Survival Horror

If it Happen [Dreamcast – Cancelled]

If It Happen is a cancelled horror adventure game that was in development by Fujicom around 2001 – 2002, planned to be released on Dreamcast. As reported by IGN the game was officially announced in Japan in June 2001, and it was mentioned in a few Japanese magazines such as Dorimaga, but soon it vanished with not much ever being shown. In 2021 The Dreamcast Junkyard found a trailer for “If It Happen” hidden as an unlockable video in another Fujicom game titled “Bokomu no Tatsujin”:

“[…] there is a shop in this game that lets you purchase appliances for your home such as a computer, an air conditioner and – most importantly here – a television. Once you eventually pony up the cash for this TV you can view both the Bomber Hehhe and this horror game trailer on it.”

The style of characters and the hotel / mansion shown in this trailer looks similar to other japanese horror adventures such as Clock Tower or D. Unfortunately there are no details about how it would have been played, but we can assume players would have explored the mansion, escaping from evil mannequins (?). Dice covered in blood were somehow part of the story.

If you find something else about If It Happen in other japanese magazines, please let us know!

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Cult County (Renegade Kid) [Cancelled – 3DS, Wii U, PS3, PSVita, PC]

Cult County is a cancelled psychological horror game that was in development by Renegade Kid around 2013, originally announced for Nintendo 3DS at PAX 2013 and later also planned for PS4, PS3, PSVita, Wii U, PC, and Xbox One when they unsuccessfully tried to fund the game on Kickstarter. Their plan for the project was to create an episodic horror tale, something like “The Walking Dead meets Silent Hill 2 from a first-person perspective”.

The team is mostly known for cult-classic Nintendo DS horror titles such as Dementium: The Ward and Moon, plus fun platforming adventures such as Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter. While they always showed skills and love for Nintendo consoles, their games never sold much unfortunately.

Some details about Cult County can still be read on their Kickstarter campaign page, which raised just  $ 46.736 of their $ 580.000 goal:

“Cult County is an all-new first-person survival horror game that blends the episodic story-telling of The Walking Dead with the classic tension-filled exploration and action of Silent Hill and Resident Evil, presenting an opportunity for fans to help a veteran team produce a new experience that is fresh, exciting, and scary!

Rebirth of the survival horror FPS genre, crafted with fan input.
Story-driven gameplay, featuring memorable character interactions.
Small West Texas town filled with tension, mystery, and scares.
Vulnerable and personalized melee and firearm combat.
Varied cast of creepy enemy encounters and devious boss battles.

You assume the role of Gavin Mellick, whose mother has fallen deathly ill. Unable to reach your older sister, Alissa, by phone you drive the 6 hours across Texas to visit her in person and share the sad news. You return to the small town where you spent your summers as a child with Alissa, at your late aunt’s house. There is a particularly savage dust storm rolling in when you arrive.

Unable to locate your sister, you ask some of the locals for help. You quickly learn about their suspicions of a cultish group that recently moved into town, and the unexpected suicide of Father Pearce. The locals offer very little help finding your sister, and it isn’t long before your search takes an unexpected dark turn, leading you down a road of no return.

You are alone. You are unarmed. You see strange “people” linger on the edge of the dust storm, who seem to be watching your every move. But, as soon as you turn your head to face them, they disappear. Who are they? Where do they go? What do they want?

As you explore deeper into the town, searching for any clues that might lead to your sister, you meet various town folk who offer their own anecdotes on what the “people” might be. Some claim they are just your imagination, and some say they are part of the new cultish group who recently moved into town. One person even goes as far to name them “Dust Devils“!”

With no support on Kickstarter, Renegade Kid possibly tried to find a publisher for Cult County, but without success. After releasing Moon Chronicles and Dementium Remastered on Nintendo 3DS, in August 2016 Renegade Kid announced that it was shutting down. It’s currently unknown if Cult County could be resurrected in the future, but if so we could see it from Infitizmo, the new team created by former Renegade Kid cofounder Gregg Hargrove.

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Russian Retro Sci-Fi Horror Project (SCEJ) [Cancelled – PS3]

Between 2008 and 2010 Sony Computer Entertainment Japan were working on a new “Russian retro Sci-Fi Horror” video game for their Playstation 3, but in the end the project was cancelled. While this new PS3 game was never officially announced by Sony, a single concept art was revealed by Masahiro Ito (of Silent Hill fame) on Twitter in 2017, before he removed its own tweet.

Ito also talked about this lost game during an interview with Silent Hill Memories:

Out of the games that you have worked on, which game stands out the most for you and why?

It is a game when I have worked on in SCE from 2008 to 2010, but was not released. It’s a Russian retro Sci-Fi horror action game.”

As noted by GodzillaDB on NeoGAF in 2017:

“it would appear that conceptualization of the Russian sci-fi horror project began somewhere close to 2006 based on images from his official website. If you start from the top of the paintings section (while being mindful of some sensual imagery), the entire third row along with parts of the fourth seem dedicated to the production. I wasn’t aware these works actually belonged to an unfortunately scrapped game until fairly recently. I was actually under the impression they were simply a “subject matter” study that he explored in his art book, The 2nd Wild Pig, which was released at Comiket 74; however, it has been difficult to obtain exact details about its content despite remarks from the artist about making his work available in the West in some form or another. Ultimately, it appears a multi-media project called Acid Bufferzone has cannibalized remnants of the material shared between figurines and seemingly a manga series from Ito-san as well.”

Unfortunately at the moment this concept art is the only remaining document from the game. It would be interesting to see screenshots from the probable prototype they were able to create during the early development.

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Bizerta: Silent Evil [WiiU – NOT Cancelled]

Update: as wrote by Edrox Interactive in the comments below, the game is still planned to be released on WiiU in the following months, so it’s not cancelled:

“it’s coming out on wii u in the next months”

You can search on the Nintendo eShop for WiiU to find the game soon.

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Bizerta: Silent Evil is a cancelled survival horror heavily inspired by Resident Evil & Silent Hill, that was in development by Edrox Interactive, initially for Sony PSVita and later for Nintendo WiiU. The game was announced around 2015 and in mid 2017 the project was still planned to be released for WiiU, but in the end it just quietly vanished.

Some details about this lost game can still be found in their official website:

Bizerta: Silent Evil sets the stage inside a disheveled World, softly lit by the moonlight overrunning its foliage and blanketing corridors with darkness.

“Bizerta : SILENT Evil” for Wii U is the story of Ash Lightheart drawn by the mystical power of the City called Bizerta. Ash was 15-years-old but one day, he woke up in a dark world as a 30-year-old man. You have to explore this world, slinking through a large creepy, and seemingly empty, building to find out what happened. The title will use extensively the Wii U GamePad’s touch screen for puzzle solving, unlocking doors, and other mini games and mechanism interactions.”

In 2015 Cubed3 also published an interview with Edrox Interactive, unveiling their hopes for the project:

Randy: Can be tough, at times, the way the market swings, it’s completely unpredictable. Can you go into any details about the disruption you were faced with before coming over to Nintendo?

Ouissem: The biggest issue on Vita is that I have a PSM license so I can only publish a game with limited size on their store, which is 1 GB. That’s simply not enough for my game. Actually, many people asked them for more but Sony kept ignoring them, so I feel that the PSM program is more suited for mini games or something casual, not for a horror adventure.

Randy: Earlier you hinted that you missed puzzles specifically in the horror genre, can Nintendo gamers expect to challenge puzzle based obstacles in Silent Evil or is it more geared to providing action oriented elements?

Ouissem: That’s my goal actually – to try and combine these two elements. I won’t make it easier for people to get out of this nightmare!

Randy Freer: Are there additional playable characters in the cast or does Silent Evil focus on a single protagonist?

Ouissem: Only one playable Character.”

As far as we can understand, the game was in development by one single developer, so it’s safe to say that it became a project too ambitious for his small resources. As of April 2020 Edrox Interactive website is still online: could we see Bizerta released on other consoles or PC one day?

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The Dark Half: Endsville [Playstation, PC – Cancelled]

The Dark Half: Endsville (also known as The Dark Half Interactive) is a cancelled survival horror / adventure game based on the homonymous book by Stephen King. It was officially announced in early 1997, in development by Bits Studios and to be published by THQ and Orion Interactive for Playstation and PC. Unfortunately it seems they never released any screenshot from the game, but details about the project can still be found online in various forms.

In April 1997 IGN wrote:

“T-HQ announced today that it has signed an agreement with Orion Interactive to jointly publish The Dark Half, based on the novel by horror writer Stephen King. The game will be developed by the UK’s Bits Studios.

Also involved in the development of the game will be writers Matt Costello and Paul Wilson, who previously worked on PC titles The Seventh Guest and The Keep, respectively.

Revolving around protagonist Thad Beaumont’s struggle with his evil alter ego, The Dark Half is promised to be a 3D, third-person adventure game, “that will accurately reflect the Stephen King novel,” a T-HQ spokesperson said.”

During their E3 1997 report IGN also wrote:

“A new game for the PC and Playstation will be based on the King novel The Dark Half. The game will be based on Stephen King’s novel about a writer who must struggle with his evil alter-ego. It will be a real time, 3D adventure that contains 28 levels in seven different worlds. The Dark Half: Endsville is forecast for a 1998 release.”

GamePen’s E3.NET published another press release for the game:

“Stephen King, master of disturbing prose, is coming to the PlayStation and the PC next year in fiendish style with “The Dark Half.” The game will be based on King’s eerie tale of writer Thad Beaumont’s struggle with his murderous alter-ego, George Stark. The novel will be transformed into code through the use of two different game engines, one for the pre-rendered world of Beaumont, and one for the rendered-on-the-fly nightmare world of killer George Stark.”

We also know that Jeffery Lieber (mostly known for co-writing the Lost series) would have been the game’s producer, thanks to an old blog post by Paul Wilson:

“I was delighted to see “story by Jeffery Lieber” in the opening credits.  Jeff and I go back to the mid-1990s when Matt Costello and I were scripting the “Dark Half Interactive” project for Orion Interactive; Jeff was acting as producer.  He’s not the least bit squeamish but Matt and I managed to gross him out with our “Birthing Woman” interaction (don’t ask). The project was orphaned and became vaporware when MGM bought Orion.”

More memories about working on the game can also be found in Paul Wilson books “Repairman Jack, and More” and “Aftershock & Others: 16 Oddities”.

If you know someone who worked at Bit Studios in 1997 and could still have some images from this lost game, please let us know!

Thanks to eSpy for the contrbution!

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