third person shooter

Syndicate Reboot (EA Black Box) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Around 2005 Canadian team EA Black Box was working on a Syndicate reboot (8 years before their 2012 reboot of the series), to be published for the 7th generation of consoles (Xbox 360, Playstation 3). While the original Syndicate was a real-time strategy game, this new project could have been a more linear action oriented third person shooter, a popular genre on console at the time.

Unfortunately EA never officially announced this new Syndicate, so details about the game are basically zero. What we know is this Syndicate reboot was cancelled not long after: the team tried to convert it into an even more fast-action shooter featuring a female protagonist, but in the end even this new incarnation was canned. Part of the same team later worked on Gunhead, another interesting, cancelled third person adventure featuring a gun-headed protagonist.

Black Box were moved to more profitable projects such as Need for Speed, NBA Street and Skate, before part of the team was laid-off by EA Canada in 2012, when the studio was renamed into Quicklime Games to focus on social gaming and free-to-play.

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Tower (Grin) [Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

Tower is a prototype for a cancelled team-based third person shooter for Xbox 360 and PS3, that was in development by Grin, the team mostly known for such games as Bionic Commando Rearmed, Wanted: Weapons of Fate and the cancelled Final Fantasy Fortress. With its arcadey graphic and gameplay, Grin probably desired to create a simple but fun online multiplayer experience, possibly to publish it digitally on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Store.

As you can imagine from its title, Tower offered multiple-floors arenas with an interesting gameplay mechanic: players would have been able to freely move around all surfaces of the towers, walking on walls and ceilings. This would have created many different approaches to combat, as you and your enemies could shoot and run around from multiple places.

Not much more is known about this lost game. In the end the project was halted (along with their other canned games: Streets of Rage Reboot, Strider, Wanted 2) because of Grin’s financial difficulties that eventually bankrupted the company. In the gallery below you can find some screenshots and footage from an early build, preserved to remember its existence.

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Burnt Out Cop [PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

Burnt Out Cop is a cancelled action game that was in development by Infinite Lives and HotGen Studios around 2002 – 2003, planned to be published by Sega for Playstation 2 (and the original Xbox). Infinite Lives spent a few months developing a playable demo and creating an extensive Game Design Document (that was later shared online on their official website). HotGen Studios was impressed by their work and offered them more funding and resources, while the game was proposed to Sega for publishing. Unfortunately internal issues between HotGen and Infinite Lives caused the latter to lose the IP and in the end the game was canned.

More details about Burnt Out Cop can still be found in the original Design Doc:

“Unorthodox methods and unnecessary force alienate this street-wise cop from his precinct. This adrenaline-fuelled, arcade style, third-person shooter is predominately viewed from a top-down position. The gameplay is heavily based on classic arcade games combining the art of Street Fighter with the frenetic frenzy of Smash TV and Powerstone. Rather than using standard rendered 3D models, the game employs a hand drawn look giving it an unconventional comic book edge. Exaggerated movement and animation, as opposed to life-like motion capture, emphasise the speed and power of the characters. In contrast to Burnt Out Cop’s fast gameplay and slick image, its action is often humorous. Taking a tongue-in -cheek approach, it features many cop movie clichés, including larger than life characters and recognisable locations and set pieces. The cop’s manoeuvres are heavily based on those found in many John Woo films (for example, Hard Boiled and Mission: Impossible II) combined with the slapstick nature of Jackie Chan fight sequences. A fictional Hong Kong environment containing eighties undertones provides the backdrop for the explosive showdowns.”

  • Advanced gunplay: Floor bad guys and catch their guns out of the air or grab an opponent and use him as a human shield.
  • Rapid Targeting: Aim and shoot at the press of a button. Hold two guns and simultaneously target multiple opponents.
  • Extensive Weapon Range: Contains plenty of slapstick action: use traditional ballistic weapons mixed with everything you can get your hands on, including frying pans, chickens and prosthetic limbs.
  • Humour: A true crowd pleasing game featuring a witty send-up of classic cop movies and other games.
  • Self-Improvement: On his path to redemption his mental state and physical abilities are regained and improved.

“Guns play a key role in the game, both in terms of how they are acquired and how they are used. Another important feature is the relative lack of ammunition available. Unlike games where this would result in more cautious and frugal play Burnt Out Cop creates a mad scramble for any guns left by dead guys. When shot, their gun would fly from their hand or skid across the floor, allowing the cop to quickly collect it or catch it out of the air – just like the movies.”

Check the footage below to see how the game would have been played, if only completed.

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Blood Dust (Visceral Games) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Blood Dust is a cancelled multiplayer shooter in development at Visceral Games / EA from presumably late 2008 to 2011. As it was in development during the “golden age” of online multiplayer on consoles, its main focus was to create a fun game to fight against friends and random people. Unfortunately, not much more is known about this lost project.

Rumors suggest the game started out as being just a multiplayer mode for the cancelled singleplayer game The Ripper, which was also in development by EA. After showing promising results, EA turned this “multiplayer mode” into a stand-alone digital-only project: Blood Dust.

The game was set in a ‘30s style world, where three factions fought over a drug called “Blood Dust”. These factions consisted of “The Crushers” (made up of former U.S army troops), “the Black Chamber” (a predecessor to the CIA) and a third “monster” faction. This was what an anonymous writer had to say about the game:

 “I got to test this game about a year ago. At that time, The Ripper was a super power-up you got in multiplayer – although I can’t remember the conditions required to transform (might have been a certain amount of kills in a row.) The Ripper was a juggernaut; you had super speed, throwing knives that were almost instant kills, and a brutal melee. It was a fun concept because it really took teamwork to take The Ripper down. The monster class was grossly overpowered at the time I played, but it was lots of fun. Different classes could climb walls, hang on ceilings, or see enemy heat signatures through walls.”

EA planned to publish The Ripper one year after the release of Blood Dust, but both games were eventually cancelled. After The Ripper was canned, Visceral Games Melbourne (the studio behind the titles) focused their efforts on Blood Dust, but without much luck. EA decided to close the studio in 2011 after all of their games were cancelled, apparently because it was too expensive to keep them alive.

Blood Dust was nearly 80 percent finished when it got cancelled.

Article by Vipaah, thanks to Raupidu for the contribution!

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Invasion [PS2 – Cancelled]

Invasion is a cancelled massive online multiplayer shooter in development by Turbine Inc (mostly known for other online games such as Asheron’s Call and Dungeons & Dragons Online) for Playstation 2 around 2003. The team worked on a single-player prototype to test gameplay using Driver-Inter‘s proprietary engines, but in the end the project was cancelled, probably because of difficulties in creating a proper MMO game on the 6th generation of consoles.

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As you can see from the prototype footage and screenshots preserved in this page, the game was quite impressive for its time, at least graphically. Some details about Invasion can still be found on Driver Inter’s website:

“Invasion is a third-person shooter where player searches an abandoned Martian colony for its secrets in order to prevent a menace of an alien invasion on Earth.

The game is a demo with several types of weapons, powerups, enemies, quest items, an NPC that requires protection from player and a boss at the end of the last episode. The demo contains three episodes in three different areas: abandoned outpost, canyon and underground lab.

This project was a first stage of development of a unique massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) “Invasion!” where players were expected to:

  • Explore and defend a Martian-invaded earth
  • Guide “smart actors” who experience the world as a personalized sci-fi epic
  • Fight creatures great and small in entertaining monster movie battles
  • Evolve new abilities, new body parts, and new ways to play the game

The MMOG project “Invasion!” was cancelled.

In 2010 Turbine was acquired by Warner Bros and renamed WB Games Boston, working on MOBA Infinite Crisis and smartphone versions of  Batman: Arkham Underworld and Game of Thrones: Conquest.

Thanks to Mihapsx for the contribution!

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