Electronic Arts

Blood Dust (Visceral Games) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Blood Dust is a cancelled multiplayer shooter in development at Visceral Games / EA from presumably late 2008 to 2011. As it was in development during the “golden age” of online multiplayer on consoles, its main focus was to create a fun game to fight against friends and random people. Unfortunately, not much more is known about this lost project.

Rumors suggest the game started out as being just a multiplayer mode for the cancelled singleplayer game The Ripper, which was also in development by EA. After showing promising results, EA turned this “multiplayer mode” into a stand-alone digital-only project: Blood Dust.

The game was set in a ‘30s style world, where three factions fought over a drug called “Blood Dust”. These factions consisted of “The Crushers” (made up of former U.S army troops), “the Black Chamber” (a predecessor to the CIA) and a third “monster” faction. This was what an anonymous writer had to say about the game:

 “I got to test this game about a year ago. At that time, The Ripper was a super power-up you got in multiplayer – although I can’t remember the conditions required to transform (might have been a certain amount of kills in a row.) The Ripper was a juggernaut; you had super speed, throwing knives that were almost instant kills, and a brutal melee. It was a fun concept because it really took teamwork to take The Ripper down. The monster class was grossly overpowered at the time I played, but it was lots of fun. Different classes could climb walls, hang on ceilings, or see enemy heat signatures through walls.”

EA planned to publish The Ripper one year after the release of Blood Dust, but both games were eventually cancelled. After The Ripper was canned, Visceral Games Melbourne (the studio behind the titles) focused their efforts on Blood Dust, but without much luck. EA decided to close the studio in 2011 after all of their games were cancelled, apparently because it was too expensive to keep them alive.

Blood Dust was nearly 80 percent finished when it got cancelled.

Article by Vipaah, thanks to Raupidu for the contribution!

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Oliver Twist Video Game [PS3, Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

Around 2006 – 2007 a video game based on the popular Oliver Twist novel by Charles Dickens was pitched by Electronic Arts for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, but cancelled in the end. The project was never officially announced by EA, but some concept art was found online in 2010. As wrote by Kotaku, by reading the few notes available, EA’s Oliver Twist video game could have been somehow similar to Assassin’s Creed:

“Looks a bit like a kid’s version of Assassin’s Creed, but with one potentially interesting concept mentioned in the notes, Oliver’s hunger levels affecting his pose and animation and, I assume, his vitality. Dearsley’s concepts show off Fagin, multiple versions of Oliver and the Bowstreet Runners.”

As far as we know this Oliver Twister project was conceived by an internal team at EA, as one of many pitches for new projects to be considered by the studio. Other unreleased ideas were Gun Head, a Road Rash reboot and Hurikan.

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Forgotten Castle: The Awakening [PC – Cancelled]

Forgotten Castle is a cancelled action RPG in development by Twin Dolphin Games around 1992 – 1993, to be published on PC by Electronic Arts. The project was quite ambitious for its time: a fully 3D explorable fantasy world in early ‘90s was something amazing to see in screenshots (The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall was released 3 years later) and the game was previewed with high hype by many magazines. CDs were not much used for PC games and this would have been released on 9 disks, quite a massive size for ’90s games.

As we can red in Forgotten Castle’s preview from Edge (issue 1, 1993):

“Twin Dolphin’s Forgotten Castle could take the RPG action adventure into a new realm. Forgotten Castle is a PC showcase of spectacular quality. The Ferrari of fantasy roleplaying games. If you can imagine this detailed cityscape scaling and rotating smoothly around you, you’re about one tenth of the way to grasping the graphic flair on display. Twin Dolphin are working wonders on the PC.

There’s a huge playing area to discover with an enormous range of environments. Check out the falling water that flows into the gutter. It’s lovely. The dungeons are equally well presented with detailed graphics and unrivaled angles of perspective. Skeletons wait for you in there, too. Walk through the village and then turn and look in one of the windows for a realistic 3D interior. There’s complete freedom of movement, unlike The 7th Guest. And the scaling graphics leave you breathless.

There is a wealth of different environments including streets, caverns, crypts, and creepy dungeons. Everything takes place in real time, too, and there’s an ‘invisible’ interface to help out, without bogging down the screen in icons. You click on the mouse and something dies, basically.  Okay, there’s lots more to it than that but the feel of the whole thing is action-orientated. It’s designed to appeal to a wide range of players, and as such, might not meet the grey matter-testing requirements of diehard Dungeon Master and Ultima Underworld fans.

So what’s it all about then? The story unfolds like this. You’re a prince on an epic quest searching for your father, the last true king of the land of Alonia. Evil rules where justice once prevailed etc, etc, and you have to travel to the city of Hedburg to defeat the monsters and ‘foul Ruzakian hordes’ that have taken over the town.”

As you can imagine, Forgotten Castle was way too ambitious for a small team like Twin Dolphin. Clay Graham who worked on the project wrote on his blog:

“Twin Dolphin Games was creating a Virtual Reality game on the PC for EA Games. There was only one Oracle Tower down the street, and as a startup things were very different than the large glass covered offices of SOM. We were scrappy, and as the company’s “Virtual Architect” I was responsible for building all the spaces and experiences for their 3D Dungeon Adventure. “Forgotten Castle” was very innovative visually, but the company made a bad choice in their game engine and it failed completely.”

More details about Twin Dolphin’s failure to complete the game and their difficulties with the 3D engine were published on issue 164 of Compute! Magazine:

“The news hasn’t been good for what looked like a promising entry in the Ultima Underworld school of free-scrolling RPGs. Twin Dolphin Games’ Forgotten Castles, which looked dazzling at its unveiling at last summer’s CES, has run into the computer-game equivalent of the tuna net. The EA affiliate was to have delivered the game last November, but delays in finishing the 3-D engine and interface ultimately led to the withdrawal of the company’s main investor in late October. Matters were further complicated by the departure of the game’s chief engineer in early December, according to president Steve Ruszak. Twin Dolphin Games itself probably won’t last beyond the summer, but there are other fish in the sea, and Ruszak reckons Forgotten Castles – which is 60 to 70 percent complete – may yet surface. Both it and the 3D engine are for sale as a package, and he’s optimistic the company will find a buyer.”

As far as we know, no other publisher ever bought the IP or 3D engine from Twin Dolphin and the studio soon closed down for lack of money. Forgotten Castle was lost forever and as its name hinted, it was indeed forgot by everyone.

We can only hope former Twin Dolphin developers preserved files of their lost games, to share online in future. If you know someone who worked on this cancelled project, please let us know!

Thanks to pcloadletter for the contribution!

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Hurikàn (EA) [Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

Hurikàn is a cancelled action adventure in development by Electronic Arts in 2006, planned to be released for Xbox 360 and PS3. The project was never officially announced by EA and we found out about its existence thanks to concept art leaked online in 2010.

As far as we know Hurikàn was in development by an internal team at EA, and it was one of many pitches for new projects conceived in those years. Other unreleased ideas were Gun Head, a Road Rash reboot and a game based on Oliver Twist.

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Hurikàn was set in a weather-beaten island, where a mysterious company was working on top-secret researches. Something went wrong during the experiments (maybe a hurricane hit the island?) and their research center was attacked by robots gone haywire, ocean monsters and… even the weather? Artificially intelligent and remote-controlled machines played a prominent role in the game: some of them could help players and NPCs (for example by saving survivors), while others could be aggressive. We imagine this could have been something like a mix between Jurassic Park and Vanquish.

Unfortunately we don’t know anything else about it and the project was quietly canned in early development. From the few images we preserved in the gallery below, we can just say that Hurikàn could have been quite the cool adventure.

If you know someone who worked on this lost game, please let us know.

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Medal of Honor [Playstation 1 – Beta]

The original Medal of Honor was developed by DreamWorks Interactive and published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation in 1999. However, the project started life in late 1997, when Steven Spielberg pitched an idea for a new WW2 era first person shooter to DWI. When you complete all the missions in the game, you can unlock a bonus gallery that show an early prototype / beta version of the game, with different levels and 3D models. An official trailer for the game released in 1998 as an extra in Small Soldiers also show the removed Panzer Attack mission and a different HUD, in a version of the game with much more blood and gore than the final version. If you recently played Medal of Honor and you can notice more differences, leave a comment below!

Thanks to MicroChirp, LeHah and K Ill A Pinke for the contributions!

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