OneChanbara Reboot (Darkworks) [Cancelled Pitch – PS3, Xbox 360]

Darkworks was an independent French studio not widely known by the average gamer, but they released a couple of fan favorite games as Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (Playstation, Dreamcast and PC) and Cold Fear (PS2, PC and Xbox). The company was founded in 1998 and unfortunately was closed down in 2012, because of economic issues and difficulties in founding new publishers for their titles. In about 15 years of activity, Darkworks were able to successfully complete and release only 2 games, while all their other projects were either cancelled or moved to different developers. There are already a good number of interesting lost Darkworks games in the Unseen64 archive, but many more still remain unseen and even if we tried multiple times to get in contact with people that worked at the studio, it seems almost impossible to know more about what happened to them or to their cancelled games.

Between all those unfinished projects once in development at Darkworks, there was what it looks like a reboot of the OneChanbara series originally created by Tamsoft, the games in which to play as a girl in bikini and cowboy hat, slashing down enemies with double katanas. In the images archived below, you can see that they created a concept art for a western version of Aya (the “clothes” are identical to the original character), one of the main protagonist of OneChanbara. We can speculate that Darkworks tried to pitch to D3 Publisher a new OneChanbara game for PS3 and Xbox 360, during the same time in which D3 also tested a western version of their popular Earth Defense Force series by letting Vicious Cycle Software to develop EDF: Insect Armageddon. Unfortunately for Darkworks, this project was not greenlighted and we’ll never know how good a French OneChanbara could have been. Only a few concept arts remain, to preserve the existence of this lost pitch.

Thanks to Dorwaks for the contribution!


State of Crisis [Cancelled / Prototype – PS3, Xbox 360, PC]

State of Crisis is a cancelled real time strategy first person shooter that was in development in 2010 / 2011 for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC by french studio Darkworks. After Ubisoft took away I Am Alive from Darkworks in 2008 to make it finish to Ubisoft Shanghai, the team tried to create many different prototypes to pitch to publishers, to get another contract to survive. We can assume that at the time Darkworks tough that shooters were the most marketable genre to be greenlighted by publishers, so they conceived a few ones (State of Crisis, Black Dead, The Deep) with interesting / original features.

In State of Crisis players would have been able to switch to different teammates in real time, to use a satellite to get strategical information about the enemies and the area, to interact with electronic devices and to requests laser attacks from above. For example we could have been able to study the map of the building in which we would have entered to, checking if there were lights to deactivate to hide in the darkness, to mark enemies and see their position on the map, to place beacon to track an helicopter and destroying it with a powerful laser shoot from the satellite.

To use ammos, the satellite and to hack devices would have cost a certain sum of money from a limited budget for the mission and at the end of each level one could have seen how much the team spent to save the place from terrorists. As far as we can gain from the prototype demo, State of Crisis could have been divided in many different missions to complete as fast as possible and by spending as less money as possible, to gain an higher final score or to save funds to buy better equipment.

Unfortunately Darkworks were not able to find any publisher to fund State of Crisis and the game was quietly cancelled. In 2012 the company was placed into compulsory liquidation and then closed down. In about 15 years of activity, Darkworks were able to successfully complete and release only 2 games (Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare in 2001 and Cold Fear in 2005), while all their other projects were either cancelled or moved to other developers: a sad ending for one of the most interesting gaming studios in Europe.




Orpheus [PS2 XBOX – Prototype]

Orpheus was one of many cancelled prototypes /concepts for games that french studio Darkworks worked on during 2003/2004. It appears as if Darkworks could not find a publisher and the title was abandoned. Instead, they started to work on I Am Alive for Ubisoft, before the publisher decided to move the development to Ubisoft Shanghai. Sadly we don’t know what kind of gameplay could have been planned for Orpheus and only few concept arts remain, to preserve the existence of this project.

Thanks to Dorwaks for the contribution!



Jason [PS2 XBOX – Concept / Cancelled]

Jason was one of many game concepts done at French studio Darkworks in the early 2000s, plannet to be developed for the Playstation 2 and Xbox. There are not many info available on the project, but that it should have been set in a sort of Norse mythology, with viking boats, warriors and demons to fight. However, the title never entered in production as no publisher was found. Instead, work on Time Crisis Adventure was started, a project that seems to have been later evolved into Cold Fear, Darkworks’ survival horror that was released in  2005 for Playstation 2, Xbox and PC. Sadly only few artworks remain to preserve this game, archived in the gallery below.

Thanks to Dawok for the contribution!

Concept Art:


Time Crisis Adventure [Xbox – Cancelled]

Time Crisis Adventure is a cancelled Xbox game pitch that started at Darkworks in 2003 after Capcom abandoned their other project, Lost Mantis. Time Crisis Adventure was a collaborative work with Namco US. In 2004, for unknown reasons, Namco dropped the title. However, Darkworks found a new publisher (Ubisoft) and it seems that they changed the game to release it as Cold Fear on both PS2 and Xbox in 2005 – with no references to the Time Crisis franchise.

Thanks to Warkdo for the contribution!



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