Video games have evolved drastically, from simple lines and dots on a screen to gaming cabinets in arcades, large machines at home to small handheld devices. Against movies, whose budgets are set beforehand and take a season or year to create depending on their scope, video games can take anywhere from 1 year to 10. Budgets shift, other teams require help, the market changes and the fan base becomes antsy. It’s no surprise when games get cancelled entirely, cutting their loses and either moving onto a new, better project or having to shut down office.
Over the years we have had many games announced, generating immense amounts of hype and anxious waiting for their eventual release. From Half Life 3 and the memes that has spawned to more recent games like Silent Hills. Trailers have been the worst to forget, showcasing the best of their games or simply graphically amazing cutscenes that advertise the scenario and stories. While some games are still in development hell, there are those who have been flat-out cancelled or dropped by their publishers, either through lack of interest or the company going under.
Here is the list of 15 games that had amazing trailers, gameplay or leaked footage that could have led to a great game but were either cancelled or changed so much that the original footage is far from the final product.
15 Mega Man Legends 3
Set as the sequel to Mega Man Legends 2, MML3 had quite a bit of material revealed, from an official prototype Edition Trailer, along with some leaked game-play, teasing both fans of the series and owners of the 3DS for a potential hit game. Around 100,000 fans even grouped together on Facebook and other media to get this game completed, but sadly Capcom refused.
Shown off with 3D environments, timed segments, dungeons and outside areas, MML3 boasted quite a bit for the 3DS. Despite all that, many see this game as dead in development hell. While the creator Keiji Inafune would still like to finish this game, it could be that the times will no longer be accommodating.
14 Silent Hills (P.T.)
With the dullness of horror games and the over-saturation of survival games, many gamers started to expect a certain quality from them. Throw in industry veteran Hideo Kojima, father of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and fans went ballistic over the announcement of Silent Hills and it’s demo P.T. Combining the fame of Kojima and Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead, Silent Hills was set to be a major hit.
A trailer, playable demo and immense hype later, the game was canned. With internal conflict within Konami, Silent Hills was cancelled, Kojima left the company and the trio of Kojima, Norman Reedus and Del Toro was disbanded. Thankfully, in the eyes of fans, the trio have come together once more for their new endeavour Death Stranding. But we may never see Silent Hills ever again, at least not in the quality that Kojima gives to his games.
13 Star Wars 1313
Star Wars, the franchise that gets millions of gamers excited. Boba Fett, the character that so many adore. Cancelled games, the bane of all gamers. Star Wars 1313 had an explosive reveal trailer, putting you in the shoes of a bounty hunter rather than a Jedi or Sith, making their way through an underground area of Coruscant known as 1313.
With information releasing after its first reveal, we were told the game centred on Boba Fett in his younger years, an iconic character and one whose background was both interesting and unexplored. However, along with plenty of other projects relating to the Star Wars franchise, 1313 was cancelled by Disney in their process of their takeover. While Disney has no plans for the game, not renewing the trademark, Lucasfilm and LucasArts still see the idea as golden and would love to continue.
12 Beyond Good and Evil 2
Revealed back in 2008, BGAE2 was set to be the sequel to the first hit game from 2003, with a flashy trailer showing a bigger world, more parkour and fancier graphics. Continuing the story of Jade and Pey’j and the second game in a planned trilogy, BGAE2 garnered plenty of hype from its reveal. Sadly, like many games that announce sequels for games that have the fans but not the sales, BGAE2 suffered delays, cancellations and has still not released nine years later.
Thankfully, Ubisoft have talked about the game in interviews, along with the creator Michel Ancel, reassuring fans the game was in development. Though in a turn like Duke Nukem, nearing 10 years of development, BGAE2 has been talked about in regards to technology and ideas being changed. With the change of times, teams and gamers, we may never see a true sequel to the original, rather a highly altered version to appeal to a newer audience.
11 Fable Legends
Fable Legends is the game that came the closest to release, with a cinematic trailer released back in 2013, gameplay footage in 2014, as well as a closed beta. Suffering delays and long development times, Fable Legends was cancelled in 2016 after reports were made about its free-to-play model and possible releases on PC.
Focusing on cooperative gameplay, Legends had four players controlling heroes and another player controlling the villain, in an almost Dungeon Master style. Hitching a ride on the Fable hype train after its success, Legends was set to break the mould of its series and appeal to a wider, more party oriented audience. The game had a lot of the mechanics complete and enough content to warrant the beta lasting until April 2016, though due to the closure of Lionhead Studios, Fable Legends was cancelled along with all the work put into it.
10 Prey 2
Yet another bounty hunter game lost in development due to ownership swapping hands from 3D Realms to ZeniMax Media with development moving to Bethesda. It was formally cancelled in 2014, eight years after its announcement in 2006. With a flashy trailer of first-person action, a futuristic environment, energy technology and parkour, Prey 2 was looking to be a hit game.
Revealed one year after the release of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, Prey 2 looked like an improved game. Set after the first Prey, we would see more of the Alien side of the story, another encounter with the Sphere, a time jump, amnesia and meeting the previous protagonist. Moving onto a more open world style, Prey 2, under the production of Bethesda, could have been an amazing game, with the 3D Realms version still being vastly more interesting than the Prey reboot we now have.
9 Streets of Rage
Remakes tend to bring the most famous, fan favourites and games that brought in the most money for their respective companies. It was no surprise when footage was revealed showing a new Streets of Rage game in development by Ruffian Games, the hit 2D beat ‘em up on the Sega Mega Drive, following three characters as they punch, kick and throw anything blocking their path.
With a more neon aesthetic, the new prototype had players play in a 3D world which looked like a modern take on the classic. Revealed back in 2012, this game was being developed by past developers of Crackdown 2 and even had some replies from Sean Noonan confirming its existence and work on it. We many never see a true remake, reboot or HD remaster of these games, but fans of the 1991 are still hopeful.
8 StarCraft: Ghost
Blizzard have a great track record with games, from Warcraft to StarCraft, Diablo and the more recent Overwatch. So when one of their games under development goes under the radar, you have to wonder why. StarCraft: Ghost had a pretty intense trailer, showing off 3D action, stealth mechanics and gun-play, following on from the success of the StarCraft franchise. Announced in 2002, the game underwent several delays, along with handovers of development between companies.
From Nihilistic Software to Swingin' Ape Studios, Ghost was put on hold in 2006. Fast-forward 11 years and the game wasn't referred to often, besides mentions in interviews here and there. The game was confirmed as cancelled in 2014 during an interview with Polygon, due to its development on PS2 and Xbox, while the next generation of consoles were releasing, leading to Ghost getting shelved.
Next on the list is a game that looked as if you’d combined Devil May Cry and Panzer Dragoon. Announced back in 2014 with a cinematic trailer, gameplay video in 2015 and plenty of announcements leading up to 2016, Scalebound was met with some anticipation by fans, as the co-op dragon action was a slight breathe of fresh air against all the shooters, stealth and survival games announced around the same time.
With a release window of 2016, delayed to 2017, Scalebound was finally cancelled in 2017 to the despair of many hopeful gamers. Focusing on graphics and roleplaying, Scalebound showed off some of its dragon and human customization, allowing for some vast differences in teammates, along with both on-ground hack n’ slash from Drew (the main character) or in-flight dragon action. A refreshing taste of dynamic combat, several control schemes and viewpoints, Scalebound was large in scope. Sleep well Dant- I mean Drew.
6 Shadow Realms
The Secret World was a game that had some amazing cinematic trailers, advertising a dark world full of magic that eventually lead to a disappointing MMO. Shadow Realms took that and gave it several Real Life trailers, youngsters with powers and the world getting torn apart, with BioWare developing it. Announced back in 2014, with several trailers, gameplay videos and demos to play, Shadow Realms looked close to release.
Sadly, due to work being required on Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect: Andromeda, Shadow Realms was cancelled. Shadow Realms was designed as yet another 4v1 game, where players would control one of six classes each, fighting against the one player who controlled the Shadowlord. They were also offering choices and separate paths, character customization and new episodes or content to be released down the line. With the release of Inquisition and Andromeda, it is possible to see some of that work recycled, but our hopes can only go so high when the devs say a game is cancelled.
5 Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun
The Legacy of Kain series is a cult classic and fan favourite when it comes to the Vampire genre, following two anti-heroes, Kain, the first vampire, and Azriel, a Soul Reaver who survived death. Making a huge mark on the PlayStation, fans have been clamouring for a sequel to this amazing series whose last release was back in 2003. While it was cancelled before its official reveal, Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun garnered a lot of interest from its trailer and 32 minute game-play videos.
Cancelled in 2012, Dead Sun was talked about by Square Enix and how it wasn’t the right time to develop another LoK game. At the time, they were still working on Nosgoth which is a multiplayer game based in the same world, but that was also cancelled in 2016. This series is just having a harsh time reemerging.
4 Final Fantasy Versus XIII
Final Fantasy Versus XIII was first revealed back in 2006 as part of the XIII compilation of games, along with Agito. News, images and videos came out slowly until its morph into XV in 2012 and its previous work being changed to suit the new development team, lead and release schedule. Versus was much darker, had more focus on Death and Life, a more fantastical story and overall felt fresh against the other games releasing at the time.
Due to the length of development, Versus no longer suited a PS3 launch, with a more powerful machine on the way in the form of the PS4. Work required on Kingdom Hearts took the original head away from it’ development, leaving them to have to recycle previous work and release a game that would still appeal to the fans and get a return big enough to warrant the money spent on it. XV finally released in 2016, but plenty of Versus’ ideas were scrapped and plenty of previously seen content was cut.
B.C. was yet another action-adventure game set within a backdrop of dinosaurs, with a trailer coming out as far back as 2004. However, this game was cancelled within the same year. With a demo build already half-way completed, B.C. was reaching a point where a possible demo or pre-release version could have been shown to the public to garner more interest.
Set across five levels, the player would be put against apes and prehistoric animals alike, with severed limbs and blood galore. There was also talk of using the environment to kill your enemies, from avalanches to simple poisons from the local flora. There was also the opportunity to evolve your tribe, choosing from a selection of members to improve your effectiveness in one way or another. While it doesn’t look like much now, at the time this was an ambitious game and quite a large one to boot.
2 Rainbow 6: Patriots
Tom Clancy has had many hits through the years, from his Splinter Cell series to his team-based shooters. On a sad note, Patriots was going to be the last he worked on due to his death in 2013, with concerns rising over the last game holding his name. It was announced in 2011 with a whole cutscene and animated missions shown off, revealing its darker storytelling and explosive action. With several key members being removed from its development, the game suffered and had little information releasing.
Patriots was announced to have moved to eighth gen consoles in 2013, but it didn’t take long to become another scrapped game in 2014. Work moved to Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege which released to some good reception, but it looks like Patriots may never return, which is a shame as we haven’t had a true Rainbow Six game since Vegas 2 back in 2008.
1 Mega Man Universe
We started this list with Mega Man and we're gonna end with him. Mega Man Universe had the chance to be one of the best in the series, if looking at Mario Maker is any indication. First announced back in 2010 with stop motion and trailers, Universe allowed players to make their own levels and characters in a similar fashion to Mario Maker or LittleBigPlanet. Cancelled in 2011, Universe never saw the light, which Mario Maker took and ran with.
With no Universe, Mega Man has failed to make an appearance on consoles in recent years. Universe could have been a massive hit and hopefully with Mario Maker's success the developers will see its potential, but after the fact it could just be seen as copying them. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.