Bethesda Softworks

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion [PSP – Cancelled]

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion [PSP – Cancelled]

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion is a cancelled action RPG in The Elder Scrolls series that was planned to be released for PSP, based on the main Oblivion game released for PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2006. The game was in development at Climax Group London (former Syrox Developments, from Kingston upon Thames, UK) with some help from Climax Group Los Angeles  in 2005 / 2006, with new characters, inventory system, combat system, levels and more features exclusive for this PSP version.

Because of the Playstation Portable hardware limitations, Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion was going to be a more linear game than the original Bethesda Game Studios version. There was a hub world which contained various vendors, NPCs and story characters, and player would have used a teleportation crystal to go to each of the explorable areas of the game. The hub world would change and react to the events that went on in each area, for example going on a side mission in a level and rescue an NPC, that NPC may show up in the HUB world as a special vendor or quest giver. Each area had multiple paths to be explored that were open or closed depending on which quest was active. Oblivion PSP was designed in a way that would maximize the console limitations, but there was a lot of levels planned and at one point Climax even thought it might have to be split on to two UMDs.

oblivion psp travels cancelled

The team at Climax had access to early builds of Oblivion and played it heavily to be able to better get the feel of the main game. Even Todd Howard was really impressed with the design that the team was able to create for the portable version, that included all of Oblivion’s main core mechanics, plot, characters and playable areas related to TES4: Oblivion’s storyline. The game took place at the same time as Oblivion, but wanted to express that the Oblivion Crisis was happening all over Tamriel, not just in Cyrodiil, so it was set in and around High Rock. Some of the levels were set in Moonguard, Anticlere, Glenpoint and even Daggerfall, each with their own explorable world areas and plane of Oblivion that was a unique reflection of the level location. In The Elder Scrolls Travels players would have helped a Mage to try to stop the Oblivion Crisis, and each plane of Oblivion featured it’s own unique boss.

oblivion psp cancelled

The designers had planned more than 180 quests, which took on a variety of things from the main quest line to a huge variety of side quests, including quests for the various guilds. The plotline (and side quests) on PSP referenced the Oblivion game and plot line at several points to tie the two products together, and even explained / foretold some of the events of Oblivion – for example, the Dark Brotherhood quest line heavily featured Lucien Lachance (before his demise in the main Oblivion game).

The team developed a few playable levels using Renderware Studio and most of the core gameplay systems was already working or planned, as the combat mechanics (which allowed the player to sub-select parts of an enemy when targeting them, due to only having one analogue stick on the PSP), inventory system, TES character statistics system using Oblivion’s own attributes / skills formula and the conversation system.

the elder scroll oblivion psp

Unfortunately we’ll never be able to play this unique version of Oblivion. Although the PSP game was announced for release in spring 2007 and the team had already created some great content, The Elder Scrolls Travels was soon cancelled and it vanished forever without any official comment from Climax or Bethesda.

The original deal was signed with too little time and too little money to actually make it. In early development Climax were going to use their own internal 3D engine for PSP, but when that didn’t move quick enough they switched over to using Renderware Studio (which was already been used on other games) for an easier and faster development. Sadly this was too late to save the project and Oblivion PSP was cancelled. A playable prototype was leaked online in June 2016, you can search the ISO on Google.. check the videos below for more info!

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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion [X360/PS3/PC – Beta]

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is an action RPG developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks and the Take-Two Interactive subsidiary 2K Games. [Infos from Wikipedia]

Ace.dark posted an interesting topic in our forum, in which he explain that thanks to the Elder Scrolls Construction Set and the use of the Developers Console (brought up by pressing ~ on your keyboard) it’s possible to find the removed Kvatch area that was shown at E3 2005, still hidden in the final game! It seems that there are even some unused items, areas and enemies that were forgotten in the code.

If you have the PC version of the game you can download this file that adds some of the spells and items not normally available to normal users. In the Imperial City in the market district, there is a shop keep that will sell the beta items in Merchants Inn, he is always there but does not always sell the same items.

Thanks a lot to Ace.dark for the contribution!

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Part of an interesting demonstration of the beta. This demonstrates the original intentions for Radiant AI. Radiant AI was cut back before release because it was difficult to keep the game world from falling apart.

 

Fallout 3: Van Buren [PC – Cancelled]

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Fallout 3 was initially under development by Black Isle Studios, a studio owned by Interplay Entertainment, under the working title Van Buren. Van Buren was set to carry on the Fallout series, following Fallout 2, prior to being cancelled. Interplay Entertainment went bankrupt and closed down Black Isle Studios before the game could be completed, and the license to develop Fallout 3 was sold for  

Call of Cthulhu Trilogy [XBOX – Cancelled]

Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End and Call of Cthulhu: Beyond the Mountains of Madness, for the Xbox, were two cancelled games both planned to be sequels to Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, a horror first-person action-adventure game released in October, 2005 for the Xbox and Microsoft Windows. Although Beyond the Mountains of Madness shared the first-person perspective of its predecessor, Destiny’s End was to be played from a third-person perspective, and is believed to have included exploration and melee combat similar to that in the Silent Hill series (including weapons like pipes, pistols and shotguns). Both games were being developed by British company Headfirst Productions, but following the release of the first game, troubles with Headfirst’s publisher, Bethesda Softworks, and numerous employee resignations, eventually led to the company dissolving in March, 2006.

Destiny’s End stars two teenagers, Jacob and Emily, and is set in a similar location to the original game, in and around the town of Innsmouth. The primary story arc involves Jacob’s numerous disturbing nightmares, that seem to suggest a link to Innsmouth. Together, he and Emily attempt to find the truth and meaning behind his nightmares, and discover exactly how Jacob is linked to Innsmouth’s dark past. The further the two dig, the greater the horrors they uncover.

Destiny’s End was designed to allow two people to play co-operatively, and would have allowed players to switch between single- and two-player modes on the fly; by inserting an additional controller, the game would automatically switch into a split-screen mode, with each player taking control of one of the two main characters. Otherwise, the player would have to control one teenager at a time; holding down the left trigger would cause the second character to follow the first, and the player could have switched control between the two by way of a single button-press.

Emily and Jacob would both have had very different strengths in the game, with Jacob being more agile, skilled at hand-to-hand combat and physically strong, and Emily having the power of the mind and of psychic ability, to overcome challenges Jacob could not have completed on his own. Additionally, the game was planned to include a unique “sanity” system – due to the intimacy of the characters, and their reliance on each other to survive, if they are separated for too long, the strange forces surrounding the town would have been able to affect their mental states for the worse. For example, if the characters remain apart from too long, Emily’s psychic ability could have become clouded, or even revealed things to her that didn’t actually exist. It would have been the player’s responsibility to ensure both characters remained mentally stable.

The game would have had a similar visual style to the first instalment in the series, with a gloomy atmosphere and eerie appearance. Murky, foggy environments such as forests would have been expected, encouraging players to push forward.

Beyond the Mountains of Madness would have had a completely different set of characters to either of the other games, featuring Robert Naples, an archaeologist from Miskatonic University. On a quest to recover a stolen artifact, Naples would travel from Berlin to Antarctica and uncover a Nazi stronghold and base of operations for the Nazis’ search for the Elder City, a fabled city said to possess with considerable power. The Nazis planned to harness this power for the looming World War II. Meanwhile, back in Berlin, the Nazis were conducting a series of experiments on ancient creatures dug up from the ice, that threatened to unearth a dark secret forgotten by time. The game aimed to “break the mould” of typical survival horror and first-person shooter games, by combining the styles into an immersive and vibrant experience.

We know that the game was planned to be a mix of skilful and intense combat against Nazi soldiers and mythos monsters, and exploration and investigation sections used to overcome and solve mysteries and obstacles that obstruct the player’s progress. We also know that the game would have included a simple and intuitive inventory system used to manage picked up objects, which would have played an important role.

The game was intended to be significantly open-ended and liberal – the player would be able to choose whether to focus on stealth and avoiding combat, or whether to engage in numerous firefights. Likewise, the player could choose how to interact with the game’s non-player characters, including whether to assist them, or instead interrogate them in order to gain information. As the game was to be set in the 1930s, the available weaponry was modelled on authentic 1930s military hardware, including grenades, scoped rifles, flamethrowers, pistols and submachine guns.

The game had a large supporting cast of characters, including Dr. Donald Cuthbert, the geologist who originally finds the “Map of the Damned” in Antarctica – the map that is stolen by the Nazi forces and that Robert Naples is trying to reclaim, Klaus Metzger, the German officer in charge of the Nazi deployment to Antarctica, his cryptographer Adele Von Hartmann and the occultist priest tasked with opening the Elder City for the Nazis, Alexis Von Strauss.

Like in Destiny’s End, Beyond the Mountains of Madness would have featured a sanity system, and Naples, being a rational man and follower of science, would have experienced mental trauma when faced with objects and situations he could not explain. If Naples’ sanity reached zero, he would suffer a complete breakdown and kill himself. Aside from the multiple cases of “Scripted Sanity Loss” used as a plot device and inevitable challenge for the player, “Dynamic Sanity Loss” would occur whenever Naples was faced with a particularly gruesome enemy or other such situation. His sanity loss would continue until the monster was defeated or the situation diffused, thereby rewarding the player’s bravery in dealing with the threat and overcoming his or her fear. Sanity could also have been restored using items such as anti-anxiety drugs, herbal remedies and Elder Signs, strange signs imbued with an air of serenity and tranquility, that would soothe mental distress.

A linear level plan for the game was established, with the main locations being (chronologically) Antarctica, a zeppelin, Berlin, a boat, Antarctica and Elder City. It was also proposed that the game may have included a Mind-Swap Feature, with the player’s abilities increasing in this area as the game progressed. Possible uses of the Mind-Swap Feature were to leave the character’s body for a short while in order to enter areas undetected, and to impose increasing levels of external control over enemies and other non-player characters encountered in the game. This control would initially allow the player to use the non-player characters to perform basic actions such as using buttons and switches, and would progress to full control, the ability to engage in combat with other non-player characters, and even the ability to commit suicide, in order to spread fear amongst other characters. The Mind-Swap Feature may even have granted the player the ability to detect when enemies were taking on the form of humans, so as to prevent falling prey to their deceit.

Both of these sequels to Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth sound like they would have been incredibly fun, incredibly immersive and even fairy scary! Hopefully one or both of them will eventually emerge, in some playable form. Until then, we can only speculate as to exactly how they would have been played.

Thanks a lot to James for the contribution!

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