Gaming Flashback: Cancelled Games
For this week's edition of Gaming Flashback, I wanted to do something a little different from what I've done in my previous articles. Over the years, many games have been announced by developers only to never actually find their way into the hands of the consumer, though in very rare cases some of these games are eventually distributed thanks to the wonder of the internet, most fall victims to budget cuts or a changing marketplace.
While only a small percentage of games that are announced never make it out of development, it is interesting to look back and remember these games from the past. I have always thoughtjust because a piece of software was never made available to consumers doesn't mean it should be forgotten. After all, even if these games were never released a lot of people put their time and energy into producing this content, and to forget their effort is like forgetting a piece of art, and I will not simply standby and watch these forgotten games be lost to the annuls of time.
True Fantasy Live Online
Console – Microsoft Xbox | Announced - 2002 | Cancelled – 6/2/2004
Back in the early days of Xbox Live, Microsoft was desperate to cash in on the booming MMORPG fad of the time and announced their own online RPG, which was being developed by Japanese studio, Level-5. The game promised to feature a "massive fantasy setting" that would allow you to adventure with up to 3,000 players, allowing you to travel together, hunt monsters, and complete quests. Despite Microsoft releasing trailers and gameplay presentations, the game's development was plagued with problems from very early on, at least according to insider reports. At the time, Level-5 had very little experience with coding an online network and due to Microsoft's insistence to include live voice chat into the game.
Sadly, the troubled development and Microsoft's frustration with the lack of progress on the game, relations between the two companies soon soured and Microsoft ended up cancelling the game in June 2004. The loss of True Fantasy Live Online was very unfortunate, the game promised to bring a lot of firsts to the MMORPG genre and has planned for players to have an incredible amount of choice in how they played their characters in this world. It may not have shook the foundations of the gaming world, but it was certainly a game at the time, I was excited to play on my Xbox.
Platform – Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Playstation 2 | Announced – 9/20/02 | Cancelled – 2014
A third person action/stealth game developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Nihilistic Software and Swingin' Ape Studios, Ghost was going to be set in the StarCraft Universe, and would star Nova, a Terran Ghost agent. Not much of the game's plot was ever revealed, but Nova's backstory was fleshed out thanks to the release of a tie-in novel for the game.
Despite so little being know about he game, it is one of the more famous cancelled games, likely thanks to its ties to the StarCraft universe. The game was much hyped when it was first announed, and I can even recall GameStop taking preorders from the game at the time. The game was shelved in 2006, but no official cancellation was given until 2014.
Mega Man Mania
Platform – Gameboy Advance | Announced – 12/23/2003 | Cancelled – 2005?
Mega Man Mania was the handheld version of the Mega Man Anniversary Collection, but rather than featuring the eight games from the classic series from the NES, SNES, and Playstation/Saturn, Mania was set to feature colorized versions of the five Game Boy Mega Man games. The collection was also going to offer saves for the games, similar to have a save features was added to the first seven games on the console Anniversary Collection, as well as other bouns features, this collection would have been a great way for fans to experience these handheld adventures, especially Game Boy versions of Mega Man IV and V, which are incredibly rare.
After numerous delays, the game was finally cancelled by Capcom due to the loss of the original source code for the games. Capcom alleged that without the original source code the games could not receive any of the planned updates or tweaks. Despite this cancellation, the Game Boy Mega Man games did eventually see find their way onto Nintendo's Virtual Console service on the Nintendo 3DS.
It is a shame we were denied updated versions of the Game Boy Mega Man games. Many gamers likely missed out on these years ago and as they aren't just rehashes of the NES versions, they are still highly sought after by collectors and Mega Man fans.
Platform – Sega Saturn | Announced - 1995 | Cancelled - 1996
Another very infamous cancellation, Sonic X-Treme for the Sega Saturn was set to be the Blue Blur's first 3D outing. Sonic X-Treme is likely the most troubled development story among thislist of games, with the development of X-Treme begining on the Genesis and ultimately ending up on the Sega Saturn. With development taking place over multiple consoles and game engines, a final storyline was never decided upon, though there were several considered for the game, according to members of the development team.
While the game never saw any kind of official release back on the Saturn, a playable build did eventually find its way onto the internet thanks to a member thanks to members of the online community Sonic Retro, who acquired the game's source code in 2015. This allowed the community to release a playable version of the game and allowed players to finally experience the game, although not in its original Saturn form. The Sonic X-Treme development was ultimately scrapped due to slow sales of the Saturn and Sega shifting development focus to the Dreamcast. After the cancellation of X-Treme, the Sega Genesis title Sonic 3D Blast was ported to the Saturn and released in lieu of Sonic X-Treme during the 1996 holiday season.