MMORPG

Grandia Online [PC – Beta]

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Grandia Online was a MMORPG being developed by Game Arts and published by GungHo Online Entertainment. It was announced in 2004 with a planned released in 2006, but the project was postponed many times and in the end it was released only 5 years later. In the gallery below you can see some images from the original announcement, with an early graphic and some different world areas, if you played the final game and can write a list of all the differences shown in these beta screens let us know!

Thanks to fishinsoup for the contribution!

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HALO MMO (Titan) [X360 PC – Cancelled]

Our nice friends Robert Seddon and Batzarro have linked us to an intersting news that was spotted on Game Set Watch and Gamasutra, that talks about the find of some screenshots from “Titan Project”, an HALO inspired Massive Multiplayer Online game that was in development at Ensemble Studios, but was cancelled in 2007.

Ensemble Studios has recently closed (for financial problems?) after they had finished to work on Halo Wars and a supposed former employer of the team has started to share screens and some infos about the cancelled games that he worked on. On his Flickr Account we can see a wonderfull collection of images from Titan, and on his blog we can read that: “In 2005 Ensemble Studios completed Age of Empires III. Following that, several game prototypes (a major one was ‘Wrench’, more at a later point) were developed. One of them was a Halo inspired MMO codenamed Titan; cancelled after around two years in June 2007.” 

Ultima Worlds Online: Origin [PC – Cancelled]

Ultima Worlds Online: Origin (UWO:O) – originally titled Ultima Online 2 (UO2) – was to be the first sequel to the popular 1997 massively multiplayer online role-playing game Ultima Online. Origin Systems revealed that they were developing UO2 in September 1999 for release within a year or two, but development was cancelled in March 2001.

UO2 was to be set in Sosaria but in an alternate timeline where a cataclysm has collided the past, present and future of Sosaria into a single world, thus bringing Industrial Revolution and steampunk elements to the medieval fantasy world. Players would be able to choose from three playable races.UO2, billed as a “2nd generation MMORPG”, was to improve upon Ultima Online and previous MMORPGs. The most noticeable advancement was the competitive 3D engine that replaced UO’s aging isometric view. The design also changed several aspects that players voiced dislike for in the original UO. In UO2, player vs. player combat was to be disabled by default (except in special areas, such as arenas). The game also would have emphasized grouping, including groups of 20-30 players, and reduced the ability of single players to become all-around grand-masters (i.e., prevent the notorious “tank-mage” characters that appeared in UO).

In March 2001, Electronic Arts (parent company of Origin) announced that development on Ultima Worlds Online: Origin would cease in order to provide additional support for Ultima Online. Shortly after, EA announced it had laid off 200 employees including some at Origin Systems. EA feared that UO2 would compete for subscribers with UO, which was still profitable and not showing signs of slowing down. About one-third of the team that worked on UO2 joined Destination Games to work on Richard Garriott’s MMORPG, Tabula Rasa.

Just a few years later, history repeated itself when EA cancelled Ultima X: Odyssey in 2004. [Info from Wikipedia]

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World of Warcraft [PC – Beta]

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Early in the development of World of Warcraft, when battlegrounds were made, there was a battleground called Azshara Crater. Azshara Crater would’ve been in – you guessed right – Azshara. It was intented to work in a similar fashion to Alterac Valley. A funny detail is that the entrances was already made when the battleground got cancelled, and is still in the final game. The entrance for the Alliance is south of the Forlorn Ridge and the entrance for Horde is north of Forlorn Ridge. Go check it out if you’re bored.

Even if the battleground wasn’t implented in the game, it’s still in the games files.  

True Fantasy Live Online [XBOX – Cancelled]

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TFLO was an MMORPG in development by Level-5 for Microsoft’s Xbox video game console. After a long and troubled development cycle that lasted close to two years, the game was cancelled on June 2nd, 2004. The game was to take place in a massive fantasy setting where up to 3,000 users, each with their own fully customizable character, could adventure around with each other fighting monsters and collecting various items. Often cited as one of the most disappointing project cancellations of recent years, True Fantasy Live Online was highly anticipated almost right from the moment it was announced in 2002, and was touted as one of the premier titles for the Xbox and its Xbox Live online service in Japan.

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Yet despite being “fully playable” and near completion according to Microsoft around the time of its cancellation, the title’s development was littered with complications from the very beginning. One such problem was Level-5’s inexperience with online network coding, and their inability to properly implement voice chat compatibility into the game. It was a feature never before implemented on such a large scale in an MMORPG, however Microsoft was very adamant on its inclusion, as it was a key feature to their Xbox Live service.

Relations between the two companies soon began to spiral out of control as Level-5 struggled to meet the demands required by Microsoft, who in turn grew frustrated at the lack of progress being made on the game. There were also significant disagreements on the direction of the title, with Level-5 aiming to make a more casual based MMORPG, similar to World of Warcraft, and Microsoft demanding a more long-term, Everquest-like title that would draw players in for months to come. After an extremely short and rather underwhelming showing at the Tokyo Game Show in 2003, True Fantasy Live Online was quietly delayed from its initial Fall 2003 release into 2004. From then, little was seen or heard about from the title, and after a surprising absence during the year’s E3 convention, it was officially cancelled by Microsoft on June 2nd.

In the months following, Level-5 President and CEO Akihiro Hino stated in a Japanese interview that the poor relations between his company and Microsoft, partially due to the latter’s inexperience in dealing with Japanese developers, was one of the major reasons behind True Fantasy Live Online’s cancellation. He also heavily implied that the two companies did not part amicably, and it stands to reason that the two companies most likely will never work together again.

[info from Wikipedia]