For every Call of Duty and Assassins Creed sequel that hits shelves, another promising video game is dead on arrival. Financial issues, technical issues and just plan creative issues have killed even the most promising games. While the video game industry has ballooned to a whopping $100 billion, with new consoles and games being released at a breakneck pace even the biggest developers run into financial issues and delays that leave a game sitting on a hard drive for eternity.
Gamers waited on The Last Guardian for nearly eight years and Half-Life 3, which has become a long-running joke, will doubtfully see the light of day. There are some unfortunate games that got plenty of hype but never hit store shelves. Whether it was a financial issue, technical issue, or some form of internal drama, there are a plethora of games that were never published.
A power struggle between legendary game designer Hideo Kojima and Konami led to the cancellation of one of the highly anticipated Silent Hills. In 2012, Konami approached Kojima to direct the next installment in the Silent Hill series. Kojima teamed with Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro and The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus to complete the project,
The game was announced at Gamescom in 2014 as a playable teaser called P.T., which took the convention by storm. Alas, the good times were short-lived. The falling out with Kojima during Metal Gear Solid V’s development led Konami to cancel Silent Hills.
Star Wars 1313
Every Star Wars fan has long dreamed of an adventure game where they control fan-favorite Boba Fett. LucasArts almost made that happen with Star Wars 1313, a game that followed the young life of the popular bounty hunter exploring the seedy underbelly of Coruscant.
Sadly, the sale of the Star Wars brand to The Walt Disney Company halted production on all projects, including Star Wars 1313. While some fans hold out hope this one still might see the light of day, Disney let the trademark lapse in 2014, which isn’t a good sign.
While most game developers abandoned twitchy button mashers for expansive storytelling and intricate world-building titles, PlatinumGames was using the full power of modern consoles to make the biggest and best action titles since Contra and Metroid.
Platinum’s Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Metal Gear: Revengeance represented some of the best action titles in modern gaming. Because of their pedigree, people were hyped for their upcoming Xbox One game, Scalebound. Sadly, Microsoft pulled the plug on the dragon-based co-op shooter when deadlines were missed and the engine itself wasn’t up to snuff.
Before Konami screwed us out of Guillermo Del Toro’s Silent Hills, THQ screwed him out of inSANE, his first foray into video game development. Originally, Del Toro partnered up with the team at Volition, known for their work on Saints Row.
Ultimately, THQ released the rights to the game to the famed director after they were shut down and had to sell off assets to pay off debts in 2013. Whether or not the survival horror game will ever see the light of day is anyone’s guess, but considering Del Toro’s terrible luck with getting games off the ground, it’s a long shot.
Legendary game developer Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios had already released a several games in the Fable series for the Xbox and Windows platforms before the cancellation of their most ambitious entry to date: Fable Legends.
Gamers loved the promise of four-player co-op in an action RPG world and the ability to play the villain, responsible for sending in enemies and boss characters to thwart the efforts of the heroes. After numerous starts and stops in development – and an announcement of a free-to-play model – the game was canceled in 2016. Lionshead Studios shuttered soon after.
The shiny new reboot of Doom was a huge success and brought the series back to its super-fast-blood-and-guts frag-fest glory, delighting fans and critics alike. The true Doom 4 was a long-in-coming release that just never felt like Doom.
Critics referred to the leaked footage as “Call of Doom,” citing it’s obvious inspiration from the popular money making shooter franchise Call Of Duty. Even id Software studio boss Tim Willits criticized the project for not having “passion or soul.”
Streets of Rage
Double Dragon may be the grandfather of the co-op street brawler, but Streets of Rage perfected the genre. The game is still considered to be one of the greatest games of all-time.
There were plenty of sequels and spin-offs, but a modern reboot was in the works at Ruffian Games – known for working on Microsoft mega-hit Crackdown 2. Footage of the unreleased game showed up in the wild years later, depicting a 3D combat engine as opposed to the traditional 2D environment from the original.
Rockstar – the brilliant minds behind the GTA and Red Dead series – announced Agent for the PS3 in 2009. There wasn’t much heard about the action-espionage series after the original reveal, especially as the marketing spin started to ramp up for Rockstar’s other new game, L.A. Noire.
Rockstar had high hopes for the game, believing it could achieve the same level of success that they saw with GTA. As the years passed by, art teams originally dedicated to Agent were siphoned off to complete other upcoming Rockstar titles. There hasn’t been much news to report since then; however, parent company Take Two Interactive renewed the Agent trademark at the end of 2016.
Peter Molyneux and Lionshead Studios’s B.C. is another canceled game that collapsed under the weight of it’s own ambition. The concept was brilliant: you are tasked with evolving your tribe regarding strength, intelligence, and technological advancements, which led to the clashes with opposing tribes competing for control of the world. Along the way, you sent your strongest tribe members to settle and populate new areas, expanding your foothold in the prehistoric world.
The game stopped development in 2004, with nearly 50 percent of the build complete. The studio stopped production once milestones weren’t being hit, and Molyneux wasn’t happy with the quality of the product.
For almost a decade, Blizzard teased the gaming world with the promise of an MMO world where players could battle others for control of the planet at night while maintaining and contributing to the good of their faction during the day. They kept the lid pretty tight during the lengthy development process, but no one suspected the project was in trouble.
In 2013, Blizzard scrapped Project Titan and pivoted the series to a hero-based shooter with the pieces of the project that worked. That new game became the mega-hit Overwatch.
Sony picked up Ninja Theory’s hack-and-slash action-adventure Heavenly Sword as a PS3 release exclusive in 2007. It sold over one and a half million copies, and was well-received by the critics for its eye-popping graphics and visceral combat game engine.
A sequel was greenlit almost immediately, but a few months into development, there was a falling out between Ninja Theory and Sony. Accusations of mistreatment were thrown around, with Sony saying the game was no longer commercially viable. Heavenly Sword 2 was scrapped, and the developer went on to create multi-platform titles like Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition, the mega-popular Disney Infinity series, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Patriots
The Tom Clancy series has been a huge moneymaker for publisher Ubisoft, so when Rainbow 6: Patriots was announced in 2011, everyone took notice. Originally slated to appear on the Xbox 360 and PS3, a protracted development schedule pushed the first-person shooter release window closer to the arrival of the eighth-generation consoles.
Patriots storyline focus on the Rainbow 6 team taking down a domestic terrorist organization, according to the explosive 2011 trailer. In 2012, many of the lead developers were fired, and in 2013, Patriots dropped off of the game release schedule. Ultimately, Ubisoft released Rainbow 6: Siege, a team-based shooter that bears little resemblance to the original concept of Patriots.
Thrill Kill was a unique and controversial brawler full of gore and sexual innuendo developed by Paradox Entertainment, and slated for release on the PSX by Electronic Arts in 1998. Even though the development process was complete, and original music and marketing for the game was just about wrapped, EA suddenly canceled the gory free-for-all.
Worried about the controversy, the mega-publisher didn’t want to release “such a senselessly violent game.” EA ate the entire financial loss and made sure the game never saw the light of day. Through the magic of the internet; however, the unreleased files are widely available, and bootleg copies of the game can be found if you look hard enough.
Canadian indie game developer Phil Fish’s Fez was a beloved indie puzzle game. After the sequel was announced, Fish got in a Twitter spat with Marcus Beer, a video game critic known as Annoyed Gamer.
Beer called him “whiny.” Fish replied by railing against the “non-stop criticism” and vitriol indie developers face, before telling Beer to kill himself. Soon after, Fish locked down his tweets and announced to the world that “im done, FEZ II is canceled. goodbye.”
Attaching Steven Spielberg’s name to any project will instantly shine an impossibly bright spotlight on it. Even though his history with gaming is underwhelming – a bunch of mediocre releases, and a decent effort with the original Medal of Honor – fans were still excited at the prospect of Spielberg being able to create a game that focused on the relationship between the player and his alien cohort. It was even marketed as a game that “could make you cry.”
After numerous starts and stops, the original gameplay concept for LMNO quickly became a run-of-the-mill adventure game clone, and the project was scrapped altogether. Spielberg was subsequently attached to two more Microsoft failures, the Kinect (then Natal) and the ghost of what was supposed to be a Halo TV series.