We covered a lot of canceled games last year and yet there's still more to uncover! New games get seemingly announced every day and with that so do cancellations. Here's the thing though. These projects, on both sides of the spectrum, may not see the light of day publicly. Yes, we all want to know about Half-Life 3. Valve, where is it? While it's never been announced in an official capacity you know there has to be multiple prototypes out there. It's being worked on, I guarantee it. Will we ever see it? That remains to be seen, but I get why Valve is hesitant. Half-Life has been put on such a high pedestal that it is ultimately impossible to please everyone with a sequel. Plus the video game landscape has changed since the last episode came out in 2007! Other companies have pushed forward the non-cutscene heavy storytelling they introduced in the original game. So they're not only competing with themselves but the industry as a whole.
Ah, but I'm getting a little off track here. My point is there has to be loads of every game sequel you can possibly imagine on the hard drives of your favorite company. Personally, I would love to take a look at some possible Final Fantasy cancellations. While there are none of those in this list, I did track down twenty-five canceled games that you can actually play. Some may only last a few minutes, while others are surprisingly long. I'm not going to tell you where I found these ROM dumps, because I know you're smart. Happy hunting!
25 Saint’s Row Undercover
Saint’s Row Undercover was a PSP spin-off that was more-or-less finished. Due to THQ closing and the PSP just not doing hot, this led to the core team dropping it. This happens all the time. However, what doesn't is a company releasing the game for free. I should clarify that it is not finished so it's not like a real free game, but it was still pretty awesome for the company to just stealth launch it out of the blue.
24 The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion
The Elder Scrolls Travels was presumably going to be a PSP port of the phone game. It could have also been brand-new. Even with this demo, it's a bit unclear if this was mostly new, or mostly a port. Anyway, at the time I would have been itching for a game in this series for a handheld even if it was based on Oblivion.
Now I no longer have to pretend though because I have Skyrim on Switch. What a glorious port.
23 Diablo (Game Boy)
So the ROM that is out there has a title screen and a pretty sick one at that. It then loads into a room with a warrior, presumably, standing in the middle of it. Now you can move around and swing your sword, but it won't break anything, not that there is much to break anyway. There are barrels, but no enemies. You can also walk through walls so there's no hit detection whatsoever. While this would have been cool, at least Blizzard came through recently with Diablo 3 on Switch.
22 Untitled SNES Batman
Software Creations was developing a Batman game for the Super Nintendo. All we know is that it was called Batman as a working title. Anyway, there's a title screen followed by a quick level wherein you can stoically punch, or kick enemies that all look alike. At the end, you fight the Joker who, weirdly enough, reverts back to a normal enemy when he gets punched. If you beat him, there's a second level, but it's only like thirty-seconds long before you get booted back to the title.
21 Rayman (SNES)
When you boot up Rayman, it'll drop him, literally drop, into this weird, pulsating purple lab. First of all, the character looks a lot different than his PS1 debut. His body is red, he's kind of fatter, but he does still have the detached limbs. Weirdly enough there is nothing to interact with in the stage.
You can jump and charge up your fist, but it won't launch. Also, there is a run animation, but it's more of a power walk than anything else. It's a far cry from the Rayman we know today.
20 Resident Evil (GBC)
What platform doesn't the first Resident Evil exist on is the question you should ask yourself. It was a huge hit so of course Capcom would want to seize the opportunity to port it anywhere and everywhere. The existing ROM right now has a lot of game to it. You can save, choose to play as Jill, or Chris, and everything seems to be where it should. There's even story. However, it does not look great and is really taxing on the hardware. It's like some weird pixel nightmare, but interesting, to say the least.
Stop me if you've heard this story before. A nerdy kid who constantly gets picked on gets the power to turn into a superpowered adult. Yes, Prime is based on a comic of the same name and that's the plot. Right from the title screen of this unreleased ROM, you can tell the creators were trying to make Superman look like a school mouse. This guy has muscles on his muscles. Anyway, this beat 'em up was almost finished, but was pulled for whatever reason. There are five levels in the existing prototype out there.
18 Bio Force Ape
Are you familiar with Digital Eclipse? They're the company responsible for the Mega Man Legacy Collection and the Disney Afternoon Collection. That's just two examples. Basically, they put a lot of work into creating high-quality emulated works for new consoles.
One of the company’s co-founders, Frank Cifaldi, is a big video game activist that also co-founded the Video Game History Foundation. He discovered the Bio Force Ape ROM and dumped it while he was still working for 1UP before the company tanked.
17 Steven Seagal Is: The Final Option
Steven Seagal was right up there with 80s and 90s action stars akin to Schwarzenegger and Van Damme. For his movies, there was always one rule: he was a pacifist pushed to the edge to stop evil. Well, not always, but that was definitely a joke. Anyway, Steven Seagal Is: The Final Option is not based on any of his movies. Instead, it was meant to be a promotion of the man himself and used technology akin to Mortal Kombat. That is to say, by today's standards, it looks horrible.
16 Universal Soldier
Speaking of Jean-Claude Van Damme, he also had a game canceled for the SNES. This was based on one of his movies of the same name though. A Game Boy and Sega Genesis version were released, but the SNES edition was canceled for whatever reason. The really weird thing about these games is the fact that they were conversions from an older Sega Genesis series, Turrican. The sprites were just reworked as a quick way to tie in a game to the movie for a quick buck.
There are actually two unreleased games based on Congo. There was one for the Sega Genesis and one for the SNES. They seem to be ports of the Sega Saturn FMV game. They're both the same although the SNES ROM seems farther along.
When you start it there's a quick first-person shooter segment where you're firing balls, or presumably bullets, at gorillas before time runs out. Then you're on a raft. Good luck finishing either version because it gives the Battletoads speed biker level a run for its money.
14 Sonic Crackers
It's hard to put into words how popular the Sonic games were in the 90s. They basically made Sega stay afloat. It even received numerous spinoffs, not long after the original, more traditional platformers were launched. Anyway one of these was Knuckles' Chaotix. Before it became this, it was known by another name: Sonic Crackers. This prototype had Sonic and Tails team up instead of Knuckles and his various friends. The prototype is very similar in gameplay to the final game, but it’s more of a tech demo than a real game.
13 Beyond Zero Tolerance
Back in the early 90s, the only place to find quality first-person shooters was on PC. I think Halo changed all that for consoles in terms of actual good shooters. That said it's not like they were nonexistent on systems like the Sega Genesis. Zero Tolerance was one of them and based on the name Beyond Zero Tolerance you can surmise this was a sequel. Reception of the first game appeared to be fairly positive, which prompted the sequel, but was later canceled. Maybe it was "cool" back then, but both this demo and the first game look rough now.
While Prime was a clear copy of Superman, Sunman for the NES actually started out as a Superman game. Sunsoft made a pretty awesome Batman game for the system, which may have prompted DC to let them try their hand at Superman. But they lost the rights and retooled it to be their own hero.
Even with that, it was still canceled. Funnily enough in 2014 a hacker changed the game back into a Superman game and released what could have been the best Superman game ever.
11 Time Diver: Eon Man
While researching for this article, finding out Time Diver: Eon Man was a prototype was a revelation to me. I got it in some NES ROM dump years ago and while I never finished it, I played quite a bit. I always thought it was done and that's because it basically was. There are a few things missing like later powers gathered can't be activated. Your punches don't have sound effects and neither do some enemies. By and large, though, this game was done. It even has some awesome music.
10 Daikatana (GBC)
Daikatana is one of the worst Nintendo 64 games out there. It has a reputation outside of its shoddy gameplay in the real world with its pretty crass advertising, "John Romero's About To Make You His B." I think you can figure out the rest. Anyway N64 game aside, Romero's team was also working on a Game Boy Color version, which was more like Zelda meets Metal Gear Solid. It's a lot cooler than the console version that's for sure.
9 Yoshi’s Story (GBA)
Now I should be clear from the start. This was labeled as a tech demo for the GBA so presumably, there was never going to be a Yoshi's Story sequel on the system, or a port. In my mind it seems like a port even though the level you can play isn't exactly like anything from the N64 game.
That said even though it is kind of blurry, it is impressive for the Game Boy Advance. What's weird though is that you can't fire your eggs.
8 Happily Ever After
This is a bootleg sequel to Disney's Snow White. Well you could say it's a sequel to the fairy tale, but it has some very obvious allusions that got the film in some hot water. That said a video game was still made and released for it on the SNES…four years after the release. There was also an NES version made to tie-in directly right away, but it was canceled due to all of those legal complications with the film.
7 Resident Evil 1.5
Resident Evil 1.5 was the code name given to the alpha build of Resident Evil 2. That's pretty obvious by the name. Anyway, you can't play much of it, but there's a good solid demo wherein you can play as the alternate girl protagonist, Elza Walker, in an alternate police station. I wonder if they're going to make any allusions to this in the PS4 remake. There is a costume for Claire, but I want more! Come on Capcom, hide us a little Easter egg.
6 Donald Duck's Speedboat
Donald Duck's Speedboat is exactly as it sounds. You're Donald Duck...in a speedboat. Even though this is an Atari 2600 game, aka uglier than sin, it's actually higher up in the scale, which is to say compared to a lot of games for this console, it's like Red Dead Redemption II.
Anyway, all you do is speed around water. There's nothing to really do, or see between screen transitions. Is this based on a cartoon, or something? It's such an odd concept for the cartoon duck.
5 Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children Ice Book
This is the most relevant discovery on this list, which prompted me to write this up. The prototype for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children Ice Book released online at the beginning of last December for the GBA. Devil Children is a spinoff of the Shin Megami Tensei series aimed at kids and tried to be a more demonic version of Pokémon. Here's the thing though. Book of Ice and its counterpart Book of Fire were released in Japan officially. While you could argue it goes against this article's theme, I included it anyway since playable prototypes are still cool treasures.
4 Resident Evil 2 (GBA)
Like Yoshi's Story, this is just a tech demo for the Game Boy Advance. It's also a very short demo for Resident Evil 2. You can only play as Leon and make it, uh, I think like a dozen screens into Raccoon City before it ends. Similar to the GBC port of the first game, it's also kind of a pixel nightmare but is still a very accurate port at the same time. That is to say, it looks and plays the part.
3 Battletoads (GBA)
I'm not like a huge fan of the Battletoads series, but I am pretty hopeful for that new Xbox One game. Anyway, I was shocked to find this GBA ROM in my research. I had no idea any planning went into creating another game post the Arcade game in the late 90s.
This prototype is very short, which is maybe like three minutes at max. It will eventually restart the game at the beginning. It's also weird because your character model looks like how the reboot of the Frogger series looks.
2 Silent Hills
Silent Hills is one of the most infamous games of recent memory. It was announced as P.T., which was an interactive demo released free to the world. Once players "solved" the game, it led into a trailer for the real game aka Silent Hills directed by Hideo Kojima and starring Norman Reedus. Well after a bad breakup between Konami and Kojima, the game was canceled and P.T. was delisted on PSN. You can't even download it if you have before. If you still have it on your PS4, keep that HD safe!
1 Blue Angelo
If you follow the Kickstarter scene then maybe Blue Angelo sounds familiar. What began on the GBA was scrapped, but was retooled for modern systems in HD. However, it did not get funded. On a positive note, there are actually two builds of the original GBA version you can find online, which are actually pretty extensive. It's like a more generic Castlevania clone, which isn’t a bad thing. The style actually reminds me of the animation style in the 2000s era of Fox Kids programming.