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The Ravaging (Pukka Games) [PC – Cancelled]

The Ravaging is a cancelled action game that was in development by Pukka Games around 1998 – 1999, to be published by Telstar on PC. The team was co-founded in 1998 by Clive Townsend, Anatole and Damon Branch, but unfortunately never found much success and is mostly known for a couple of Thunderbirds tie-ins for Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. Most of their projects never saw the lights of day, titles such as Tracers, Life Force, Chaos and Chariot Racer.

The Ravaging would have been their first game, but Telstar closed down during development. As we can read from their old website:

“The ravaging is a tactical/action 3D game set on the planes of Hades, an enormous hierarchical structure ruled over by the Angel of the Abyss, Satan. The planes are divided into sections, called Sub-Planes, containing a horrendous assortment of demons, puzzles and traps, all of which stand in your way. As a newly qualified Demon Lord, your natural desire is to slash, burn, maim and deceive your way to the top, where on, completion of the game, you take Satan’s place on the ice-cold ebony altar of pain which is his throne.

To progress through the game you make challenges on the rulers of Sub-planes. If you are successful your Status will rise and you will gain in ‘experience’ which may be ‘spent’ on improving your abilities or that of your horde. You will also earn the right to demand demons from the loser to add to your own horde. Magic skills can be improved through learning, discovering or stealing artifacts. In this way as you progress through The Ravaging your magic powers and legion will grow ever stronger.

However, thousands of Pithounds and the ability to summon Demogorgon, the Lord of Chaos, do not a successful challenger make. All of The Ravaging’s characters are endowed with enough intelligence to make life very difficult indeed. Sneaky, tactically devious and incapable of mercy, the inhabitants of Hades have more than one way to fry an upstart baron. It is up to you to find their weaknesses, the one chink in their leathery hides that renders them vulnerable. (If a 110 foot, psychopathic lava-god could ever be considered vulnerable.)”

Today the project is mostly forgotten, but former Pukka Games developers talked about it in a few interviews. Clive Townsend was interviewed for Jogos 80:

J80: Did you think at the time about releasing a third installment? There are mentions of a third game on World of Spectrum that hasn’t been released.

CT: I’ve wanted to make a Saboteur 3 for many years, but never had the financial backing to make it happen. In 1998 I teamed up with some colleagues to form Pukka Games, and the plan was to complete The Ravaging then use the game engine to make Saboteur 3. Despite having an amazingly advanced 3D engine, the publisher (Telstar) closed down so the deal fell through and we had to resort to making Game Boy games to pay the bills”

On Retro Gamer (Issue 011-015) we can read another interview with Clive:

“After getting  permission from Robert White, I set up Bacchus Software  Projects and started work. The 3D revolution had hit but 3D  hardware was still a rarity, so I started creating a software 3D  engine. After working alone for 18 months I finally had everything working; all my  maps, models, bitmaps, textures, sound effects… At this point I joined up with two  friends – Anatole and Damon Branch – to form Pukka Games. Saboteur 3 was put on hold while we created The Ravaging  for Telstar.”

In September 2017 user 10ahu posted a playable The Ravaging prototype on the Assembler Games forum:

“The ravaging was a pc game developed by Pukka games back in 99 early 2000. It was a action game. You play an angel from hell…and…I don’t remember the story at all :D Based in Wells Uk Pukka games was a very tiny studios but full of great people. I ve worked here few months before joining bits studios. They mostly know for GB and GBA games. Sadly The company closed door in 2002.

I ve found this demo on one of my old rotting cd from back in the day (18 year old cheap cd don t age well). they was more assets on the disk. some video…but the files got corrupted. Fortunately the part of the disk with the demo was still working!! Don t expect a full game, this is a really early build…really rough…

From what i ve could figure out you play with the mouse and the arrows… the demo seem to only have one level. but on the cd i ve got the data s for a few more, so they maybe more I haven’t try all the menu…I remember 4 arms gorilla enemy that I haven’t seeing so far in the demo.

The Team was small but very dedicated to the game and it was still being worked on when I ve left the company so they maybe other demo with more gameplay.”

You can download The Ravaging proto from here (100 MB). We tried to run the game but without much luck. If you are able to play this and record some footage, please let us know!

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Oregon Files: The Video Game [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox 360)

The Oregon Files is a cancelled action game / third person shooter based on the book series written by Clive Cussler and Craig Dirgo. It was in development around 2008 – 2009 by Sensory Sweep Studios, planned to be published for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

As we can read on Wikipedia:

“The books follow the mysterious “Corporation” and its leader Juan Cabrillo. The “Oregon Files” come from the name of the ship on which the Corporation is based, The Oregon is a high tech ship owned by a private secret service organization called ‘the Corporation’. It is disguised as a rusty old tramp steamer.  In reality it is an extraordinarily sophisticated intelligence-gathering vessel with luxury facilities and top of the line technical capabilities.”

The game was cancelled when Sensory Sweep finally close for bankruptcy, 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 the game today is just some concept art, preserved in the gallery below to remember the existence of this lost game.

Among Sensory Sweep other cancelled games there are such titles as Crash Tag Team Racing DS, Time Traveler, Raphael and Sentient.

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Jason Bourne: Treadstone (Radical Entertainment) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Treadstone is a cancelled action video game based on the Jason Bourne novel series by Robert Ludlum, that was in development by Radical Entertainment (The Simpsons: Hit & Run, Prototype) around 20072008 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The Bourne license was revived in 2002 through a new film series and another Bourne video game titled “Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Conspiracy” was already published in 2008.

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The name of the game was taken from a top-secret black ops program of the CIA in the Jason Bourne series of novels and movies. This cancelled Treadstone game was never officially announced by the company, but footage was leaked online around 2011 and some details were already rumored around 2008 thanks to an article by Variety’s Ben Fritz:

“What is Treadstone?” you ask, in your best Matt Damon impersonation. According to Variety “it’s a multi-player online game set in the world of the spy agency that trained Bourne.” We’ll assume that contraction is short for “it was” because, whad’ya know, “production has stopped” on the project. Perhaps once Ludlum Entertainment finds a new publisher for Bourne, whatever work Radical has already invested in “Treadstone” will find a new home, but that sounds unlikely to us.”

It seems the game was canned because of Activision Blizzard’s merge and their abandonment of the Bourne property rights once owned by Sierra / Vivendi (among all of their other IPs), of which they did not want to publish another game:

“Activision Blizzard is also reviewing Sierra’s other properties that they will not be publishing: think Bourne, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, World in Conflict, et al. Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith says, “We are reviewing our options regarding those titles that we will not be publishing.” Those games won’t be published by Blizzavision because they’re not “a strong fit with [Activision Blizzard’s] long-term product strategy.” No word on the fate of Sierra’s classic adventure games like King’s Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, etc.

As for the status of Sierra’s in-house developers, Blizzavision will “realign staffing at Radical Entertainment and High Moon Studios” – the developers of Prototype and The Bourne Conspiracy respectively – while “exploring options regarding Massive Entertainment and Swordfish Studios” – the devs behind World in Conflict and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, respectively. Those “options” include “the possibility of divestiture.”

Some more details on the game development and cancellation were published online by a former employee who worked on the project:

“After wrapping up my work on Prototype I moved onto a new project helping to build a new team and new game. We went on to create an action adventure playable game demo in the spy genre. In less than a year while developing a new engine and building a new team we delivered an “open neighborhood” playable demo with cover based gunplay, vehicles and parkour style locomotion.

In 2008 Activision and Vivendi merged. The above mentioned project was cancelled for several reasons. They said the game looked great but needed to turn into something else. They expressed their decision with the fact they already had the James Bond Franchise, and stated several other decision points based around the IP and the game’s potential returns.”

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Pest! (Rocket Science) [Playstation – Cancelled]

Pest! is a cancelled action game that was in development by Rocket Science Games around 19961997 for the original Playstation. As far as we can speculate from the short video preserved below players could take the control of “rat leader” or “pest-control guy”. When playing as the rat leader you had to collect cheese around the levels while setting up traps to stop your enemy. When playing as the pest-control guy, you had to find a way to stop the rats. You can imagine Pest! as some kind of “Tom & Jerry” type of action game, where you had to escape from your rival or trap them.

Rocket Science was quite active during the mid ‘90s and were working on many different prototypes for PS1 and Sega Saturn, but only some of them were released. Other projects such as Flying Aces, Rocket Boy, Dark Ride and Loadstar 2 were quietly cancelled. Unfortunately while some of their games were critically acclaimed, none of them did particularly well financially. Unable to secure additional funding, RSG was forced to close down in 1997. 

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G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra [PS2, Xbox, GameCube – Cancelled]

G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra is a cancelled action game that was planned by Radical Entertainment (mostly known for their The Simpsons: Road Rage, The Simpsons: Hit & Run, Crash of the Titans, Prototype series) and Hasbro around 2002, to be developed for Playstation 2, Xbox and GameCube. As you probably assume it was meant to be a tie-in for the popular G.I. Joe franchise, conceived when Hasbro published a new G.I. Joe vs. Cobra toy line around the same time. While the game was never officially announced, in 2018 a former developer shared a few details and some photos from their design document:

“One day I’ll be able to discuss how in 2002, Hasbro and Radical Entertainment secretly concocted a mission-based G.I. Joe video game. Dubbed G.I. Joe: Operation Ultra, the game broke down into sixteen separate missions of 4 acts each. Developed for 6th generation consoles (XBox, PS2, and GameCube), Hasbro went quite far in the design process – to the extent where they assigned mapping for the consoles’ controllers.”

As far as we know, Radical Entertainment did not fully start development on the game and the project was canned before any prototype was made.

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