Toon Army is a canceled World War II first-person shooter developed by Brat Designs in 2004 for the PC, Xbox and Playstation 2 systems.
Information on Toon Army are pretty scarce as the game quickly vanished after it’s announcement, following the shutdown of Brat Designs. As we could read on the official website back then, now saved by Gamespy, Toon Army was going to be:
“A gritty, foul-mouthed, wise-cracking, cartoon World War 2 FPS battlefield game allowing both single player and multiplayer modes over a multitude of terrains, with up to 32 players in a game. Following the misadventures of GI John Doe the player takes on the dreaded Axis powers across Africa and Europe. At the players disposal are a wide range of weapons, devices and vehicles, including tanks, field artillery, aircraft, gun posts and much more.”
Using their proprietary engine named Mercury, Brat Designs promised a game similar to Battlefield for it’s gameplay alongside Cannon Fodder and Worms for it’s humorousart direction, featuring vast detailed terrains and interiors, interactive environments with fully destructible buildings, weather conditions including fog, rain and snow, micro vegitation, advanced shader technology and advanced lighting and shadowing. Two campaigns and various multiplayer and cooperative modes were also planned.
Toon Army wasn’t the only victim of Brat Designs shutdown. The company also had another similar game named Solar which was canceled in the process, alongside expansion packs and apparently a sequel for their only released game, Breed.
Wehrwolf is a cancelled World War II First-Person Shooter developed from 2003to approximately2006 by Ukrainian studio Electronic Paradise and published by Discus Games, only for PC.
Wehrwolf was officialy announced in February 2004. By the time, here is what we could read on the old defunct website about the game:
Wehrwolf is a first person 3D action-adventure game. It has two modes: singleplayer and multiplayer game. The style of the game is similar to the styles of Call of Duty and Medal of Honor but with up-to-date graphics.
Wehrwolf is creating on the basis of its own 3D engine having both indoor and outdoor. The main features of the engine are as follows: unlimited landscapes, realistic water, natural growth and other objects, dynamic light, soft shadows, animated clouds, interactive weapons.
The scenario of the game bases on the real episodes of the Second World war. The action takes place in the outskirts and inside the German top-secret military facility Hitler’s field headquarters Wehrwolf.(note: Wehrwolf – armed wolf, Werwolf – werewolf) not far from Vinnitsa. Even today this facility is covered under the curtain of mystery, secrets and myths. Until now Wehrwolf is one of mysterious and undiscovered places in Europe.
The player will have to act as a member of soviet special assignment squad “Victors”(this squad really existed during the Second World War), which was dropped deep beyond the enemy lines for diversions and to uncover the mystery of Wehrwolf…
There are to be 15 singleplayer and 5 multiplayer levels, 25 kinds of infantry weapons, more than 10 different kinds of vehicles, 20 kind of heavy equipment.
3D models of Wehrwolf bunker, villages and Vinnitsa of the 1940’s are being specially recreated for the game. 3D model of the weapons are created using real infantry weapons of the Second World War, which were neutralized on the military factory. The weapons in the game are as follows: PPSh-41, PPS-43, MP-40, PD-27, RPD-44, MG-34, Mosin riffle, Tokarev riffle, TT and revolver. Real Soviet and German military equipment were bought to recreate real textures in the game: uniform, helmets, flasks and others.
Shortly after its reveal, GenGamers was able to get an interview with Electronic Paradise’s director Sergei Melikhov, describing more about the game:
GG: When did you start the development for your game Wehrwolf and how many people are working on it?
SM: We started the development in September 2003. Our team consists of 6 people.
GG: Have you been inspired by other games or movies?
GG: Is Wehrwolf a typical shooter or will you implent interesting gameplay variations?
SM: Wehrwolf is not a typical shooter. We plan to add some adventure & stealth elements. The player will need to use his tactical skills to complete small missions, looking for the most suitable decisions. These tasks will have various salvations.
GG: How long will it take to finish the game?
SM: We plan to finish it by the middle of 2005.
GG: And what´s up with the mod community? Will they be able to create their own levels?
SM: We started the creation of the separate level editor. The players will be able to create their own levels and characters with its help.
GG: What kind of music will you include?
SM: We ordered musical compositions with war theme for the game. The composer is rather famous here in Ukraine and in England: Alexander Sparinskiy. We think there will be about 10 musical themes.
After that, the game occasionally showed up in the media through various screenshots as well as 2 gameplay videos, but wasn’t released in mid-2005. Thereafter, it seems that the project was put on hold and Electronic Paradise has instead developed what would be their only game: Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel, released in 2007 in Russia. We can assume that something didn’t work out as planned for Wehwrolf and its developer had to refocus on a more economically viable project. Electronic Paradise disappeared completely after that, as well as Discus Games, rather modest in its published games.
Black Powder Red Earth is a turn-based tactics game published and developed by Echelon Software and released on PC and mobile phones in 2021.
As we can read on Steam, the story takes place in the near present, where you step into the event horizon of a failed state in the Middle East, as Private Military Contractor – Cold Harbor, hunting jihadist terrorists in war-torn sprawls as a lethal surrogate for the host nation. The license is also available in tabletop wargames and graphic novels.
But before being released in this form, Black Powder Red Earth took a much different approach. The game was announced in June 2007 by its developers as a multiplayer First-Person Shooter, powered by the Unreal Engine 3 and taking place in the distant future as announced by FiringSquad:
“Rather than build an elaborate 3D world space, Black Powder Red Earth uses the same framework commonly found on the Web for social networking. Players are already used to creating and managing online identities on sites like Myspace and Orkut. They are also buying and selling real and virtual products on sites like Ebay, iTunes and Amazon. By using these familiar tools, Black Powder Red Earth keeps the learning curve as flat as possible,” says Jon Chang, president of Echelon. “Best of all, unbinding these activities from the game executable gives players access to the world of Black Powder Red Earth either from inside the game or from the outside via any Web-enabled device. Persistence is the real world, anytime the players want it.”
Set on Mars in 2043, Players act as mercenary soldiers executing contracts for warring corporations in a variety of urban/industrial sprawls, using bleeding edge weapons in hi-tech team based battles for virtual currency that can be used to purchase new weapons, upgrade existing weapons, buy armor and tactical enhancements to fine tune their in-game experience. As players rank up, they will also be able to open their own mercenary franchises. These franchises provide a base for recruiting other players into a clan, offer in- game advantages for members and allow the owners to open their own storefronts that compete against the game MSRPs and can generate “cash” from new players of the game.
Multiplayer-only, allowing up to 16 players to battle online together
Next-generation graphics powered by Unreal Engine 3
8 contract campaign plays out in a detailed near-future 3D environments
Earn “virt cash” to collect more than 100 parts and accessories
Customize weapons, browse for new items, and build a career in a familiar Web interface in- game or from any Web browser at any time!
Build a franchise private military company (PMC) with other players or create a competing store front to sell arms and gear to other players
Association with former PMC operatives ensures realistic game play
During the same period, a short trailer was also unveiled, but after that, the game fell completely into limbo before resurfacing in 2011, then 2014, in the form of a graphic novel, the background completely modified but using the same war-based themes.
If you know someone who worked on this version of Black Powder Red Earth and could help us preserve more screenshots, footage or details, please let us know!
Velvet Assassin is a stealth game released in 2009 for PC and Xbox 360, developed by Replay Studios (formerly Team Toro) and published by SouthPeak Games. The title takes place during the Second World War, where player take control of Violette Summer, a British spy in the service of MI6, attempting to thwart the Nazi war effort, operating behind enemy lines. The game’s story was inspired by the real-life secret agent/saboteur Violette Szabo.
But before being released in this form, the game had two other versions, during a hectic development spanning approximately from 2002 until its release in 2009.
In February 2003, German studio Team Toro revealed its very first game, Sabotage 1943, a First-Person Shooter whose scenario and background were identical to Velvet Assassin. It is then planned for a release during the Winter of 2003/2004 on PC, Playstation 2 and Xbox, and the press release revealed some information:
“France 1943. Behind the façade of stability a secret, desperate, and cruel war of liberation has already begun. As a spy, saboteur, and partisan of the French resistance movement, the Résistance, you will also get involved in this fight.
The omnipresent enemy keeps everything under control and reacts on every kind of resistance in a barbarous and brutal way. An open military confrontation would be a lost cause.
Therefore, another way has to be found to fight the enemy. You conspire against the Nazis, operate underground, and pretend to be a harmless civilian. This way you can deceive and infiltrate the Nazis to strike secretly. But don’t fall in the hands of the Gestapo that even plants spies in the resistance groups…”
3D tactical first-person shooter with the newest technologies offers extremely realistic game visuals. Dynamic real-time light and shadow effects perfectly reflect the sinister atmosphere of the background story.
Particle system makes the explosions look extremely realistic. Environmental effects, such as dust, rain and leaves, create a dark and gloomy atmosphere.
Flexible camera control and exact details of the game world even allow the player to peek through keyholes.
22 levels will lead you through the cruel story, which is based on true historical facts.
Scenarios in authentic French theaters of war in 1943/44, such as Paris occupied by German forces.
Seven different characters with various specific attributes
Complex enemy AI with numerous surprising behavior patterns
Various clothing and uniforms allow the player to operate secretly in military areas behind the enemy lines.
Player’s behavior has a direct effect on the relationship between the population and the Résistance (betrayal, assistance, etc.)
By skillfully sneaking up on the enemy, soldiers can be overwhelmed and forced at gunpoint to open doors and reveal vital information
When under fire, the player can fake death by using the “Playing Dead Mode” to deceive the enemy
Shortly after, the developer showed a first trailer, then, later, it was a video preview from Gamestar in April of the same year that was published.
However, after these revelations, the game felt into total obscurity and was not mentionned by its developer until May 2006, just after completing Crashday for Moon Byte Studios. Unsurprisingly, after almost 2 and a half years of absence, the project had undergone a complete overhaul. Simply renamed Sabotage, the title did not change context nor main character, but took the form of a Third-Person Shooter, planned exclusively on PC for 2007 and published by Anaconda, the label of DTP Entertainment. It was presented at the E3 and Game Convention 2006 shows, and it was again Gamestar that released a video preview in November of the same year, notably showing several phases of gunfights.
Early 2007 should have been the release window for Sabotage, but it wasn’t. The title would reappear briefly during the Game Convention 2007 for a release now planned in Autumn 2008, where we learned that Gamecock Media Group took over the publishing rights.
Finally, in March 2008, new changes occured for this project, now named Velvet Assassin with an Xbox 360 version in addition, it would see its main character partially redesigned, as well as its HUD. The gunfights phases that we could see in Gamestar’s preview seem to have been mostly dropped in favor of a more tactical and stealth-oriented gameplay.
Velvet Assassin would finally see the light in Spring 2009, after experiencing an additional delay and a final change of publisher with SouthPeak Games, following the acquisition of Gamecock Media Group. The game received mixed to average critical reviews and Replay Studios filed for bankruptcy in August 2009, only 3 months after its release.
During these 7 years of existence, Replay Studios seemed to have a lot of difficulty in the development of its titles. In addition to the chaotic one for Sabotage 1943, the company also had Survivor in production, a title announced in October 2004. Crashday, only available on PC since 2006, should have been released in 2005, also on Playstation 2 and Xbox. At some point, we could even read on the now-defunct Replay Studios website this:
“Sabotage 1943 is a tactical shooter game in WWII. As allied elite agent Jason Turner you perform dangerous, top-secret guerilla and sabotaging activities which officially don’t exist behind enemy lines.”
Mindhack is a cancelled Massive Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter developed by Mindware Studiosaround2001-2002, exclusively for PC.
No information about Mindhack’s background are available at the moment. By looking at the few artworks and screenshots of the game, we can tell that it was set in a futuristic science fiction universe. The game was revealed in March 2002 with a short explanation of its concept on a dedicated website:
“Mindhack is an Online Action Game which combines popular and proven elements of first person action games with the principles of mass online games (massive socializing support, persistent character, etc.). The system of game rules is relatively straight forward while providing a great number of game types and many different ways players can enjoy the game.
Mindhack is not intended solely for hardcore players but also for mass-market players preferring the action genre. Players will be attracted by familiar action principles combined with many socializing elements which will allow them to interact with other players in ways not seen today in games of this type.”
Using a proprietary engine called MENG, it seems the game was showed at the Game Developers Conference 2002 in order to sign with a publisher, apparently without success, before falling into obscurity for a few years.
In 2006, following the future release of Mac and Linux versions of their first game, Cold War, Phoronix was able to interview programmer Patrik Rak. Mindhack was briefly mentionned about its cancellation:
“(…) The goal at that time was to develop a FPS based MMO game, but several month later we have concluded that the MMO market became so crowded that all but the best backed up of these project are necessarily going to bite the dust. So we quickly steered to more conventional waters of the third-person single player world, before any serious harm was done.”
According to former CEO Karel Papik, the technology primarly developed for Mindhack would later served as a basis for Cold War.
Mindhack wasn’t the only cancelled game from Mindware Studios. In 2006, the company had to axe Voodoo Nights and Unknown Heroes, both due to a lack of publishers interested in the projects.
If you know someone who worked on Mindhack and could help us preserve more screenshots, footage or details, please let us know!
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