action rpg

Werewolf: The Apocalypse [PC – Cancelled]

Werewolf: The Apocalypse was a game planned for PC that was being produced by ASC Games and developed by Dreamforge Intertainment, both of which have worked together previously on the horror point and click game Sanitarium for PC.  The game was based on the popular pen and paper tabletop series of the same name created by White Wolf Publishing and would have run on the Unreal engine by Epic Games. The game, along with other popular series such as Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Ascension, took place in the “World of Darkness” universe wherein a secret battle for the fate of the Earth is waged by various factions of monsters, ghosts and demons behind the scenes of seemingly normal everyday life.  Travis Williams, who was one of the original developers on the original tabletop version of the game, was the executive producer of the game and stated that he was there to make sure the game was as “authentic to the original” as possible.  Because of this the game’s storyline incorporated the already extensive backstory associated with the series.

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The protagonist was a teenager named Ryan Mcullough who discovers that he is a member of the Garou tribe of werewolves after being attacked by monsters who serve the Wyrm – a supernatural force of destruction that wants to warp reality by corrupting all living things with its sickness.  Ryan comes to find that not only is he a werewolf but that he also carries the blood of the White Howlers – a powerful tribe who has been extinct for years after trying to stop the Wyrm and falling under its corruption.  With his new found abilities Ryan goes on a globetrotting journey to save the heart of the Earth itself from the clutches of the grotesque Wyrm as well as finding out the truth behind his father’s disappearance when he was still a child.  Along the way he makes allies with fellow werewolves and other mystical beings to help him battle the twisted agents of the Wyrm such as the Fomori, humans who have been possessed by evil spirits that serve the Wyrm, and the Black Spiral Dancers, werewolves that have been corrupted by the Wyrm.  His travels take him to places such as Greece and the Pentex Corporation, which is a powerful conglomerate that serves as a front for the Wyrm.

Gameplay has been described by Williams in several interviews as being similar to the Jedi Knight series of games as there would have been both long range and close combat fighting options along with the ability to switch between 1st and 3rd person camera angles.  The player would be given the choice to shapeshift on the fly between Ryan’s human form, his “Crinos” form – which is similar to the popular image of a werewolf, and his “Lupus” form – which is a regular wolf.  In human form the player would utilize a series of guns ranging from pistols to machine guns to “experimental” weaponry while the Crinos form consisted of melee combat with claws and a large sword called the Klaive which can be imbued with powers such as fire or ice damage.  To make melee combat easier the player would be able to lock on and strafe around enemies while in the Crinos form.

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Another aspect about the game that was similar to Jedi Knight was the ability to unlock special abilities, known as “gifts” in the game, for all three of Ryan’s forms depending on the choices the player made throughout the game.  There were over 20 available and they would have been divided into 3 categories- temporary, permanent, and Klaive effects.  An example of an “evil” path gift was the Seed of Gaia, which was a seed you could shoot into enemies that would make spikes shoot out from their insides, and a “good” gift example was a mystical armor spell known as Luna’s Armor.

A multiplayer versus mode was also planned for the game in which the player would have been able to choose characters out of the 13 different tribes of werewolves to do battle with one another.  It also featured “totems” that you could attach to your character to give them special abilities.  Many standard multiplayer game modes would have been available such as Blood Moot (deathmatch) as well as King of the Hill and a Tag mode.

Information about the game was being steadily released from late 1998 all the way up until September 1999 when ASC announced that the game was put on hold indefinitely.  However despite this announcement they assured IGN that the game would still be released in Q1 2000 even though there were reports at the time that ASC Games would be permanently closing their doors.  The reports ended up being true and ASC games shut down on January 7th, 2000 with Dreamforge Entertainment following suit shortly thereafter.  A majority of the cut scenes for the game have been released since as well as some screenshots and a brief gameplay video that shows Ryan running around a warehouse area and transforming between his 3 different forms.  A 10 part prequel series written by White Wolf veteran Phil Bucato was also released on the ASC website as the game was leading up to its release, but all of the chapters seemed to have disappeared along with the ASC website.  Another game Dreamforge Entertainment was working on, Myst IV, was taken over and finished by Ubisoft Montreal.

Thanks to Jon and Mix Bouda for the contribution!

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GUNNARr [Nintendo DS – Cancelled]

GUNNARr is a cancelled side-scrolling action RPG that was in development by BlossomSoft for Nintendo DS in late ‘00s. This was just one of the many games that the team was working on at the same time, along with Western Lords (GBA, PC), Sagrada Guardians (DS) and Mimic Book (DS), unfortunately neither of them was ever completed. GUNNARr was meant to have some kind of innovative gameplay mechanic, but not much was ever revealed about it.

A few general details were posted by Elder (the game producer) in 2007 on their old forum:

“Spelled ‘GUNNARr’, the particular meaning of this title is kept a mystery. The project is slowly coming into focus, intended to follow Mimic Book’s release. The game is an alternate for ‘Oracle Adventure’, a fantastic sidescroller adventure/RPG game intended for Nintendo DS. Furthermore the key-concept of this game also hides what I think is a fairly ingenious feature, but well, like Mimic Book, it’s preferable to wait before divulging anything. The story takes part in a post-apocalyptic and vacant fantasy world, vaguely inspired by some Norse legends. Here you can view some abstract mockups, therefore some aspects are subject to be modified later, and naturally, the innovative key-element of this game isn’t shown on these images. But, at least you know that a 2D adventure game is underway during spare time at this moment.”

In 2008 the GUNNARr was already put on hold, as we can read from an interview by RPG Land:

Joseph: Judging from your forum posts, you’re working on five projects (Project Eden, Mimic Book, GUNNARr, Sagrada Guardians, and Western Lords). What can you tell us individually about each of these games?
Elder
: “During the recent years many game concepts crossed my mind, and I still aspire to complete each of them. I started with Western Lords/Sagrada Guardians in 2004, but I couldn’t complete it due to inexperience and tight budget. Besides, it was a GIGANTIC project. But it’s thanks to this project that I could develop various facets of my skills. Mimic Book and GUNNARr were two other game concepts I started to elaborate later. And both games were splendid even though they were less ambitious than Western Lords in term of development and budget, BUT I never expected that my determination would suddenly start to diminish considerably after many personal events in my life such deaths, love pain and aging. I started to realize that life wasn’t eternal, and time wasn’t infinite for me. Therefore I had to find realistic solutions to reach my goals, and finally, I started to work on Project Eden, which is 95% completed. I should note that Mimic Book and GUNNARr are both very special, and I will develop them once my budget get better. I have Nintendo platforms in mind for them.”

In December 2008 BlossomSoft released their first commercial game “Eternal Eden” on PC and the team is still making games, working on Eternal Eden 2 and a 3D reboot of the first title.

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Terranigma [Beta – SNES]

Terranigma, AKA Tenchi Sōzō in Japan, is an action RPG developed by Quintet and published by Enix / Nintendo for the Super Nintendo in 1995 / 1996. Unfortunately, the game was never released in the US, but managed to attain cult status in Japan and Europe, regarded by some RPG fans as one of the best role playing games on the system. Before the game was released, gaming magazines published some beta screenshots, in which we can see some interesting differences:

  • It was possible to climb towers using claws / bare hands, instead than chains (it’s possible to climb some walls with claws in the final game, but only much later in the game)
  • There was some sort of green plant around the HUD
  • Different rooms layouts
  • In the first tower, the second floor looked like the third floor from the final game

A video from the same beta version was also published in “brute press” (?) VHS Vol.24 July 1995 (【非売品】ブルートプレス Vol.24 1995年7月号). If you notice more differences, let us know in the comments below!

Thanks to Youloute, Pantalytron, Crediar and Celine for the contributions!

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Deus Ex 3: Insurrection [Cancelled Concepts – PC, XBOX]

Deus Ex is a highly popular sci-fi first person action RPG set in a dystopian future on Earth. There are currently four games in the series: the first two were developed by Ion Storm, while the third and fourth games were developed by Eidos Montreal. However, it was  Ion Storm who worked on two ultimately scrapped, alternative versions of the third installment, which were called Deus Ex: Insurrection and Deus Ex 3 respectively.

Art Min was a programmer on the second game in the series Deus Ex: Invisible War, as soon as development was finished on this he became project lead on Insurrection. There were at least four different story lines set out for this iteration of the game and many of the core concepts, were thought out.

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In a initial design document submitted in February 2004 many of these concepts can be seen with the team vision for the game being to create an accessible and believable Deus Ex game with emotional depth and epic choices. It was slated to be released on both the Xbox and PC platform but what is interesting is, it is noted that a PS2 version would be made if an external team could be found to make it, and the “Xbox 2” for launch if green lighting was approved as soon as possible.

At the time of writing this document the team were in pre-production and were ready to go to full production by July 1st, 2004, it was written that they would have the game finished by January 2005. There is a very high concept for the game that is described, the game was to be based in 2027 and that there were five superpowers in the world who would either rise or fall depending on the intelligence that you would give to them.

The game setting was that America was falling into bankcruptcy and the other rising superpowers like China and Russia were trying to utilise this and bankrolling insurgents on U.S. soil. The EU was also trying to bring the U.S. under the jurisdiction of international bodies like the UN. The U.S. is also split in two with patriots who want to keep the U.S. as is and the globalists who want the EU control. 

Shadow Realms [Cancelled – PC]

Shadow Realms was a cancelled online action RPG in development at BioWare Austin. It was originally scheduled for release in fall 2015 exclusively on PC with no immediate plans for a console port. The title’s cancellation was announced on February 9, 2015. However, thanks to multiple anonymous contributors related to the project, we have been able to preserve a plethora of insider information about it that was never disclosed by BioWare officially.

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It was a game conceived by BioWare Austin in late 2013 as a 4 v 1 online multiplayer experience; with full production commencing by early 2014. According to one former employee of the company, its realization long preceded the announcement of other 4 v 1 titles, such as Evolve. Despite countless comparisons between the two by the press and consumers alike, our source emphasised that two were thought of completely independently of one another.

The World of Shadow Realms

BioWare Austin’s team envisioned a universe wherein Earth existed parallel to another world dubbed ‘Embra’. This alternative realm was populated by all manner of monsters inspired by gothic literature, including werewolves, gargoyles, wraiths and even zombies; as well as rejected creature designs from Dragon Age: Inquisition, repurposed. The story of Shadow Realms was to chronicle the discovery of Embra at the hands of a group of gifted teenagers in the 21st century. Soon realising they possess the ability to wield powerful magics, they are faced with the task of repelling the dark forces of Embra, whose invasion threatens the fate of Earth itself. 

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