Mindware Studios

Unknown Heroes (Mindware Studios) [PC – Cancelled]

Unknown Heroes is a canceled World War II Role-Playing Game developed by Mindware Studios, around 2005-2006, for the PC.

Very few information are currently available for this game. It was first mentionned in September 2008, on the Czech website Visiongame during an interview of Mindware’s lead designer Nikola Matoušková while talking about another cancelled project, Voodoo Nights:

V.G.: Not so long ago, Voodoo Nights was remembered in an article about canceled projects. No one really showed interest in such an interesting game?

N.M.: Many people showed interest, many publishers were even enthusiastic. But as I said before, pushing a new IP address is nearly impossible these days. Especially for a small business in the East. There were a lot of negotiations going on, but in the end, it all kind of fell apart. After a while, one of our main stakeholders came up with the game Army of Two, which had an almost identical concept. Interesting coincidence. And we had more of those irons in the fire, for example the very promising WWII epic RPG Unknown Heroes. There, too, all the negotiations kind of burned out in a weird way. Now I’m still waiting for another big publisher to unexpectedly release this game.

Years later, a low resolution gameplay video was published by one of the folks from Visiongame, showing what looked like a tactical squad based Third-Person Shooter:

During their existence, Mindware had another project that got canceled with their MMOFPS Mindhack.

If you know someone who worked on Unknown Heroes and could help us preserve more screenshots, footage or details, please let us know! 

Voodoo Nights (Mindware Studios) [Xbox 360, PC – Cancelled]

Voodoo Nights was a Third Person Shooter in development at Mindware Studios in 2005 and possibly early 2006, planned to be released on PC and Xbox 360. Announced as a buddy cop movie experience in video game form, Voodoo Nights would have featured two controllable characters that would use coordinated teamwork and black magic to take down their opponents in a fast, dynamic gameplay experience. It would have been Mindware’s second game after their 2005 offering, Cold War.

The story would have been simple enough. Protagonists Jack and Samuel are two loose-cannon cops in an unnamed metropolis, hell-bent on taking down a occult-obsessed gang that has added voodoo magic to their arsenal of weapons. The look and attitude of these two characters seemed like it would have been highly inspired by 1970’s cop and blaxploitation films.

Gameplay would have featured simple orders for the AI-controller character (such as movement and asking for covering fire), the ability to switch between characters at any time and a picture-in-picture view, allowing players to see what our partner was up to at all times, making the use of tactics easier. Another feature, called DeadTime, was a basic bullet time mechanic that would slow down time during the action. With a fully destructible environment and plenty of cinematic effects thrown into the mix, GameSpy would describe the gunfights in a demo of Voodoo Nights they played as “like the opening ten minutes of any given John Woo flick”.

The cops would eventually learn how to use the black arts against their enemies by using a voodoo doll and this would take form as a selection of different powers available to the player, such as telekinesis and physical possession, which could, for example, be used to have one cop either levitate an enemy while the other eliminates him or take control of someone and turn him against his allies, respectively.

Occasionally, Voodoo Nights would offer some variety by introducing a puzzle element. For example, the enemies were not the only ones that could be targeted by telekinesis. The player could use it to get his partner across large gaps as well and, while it’s not certain if this would have been included, Voodoo Nights was to feature an advanced physics engine so we could speculate that object manipulation would have been used for this purpose too.

What ended up happening with the game is unknown. Voodoo Nights was announced in 2005 but had no release date nor a publisher at that point in time. Unfortunately, it seems that it was quietly cancelled soon afterwards, most likely due to a lack of money and interest from publishers. Mindware Studios went on to release two more games: Painkiller: Overdose, a stand-alone expansion for the First Person Shooter Painkiller, in 2007, and Dreamkiller, another FPS, in 2009. Dreamkiller was a critical failure and the czech studio went silent soon after that, finally closing their doors in 2011.

Article by thecursebearer, thanks to Daniel Nicaise for the contribution!




Mindhack (Mindware Studios) [PC – Cancelled]

Mindhack is a cancelled Massive Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter developed by Mindware Studios around 2001-2002, 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!