RTS

Team Buddies 2 [PC – Cancelled]

Team Buddies was an interesting merge of top-down shooting and real time strategy elements, developed for the original Playstation by Psygnosis Camden Studio (later SIE London Studio) and published in 2000 by Sony Computer Entertainment in Europe and Midway Games in North America.

As we can read on Wikipedia, its gameplay was quite fun and original for its time:

“The game is a mix of Wormshumour and a typical real-time strategy game. Central to the game’s theme is the ability of a team of buddies to stack crates in a 2×2×2 pad located in their starting area. Stacking the crates in different ways make different items when the resulting larger crate is broken; for example, a single crate on a stacking pad produces a light weapon, four crates positioned horizontally makes a heavy weapon, and filling the pad creates a vehicle.”

This was the last game released under their Psygnosis name, before they were completely absorbed by SCEE. The same team was working on a new version of Team Buddies for PC, that was internally treated as a sequel because of how much more freedom they had when not constrained to the PS1 limitations.

Unfortunately Sony did not want to invest money into the PC market and all Psygnosis games in development at the time for Computers were either cancelled, moved to PlayStation consoles, or licensed to different publishers. This “Team Buddies 2” was then canned and the team was moved to other projects, such as Dropship: United Peace Force and World Tour Soccer 2003 for PlayStation 2.

A few years ago a small indie team started working on a fan-remake of Team Buddies and a former Psygnosis Camden developer got in contact with them, sharing a video of this lost sequel. You can watch the footage below:

Thanks to Matthew for the contribution!

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Incursion (Argonaut Games) [PC – Cancelled]

Incursion is a cancelled squad-based action game that was in development by Argonaut Games in late ‘90, possibly planned to be released on PC. While many other lost games by Argonaut were widely known, a few ones such as Kanaan and Incursion remained forgotten for many years. Argonaut is mostly remembered today as the studio behind such classic games as Starglider, Star Fox and Croc, but between the late ‘90s and early ‘00s they fell into obscurity, until their closure in 2004.

Incursion started development after the cancellation of Kanaan, by the same team. As it happened with Kanaan there are not many details about the game, but only a few small, pre-rendered images. Players would have used a squad of robots, to fight against other robots and aliens squads in different missions.

From what we can see from these images it seems Incursion would have been a real-time action / strategy game, in which players would give commands to their robot-allies while playing as one of them in third or first person view. The team attempted a 3D cell-shaded graphic style for their game, that looked quite awesome for its time.

After Incursion was canned, part of the team left Argonaut to form Pompom games. We tried to get in contact with a few developers who worked on Incursion, but with no luck. Only a few images are preserved below, to preserve the existence of this lost Argonaut project.

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Alien Reign (SquareSoft) [Playstation? – Cancelled]

Alien Reign is a cancelled sci-fi real time strategy game in development by SquareSoft USA (Redmond) in late 1995 / early 1996. While the project was still in early concept phase when it was canned and no console was decided yet, by looking at the partnership between Squaresoft and Sony in 1996 we can speculate that if only completed Alien Reign could have been released on the original Playstation (and maybe on PC?).

The team that was working on Alien Reign was the same which worked on Secret of Evermore, released in October 1995 for the Super Nintendo. This would have been their second game, if Squaresoft Japan would have not closed them down in spring 1996.

Alien Rage was conceived while the Squaresoft USA team was waiting to know their fate while their parent company was going to decide what to do with their American branch. Clayton Kauzlaric, Daniel Dociu, Brad Clarkson and a few other Squaresoft developers tossed around ideas for this new RTS inspired by their love for Warcraft 2.

As wrote by Kauzlaric in his blog:

“We were just ramping up on 3D at Squaresoft during the completion of Evermore, and I was interested in finding tools that would be simple and easy for artists to pick up and learn quickly. KPT Bryce seemed like it had possibilities. I also wanted a look that wasn’t obviously made of tiles like most RTS games. I hoped our backgrounds could have larger pieces of nicely rendered terrain.

These pictures from March of 1996 are the result. I did the terrain. The buildings and robot were designed by our art director Daniel Dociu then modeled and rendered by Square’s resident Alias guru Brad Clarkson.”

When Squaresoft USA was closed down, many former developers (including Kauzlaric) were hired by Cavedog Entertainment (a sub-division of Humongous Entertainment). Cavedog was already working on a new, ambitious sci-fi RTS titled “Total Annihilation”, later presented at E3 1997. As wrote by Kauzlaric:

“It’s a small world. I was sitting in Redmond thinking up ways to incorporate 3D art into an RTS game. It turns out there was a guy just a couple miles away working on an engine for an RTS game with 3D height maps. Once those two thing met up, very good things started to happen.”

In the end Alien Reign was never released, but its concept somehow survived into the Total Annihilation project. As we can read on Wikipedia:

“Total Annihilation was a commercial success. It shipped 250,000 units by October 30, 1997. It ultimately sold over 1.5 million copies by 2002. The game was highly praised by critics, and won numerous awards, including GameSpot’s Game of the Year Award for 1997. It won GameSpy’s Top Ten Real-Time Strategy Games of All Time in 2004, leaving StarCraft in second place.”

 

Fate of the Dragon 2 [PC – Cancelled]

Three Kingdoms: Fate of the Dragon (or simply Fate of the Dragon for short in the U.S. version) is a RTS developed by Overmax Studios, (Now known as Object Software) and published in 2001 for PC. It is based on the historical background of the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

In 2002, the game originally saw an expansion pack/sequel in the form of Dragon Throne: Battle of Red Cliffs, and was set to get a true successor the following year titled, “Fate of the Dragon II“. While a number of screenshots were released, very little about the game was known outside of China, and little to no official announcement or press coverage was given.

According to recent research, and a post on Chinese forum hupu.com, the sequel never saw the light of day, and was indeed cancelled around 80% development. In 2004, the game’s engine and graphics were reused for the still ongoing Chinese exclusive MMO: Fate Online, also known as Fate of the Dragon Online, and Dragon Throne Online. Currently the game has no localization outside of mainland China.

Thanks to Liam Scott for the contribution!

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Civil Warrior [PS3 – Cancelled]

Civil Warrior is a cancelled real time strategy game planned to be released on Playstation 3. The game was in development in 2007 by Castaway Entertainment, a talented team founded in 2003 by former developers who left Blizzard North, some of which were previously working on the cancelled version of Diablo 3 and later on their own spiritual sequel, Djinn.

civil warrior castaway entertainment cancelled

Unfortunately very little is known about Civil Warrior as it was never officially announced and after just a few months the studio closed down. From the only images survived from its cancellation it looks like Civil Warrior was set in a medieval setting with a humorous style. Players would have been able to guide an army composed of soldiers and peasants, probably to rebel against their tyrant king. We can speculate gameplay would have been similar to games like Little King’s Story and Pikmin.

As far as we know Castaway Entertainment did not spent much time on Civil War before its cancellation. Most of their efforts and resources were used to create Djinn, their ambitious and innovative action RPG that would have been published by Electronic Arts. When EA decided to abandon the project, Castaway found themselves without funds to keep their studio alive, so they pitched other smaller projects to various publishers, such as Yaris for Xbox 360 and Civil Warriors for PS3.

These simpler digital games for consoles were a way to receive some money while they were still trying to find another publisher for Djinn, but unfortunately it was not enough to survive. When Castaway closed down in April 2008, Civil Warrior was lost forever along with all of their other game concepts.

In September 2008 part of the Castaway team reformed as Big Tree Games and developed a prototype for a new original game titled “Demonborn” that would have been one of the first MOBA but it was also canned in the end. If you know someone who worked on Civil Warrior and could hep to preserve some more details or screenshots, please let us know!

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