Sometimes great video game ideas just don’t get to see the light of day. For whatever reason, certain games that have fantastic potential become the victim of the axe and consumers like you and I never get to try them out.
Every console generation sees its share of cancelled games and our current generation’s no exception. There’s not enough time to discuss every single one of them but here is a quick rundown of some current generation games that never made it to retail that I feel could have been promising.
Remember those Dirty Harry movies? Clint Eastwood was so tough and menacing. I suppose he’s still tough and menacing today, but more in a “Turn Wheel of Fortune back on or I’ll give you a stern talking to” kind of way. The idea behind the game was to let the player step back into the shoes of our ill-tempered cop in question in the midst of his gangster-busting heyday.
Developers The Collective Inc. and publisher Warner Brothers Interactive made several announcements about the game and even released a tech video but that was all we ever got. The story was going to take place between the first and second films following Harry Callahan as he tracked down the serial killer ‘Scorpio’. With an open world San Francisco to explore and Eastwood’s likeness, voice, and writing credits on board; Dirty Harry might have been a fun experience. I guess we’ll never know for sure.
Lord of the Rings: The White Council
After being underwhelmed by several Lord of the Rings games in the past several years (The Third Age, Lord of the Rings: Conquest) I was ready to spend some enjoyable time in Middle Earth. The Lord of the Rings is a property that’s just begging for the role-playing treatment and The White Council looked like it might have just scratched that itch.
Originally developed and published by EA, The White Council was conceptualized as an open world rpg, letting the player choose between playing as a man, elf, hobbit or dwarf as you attempted to gain the favor of the White Council and save Middle Earth. Citing “management problems” as the reason for cancelling the game, EA went on to collaborate with Pandemic Studios to release Lord of the Rings: Conquest instead. I don’t know what “management problems” really means, but I sure wish they could’ve worked it out because it all could’ve been beyond awesome.
If any project has Guillermo del Toro’s name attached to it you can sign me up. The man who gave us Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Cronos knows how to creep out and entertain at the same time. Sundown was a game that del Toro was helping to co-develop that was cancelled for reasons unknown. The story was reported to revolve around survivors of a zombie outbreak. Guillermo del Toro and zombies? Oh, man this could have been great!
The tone of the game was interesting, letting players experience calmer moments before the horror kicked in. I’m not sure what would have been included or what kind of game it would have been but I wish I could have tried it for myself.
Harker was going to be a game based on the character Jonathan Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In the story, Jonathan Harker was a more fragile character who’s fiancé was being terrorized by Count Dracula. In the game, he was going to be a hard core 19th- century vampire hunter – kind of like a tea-sipping version of Blade, I suppose.
As a fan of the original novel, I would have like to experience this different take on the character. It was being developed by Double Helix but the game was put on hold so that they could work on Silent Hill: Homecoming. I’m one of the few people who actually enjoyed that game so I think I would have enjoyed Harker. The game actually looked pretty intriguing based on the one released trailer that we got.
The Dark Knight
Movie tie-in games are typically recipes for disaster. Thus, there’s no guarantee that a video game version of The Dark Knight would’ve been any good, but I’ll try anything with Batman’s name on it. Originally developed by Pandemic Studios, the game was supposed to have released alongside the theatrical release of the film way back in ’08. I can’t find any real good reason that the mere concept was canned, so I can only imagine that the game itself wasn’t very good.
Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight trilogy’s Commissioner Gordon, even stated in an interview with G4 that he was aware of the game and at the time of the interview that work on the game was continuing for the purpose of making Batman’s gliding mechanic more fluid. I guess they never got it right. The idea of an open-world Dark Knight game would’ve been an intriguing proposition, but since Rocksteady has now gotten their hands on the Batman license, I don’t think anyone will shed a tear about this game being cancelled.
I own a Wii, but I’ve never played any game to completion on it. Motion controls just do not sit well with me, but if there’s any Wii game that would have tempted me it would have been Sadness.
Developed by now defunct developers “Nibris,” Sadness was a survival horror game looking for creative uses for the Wii remote and Nunchuck. Relying on psychological terror and a bleak black and white color palette, it would’ve been one of the more interesting Wii titles available, to say the least. The game was actually one of the first announced for the system, even as far back as when the Wii was still known as the “Revolution.”
After spending over four years in development hell, the game finally went under thanks to conflicting opinions in the development studio about what direction the game should’ve gone. Whether or not the game would have been any good is a matter of debate, but it would’ve been a good addition to the Wii’s kiddie/mini-game heavy catalog regardless.
These are just some of the many, many games that’ve been canned this generation. We certainly have no lack of fantastic games to play but it’s still fun to look back at some of these titles and wonder “what if?”
Is there another game that you were disappointed about not getting to play due to cancellation? Let us know in the comments below.