Knights of Decayden, also know as Project Archipelago, was meant to be a fantasy action game with some RPG elements that was in development for the XBOX in 2002, at Totally Games. The game was based around flying ships and dragons, but the player was even able to fight in melee combats when needed… the result could probably have been something like the recent Lair for the PS3. Sadly, the game was cancelled for unknow reasons.
A misterious project also know as “The Great Steam War” and “Blip and the Great Machine”, that was in development by 1Up Studios for the original XBOX, but after a while it just vanished without traces. Not much is know about the gameplay, but it seems that the player could have been able to control a “robot constructor” and to build parts of the levels to resolve puzzles. Iron Construct was cancelled when the studio closed down.
Ghostworld was a platform / adventure game somewhat similar to Psychonauts, that was in development for the Playstation 2 by Luxoflux, in mid-2000. The project started with a “dark” and unique theme, but then i was changed to a more “kid-friendly” game for younger audience, because the publisher tough that so it was going to be more profitable. In the end (2002) Ghostworld was cancelled as it was seen as a risky project. After this, part of the team started to work on Shrek 2: The Game.
“A bunch of very talented people have invested tremendous effort into it, and while the results were spectacular and generally everybody was very impressed, reality kicked in. Being an original, “non-proven” property the publisher took an extremely non-committing stance and the soon-to-follow constant changes of direction and target-audience, design-by-committee meetings and the vague atmosphere surrounding the fate of the game had completely extinguished the original spark and eventually led to abandon the project.”
“It Came from the Desert” is a 1989 computer game developed by Cinemaware. It was originally released for the Amiga and the gameplay centers on the player choosing what they want to do by selecting an option on the multiple choice screens that pop up.
This unreleased Sega Genesis / Megadrive version was going to be released in 1990. The game has little in common with the Cinemaware classic as it’s more action oriented: an overhead shooter with the main protagonist running around on foot, and able to walk in all directions. Among the differences in play mechanics, the Sega version allowed the player to create powerups that were fashioned by collecting machinery pieces and joining them together in different combinations.
Note that the Sega version was originally cancelled and never actually released in physical cartridge: only later it was distributed as a ROM from the Cinemaware website after the turn of the 21st century. Despite the similarity of camera perspective, the Sega version did not appear to reuse any of the graphical elements created for use in the computer-based versions. [Infos from Wikipedia]
We cant thanks Cinemaware enough for their decision to share this unreleased game with everyone, instead to forgot it somewhere in their basement! An interesting interview with the main programmer of this project can be read at SEGA 16.
Here’s an interview by Ross Sillifant with Bob Jacob (Cinemaware)
Ross Sillifant: What happened to the MD/Genesis version of It Came From The Desert? I believe it was a very different game in terms of plot and gameplay, being more akin to an overhead shooter. Why the changes to game format and further canning of project?
Bob: I don’t remember! (getting old)
Ross Sillifant: It’s been claimed that when S.D.I was in process of being ported to another format, it’s release was delayed as the company had asked the programmer to add extra features and such needed extra time, is this claim true? If so which format was it and what extra features did you ask for and why?
Bob: The port referred to has to be the C64. It was never completed, not because we asked for features, but because the programmer was not up to the task (he later became quite good).
Urchin was an adventure fantasy / horror game that was in development at Rare Ltd. for Xbox 360. A few pieces of concept art were revealed by Rare artist Ryan Firchau at the “Nordic Game Conference”, held in Malmö in Sweden in May 2008.
While details are scarce, it is known that Urchin was in development by the team that was responsible for Conker: Live and Reloaded. After that title, was released, they helped finishing Perfect Dark Zero for Xbox 360 launch before regrouping as the “Conker team” again. In late 2006, Urchin was cancelled after only a few months of work.
As Zenek has wrote on the Rare-Extreme Forum, it appears as if there was a Dumbot from Conker: Live & Reloaded named “Urchin Pig Girl”. From this little easter egg and from one of the concept arts leaked, we can speculate that the protagonist of Urchin was going to be that little girl with her pig, called Lilith. Other game characters were a professor (The Dean?), werewolves and zombies.
Well, Urchin was the little thing I always wanted to make and who knows may well still make one day (not called Urchin obviously)…… A lovely , creepy , beautiful and tight little fairy tale for those who felt short changed by Fable’s good v bad mechanic.. In Urchin, it was ALL about being bad :)
Urchin had a ton of concepts done, some design, and the whole story arc figured out… I’d planned it as 3 games, each with a cliffhanger ending.
Chris Seavor: Yeah. I wanted a change and I asked them. They said, okay, we’ll get back to you. That’s when I started Urchin, which was a dark fairytale from the point of view of a character who was the baddie rather than a good character. It was in the mould of Fable. The hook was, it wasn’t about whether you were good or bad. It was about how bad you were. But it was moral in that badness is down to your point of view, which is how I managed to get it to work in terms of problems parents might have with it.
When you killed the princess and ripped open her guts to get her heart, which was one of the quests, on the face of it it looked like you were quite a bad character, but in reality you’d then find out the princess was an evil vampire character who was killing local girls. That was an example quest. That’s how we managed to pitch it so it was all right with all the ratings people. That would have been quite good. It was certainly different.
When were you making Urchin?
Chris Seavor: Straight after Live & Reloaded, for the Xbox 360. We did a load of stuff. We had the graphics looking great on that. We spent a good eight months on that. We had a fighting system I called “Dirty Fighting”. The girl was quite brutal. So when she fights she has to use everything. She’s not very strong so she has to be very clever. So she does things like kick them in the knackers and use traps. She had a pall, this pig, who you also used in quests. He was quite heavy and strong, and she was quite light. It was a kind of a Banjo-Kazooie dynamic in that one was helping the other and one had strengths and one had weaknesses. But it was also about the character.
We did the thing Molyneux said he was going to do with the dog in Fable. We had already done it with the pig in that it was also the thing that was your manual, the in-game help. He would tell you stuff and say, oh, that’s interesting, what’s over there? And off he’d run. It worked really well.
Chris Seavor: It was going along and going along, and Microsoft were quite interested and then they weren’t. Just at that point when we were going shall we do this or not, are we going to pitch this for a greenlight, Chris and Tim said, oh, do you want to do PD? I went, oh, all right then. So we carried on with that.
That was another one of those things where I look back and think, should I have done that? Should I have stuck to my guns? I don’t know. It’s hard to say.
Another interesting description of Urchin was written by Xellos in the Playtonic forum:
It was an game about a roughly 12-year old gothic female child. You would have a wild boar as a companion solving the game’s various obstacles and puzzles. He was quite heavy and strong, and the girl was quite light. It was a kind of a Banjo-Kazooie dynamic in that one was helping the other and one had strengths and one had weaknesses.
There was going to be a fighting system in place called “Dirty Fighting”. The girl was going to be quite brutal. When she fights she has to use everything. Since she’s not very strong, so she has to be very clever to survive. She would do things like kick her opponents in the balls, or use traps to kill them.
It was going be having a dark fairytale like story. For example: One of the quests would involve you killing a princess and ripping open her guts to get her heart, on the face of it it looked like you were quite a bad character, but in reality you’d then find out the princess was an evil vampire who was killing local girls.
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