Survival Horror

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.

Original story:

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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Jacks of Evil [PC – Cancelled]

Jacks of Evil is a cancelled horror FPS which was in development between 2003 and 2004 at Fear Studios. Unfortunately, little information is known about this game and the team behind it. It was planned to come out in July 2005, but the exact period and reason for its cancellation remain undetermined.

jacks-of-evil-fear-studios-cancelled-horror-fps-1

As stated by a developer in an old interview on GenGamers, the backstory was as following:

“You’re working in secret organization, that opposite Dark Forces. It’s name is “Jacks Of Evil”. People in this organization call each other as “hunters”. Killing creatures of Dark Forces, such as Demons, Vampires, Zombies etc – is their usual work. You are a professional hunter. Your name is Aleksey Gromov. Once our hero is sent to Shanta city in Siberia. It seemed to be usual work, but… something went wrong. It seems that happened we all were aware of. People and Evil cooperated to help each other.“

The Studio also described some ideas they planned to implement in their canned FPS, such as slow-motion effects with motion blur and a damage system. Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies, and Demons were some of the classic enemies players would have to hunt down during the game, giving it some recognizable characters in the horror genre. More ambitious concepts and mechanics were also considered by the team:

“It’s planned to make a game scenario with key scenes, that can be generated randomly. I.e. you are walking through the room and then suddenly you’re attacked by a Vampire. Youīre losing the battle, then loading your save-game, walking to this place and … there is no vampire! And of course there will be different story lines. Probably there will be 3-4 different endings. I think that’s enough for such games.“

Fear Studios also wanted to implement a multiplayer mode, featuring mod-support (to be available soon after the game would‘ve come out) to bring even more variety to the game. 

In the end we can speculate the team did not find a publisher for their project and Jacks of Evil was quietly canned.

Article by Vipaah, thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Nightfall (Core Design) [PS2 – Cancelled]

Around 2002 Core Design had already completed a few games for PlayStation 2, such as Project Eden and Thunderhawk, both released in 2001, and they were going to complete Herdy Gerdy, an action / strategy puzzle game. During this time they were also working on a cancelled survival / action horror game titled Nightfall, of which unfortunately there is limited information available.

Former Core Design developers we talked to, remember that Nightfall was going to be a game about surviving in an island overrun by werewolves, after the main character crashed there in a helicopter. It seems that before Nightfall the team tried to pitch a videogame adaption of the Preacher comic to Vertigo / DC Comics, but that was soon canned so they tried to develop their concept into a new, original IP. It’s possible that the idea about a Preacher video game was conceived during the same time in which independent filmmaking studios Storm Entertainment and Electric Entertainment announced the pre-production of a Preacher movie, but after a while the film was pushed back (and never realized) because of financial issues.

People that were able to see an early Nightfall prototype remember that it looked great for a PS2 title, but not much work was done on it before the cancellation. After Nightfall was cancelled, Core Design developed such titles as Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, Smart Bomb and the cancelled Fighting Force 3, until they were sold from Eidos to Rebellion Developments Ltd.

We hope to be able to preserve more info about Nightfall Unseen64 in the future, but for now it remains one of the most interesting and obscure lost games, by one of the most important software houses from the late ‘90s.

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