Did you ever wonder why big game developers wait for huge conferences like E3 and PAX to announce new titles? It’s to create hype. Nothing sells games more than that. Titles that end up being mediocre look great in front of hundreds of eager consumers and journalists. It can go either way from there. Games that looked amazing turn out to be mediocre and sometimes it turns out to work the other way around. But the biggest drawback of over-hyped announcements is that sometimes the games get cancelled.
Why do all the good games get canned? Well, there’s a reason for that. Most times games get dropped early on in the development period because developers have either lost faith in the project or run into problems creating overly ambitious titles. Of course, everything seems great in the early stages and there’s no guarantee that it would’ve been good in the first place. But games are meant to be ambitious. Sure some are going to suck but it’s all trial and error. One developer’s mistake might lead to another’s success. With some filmmakers slowly getting on the bandwagon, there’s a lot to be excited for if you’re a gamer. If only the project can see the light of day.
15. Gotham by Gaslight
A few years back Day 1 Studios shopped around the idea of creating a game based off of Brian Augustyn’s Gotham by Gaslight. The alternate reality one-shot revolved around Batman as he tried to track down one of history’s most infamous serial killers; Jack the Ripper. In the midst of the Arkham craze, Gotham by Gaslight looked like it would be a fresh take on open world Batman games. While the only thing this idea ended up producing was a short animation prototype, the two minute video was good enough to get a lot of fans excited. The fog filled streets along with the steampunk style created an eerie setting reminiscent of the original comic. Day 1 tried to work alongside THQ to publish the game but the pitch was unsuccessful and the game was ultimately scrapped.
In 2004 EA announced a huge collaboration with celebrated film director Steven Spielberg. The project – dubbed LMNO during its conception – was supposed to be an ambitious mix of first-person parkour and adventure-RPG. The game would revolve around the players’ relationship with an alien named Eve and according to former EA executive Neil Young, develop an emotional experience similar to those of films or pieces of art. But after the initial reveal there was pretty much no news whatsoever until it was officially announced as cancelled in 2010. After promising so much EA failed to deliver. It was certainly ambitious – perhaps too ambitious for a company like EA, but LMNO promised to bring something completely new and exciting to the gaming world. It would’ve been nice to see it come to fruition.
13. This is Vegas
Right before they went under, Midway Games was working on This is Vegas, a sandbox that put players within the heart of the famous city. The game was scheduled to come out sometime in 2009 and seemed to be another GTA-like clone, minus the murder and senseless violence. But it still looked pretty fun regardless. Gameplay consisted of various mini-game type activities like racing, dancing, bartending, fighting and of course gambling. Warner Bros. began working on the title shortly after they bought out Midway’s properties but canned it a year after. What most people end up associating the game with is its hefty price tag which cost both developers around $50 million in all. Ouch.
12. Eight Days
Developed as an exclusive for the PS3, Eight Days came into the spotlight with a bang but ended with a whimper. Initially shown as part of a tech demo at E3 2005, the game was officially announced the following year. In a very 24 type of setting the game was supposed to take place over the course of eight days in eight different states across the United States. The player would’ve gotten to choose between two protagonists, each with their own unique storylines which unsurprisingly cross paths at one point. Despite having been compared to Uncharted and Killzone 2, Sony dropped the title due to the lack of multiplayer. While it’s supposedly on hold, no one’s seen or heard much of it since 2008. 10 years after it was first shown off, it’s safe to assume this title is never going to see the light of day.
Guillermo Del Toro’s first crack at creating a video game (more on his second later), was filled with promise but ultimately got trashed before anyone really knew what it was. Alongside THQ, Del Toro set out to create a new psychological horror experience meant to make players “question their own senses of morality and reality.” inSane was meant to be the first in a trilogy of what could’ve been the kick in the ass horror games needed to separate themselves from being just another subgenre of the first and third person shooter. Sadly nothing came of it as it was cancelled two years after its announcement, one year before its scheduled release.
10. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots
The Rainbow Six series is one of the longest running in the Tom Clancy lineup. “Patriots” was going to be the first Rainbow Six game since 2008’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and promised players tough ethical choices as they fought a group of radicals calling themselves the True Patriots. The game looked great, and after initially being announced as a seventh gen project, the game was moved to eighth gen consoles. Ultimately the project was cancelled in favor of the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege. If there’s a silver lining it’s that “Patriots” laid the groundwork for “Siege”, which itself looks very promising.
9. Gears of War: Exile
Not much is known about Gears of War: Exile. Rumors first started floating around sometime in 2011 after a trademark was filed on the name. But there was absolutely nothing to show for it until Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski announced it wouldn’t be happening roughly a year later. Since it was never officially made public, there are still a lot of unanswered questions as to what “Exile” was or was supposed to be. Some speculated it could be a new mobile entry to the series, while others thought it would stay on the Xbox but with strong emphasis on the Kinect. Whatever it was, it ain’t happening.
8. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was supposed to be a new chapter in the first-person shooter/survival horror series that spawned three games. Ukrainian developers GSC Game World announced they were working on the game in 2010 and that it would feature a brand new engine designed specifically for the game. After rumor got around that the project was in trouble it was officially cancelled in 2012, the year it was set to be released. There is some good that came out of this though. The original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 team announced they’d be opening a new studio with the intention of releasing an MMOFPS in the near future. The game – Survarium – is said to use many of the gameplay concepts that were to be implemented in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. So in a sense the game will live on.
B.C. was supposed to be an adventure game for the original Xbox that brought players back to the prehistoric era. The ambitious title had players control a tribe of humans as they migrated, hunted and evolved across a single continent. It featured a number of different species alongside the humans, most notably dinosaurs. B.C. was supposed to feature savage battles, realistic environments and A.I. that was incredibly advanced at the time of its announcement. Though the reasons for its sudden cancellation are unknown B.C.’s demo build was said to have been close to 50 percent complete at the time.
6. Star Wars Battlefront 3
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is arguably the best Star Wars game out there, so it’s no surprise its sequel carried on more than a little hype. Building off its predecessor, Battlefront 3 would feature improved space battles, shooting mechanics and a larger roster of playable characters from the films. But almost three years into development developers Free Radical Design pulled the plug on the game. What’s worse is the fact that the game was said to be around 99 percent complete. Over time leaked gameplay footage has been popping up over the internet and it looked incredible. DICE’s Battlefront game is set to drop later this year, and while it looked promising initially, the recent news regarding the lack of space battles is…disturbing.
5. Fallout Online
An MMO set in the Fallout universe? Awesome! Too bad it’s on this list. Yet another game that seemingly would’ve been a huge success tossed aside, but this one spent more time in court than in a boardroom. Fallout Online already had character models and maps in development and was testing out combat, item crafting and character development before Bethesda had the whole thing shut down. Some key member of the original Fallout were involved with the project and the MMO promised some exciting stuff. Particularly the idea of player-run towns. But because Bethesda bought the rights to the Fallout Universe in 2007, they had every legal right to have the project shut down. They did.
4. Aliens: Crucible
Most Aliens games are pretty much hit or miss. Aliens: Crucible looked like it could’ve gone either way, but Obsidian’s RPG might’ve been one of the better entries in the series had it been released. Before it got the ax, Crucible was already running early prototypes complete with skill trees, character customization and even some dialogue. The early footage available online shows what had the potential to be a decent RPG, and this was only in its early phases. But what did Sega decide to put out instead? Colonial Marines. That game was awful.
3. Star Wars 1313
Yet another Star Wars game on this list that looked eons better than that god awful rhythm game for the Kinect. 1313 took players into the darker parts of the Star Wars universe, following a young Boba Fett as he navigated through Couruscant’s lower levels. It basically looked like a sci-fi Uncharted game. What little gameplay that was shown at E3 was good enough to generate a lot of hype. There was no reason why 1313 wouldn’t have been another great addition to the Star Wars game library. But after Disney bough out Lucasfilm, a number of projects were either cancelled or put on hold. That’s the official word on 1313 and though it only takes one developer to take a chance and go for it, licensing games is a very tricky – and expensive – business. Sadly, this game looks like it might just fade away.
2. Mega Man Legends 3
No matter how bad fans wanted another entry in the Mega Man Legends series, Capcom just wouldn’t let it happen. Initially announced in 2010 the game was supposed to add two new characters to the Mega Man universe. It seemed that fan input was encouraged early on in the process as Capcom invited fans to vote on and even submit character designs for the game’s two new characters. However the game was dropped less than a year after it was announced. Capcom Europe stated the reason for the abrupt cancellation was that not enough fans were active in the creation of the game, leaving developers to assume it wouldn’t be worthwhile to make. But with a petition circulating around the web that’s getting close to 100,000 signatures, you’ve got to wonder if Capcom was expecting a little too much of their fans.
1. Silent Hills
This one still stings a little, the wound is still fresh. Last August a mysterious demo popped up on the PSN under the name P.T. Not much was known about it, but it looked beautiful and was spectacularly detailed. Not till after players braved through the unsettling atmosphere, unforeseen jump scares and tricky puzzles did the find out P.T. stood for playable trailer and would be a new entry in the long running Silent Hill series. Silent Hills was supposed to be the next great horror game compliments of Metal Gear mastermind Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, starring The Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus. Even though P.T. was a short demo it blew away fans and critics alike. If it was any indication of what Silent Hills could’ve been – and many believed it was – then the finished project could’ve been the first groundbreaking survival horror game we’ve seen in a long time. But Kojima’s future at Konami after Metal Gear Solid V soon came into question and Silent Hills was terminated earlier this year. As if that’s not bad enough, Konami pulled the game from the PSN in a child-like move of vindication, rendering the game unplayable for those who don’t already have it installed to their hard drive.