Three generations of Microsoft's Xbox have come and gone, and each one has left behind a slew of unreleased, unfinished, and abandoned gaming experiences. Some of these cancelled games were high-profile releases, but some have faded into total obscurity.
For this list, we're going to look at some of the more obscure Xbox games that never saw the light of day. We're going to focus on Xbox exclusives — or, at the very least, games meant for both the Xbox and Microsoft Windows (since they're typically released on both anyway). From the original Xbox to the golden years of the 360 and the current Xbox One, here are 10 Cancelled Xbox Games You Never Knew Existed.
Let's start with a game you might have heard of. PlatinumGames, developer of action favorites like Bayonetta and Nier: Automata, was set to release Scalebound on the Xbox One in 2017. This fantasy RPG was gearing up to be a big hit at the time. It looked great, especially considering it would have been a new Xbox-exclusive IP.
Sadly, despite the good press and hype among fans, the game was unceremoniously cancelled after a major delay. The cancellation remains a head-scratcher, though it seems that PlatinumGames and Microsoft had a major falling-out towards the end of development. Scalebound was rumored for a return was on the Nintendo Switch, but that remains to be seen.
9 Banjo X
Before the platformer series became a kart racer in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, a cancelled 2005 entry on the original Xbox almost became a proper sequel. The abandoned Banjo X was going to be a remake of the original game with self-aware, fourth wall-breaking characters.
Conceptually, the game was still a remake, but Banjo and Kazooie would slowly realize that they were living in a video game world. The duo would then try to alter history by tackling the first game's events in new ways. Eventually though, the kart racing idea for Nuts & Bolts would overshadow the Banjo X reboot. The project never left the early stages, but it might have been the sequel that fans of the series really wanted.
B.C. was an ambitious survival action game that made too many promises, especially for the hardware of the original Xbox. The game featured a stylized prehistoric setting, and would have had players lead a tribe of early humans on their path to becoming the planet's dominant species.
B.C. would have boasted gory combat between human tribes and various prehistoric creatures like dinosaurs. It supposedly housed a huge in-game continent, a complex food chain, and extremely intelligent AI for the time. Months after the game's first trailer though, B.C. was officially cancelled. In hindsight, it does seem a bit too ambitious for an early 2000s video game.
XGirl is one of the most elusive entries on this list. Angel Studios (now the juggernaut that is Rockstar San Diego) was planning XGirl as a launch title for the original Xbox. According to gaming archive Unseen64, the game was never formally announced to the public, and evidence of its existence comes only from studio staff members. XGirl was conceived as a "girlfriend simulator" that would have had players interacting with a virtual woman.
The game supposedly would have featured realistic animation and graphics for the time... which, if you can't tell from the above image, would have probably resulted in some uncanny valley nightmares. As Unseen64 mentions, it was probably too controversial for the western market anyway.
6 Project Milo
Oh, Kinect — you were the best worst gaming gimmick yet. While players came to know Kinect as the motion-controller that Microsoft all but forced players to own, some of you might have forgotten how over-hyped the thing was. Alongside cringeworthy Kinect demonstrations for the Xbox 360 was the announcement of Lionhead Studio's Project Milo, a game that would have had players interacting with an on-screen artificial intelligence.
The game was an "interaction simulator" of sorts, where the player would get to know Milo through the Kinect's motion and speech controls. Project Milo was never more than a tech demo though, as development on the game halted and assets were worked into Fable: The Journey, another Kinect game from Lionhead.
5 Cry On
Development studio Mistwalker is responsible for cult favorite RPGs like Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon. However, one potential cult hit never made it to players. Cry On was helmed by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, and it would have followed a girl named Sally and her protective spirit called a Bogle. The players would control Sally and her spirit as they adventure through a Medieval fantasy world.
The game was cancelled in 2008, but weirdly enough, Sakaguchi released a trailer for the defunct project in 2014. It doesn't appear to be in development, so perhaps this was the creator's way of giving his passion project a proper farewell.
4 The Crossing
The Crossing is a cancelled project from Arkane Studios, the folks behind Dishonored and the Prey reboot. Few cancelled projects on this list sound as ambitious as this one. The Crossing would have been a first-person shooter that blended single-player and multiplayer modes to create a narrative-driven game that included encounters with human opponents.
The game's story would have featured parallel dimensions that explored two different dystopian interpretations of Paris, designed by Dishonored and Half-Life 2 art director Viktor Antonov. Despite the promising concept, Arkane's publisher would not accommodate the game's budgetary needs. The Crossing was cancelled, and Arkane moved onto the also-cancelled Steven Spielberg project, LMNO.
3 Project Knoxville
While the battle royale genre has exploded recently, the Xbox One could have indulged in it years ago. Project Knoxville would have dropped players into an arena and with the goal of surviving and escaping. The project placed an emphasis on teamwork and player trust, forcing players to negotiate for weapons and resources. It even had an "Afterlife" feature, where players could continue to influence the match after elimination.
Despite support from the gaming community, production ended when Microsoft shut down Project Knoxville's developer, Press Play games. While the founders of Press Play have since opened a new studio and reacquired much of their old IP, Knoxville seems to be gone for good.
2 True Fantasy Live Online
Nowadays, you can find dozens of free MMORPGs on consoles. Back when the original Xbox launched though, that kind of experience was something only reserved for desktop computers. True Fantasy Live Online would have broken the mold in this respect — it would have been Microsoft's headlining MMO on the Xbox.
Fully customizable characters, online multiplayer, and even voice chat were some of the project's biggest selling points. However, the rocky production was completely abandoned when Microsoft and developer Level-5 went their separate ways.
1 Fable Legends
For a while, the Fable franchise was the Xbox's premiere role playing experience. However, after a string of mediocre entries, even the series' last promising effort was canned. Fable Legends was in development for years — it was a cooperative multiplayer game, and not the usual single-player Fable. Players would team up and tackle quests together, choosing between class-based heroes and villains.
After several structural changes (like a free-to-play game economy) and a brief beta period, Fable Legends was shut down before the official public release. Rest in peace, Fable.