The lost PC games you'll never play

Necessary Force

In development:
Developer: Midway Studios
Publisher: Midway Games

In development at Midway Studios – Newcastle last year, Necessary Force was an open-world cop thriller that made you do detective work: tapping up informants and roughing up drug dealers for information until you get enough evidence on someone to bring them in for questioning. Alternatively you could go Dirty Harry and use extreme violence to keep the streets safe, but incur the displeasure of your bosses and society.

Crime busting in Necessary Force wasn’t a sequence of missions, but conjured up by a dynamic world and the extent of what your investigations had uncovered. Lose a suspect and you wouldn’t restart a mission, but carry on policing.

The world would have reflected the ways you had conducted your enquiries: “The moral choices you made weren’t to influence a good/bad karma meter, but had a meaningful impact on the game,” said Creative Director Simon Woodroffe, “You could, for example, bust a major drug supplier in one area (seeming morally sound) causing the area to become a war zone as gangs battle for control – or you could’ve tortured him (seemingly morally unsound) and got the information without upsetting the power balance. Of course, there were consequences to morally dubious actions as well – nobody can become a psychotic killer without paying the price.”

“There are a bunch of brilliant TV shows with characters who were inspirations for the kind of character we wanted the player to be,” explains producer Joe Neate. “Vic Mackey [The Shield], Jimmy McNulty [The Wire]... We wanted to get a character, story and most importantly dialogue that stood up to the best we had seen.”

The game’s unnamed city wasn’t run of the mill either: rising water levels mean giant pumps have to work 24/7 to keep the city damp-free. This meant the city’s exclusive areas were on high ground, while slums on lower levels would be sodden and neglected.

The end
Midway Newcastle ran out of time to find a buyer for Necessary Force after parent company Midway went supremely wobbly financially. Seemingly very few publishers were in a position to invest in a new brand when the globe had been placed in the jaws of a world-wide recession. Given a chance, it could have been rather special.

Status: Taken down. Down to Chinatown.

Those left behind...

Other notable games cherished in realities other than our own...

Dragon Empires

The Codemasters MMO that, reports would have it, became somewhat of a money-gargling black hole would have been rather special if its back-end had been strong enough and its aspirations had been fulfilled. Remarkable graphics, a complex (yet apparently engaging) clan and trade system, cities to battle over, and big old dragons.

LOTR: The White Council

A modern open-world single-player RPG set in Middle-Earth must be the only game that the touch of Tolkien hasn’t yet reached – though it nearly got there with The White Council. With the machinations of AI elves and beasts adapted from The Sims technology, and many and varied quests for your hero it could have been an utter marvel. Sadly it was killed during its gestation in 2007.

Enemy in Sight

An authentic military sim in the works at Illusion Softworks before the studio was taken over by 2K, and reportedly canned because of the standing publishing deal with Atari. Although largely a tech demo when showed to the press it could have proved to be a worthy follow-up to the Hidden & Dangerous games. Its developers were also excited about the prospect of working TVs in people’s houses, providing the enduring quote, “Maybe it could be porno? Who knows?”

Imperial Commando

The sequel to the largely underrated Star Wars: Republic Commando was once mooted, but sadly never got further than a game concept and early design paintings. It would have told the tale of Scorch, Sev and co. after the Emperor sent out the magic order code that made the clones go mental and kill their Jedi leaders. Almost certainly the ‘good Star Wars game’ that got away.

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They had massive potential, but you'll never play them


Apr 14, 2010


  • Zyuta - April 19, 2010 2:32 a.m.

    Never played dungeon keeper 3 wish it was still out. Besides that couldn't you just have people order online so you get paid to send it to them and for the game?
  • Amnesiac - April 18, 2010 3:42 a.m.

    As much as I love Fallout 3, it's saddening that we'll never be able to play Van Buren. It sounds so great.
  • CandiedJester - April 16, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    This is just...depressing. lol. A lot of these look so awesome. Knowing that I will probably never ever get a chance to play them..really sucks. /: ESPECIALLY Van Buren. </3
  • volrath46656 - April 15, 2010 4:31 p.m.

    Sorry for double post, computers suck sometimes.
  • volrath46656 - April 15, 2010 4:28 p.m.

    I think Starcraft Ghost was supposed to be slated for consoles only...but worth mentioning anyway. At one point I was excited for Duke Nukem Forever. As the years went by excitement turned to frustration, then finally apathy. I am now convinced Duke Nukem Forever was an elaborate and evil publicity stunt...
  • volrath46656 - April 15, 2010 4:24 p.m.

    I think Starcraft Ghost was supposed to be slated for console release, not PC - but in any case, Ghost was the biggest letdown for me since my assessment that Duke Nukem Forever was nothing more than an elaborate and evil hoax....
  • philipshaw - April 15, 2010 12:30 p.m.

    Some of these games looked like they could have been awesome
  • Clovin64 - April 15, 2010 10:37 a.m.

    Duke Nukem was going to be a BIT sexist? Possible understatement of the year...
  • jakery22 - April 15, 2010 8:31 a.m.

    Also i really want duke nukem too. :(. It looks amazing. :(.
  • jakery22 - April 15, 2010 8:28 a.m.

    I loved Dungeon keeper so much. I've still got it and still play on it. I spent ages on that game constantly building dungeons and not much time killing enemies. But nevertheless i still loved it.
  • The_Tingler - April 15, 2010 6:09 a.m.

    Oh, and X-COM: Alliance and Dreamland Chronicles.
  • CH3BURASHKA - April 15, 2010 4:13 a.m.

    The Crossing's CrossPlay sounds like an awesome idea, which is, coincidentally, its knell as well. Granted, I've never played it, but their concept of multiplayer action in a single-player game seems to be at odds with itself. In single-player, progression is due to player skill, but mostly to AI's inferiority in both intellect and health and the like. In multiplayer, the battlefield is even: all enemies are human, therefore and more even match. However, had they cracked the nut on how to make that work, I'd be very sad to see the project die.
  • The_Tingler - April 15, 2010 3:06 a.m.

    That all made me really sad, and none more so than Duke Nukem Forever. It sounded really fun, and there's not enough genuine funny fun in FPS games these days. SiN Episodes: Emergence was probably the last, and that crashed and burned. Portal doesn't count as it's not an FPS. Still though - you missed out one major game that actually got mentioned in the Fallout 3/ Van Buren section, Baldur's Gate 3! And Looking Glass' proper Thief 3 is another I seriously wish I'd encountered, as much as I love Deadly Shadows.
  • SandroTheMaster - April 15, 2010 2:50 a.m.

    Is that a PCGaming article? A genuine PCGaming article? I thought I was reading Gamesradar. Talking about sequels to insanely good and ingenious games, what the hell happened to Jagged Alliance 3?
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - April 15, 2010 2:49 a.m.

    Dungeon Keeper... That was the greatest RTS loss IMO. I loved that game. :'(
  • FriendlyFire - April 15, 2010 12:59 a.m.

    Where's the love for space-sims? Project Lonestar getting cancelled was a huge blow :(
  • D4rk2triker - April 14, 2010 11:39 p.m.

    I hate that alterno-universe me... he probably even has a girlfriend
  • Koouunn - April 14, 2010 10:55 p.m.

    edit: i mean dugeon keeper 2
  • Koouunn - April 14, 2010 10:54 p.m.

    dongeon keeper 3 (spelling ?) was the geatest game evar. i remeber goint to my cousins house after school just to go play it
  • WickedSid - April 14, 2010 9:27 p.m.

    I loved Republic Commando, would have been great if Imperial had made it past concept stage... We must remember and move on.

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