E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is right around the corner again. Next week, as a matter of fact. You can expect plenty of coverage from TheGamer on the event, but before it comes around, let’s have a little lesson on hype culture.
Games are announced and hyped at E3 every year, which is what the event is for. It’s a trade show for video games, not usually held open to the public except for this year. Really, it’s less about showing games off to fans and more about stockholders and such. Sometimes, games get announced and showed off very early, as was the case with Final Fantasy Versus XIII and The Last Guardian, and are still years off from release. Sometimes, a game will debut at the show before there’s even any certainty that it’ll even come out.
Over the years, there have been several new games announced at E3 that ended up getting canceled somewhere down the line. It’s always a shame when developers and publishers rush to show their game to try and grab on to some of the hype, because it only leaves everyone feeling disappointed and even ripped off if they bought a new console just to play that game.
So, here’s our list of the 15 Best Games Revealed at E3 That Got Canceled.
15 Brothers In Arms: Furious 4
Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 was announced by Gearbox at E3 2011. It was a spin-off to their criminally underrated first person shooter series Brothers in Arms, but still a massive departure from what fans knew. Where Brothers in Arms was traditionally a realistic, solemn first person shooter based on World War II, Furious 4 was a wacky, comedic, over-the-top co-op shooter.
The game starred four characters, hence the name. These characters were the basis for the strange plot, and included a Native American who wielded hatchets, a lumberjack with a machine gun, a Texan who branded Nazi’s with an iron, and an Irishman with a taser.
Fans of the series didn’t take to this new game well, complaining that it ruined what made the series so great. Eventually the name was changed to just Furious 4 in an attempt to distance it from the franchise, but it wasn’t enough. The game was eventually canceled by 2015, though many elements of the game were carried over to Gearbox’s online shooter, Battleborn.
14 Coded Arms: Assault
Coded Arms: Assault by Konami was a sequel to the middling, but still beloved, Coded Arms on the PSP. This new game would instead make its way to the PlayStation 3 and debuted at E3 2006 as one of the first games for the new console.
Little is known about the game other than the E3 trailer and another TGS trailer later that year. It was a sequel to the original Coded Arms, but was set in a different timeline than Coded Arms: Contagion, a sequel that did get released, also for the PSP.
Despite how little we know of the game, it looked incredible. It had a futuristic vibe that not a lot of shooters were going for at the time. Environments would randomly transform and break up into computer code, and there would have been an online, 16 player mode. However, the game was canceled not long after it’s reveal for unknown reasons.
13 The Outsider
The Outsider may very well be the most mysterious game on this list. Though, thanks to Unseen64, a lot of new information has come forward about this interesting open world crime thriller since its cancellation.
The Outsider was an open world action crime thriller being developed by Frontier Developments, a company famous for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and more recently Elite: Dangerous and Planet Coaster. But in 2005, the studio began work on its most ambitious project yet, The Outsider.
Debuting at E3 2005, The Outsider would have put the player in the shows of a CIA operative who was accused of a crime he did not commit. You would have had to travel around several locations, including real life places like CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA and Joint Base Andrews, to prove your innocence. The player would have also had the chance to influence the plot, though details on this are minimal.
After five years of troubled development however, and the game changing into a Jason Bourne game at the behest of publisher EA, The Outsider was canceled.
12 The Phantom
We’re cheating a bit with this one since it’s not a video game, but it’s certainly interesting. The Phantom was a highly touted gaming PC that could download and play games on a monitor or your TV. It had great hardware that allowed for some future proofing and the creators promised it could play games in the future with ease.
That may not sound like much these days with digital downloads and Steam Boxes everywhere, but The Phantom was announced at E3 2004. This was years before downloadable games would become the norm. The console was demonstrated at E3, though it was rumored the prototype shown was a fake, with the software running on a more powerful computer off stage.
Unfortunately, this would be the last time anyone saw The Phantom. Believe it or not, developing a video game console/PC is very expensive and creator Infinium Labs (later Phantom Entertainment) just didn’t have the money to get the project off the ground.
11 Jurassic Park: Survival
Jurassic Park: Survival was announced at E3 2001 and was meant to be released not long after Jurassic Park III. It had an incredibly short time in development, beginning only in October 2000.
The game would have been an action adventure, survival game developed by Savage Entertainment and published by Vivendi Universal and Konami. It would have played a lot like the original Tomb Raider games and feature a unique story-line. Survival was supposed to be based on Jurassic Park III, but the team behind the movie refused to share any details of the film, so the team had to come up with their own ideas.
However, development was shut down not far from its planned release. According to people who worked at Savage Entertainment, higher ups at the developer decided to cease production due to payment conflicts with Vivendi. An unnamed spokesperson for the company went so far as to accuse Vivendi of not paying them.
After that, production on the game was not passed to another developer, and the game was canceled.
10 Eight Days
Eight Days was an action game, being developed by Sony and revealed at E3 2006. In fact, footage of the game was even used in a tech demo for the PS3 at E3 2005, so it has a bit of an E3 pedigree.
Not much is known about the game other than a few exciting details. It would have taken place over eight days (obviously), but also eight US states. It would have used your PS3 internal clock, so if it were night in real life, it’d be night in the game. It would have featured two playable characters, one a detective searching for a mob syndicate who kidnapped his son and another who’s seeking revenge against the same syndicate.
The game was being developed by Sony’s London Studio and would have had 120 people working on it at its peak. But in 2008, it was abruptly announced that Eight Days was canceled, along with the next game on our list…
9 The Getaway 3
It’s hard to remember now, but back in the days of the PlayStation 2, The Getaway was kind of a big deal. That’s why everyone was so excited when Sony showed off a demo of The Getaway 3 at E3 2005, running on their new PlayStation 3 console. The demo was brief, only showing a recreation of the real life location Piccadilly Circus, but it was incredible at the time.
The years passed with little to no information, until screenshots were leaked by the game’s writer, Katie Ellwood, in 2008, who reassured fans the game was still in production. As if prompted by Ellwood’s remarks, Sony officially announced later that year that The Getaway 3 was officially “on hold.”
To this day, there has been no official word on the status of the third Getaway game. People from the studio, including producer Nicolas Doucet who said the game was being “put to one side” while the studio focused on Eye Toy and Singstar games, games the London studio continue to work on to this day. Truly a sad fate.
When Rockstar announces a new game, the whole world pays attention. But when they actually announce a new IP, any extra-terrestrial lifeforms have to stop and take notice. Such was the case at E3 2009, when the longtime Grand Theft Auto developer announced Agent at Sony’s press conference.
The game was originally announced in 2007 and that it would be exclusively for the PlayStation 3. It didn’t get a name or any gameplay information until 2009 however. It was then that we learned Agent would be a stealth action game set during the Cold War in the late 1970s. And… that’s all we ever found out about the game before it was eventually abandoned with little fanfare.
For years after its 2009 debut, Agent floundered. Sony became unsure of its status as an exclusive and Rockstar was having trouble with its development. Eventually 2013 came, as well as the PlayStation 4, and with it the expectation that the game would be moved to that platform. Instead, Rockstar owner Take Two Interactive quietly abandoned the trademark for Agent and that was the end of it. Neither they, Rockstar, nor Sony ever really spoke of it again, and the public never even got to see any gameplay.
7 Killing Day
Sony’s E3 press conference in 2005 was spectacular. As well as footage of Killzone 2 that looked spectacular, they publisher also showed off a new IP called Killing Day. This was a first person shooter with gorgeous graphics, a fun cover system, and an expressive protagonist. Although we’d later come to find out that most of Sony’s showings at E3 that year were actually CG trailers, including Killing Day.
We know absolutely nothing about the game, other than what we saw in the trailer, and that it was being developed by Ubisoft. It’s making this list solely based on a 40 second long pre-rendered trailer, which should tell you something about how great that trailer looked.
No information was ever revealed about the game and no word was ever officially given about its cancellation. However, after years of silence, it’s pretty clear Killing Day has itself met its death. In 2013 Ubisoft refiled its trademark on the title, though this is standard practice for companies.
6 Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada Of The Damned
Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned is an original game based on the Johnny Depp vehicle of the same name. Announced at E3 in 2010, Pirates of the Caribbean would have been a massive, open world pirate-em-up similar to Assassin’s Creed IV.
Not much is known about the plot, other than it would have been an entirely new story with all new characters. The player takes the reigns of James Sterling (Jim?), a pirate who gets killed on his first voyage, but is mysteriously resurrected through dark magic. From there, you would have had the choice to become a “Legendary” or “Dreaded” pirate, which was this game’s version of a moral choice system.
Armada of the Damned was being developed by Propaganda Games and published by Disney Interactive Studios. The game had been in development for years by the time it debuted at E3 2010 and it was mere months away from release when Disney mysteriously pulled the plug. To date, no reason has ever been giving on why the game was canceled.
Whatever you think about Microsoft, you have to admit they’ve always struggled with new IPs. That’s where Platinum Games’ Scalebound was supposed to come in.
Announced at E3 2014, Scalebound would have been a third person action game, in line with Platinum’s other works. A big part of the game was a dragon companion that you could occasionally give commands to and if it died, so would you. You would also have been able to transform into a human-dragon hybrid, giving you stronger attacks. Scalebound would have featured RPG elements, more so than previous Platinum developed games.
Microsoft canceled Scalebound in January 2017, after months of speculation that it was going to happen and a delayed release from 2016 to 2017. There’s been no official word on why the game was canceled. Reports suggest technical issues with the game’s engine, and a strained relationship with the developers.
Serial over-promiser Peter Molyneux announced Lionhead’s newest game, BC, at Microsoft’s E3 2003 conference. The game, set during the prehistoric age of the caveman, looked incredible. Molyneux had a demo for the game running that showcased massive attention to detail, showing features that were unheard of at the time in gaming.
The game-world would allow for a lot of interaction from the player, including hunting animals to eat, moving large rocks to create obstacles or get to new areas, and climbing large mountains. There was also a dynamic weather system that affected the dinosaurs movements. Yes, this was a game about hunting dinosaurs and trying to build a tribe in such a world that could survive.
But that’s all BC ever really was: a demo. Molyneux stated that the team was so busy rushing to get the demo ready for E3 that year, they cut too many corners. This meant that, when the show was over, the game was in such a rough state it would take a lot more time fixing the broken code than what was spent implementing it in the first place. This forced Molyneux to cancel the game in 2005.
3 The Agency: Covert Ops
As we’ve seen in this article, Sony has a penchant for announcing games at their E3 conference only to have them canceled one day. This time it was Sony Online Entertainment’s The Agency: Covert Ops, an MMO announced at E3 2007. The game would have been noted as one of the first MMO’s designed from the ground up as a first person shooter, as well as primarily a console game.
The player would have taken the role of an international secret agent, a la James Bond, or as a terrorist agent in the “Paramilitary Global Operations Network.” The Agency would have been chock full of gameplay options, such as switching between first and third person, forming cells with other players, playing mini-games such as poker, and switching between multiple classes on the fly.
The game was in development hell for years, as SoE was struggling to develop for the complicated PS3 hardware. In 2011, Sony announced that it was closing the offices of Sony Online Entertainment in Seattle, Tucson, and Denver and canceling The Agency.
2 Star Wars 1313
Star Wars 1313 was revealed by LucasArts at E3 2012. The game would have been a third person cover shooter, with an emphasis on scripted events, similar to Uncharted. The demo showed at E3 showed a man making his way through a collapsing space station, hunting after a bounty.
In game, you would have played a bounty hunter. Originally, the game was designed around an entirely new character. That changed when none other than George Lucas himself suggested to the developers that they change the game into a prequel story for fan favorite character Boba Fett on Coruscant.
The game was canceled when LucasArts was sold to Disney, who chose to cancel all ongoing Star Wars video game projects. Originally it was said that development was continuing on 1313, but that proved not to be the case. On the bright side, Disney’s Star Wars movies have been pretty good, so this sacrifice, if necessary, was worth it.
1 StarCraft: Ghost
StarCraft: Ghost remains one of the most disappointing game cancellations in gaming history, unless you want to count Beyond Good & Evil 2. Originally announced at E3 2004, StarCraft: Ghost would have been a third person action-stealth game set in the StarCraft universe.
Take it from somebody who doesn’t really care about StarCraft – this game looked great, and still does. The player would have taken control of Nova, a “Ghost,” a Terran agent who specialized in stealth and assassination missions. Nova would have been sent on a mission to take out a new terrorist organization called the Koprulu Liberation Front, but slowly would have uncovered a grand conspiracy of some sort that forces her to question her own loyalty.
Like its namesake, the game disappeared for years sometime in late 2005. Whenever asked, publisher Blizzard would always say that work was continuing on the game, despite refusing to further elaborate. After suffering through game development hell for years, including switching studios multiple times, it was finally confirmed in 2014 by Blizzard that StarCraft: Ghost was no more.