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MechAssault 3 [Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

MechAssault 3 is a cancelled sequel to the MechAssault series, which seems to have been pitched by Day 1 Studios to Microsoft for their Xbox 360 (or Xbox One) console. The first 2 MechAssault titles were also developed by Day 1 Studios and were published by Microsoft for their original Xbox (MechAssault in 2002 and MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf in 2004).

We can assume MechAssault 3’s gameplay would have been similar to previous chapters, with players using mechs, tanks and other vehicles to resolve missions in a sci-fi military setting. The third chapter was never officially announced by the company but fans found out about it thanks to some pages from a MechAssaul III promotional book, uploaded online by the creative agency which helped Day 1 Studios to pitch the game. Some details can be extracted from these pages, as we can read on Sarna:

MechAssault 3 would have taken 300 years after the events of MechAssault 2, which would put us way beyond anything we’ve ever seen from official sources and certainly way beyond the current Dark Age/IlClan era that we’re in now, narratively speaking. And the future is weird. The Clans are still around, with Clan Wolf still being in separate Warden and Crusader factions. Clan technology has also advanced considerably, with Elemental power armor replaced by sleek, sexy, almost anime-style power armor with animalistic features.”

We don’t have any more information on this canned game, but we know it must have been pitched before 2012. In February 2012 Day 1 Studios announced a different mech game, titled “Reign of Thunder” which may have been an evolution of their MechAssault 3 pitch. Just a year later (January 2013) the team was then acquired by Wargaming (the creator of World of Tanks), they were renamed to “Wargaming Chicago-Baltimore” and Reign of Thunder vanished forever.

Thanks to Mr.Talida for the contribution!

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Ape Escape: Trapped in Space [PS2, PS3 – Cancelled]

Ape Escape: Trapped in Space is a cancelled action game in the Ape Escape series, which was conceived by Sony Japan Studio for Playstation 2 (or possibly Playstaton 3) after the release of Ape Escape 3. Players would have been able to visit different planets to catch monkeys, exploring a virtual universe created by Specter. The project was never officially announced by Sony, but some details were shared online by Ape Club (now offline) around 2010:

“Ape Escape: Trapped In Space (working title) was a game that was originally set for release in 2006, however due to complications, it was never released. The game was in the process of being made after Ape Escape 3. Several paper’s containing the concept were leaked on the internet in mid 2005. Japan Studio continued to develop the game, hoping that the concept wouldn’t be taken. Originally the concept was that Specter had kidnapped The Professor and it was up to the protagonist (character had not been announced yet), to get him back by catching the monkeys and defeating bosses. Specter had created a computer generated universe, with many planets which the protagonist would have to visit and capture the monkeys. The planets would each be very unique and each have its own theme. Finally, the protagonist would defeat Specter and the Professor would be rescued. After E3 in 2006, Japan Studio was disgraced to find out another popular platforming video game franchise had used this concept after it had leaked. The game was scrapped.”

While it’s said that some pages about Trapped in Space were leaked online in 2005, we were not able to find anything unfortunately. If you saved a copy of those pages back in 2005 and could help us to preserve them, please let us know!

Ape Club was founded by a few people who previously worked with Sony, as we can read in this old interview by Siliconera:

“Originally Ape Club started out as a Promo site for SCEE’s Ape Escape titles and was run by them up until 2007. In 2007, there wasn’t any maintenance to be done except Newsletters. So Rebecca, who was a major fan, was left in-charge of that. She updated the newsletters and received updates from SCEE, and Japan Studio about upcoming Ape Escape games. She was also asked to promote Ape Quest when it was released.

Are there any other canceled Ape Escape games you’re aware of?

Apart from Trapped in Space, the only other game would be Ape Escape 2 which was going to be released on PlayStation 1. However, Japan Studio (JS), was already releasing Piposaru 2001 beforehand, so releasing a PS1 game after a PS2 game didn’t make much sense. So in Early 2000, they stopped working on AE2-PS1, and worked on AE2-PS2. Apparently, looking at the leaked photo of it, it seemed to have the same graphic engine, and look, as the first.”

 

Robosaurus (thq) [SNES – Cancelled]

Robosaurus is a cancelled action game that was in development around 1992 by Adrenalin Entertainment and THQ (at the time known as “Toy Headquarters”) for Super Nintendo. Players would take the role of a mechanical T-Rex to destroy cities and fight against aliens, tanks, helicopters and other military enemies. While there are not many more details about this lost game, it was mentioned in Nintendo Power Magazine issue 36, from May 1992:

“Speaking of HQs, thq (Toy Headquarters) has a line-up that  includes Swamp Thing (for all three Nintendo systems). Where’s Waldo?, Family  Dog, Robosaurus, James Bond Jr. and this Pak Watchers favorite moose, Bullwinkle,  all for the Super NES. One-time Power editor and game guru, Howard Phillips, now  directs the creative projects for T.HQ. Will Waldo be wearing a bow tie? NOT!”

As noticed by Nintendo Metro and GDRI on Twitter, a single screenshot from Robosaurus was published in japanese magazine MicomBASIC, in August 1992:

“ROBOSAURUS: 巨大なロボットほがが,巧が軍め戦車  やお關おをけちらしていく巧快なダー  ム。 巧がの動きはノロイ〇”

We can assume the game was based off the real-life Robosaurus, a transforming dinosaur robot created by inventor Doug Malewicki in 1989. As written by SNES Central, the game was possibly shown at the Winter and Summer 1992 CES shows:

“Aliens want to take over the world, and they’re starting with Los Angeles. The one thing they didn’t count on was Robosaur! Use Robo’s giant metal jaws to munch enemies and fry the outposts with Robo’s flame breath.”

 

Shitkickers [PSP, PS2 – Cancelled]

Shitkickers is a cancelled action shooter that was pitched by David Jaffe on PSP and PS2, possibly when he was working with Incognito Entertainment o Eat Sleep Play. Just as with his Twisted Metal series, Shitkickers would have heavily used vehicle-combat during missions, with the high concept being “Max Payne set in the deep South of USA“.

While the game was never officially announced and possible not greenlighted by Sony, Jaffe shared a couple of pages from their original pitch on Twitter:

“Shitkickers gives the Nascar fan their own action hero. Shitkickers is not goofy, silly ‘dumb rednck” humor, it actually glamorizes the Red State culture. Think a hard edges Dukes of Hazzard or Smokey And The Bandit. Game would have country music and southern rock soundtrack with country stars even starring in some of the smaller NPC roles (Willie Nelson, Faith Hill, Dolly Parton, etc.). Kind of like what the Urban Rap games do with the rap star (i.e. 50 Cent’s BulletProof).

Be cool to get the actual licenses for specific trucks, guns, stores and such that are indigenous to the Red State Culture. Game itself is a shooter and driving game (lots of vehicles to use in the missions). A streaming environment would be great, but I don’t know if this will work on the PSP. In an ideal world we’d be making this on PS2 as it has the more casual audience at this point and the casuals would probably dig this more than hardcore, elitist gamers who may make fun of the subject matter.

That said, if our hero is just bad ass in every way (think The Rock in Walking Tall) we could be fine on any platform. I see this as a hard T-rating, something dads and their sons can play together, it’s rough and tough and down and dirty, but it’s not nasty and dark and violent. Hell, maybe we should just get The Rock and scan him and do the 50 Cent thing? Right now, it’s just a vibe and a setting, we would have to work to really make the third person shooter gameplay feel fresh and to give it some unique ideas. But that doesn’t worry me so much.

Overall, I think it’s a fresh, fun theme that may very well be one of the last remaining cultural avenues that games have not exploited. Could this be the action game for those droves who bought ATV OffRoad Fury?”

As far as we know these 2 pages are the only remaining document proving the existence of this lost project and the team may have not started any prototype before it was rejected.

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Rampage X (2014) [PC – Cancelled]

Rampage X is a cancelled action game in the cult-classic Rampage series, which was in development by Appy Entertainment around 2014, planned to be published on PC by Warner Bros Games. It was meant to be a new reboot of the classic series while keeping its main mechanics, after the release of Rampage: Total Destruction by Midway Games in 2006. The team conceived some new fun mechanics (such as mutation-customizations for your monster), classic power-ups, huge bosses and naturally a multiplayer mode in VS and coop:

  • 8 playable giant monsters
  • 8 international cities
  • 34 custom mutations
  • online and local multiplayer

Farzad Varahramyan was Rampage X’s Creative Visual Director and from his website (also on ArtStation) we can read some more details on this lost project:

“Warner Bros. had asked Appy to reinvent for them RAMPAGE, from their 80’s treasure chest of arcade hits.  Our team of 12 developed the fully realized and functioning playable prototype in 6 months.

Rampage X is a fun fueled mayhem and destruction filled romp through a fully destructible and interactive environment. If you could touch it you could destroy it or use it to destroy!

The visual DNA we developed for it was hyper-real, based on stop motion animated movies,  with characters, environments and props with exaggerated proportions and real-ish textures and material qualities.”

Huge thanks to Farzad for his help in preserving these screenshots, footage and info on the game!

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