THQ

Devil’s Third [PS3, Xbox 360, PC – Cancelled]

The premiere game of Tomonobu Itagaki‘s Valhalla Game Studio, primarily made of ex-Team Ninja members Devil’s Third was released in 2015 to incredibly divisive reception.  This would come as no surprised as the title was in development on and off for the good hunk of six years.  Starting development as a Microsoft published Xbox 360 title only to move to a multiplatform title under the now defunct THQ, only to soon after transfer to the Korean Publisher Doobic, a partnership that promised mobile and PC releases as well, who too would end up going out of business, finally resting on the Nintendo WiiU as a Nintendo published title.

The game was first formally announced at E3 2010 by THQ,(who later that year would announce the ill fated Insane) after Itagaki met with Danny Bilson, who would stay with the game until the end. Announced as a PS3/360 title the game looked to be an action game with a deep focus on mixing gunplay with melee combat.  While that much is true in the final WiiU release, one big change can be seen right away.  Despite being used for the reveal trailer and title logo, the 3 characters that had been shown would end up replaced by the new protagonist Ivan.  Not much is actually known of the original cast of three, but the male character focused on in the trailer bears a resemblance to a villain in the final game named Big Mouse.  Another change that can be seen is the excursion of wall running in the final release.

The game would not be shown off more until another trailer the following year, this time focusing on the Japanese celebrity Hard Gay (Masaki Tsumitani) going on a tour of Valhalla’s studio. Despite being four years before the eventual release, in this video a boss (Saha Grundla) and many characters from the final game can be seen.

Another drought of information would come, this time for three years until randomly showing up at E32014, this time by Nintendo.  The game had made a drastic change from the last time shown and the lead protagonist was the easiest to see.  This would be the first time the game would be shown off in any real detail including a multiplayer mode, according to Itagaki a main reason for Nintendo picking the title up to begin with.  The title would then release the following year, despite promises of Nintendo polish, the title would be plagued with issues relating to framerate and lower end graphics, which would give off a very last-gen feel.  The contributing factor to polish issues comes from the title shifting through almost as many engines as it did publishers.  Starting from proprietary to the Darksider’s Engine, ending with Unreal 3.

Despite the lukewarm reception of the WiiU title in most regions outside of Japan, Valahalla also released a multiplayer-only PC version in Asian territories and their subsidiary Soleil is developing the upcoming Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strike for current consoles.  Valhalla also opened up a headquarters in Vancouver to watch over each of it’s subsidiaries.

Article by Nicolas Dunai

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Project FUUB (Juice Games / THQ) [Xbox 360, PS3, Wii – Cancelled]

Project FUUB was a peripheral device being developed by THQ Digital Warrington (Formerly Juice Games) at some point between 2006 and 2010 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii consoles. Acting like a set of four individual dice, which were to be bundled together as one purchase, the FUUB was predominantly aimed towards local group play. Each player would interact with one or more of the dice when playing one of the FUUB specific games designed for the device. The devices themselves were fitted with some physical sensors, though it’s not exactly clear what each device was actually able to monitor. We also believe that the FUUBs required a separate, external camera to track the their movement in 3d space, though this cannot be 100% confirmed.

Two games are known to have been designed for the FUUB, to varying degrees of completion. The first, titled “FUUB” was a simple, cartoonish Mario Party style game which you can see concept mockups for below. It’s not clear how far this game got into the development cycle, but it’s possible it never level the early conceptual stages due to the lack of actual gameplay or information available on it. Since it also shared a name with the device itself, it’s likely that the game was meant to come packaged alongside the FUUB device, much like Wii Sports did with the Wii.

A second game – tentatively titled “Quest for the Magic Stones” – was also being developed, which you can see footage of in the video below. A developer described the game as being aimed at “fans of the Harry Potter series” as it shared a mystical narrative theme, and was set in a magical dungeon. Several minigames were already implemented, including logic and physics puzzles, as well as a simplified take on the rhythm-based format of the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games.

Ultimately, the FUUB concept was scrapped as THQ were in the middle of realigning in their priorities, and as a result the studio’s focus was shifted away from physical releases, causing multiple projects to be scrapped. Two other projects – Split Shift Racing & Stormbirds – were also known projects that were also cancelled due to the change in direction.. The studio would go on to make Red Faction: Battlegrounds and Warhammer 40K: Killteam before being closed by THQ in 2011.

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Saints Row: The Cooler [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Saints Row: The Cooler is a cancelled fighting game, which was in development for the Xbox 360 and PS3. It was being created by Heavy Iron Studios in Los Angeles and was funded by THQ.

“It was a brawler game. Go to a bar, pick a fight, smash a bottle over someone’s head” – Former Heavy Iron Studios artist

Work began on the title in March 2010 at developer, Heavy Iron. In partnership with THQ, the company sought to create the first Saints Row game controlled entirely by motion; a ploy to capitalise on the rising industry trend at the time.

Two versions of the game were planned initially: an Xbox 360 game using Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral and a PS3 port with Playstation Move support. The Xbox 360 was the lead development platform for The Cooler, as the team’s creative focus was very much on Kinect.

A team of around 40 people were put on the project, while the rest of the studio was occupied with another Kinect-centric project for Disney called ‘E-Ticket’.

We were able to get in touch with several people, a mix of both former and current employees at the developer, who shared some details with us on the game’s lifecycle. According to these sources, the title was a brawler set in the Saint’s Row universe and was, in contrast with the rest of the series, not an open world game.

“It was a ton of fun to work on because we got to use the original Saint’s Row locales as concept art, basically, and give them a redesign and a highly upgraded art treatment (since Saint’s Row was open world and our game was not, we could afford to devote more time and engine resources to artwork)”

Saints Row The Cooler

One of the gritty environments of Saints Row: The Cooler

Kinect lap dancing

Despite it ditching the free roaming traditions of the previous games, The Cooler apparently offered a myriad of activities to experience. Its main premise was of motion-controlled fighting in various parts of the Saints Row universe, but players would have also been able to compete in poker tournaments and other miscellaneous mini-games. 

Saints Row: Money Shot [Cancelled – Xbox 360/PS3]

Saints Row: Money Shot was an action/adventure game scheduled to be released on the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network sometime in late 2011. It was never officially announced by THQ or Volition, but it was leaked to the web in August 2011. From the existing screenshots and video, we can see that it was going to be some kind of on-rails game where you have to control a bullet in slow-motion through various obstacles before finally hitting your target. Here’s its official description from the leaked XBLA entry.

You are Cypher, a deadly assassin in the world of Saints Row, and you hunt the most elusive targets with the most sophisticated weaponry that Ultor has to offer. How sophisticated? You have the ability to control the path of your bullet to such a degree that you can weave through the hallway of an apartment complex, steer through the legs of a hooker, and even snake your way through a moving train! Avoid striking solid objects and unintended bystanders and make sure you hit your mark!

Within a week of its leaking, Kotaku discovered that the Australian Classification Board had rated Saints Row: Money Shot already, hinting that it was possibly close to release at this point.

In an interview with Worthplaying.com, former THQ boss Danny Bilson stated that Saints Row: Money Shot was still not shelved and that it would possibly be released on the PSN instead as a free game.

On the XBLA, the game would have cost 800 Microsoft Points, and it appears that playing through it would earn you unlockable items for Saints Row: The Third. These items would later be released as a DLC pack called the “Money Shot Pack,” which contained the gun and suit seen in the game as well as a new hover bike, but the “Money Shot” game itself was never included and was officially considered cancelled by this point. Here is some leaked footage of the game from a Czech gaming site.

Article by Tony Lokester

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inSANE (Guillermo del Toro) [Cancelled – Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC]

insane Guillermo del Toro cancelled game

inSANE is a cancelled survival horror game that was development from 2010 by Volition in collaboration with film director Guillermo del Toro and to be published by THQ for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.  The game was intended to be the first installment of a planned trilogy of Insane games, but in August 2012 THQ announced the cancellation of Insane with the intellectual property rights transferring to del Toro. It’s currently unknown if del Toro will try to find some other developer and publisher to continue the development of this project.

Thanks to VolMuseum for the contribution!

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