In 2007 Sony announced that they will add a new MMO to its collection on MMOs released to that time (Everquest). On 10th August 2007 Sony announced that they will be developing new MMO in partnership with Virgin Comics. Game will be based on Ramayan 3392 A.D. comics released under Virgin Comics. It is a futuristic reinterpretation of indian mythology. Sony signed a multiyear cooperation with the team behind the comics.
Virgin Comics cofounder and CEO Sharad Devarajan explained that the game’s cultural roots will help bring a fresh perspective to the genre.”
Ramayan 3392 A.D. is based on the ancient Sanskrit epic Ramayana. The story follows a battle between humans and demons in a post-apocalyptic world. The comic was written by Shamik Dasgupta with illustrations by Abhishek Singh, and was based on a story by author Deepak Chopra and Elizabeth (1998) director Shekhar Kapur.
Ramayan 3392 A.D. was aimed for 2010 release. Until today, the game hasn’t been released and on most sites can be found its status on release date only as TBD.
Project Copernicus is a cancelled PC MMO that was in development by 38 Studios (AKA Green Monster Games) between 2006 and 2012, an overly ambitious project that got their creators to fail in bankruptcy in a long and painful venture. This would have been their first project: the company was conceived precisely to develop a new, profitable Massive Multiplayer Online Game, a “World of Warcraft killer”.
As we can read from an in-depth article by Tech Raptor:
“In 2006, baseball pitcher Curt Schilling announced he would continue working in a new field: video games. After speaking with several friends and family members, he would found Green Monster Gaming with one goal in mind: create a new MMO.
Schilling himself was an avid fan of MMORPGs, playing the likes of World of Warcraft in the off-seasons and wanted to add to the market a passion project of his own design. Schilling was not alone in this passion. Two of his biggest backers to Green Monster Gaming, famous fantasy author R.A Salvatore and conceptual artists Todd McFarlane, were also gung-ho on the potential of any projects the studio could create.
This is in part to Schilling himself, who stated in an interview just after his studio closed, “If it wasn’t an MMO, I wouldn’t have done it. If you look at the game space now, if you want to build something that’s a billion-dollar company, the only game to do that with is an MMO.”
Some of the big names to join the company would include Travis McGeathy, the lead designer of the MMO Everquest; and Jennifer MacLean, former chairperson of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and the VP General Manager of Games at Comcast. ”
There is not much info on Copernicus’ gameplay, but we know they heavily invested into its settings and lore, with a 10,000 year game-history created by R.A. Salvatore and art direction by Todd McFarlane. After the team failed to gather interest and funds from investors to complete their MMO, they decided to acquire Big Huge Games from THQ.
Their plan was to release a less ambitious single player action RPG: the result was Kingdoms of Amalur, a game that merged a project already in development by BHG with part of Copernicus’ settings and lore. As we can read on RPG Fans:
“For three and a half years, we had the Amalur universe in 38 Studios,” Schilling said. “The IP is being led by this team of very passionate people, we’re making this MMO, we’ve got a roadmap – and in a 24 hour span, we add 90 employees who now all of a sudden are taking the baby being created in Boston. There’s 90 people we don’t know and we’re handing off this multi-billion dollar, multi year project… to who?”
But perhaps it wasn’t so crazy. As it turns out, Big Huge Games had already been laying the groundwork for their own single player RPG project under lead designer Ken Rolston, of Morrowind and Oblivion fame.
“They had been shopping this fantasy game for a long time,” said Schilling. “From a tech perspective and a game design perspective, there was a solid foundation. But they were missing the story – the thing that makes a great RPG. We had that. It was a match made in heaven, because not long after the partnership, when Bob [Salvatore] and Ken [Rolston] and the creative team sat down together, there was a lot of magic going on.”
Unfortunately even Kingdoms of Amalur did not sell enough to keep 38 Studios alive and without being able to keep their MMO in development, the company closed for bankruptcy in 2012:
“38 Studios went to Delaware’s bankruptcy court this afternoon beginning the arduous process of salvaging what it can in the face of a $270 million debt. The hearing marked the first opportunity since the studio filed for bankruptcy for creditors to question the company’s executives. According to the Boston Globe, creditors and employees who have gone unpaid since May will likely receive nothing through the proceedings as the studio takes the first steps towards liquidation.”
“Kingdoms of Amalur would go on to be a modest success for 38 Studios. Published by Electronic Arts, as a part of their EA Partners program, Kingdoms of Amalur would see 1.3 million copies sold in three months, which for a new IP was respectable. Schilling, and later Chafee, would note that the game needed to hit around 3 million units sold to break even on development costs and turn a profit.”
We don’t know exactly how much of Project Copernicus was done before its cancellation, but enough footage and screenshots were leaked online to have a good idea of how it would have looked like. Unfortunately, from what Curt Schilling said, his dream MMO was not fun to play:
“The money was only a secondary concern to Schilling. “The game wasn’t fun… It was my biggest gripe for probably the past eight to 12 months.” Evidently the combat lagged and no one seemed to be playing it around the office.”
“As the studio collapsed, employees were left in the dark. Worse, their health insurance was shut off without notice – which one pregnant woman only discovered upon going to a doctor’s appointment. The company that was supposed to handle relocation fees didn’t finish the job, leaving several employees stuck with mortgages on their old homes as well, and bills that were supposed to have been handled through management hadn’t been.”
Invasion is a cancelled massive online multiplayer shooter in development by Turbine Inc (mostly known for other online games such as Asheron’s Call and Dungeons & Dragons Online) for Playstation 2 around 2003. The team worked on a single-player prototype to test gameplay using Driver-Inter‘s proprietary engines, but in the end the project was cancelled, probably because of difficulties in creating a proper MMO game on the 6th generation of consoles.
As you can see from the prototype footage and screenshots preserved in this page, the game was quite impressive for its time, at least graphically. Some details about Invasion can still be found on Driver Inter’s website:
“Invasion is a third-person shooter where player searches an abandoned Martian colony for its secrets in order to prevent a menace of an alien invasion on Earth.
The game is a demo with several types of weapons, powerups, enemies, quest items, an NPC that requires protection from player and a boss at the end of the last episode. The demo contains three episodes in three different areas: abandoned outpost, canyon and underground lab.
This project was a first stage of development of a unique massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) “Invasion!” where players were expected to:
Explore and defend a Martian-invaded earth
Guide “smart actors” who experience the world as a personalized sci-fi epic
Fight creatures great and small in entertaining monster movie battles
Evolve new abilities, new body parts, and new ways to play the game
The MMOG project “Invasion!” was cancelled.
In 2010 Turbine was acquired by Warner Bros and renamed WB Games Boston, working on MOBA Infinite Crisis and smartphone versions of Batman: Arkham Underworld and Game of Thrones: Conquest.
Infiltrator Shadow Wars is a cancelled Massive Multiplayer Online RPG that was in development by Orbital Frog Productions for the XBOX. As we can read in the original press release, the game was set in a futuristic online world of espionage: Orbital Frog promised that Infiltrator would had in-depth character development and an enveloping and interactive environment for the player to interact with. There was to also be an interactive online environment to pit the players to the task of creating their own teams, researching new weapons, and brand new technologies.
During the development something went wrong and Infiltrator: Shadow Wars had to be cancelled. Sadly only few concept arts remain from this lost project.
Ambrosia Odyssey is a cancelled Action RPG with online multiplayer that was in development for the Playstation 2 in 2003 by Rocket Studio with help from KAI Graphics (for CG movies) and Supersweep (for music), meant to be published by Square Enix. The game had a multiple branching storyline in offline mode, in which you were able to create towns and foster their development to follow different plots, then connect online to share your game world with other players and visit their own towns and stories.
A video of the game was shown at the Tokyo Game Show 2003, but it only has some characters creation footage, blurred combats and a pre-rendered FMV (thanks a lot to CRC for preserving this video!).
An online beta testing was planned for spring 2004 (?), but we are not sure if it really happened before the cancellation. Ambrosia Odyssey was soon removed from Square Enix release list, maybe because of the popularity of their other online game, Final Fantasy XI.
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