Action RPG

Decay (Insomnia Software) [PC – Cancelled]

Decay is a cancelled immersive-sim FPS that was in development by Insomnia Software starting from 1998 – 1999, planned to be published on PC by Interplay. Set in a modern / cyberpunk world, Decay was conceived as an ambitious sandbox RPG adventure, somehow similar to what players experienced two years later with Deus Ex. Their goal was to “Create the new breed of games. Games that are more realistic, more dynamic, better looking and with gameplay and storylines that pulls you straight in and makes you feel as if you’re really living in the gameworld”.

Unfortunately Insomnia Software were still a young and inexperienced team: they were not able to fulfill their vision for the project. As we can read in old previews by 3DActionPlanet and other (now offline) websites:

“First off all, in Decay, you can create your own character (like in any good RPG), but this isn’t something commonly seen in FPS games. You can customize your character by dividing your points between different abilities such as strength, speed, etc. and this will have a direct affect on your character and how he handles in the game. Of course it is also possible to further enhance your character’s abilities as you wander through the game, as new ability points are awarded whenever you complete a mission. Hence you can follow your own heart and create a character that suits your gaming style.”

“Imagine a world very much like Blade Runner, where the ecosystem is on its last leg. Pollution levels are so extreme that it’s hazardous to breathe the air and acid rain forces the population to remain indoors. The latter may not be the sole reason for this, however. Crime syndicates are common, thriving on the lack of proper police enforcement to stop them in the cities housing over 200 million people. The syndicates take advantage of the popular demand for drugs and weapons, while organized crime in the form of gangs control the streets by pillaging and plundering.”

“Decay puts you in the role of anti-hero Jake Blisser, a bad-to-the-bone hitman from the near future. You’ve got quite a history to live up to in this persona, as you have been accused of various macabre dealings such as assassinations, mass killings, and other things best left unsaid. You’re back on the streets, this time on the “right” side of the law due to some unusual plot twists. […] Giant corporations control everything, and you’ll have to play it smart with them to survive.”

“The engine they’re using will allow all sorts of realistic environmental effects, ranging from dynamic lighting to a persistent game world where changes you cause stick around and may impact how you approach a future situation when you return to the scene later in the game.”

“You choose the missions you want from your home base, kind of like a safe house, and from there you can plan your mission as in-depth as you see fit. Perhaps the DECAY team will incorporate some blueprints, roadmaps, etc. to help you with this. (Kind of like Rainbow Six?) However, there are many new goodies in store for the gamers. Not only can you choose the missions you want to play, but also you can make new contacts to get access to illegal weapons and tools. In addition, if you want to create a reputation or be respected among the other hitmen, go head-to-head with them. Take out all your competition and become the sole hitman in town.”

“Here’s a cool example of some of the awesome tools you can use to sneak your way into your target’s home: Use a burner to cut your way into the power central and shut down the alarm and the lights. Use hi-tech tools to open security doors. Place explosives at strategic locations to ensure a safe, or at least possible, get-away. Use your knife to slit throats and drag the bodies out of sight. Blow away your target from a distance, but only after you are sure you can make a clean get-away.”

“Also, the highly ambitious DECAY team promises to provide an excellent selection of weaponry so that you can build up your own private arsenal and weapons and tools at your home base. You’ll even have the opportunity to test out new weapons before using them. This is a nice change from the norm of just wandering around and picking up guns and ammo from random locations as if someone just placed them there for the heck of it.”

This sounds quite impressive for its time but unfortunately it was not meant to be. We don’t know what happened to Decay, but in October 2000 Insomnia Software officially announced they had to change their name to Termite Games (possibly due to copyright problems with Insomniac Games) and Decay was cancelled, with the team switching resources to their new online multiplayer FPS “New World Order”.

It seems New World Order shared Decay’s 3D engine, settings and some assets, but it was quite the different game. As we can read in an old interview by CuttingTheEdge with former Insomnia Software’s Producer Nicholas Cederstrom:

“Well, Decay was a really strong single player game with a lot of content. New World Order is a pure action game with less content but it makes up for it in the action department. The game will be optimized for multiplayer gaming. There will be a single player part of the game and a co-op version as well.

The DVA-engine we used for Decay is the engine we use for New World Order as well. We have optimized it and added new features. The look and the feel of New World Order will be similar to Decay but we have made all new levels, sounds, textures and more.”

In 2002 Termite Games was acquired by Project 3 Interactive and renamed to “ Project Three Interactive Studio AB”, then New World Order was published in 2003 receiving unfavorable reviews (Metacritic: 32/100).

Thanks to Piotr for the contribution!

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Yoshitsune Densetsu [SNES – Cancelled]

Yoshitsune Densetsu (義経伝説, Legend of Yoshitsune) is a cancelled action RPG that was in development around 1993, planned to be published by ASCII on the Super Famicom / SNES. The game told the fictionalized story of Minamoto no Yoshitsune a “military commander of the Minamoto clan of Japan, that after evading death made his way past Hokkaido and sailed to the mainland of Asia, re-surfacing as Genghis Khan“.

It seems Yoshitsune Densetsu would have been supervised by popular mangaka Shotaro Ishinomori (Cyborg 009, Skull Man), possibly for character design and story concept. The protagonists were four men and women who have slipped back in time from the present age to the Kamakura period. Although the story would differ depending on the selected character, the main plot would always lead Yoshitsune to become Genghis Khan.

Some images and previews for the game we published in old japanese magazine, shared on Twitter by gt198x.

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7Days (Cauldron) [PC – Cancelled]

7Days is a cancelled fantasy RPG in development around 2001 by Cauldron, a small slovak team mostly known for Soldier of Fortune: Payback, Gene Troopers and the Cabela’s Big Game Hunter series. Gameplay could have been somehow similar to The Elder Scrolls series, with action combat, underground dungeons and a fantasy open world to explore.

Unfortunately we can’t find much more online about this lost game. We know the team also worked on the cancelled Project Revolution and in 2014 Bohemia Interactive acquired Cauldron, changing their name into Bohemia Interactive Slovakia.

Thanks to Chris for the contribution!

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Jiku no Tsubasa (Space-Time’s Wing) [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Jiku no Tsubasa (時空の翼, translated as Space-Time’s Wing) is a cancelled fighting / RPG hybrid that was planned for Famicom / NES by G.Amusement Co., a rather obscure Japanese company which published a few different games during the ‘90s (such as Final Stretch).

Unfortunately there are not many details available on this lost game, but thanks to Heimao we know it was going to offer two main modes: a “battle” mode and a “scenario” mode. Battle mode would have probably been similar to other 1VS1 fighting games, but the scenario mode would have been structured like a role-playing game.

As it often happens with old, cancelled Famicom titles, we’ll probably never see much more from Jiku no Tsubasa, nor know what really happened to it.

Thanks to Heimao for the contribution! 

Drakkhen 2 (Infogrames) [Cancelled – SNES, PC]

Drakkhen is an early-3D western RPG originally developed by Infogrames in 1989, published for Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS and Super Nintendo. In 1994 Kotobuki System / Kemco developed a spiritual successor for the SNES, published as Super Drakkhen in Japan and released in North America as Dragon View.

However in 1991 Infogrames was already working on an official sequel by the same team, planned for PC, Amiga, SNES and FM Towns. While this lost version of Drakkhen 2 is now forgotten by everyone and not many details are available, Youloute was able to find an article with some screenshots, published by french magazine Generation 4 (Issue 38 and 41, November 1991 / February 1992).

Thanks to Olivier, who translated the main details in these pages, we know more about the project:

“Game would be released for PC 256 colors, Amiga, FM Towns and Super Famicom. Cartridge would of course feature a battery to allow in-game saving. There’s only one warrior and animations are more detailed. More beat em up phases where each gamepad button would be used in the Super Famicom version. Moving across the world will be in 3D, except Super Famicom where game will use its specific hardware. Release still being planned for Q1 1992.”

“To learn a bit more about Drakkhen II, we asked project manager Philippe Agrpnidis: video games production is slowly getting close to movie production, visual quality with VGA and MCGA, sound with Roland and Sound Blaster, and new CD platforms such as CDI, CD-ROM, changed the landscape within six months. Hence, like a movie production, the game requires multiple people: Philippe Agipnidis as project manager, François Marcela-Froideval for scenario, Etienne Guerry for story-board, Guy Selva for production and, of course, another one for graphics, plus one for sounds.”

Rest of the text mentions there would have a been a small book included with the game box to help gamers.

Also, as mentione by Julien, Drakkhen II would have been more like an action adventure than a RPG.

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