Infogrames

Alone in the Dark 5 [PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

Alone in the Dark 5 is the cancelled, fifth chapter in the cult-classic Alone in the Dark series that was in development by Atari / Infogrames Lyon House Studio in 2002, planned to be released on Playstation 2 and Xbox. One year after Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (developed by Darkworks) and six years before the Alone in the Dark 2008 reboot (developed by Eden Games), AitD 5 was in development directly by Infogrames Lyon as one of their major internal projects.

In early ‘00s Infogrames had already a few economic problems: in 2002 they had a loss of $67 million and things would only get worse during the following years. While Alone in the Dark 5 was never officially announced by Infogrames it could have been a successful game for them, bringing in some good sales. Unfortunately this never happened.

Alone in the Dark 5 was soon cancelled, possible because of quality issues or because the series and the classic survival horror genre were not as popular as before among gamers. The project could have been seen as a risk to complete in such an unstable market.

In 2003 Infogrames renamed all of its brands into Atari (after they bought out the name from Hasbro) and heavily re-organized the company and their projects. During the early ‘00s Infogrames canned many more interesting games, such as La Femme Nikita, Urban X-Tribe, Ghostbusters Academy, Riders and NetLife.

Only a few images from Alone in the Dark 5 are saved in the gallery below, to preserve its existence.

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Tintin [PS2 – Cancelled Prototype]

Before going bankrupt, Appeal, the same software house behind the unreleased Outcast II, developed a prototype for a new action game based on the Tintin comic books:

After the Outcast II debacle (see the related article here), we were offered a share buy-back option by our publisher (Infogrames) in exchange of a new pre-production contract around a Tintin game. As we had to keep our studio alive, we bought back the shares at a nominal price and got the contract started.

The budget was tight and the timing was short, so we tried to reuse a number of ressources from the Outcast II prototype and build on top of that. The game was to be fully 3D exploration with some action scenes and mini-games.

Unfortunately the publisher, Infogrames, couldn’t reach a deal with Moulinsart, the french foundation that manages the TinTin franchise, thus destroying Appeal’s last chance to recover.

For more informations check Franck Sauer’s Website.

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Vampire Circus [N64 – Prototype]

Vampire Circus was a Gauntlet-like type of game full of vampires and zombies planned for Nintendo 64 by Zed Two who started working on it in 1996. The game was designed so that you controlled just a single character out of the five in the party, and the others would be under AI control, although you could switch which of the five you were controlling. Each had different skills and abilities, so there was good reason to swap your control between different characters, and it was also possible to lose members of your party to the vampire hoard, so you could only control members of the party that remained alive.

Zed Two got quite far with a playable prototype but when Infogrames took over Ocean, who originally struck a two games deal with the developer (the other one was Wetrix), they forced the team to work with Warner Bros properties they just bought at a great expense. The promising project was thus morphed into the less ambitious Taz Express.

All information and artworks are courtesy of Pickford Bros official website.

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Hogs Of War [PSX PC – Beta / Unused]

Hogs Of War is a great turn-based tactics game developed and released in 2000 by Infogrames for Playstation and PC. Below you can see an old trailer of this game with some beta stuff in it (thanks to HigherPlainGames for the video):

  • 0.41 the hud in top right of the corner is different than the final version also Frost Fight is different than the final version.
  • 0.48/0.53/1.34 Cratermass has different textures.
  • 1.21 Different viewfinder.
  • 1.41 FR feature (Cancelled)
  • 1.56 Beta pig animation.

Also (Thanks to VADIM567) Herman07 found 2 unused items:

An binocular (Removed because was useless due for the viewfinder on certain weapons) and a Retire Feature (like in Worms series).

Thanks to Herman07 for the contribution! 

Test Drive Cycles [PSX – Cancelled]

Test Drive Cycles is a cancelled motorcycle racing game that was in development in 1998 / 1999 by Accolade’s San Jose studios, the same studio responsible for Test Drive Off-Road 2 and 3.  Infogrames wanted to expand their Test Drive series (Test Drive, Test Drive Off-Road, Test Drive Rally and Test Drive Le Mans) to focus solely on motorcycles with licensed manufacturers such as Harley Davidson, BMW, Moto Guzzi, and Bimota, but in the end the project was never released.

As we can read on IGN:

Up to two players can go head-to-head on 12 tracks from locations all over the world, including the streets of Washington DC, the beaches of Bali, the canyons of Utah, the Alps, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, the French Riviera and even the historic site of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

Players choose from three game modes: Quick Race, Championship and Head-to-Head (two players). In addition to five opponents racing to win the cup, players must also deal with traffic, oil slicks and unpredictable weather conditions. Smashing through certain obstacles will open up new track paths and shortcuts, while trophies, new bikes and upgrades are won along the way. Infogrames even went the extra mile to get the licenses for real manufacturer upgrades, giving each bike its own upgrade pack.

As we can read on the Playstation Museum:

According to some sources within the studio, a major setback occurred when the lead programmer left the team. Coupled with Infogrames’ desire to close the studio, TDC was forever cancelled.

A Dreamcast version of Test Drive Cycles was cancelled too, while GameBoy Color and PC versions  were released in 2000.

Thanks to Father PSX for the contribution!

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