We barely knew them
Its always a shame when games get cancelled. People lose jobs, development studios close, and were robbed of experiences that could have been brilliant. Many games actually get binned before theyve even seen the light of day, their entire existence confined to a tech demo on a developers screen, or a bunch of concept media rejected by a publisher. However, some are presented to the world before meeting their untimely demise.
Let's take a look back at some of the bigger, more exciting games to fall onto the scrapheap during the previous generation. These are the 12 games we reckon had the most potential and, as youll soon read, we may still get to play some of them in the next generation.
Until recently, it was assumed that Killing Day--a shooter revealed by Ubisoft at E3 2005--is deader than disco. The announcement trailer (which was all CG) showed promise, as a man slid around a building shooting fools and breaking stuff like it was going out of fashion. However, following total silence on the project, it was assumed that Killing Day was gone forever
In 2009 Ubisoft filed for a Killing Day patent, effectively keeping the franchise name alive if the company ever decided to restart development. Interestingly, Ubi requested a renewal of the patent in 2013, which means that someone, somewhere still has plans for the game. Will we ever see a finished (or indeed, started) version of Killing Day? Never say never, but for now it only really exists as a name and an old CG trailer.
This political adventure game was announced back in 2005, before Microsoft kick-started the current generation with Xbox 360. It was set in Washington DC, and starred a CIA agent called Jameson who is wrongly accused of a crime he didnt commit. The rest of the game was to see Jameson as a fugitive, with the player deciding how he could steer clear of the law and clear his name. David Braben and the team at Frontier imagined a non-linear adventure where choice ultimately dictated the outcome of the story.
Sounds great, but as teams like BioWare and Quantic Dream have discovered, basing a game on choice is an enormous amount of work. Perhaps thats why--after more than six years in limbo--David Braben confirmed that development had ceased on the project. Still, Braben made sure to point out that The Outsider (opens in new tab) hasnt been formally cancelled, so theres a slim chance we may get to play it at some point.
Where the hell is Agent (opens in new tab)? Rockstar Norths espionage thriller was announced back in 2007, as an exclusive for PS3, and caused a huge stir at E3. It wasnt until 2009, however, that any solid details emerged. The game is set in the 1970s, and features (to quote the press release) the world of counter-intelligence, espionage and political assassinations. So, basically, Spy Who Loved Me-era Bond, only with less Roger Moore sex-pesting.
Given that Rockstar North has completed GTA 5 (opens in new tab), its safe to assume that Agent could be next on the list. However, it certainly hasnt been publicly cancelled, leading some to speculate that it will appear on next-gen consoles. Then theres the question of exclusivity. In 2011 Sony CEO Jack Tretton said that he was unsure about whether or not Agent was still a Sony exclusive. So, putting all the pieces together, we reckon that Agent will be cross-platform release on next-gen. But thats just our best guess only Rockstar really knows.
This action game was in development at Sony Londons studio, and first appeared as part of a PS3 tech demo at E3 2005. The following year, it was announced as a full game, and the first trailer showed off a gunfight in the Arizona desert. There were plenty of explosions and cars getting smashed up. Exciting, but the trailer was clearly pre-rendered footage. Oh, and the reason it was called Eight Days, is because thats how long the in-game story was set to last.
The game was officially cancelled in 2008, following an internal game review at Sony. Various comments made by Sony execs suggested that Eight Days lack of online mode was one of the considerations for its cancellation. However, in 2009 rumours began to surface that the game was only on hold and could make a comeback. All quiet since then, so it now seems hugely unlikely that well see Eight Days--on PS3 at least.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Many see the release of Beyond Good & Evil 2 (opens in new tab) as a certainty, but this simply isnt the case. All weve seen of Michel Ancels handsome sequel is a pre-rendered trailer (back in 2008) and some leaked footage (back in 2010). Although details of the plot are scant, Ancel revealed that its all about the future of the planet and humanitys relationship with animals. Vague, yes, but thats probably because development isnt as far along as many people assume.
Speaking to IGN recently, Ancel says: Honestly, it was too challenging to put that on [current] consoles. I think now with those new consoles arriving, yes, we want to try again making that game. This implies that while Ubi Montpellier experimented with BG&E2 for Xbox 360 and PS3, it was never more than a concept. Whats more, his quote suggests that a next-gen version is far from certain too, and if it is given the green light, we wont be seeing it for several years as it doesnt sound like hes even started it.
The Lord of the Rings: The White Council
Of all the games in this feature, Lord of the Rings: The White Council (opens in new tab) had the most potential. Announced back in 2006, this was going to be EAs answer to the Elder Scrolls franchise. An open-world RPG set in the official Lord of the Rings universe, with AI and character behaviour pulled directly from The Sims studios, this could have out-Skyrimed Skryim (opens in new tab) if it had come to fruition.
Sadly, the project barely lasted a year, and was announced as being on indefinite hiatus back in 2007. While the Lord of the Rings brand has lost weight in recent years, the world is back on the Tolkien train thanks to the release of the Hobbit trilogy. And Skyrim itself proved that fantasy RPGs can sell like crazy. So, do we see a future for The White Council? No, its too expensive to make and EA has since had success with Dragon Age.
Dead or Alive: Code Chronos
Truth be told, we never really knew what this game was all about. Former Team Ninja boss Tomonobu Itagaki kept dropping references to the title during interviews in 2005, but never really committed to solid details. It was apparently a prequel to the original Dead or Alive, which told the stories of series regulars Ayane and Kasumi. Whether or not it was another straight fighting game is uncertain, and some rumours suggested it may have had RPG elements. Interesting, if true.
In 2008, Itagaki resigned from Team Ninjas owner Tecmo Koei, after a dispute over unpaid royalties. This obviously threw the future of Code Chronos into doubt and the games development status was listed as unknown. During an interview in 2010, new head of Team Ninja Yosuke Hayashi confirmed that the game had been officially cancelled. (Screenshot used above is from DOA5 Ultimate)
The Last Guardian
Ah, The Last Guardian (opens in new tab). Google the phrase development hell and this title is likely to be near the top of the list. Fumito Ueda originally saw this as the final game in the ICO / Shadow of the Colossus trilogy (opens in new tab)--that is, until he left Sony at the end of 2012. Whats it all about? Well, its a boy escaping a large castle with the help of a massive cat eagle thing called Trico. Some have suggested Trico is a Colossus (from SOTC), and others suggest the boy is in some way linked to Ico (from ICO, duh).
Where is the game now? Well, despite being announced in 2007, The Last Guardian looks like itll miss PS3. Sony says the game is still in development, and that Ueda is working on it as a consultant, but it wont commit to a firm release date. Best guess is that its being reworked for a PS4 release--no doubt the added grunt of next-gen will be useful for the physics-heavy puzzle system used in the game.
The Getaway 3
When it was teased back in a technical show-reel back in 2005, The Getaway 3 (for PS3) was positioned as Sonys own GTA London. The first we saw of it was a gloriously detailed tech demo of Piccadilly Circus, but after that things went very, very quiet. Theres little doubt about what the game would have played like--Get Carter mixed with GTA mixed with Driver--and the tech demo suggested that it would have been a fine-looking game too.
However, in 2008, Sony officially cancelled the game (along with, apparently, Eight Days) stating that their London studio was going to focus on franchises like SingStar and EyePet. This cancellation may have been linked to plans for a movie tie-in, which were sadly nixed back in 2008. Given the huge success of GTA and other open-world crime games like Saints Row, we just dont see a place for The Getaway any more.
This is an interesting one. Back in 2007, Double Helix (then part of Foundation9) announced that it was working on a game based on Bram Stokers Dracula. Its main character was set to be Jonathan Harker, who--instead of being a rather hopeless lawyer, as he is in the novel--kicks vampire ass around 19C Europe. A little like Van Helsing from the film of the same name.
Where is Harker (opens in new tab) now? It was put on hold when Konami asked Double Helix to work on Silent Hill: Homecoming and, as far as we know, it hasnt been resurrected since. While Vampires are still reasonably popular, Harker is unlikely to see the light of day, as Double Helix is now working on Killer Instinct (opens in new tab) for Xbox One. Still, there has been no official cancellation
WarDevil / Project Kane
This Dynasty Warriors-alike was announced as part game, part tech demo at the start of this console generation in 2005. It was in development at Digi-Guys, a subsidiary of Ignition Entertainment, and was shooting for technical perfection by running at 1080p, at a solid 60fps while having thousands of troops on screen at once. Its likely that these demands caused massive technical difficulties for the newly-formed Digi-Guys, and all was quiet on the project until 2010 when it was rebranded as Project Kane (opens in new tab).
The aim with Project Kane was to gather up all the WarDevil assets and fast-track it to release. However, less than a year since the rebranding, Ignition confirmed that it was making redundancies across its group, and one of the projects rumoured to be included in the cost-cutting measures was Project Kane. Chalk this one up as dead.
This is Vegas
In an ironic twist for a game that was meant to be about living large, This Is Vegas (opens in new tab) was cancelled when publisher Midway ran into financial trouble and, er, went bust. Its yet another open-world adventure game with ambitions that seemingly out-stretched its budget, despite rumours that Midway (and Warner Bros who picked it up as part of a $33 million to acquire Midways assets) spent $50 million on development.
Has This Is Vegas crapped out for good? If rumours of its wildly out-of-control budget are true, then yes, it definitely is. The game was officially cancelled back in 2010 and barring some kind of Duke Nukem nostalgia trip fronted by an Oil Sheik, we reckon its going to stay deader than those hookers we buried in the Nevada desert last year.
Rest in pieces
Well, theres our list. Youre probably typing furiously into your keyboard right now to remind us about the games we forgot. Thats cool. The beauty of cancelled games is that we all see different amounts of potential in them, and because they never see the light of day, theres no telling if theyre AAA gold bullion or just bull. One thing we will say, though, is that Star Wars Battlefront (opens in new tab) isnt on this list because the awesome team at DICE have picked up the franchise and are making it a reality.
Want more features filled with hard facts about great games? Yeah you do. Heres a look at Every Failed Console Ever (opens in new tab). Perhaps youre looking for a list of the best games that did actually come out. Heres our 100 Best Games Ever (opens in new tab).