Part of the excitement in gaming comes from watching a game be unveiled, following its news updates and eagerly awaiting the day of release. But there are times when it never gets to that final part. Either the game is cancelled, put on hold indefinitely, or becomes ‘vaporware’ – meaning, we simply never hear from it again. Here are some games that never saw a release, but that did look rather promising.
RAVEN BLADE (GAMECUBE)
This action RPG was developed by Retro Studios, and unveiled to the public at the E3 of 2001. However, the game would be cancelled the same year, so the studio could focus on the development of Metroid Prime.
The demo video gave us a glimpse of its hack and slash gameplay, taking place in a fantasy world and featuring tons of enemies on screen at the same time. The game also had beautiful graphics for its time, most notably the giant lava monster appearing in the trailer.
One of the first Wii titles to be announced (as early as 2006, before the Wii’s official name was revealed), this game garnered a lot of attention for its atmospheric black and white visuals and cerebral horror. It was developed by Nibris, who promised ‘extremely innovative gameplay’ on top of the psychological horror, making use of the motion sensor controller. However, none of this gameplay was ever shown in the form of a playable demo, and eventually the game would be cancelled in 2010, and the studio responsible for the development was shut down.
KILLING DAY (PLAYSTATION 3, XBOX 360)
Killing Day was a shooter for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with (for its time) spectacular graphics. The game was unveiled at Sony’s E3 2005 conference. The demo showed the player advancing through a hallway filled with shiny ornaments to hide behind. A couple of things stand out here. For one, the game seemed to focus on double wielding weapons, at least in this section. Secondly, the physics are pretty impressive, with enemies collapsing over fences when they are shot. And most importantly, there seems to be quite a bit of interaction with the environment, especially when it comes to destruction. Statues the player is hiding behind being shot to pieces, taking out the glass floor enemies are standing on, explosions.
Ubisoft, who was developing the title, hasn’t commented on the game’s status, but the trademark for the title was renewed twice: in 2009 and in 2013.
EIGHT DAYS (PLAYSTATION 3)
This game was developed by SCE London Studios for the PlayStation 3. It looked like it was shaping up to be a spectacular action game involving driving sections and cover based shooting, all with very impressive graphics and fast paced, cinematic gameplay. In that regard, it looked like it was going to be similar to the Uncharted games.
The game first appeared as a tech demo for the PlayStation 3 in 2005, and was officially announced at the subsequent E3 show in 2006. Apparently, the game officially isn’t cancelled, as was said by Sony in 2008, but merely put on hold, as stated later by a report in 2009.
DONKEY KONG RACING (GAMECUBE)
Nintendo showed a demo for this Rare developed game at SpaceWorld 2001. It looked quite interesting because not only did it feature lots of characters from the series, but in this game players would be riding animal allies such as Rambi the rhino, or navigate Enguarde the sword fish through an underwater level. Especially impressive was the section in which the characters could be seen speeding through a dense forest on the back of a wasp. However, the game was cancelled in 2002 when Rare was bought by Microsoft, to develop games for the original Xbox.
STARCRAFT GHOST (PLAYSTATION 2, XBOX)
What was to be a spin off of the succesful StarCraft franchise, StarCraft Ghost was going to be a third person stealth game with an emphasis on arcobatic moves and gadgets, including a special cloaking device. The player would play as Nova, a female spy with psionic powers, who was able to use a broad range of moves and devices to get through the levels. A mulitplayer mode was being created as well.
The game was announced in 2002 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Initially, there was going to be a Gamecube version as well, but that was cancelled in 2005. The development of the title switched studios from Nihilistic Software to Swingin’ Ape Studios. The game was never officially cancelled, but is widely considered to be vaporware.
This title was in development at Peter Molyneux’ Lionhead Studios, to be released for the original Xbox. The goal was to make an ambitious action adventure game that takes place in prehistoric times. Players were tasked with controlling a human tribe, and taking on now extinct creatures. The goal was to become the best species in the game, and evolve and migrate as human beings. The game was going to have a class system and leveling. It was officially cancelled in 2004, supposedly the studio wasn’t able to realize the ambitions they had with the game.
METAL GEAR SOLID RISING (PLAYSTATION 3, XBOX 360)
Before being released as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, this project has had a tumulus development. The initial build had you switching between action and stealth, carefully aiming your sword moves and using the Zan-datsu gameplay mechanic as a core mechanic of the game. More than the version that was eventually released, this game looked and played somewhat like a traditional Metal Gear Solid game, with its complex control scheme and slower paced gameplay. The story would take place between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 and explain how Raiden changed from his MGS2 self to his MGS4 (cyborg) self. The script was already written. However, the development team explained they couldn’t get the action and stealth elements together in the game, in a way that felt fitting. Kojima gave feedback on the game and said he wasn’t happy with the results. At one time in the development progress the game was cancelled, after which it was handed to Platinum Games, who completely redid the gameplay and also requested to have the story take place after MGS4 so they would have more freedom. Kojima agreed and Platinum Games wrote a new script. The title was changed to Metal Gear Rising: Reveangance to reflect the fact that this isn’t a traditional Metal Gear game, but rather a separate spin-off.
Kojima Productions stated that they are not throwing the old concept away, it’s simply ‘on a shelf’ at the moment. They still like the original script and may revisit it at some point in the future.
CELLIUS GAMES (PLAYSTATION 3)
The Studio Cellius was a collaboration between Sony and Namco. Its main goal, besides developing games, was to research ways to get the most out of the PlayStation 3’s famous cell processor.
Three projects garnered some attention in the gaming community, known as Brave Arms, Chain Limit and Second Season 01. Wether these were actual games is unclear, but it looks like the studio at least had some gameplay concepts in their minds.
Chain Limit looked like a cinematic, interactive action title similar to Shenmue and Heavy Rain. The concept showed a situation with three possible outcomes.
Second Season 01 seemed to have similar gameplay, with some detective work sprinkled in for good measure.
Brave Arms looked like it contained elements of cover based shooting and melee combat using over the top moves.
All three of these games featured spectacular graphics, and looked downright spectacular as far as we could tell.