Games that got stuck in development hell, but amazingly didn’t suck

It took over four years to get Leon’s grizzly quest out the undead door. Now stack that up to most other games in this article, and that doesn’t seem half bad. But then you consider that Resi 4 used to look like this…

Above: Ah, the Fog and Hook Man versions of our beloved survival horror. How we don't miss them

Well kiss my decomposing grits.

Fugly, with the series' stagnating fixed camera angles very much in check, the project looked a long way off the game that would come to redefine the genre. Thank director Shinji Mikami, his team and sweet zombie Jesus, then that the title eventually morphed into the behind-the-shoulder murdering action fest we all love and cherish through closed fingers.

If nothing else S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s developer GSC Game World has some big brass balls. Where some developers can’t stand the shame of being stuck in development hell, preferring instead to cower in the shadows hoping the Men in Black will flashy thingie all memories of their game from your mind, GSC embraced it.

Not only did it release hundreds of screenshots of the game in 2003 (four years before the game would ship, and already two years into its development cycle) it even invited fans to is office in Kiev to play the game.

Above: With giant mechsthe gamewould be sitting on aMetaCritic 93

Though the final version was scaled down from the initial plans of a hugely ambitious open world game, it remains a decent, quirky shooter. It even spawned a prequel in 2008, with Clear Sky, which the developer only started work on in nineteen-dickety-two . Probably.

Aka the last game Rare made that actually felt like a Rare game.First developed on the Gamecube, the project switched to the Xbox when Mircosoft bought the British developer. Considering the game looked like the below at the time, though, the game went on indefinite hold until late 2004. Presumably for an Oprah-style makeover… minus the hooting crowd of stereotypes.

Above: Hey good looking

Thankfully the game rose like a Phoenix (yup, we’ve actually used that phrase) from the ashes of all the plastic surgery just in time for the 360’s launch. And instead of sporting horribly scars and leftover bits of cellulite,it was actually stuffed full of charming ideas, beautiful HD graphics and memorable bosses. Shame the same couldn’t be said for Perfect Dark Zero. Seriously, that should have been taken out back to meet Old Yeller.

Any other games you can think of that got stuck in development hell that survivedand evolved into decent titles? Hit us up in the comments section below.

June 2, 2010