Unlike our beloved Duke, not all games wither and die when they get stuck in development limbo. While the majority of titles that undergo drastic changes or lengthy delays end up performing oral acts on donkey’s groins, some survive the pre-release purgatory smelling of roses. Well, more ‘gameplay that’s not shit’ than roses, really. So without furthing rambling, here’s a bunch of games that survived development hell and lived to be damn decent titles.
Forget about the Steven King wannabe getting lost in the woods and chopped to bits by an imaginary axe murderer; his game was almost lost to the abyss of development hell. Developer Remedy originally started work on the game as early as 2001, with first footage of Wake shown at 2005’s E3. Back then, the now moody, tightly scripted thriller had more in common with GTA. And the town of Bright Falls was originally designed to be an open-world sandbox.
Above: Screw your kidnapped wife, Wake. Just focus on getting released
But despite the game’s constant delays, which saw a planned PC version fall by the wayside, old Al eventually stumbled out of the woods in a surprisingly decent, brilliantly tense survival horror. With the sandbox genre so horribly oversaturated, we say it’s a good thing the developers were given the time to hone their vision for the game. As a result, we’ve got a pretty unique title. Albeit one that wasn’t quite worth a nine year wait. Oh, and, Remedy? Next time you get stuck in development hell, lose the bloody chore of a wife character, eh?
Woah, bear with us. 2006’s forgotten Native American, portal-jumping FPS wasn’t half bad. Especially considering it was once a shitty looking shooter based on an unstable Unreal engine, starring someone called Talon Brave. Hugely ambitious when it was first announced in 1995, it was the game’s lofty technical goals that ultimately cast it out like a leper in the development wilderness for over a decade. 3D Realms just had to wait for the tech to catch up. When it did, the results were bloody decent. Even if playing the game for more than five minutes at a time made you want to upchuck your cookies. Stupid shitting motion sickness.
Above: Don't worry, we've all had many a fantasy about Prey's doors
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Sam Fisher, you despicable Commie-loving hippie. Back in 2007, our hard-ass sneaky agent was supporting a look more akin to a beardy Ashton Kutcher than someone you associate with stabbing spleens in the dark. Thankfully, Ubisoft Montreal put the kibosh on the original vision for the game, which saw the unkempt Fisher stealthing his ways through Assassin’s Creed-style crowds.
Above: If there's one thing Tom can't abide, it's an unkempt haircut
A quick hair cut and a miraculous anti aging cream later and our boy was back on track. Taking names and not so much kicking ass, as… eh, smashing people’s faces against pianos and bathroom sinks. Streamlined, cinematic and brutal, the version of Conviction we eventually got is far better than any game (that’s essentially undergone a complete redesign half way through development) has a right to be.