Fear Effect 3 Inferno is the unreleased third title in the Fear Effect series of video games developed by Kronos Digital Entertainment for the original PlayStation. Inferno was originally announced as a PlayStation 2 sequel in 2001, and the first trailer was released during the 2002 E3 event. The trailer depicted some of the only known footage of the game. The game’s status changed rapidly towards the end of 2002 and was finally canceled in 2003. However, between the announcement and the cancellation, information was scarce.
Reports varied as to the status of the game between 2002 and 2003. While an early report by GameSpot in May of 2003 described the game as simply “on hold“, IGN broke the news during their “Missing in Action” series of articles that the game had been canceled. According to IGN’s report, the game “was the first of EIDOS’ victims to its more stringent quality assurance program.”
Due to the game’s poor progress, it was either given more development time or canceled. Unfortunately, only the development staff knew of the game’s status following this condemnation. According to IGN, “at some point in late 2002 or early 2003, Kronos did indeed shop it to various publishers. Nobody, however, bit”.
Only a few screen shots exist that hint at the gameplay style of Fear Effect Inferno. Based on these images, it was concluded that the gameplay would have been nearly identical to the previous two games. However, a new weapon system would have allowed players to map a firearm to the “X” (Cross) button and another to the “O” (Circle) button on the Dual Shock 2 controller. This would have allowed numerous weapon combinations.
In addition, updated diving moves could be executed to quickly evade enemy fire. The environment itself would have allowed players to hide from hazards, such as bullets, and function as a way to avoid detection. It was rumored that players could control certain actions during scripted in-game fight scenes, requiring the player to execute timed button combinations to fight certain opponents. Fear Effect Inferno would have introduced the separation of the “Health” and “Fear” Meters. However, it is not known how the “Fear” Meter would have affected gameplay since the “Health” Meter functioned as both in the previous two titles.
News of the cancellation did not come to fans until 2004, years after the game’s initial announcement and quiet absence. Even Sandy Abe, Chief Operating Officer of Kronos, hinted that EIDOS might give the series a second chance under a new developer, such as Crystal Dynamics, but this was only true for the Tomb Raider franchise. According to an e-mail by Sandy Abe, “Unfortunately Fear Effect probably will not get picked up.“
Many fans continued to go to Kronos’, GameSpot’s, and related message boards to keep the memory alive until interest in a resurrection finally waned in late 2005. The announcement of the movie, has given hope to a new game from an existing EIDOS subsidiary. This potential title would be a video game-adaptation of the movie’s plot. Rumors of a “true sequel” involving any of the original development staff members have been dissolved.
Opinions of the thought of a sequel from one of EIDOS’ remaining studios have been mixed. Devoted fans of the first two PlayStation titles predict that, if a new game is developed, it will not follow Kronos’ storyline for Fear Effect Inferno. Early reports suggest that, if a game is released, it will follow the movie plot, which has already promised to have little relation plot-wise to the situations introduced by the video games. Therefore, only the first two games, which were developed by Kronos, are considered “canon” among fans. [Info from Wikipedia]