The cancellation of a game in development is always sad, especially for titles that received a lot of hype before production even kicked off. There’s been many a tragic tale to surface in the news over the last two decades. And many of these titles that have been canned held a whole lot of promise, even to the point where they would’ve taken the industry by storm. We’re taking a closer look at the titles that almost made it, the ones we really had high hopes for, with our list of the 10 canceled video games that would have broken records.
While Square Enix’s Avengers video game based off the MCU has made for some interesting debate and fan backlash, once upon a time, there was another Avengers game in the works, this one produced by THQ. It was also meant to tie into the MCU 2012 Avengers film but was canceled in wake of the studio’s Australian branch closing. Footage of the game surfaced, featuring character models and concept art.
Written by well-known comic writer Brian Michael Bendis, it was meant to be a loose adaptation of Secret Invasion, one of the Marvel arcs he helped pen. A four-player cooperative RPG, the title was meant to involve other characters in the Marvel universe, including the x-Men and the Fantastic Four. And fun fact, apparently Brian Michael Bendis has one of the only working copies of the game in his possession.
Six Days In Fallujah
Six Days in Fallujah was a title that many expected to revolutionize the tactical shooter genre, and was meant to be the first video game directly concerning the Iraq War. A third-person shooter, the game was based on a true story that followed a squad of US marines fighting in the second battle of Fallujah over the span of six days in November of 2004.
When the game was in the works in 2009, there was controversy surrounding it about whether or not adapting the story into a video game was ‘too soon’, with the game being more of a survival horror game thanks to the unpredictable and terrifying real-life tactics used by the insurgents in Fallujah. As was described of the real-life situation, the game’s director noted,
“Many of the insurgents had no intention of leaving the city alive, so their entire mission might be to lie in wait, with a gun trained at a doorway, for days just waiting for a marine to pop his head in.”
“They went door to door clearinghouses, and most of the time the houses would be empty. But every now and then, they would encounter a stunningly lethal situation, which of course rattled the Marines psychologically.”
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A lot of backlashes came from members of the military, including a former lieutenant named Tim Collins who said, I quote,
“It’s much too soon to start making video games about a war that’s still going on. And an extremely flippant response to one of the most important events in modern history. It’s particularly insensitive given what happened in Fallujah.”
In 2009, Konami announced it would no longer publish the game created by developer Atomic Video Games, despite the devs push for it.
Battle of the Sith Lords
There is a long-winded saga concerning the creation of a Star Wars video game centered on Sith Lords. A game that was to center on the story of Darth Maul developed by Red Fly Studio, the title would eventually be canceled thanks to Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars, and the stealth action title would never come to fruition.
While Disney’s acquisition was the nail in the coffin, long before that occurred, Red Fly was having great difficulties with LucasArts, which made the development of the game a struggle. The company left out important details pertaining to the character and Maul’s appearances in the Clone Wars cartoon universe.
They had to drastically change the narrative of the game to accommodate the demands that LucasArts made. And often, the developer and its employees were left majorly confused as to what exactly was going on with the game.
The Flash: Fastest Man
Alive The Flash may have finally gotten a CW show of his own, but for years, fans of the scarlet speedster have felt that the character deserved a lot more when it came to spin-off media. There was a Flash game back in the day in 1993 for the Sega Master System and the Gameboy, but since, fans of the hero have always craved a current-generation title starring the character. In 2008, they almost got to see that dream come true, thanks to Bottlerocket Entertainment.
The Flash Fastest Man Alive was meant to be a game starring Wally West in an open world that featured by Central City and Keystone, with new mechanics meant to make his speedster ways possible, and even an added morality gauge. The game ultimately failed thanks to its publisher, Brash Entertainment, who eventually filed for bankruptcy. And by 2009, Bottlerocket was forced to shut down without ever finishing the title.
Gotham by Gaslight
Gotham by Gaslight is one of the most beloved DC Elseworlds comic books. For those of you unfamiliar with the imprint, Elseworlds comics are ones that take place in alternate realities and therefore have no impact on the main DC continuity. Anywho, Gotham by Gaslight takes place in the 19th century, with Bruce Wayne becoming Batman just as Jack the Ripper has arrived in Gotham City.
There was a video game based on the one-shot comic planned for release by Day 1 Studios. But after studio THQ failed to secure the rights for the property, the game was canceled. Later, concept art would be released for the title, which felt like a Victorian England Steampunk crossbreed. And it got a lot of hype, especially for the way in which Batman’s cape moved, but despite that, it still remains a shelved title for now.
In 2012, Fez, an indie puzzle-platformer title from Trapdoor, designed by Phil Fish, made major waves, quickly become an indie darling in the gaming industry. It also got a ton of media exposure thanks to Fish and a documentary titled Indie Game The Movie. Critically acclaimed, fans were excited for a sequel, especially when it was officially announced at the 2013 E3.
But a whole month later, it was canceled all thanks to a Twitter argument between Fish and a video game journalist, with the journalist having criticized Fish over his comments about the Xbox One self-publishing policy changes. Fish got real worked up, trashing the gaming industry for its “negativity” and proceeded to tweet that Fez 2 was canceled, along with his own personal exit from the industry. I quote,
“Fez 2 is canceled. I am done. I take the money and I run. This is as much as I can stomach. This isn’t the result of any one thing, but the end of a long, bloody campaign. You win.”
Whenever news breaks of our favorite film directors venturing into the world of video games, it’s often exciting; we expect that we’ll be hit with an innovative story that rivals the likes of the narratives they’ve created up on the big screen. But it’s also not a surprise when we hear that those projects have fallen through, such was the case with Guillermo del Toro’s Insane.
A survival horror title, it was meant to be released in 2013 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, with it eventually leading to a full-blown trilogy. Del Toro’s ambitions were pretty solid, saying of the game, I quote,
“With this new series of video games, I want to take players to a place they have never seen before, where every single action makes them question their own senses of morality and reality.”
But two years later, the developers behind it, THQ, would cancel the game. And transfer all of the rights to del Toro.
The Agent is one of those Video games on our list that hasn’t been officially canceled but has at least fallen into development hell. It’s a mysterious but intriguing title from Rockstar Video Games that was first announced in 2007, with very little details, revealed to the public, aside from the fact that it takes place during the Cold War in the 1970s, and that it would, I quote,
“Take players into the world of counter-intelligence, espionage and political assassinations.”
For years, Rockstar fans waited patiently for news on this highly anticipated title. And with the announcement of the Playstation 4 in 2013, many believed that Agent would become a next-generation title.
According to rumors, most of those at Rockstar were taken off of the Agent project and put onto Grand Theft Auto V, with a previous Rockstar employed artist noting that he didn’t think Agent would ever be published.
In 2013, Take-Two Interactive renewed its trademarks for Agent. And again in 2016, and in the following year, images of alleged concept art were leaked for the title. Needless to say, that got fans really, really hyped.
But in 2018, the Agent trademark was abandoned and not renewed, leaving many to believe that’s a sure-fire sign of the game being canceled after all.
At this number, we have another case of a film director’s project being canceled – Steven Spielberg’s LMNO. That was the working title of this ambitious project that was kicking around in the late 2000s that was allegedly canceled twice, with EA attempting to stomp out rumors about the game being canned, publically saying how committed they were to Spielberg and his projects with them.
According to what we know, the title was supposed to be a cooperative adventure that followed two characters named Lincoln and Eve, Lincoln being a quiet everyman and Eve being an alien a woman from thousands of years in the future.
Players would find themselves on the run from government agents, and Eve would change her behavior based on the player’s decisions.
It was even described as Uncharted but set in a Spielberg universe. And the initial version of the game was three hours long, making it clear to everyone involved just how ambitious the project was.
Rumour has it that EA’s fear of originality and the costs of how ambitious the project was were the reasons why it was canned for good.
Silent Hills (PT)
Back in August of 2014, the Playstation debuted a playable teaser, called PT, on their Playstation Store. A first-person psychological horror game, the title set you in a suburban home, walking down a hallway on loop, coming face to face with a bunch of supernatural horrors while solving puzzles.
Turns out, it was a teaser directed by gaming icon Hideo Kojima, alongside famous film director Guillermo del Toro, and the teaser, despite its short length, was critically acclaimed for its visuals, story complexity, tension building, and direction. It seemed to be one of the most promising potential horror titles, and it was meant to be the next installment in the Silent Hills franchise, to boot. But then, Konami announced it was canceling the title. Initially, they announced that I quote,
“Konami is committed to new Silent Hill titles, however, the embryonic Silent Hills project developed with Guillermo del Toro and featuring the likeness of Norman Reedus will not be continued.”
Hideo Kojima would leave Konami entirely and now has his own studio, with both del Toro and Reedus being a part of his upcoming mysterious title Death Stranding. Yet to this day, many people believe that PT is one of the best horror video games of all time, and it’s incredibly hard to find an original copy of the game (PS4s with the game installed on their system can go for quite the chunk of change online).