FPS

Cartel (Cat Daddy) [PC – Cancelled]

Cartel is a cancelled FPS game that was in development in 2002 / 2003 by Cat Daddy Games (mostly known for their Carnival Games series), planned to be released on PC and possibly on Playstation 2 and Xbox. As you can assume from its title, you would have played as a DEA special agent against the drug cartel. The team wanted to offer a simple gameplay mixing first / third person shooter with light strategy mechanics.

In an old interview published on HomeLAN we can read more about their hopes for the project:

“HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the storyline for the game?

Harley Howe – We wanted to do a thriller. It has a big twist just about the time you think you’ve figured out what is going on and you’re about finished, you’re not.

HomeLAN – What sort of settings and locations will be seen in the game?

Harley Howe – Our team over the last few years has built content for several AAA titles that were released under other company’s logos. We really know our stuff here and one of the big separating factors of our game will be the unique environments. What we see in most of the existing games out there now is a lot of the same old thing rehashed over and over. You got your warehouse level, your barracks level, your factory…etc. We wanted to bring a new look and feel to the environments in Cartel. Our game will offer plenty of new and exciting environmental eye candy for the player. We promise you will almost smell the stench on some of them.

HomeLAN – What kinds of weapons will be featured in Cartel?

Harley Howe – Ok, the guy doing the weapons is always yapping about ‘my bothers a seal, my brothers a seal” so we most definitely have some nice weaponry. We feel that weapons are one of the single most important components of a 1st person shooter. One big point here to make is the style of the Cartel story lends itself well to new weaponry. As we are doing with the levels we also wanted to take advantage of some of the newer technologies out there and give the player some neat effects to the weapons that they have never seen before. My 12 year old son will run around and play a game just to pick up all the different guns to see the way that each of them shoot, err wait that’s me, anyway good weapons will be in abundance.

HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the game’ s multiplayer features?

Harley Howe – I can tell you that if it did not have multiplayer I personally wouldn’t play it myself. Today you have to have good multiplayer or the game has a very limited appeal. Attention to the layout of the multiplayer levels will be done in great detail. A good level can make or break it. We also have had multiplayer built in to our engine from day one so it’s not something that will be approached as an afterthought.”

In early 2003 they released a tech demo for Cartel, but the same year the team was acquired by 2K Games and the game vanished. Only in 2005 Cat Daddy officially announced the project was suspended. We can assume when 2K bought the team, their parent company decided to switch their resources on less ambitious games.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Geist DS [Nintendo DS – Cancelled]

The original Geist was a first person adventure developed by N-Space and published by Nintendo in 2005 for their GameCube. In the game you play as the spirit of the dead protagonist, who can interact with the physical world through possession of things, animals and human beings. The game had an interesting gameplay mechanic in which you had to scare NPCs before being able to possess them and many clever puzzles revolving around your possession ability.

A Nintendo DS port / sequel was in development at N-Space in mid – late ‘00s, but in the end the project was canned, possibly because of low sales and mixed reviews for the GameCube version. As we can read on Wikipedia:

“Nearing the end of development, a Nintendo DS port was rumored by an IGN tour to be in development. Although this port was never announced, and no information of it has ever been officially released, n-Space did have development kits for the DS at the time, and traces of the ports existence have been found within the ROM of the DS version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which was developed by n-Space, as two text documents for the credits of Geist DS are present”

You can read the Geist DS credits hidden in CoD4 DS at TCRF.

While the game was never officially announced and it was quietly cancelled with no media ever shown to the public, fans of the original game found some early footage of Geist DS, preserved below to remember its existence.

N-Space did a great job with their portable FPS (Call of Duty, GoldenEye), so it’s safe to say we missed another good one with the cancellation of Geist DS. We hope one day someone could share online a playable prototype, maybe along with their DS version of Halo

Jacks of Evil [PC – Cancelled]

Jacks of Evil is a cancelled horror FPS which was in development between 2003 and 2004 at Fear Studios. Unfortunately, little information is known about this game and the team behind it. It was planned to come out in July 2005, but the exact period and reason for its cancellation remain undetermined.

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As stated by a developer in an old interview on GenGamers, the backstory was as following:

“You’re working in secret organization, that opposite Dark Forces. It’s name is “Jacks Of Evil”. People in this organization call each other as “hunters”. Killing creatures of Dark Forces, such as Demons, Vampires, Zombies etc – is their usual work. You are a professional hunter. Your name is Aleksey Gromov. Once our hero is sent to Shanta city in Siberia. It seemed to be usual work, but… something went wrong. It seems that happened we all were aware of. People and Evil cooperated to help each other.“

The Studio also described some ideas they planned to implement in their canned FPS, such as slow-motion effects with motion blur and a damage system. Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies, and Demons were some of the classic enemies players would have to hunt down during the game, giving it some recognizable characters in the horror genre. More ambitious concepts and mechanics were also considered by the team:

“It’s planned to make a game scenario with key scenes, that can be generated randomly. I.e. you are walking through the room and then suddenly you’re attacked by a Vampire. Youīre losing the battle, then loading your save-game, walking to this place and … there is no vampire! And of course there will be different story lines. Probably there will be 3-4 different endings. I think that’s enough for such games.“

Fear Studios also wanted to implement a multiplayer mode, featuring mod-support (to be available soon after the game would‘ve come out) to bring even more variety to the game. 

In the end we can speculate the team did not find a publisher for their project and Jacks of Evil was quietly canned.

Article by Vipaah, thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Alex Carver: Futurebrighter [PC – Cancelled]

Alex Carver: Futurebrighter is a cancelled FPS that was in development by Heaven X, a small and obscure development team from Poland. The game was announced in 2004, sharing some details and screenshots.

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As wrote by IGN:

“AC:F is a first-person shooter that follows Alex Carver, a convict on his way to a distant planet that houses a prison for the galaxy’s least desired criminals and murderers.

Along the way the prison transporter carrying our hero is attacked by an unknown adversary. The ship goes down and Alex is given a chance to escape. One small problem. The planet the ship lands on is run by a tyrannical dictator who has been working on secret genetic experiments.

Equipped with pistols, sniper rifles, plasma rifles, and a cynical outlook on life (funny what prison does to you), Alex must do everything in his power to stay alive.”

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On the old Heven X website we can read:

“An independent developer group Heaven X deals with creating computer games and multimedia programs. We’re those players who have begun working on our own titles since 2001. Our team has gained much experience when working for Techland, Leryx Longsoft and L.K. Avalaon, while preparing games like Chrome, Xpand Rally, Small Army, Indiana Jack, Pet Racer, Pet Soccer, Golem, or Kokomando.

Earlier, we were working for various producers. Now, however, we’ve joined our forces and experience under the name Heaven X in order to create our own virtual worlds, which, hopefully, will attract many players. We are working on authorial projects, as well as on titles that we develop for Polish publisher companies.

We were “brought up” playing the greatest games that serve as a point of departure for our projects. Unreal, Half-Life, Deus Ex, Soldier of Fortune, Serious Sam and even Rayman are just a few names of the worldwide hits that are a great source of inspiration for us. Our goal is to create games that would simultaneously provide the players with great feel, engrossing and entertaining gameplay experience, and satisfaction (not only for the players but also for us).

We have our authorial 3D engine Magnum Engine at disposal. The engine is capable of creating environments inside the buildings (indoor) as well as in open spaces (outdoor). Magnum Engine uses the newest graphics technologies and special effects, therefore, it keeps up both in quality and beauty with other Western and Polish productions:

  • Vast and open spaces and indoor environment
  • Expanded animation system that features bone system / skeleton
  • Vehicle handling system together with the driving model and physics
  • Physics allowing for an interaction with the game’s environment
  • 50.000 to 100.000 polygons per frame
  • Particle system
  • Dynamic interplay of light and shadow
  • Varied weather effects (rain, snow)”

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More info was published by Polish websites at the time, but it looks like the project never got far into production. We can assume they never found a publisher interested in backing up their game, so Alex Carver: Futurebighter had to be cancelled.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution! 

Redemption (Cranberry Source) [N64 – Cancelled]

Redemption is a cancelled action adventure in development by Cranberry Source, that may have been published by Philips Media Interactive for Nintendo 64. While it remains an obscure and forgotten project, from what we have gathered it could have been quite the original and revolutionary game for its time, merging many different genres and viewpoints together: FPS, third person isometric puzzle-platformer and open world exploration on vehicles.

Redemption was designed by Jon Ritman, founder of Cranberry Source and mostly known for his work on cult-classic 1980s computer games such as Head over Heels, plus Monster Max for Rare on the original Game Boy. Unfortunately the team never shown any screenshots from their unreleased N64 adventure, but few details are scattered around the web and in old magazines. On the Playstation Museum website we can read:

“Cranberry Source had a multi-product deal (three, in fact) with Philips Media Interactive. QAD was to be the first game released, Super Match Soccer (or Match Day 3 as it was known then) the second, and the third game had a provisional title of “Redemption”. QAD and SMS were developed at the London office, and Redemption was to be developed by staff at the Cranberry North office. Ultimately, Redemption never really got much further than the drawing board, but the initial designs focused around the kind of puzzle elements found in Jon Ritman’s previous games such as Head over Heels and Monster Max.”

In PC Zone magazine (Issue 41, August 1996) they published an interview with Cranberry Source, along with few details about Redemption:

PZ: What about Redemption?

JR: That’s our epic.. John then goes on to explain the basic concept behind Redemption. In summary, it’ll be a very large action-cum-puzzle-cum-exploration game, using several different viewpoints. Parts of it are Doom-like, parts of it hark back to the classic isometric platform/puzzle games of yore (such as Head Over Heels, another of John’s past glories), and parts of it take place outdoors. In vehicles. It’s quite ambitious, in other words.

JC: To rationalise how we’ve got all this different stuff in one game, we’ve come up with quite a weird scenario which involves a mad, serial killer surgeon who’s grafting bits onto you. All this stuff takes place in your own head, and each level is a different operation. It’s, er, a bit odd really.

JR: It is a bit odd, isn’t it?”

An interview with Ritman conducted by Blood in Autumn 1996 for Emulate! Magazine (issue 6) also mention Redemption:

What are Cranberry Source working on at the minute? Which machines are you concentrating on?

Three games each on PC, Playstation & Saturn –

Q.A.D. – A fly over a stunning landscape rescuing hostages game (2player)

The Net – A multiplayer soccer game

Redemption – An epic game, this would take me too long to describe!

[…] For HoH fans I suggest a look at Redemption (it won’t be released until the end of next year).”

It’s not clear if the game was originally conceived as a PC or Nintendo 64 project, but in N64 Magazine (Issue 12, February 1998) they mentioned Cranberry Source were developing it for Nintendo’s console:

“Our wrinklier readers will undoubtedly remember Head Over Heels, a 3D puzzly platform adventure that was one of the Spectrum’s best games back in the 1980s. Well bless our souls if it’s not about to rise again. Jon Ritman, the chap behind the Speccy original, set up a development company called Cranberry Source who, after a bit of PC-based action, have decided to turn their hands to the N64. And their first Nintendo game will be a 3D puzzly platformer adventure that incorporates the best elements of – yes – Head over Heels. Superb!”

A couple of months later, in April 1998 Jon Ritman and other developers of Cranberry Source were hired by Argonaut Games, possibly because the studio were really impressed by their work with Redemption for the N64. As we can read on IGN:

“The co-founder of Cranberry Source, Jon Ritman, and several other members have left the company to join the British independent developer Argonaut, best known for the original Star Fox and the Super FX chip.

According to IGN’s morning news service, GameAddict, Ritman and his team will be working on an action adventure due to release late next year. Prior to the switch, Ritman was working on an N64 semi-sequel to the classic Head Over Heels. It is not yet known how Cranberry Source will cope with the loss and what will happen to its projects in progress.

Argonaut’s Jez San commented on Ritman’s move: “Many of us at Argonaut have been long standing fans of Ritman’s work, especially of Batman, Match Day, and Head-Over-Heels. I feel he will develop some of his finest work at Argonaut and could help some of our existing games further refine their gameplay.” Although Argonaut has only announced one title so far (Buck Bumble), industry insiders have told IGN64.com that Argonaut is heavily investing in N64 development with numerous titles on the way.

It’s not clear if Argonaut also acquired the rights to develop Redemption, but in the end the project was never completed.

We hope one day to preserve more details or even images for this fascinating and unrealized project.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!