, but kept all projects going with two name changes (including Fooptube). In early 2008 the employees stopped receiving contributions, even though their paychecks were still deducted for the next few pay periods. Soon after that the paychecks bounced and Sensory Sweep lost Brash Entertainment as a big client when it folded at the end of 2008.”

What remains of Raphael today is just some concept art, preserved in the gallery below to remember the existence of this lost game.

Among Sensory Sweep’s other cancelled games are titles such as Crash Tag Team Racing DS, Time Traveler, Sentient and Oregon Files. If you know someone who worked on this lost game and could help us preserve more images or details, please let us know!

Images:

Woody (Cinemax) [PC – Cancelled]

Woody was a stylish point & click adventure that was in development for PC by Cinemax around 2002, later cancelled for unknown reasons. Its graphic style is reminiscent of classic Amanita Design games, but unfortunately not much information is available on this lost game. It seems the project was conceived for younger players, but for sure it looked quite cool.

If you know someone who worked on Woody and could help preserving more screens, footage or details, please let us know!

Images:

Project Ragtag [Cancelled – PS4, Xbox One, PC]

Project Ragtag, a third-person action-adventure game set in the Star Wars Universe, was cancelled in 2017. The game was under development by Visceral Games and planned to be published by Electronic Arts. In the end EA shut down Visceral Games, following the game’s irreversible demise.

Led by former Uncharted series Creative director Amy Hennig, Project Ragtag was an ambitious single-player adventure, focused on a ragtag group of space thieves. While it seemed like a sure-hit for a game that started development in 2013, EA cited dwindling interest in single-player experiences as the main reason for its cancellation.

An interview by US Gamer with Ms. Hennig explained how things went for the project. Henning said the game had been beset by challenges that the whole management didn’t foresee. Additionally Kevin Kiner (music producer of Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels) also shared his thoughts on the project. He mentioned he worked on the game for a couple of years and managed to create a good amount of music for it. Unfortunately it seems these scores can’t be used in future Star Wars projects.

Making a Star Wars game that looks and feels like Uncharted was a big challenge. For instance, Visceral Games had to use DICE’s Frostbite Engine to develop Project Ragtag, which was mostly designed for first-person shooters, not third-person adventures. They had to re-implement lots of code and animations, from third-person platforming to climbing.

Unfortunately, this was not enough to save the project. In 2017 EA officially announced Project Ragtag’s cancellation: though it had bittersweet comments and feedback from the online community, Hennig and the other team members have moved on. For players and fans of Star Wars, it’s sad to see such a promising game fail.  The cancellation of Project Ragtag was also a tough experience for the staff who poured their efforts into it.

There’s a lot of cool stuff conceived for Project Ragtag that we will never get to see. However, as everyone says, life goes on. Other Star Wars games are still published every year, such as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Star Wars: Squadrons and Star Wars Commander.

Article by Nash Kingston

Images:

Videos:

Lex Ferrum [N-Gage – Cancelled]

Lex Ferrum is a cancelled multiplayer hack n’ slash that was in development by YDreams and Nokia for the ill-fated N-Gage. The project was quite ambitious and original for its time, using actual geo-localization of players who communicated and competed locally via Bluetooth. The team behind the game was composed by Tiago Carita (game designer, 3D artist and animator), Pedro Lopes and António Lobo (both in charge of 2D art) and Antão Almada, Mário Franco, Hugo Abreu and Eurico Moita (programmers).

I’d like to thank Tiago Carita for the time he took to answer my questions about their lost game, and Ivan Barroso for getting us in contact. Also, special thanks to Nélio Códices who sent me all of the screenshots you can see in this article.

Lex Ferrum was in full development around 2003, green-lighted after a prototype made in two months for Nokia. The company was looking for a way to demonstrate the Bluetooth capabilities of their recently launched N-Gage, and YDreams was hired to create a new game that would use such features. Lex Ferrum would use Bluetooth to connect more than 100 players in the same area, an impressive feature that was tested during the Nokia Conference 2003 in Portugal.

Lex Ferrum told the story of a fierce battle between Moors, Nordic, and Iberian warriors for the control of Akio, a sacred realm taken by evil spirits. Players are invited to choose one of these clans, each one with three playable characters. After choosing your warrior you would immediately start fighting against near real-human players and deadly ghosts controlled by AI.

Each warrior could choose between different weapons, such as axes, swords and scimitars. During the Nokia Conference 2003 you could move around the place with your N-Gage, finding real-life Lex Ferrum Bluetooth shops decorated with weaponry and altars. When you got close to one of these shops, the game would immediately connect to them via Bluetooth and activate the corresponding place on the N-Gage screen. You could then buy new weapons, magic potions and spells, for extra help on the virtual battlefield. According to Carita, during the Nokia Conference 2003 around the venue you could also find “two medieval chapels with chanting priests, a witch with a steaming cauldron and a gunsmith doing his craft, one in each corner of the event. If you got close to one of those areas, your N-Gage Bluetooth would detect them and you could be resuscitated by the priest, buy scrolls from the witch or weapons and armour from the blacksmith.”

During battles even deaths were of extreme importance: dead characters became ghouls and to resurrect you had to take vital energy from enemies or find a real-life priest around the venue. In the end, only one name would be remembered: the last warrior remaining alive would be declared the heir to the throne of Akion, the leader of its people. With its 100-player multiplayer, Lex Ferrum was basically a local hack ‘n slash battle royal.

After each battle players would acquire gold and experience points, to be used to buy items in shops and level-up your character. If you didn’t have 100 real life friends you could also play Lex Ferrum by yourself, fighting opponents controlled by the game’s AI. This “single player mode” would have been quite useful, as technology at the time was not advanced enough for the game’s 100-player ambitions: “it was quite hard to connect more than 10 people in the same 50 m2 area using available bluetooth technology at the time. To connect 100 players would have been impossible. The team was in panic and despair when we found out our idea wasn’t technically feasible. Bluetooth could hardly see each other and it kept losing connection: it was hard to fight someone near you”.

In the end YDreams made some changes to Lex Ferrum’s code: “When there were too many N-Gages around you, Bluetooth could detect the IDs of each device, but it didn’t connect. We then used GPRS signal between cellphones and if there wasn’t any bandwidth the game would just launch an opponent controlled by AI. In this way, it looked like you were connected via BT to dozens of people”.

After the game’s presentation during the Nokia Conference 2003, YDreams in collaboration with Nokia tried to expand the game’s mechanics with more layers of combat, content, characters and missions, but unfortunately they realized it was not financially doable. The only playable version of Lex Ferrum was conceived to be used during Nokia events and with no more budget to invest into the project it had to be canned.

Thanks to Códices we can preserve some Lex Ferrum screenshots in this page: if any other concept or media shows up in the future, it will also be saved here.

Article by Jump/Error, original version in Portuguese on the Videogame PT Blog!

Images: