Midway Games

Justice for Hire (Midway) [Playstation – Cancelled]

Justice for Hire is a cancelled action adventure / survival horror game that was in development by Big Ape Productions, planned to be published by Midway for the original Playstation. BAP was a small studio based in Novato (CA), that worked on such games as Herc’s Adventures, Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, The Simpsons Wrestling and Celebrity Deathmatch. Sometime in late ’90s – early ’00s they got hired by Midway to develop Justice for Hire, but the project was never officially announced and there are no details about how it would have been played.

Only a few screenshots are saved in the gallery below, to remember the existence of this lost game. Justice for Hire featured pre-rendered backgrounds and was set in a modern-day city, exploring worn-down apartments and basements. We can speculate the game could have been similar to Resident Evil or Fear Effect.

In 2003 Big Ape Productions closed down, after most of their projects did not sell as expected by publishers. We tried many times to get in contact with former BAP developers, but with no luck. If you know someone who worked on Justice for Hire and could help us to preserve more details about the game, please let us know!

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Pojo the Chicken (Midway) [Playstation 2 – Cancelled]

Pojo the Chicken is a cancelled 3D platformer / action game which was in development in 2000 by Atari / Midway Games West for Playstation 2. Pojo was originally born as an easter egg / secret character to be unlocked in such games as MACE: The Dark Age and Gauntlet and she was mostly an internal joke / team mascot for Midway. At some point in late ‘90s the studio jumped the shark and decided to make Pojo the main protagonist of her own game.

As described for Mace: the Dark Age:

“Pojo: The Fighting Chicken, transformed by Countess Taria into something more than human, a force powerful enough to rend the very cosmos in her powerful beak. Pojo wages a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the feathered way.”

Unfortunately only a few screenshots from an early level remain from this lost game to remember its existence. By looking at its colorful graphic, we can assume Pojo the Chicken would have been a fantasy action platformer, with humorous settings and funny jokes. For example the island you can see in these screens was home for Kung Pao, which we speculate was some kind of kung-fu chicken master which could have teached special moves to Pojo. Kung Pao chicken is also the name of a delicious chinese dish.

We don’t know enough about Pojo the Chicken to say if it could have been a fun game to play, but for sure it seems the team had fun at conceiving something as crazy and amusing as a whole game based around a powerful fighting chicken.

The same team also worked on the cancelled Joust 3D for PS2 and Xbox, before developing Dr. Muto which was finally published in 2002 for PS2, Xbox and Gamecube. In 2009 Midway Games filed for bankruptcy, most of its internal games studios where closed and all of its assets were purchased by other companies such as Warner Bros. Probably we’ll never know what really happened to the mighty chicken Pojo.

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Gun Runner [Cancelled – Xbox 360/PS3]

Gun Runner is the cancelled sequel to John Woo’s Stranglehold game from 2007; which was, in turn, a follow-up to the action movie, Hard Boiled. It was being developed by Midway’s Chicago studio and was slated to be released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in late 2009.

The title entered pre-production in May 2008, shortly after Stranglehold’s release in September 2007. It was planned to continue the ongoing story of Hard Boiled and Stranglehold. Chow Yun-fat was down to reprise the lead role of the gung-ho Inspector “Tequila”, lending again both his likeness and voice to the character.

A New Identity

Gun Runner was proposed as the start of a campaign to rebrand Stranglehold, in order to increase its mass appeal. Despite taking place after the first game, its story was going to be completely self-contained, one developer told us.

A key aspect of this new direction for the series was the introduction of Vin Diesel. The actor would have voiced another character, alongside Tequila. A former member of the team we got in touch with described Midway’s idea for the two as “a buddy cop story“. Full multiplayer co-operative support was planned for the story mode, wherein players would have each controlled of one of them. 

Cruis’n Exotica [Beta – N64 / Arcade]

As we can read on Wikipedia, Cruis’n Exotica is the 1999 sequel to Cruis’n World and the third entry in the Cruis’n series by Midway Games. The levels take place in exotic locations in the universe, such as Las Vegas, Thailand, and even the surface of Mars. The game also allows a player to choose a driver visible onscreen during races, including a martian, a baby, a clown, and a cowboy. The game was ported by Gratuitous Games and released on the Nintendo 64 in 2000.

Butterhands found some beta screenshots, that you can see below. There are 2 cars that are missing from the final version, and the car with the 2 girls is the Modbuggy, but is not faithful to the final versions. Also in the Ireland track there were cows are in the street! You could certainly have been able to hit them.

If you know someone that worked on this game or if you have a prototype with these differences, please let us know!

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cruis'n exotica beta
cruis'n exotica beta
cruis'n exotica beta
cruis'n exotica beta
cruis'n exotica beta 

This is Vegas [X360 PS3 – Cancelled]

This is Vegas is an action / sandbox game that was in development for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 since 2006 / 2007  by Midway Games / Surreal Software, but sadly it seems that the game was cancelled in fall / late 2009.  Due to Midway’s financial troubles in 2009 the company sold certain assets to Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment which included This is Vegas and developer Surreal Software. SS then worked on some animations and characters for Snowblind’s LotR: War in the North. In December/January 2010 there were some layoffs and departures and in June 2010 the studio was closed down. 4 years of work on This is Vegas went directly into the bin.

Here is an introduction to This is Vegas’ story from an old Gamespot preview:

The game’s story follows you, an unnamed nobody, as you arrive in Vegas with 50 dollars in your pocket and hazy goals. As luck would have it, you’ll cross paths with Joey Nissan, a local “entrepreneur” who winds up working to get you in with the Vegas crowd. From the sound of it, this bit in the game will be your license to be decadent as you play. Of course, all good things don’t last forever, and soon you meet your nemesis: Preston Boyer, a fast food tycoon bent on cleaning up Vegas to be a family-friendly tourist trap. This doesn’t exactly fly far with you and your new crowd, so your goal will be to stop Boyer and preserve the town’s special atmosphere.

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