Survival Horror

Resonance (Neocell Factory) [XBOX, PS2, GameCube – Cancelled]

Resonance is a cancelled action horror game that was being developed by canadian company Neocell Factory. Based in Montreal, Canada, the studio was born from a group of former developers from Vircom Interactive (a MMORPG developer) after its closure around 2002. They started work on the project that would evolve into Resonance and as it grew they were soon joined by other veterans from such big names as Ubisoft and Gameloft. Unfortunately the team was closed down around 2006, with Resonance being their only known game. It was planned to be released initially for the original Xbox in late 2004, although later ports of the game for the PS2 and the Gamecube were also being considered.

Resonance was conceived as a third-person RPG with heavy elements of survival horror, but with the developer determined to distance it from the fixed camera angles and tank controls that other games in the horror genre had been known for up to that point. Work on it initially started in the form of a mod for Neverwinter Nights in 2002, a part-time project during the developer’s early stages. As the game grew, so did the team along with it, eventually evolving into what would become known as Resonance.

From what we can piece together from a few recovered interviews and the game’s long-since defunct official website, Resonance would have been set in a dark fantasy kingdom, inspired by the Renaissance in theme and design, where the age of reason has only begun and science and religion are starting to clash. This conflict between the spiritual and the rational was to be a major theme of the game’s storyline.

With that in mind, Resonance would put the player in the shoes of Faye Wynter, a woman with two very different heritages. Faye was born with a noble standing through her father, a knight close to the King. Her mother, however, was a witch who was eventually caught and burned alive by the Inquisition. Faye’s father stood by powerless as this happened, which drove him to commit suicide. Now an orphan, Faye was taken in by the King himself, and eventually grew up to become a royal investigator, with a talent for diplomacy due to her noble origins and training, but also possessing powers inherited from her mother’s side that she does not fully comprehend. After being sent to investigate the disappearance of the king’s son and an assassination plot put together by a neighbouring kingdom, she embarks on a journey during which she not only has to face a world of danger and human corruption but also begins to discover her true origins, all while being hunted by the Inquisition.

Gameplay-wise, Resonance would have been action-oriented, adding further to the mix of genres. In addition to the puzzle-solving commonly found in survival horror titles, it was to feature open-ended levels with many side quests, a large selection of melee weapons as well as firearms, equippable armors, combo-based combat with three different fighting styles and access to around a dozen special powers. The even more special power related to what gave the game its title, the Resonance, was promised to be something impressive, although the developers seemed to want to keep the details of it a secret.

The intention of Neocell Factory was to make the experience highly customizable and different for everyone that played Resonance. As Faye gained levels, the player would have to make choices regarding what powers they would be given. They would also be rewarded with points used to upgrade different abilities. Faye would too improve her skill with individual weapons the more she used them, starting off as weak the first time she picked one up and eventually improving damage dealt as she became more proficient with it. Enhancing and modifying weapons with special items found in the world was also going to be a feature, as well as a weapon crafting system.

It seems things got complicated at Neocell Factory, however. Resonance was initially announced with a release date of late 2004, exclusively for the Xbox. But who was to publish it remains unknown. A comment left on a trailer for the game that was posted on Youtube claims that the game was eventually finished several months later but it ended up going unpublished as Xbox titles were put aside in favor of the Xbox 360, which was about to be released at the time. The timeline on the official website seems to confirm this, as an update posted in February of 2006 reveals that Resonance had finally reached its final beta stage. Screenshots showing how the game had evolved since 2004 were also posted, but other information on the different characters and other aspects of the game, seem to have been lost to time.

With no way to publish the game they worked hard on for four years, it would be safe to assume that Neocell Factory had to end up closing. If it was indeed finished, hope remains that one day this project can be finally released to the public by someone from the former Neocell Factory team.

Article by thecursebearer

Thanks to Akhamesh and Matt Gander from for the contributions!




Deadlight [XBOX/PS2 – Cancelled]

Deadlight was a short lived game cocept dreamt up as an attempt to save Blue 52 in its final months.  It was based upon the Stolen engine but designed specifically to take advantage of the unique, at that time, dynamically lit rendering engine for PS2.  It was set on the SS Hyperion that the player mysteriously comes across after getting stranded at sea.

The main mechanic of the game was that different coloured lights scared different creatures and that all creatures were scared by “deadlight”.  The aim was to use the streaming system such that the game would stream from disk and would require no level loads throughout the entire game.  The 15 minutes of gameplay that had been implemented were good fun.  It was a real shame that the game was never signed up.

At One Bit Beyond, the personal blog of Jonathan Biddle (former Blue 52 lead designer), we can read a deeper article about the development of Deadlight, with many interesting info:

Aside from the bioluminescence and susceptibility to light, we were also keen on the concept of an ecology having formed on the SS Hyperion. This would mean a hierarchy, essentially a food chain, of different species hunting or hiding from each other. The strategy for the player would be to learn which species formed which part of the food chain and exploit it. […]

Amazingly, this took 13 people only six weeks, starting totally from scratch. While it wasn’t 100% successful at demonstrating our mechanics, we had created a compelling, playable demonstration of what Deadlight could be. […]

While there was always a lot of interest from publishers, Deadlight was never to be. Because Blue52 had had two games cancelled – although through no fault of their own […] – it meant that the company hadn’t shipped a game for nearly four years, and were deemed to be a high risk investment.

With the death of Blue52, we tried to reposition Deadlight on PSP with the newly formed Curve Studios. We got extremely close with one publisher, even getting as far as flying to the US to sign an agreement, only for them to change their mind while we were en route!

Jonatahn is currently working at Curve Studios on Explodemon! an upcoming 2.5D platform game for PlayStation Network, Microsoft Windows and WiiWare, that is described as “what Treasure would create if they mixed Yoshi’s Island with Half-Life 2”.

Thanks a lot to Oscar and Jonathan Biddle for their contributions!




Dead Rush [XBOX/PS2/GC – Cancelled]


Dead Rush was a cancelled video game that was designed by Treyarch and would have been published by Activision. The game would have taken place in the town of Eastport where a massive earthquake has destroyed most of humanity. As Jake, a character suffering from memory loss, the players job was to try and find out exactly what happened in Eastport, which is now overflowing with zombies.

The game’s main claim to fame was the fact that as Jake players could operate one of several vehicles scattered around town. Not only would this provide the player with a means of transportation but it would also serve as armor of sorts. The zombies in Eastport would try to wreck whatever car Jake was driving. Luckily the player could create new vehicles out of parts of previously demolished cars.

The game would have featured few load times, as after an initial boot up the game would never pause to load data from the disc again. The game was announced at E3 2004 and set to be released in 2005. It was cancelled shortly thereafter. [Info from Wikipedia]

Gaming Conviction did an interview with Gideon Emery who was the voice of Dead Rush’s main character Jack:

GC: I read that you did the voice of a character named Jake in a cancelled game in 2005 called Dead Rush. Do you remember any details about the character?
GE: It was the lead character in a game and I was thrilled to book it. Don;t recall much. I had one recording session, then heard nothing. Later I learned the game was shelved as it wasn’t developing to the level or speed that they wanted. What I do remember was being very disappointed, as it would have been my first true lead.




Resident Evil 1 [PSX – Beta / Concept]

In the mid ’90s Shinji Mikami began to work on a new horror game set,just like NES’ Sweet Home, in a large building surrounded by a forest. Maybe influenced by the recent success of Doom, the project was initially conceived as a FPS. We know next to nothing about this first prototype, but it would have surely been one of the most advanced shooter created yet. However at the end Capcom selected another pc game, Alone in the Dark, as a model for their new product, and Resident Evil / Bio Hazard became an action adventure with a strong emphasis on survival.

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the first draft of the story, but at least we have few artworks about Dewey and Gelzer, two beta characters, later replaced by Rebecca and Barry, that represented respectively the strong guy (in this case a cyborg) and the comic partner. We can only speculate that at the beginning the narrative was less serious, and the graphic style not that realistic (for the standards of the time).

Co-op beta

After one year of development, in 1995, previews of the first playable builds of Resident Evil started to appear in gaming magazines.

In these screens we can see that originally the game could have been played in co-op. Jill also had a different costume and the fight with the snake was in the room that connects the house with the garden. We don’t know if in this early beta there were still leftovers of the removed locations in the code (the cementery, the paths in the forest) that were, like Trevor’s letters, later reintroduced in the RE remake for the Gamecube.

Resident Evil 08/04/1995

In 2010, Tyrant of recovered a beta of Resident Evil that dates back to 08/04/1995. It seems to be similar to the V-Jump ’95 build, so for a list of the main differences see the paragraph below. Unfortunately, in this version the co-op mode was already removed, even if some leftovers can still be found in the folders of the iso. Only Chris is playable, and it is not possible to see the map or access the inventory. Interestingly, you can change weapons in real-time. Also, in this beta Barry can save Chris too, but just because they didn’t make the event exclusive to Jill’s scenario yet. In 2011, Hidden Palace released this particular build to the public.

Notice how Dewey and Gelzer’s character portraits are still present in the game’s code.

V-Jump ’95 Presentation

In the video of the V-Jump ’95 Presentation, linked below, we can see an early beta with some differences:

  • No cutscenes
  • Some different camera angles
  • Chris polygonal model was less detailed and he began the game armed
  • Different music and japanese voices
  • All the zombies had white jackets
  • The blue gallery had four pillars
  • Some minor differences in many rooms
  • Kenneth Sullivan (the corpse in the backroom) is in another location in the final game
  • Spiders instead of dogs in the corridor (it still happens in the released version when you return in the mansion after the guardhouse)
  • Hunters at the beginning of the game!
  • No metal plate for the crests in the outside corridor
  • The first fight against the snake was moved in a room in the first floor in the final game
  • The room where chris fights the snake in the video is different in the final version

Probably this build is more recent than the  08/04/1995 one, but not by much.

Maximum console 1996 Preview

A slightly different Tyrant

Wesker in the plant room? Most likely it was just a placeholder, but as we know, in the final version Wesker is in the guardhouse, we meet him after the boss… what if at the beginning we could fight the plant with him?

Also, in the same issue, the article mentions a graveyard among the other locations of the game. This is strange, because if it was still planned to be included we should have at least some screenshots of it. Maybe it got dropped at the end of the development? and if so, why it wasn’t included in the director’s cut ?

Trial Version

More unseen material can be found in a demo called Resident Evil Trial. This version was more or less the same as the final game but there were still some differences: no keyboard in the hall, the plant’s book was in the tiger’s statue, the shield was in the blue hall, many items were in other places, some camera angles were different, etc etc.

Far more interesting are the objects that can be unlocked in the demo with the action replay: a pickaxe (probably used in the caves), Oil (used to burn zombies like in REmake?), beta version of the ink cartridges, the magnum and flamethrower ammo. Also, originally Bio Hazard was meant to have Japanese voices, but they were changed as Shinji Mikami felt that it wasn’t realistic for the characters to speak another language, as they were supposed to be American.

Thanks to KeijiDragon for the video with the original japanese dialogue!

Thanks to the The Horror is Alive forum, one of the best sources for RE, and Resident Evil Beta DE.




Resident Evil 1.5 [PSX – Cancelled]


Resident Evil 2 began development in 1996 shortly after the original game and was originally scheduled for a March 1997 release. However, as the game was approaching its release date, the developers were unsastified with the resulting product. Rather than releasing a game they were unhappy with, the developers took the risk of developing the game from scratch. This scrapped version of the game was later dubbed Resident Evil 1.5. by the internal staff of Capcom.

This prototype version of the game starred Leon S. Kennedy from the finished game and Elza Walker, a prototype of Claire Redfield. Like Claire Redfield, Elza was a motorcyclist and college student, with the only difference being her appearance and the fact Elza had no ties to any established character from the previous games. Other supporting characters from the released game also appeared in Resident Evil 1.5. For example, Marving Branagh, a minor character who gets killed off early in the finished game played a major role in the prototype, helping Leon and Ada escape. The settings of the game were also significantly changed, with the police station in the original prototype having a more contemporary design. – [info from Wikipedia]

In early 2013 the beta / prototype version of Resident Evil 1.5 was finally leaked online, and many gamers are now able to check a part of what the game was meant to be. You can find the RE 1.5 proto / beta to download around the web, with a simple Google Search.

For more infos: Resident Evil 2: Beta Backgrounds Comparison

Also you can check: (sadly, only in german but nice pics)