Did your parents ever promise you ice cream while you were growing up, then never come through with that frosty sweet goodness? Or worse, did you get all excited and practically fly out to the car, only to find yourself betrayed harder than a Stark at a wedding as you stood in the parking lot of the dentist's office? Don't do that to your kid, by the by. Weird parenting. Unless you're really that dead set on inflicting emotionally crippling trust issues.
Anyway, that's precisely the feeling experienced when you hear about an awesome new video game in development, get so wrapped up in your enthusiasm that you board and then subsequently hijack the hype train only to find it's headed straight to the middle of nowhere. That's right, the game that you already decided would be your game of the year was cancelled. It's never going to happen. Poof. Gone.
Sure, you'll move on. But there's always that lingering disappointment, that vague sense of wasted potential. Let's have a moment of silence for the ones that didn't make it, and pick through fifteen cancelled video games that were legendarily soul crushing. And then to lift the mood, let's have a look at five video games we're actually pretty glad didn't make it through development. That should help us to remember that these things happen for a reason, right?
20 MOST HYPED: StarCraft: Ghost
Ghost started development in 2002, planned as an FPS offering for Blizzard's titanic StarCraft universe. In it we would've taken the role of ghost operative Nova, making use of her psionic powers and cloaking abilities to stealthily slink our way from mission to mission. The multiplayer, on the other hand, was an action-packed class-based shooter that promised to include modes borrowing elements from the main RTS titles, much like Renegade did with Command & Conquer.
Development would go pretty far, and we'd even get a teaser trailer in 2005, but Blizzard would eventually give up the ghost in 2008. Leading lady Nova would go on to make limited appearances in StarCraft II, and end up as a playable character in Heroes of the Storm, despite never having made her way into her own title.
19 MOST HYPED: Fable: Legends
This was to be a remarkably ambitious entry into the Fable saga, seeking to furnish players with a feature-rich cooperative multiplayer experience. Gameplay was to revolve around four player "heroes" set against a player "villain" for each quest, with the villain having the ability to tailor the experience with monsters, traps, and more.
One of the most exciting prospects in play here was Lionhead's dedication to cross platform play between Xbox and Windows.
Legends began development in 2012, and would go so far as to announce an open beta in 2015. Unfortunately, Microsoft would move to close Lionhead Studios before the game could move any further in development, and the servers hosting the beta were shut down in April of 2016.
18 MOST HYPED: Silent Hills
Hideo Kojima teaming up with Guillermo del Toro and casting Norman Reedus as the lead for a Silent Hill title was one of those arrangements that truly was altogether impossibly cool. First announced to the public via the brilliant P.T, or Playable Trailer in 2014, we were treated to a solidly spooky slice of gameplay that sent our hopes for this game through the roof.
Kojima's split with Konami would stop development dead in its tracks, much to the dismay of the Silent Hill fan base. However, it was quickly confirmed that we will still get a collaboration between Kojima, del Toro, and Reedus in the form of Death Stranding, which is currently well into development and pending a release date.
17 NEVER WANTED: Doom 4
It's almost tough to think that we could have wound up with another generic military shooter cluttering the market instead of the glorious reboot of DOOM we received in 2016, but it was apparently a very real risk.
Bethesda's Pete Hines even went on record with the sentiment that the Doom 4 we could have had just didn't feel like a DOOM game, at all, with the development team less than affectionately nicknaming the project "Call of Doom." With more grounded weaponry, sluggish cover-to-cover combat and loads of friendly NPCs to sponge up stray bullets, it's pretty easy to see why.
16 MOST HYPED: Star Wars 1313
There may be some valid criticism aimed at Star Wars' Boba Fett as an overrated and largely undeveloped character, it's hard to argue with his cool factor, largely on account of his legion of fans. So needless to say, the idea of following him around a darker, grittier Star Wars adventure set during his earlier bounty hunting years really got our attention.
The game was announced at E3 in 2012 to the absolute delight of Star Wars fans, but the project would draw its curtains only a year later after Disney shuffled things around at LucasArts, laying off the majority of their staff and halting all existing projects, 1313 included.
15 MOST HYPED: Warcraft Adventures: Lord Of The Clans
Following the success of Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal in 1996, Blizzard had immediate and big plans to expand the Warcraft universe. Among these projects was a point-and-click adventure game following a certain orc shaman named Thrall as he struggled to unite the scattered orcish clans.
The title met several release delays, largely due to an internationally split development process, with the initial 1997 target being pushed as far back as 2001 before the project was cancelled in 1998. Elements of the game's plot and design would survive onto other titles, such was Warcraft III and World of Warcraft.
14 MOST HYPED: Halo: Chronicles
In 2008, Microsoft confirmed that they were indeed working on a new Halo title as a practice in "episodic storytelling."
After throwing film titan Peter Jackson into the mix, things started to look pretty serious in the best way possible. We didn't receive much else officially until 2009, and that was in the form of a confirmed cancellation.
13 NEVER WANTED: Six Days In Fallujah
Initially, it wouldn't really appear that this tactical shooter did a whole lot to stand out from the significant roster of existing offerings surrounding the same exact setting in 2009.
So what's the big deal? Why the controversy that would draw the project into cancellation?
The facts are that Six Days in Fallujah simply played way too close to reality, borrowing the names and likenesses of actual marines and putting players on the front lines of a true to life scenario within an international armed conflict that was still raging as the game was being developed. Beyond the title's total insensitivity, did we really miss much with another generic military shooter failing to hit shelves?
12 MOST HYPED: Scalebound
This was to be an action RPG game from PlatinumGames, the same studio that brought us Bayonetta. While that's probably enough to win hearts and minds, the truly unique concepts and mechanics that were touted for this title seemed absolutely extraordinary.
Gameplay would largely revolve around the player character's bond with an AI controlled dragon companion, as well as his ability to shapeshift into a dragon hybrid in order to augment his abilities. The progression mechanics and enemy scaling were being given particular attention, and it looked immensely promising from its conception in 2013 right up to its abrupt and total cancellation in 2017.
11 MOST HYPED: Earthbound 64
Technically, as I'm sure you Earthbound super fans know already, this game did get released in Japan as Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. But what was advertised as Earthbound 64 to American audiences never saw the light of day.
The game had a rough ride, initially envisioned for the SNES, then for the ill-fated Nintendo 64 Disk Drive, and finally in 1999 a playable, well developed demo was shown off at a trade fair. But difficulties and delays would continue to plague the development process. Despite attempts to change formats, and even consoles, the project for this version was cancelled soon after.
10 MOST HYPED: Gotham By Gaslight
Because honestly, who the heck didn't want to see steampunk Batman kicking some Victorian-era behind? Based on the comic book that it shares names with, the hype for this chapter of the Batman universe making its way into gaming was almost too real.
This venture would've seen the Dark Knight matching wit and muscle with Jack the Ripper. I know, it's too cool. But as luck would have it, THQ couldn't manage to nail down the rights to this particular property, forcing developer Day 1 Studios to pack everything up and call it day.
9 NEVER WANTED: Mean Girls
It's difficult for me to imagine that anyone actually wanted a video game adaptation of Mean Girls, but apparently my imagination isn't big enough. It was intended to be a sort of puzzle game where you customized your wardrobe in certain combinations to unlock different mean stuff, like rumors, pranks and insults? Geeze, even typing that out was enough to get me queasy.
It did apparently see an EU release that was bad enough for developer 505 Games to completely cancel the American release.
8 MOST HYPED: Timesplitters 4
Ah, Timesplitters. A true classic of a bygone era, and apparently destined to remain that way if the attempted development of this title is anything to go by. Rumors started floating around about the fourth installment of this unique, tongue-thoroughly-in-cheek brand of FPS mayhem as far back as 2007.
A short two years later, the title was officially acknowledged as being "on hold," and things have pretty much stayed that way as the fanbase's hope has waned. As of 2013, series developer Steve Ellis has confirmed that he really doesn't "think think there's any chance of that happening," in reference to the title ever emerging to hit shelves.
7 MOST HYPED: Streets Of Rage
Revisiting this totally classic side scrolling beat 'em up seems like a gold plated good idea, right? Developer Ruffian Games knew what was up, apparently, and decided to run with it at some point preceding 2012.
Precious little is known about what exactly happened here, much less why it was cancelled, but what we do know is that there's pretty concrete evidence of an incredibly rough, pre-alpha prototype that actually looked incredibly solid. We also know that God of War had influenced the gameplay direction and that it would feature transitions between pure side scrolling environments and more conventional 3D settings.
6 MOST HYPED: Command & Conquer: Tiberium
Renegade may not have been the high impact entry into the FPS genre that Command & Conquer was hoping for, but that certainly didn't discourage them from dusting themselves off and trying again. Enter Tiberium, a squad based tactical shooter looking to break the legendary RTS series into a new genre the right way.
For all intents and purposes, the gameplay footage for it looked pretty great.
It was played from the perspective of a GDI soldier facing off against the alien Scrin, and several cool mechanics like air dropping reinforcements for your squad were showcased in promotional materials. Apparently not everything was rosy, however, as EA cancelled the project in 2008, citing that it wasn't meeting quality standards.
5 NEVER WANTED: Thrill Kill
Nothing's wrong with trying to be a little edgy with your title's content - the entirety of the Grand Theft Auto series is evidence enough. But when you take that approach it's really easy to go a little too far. Or in the case of this attempted 1998 PlayStation fighter, way, way too far.
Thrill Kill was the first game to receive the ESRB's "Adults Only" rating on account of violence alone, though something tells me that they could've cited any number of reasons given how incredibly saturated the title is with what we'll nicely refer to as "themes" and extremely strange content. There's no real rhyme or reason involved, most of it just seems crammed in for the sake of shock value alone.
4 MOST HYPED: LMNO
Billed as an exciting collaboration between filmmaker Steven Spielberg and EA, LMNO promised an incredibly unique concept with levels of cinematic depth. Players would slip into the shoes of Lincoln. He's just your average, every day dude cooperating with an alien from the future to escape government agents. You know, the usual.
The alien, known as Eve, would be your AI-driven companion through the game, and her behavior would adapt to your own without direct verbal contact. The narrative was said to be incredibly emotionally gripping, drawing the player in to the bond between Lincoln and Eve. Unfortunately, triple-A behemoth EA got cold feet with the new property and allowed it to fizzle out in 2010.
3 MOST HYPED: Sadness
The Nintendo Wii had a distinct lack of both survival horror and titles that were at least partially marketed towards adult and young adult audiences. These were the precise gaps Polish developer Nibris aimed to address as they began work on this title in 2006.
Sadness looked incredibly inviting, focusing on psychological horror as we followed protagonist Maria after she and her son survived a train derailment in the countryside. With stylized black and white graphics and themes surrounding mental illness and Slavic mythology, there was no shortage of innovative promise. Unfortunately, development would prove remarkably chaotic for four long years before the project tanked.
2 MOST HYPED: Stranger Things
Just when we didn't think Telltale could get any better, they partnered with Netflix to conspire over lending their unique brand of video game storytelling to the Stranger Things universe. It seemed like a match made in heaven.
Of course, this was all way, way too good to be true.
As you're likely well aware, Telltale also began to experience incredibly dire financial straits in 2017, and the Stranger Things project was cancelled alongside the multitude of well publicized layoffs that occurred before the company dissolved. Naturally, Netflix is still pursuing bringing Stranger Things into the gaming industry, however we can't help but feel it just won't be as good as it would've been had Telltale managed to keep it together for this one.
1 NEVER WANTED: Fallout: Brotherhood Of Steel 2
Brotherhood of Steel was one of Interplay's last runs at the Fallout universe before Bethesda would sink their teeth into it, and it definitely didn't leave us on a high note. It was a controversial departure from the gameplay we'd come to expect from the series, and it was met with very mixed reception when it came out in 2004.
Despite the lukewarm (at best) appraisal of the initial effort, Interplay had already started production of a sequel before the first Brotherhood of Steel had even hit the market. It had nearly wrapped, but ended up cancelled later in the same year as Interplay faced an incredible host of financial woes around the same time. No tears were shed over this one, we're almost sorry to report.