10 Hyped Video Games In Development (That Will Never Be Released) –
Though it may seem like a dream day job to those unfamiliar with he rigors of the field, video game development is often about as difficult as a creative process can possibly be. Reports of eighty hour weeks and exhaustive development cycles are widespread, and the industry has chewed up and spit out untold amounts of studios and dedicated coders, writers, and artists.
With that in mind, it is important to realize that even delivering a pre-rendered teaser or small in-engine demo can become a near herculean task in some cases, and it is far from uncommon to see a once-captivating game fall limp and dead in the hands of a developer unsure how to progress.
An unfortunate byproduct of an industry so laser-focused on deadlines and results, some would-be bestselling experiences have landed on the cutting room floor. From small, basement-based independent game studios to massive triple-A publishing houses with thousands of employees and seemingly limitless resources, just about everyone in the business has at least made mention of a project which never came to fruition.
Rather than outright cancel these concepts, some publishers opt to let these titles languish in Development Hell. Here are ten games which, despite technically remaining in development, will almost certainly never be released.
10. Dead Island 2
Released in 2011, Techland’s Dead Island was a relatively-well regarded tropical take on the well-tread zombie apocalypse concept. Though a little wonky and unpolished in places, it garnered enough interest to warrant a few spin-off titles and an eventual sequel.
Announced all the way back in 2014 and originally scheduled for a release some time in 2015, Dead Island 2 has seemingly gone colder than the D.B. Cooper case. Nonetheless, publisher Deep Silver has remained adamant that the game is still in development and will see eventual release. The recent announcement of Dying Light 2—the sequel to one of Techland’s other successful IPs—lends a dubious air to these claims, however.
Worse still is that, aside from a short trailer and a brief snippet of gameplay made available in 2014, we have yet to see any meaningful footage of Dead Island 2. While that doesn’t necessarily indicate that the project has been completely abandoned, it would be nice to see what Techland has been up to over the four year period since the title’s announcement.
Routine looked to be an interesting survival horror title based on the isolated life of the inhabitant of a pseudo-cyberpunk Cold War era lunar space station. Originally announced in 2012 with a calculatingly creepy trailer, developer Lunar Software promised a that the full experience would see release at some point in 2013.
Yet, 2013 came and went, and Routine was still seemingly stagnant until the development team clarified in a 2014 blog post that, though they had made some major headway, the game was still far from complete.
Fans of the still-unreleased game were made to suffer through nearly two years of silence on the behalf of the developers as questions arose as to whether the game would ever be released at all. Though the developers made brief, interstitial remarks on their website, little was set in stone.
Then, in March of 2017, the Lunar Software revealed that they had intended to launch the game during the 2016 holiday season, though they pulled back for fear of end-of-year holiday sales overshadowing their title’s release. Nearly a year and a half has passed since then with nary a word from the team behind Routine, and the future of the once-promising survival horror thriller now looks bleak.
8. Allison Road
The cancellation of Silent Hills was a hard pill to swallow for many fans of the long-running survival horror franchise, but some jumpscare junkies managed to find some reprieve in the flurry of walking simulator-esque horror experiences that cropped up in the game’s absence. Titles like Layers of Fear, Observer, and Visage prove that there’s very much a market for games of this sort, though Konami apparently still isn’t interested.
Considered to be a spiritual successor to P.T., Allison Road began life as a promising crowdfunded project which was unceremoniously cancelled mid-2016 due to apparent conflicts between the development team and Team17, the game’s would-be publisher. Fortunately, not long after it’s cancellation, Chris Kesler—the man behind the project—announced that he would be funding the development of Allison Road himself.
While it does appear to be an eerily realistic and unabashedly disturbing game, Allison Road still isn’t all that likely to see a full release. Though Chris Kesler’s ambitious notions deserve respect, it will be difficult to distribute a game of this scale without a bona fide publisher at the helm.
Hellraid is an allegedly-upcoming game developed by Dead Island developers Techland and hopefully scheduled for release sometime before a massive chunk of space rock smashes into the planet’s surface and destroys all life on earth. A first person medieval combat experience, many have liked the gameplay seen in the game’s few trailers to Bethesda’s uber-famous The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.
Unfortunately, this unique take on this nearly oversaturated setting is very quickly turning to vaporware: we haven’t seen hide nor tail of this title since 2014, and Techland is at best cagey about the subject. In 2016 they assured consumers that the game was still forthcoming, but we’ve heard nothing but the sound of distant crickets since then.
Techland is, in the minds of some, up there with Randy Pitchford, Sean Murray, or Peter Molyneux in terms of their inability to deliver on promises, and they may want to consider delaying further project reveals until completion ETAs and release dates can be set in stone. While the titles they have delivered so far have been mostly well-received, the studio can, at best, be described as a bit overly-ambitious.
6. Crackdown 3
Despite a seemingly-firm February 2019 released date, Microsoft’s and Sumo Digital’s Crackdown 3 has pulled the rug from beneath so many Xbox One owner’s feet that few take the product seriously at this point. Initially planned to release in November of 2017, some have speculated that the upcoming third installment to an on-the-whole underwhelming series would have been flat out cancelled had Microsoft not already axed the much-anticipated Xbox One exclusive Scalebound.
With their competition boasting commanding exclusive titles this console generation, Microsoft has struggled to supply consumers with a solid reason to own an Xbox One. Despite a few tepid Halo and Gears of War releases, Xbox One sales remain lagging behind those of other industry titans.
Crackdown 3 needs to be a hit for Microsoft. Unfortunately, the game’s numerous delays, constantly-shifting staff, and overall tenuous premise point to that not being the case. Naysayers will doubtlessly be willing to go to bat for this title, and, in all fairness, it does stand a pretty strong chance of releasing at some point. However, few would be all that surprised if the project were to be delayed at least once more prior to it’s official launch.
5. Beyond Good & Evil 2
Beyond Good and Evil 2, the followup to 2003’s cult classic title Beyond Good and Evil, seems to be a relatively sure thing: the game has been a focal point of the previous two E3 conferences, and regular developer interactions have ensured that the game is slowly coming together.
That said, it seems like it may be a long while before this game sees the light of day. Most of what has been shown to the public at this point has consisted of little more than pre-rendered song and dance, and the brief glimpses of actual gameplay afforded to fans have all taken place in controlled, limited environments.
What’s more, this title has been teased and rumored relentlessly over the fifteen-year franchise hiatus, and, as games like The Last Guardian and Duke Nukem Forever have proven, the period between initial E3 reveal and actual release can span up to a decade.
Ubisoft’s crazy, foul-mouthed animal escapade still seems relatively likely to release, but there is an equal chance of this title relapsing into the world of vaporware once again. Should this sequel go belly-up, nobody should claim to be totally caught off-guard.
Rockstar Games’ Agent was first teased way back in 2009. At that point, Grand Theft Auto IV was the talk of the town, and titles like Red Dead Redemption and GTA V were little more than twinkles in the eyes of Sam and Dan Houser. Nobody quite knew what was next for this famous set of developers until the E3 reveal of Agent elaborated that the team would be exploring the world of Cold War-era espionage.
Though completely dormant for nearly ten years, Rockstar Games has made a point of the fact that Agent has yet to see official cancellation, and a brief marketing blurb concerning the game is still available on the studio’s website. The snippet states that Agent will be available exclusively for Sony’s PlayStation 3, which seems like an odd move given that the PS3’s relevancy is about five years in the rear view mirror.
Odds are that Agent won’t ever see the light of day. However, Rockstar is famous for taking their sweet time when it comes to game development. Every game of theirs seems to be a record-smashing hit, so clearly they are doing something right. The same fate likely won’t apply to Agent, though.
3. Star Citizen
Star Citizen was perhaps the most ambitious Kickstarter project ever to seek crowd funding. Promising an enhanced, elaborate space sim experience which might put the likes of Eve Online or Elite Dangerous to shame, Cloud Imperium Games may have set the bar a bit too high with the lofty standards they set back in 2012.
The game has, in some form, been playable in an alpha state for quite some time, and a relatively dedicated community has grown around the admittedly immersive experience. The issue of a final release date persists, however, and, given that the game isn’t likely to come out of alpha any time soon, it may be safe to chalk it up as a title sentenced to languish in an eternal state of early access.
To some, that may be acceptable, and titanic games like Minecraft and Ark: Survival Evolved gained fame despite spending years upon years in an unfinished state. It’s difficult to predict if this will be the fate of Star Citizen, and some Kickstarter backers have long been tired of the title’s messy development cycle.
2. The Elder Scrolls VI
Given that all the general gaming populace knows about The Elder Scrolls VI is that it may be released sometime during the next decade, it may be a bit early to deem it a product stuck in Development Hell.
However, Bethesda is relatively notorious for announcing games far in advance of their release dates, and it may be perfectly rational to assume that gamers will be waiting on this hotly-anticipated title for years.
Though they did manage to deliver Fallout 4 in an extremely short time frame relative to it’s initial announcement, the same will almost certainly not be true of this upcoming mainline Elder Scrolls title. Skyrim was an absolute classic—one that the company has been milking for over five years at this point—and they’ll need to ensure that the game’s successor is equally as cherished.
To claim that another Elder Scrolls game will never be released may seem insane, and TES VI is certainly destined for a release at some point in the future, but that date may be so far out that it’s hardly worth even considering at this point. Fallout 3 spent about five years in development, and many suspect that a game of such breadth and scope will take even longer.
1. Every Valve IP
Half Life 3 (or, as some prefer, Half Life Episode 3) has been rumored for so long that it has become the most notorious piece of vaporware ever to be tossed around the gaming sphere. Nothing short of a meme at this point, Valve will likely maintain radio silence on this subject until the end of time. Never to be released or even announced, yet never officially cancelled. The Half Life series will forever be a miserable, unbearable cliffhanger.
Yet, Half Life is far from the only Valve IP the developer has left high and dry in recent history, and fantastic franchises like Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Portal are all in desperate need of a capstone title.
Valve seems to have stepped away from game publishing ever since their PC-centric game distribution service Steam has taken over as the de facto venue for game sales, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to publish another self-developed title. Valve is, in truth, the sort of company to scrap a project, regardless of development progress, if they didn’t consider it to be up to their standards. Half Life 3 could never surpass they hype it has generated, which is why it won’t ever be released.