Action Adventure

Salient (Propaganda Games) [Playstation 3/Xbox 360 – Cancelled Pitch]

Salient is a cancelled action-adventure game that was published by Disney Interactive and developed by Propaganda Games for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, around 2005-2006.

Few details are known about Salient, as it seems to this day that this project never reached the prototype phase, let alone playable state. The existence of this title was shared on the personal website of Nathan Cheever, who served as a Level Designer at Propaganda Games from 2005 to 2007, although it is indicated that he never worked on Salient:

When Propaganda Games’ formed in 2005, the project after Turok was going to be Salient, a futuristic game that deals with humanity and injustice. The owners of the studio (Disney) put the project on hold indefinitely a year later, despite the team’s seasoned experience, passion, and talent.

Salient was set in the far future after humanity suffered for centuries of conflicts and global warming. The action take place in a futuristic metropolis that housed surviving masses from around the world, created by a big corporation that also created the Salients, a robotic workforce exhibiting personality traits, emotions and human features, initially designed to serve humanity. But over the years, the Salients integrated throughout the society and become more and more powerful to a point where they took over the corporation and see the humanity as “obsolete”, seizing operations by placing human beings in ghettos. Gamers would have played the role of a hybrid between a human and a Salient, hunted by the corporation and rejected by humans. In his quest, he would eventually flee the metropolis and joined a group of other rejected Salients in the wasteland, before saving humanity.

The art and visual direction was inspired by futuristic science-fiction movies and space opera such as Star Wars, Matrix, Equilibrium and I, Robot, while the gameplay had some platformer elements mainly inspired by the Prince of Persia series and Role-Playing Game mechanics retained from games such as Mass Effect. It also seems that combats would have been similar to the Devil May Cry franchise.

In the end, Disney didn’t take the pitch, and the small team dedicated to Salient joined the one behind Turok as stated by Nathan Cheever:

It was the big main project they wanted to do. There was a small team working on it when they were folded into Turok to help production. Disney didn’t really want to do mature titles like Turok which probably contributed to some of the results.

During their existence, Propaganda Games had more cancelled projects that released ones. Alongside Salient, we can add the well known Turok 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned, but also a mysterious prototype based on Marvel‘s Secret Wars, using the Unreal Engine and let’s not forget that even their Turok game released in 2008 had contents that were cut in the end.



Quark (Quantic Dream) [Dreamcast – Cancelled]

Quark is a cancelled action adventure game that was in development by Quantic Dream for the Dreamcast around 2000-2001.

In this game, player would take the role of Waki and his sister Una, two supernatural beings who can travel from one universe to another, called Travelers. Una, a so-called orphan, lives in a half-modern, half-Victorian London, and Waki ​​in Quark’s fantasy world. Both having to prevent Sir John B. Konrad, a former Traveler, and his army of Krolls, creatures from another dimension, from condemning the different universes to the Void, and thus allowing Konrad to become the sole god of all the universes. To do this, Waki ​​and Una are helped by various animals with specific powers, allowing them to solve puzzles and fight enemies. Communicating only through their dreams, Waki’s actions will have an impact on the universe in which Una evolves, and vice versa.

The title was revealed in August 2000, in issue #11 of Dreamcast Monthly. Here is what we could read:

The two heroes will be helped in their voyage by a collection of animals with specific talents. You can control each one of these animals to execute specific actions. The really intriguing facet of the game is that neither the brother nor the sister know of each others true existence – only through drams about each others events – so the player will take on the role of both characters, interact and take on their role when appropriate. If you find you’re in a fix with one character you can change form which may change events of the other. Each will have their own set of tasks, which the animals will undertake. Una for instance has a bird, dog, and a monkey, while Waki has strange alien animals that are indigenous to Quark, all with their special powers. (…) The animals you work with have many powers and come in different forms, many of which give the game a really open look. Spells producing special effects and creatures of massive complexity give this game a broad technology focus for the developers to devise original and stunning events. Mixing fantasy with a fairytale world, along with RPG elements, makes for an exciting mix and complete freedom within the huge 3D worlds will be on offer. Other strong selling points for the game are its non-linear scenarios and the action, which means the player can move, fight and have endless moves, with real-time combat being one of the central ingredients.

Issue #69 from September 2000 of NextGen Magazine, for its part, added:

(…) The gameplay itself is best described as Zelda-esque. While puzzle-solving, action, and combat are standard, the most interesting new twist is how players must explore both worlds via both characters in order to solve puzzles. “The whole game is about cross-overs,” says David Cage. “The two worlds are linked. Some sets or characters look similar in both worlds.” For example, players may discover two similar-looking spots or characters in each of the different worlds. When you solve a puzzle in one world, you may be given the vital clue you needed to solve the similar puzzle in the other.

Players might also be surprised to discover some Banjo-Kazooie-style action sequences, as the characters are able to take control of a menagerie of animals that accompany them on their adventures. “These animals are not just tools or vehicles that can be used and left,” explains Cage. “They are living beings with their own skills and personalities. For us, finding the best controls for each one is the hardest part since they must be intuitive and as common as possible. We don’t want the player to learn different controls for six animals, but you can’t move Una’s bird in the same way as Waki’s giant rabbit.”

Unfortunately, after those presentations, Quark totally vanished without a trace, and was cancelled alongside numerous other projects from Quantic Dream, such as (b)Last and Omikron 2. In March 2023, Sega Dreamcast Info briefly revealed on Twitter/X that Quark was supposed to simply be a tech demo, according to their own researchs. Nearly a year later, in January 2024, they revealed that a making-of with lots of testimonials from Quantic Dream’s developers is on its way.

Article by Daniel Nicaise



The Vatz (Beenox) [PC/Xbox – Cancelled]

The Vatz is a cancelled science-fiction post-apocalyptic/horror Third-Person action/Role-Playing hybrid game developed around 2001-2002 by Beenox Inc., for the PC and Xbox systems.

The game takes place in the distant future where a war between humanity and vampires is won by the latter, enslaving humans. Living now in cities shrouded by artificial fog, players take on the role of Zakk, a human slave, in the city called The Vatz, who joins the rebellion in order to exterminate all vampires, and reconquer the planet. Zakk has the power to possess certain types of vampires, called receptacles. He can control 3 different ones, each with their own abilities in terms of movements and combos, whether in melee combat or with weapons.

The title was unveiled in April 2002, before E3, and promoted Beenox’ in-house engine Goliath:

Quebec-based game developer Beenox has announced that it will demonstrate The Vatz, its upcoming action strategy game, at the 2002 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles next month. The game is set in a sci-fi universe, and it incorporates action, puzzle, strategy, and role-playing elements. Beenox developed a new 3D engine, Goliath, specifically for the game. The engine features an advanced physics system, real-time shadows and lighting, customizable visual effects, and level-of-detail rendering. It also supports animation interpolation, morphing, and blending, as well as a number of video-card-specific features and optimizations such as vertex and pixel shaders.

More could be read on MacWorld:

While the technology demo Beenox will show at E3 next month runs only on Windows, Beenox founder and president Dominique ‘Dee’ Brown explained to MacCentral that the Goliath technology has been created to support multiple platforms.

“The engine could be used to create Macintosh games,” Brown said. “That really depends on whether or not the publisher of the game wants it for the Macintosh market.”

Details are still sketchy on The VATZ, but Beenox describes the game as featuring “intense 3rd-person game play and multiple twisted storylines.” (…)

“In the past several months, we put the best we got in developing a 3D engine that would have everything a gamer may expect and more: Goliath was born,” said Brown.

After that, The Vatz disappeared without any information, and Beenox decided to focus on Windows and Macintosh ports of licensed games for the publisher Activision. It was implied that The Vatz was cancelled due to a lack of publishers interested in the project.

In September 2021, an Xbox prototype dated from October 2002 was leaked by Hidden Palace and can be downloaded here.



Dragonkind [XBOX/PS2 – Cancelled]

Dragonkind is a cancelled fantasy action adventure game developed by TriLunar for Xbox and PlayStation 2, around 2002.

Set in the fantasy world of Vermilion, Dragonkind follows the adventures of a young man named Grail who has the mysterious ability to control the power of dragons. This ability causes problems as well as provides great benefits, and launches Grail on a series of escapades that carry him across the world. The game story evolves as Grail journeys into and out of adventures and to a final conclusion that answers questions about his past and his role in the future of the world…

The game was officially revealed in April 2002. Worthplaying wrote:

TriLunar, LLC announced today their newest game title, Dragonkind. Combining the action and exploration of classic platform games with the depth of story and character found in console role-playing games, Dragonkind promises to deliver a unique experience that is only possible with the power and flexibility of today’s newest generation of console platforms.

Set in the fantasy world of Vermilion, Dragonkind follows the adventures of a young man named Grail who has the mysterious ability to control the power of dragons. This ability causes problems as well as provides great benefits, and launches Grail on a series of escapades that carry him across the world. The game story evolves as Grail journeys into and out of adventures and to a final conclusion that answers questions about his past and his role in the future of the world… or does it? In the spirit of classic comic book tales, things in Dragonkind are not always as they appear to be.

“I’ve always been fascinated with video games,” says Joe Madureira, President of Creative Development, “and I had been looking for the opportunity to express myself creatively in real-time 3D. Our goal is to make Dragonkind feel like a real-life comic book with all of the great characters, story and action found in today’s best comics. With today’s technology, you can create fantasy worlds of unprecedented depth and detail.”

Game play in Dragonkind will feature a mix of action and adventure. Key features in the game include:

  • Stunning 3D world featuring the art, look and feel of noted comic book artist, Joe Madureira.
  • An epic tale of good and evil; of love, honor and destiny! (With a little humor squeezed in when you weren’t looking)
  • Unique friends and enemies, each with their own roles and personalities. Crafty rogues, roguish sea-pirates, piratical warlords – you get the idea.
  • Extensive 3D lands of mystery and adventure to discover and explore. Secret areas and special locations will keep you searching for more.
  • Run, jump, climb, swim, ride, sail and fly your way to success. (And even go on a train ride or two).
  • Devious enemies and nefarious traps that require timing and strategy to defeat. Race across a field of ice floes with a sea serpent at your heels, ride an avalanche, wrestle a dragon, and much more!
  • Story driven quest objectives and open game world allow a high degree of non-linear game play.
  • Great battles of swords and strategy that increase in difficulty as you yourself become mightier. Summon the power of dragons to your aid with lava rain, ice comets, and earthquakes!
  • Thrilling music and thundering sound effects.
  • Cinematic camera control heightens the sense of adventure.
  • Simple, intuitive interface keeps you focused on the game, not the controls.

“Today’s video game fan demands great story in addition to great game play,” says Greg Peterson, TriLunar’s CEO. “With Dragonkind we are taking the best aspects of console platformers and blending the best aspects of console role-playing games. We will know we’ve created a hit when people will be able to walk up to our game and start playing immediately, and still be hooked days later. Our story, game play, and technology will all support one another, so that the final package will take people on a journey of entertainment that remains fresh and engaging all the way through the game finale.”

Dragonkind is being developed for the Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox. Scheduled release date is 2004.

However, the project was quickly cancelled after its announcement. It was announced in August 2002 on the now-defunct website of TriLunar:

TriLunar Shuts Down Operations – August 27 • 2002

We have a disappointing announcement. Due to lack of resources, we have had to cease development of the game Dragonkind as well as close down TriLunar. The company was funded 100% internally, and without access to an external source of capital, we are unable to continue operating. This decision disappoints us as much as it probably disappoints all of our fans and supporters.

TriLunar has ceased all internal development. Work on the game Dragonkind has stopped and will not be starting up for the foreseeable future. Additionally, we are no longer accepting solicitations or employment applications.

We at TriLunar appreciate the unprecedented level of support we received over the course of development. We know it has been a tough road for our friends and fans as well as ourselves.

One thing which never failed was our team’s unflagging enthusiasm which was buoyed by support from the fans, the press and our families. We would like to thank all of you. We hope one day to return to you as much as you gave to us.

Take care and continued success.

-The TriLunar Team

In March 2003, it was revealed that Joe Madureira was working on another game, Exarch, which will become Dungeon Runners.

In November 2009, French website Gameblog got in touch with Joe Madureira. Dragonkind was briefly mentionned:

G.B.: Did you immediately experience the same success in video games?

J.M.: No, not at all. But do you really want to talk about this?

G.B.: Yes, of course! It’s interesting to know what that might have brought you…

J.M.: In fact, my first attempts at video games were horrible. I created a game called Dragonkind, but our previous company (TriLunar) lost too much money and we went bankrupt. The game was never finished. Today at Vigil Games, we work with people I met through Dragonkind. So this experience finally allowed me to meet the right people. It’s still very important.

Article by Daniel Nicaise



Future Zone [SNES / Genesis – Cancelled]

Future Zone is a cancelled action/adventure platformer game, developed for the Super Nintendo and the Genesis/MegaDrive, from 1993 until 1995, by Visual Concepts and published by Electro Brain.

The game was set in a distant future where players took the role of Jason Baker Kane, a soldier sent in an alien world named future zone, which serves as a prison. The player allied himself with a rebel group, trying to escape this fortress.

The game was briefly mentionned, for the first time, in March 1993 by the issue #46 of Nintendo Power after apparently being shown at the Winter CES. In the same period, GamePro issue #45 said that the game showcased:

(…) an unbelievably huge environment, close to the size of Super Mario World.

It was then planned for the end of the year, also on the Genesis/MegaDrive. Then in August 1993, with the issue #51 from Nintendo Power again, the title has apparently been shown again, this time for the Summer CES. By the time, the project was re-scheduled for a release in mid-1994.

It wasn’t until May 1994 that Future Zone came back in the press. Still with Nintendo Power, issue #60, we learned that, apparently, the project changed in its direction, alongside the developer, without additional details. The Genesis/MegaDrive version was, from this point on, never mentionned again. More was shared in December 1994, with the issue #71 from Video Games Magazine, where we learned that the title was developed by Visual Concepts and was going to feature side-scrolling platform action, first-person 3d mazes and Mode 7 flying levels.

In February 1995, it was the issue #39 of french magazine Joypad which said that Future Zone was scheduled for June 1995, according to them, it was of the same caliber as Super Metroid. The Mexican version of Club Nintendo wrote a short preview, the same month, on the game, showing a screenshot of a Mode 7 level. Here is what we can read:

In a prison in the future, a soldier who should not be there has to escape in order to save a planet, this is the plot of the game Future Zone by Electro Brain; This title has 16 megabytes of memory and is basically developed in two types of game modes: Contra-style action and in a ship that flies over a surface with rotation and scale. This game is still very preliminary, we just hope that they are not going to leave it in mobility as we saw.

Unfortunately, it was the last time that Future Zone was covered in magazines. The game vanished with no trace, and to this day, it is still unclear why it was ultimately cancelled, although, by reading about it on various magazine issues, it looks like the development didn’t always go as planned, with numerous changes. To this day, no ROM leaked onto the internet, but a short trailer is available to remember its existence.

If you know someone who worked on Future Zone and could help us preserve more screenshots, footage or details, please let us know!

Article by Daniel Nicaise