12 games you might never play

Remember how great StarCraft: Ghost was going to be? Sorry, it’s dead. It’s not uncommon for games to be cancelled. It usually happens like this: A game is announced, we hear nothing about it for years, then buried somewhere in a press release about another game we find a note that mentions that it has been “indefinitely delayed,” which actually means “permanently delayed.” And that’s it, we never hear about it again.

Above: StarCraft: Ghost – “delayed” for the past seven years

Alternatively, there are occasions when the game was only a rumor to begin with, kept alive by our collective desire for it to exist. We delude ourselves until we’re certain that the game will make an appearance, only to find out that the company in charge of the property has inexplicably decided not to make the game that everyone wants. Why would they do that? Well, licensing disputes, layoffs, creative disagreements, and/or any of the other five billion (number not exact) things that can prevent a game from existing.

In this particularly tenuous economy, fears of pre or mid-development death are possibly more grounded than usual. There are, let’s say, at least 12 big games (because that’s a nice number) with fates that seem ambiguous, or at least worth looking into. To assuage some of your fears (and confirm others), we’ve done a bit of an industry check-up with our handy stethoscope (Google). Which games have a fighting chance, and which are dead for good?

We thought for sure that Oddworld was dead. Designer Lorne Lanning went on a game design hiatus several years ago, and his company’s internal game dev studio was closed – the plan was to move on to TV and film. But according to a 2006 talk by Maxis co-founder Jeff Braun, a new Oddworld game actually is being produced. He also boasted that the game will feature "cinematic quality on a '1 to 1 scale' to that of computer-generated motion pictures." Lanning responded, confirming only that he is “working on “Oddworld stuff.” 

Above: Abe has one of the strongest cult followings in the game industry… so strong it almost can’t be called “cult” anymore

That sounds pretty conclusive, but in three years we’ve yet to hear anything new about the game. As a sign of hope, Oddworld Inhabitants (Lanning’s studio) does appear to be working on a new website. If you’re not the hoping type, you’ll note that the page footer says “Copyright 2006.”

The studio, Oddworld Inhabitants, is also working on a CG movie/game called Citizen Siege but we’ve got almost no information about the property, excepting a basic story synopsis. Will 2009 mark Oddworld Inhabitants’ triumphant return? We’ll have to run more tests.

In 2007, Take-Two announced that L.A. Noire was delayed until 2009. Since then we’ve seen a website, a short teaser, and a couple of paragraphs which claim that the game will “truly blend cinema and gaming.” For a game that is meant to be a landmark in videogame storytelling, we expected a little more hype. Maybe they’re waiting for E3.

Above: Ooh, moody

Despite the lack of excitement, it isn’t dead. In fact, the developer, Team Bondi, is hiring. Specifically, they’re hiring animators to “to cope with the final production phase of L.A. Noire.” The game is still on, we just don’t know when it will be on our screens. If we’re lucky, Rockstar (who is working with Team Bondi) will drop us some new info soon.

Project H.A.M.M.E.R. was announced at E3 ’06. It was supposed to be one of the Wii’s landmark launch games. At E3 ’07, Nintendo said it was on hold, and that was the last official statement - it has since disappeared.  Famitsu supposedly reported that it was cancelled, but we’re still awaiting any definitive, official word on the game’s status… or what the hell it is/was.

Above: Has Project H.A.M.M.E.R. gone the way of MC Hammer?

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  • thephntm - April 4, 2010 3:10 p.m.

    I reeeeeeeeally want another Kid Icarus game! And Viewtiful Joe. AND STARFOX! Maybe they could do a Kirby game kind of like Wario Land: Shake It!! where you hold the WiiMote sideways and to eat bigger enemies (Not minibosses) you would have to shake the WiiMote.
  • joesocwork - May 1, 2009 1:25 a.m.

    I suspect that a 13th game we can count on never seeing is a next Sim City sequel. City Life/ Cities XL may have prolonged things a bit, but I think it's safe to say that Sim City Societies may have killed the genre off for good.
  • eon - April 30, 2009 11:39 p.m.

    Alan Wake?
  • RedOutlive10 - April 29, 2009 2:02 p.m.

    Another Jedi Knight game would be also very good. And please, let this new Jedi May Cry game idea rot in hell.
  • GIANNI - April 29, 2009 4:11 a.m.

  • misfit119 - April 29, 2009 2:18 a.m.

    Neither ROB or any of the characters from Earthbound were completely redesigned. they were simply given graphical updates. Kid Icarus was toally redesigned and given a much more interesting look. It does make it seem more promising. Although as far as DX3 goes I'd be very happy if it blended the RPG elements of the older games with Gears of War type combat. So long as the option for stealth and other playstyles is there I wouldn't complain a single whit. It's possible to have Gears type action along with a mild stealth system and RPG elements in a game.
  • elsacapuntas4 - April 28, 2009 9:04 p.m.

    life, i agree. dk 64, beetle adventure racing, and kirby need new games. those n64 games were the best. too bad about banjo kazooie though, it was great until stupid microsoft bought rare...
  • Thequestion 121 - April 28, 2009 8:11 p.m.

    Wow. I want Half Life 3! Or Episode 3.
  • Defguru7777 - April 28, 2009 3:17 a.m.

    I do miss Viewtiful Joe. Reading through the comments, I realize I also forgot about Kirby Wii and Metroid Dread. Also, (I'm probably the only one on this sight that even knows what I'm talking about) about Halo: Chronicles.
  • Avsareone - April 27, 2009 9:28 p.m.

    WOOH WOOH WOOH! How is Miyamoto talking to the director of Kid Icarus? Gunpei Yokoi is dead. Miyamoto must be playing with the Wuiggie board again.(Lets see if anyone gets the pun)
  • MacGyver1138 - April 27, 2009 4:49 p.m.

    Life, Battlefront III is one that I was thinking. I played the crap out of the Battlefront games, and I really hope they bring them back. Crackdown 2 is another one that I would like to know the outlook on.
  • Sash - April 27, 2009 12:11 p.m.

    Oh how I want Jade Empire 2 and Shenmue and Oddworld. =[ (LAST!!)
  • Twilleh - April 27, 2009 11:57 a.m.

  • Spybreak8 - April 27, 2009 3:42 a.m.

    You wonder if the marketing guys are like, can we show it now!? Are we there yet!? haha
  • ugthecaveman - April 27, 2009 1:26 a.m.

    it would have been funny if duke nuken forever was on it i know its used in every otehr artcile similiar to this
  • TheCheesy4 - April 26, 2009 6:49 p.m.

    Does anyone know what the deal is with Possession? It was looking really good.
  • Gotxxrock - April 26, 2009 3:01 a.m.

    StarCraft ghost... such a tragedy =( Poor Poor Nova.
  • deathrebellion - April 25, 2009 2:13 p.m.

    Viewtiful Joe is just outright fun =))
  • linkganon - April 25, 2009 5:37 a.m.

    you know, the woman on starcraft: ghost is practically a cross between solid snake and zero suit samus. the clothing color is the same as snake, the face is like zero suit samus's and finally, there's yellow hair tied up as a ponytail.
  • Robusken - April 25, 2009 4:38 a.m.

    Damit, I remember I was really looking forward to Project H.A.M.M.E.R. To bad my wiis dead now. Im pretty sure viewtiful Joe could be a character in mvsc 2.....