Action Adventure

Lanfeust of Troy (Nadeo) [PC – Cancelled]

Lanfeust of Troy is a cancelled action adventure that was in development for PC by Nadeo around 2001, before they became a favorite team among fans of arcade racing games, thanks to their release of TrackMania in 2003. In 2001 Nadeo was still trying to find their niche, working on many different prototypes such as Windracer and Cyberdrive to pitch them to different publishers.

Lanfeust of Troy was based on a popular french comic:

“In the world of Troy, most humans have a single magic power. Each power is unique to the person and includes such diverse feats as walking on water, personal teleportation, and causing thirst in others. However, none can use their power unless in the close or remote presence of a sage of Eckmül, Troy’s version of a studied magician.”

Probably Nadeo thought that by using an existing franchise as the base for their action adventure prototype, it could have been easier to find a publisher interested in their talent. Unfortunately this was not the case: their Lanfeust of Troy video game was never completed and was just forgotten by everyone. Some fans randomly found out about the project in 2011, saving a few images before they could have been lost forever.

In the end Nadeo was lucky enough to get hired to work on Virtual Skipper 2 and 3, something that helped to keep them alive while waiting to find real success with Trackmania.

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Project: Advena [PC – Cancelled]

Project Advena is a cancelled sci-fi, survival adventure game that was in development by Illfonic and Psyop Games around 2015 – 2016. The game was officially announced by the team and a short description was available on their old website:

“Alone, and marooned on an alien world, a humble space freighter pilot must face dwindling resources, a hostile environment, and his own internal demons to make his way toward his only hope for rescue, a flickering beacon forgotten on a precipitous mountainside. Each step on his journey threatens to bring him face to face with his imminent mortality, dwindling supplies, strange creatures, and the deepening shade of his own solitude.”

Venture Beat also published an interview with Illfonic in late 2015:

“After THQ shut down, we started doing work for hire putting our CryEngine knowledge to good use, and we worked on Star Citizen, Evolve, Armored Warfare, Sonic Boom … the Team Challenges … a tech demo with AMD, Crysis 3, and some other really cool unannounced projects.

Currently, besides Friday the 13th: The Game, we are working on Moving Hazard and Project Advena — a working title — with Psyop Games, along with relaunching Nexuiz real soon. In addition, we are continuing working on our MMO Revival, which is build in stages and has a pretty cool update coming to Phase 1 real soon.”

Nothing more is known about Advena’s gameplay. Only a few promotional images are preserved below, to remember its existence. After a while the game quietly vanished, while Illfonic switched their resources on different projects. We can speculate Advena was not proceeding as planned and the team decided to focus their efforts on more secure and profitable projects.

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DeVargas (Capcom Studio 8) [PS2 – Cancelled]

DeVargas is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by Capcom Production Studio 8 for Playstation 2. The team is mostly known for their work on the Maximo series, Final Fight Revenge and Final Fight: Streetwise, but they also worked on some fascinating lost projects.

Studio 8 was full of talented devs and artists: after publishing Maximo 2 they started working on 3 interesting pitches: Maximo 3, DeVargas and Final Fight: Seven Sons (the unreleased FF planned before Final Fight: Streetwise). While for Maximo 3 and Final Fight: Seven Sons some footage and concept art were already preserved, DeVargas remained unseen until Trent Kaniuga (former Studio 8 artist) shared one image on Twitter:

We were able to gather some details about this canned project in 2015, while we were doing research for our book. Maximo 3 and DeVargas were in development using a similar code, so their early prototypes shared a few assets and models. While Maximo had a broader audience thanks to its character design, DeVargas was conceived as a more mature project, with a more realistic art-style.

The game setting was somehow similar to Assassin’s Creed. The main protagonist was a prisoner on ship and in the prototype you woke up in shackles. Your main objective was to escape using stealth: the boat interior was dark and the men on it had lanterns, so you could sneak up behind them and choke them with his chains.

This was just an early idea for the first level, but after it the game would open up, being more about exploration and melee combat. DeVargas was worked on for just 3 – 4 months before Keiji Inafune decided to cancel it.

In the end, only Final Fight: Streetwise was greenlighted by Capcom, but when released it failed to achieve mainstream success and it bombed in sales. Capcom decided to not invest in their California team anymore and sadly Production Studio 8 was closed down in 2006.

At the moment only a single concept art remains to preserve the existence of DeVargas, but you can keep an eye on Trent Kaniuga’s Twitter profile and Youtube Channel to see if he could find more in the future. 

Timeless: Chronicles of Atlantis [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

Timeless: Chronicles of Atlantis is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by Dubai-based Vertex Studios around 2009, planned to be released for Xbox 360, PC and Playstation 3. You can imagine it somehow similar to Uncharted (2007): a cinematic action adventure, but set in multiple timelines (from modern day Dubai to a Spanish village in 8 AD.) and with multiple playable characters.

As we can read at Emirates247:

“It is based on time travel where you can control a local character who goes back into time and into the future. There are multiple characters and environments.”

More details can still be found in a 2009 article from Arabianbusiness:

“Timeless: Chronicles of Atlantis. Timeless is set to be a next generation action adventure game in which gamers play a character from Dubai who travels through different settings and different time periods. The game is being made for the PC and next-generation consoles such as the Xbox and Playstation 3 and whilst Chronicles of Atlantis will include multiple playable characters, multiple weapons and multiple enemy types; the game’s settings will also vary from an apartment in modern day Dubai to a Spanish village under Muslim rule in 8 AD.

Timeless could have 8 or 9 levels with around ten hours game-play and three difficulty levels. The game will include multiple approaches to different puzzles; so, one player might progress through a stage by adopting a stealthy approach, while another player might want to fight their way through a stage.

Once Timeless has gone through the whole production process, it will undergo localization and focus group testing, and once it has a publisher, the game will be released worldwide, with Vertex Studios saying that the release date is predicted for some time in 2010.”

By reading this we can assume the team never found a publisher for their game and in the end they had to close down after releasing just a few smartphone Apps. Footage and screenshots from an early Timeless: Chronicles of Atlantis demo are preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost project.

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Metroid Prime 1.5 [GameCube – Cancelled Pitch]

Metroid 1.5 was an undeveloped new game in the Metroid Prime series, internally pitched at Retro Studios between the development of Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. This lost project was found in 2011 thanks to online research by Mama Robotnik on the NeoGAF forum, who unveiled the Metroid 1.5 design document written by former Metroid Prime designer:

“This adventure would take place immediately after Samus takes off from the surface of Talon IV. Upon exiting the planets surface, Samus decides to take a long rest in her Cryo chamber as her ship autopilots home. However, something goes wrong and Samus’’s ship computer hones in on a distress signal. The distress signal is coming from a huge alien vessel (huge, like the size of several Star Destroyers) that is drifting out in space. As Samus’s ship approaches the alien craft, a tractor beam activates and the Ship is pulled into one of the gigantic docking bays. As the ships doors close, the gigantic vessel folds and enters a parallel dimension, thus begins Samus’’ new adventure…

Upon awakening, the ship appears to be abandoned, there is no power except for auxiliary lights and telemetry from computers. It is up to Samus to unravel this mystery. The mystery being that the ship’s AI has gone mad and the ship is actually a war vessel that is on a collision course with a peaceful planet. It’s goal? The entire enslavement of the race of beings on said planet as well as natural resource stripping as its (the planets) destruction. So in essence, the ship AI has split into several different personalities, and is playing a deadly game with Samus. The Alien inhabitants of the ship are also in a state of suspended animation because as the ship travels through the parallel dimension, the alien inhabitants are being created and refined for warfare until the ship arrives at its destination and assaults the planet…. However, the robotic and automated entities are not, these will be the primary enemies that Samus must deal with. In addition, Samus must also deal with the ships cunning AI, who will all the while be taunting her and trying to trick her at every opportunity.”

“The Main reason Samus and possibly other Bounty Hunters are being pulled into this ship is to assimilate their best and most deadly abilities into the personality construct of not only the ships AI, but also into the actual Alien Inhabitants in order to further their quest for perfection. As the ship reaches its target, it will unfold into this dimension and begin its attack. This has what the ship and Alien race who created it has have been doing for past thousand or so years, going from planet to planet, assimilating the most violent parts of a culture and asserting it into its own being.

The main goal for Samus is to disable the engines of the ship, destroy the AI, and eradicate all life forms on the ship. The catch is that even though Samus is all powerful from her previous item acquisition on Talon IV, she will be limited to use them in certain areas of the ship due to the containment matrix that the Rogue AI has set up all over the ship. This will force the player to handle situations differently than expected, and once the containment matrix is disabled, Samus will be free to use all of her abilities. Due to being in a parallel dimension, there are areas within the ship where floors may become ceiling due to gravity being reversed, Time may run backwards, (illustrated by creatures and machines moving in reverse, water moving up into a faucet) and other sorts of environmental weirdness, that Samus as well as other Bounty hunters will have to learn to adjust to in order to survive.”

“Mad AI, the central computer of the ship has gone crazy, it sees inviting Samus onto the ship as a game for its amusement. Will taunt and try to trip Samus up at every move. The Mad AI has four distinct personalities…: The Child, The Killer, the Martyr, and the Fool… each one is deadly and utilizes different tactics and techniques.”

This cancelled project was meant to have a short development time, to release it shortly after the first Metroid Prime while the main team would take their time to develop the true sequel:

“So this is pretty much what I think we could crank out in a year, A Smaller Adventure with expanded mechanics and a few new ones thrown in. The beauty of spaceship design is that a lot of corridors and hub rooms can be reused over and over again, with minor variation; it also lends itself well to our room/door/hall layout. Plus, we can make the world denser by exploiting the super structure of the ship using morphball mechanics. Even though the idea of an AI gone mad has been used before in games as well as films, I feel that we could put a unique twist on it. And by allowing Samus to use only certain abilities in certain parts of the game, we can get a fair amount of replay value by offering the player different solutions to a single problem. This I feel would satisfy gamers who completed Prime and are hungry for something more with a few new mechanics and ideas thrown in.

With the addition of the co-op multiplayer components I have noted in the previous paragraphs, I feel that we would still have a game that feels like Metroid, albeit the feeling of Isolation would no longer be there, at the expense of the multi-player experience. However, I think the by unlocking the additional multi-player modes, after the actual game is completed, it won’t detract from the experience. Unlike TimeSplitters 1 and 2, we can keep the player focused on the main portion or adventure of the game which is what Metroid is all about.”

Concept art was also found in the design doc and on the websites of other former Retro Studios developers. You can find a deep-dive into the document’s details on Wikitroid.

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