We always want what we can't have, and this week's Big Question is all about the games that got away. The ones that were announced with a big fanfare, before quietly being put to sleep behind closed doors. Light a candle, say a prayer, and let's remember those that are no longer with us.
This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.
Visceral's Star Wars game
I know Star Wars 1313 is the go-to choice for cancelled projects we wish saw the light of day, but I would have personally been more interested to see what Visceral Games' Star Wars title would have looked like before Electronic Arts shut it down in 2017. Not only was "Project Ragtag" being developed under the creative direction of Uncharted creator Amy Hennig, but it looked like it would have embraced the weird, grimy underworld of Star Wars with open arms, telling a story of a group of mercenaries who go up against a powerful mob boss. This thing was apparently pretty far into development before EA pulled the plug, and the loss of Dead Space's original creators in the form of Visceral only makes the bitter pill harder to swallow. Alex Avard
“Prey will continue…” Famous last words.
2006’s Prey – not to be confused with the later Bethesda-published reboot – was ahead of its time. Intelligent Portal-style mechanics, an intriguing world, and lore just begging to be uncovered. And its cliffhanger ending promised a Prey sequel would double down on all that, suggesting we had only just seen the beginnings of one of the 21st Century’s finest franchises.
Then it all fell apart. The story behind Prey being quietly canned is probably very interesting, but I can’t help but shake a feeling that we missed out on the sequel to a game that not only holds up phenomenally well nearly 15 years later, but would’ve expanded upon it in every meaningful way, potentially pushing the medium forward in the process. We’d probably be talking about Prey 7 now, coming soon to next-gen. Now, ironically, even its revival is unlikely to continue… Bradley Russell
Timesplitters is one of the greatest shooter series of all time, and considering it never left the PS2 era, that statement risks being a bit hyperbolic. But then, few shooters have the same gleeful abandon that 'Splitters did in its prime, with a mix of goofy lore, frantic action, and marvelous multiplayer. While a Timesplitters 4 was in the works for PS3, the wreckage of developer Free Radical's time on Haze meant it never happened.
And that's a real shame, as the idea of taking the things that worked so well on PS2 and seeing how they would have evolved on PS3 is exciting. COD may have popularised Infection mode, but Timesplitters version could have offered something different in the early years of online multiplayer, while it's irreverent tone would have been refreshing in the era of brown and grey. Will we ever see 'Splitters escape that generation? God I hope so.
Star Wars 1313
Star Wars games don't seem to have much luck. Besides Visceral's intriguing - but canned - bounty hunter story, plenty more have been hurled onto the scrap-heap. The original Battlefront 3. A gritty FPS dubbed 'First Assault'. Two projects from EA Vancouver. However, the loss that hurt the most was Star Wars 1313. It was meant to be an Uncharted-style origin story for Boba Fett, taking place far below the opulent surface of Coruscant seen in the prequel movies. This was a place more like the back-alleys of a gangster film, and the rumour is that you'd make your way through its dangers as you built Fett's iconic outfit. Judging by the demo from E3 long ago, it was shaping up nicely.
Because 1313 was in development before Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, it fell to the cutting room floor once that purchase was made - the House of Mouse obviously had its own plans for the bounty hunter, and this game's story would presumably get in the way of that. For now, we'll just have to watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 to get our fix of Level 1313. Benjamin Abbott
It's gotta be 1313 for me, as well
There's a reason a ton of us have said Star Wars 1313 - and it's not because George Lucas told us to. Star Wars 1313 would have been an absolute treasure for Star Wars and FPS fans alike - a grounded, steely take on Lucas' universe that was rumored to be getting an 'M' for Mature rating. 1313 would have pushed aside the colorful lightsabers and reflective Nabooian ships for the grimy underworld of Coruscant and told the story of the beings trying to gain a foothold in the seemingly insurmountable ladder that is the economic and social hierarchy of the planet. I love the idea of exploring the seedy underbelly of the shiny sports car that is the Star Wars universe - and I mean truly seedy, not just a dimly lit cantina, but a decaying environment like Corellia in Solo: A Star Wars Story. I've always wanted my Star Wars environments to have more edge, its protagonists to have higher stakes that aren't rooted in Force finger-waving nonsense or bureaucratic red tape - but are simply about the most animalistic desire of all: survival. Give me the world of the forgotten, show me their struggle and make me live through it - that Disney let the game evaporate into nothingness is a higher crime than what they did to Rey. Alyssa Mercante
Left 4 Dead 3
Here's the thing: I've never played a Left 4 Dead game, but I'd really like to. I didn't get into PC gaming until around 2013, long after the Left 4 Dead and even Left 4 Dead 2 scene had calmed down. And sure, I could still boot up and play Left 4 Dead 2 today. I have it hidden in my Steam library, even. But I don't really have anybody to play such an old game with, and from what I've seen and heard, it hasn't exactly aged perfectly. So I figure a new, modernized entry in the series would be the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with this iconic Valve co-op shooter. I mean, the company just released new insights confirming that it was, at one point, working on Left 4 Dead 3, so it's not even that big of a stretch. I'm always up for another big, dumb co-op game to play with friends, and I can already picture classic jabs like tricking zombies into eating the friend who just molotoved me. Austin Wood
First teased in 2007, The Agency was meant to be a very different kind of MMO in an era where most studios were still scrambling to replicate the success of World of Warcraft. It would take place in a fictionalized version of the modern world, filled with secret terrorist cells and even more secret black ops organizations dedicated to rooting them out. Players would take on the role of operatives, teaming up to infiltrate a swanky gala in one mission then strapping themselves with tactical gear for tense, cover-based gun battles in the next. There would be gadgets, car chases, and global conspiracies, and it was going to be great. Then its studio was closed and it was quietly canceled in 2011 - a tie-in Facebook game was the only thing that ever officially came out. I'm sure it wouldn't have been as good as the slick James Bond MMO I'd built up in my dreams, but I'll always wonder what could have been. Connor Sheridan
Haunt, Nintendo's game about Boo
For me, Nintendo is at their best when they get a little weird. After all, it's that boundless creativity that conceived a game about a dinosaur-riding plumber dodging flying turtles to rescue a princess from a much bigger, spiky-shelled turtle. And when the video game makers mix elements of horror into that chaotic good energy, well dear readers, you likely have my GOTY.
According to Retro Studios concept artist Sammy Hall, Nintendo was once working on a game that starred Boo, the little round ghost that's been haunting you in droves since 1990's Super Mario Bros 3. I highly suggest you look at some of the concept art Hall created for the game - along with having a great anime style, there are some seriously bizarre variations of the little specter. There's academic Boo, orange Boo... Hanukkah Boo? Obviously, Hall was having a bit of fun with the concept art, but the concept for the game itself sounds amazing. Apparently, it would've allowed you to possess things similar to Mario Odyssey's Cappy mechanic. This was being developed back in the Wii days, so it's long dead by now, but that won't stop me from dreaming. In fact, here's my elevator pitch to Nintendo: resurrect Haunt as a Luigi's Mansion 3 DLC. Come on. Jordan Gerblick
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