Written by Rick Warren / Gfn2112
Though phenomenal games are releasing constantly, there have been many times where a great-looking game never makes its debut. From action to horror, every genre has suffered from permanently losing a game to development hell. This week, I’ll be sharing 5 games that I was extremely excited for... and extremely sad to see get canceled.
Early Gameplay Footage And Concept Art
The Expanded Universe of Star Wars being removed from canon had an impact outside of the books. Some of the largest cancellations came in the form of video games, as any Star Wars video games in development were cancelled after Disney acquired the rights to the universe. One of those canceled games was centered around Phantom Menace villain Darth Maul. Though he was underused and underdeveloped in the film, the animated shows Clone Wars and Rebels made him interesting for more than his design and dual-bladed lightsaber. The game likely would have done the same, providing Maul with an interesting story that took place after Return of the Jedi. The gameplay, though clearly an early build, looked solid and the concept art was breathtaking. It’s a shame that Red Fly Studios’ take on Darth Maul was never even officially revealed. Even sadder, it wasn’t the only Star Wars game to meet that fate.
Up next, a game in a series that recently saw a reboot...
4.) Prey 2
The Jaw-Dropping Trailer
What makes Prey 2 such a frustrating cancellation is that there really isn’t anything like it on the market. The Witcher 3 is the closest thing, but even then, there’s a huge difference between hunting monsters in a fantasy setting and hunting aliens in space. Within the one CGI trailer for Prey 2, a huge amount of personality shined. The alien designs were cool, as was the location where the action was taking place. Given Bethesda’s other games, I have no doubt that the project would have delivered a consistently fun world to explore and awesome enemies to track down. I enjoyed the Prey reboot, but I wanted to see something like Prey 2 so much more. Hopefully, Bethesda’s upcoming game Starfield delivers on some of what Prey 2 seemed to be, because to this day I’m dying to play as a bounty hunter in outer space.
In spot #3, a cancellation that also led to the closure of a great studio...
3.) Project Ragtag
The Story Behind Ragtag’s Cancellation
Otherwise known as the untitled Amy Hennig Star Wars game, this pseudo-cancellation came late last year. Though it’s officially been described as a rebuilding, it has become extremely obvious that the game that releases will be nothing like it was meant to be. A linear singleplayer game like Amy’s previous work, Ragtag was set to tell the story of a character much like Han Solo. The lovable scoundrel would have had his own abilities, and the gameplay would have been a mix between Naughty Dog’s treasure hunting masterpieces and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. With the combination between gunplay and space combat, the game would have been a blast for fans of linear singleplayer games. Sadly, it fell apart. Though there were a series of contributing factors, the largest was publisher EA meddling with the project and making terrible decisions. Like with Dead Space 3 and Battlefield Hardline, they forced Visceral to add components and work with an engine they weren’t comfortable with. Budget issues, the sudden involvement of another studio on the project, and a loss of vision for the game soon followed. Soon after that, it died. Visceral was closed, and many of skilled developers lost their jobs because of poor choices they did not make themselves. Ragtag is one of gaming’s most tragic cancellations, and a perfect example of why gamers dislike publishers.
In the second spot, a title that had a huge gameplay trailer...
2.) Star Wars: 1313
The Gorgeous Gameplay
Ugh. What else is there to say about this one? Before there was Ragtag, there was 1313. Unlike the former, we saw the latter in action. It was an Uncharted game set in the Star Wars universe, and with a young Boba Fett as the star. The climbing and gunplay looked as great as in any other game, and the potential for redemption for a wasted character like Boba Fett was exciting. He would no longer be the overrated character he’s known to be, and he’d earn that awesome armor and legendary reputation. That was the dream, of course. Then, the game was cancelled, for the same reason as the Maul game. Not because of development issues like Ragtag; simply due to a change in ownership of the Star Wars brand. The third singleplayer Star Wars game on this list, and the one that was the closest to being finished, this is a game that always hurts to talk about. In fact, only one game cancellation comes with more anger and frustration than 1313...
In the top spot, a painfully easy #1 choice...
1.) Silent Hills
P.T. Ending/Silent Hills Reveal And Live Action Trailer
The terrible treatment of an icon like Hideo Kojima, the destruction of his beloved series with a game like Metal Gear Survive, the refusal to make full games due to an obsession with Pachinko machines... and, of course, the shutting down of Silent Hills. The list of reasons to hate this publisher is incredible, and Silent Hills is one of the biggest. To be fair, I’d hate for them to try to continue without Kojima’s involvement... I just wish they had stayed out of his way and let him create the game he wanted to. Everything about P.T. was a masterpiece. It was truly unsettling, and in all honesty, the scariest thing I have ever played. I couldn’t finish it myself and ended up watching streamers look for the ending. When it was finally discovered, I was as shocked as everyone else. The creativity behind the secret reveal, with a fake studio and even a dumbed-down engine, was mind-blowing. It had never been done before. The reveal of Norman Reedus as the protagonist was promising. The involvement of a phenomenal director and creature designer in Guillermo Del Toro was thrilling. Seeing Hideo Kojima’s name pushed my hype levels to the absolute maximum. Every piece to the puzzle was in place for something truly special. Soon, though, the Kojima/Konami situation became public and those puzzle pieces were permanently scattered. I’m thankful to see the core players back together for Death Stranding, but I’ll never forget what Silent Hills could have been: the best entry in one of the best horror series ever made.
That’s all for this week! Check out some honorable mentions below, and feel free to share a cancellation that disappointed you.