We hate when amazing-looking games turn out poorly, but we’re even more disappointed when an amazing-looking game never releases. Bad games at least give us closure: cancelled games make us regret what could have been.
The cancelled games on this list are particularly upsetting because we know exactly how great they would have been. Most teased us with incredible trailers, gameplay videos, and gameplay demos before cancellation. Often, those titles without pre-cancellation footage resurfaced after cancellation. Developers regularly incorporated mechanics and levels from cancelled games into later titles. We play these games with bittersweet joy, for we know one game had to die for another to thrive. For projects without any recycled material, we mourn the complete loss of great games.
Developers sometimes cancel games because they anticipate poor reception, but we know in hindsight that the games on this list would have been well-received. Other developers abandon projects because of financial losses, creative disagreements, or terminated licenses. Neither we nor the developers could have anticipated certain cancellations: the business world cruelly destroys games and dreams without a hint of remorse.
Some of the games below may eventually revive, but most will never return. Despite our hopes and expectations, developers have officially cancelled all 15 of these amazing-looking games.
A lot of games have fun with dragons, but none incorporate dragons as extensively as Scalebound. Scalebound offered amazing gameplay in which you and your dragon work together to defeat massive monsters. You would have played as Drew, a man with a magical bond to his dragon, Thuban. The two characters interact adorably outside of combat and annihilate their enemies on the battlefield. In addition to helping each other through epic combos (such as Thuban throwing Drew with his tail), Drew and Thuban need each other: if one dies, so does the other.
Scalebound emphasized teamwork with thrilling combat, amazing characters, and a gorgeous world. The game also included cooperative multiplayer for players wanting even more action and teamwork. Scalebound could have been the greatest game of 2017, but Microsoft cancelled it in January.
14 Star Fox 2
Even though Nintendo had fully developed Star Fox 2 for the SNES, Nintendo cancelled the game to instead focus on Star Fox 64. The mind-blowing game includes several ideas, mechanics, and designs from Star Fox 2, so the cancelled game wasn’t a complete waste of resources. Nonetheless, we wish Nintendo had released their completed SNES game and developed Star Fox 64 as a new entry.
The similarities between Star Fox 64 and Star Fox 2 would have guaranteed the latter’s success, but Star Fox 2 also included excellent changes for the franchise. Star Fox 2 used a dynamic map where enemies visibly moved toward Corneria; in order to beat the game, Fox had to strategically maneuver across the map to simultaneously defend Corneria and advance into enemy territory. Star Fox Command successfully implemented this mechanic, and we’re sure Star Fox 2 would have been equally successful.
13 StarCraft: Ghost
StarCraft: Ghost looked like an absolute blast. Instead of conducting large-scale battles across the galaxy as in previous StarCraft games, Ghost followed a single character, Nova Terra, in an action-adventure game. Ghost let us interact with the characters and races of StarCraft—and destroy our enemies in amazing combat. As a trained “ghost” agent, Nova combined stealth with hand-to-hand combat, firearms, and sci-fi gadgets. Ghost even included vehicles that would have put Halo to shame (the all-terrain vehicle looks just like Halo’s Warthog, but the tanks and aircraft move faster and more smoothly than the ones in Halo).
Originally announced in 2002 as a GameCube, Xbox, and PS2 game, Ghost was delayed until Blizzard Entertainment officially cancelled it in 2014.
12 Mega Man Legends 3
Although some fans dislike the Mega Man Legends series for its deviation from Mega Man conventions, most players and critics immensely enjoy Mega Man Legends and its sequel. Players recognize Mega Man for its superb combat and level design, not its story—yet Capcom successfully expanded the Mega Man franchise with story-heavy spin-offs.
Mega Man Legends follows a wonderful, memorable cast—including Roll, Mega Man’s romantic interest. The sequel advances the story and relationships of Mega Man, Roll, and company—but the conclusion feels off. Mega Man’s friends will probably succeed in rescuing him from the moon, but we want to see him rescued in a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. Unfortunately, Capcom cancelled Mega Man Legends 3 for 3DS in 2011.
11 Kirby Adventure
Revealed in a trailer at E3 2005, Kirby Adventure advanced Kirby’s powers to a whole new level. Kirby normally eats enemies and steals their powers, but Kirby Adventure also allowed Kirby to turn enemies into allies. Although this sounded a bit overpowered, it looked infinitely fun. The Kirby franchise has always centered on experimentation, and Kirby Adventure rewarded experimentation with twice as many features.
With a team of helpers, Kirby’s adventures would have been visually and mechanically entertaining—particularly if you chose to play the game with friends. HAL Laboratory planned a multiplayer mode in which players combine their powers in new, powerful ways. Kirby offers easy, fun gameplay for children and their relatives; Kirby Adventure would have provided the perfect cooperative experience for families.
10 Silent Hills
The demo for Silent Hills, known as P.T., is an amazing game. P.T. combines haunting surrealism with great level design, turning a single hallway into a nightmare. Imagine what Konami could have done with a lengthy game with multiple settings! If Silent Hills had built off of P.T. as we’d expect from a demo, the game would have been incredible. Konami sadly cancelled Silent Hills and removed P.T. from the PlayStation Store.
Silent Hills included Guillermo del Toro as co-director and Norman Reedus as the protagonist (the protagonist uses Reedus’s voice and motion-captured appearance). Fortunately, the two are returning as director and protagonist for Death Stranding—although Death Stranding will be an open world action game instead of horror.
P.T. proved that film directors can do amazing work with video games, so we’re certain LMNO would have been spectacular. EA and Steven Spielberg developed the game together until its cancellation in 2011.
If you’re a fan of E.T., you probably would have loved LMNO. The story centered on the player-character and their alien companion Eve, seen in the above picture. LMNO’s trailers promoted the game’s emotional power (“Can a Computer Game make you cry?”) and thrilling action.
Combining cinematic scenes with video game mechanics, Spielberg could have made an excellent, refreshing game. We’re still touched by the scene when the player-character moves forward to sniff a rose (in a first-person point of view) and Eve follows suit. The childlike wonder in her eyes made us look forward to an entire game with her.
Before creating Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment tried to develop a massive online shooter known as Titan. We never saw footage of Titan, but the concept art for the MMO looks amazing. Most sci-fi MMOs like Titan focus on action, but Titan would have allowed players to switch between combat and everyday lifestyles in the futuristic world. Some level and character design from Titan carried over to Overwatch, so the MMO probably would have had a unique, vibrant world like Overwatch.
Although it slowly plummeted during its seven-year development, Titan had a lot of potential. Blizzard probably could have perfected Titan through extended development, but the cancelled project and made room for Overwatch. We long for the MMO that could have been, but we’re happy Blizzard used Titan to create a fantastic modern shooter.
7 Shadow Realms
Final Fantasy XV wonderfully combines fantastical monsters and magic with modern society, using cars and modern fashion in addition to a medieval style. Shadow Realms applied a similar style to a multiplayer setting. The trailer and gameplay videos of Shadow Realms show relatable characters with dress shirts, hoodies, and leather jackets conquering monsters.
Shadow Realms pitted several good players against the Shadowlord, an evil sorcerer controlled by another player. The combat looks similar to that of Final Fantasy XV: characters wield guns and swords, teleport across rooms, and summon monsters. If you love the combat of Final Fantasy XV and wish you could battle your friends, you would have loved Shadow Realms. Despite the project’s positive reception, BioWare cancelled the game in 2015.
6 Super Kid Icarus
Kid Icarus perfectly advances the 2-D platforming genre through Hearts. Enemies drop Hearts—the game’s form of currency—exactly where you kill them. Instead of simply destroying enemies as quickly as you can, you must strategically kill enemies so you can collect their Hearts. Sometimes you must wait until enemies are practically touching you. Kid Icarus combines its innovative Hearts mechanic with other well-known platforming elements to create an amazing experience—an experience that almost expanded into a sequel.
Nintendo released Kid Icarus on the NES and announced a sequel, titled Super Kid Icarus, for the SNES, but the SNES game never came out. A different sequel released a few years later, but we would have loved playing Super Kid Icarus in addition to the Game Boy sequel.
5 Fallout Online
Because of the disappointing Elder Scrolls Online game, you might hate the idea of Fallout Online. However, Fallout Online was developed by Interplay (the creator of Fallout and Fallout 2) rather than Bethesda Softworks (the company behind Fallout 3, Fallout 4, and the Elder Scrolls games). When Bethesda purchased rights to the Fallout franchise, it and Interplay disputed for years before Bethesda received all rights to Fallout. Interplay continues to work on the original project (known as Project V13), but they had to remove all references to Fallout—including the Fallout Online title.
With a dystopian world that perfectly combines cooperation and competition, we think Fallout Online would have been an amazing game. We’ve had a great time wandering Fallout’s offline settings: we would love to explore a post-apocalyptic America and its Vaults with other players.
4 Mega Man Universe
With the same central concepts as Super Mario Maker, Mega Man Universe would have been an amazing contribution to the Mega Man franchise. Fans adore Capcom’s Mega Man maps and would have loved creating similar maps to challenge other fans. The 3-D visuals, combined with 2-D platforming, look great in the trailer.
Capcom cancelled the game in 2011 after only a year of development. Super Mario Maker released four years later to critical and commercial success. Mega Man Universe obviously inspired Nintendo, so we’re sad Capcom reaped zero benefits from their ingenious ideas. If Capcom had continued development, their game probably would have been as successful as Super Mario Maker—although it could have performed badly like Super Mario Maker 3DS.
3 Donkey Kong Racing
Rare initially planned a sequel to Diddy Kong Racing (a spectacular racing game) titled Donkey Kong Racing. Unfortunately, Nintendo and Rare ended their partnership during development, forcing Rare to remove Donkey Kong and friends from its merchandise. Rare had also planned a second sequel called Diddy Kong Pilot, which the company redesigned as Banjo-Pilot. Donkey Kong Racing, on the other hand, was never changed into a game with Rare-exclusive characters.
Donkey Kong Racing introduced fascinating mechanics to the racing genre. Characters raced atop animals who grew as you collected food on the racetrack. Players could switch to different animals in the middle of a race and could even knock other players off their animals. The abundant mechanics might have produced a messy game, but we’re certain Rare could have pulled it off and changed the way racing games work.
2 Star Wars 1313
Star Wars 1313 promised so much. Following the backstory of Boba Fett, LucasArts teased an action-packed, dark game set in Level 1313, the shady side of Coruscant. With exploding spaceships and intense combat with all of Boba Fett’s gadgets, Star Wars 1313 looked like an even more adventurous version of Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (which starred Boba’s father, Jango Fett).
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise, it terminated all of LucasArts’s projects—including Star Wars 1313. Even though LucasArts can no longer develop the game, the company hopes to revive Star Wars 1313 through another developer. We certainly hope Boba Fett returns. The bounty hunter deserves his own game, and Star Wars 1313 had a style that perfectly complemented Boba Fett’s epic, mysterious characteristics.
1 Fable Legends
The Fable games reward players for both good and evil actions, using a fun morality system to determine how NPCs treat players. With a similar focus on good and evil, Fable Legends would have been an amazing addition to the franchise. A few “good” players would have battled an evil player capable of summoning hordes of monsters.
Unlike most competitive multiplayer games with four heroes against one villain, Fable Legends included an interactive world. Both heroes and villains could engage with a variety of NPCs as in previous Fable entries. The game even included a story, which would have been fascinating in such a competitive structure. Fable fans enjoy making unique characters and interacting with NPCs; Fable Legends would have expanded the franchise so players could also interact with each other.