Mindware Studios

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 Dan for the contribution!

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