A look at a few of my greatest games that never quite made it, whether it was down to financial worries, legal disputes, being dropped by the developer or perhaps a game that have been in a continuous cycle of cancellation and development for years. There are certainly a ton of games not in the list, but if you think I have missed a potential killer game from the list then let me know in the comments.
Halo 3 – Image courtesy of Niranjan
In 2006, Microsoft announced an “episodic video game” named Halo: Chronicles was to be developed by film director Peter Jackson‘s Wingnut Interactive, as you will find out in the rest of the article there seems to be a bit of a theme of failure when film directors team up with developers. How exactly a episodic video game was to play out, I am unsure. Very few details were released about the project but its clear Microsoft and Wingnut Interactive had grand visions for the Halo series with a emphasis on creating an interactive film experience.
Not much is know for the reasoning behind cancelling the game in 2009, but any hopes of a release seem to collapse at the same time as the release of the Halo movie did.
Fallout 4 – Image courtesy of Videogame Photography
Development of the game orginally started in 2006 although it was not officially announced as Fallout Online in June 2010, the game was going to be a MMO set in the Fallout universe and was to be developed by Masthead Studios and published by Interplay.
What led to the eventual cancellation of the project was a bizarre and lengthy legal battle as Bethesda attempted to terminate the licensing agreement it had granted Interplay, which eventually led to a settlement with Bethesda regaining full rights to the game and it being cancelled. Interplay claimed it had finished and tested combat, leveling, character development, item crafting, skills and had mapped out approximately 65,500 square miles (170,000 km2), which makes it even more of a shame. Oh well, I guess we will have to make do with Fallout 4!
Half-Life 3 (Confirmed, sort of)
Half-Life – Image courtesy of Niranjan
The Half-Life series was the first title released by Valve Software on November 19th 1998 going on to release Half-Life 2 in 2004, followed by episodes 1 and 2. Ever since then fans of the series have been waiting on tenterhooks for the eagerly anticipated, endlessly delayed, periodically cancelled Half-Life 2: Episode 3. The delay in the release of the 5th installment of the half life series is that legendary, it has even spawn its own meme. As a huge fan of the series this has to be one of my favourite games that never quite made it.
False hope has come in the form of Valve registering the trademark “Half-Life 3” in 2013 and very recently with JJ Abrams, producer of titles including Lost, Cloverfield and Star Wars: The Force Awakens claiming a Half Life film is ‘In development”. We can only hope that Valve are timing a release to coincide with the release of the film.
DayZ – Image courtesy of Matthias Selfert
Ok, now I understand you can already buy DayZ infact I already own it! and here lies the problem, it is one of a growing number of titles being released in early access alpha or beta versions. Now this is all well and good, I understand the need for beta testers to work the bugs out of any new titles but the cripplingly slow rate of progress is excruciating.
Originally being told by Marek Spanel not to expect the beta before the end of 2014 since then many deadlines have been and gone and we are still in “Early Access Alpha” at the start of 2016. My only fear is that a game with so much potential with end up in the pile of abandoned games such as Towns which sold over 200,000 copies before being abandoned by its developers.
In 2005 the ears of the gaming community pricked up with excitement as EA announced a deal with arguably the greatest director of all time, Steven Spielberg to develop three games. From which I thought the science-fiction adventure story LMNO set to see a former special agent team up with a mysterious alien-looking character whose name was Eve, with its mix of parkour movement, RPG objectives and escape based gameplay was the most promising.
When former EA Executive Neil Young was drawn on the relationship with Spielberg, his response ‘Can it move you like a great piece of art, a great film?’ We want to be able to, together with [Spielberg], start delivering some experiences that begin to get you there.” added hope that we might actually see a game with something other than your typical one dimensional story telling.
All the optimism was indeed short lived with EA announcing in 2010 it “has ceased development” of the project.
Star Wars: Battlefront 3
Star Wars: The Old Republic – Image courtesy of HiP 1
First reports broke in 2006 with unconfirmed reports that the game was being developed by Free Radical Design responsible for the TimeSplitters Franchise and more recently involved with the Crysis games The game had been secretly in development for 2 years when Free Radical Design ended up announcing that they lost the rights to develop the game, with co-founder Steve Ellis saying that Battlefront 3 was”pretty much done” in 2008, but that it was scrapped because LucasArts would not commit to marketing the game.
Instead in 2015 we got Star Wars: Battlefront to coincide with the release of The Force Awakens. Which was more of a rehash of the previous games than a new addition to the franchise, not dissimilar to the storyline of the new film.
There was actually another game in the franchise cancelled, Star Wars: 1313 in which you got to play as the famed bounty hunter Boba Fett. Instead, the dark side (that is Disney) went and shut down LucasArts leading to the cancellation of the title. It is a tough life being a Star Wars gaming fan.