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Top 10 Games That Got Canned

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by Evan Volmering Dec 4, 2009 11:38 PM CST
filed under editorials, features, gamecube, pc, ps2, ps3, top 10, wii, xbox, xbox 360

dukenukem

Within the flood of video games that get released each year, there are a few that don't quite make it. Referred to as "vaporware," these games have such a large and loyal fanbase but are ultimately shelved due to budget constraints or other "internal issues." Others we don't even know about until it's too late. Below are ten games we feel would've been great if they had survived their development woes.

Freelancer 2 | Xbox 360

freelancer

The original Freelancer is one of the best space-combat sims for the PC, and it too suffered a few development mishaps but was ultimately released in March of 2003. A sequel was planned for the Xbox 360 and was in development for quite some time, consisting of several Wing Commander veterans (the original Freelancer was considered an unofficial follow up to Wing Commander: Privateer). The game would've seen Edison Trent attempt to find out the truth about the mystery of the space station disaster he survived whilst alluding some shadowy groups.

Why aren't we playing it now?

Unfortunately in late January of 2006 Digital Anvil were no more, thanks to Microsoft redeploying its developers over to Microsoft Game Studios, which also took any games Digital Anvil had to the grave with them. Although the original Freelancer was a great space-combit sim, perhaps it's for the better that its sequel didn't end up on a console.

B.C. | Xbox

BC

B.C. would've been a third-person action-adventure game developed by Lionhead Studios for the original Xbox that pitted humans against dinosaurs in a fight for survival. Think of Turok, only more...primitive. Players would've had to make their own weapons and tools from what they found laying around and with naturally occurring materials, while also lead a tribe to advance your technology. Early previews praised the game's AI, showing dinosaurs that worked together who acted independently of the player.

Why aren't we playing it now?

Update:  I guess I missed this quote from Molynuex back in 2008:

"We're not saying it's never going to come out. Currently it's still on the shelf, but so many people ask about it and I find it absolutely fascinating that they do, because in a way some people here and at Microsoft said, 'You know, we just don't quite understand what the BC game's all about.'  But everybody seems so enthusiastic about it. It really fascinates me." Perhaps we'll see the game after all...

Surprise! Lionhead Studios canceled it in 2003 after seven years of development. Molynuex stated "the ambitious nature of the gameplay and the high standards the people developing it are pushing for" when asked about its cancellation.

Cry On | Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 has an obvious lack of (notable) RPG games, and the cancellation of Mistwalker's (in collaboration with AQ Interactive) Cry On certainly didn't help. Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi originally planned to make three RPGs for the Xbox 360: Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, and Cry On. Cry On would've had players control the character Sally, who worked through scenarios that promised an emotional response. It took place in a world where people live amongst giant sand creatures, with Sally having one as her sidekick named Bogle.

Why aren't we playing it now?

"AQI decided to cancel the project after analyzing the current market environment and forecasts for the future. We deeply apologize for troubling those who were awaiting its release". Worse yet? The cancellation was announced on Christmas. Ouch.

Tribes Extreme | PC

tribesextreme

I doubt many of you will remember Tribes Extreme unless you were an avid Tribes player back in the late 90's. Extreme was a single-player campaign for the original Tribes which was multiplayer-only (save for tutorial missions), and would've been sold as a stand-alone game. There weren't any new vehicles or weapons, simply the first game with a campaign that allowed players to fight against bots. One cool thing about Extreme is that it would've featured online co-op with either humans versus the AI, or both humans and AI fighting together against a team of AI. The game would've also included new multiplayer content for tournaments.

Why aren't we playing it now?

Creating a single-player campaign was a bit harder than Dynamix originally thought. At the time they were also developing Tribes 2, so when they looked at both projects they had to make a decision: Which was most promising in the long run? Tribes Extreme, at that time, just wasn't worth all the trouble. In December of 1999 they abandoned it and shifted all their focus to Tribes 2 and its campaign.

Freedom Fighters 2 | PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

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The original Freedom Fighters was one of the best games for the previous generation. In it, you took on the role of Christopher Stone, and evolved from an average New Yorker into a fearless patriot who recruits and leads an army of freedom fighters in the streets of New York City. You gained points for rescuing prisoners or capturing key installations, with the number of prisoners you can recruit depending on charisma.

Why aren't we playing it now?

Simply put: it's been put on hold. IO Interactive originally planned to release the game in 2005. However, thanks to development on Kane and Lynch it was pushed aside. In 2007 IO Interactive stated the game is still on the company's 'to-do' list, so you never know.

GoldenEye 007 XBLA | Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii

goldeneye

This game needs no description. It's friggin' GoldenEye!  While the original hasn't aged very well, gamers were hoping to see a port of it coming to XBLA and Wii when it was announced that both Microsoft and Nintendo had plans to release it on their consoles.

Why aren't we playing it now?

Neither Microsoft or Nintendo could come to an agreement when it came to finances. Nintendo was the one who originally mentioned interest in porting the game over to the Virtual Console, but since Rare is now owned by Microsoft things just didn't mesh well. It was reported the game had been in development for several months, so it may very well be done for all we know. Bastards...

Duke Nukem Forever | PC, Xbox 360

nukem

Much like GoldenEye, Duke Nukem Forever doesn't really need a description. And honestly, no list about vaporware would be complete without it. The game's been "in development" since 1997 intended to be a sequel to 1996's Duke Nukem 3D. 3D Realms released a few screenshots over the years here and there, but nothing substantial on the game was revealed. A new Duke Nukem title called "D-Day" has recently been teased however. Whether or not it's related to Duke Nukem Forever is yet to be seen.

Why aren't we playing it now?

It basically comes down to changes to the engine and the franchise being transferred from company to company. Plus, that whole lawsuit thing probably didn't help either.

Starcraft: Ghost | Xbox, PlayStation 3, Gamecube

ghost

Starcraft: Ghost followed Nova, a Terran psychic espionage operative and was set four years after the conclusion of StarCraft: Brood War. It covered a conspiracy about a secretive military project conducted by Nova's superiors in the imperial Terran Dominion. As Nova you could cloak yourself to become invisible while also being equipped with thermal imaging goggles and a special EMP device for disabling electronic devices and vehicles.

Why aren't we playing it now?

In March of 2006, Blizzard Entertainment announced an indefinite postponement on development of Ghost while the company explored new options with the emerging seventh generation of video game consoles. Although Blizzard has yet to release Ghost, we may get to experience something very similar to it in StarCraft II, thanks to a new third-person aspect coming to the game.

Star Wars: Battlefront III

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Battlefront III's development is a bit tricky because it was never officially announced. Instead, many assume it to be the "Secret LucasArts Project" on Free Radical's design website. In July of 2008 it was listed on Amazon.com to come out for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PSP on March 15 2009, but it was eventually removed. Then in December of 2008 character renders surfaced from a laid off employee of Free Radical, and included a Starwars: Battlefront III watermark. Since then more and more leaked renders and artwork have been released, leaving many gamers wondering just what the hell is going on with the game.

Why aren't we playing it now?

In October of 2008, Free Radical Design announced that they had lost the rights to develop Star Wars: Battlefront III after being acquired by game developer Crytek. The latest rumor is that Rebellion Studios are now developing the game, but again, just rumors. We may get our first official look at the game at this year's Spike VGAs according to a recent tweet from Geoff Keighly. There may be hope after all.

Perfect Dark 2

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Like Battlefront III, Perfect Dark 2 was never officially announced. Rare had begun work on the game in 2007, but by late-2007 it was never greenlighted. It merely served as a prototype for an upcoming first-person shooter by Rare for Natal.

Why aren't we playing it now?

Mainly because it was never given the greelight, and the development team was eventually cut down to just three guys. Shame...

Honorable mentions:

  • Call of Cthulhu sequel
  • The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf
  • Fear Effect Inferno
  • Advent Rising 2  & 3
  • Shenmue III
  • Tiberium
Fear Effect Inferno


Send all hate mail regarding Evan's article to evolm@bravenewgamer.com.

28 Responses to “Top 10 Games That Got Canned”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Evan and Evan, Brave New Gamer. Brave New Gamer said: Breaking news: Top 10 Games That Got Canned http://www.bravenewgamer.com/2009/12/top-10-games-that-got-canned/ [...]

    comment score: 0
  2. Tweets that mention Top 10 Games That Got Canned -- Topsy.com on December 5th, 2009 at 12:37 AM
  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by bravenewgamer: Breaking news: Top 10 Games That Got Canned http://www.bravenewgamer.com/2009/12/top-10-games-that-got-canned/...

    comment score: 0
  4. uberVU - social comments on December 5th, 2009 at 1:54 AM
  5. How do you not put Duke Nukem Forever in here!

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

    Evan Volm Reply:

    It…is. Fourth one from the bottom.

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

    Tyler Treat Reply:

    You need to read a little more carefully…

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

  6. Alex Rubens on December 5th, 2009 at 3:21 AM
  7. You forgot ONE very important game. TUROK 2! I almost died seeing that it got canned! Loved the first one, and second was only going to be better.

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

    develin Reply:

    Well Turok 2 was released and actually a really good game for N64 and PC. Oh you mean the follow up to the turd they released on current gen? Nah, nobody cares about that.

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

  8. Yo on December 5th, 2009 at 5:59 AM
  9. I stopped reading at: “The Xbox 360 has an obvious lack of (notable) RPG games”.
    What kind of retard doesn’t know:
    - Mass Effect
    - Mass Effect 2
    - Final Fantasy XIII
    - Borderlands
    - Fallout 3
    - Oblivion
    - Lost Odyssey
    - Star Ocean IV
    - Tales of Vesperia

    Cuz the PS3 has…humn…demon’s souls and valkyria chronicles. Ok then.

    comment score: 1

    [Reply]

    David Macphail Reply:

    Are you mentally retarded? Nearly EVERY game you just mentioned is on the PS3 or is coming to the Ps3. Also, Final Fantasy XIII isn’t out yet, retard! You should get the award for the biggest moron of the year.

    comment score: 2

    [Reply]

    Tim Larkin Reply:

    If you want to play RPGs, the 360 is the console to own this generation. It was wrong to say that the 360 lacks notable RPGs when it has more than the PS3.

    comment score: 1

    [Reply]

    Tyler Treat Reply:

    Exclusives and JRPGS man. The Xbox 360 lacks them.

    comment score: 1

    [Reply]

    Guy Reply:

    The X360 has several exclusive JRPGs: Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, The Last Remnant, Magna Carta 2, Infinite Undiscovery.

    Most of the other JRPGs on the PS3 were at least timed exclusive on the 360: Tales of Vesperia, Eternal Sonata, Star Ocean 4, etc.

    The X360 also has several Western RPGs you won’t find on the PS3: Mass Effect, Fable 2, Divinity 2, Risen, Shivering Isles etc.

    What does the PS3 currently have for exclusive RPGs? White Knight, Demon’s Stone and Valkyria Chronicles – That’s it. Even if you only take the 3 top X360 exclusive RPGs and ignore the rest you get a better deal than what the PS3 currently offers.

    So in short, the Guy who made the comment probably didn’t put up such a good argument (mentioning non-exclusives), he was right. You can’t really make up a sentance like “The Xbox 360 has an obvious lack of (notable) RPG games” and forget that at the same time it has the biggest and best selection of RPG games this generation has to offer.

    comment score: 1
  10. joel on December 5th, 2009 at 6:27 AM
  11. @Yoel
    he mentions Notable rpg’s xbot!
    and prob was referring to Jrpgs.
    and wtf is borderlands doing on your list.is not an rpg just cuz u lvl up, its an FPS shooter with rpg elements.i could prob go on, but why bother with some Xbot.

    comment score: 3

    [Reply]

  12. The SinX on December 5th, 2009 at 6:45 AM
  13. To Joel:

    You do realize Final Fantasy XII, Borderlands, Fallout, Oblivion, Star Ocean, Tales of Vesperia are/ will be on the PS3 aswell?
    Plus Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 are/ will be on the PC so the only true exclusive is Lost Odissey. And you know what? Valkyria Chronicles and Demon Souls are only on the PS3.

    Get your facts straight before you start mouthing of you idiot.

    comment score: 2

    [Reply]

  14. adv on December 5th, 2009 at 7:53 AM
  15. [...] Top 10 Games That Got Canned  RSS Feed | Commments Feed [...]

    comment score: 0
  16. So, What’s Going on With Project Offset? on December 5th, 2009 at 10:47 AM
  17. Turok 2 (360/PS3) and Pure 2 should’ve been on this list.

    comment score: 1

    [Reply]

    Tyler Treat Reply:

    I do agree, Turok 2 should be on the list.

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

  18. Saturn118 on December 5th, 2009 at 1:16 PM
  19. dude dungeon keeper 3 should have been on this list.

    comment score: 1

    [Reply]

  20. guy wildman on December 5th, 2009 at 1:50 PM
  21. Eight Days should be in there. I wanted it more than any other game in that list, except for Ghost. This list has too many Xbox games I’ve never heard of! Eh, well, I’m only saying these things ’cause, like I said, I’ve never heard of them.

    comment score: 1

    [Reply]

  22. CrimsonFox13 on December 5th, 2009 at 2:11 PM
  23. how can you possible leave out 8 days or the getaway or driver 3?
    8 days was looking jaw dropping, the cast, the explosions, the elements.
    and the getaway and driver 3 sequels to the only competitors to GTA.
    MANY! have tried to compete with GTA and only the getaway and driver have been able to stay in, not match but survive in the shadow.
    i was absolutely GUTTED! when i found out driver 3 had been canned, than found out 8 days and the getaway 3 were also canned and was not happy.
    than i found out they were canned for eyepet!
    never have i been so pissed!
    WTF?
    EYEPET?
    WHAT THE %$#@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i dont know about you but i bought my ps3 for games like 8 days and the getaway 3 not eyepet.
    if i wanted to play with a furry little pet theres something called a dog or a cat or a bird.
    there great new inventions and are much more fun and interactive than eyepet.
    WTF was sony thinking?
    seriously?
    were going to take these 2 games, these 2 games that look so good there looking to get 10s across the board and replace them with a virtual pet.
    its like Ferrari saying ok this year were going to replace our F1 car with a Hyundai I30.
    out with the good and in with the ****!

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

    Evan Volm Reply:

    But there WAS a Driver 3(Driv3r). I played it back in 2004, and while I’m a huge fan of Driver 2, Driv3r just wasn’t that good(but I didn’t hate it). Subsequent sequels haven’t done very well either(Parallel Lines).

    I’d love to see an official Driver 4 or at least another Driver game that went back to the series’ roots.

    comment score: 1

    [Reply]

  24. name on December 6th, 2009 at 4:21 AM
  25. why the hell isn’t TimeSplitters 4 in there?

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

  26. exion on December 6th, 2009 at 4:44 PM
  27. where the hell is Sonic Xtreme

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

    develin Reply:

    In hell?

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

  28. nig on December 6th, 2009 at 5:41 PM
  29. How about Omikron? Yeah ok, probably not top 10 actually, but worth a mention. It was the planned X360/PS3 sequel to The Nomad Soul. I remember enjoying that game quite a bit – I remember standing in GAME deciding between that and Final Fantasy VII on PC! Maybe I made the wrong choice? xD Thought the premise of a soul jumping into different bodies was quite a novel ideal… which of course was stolen by Prototype! lol

    comment score: 1

    [Reply]

  30. sazzrah on December 6th, 2009 at 5:54 PM
  31. [...] •Top 10 Games That Got Canned [Brave New Gamer] Duke Nukem Forever, Battlefront 3 and Perfect Dark 2 are the sainted martyrs atop this list; for me, I always shed a tear knowing how close we were to a Taxi Driver video game. [...]

    comment score: 0
  32. Kotaku’s Top 5 List of Top 10 Lists [Lists] | Amazonys - Wii Games on December 7th, 2009 at 12:06 AM
  33. I would have to say that “Half-Life” for the Dreamcast would be on my top-10 list. Even though the game *kinda* got released due to the employees purposefully leaking it onto torrent sites, it was never officially released. I doubt it would have saved the Dreamcast, but it certainly would have been a nice feather in it’s cap. :)

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

  34. Dynamic_Derek on December 31st, 2009 at 10:14 PM
  35. Thanks for the great read, i’ve bookmarked your blog for future reference :)

    comment score: 0

    [Reply]

  36. Nick Armstrong on January 28th, 2010 at 6:16 AM

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