One of the most enduring console brands in history, and arguably sitting atop the heap in this current generation, Sony’s various consoles have, over four generations, been home to some of the greatest games ever made. From console exclusives like the Uncharted series to multi-platform giants like Call Of Duty, PlayStation has accumulated a simply exhausting back catalog over its near 25 year lifespan since the release of the original PSone back in 1994, and with hugely promising titles such as The Last Of Us Part II, Death Stranding and Red Dead Redemption 2 on the horizon, it shows no sign of slowing down.
That being said, over its twenty-plus year history, there have been many games announced—some of which generated a genuine buzz and excitement amongst gamers—that were scrapped before any of us had a chance to experience them. And while some of these titles were perhaps bad ideas to begin with, some showed genuine promise and disappointed many of us upon being scrapped.
As we said, PlayStation is home to many of gamings finest moments. Imagine if a game like Vagrant Story had been scrapped for being too ambitious, or being released at the 11th hour of the original PlayStation’s lifecycle? Or imagine if Ico had been canceled for being too obscure? Imagine if, for whatever reason, titles like Metal Gear Solid, Crash Bandicoot or God Of War hadn’t been released: we would be deprived of some of PlayStation's most iconic protagonists. With that said, join us as we lament what could have been as we count down 25 canceled PlayStation games, and some of the crazy reasons the never saw the light of day…
25 Silent Hills (PS4)
Given that it’s been six years since the last Silent Hill game, the idea of a new title in the series was brilliant news for horror fans. The fact that it was to be developed by the legendary Hideo Kojima made it even better!
Teasing fans with a playable trailer, the game was eventually canned when Kojima parted ways with Konami in the wake of Metal Gear Solid V. That neither Kojima or Konami decided to continue the project is a shame, especially considering how good Kojima’s latest project Death Stranding looks.
24 Aliens: Crucible (PS3)
When Aliens: Colonial Marines was released in 2013, fans and critics alike were generally left disappointed by the lackluster gaming tie-in to the beloved film franchise. However, this feeling of disappointment was only compounded when footage of Aliens: Crucible was released shortly thereafter. In development since 2006, the game was an RPG title which, on film, looked to be a fantastic Knights of the Old Republic-inspired horror adventure. The sad part is that this game was ready for release in 2010, but SEGA simply decided to go with Marines instead! Oh, what could have been…
23 Beneath (PSone)
A game that began development way back in the mid-1990s for the PlayStation, the game was finally scrapped in 2002, way beyond the console’s lifespan. However, this game had some serious promise. Heavily inspired by Tomb Raider, protagonist Jack Wellis would descend deep into the Earth through a network of tunnels, encountering increasingly advanced civilizations, in search of his missing father. Trippy concept aside, early screenshots looked incredible. In the end, Presto studios called a halt to the project as it was too ambitious a departure from their typical, and simpler, point-and-click titles.
22 LMNO (PS3)
When an upcoming game is described as “a watershed moment in our business” that can “make you cry…like a good piece of art,” anticipation is naturally high. When you bring in a star director like Steven Spielberg to collaborate on the project, expectations go even higher.
So when EA’s Neil Young said this about the game in 2004—an action-adventure RPG—he should’ve been sure his team's ambitious ideas all coalesced into a release-able whole. They didn’t, so it didn’t.
21 Doom 4 (PS4)
A bit of an unusual one here, as the work in progress that was going to be Doom 4 was eventually released as a Doom reboot in 2016. Now, there is no doubt that the reincarnated Doom remake received really good reviews and was embraced by fans as many great remakes are; however, there is always going to be a pang among series fans thirsty for new, original content. Pete Hines of Bethesda says that the game-in-progress didn’t evoke what Doom is about or meet quality requirements, so they scrapped it… to make another Doom game…
20 Prey 2 (PS3)
Announced back in 2011, there was much anticipation surrounding the release of the sequel to the 2006 original, which was very well received by critics and fans alike. However, three years after it was initially announced, the game was canned because Bethesda, well, essentially gave up on it. Bethesda’s Pete Hines commented on the game, saying: “It was a game we believed in, but…we never saw a path to success if we finished it. It wasn’t up to our quality standard so we decided to cancel it.” What a waste.
19 Fallout Online (PS3)
Another game that was taken on board but later scrapped by publisher Bethesda. Fallout Online was meant to be an online only MMO spin-off of the main series.
However, the game was axed and lawsuits were filed when developers Interplay were unable to meet the demands: full-scale development in two years and a playable release in four years. Given the massive popularity of Fallout 3 and the increased popularity and success of Fallout 4 and their various spin-offs, this could very well have been a missed opportunity, and would certainly have sold a few copies.
18 Commando (PSone)
In development between 1996 and 1997, Commando was to be a third person shooter game. The brainchild of creator Stephane de Luca, who was working for Namco, Commando would have seen players travel to different parts of Mars, vanquishing enemies and a different boss for each “level” of Mars, using (frankly ahead of its time) tactics like hacking and controlling enemy weapons and equipment to do so. However, Virtual Studios, who were to finance the game, pulled out at the last minute, apparently for not fully understanding the extent of the agreement!
17 Titan (PS3)
In development all the way back in 2007 by Blizzard Entertainment, the team behind the hugely popular cult online game World of Warcraft, Titan was to be another MMO title for fans of the genre. Looking good in screenshots, the game was eventually shelved by Blizzard. The reason for the cancellation was due to the success of their less ambitious titles, and because the team lost passion for the game-to-be. So, in essence, they just gave up. On the bright side, the team later used what they developed to create the hugely popular online FPS Overwatch!
16 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Patriots (PS4)
In what was meant to be another entry in the famed, long-running Tom Clancy series, Rainbow Six Patriots followed the usual format of first-person shooting infiltration the games have become known for, with another cool concept.
As part of the Rainbow Six squadron, you take on a rogue populist militia group known as the True Patriots who are terrorizing New York City and Wall Street. Ubisoft canceled the game so they could, like Bethesda with Doom, focus on another Rainbow Six game.
15 The Island Of Dr. Moreau (PSone)
This title isn’t on this list because of why it was cancelled—the studio closed down and the developer abandoned the project—but more due to the slick concept, ambition, and effort put into it before its cancellation. Based on the 1896 science fiction novel of the same name, it would’ve seen the player traverse a creepy island in a point-and-click/survival horror hybrid, spread across three locations (mansion, island, and ancient ruins) and discs. For a 1997 title, the screenshots are amazing, it's just a shame such an ambitious title had to be scrapped.
14 NBA Live 13 (PS3)
Live is the longest running NBA franchise in gaming; going back nearly 25 years to NBA Live 95 back in 1994, they have been enjoyed by gamers and fans of the sport ever since that first title. When the planned NBA Live 12 was unreleased due to a lockout, fans were clamoring for a new installment. They almost got their wish in 2012 when Live 13 was due to be released, only to have their hopes dashed when the game was pulled less than a week away from release, due to EA being unhappy with the build-up to it!
13 Ushiro (PSP)
Announced in 2008 by developer Level 5, Ushiro was initially set to be released on Sony’s PSP. The concept for the game was extremely unique and just as interesting: a turn-based RPG horror title where you play as a spirit who grants people one final wish.
Level 5 has a great track record with RPG titles and surely would’ve done something cool with a game like this. Suddenly, however, development halted, and all traces of the game vanished from their website, just like a ghost… ironic, eh?
12 Star Wars Battlefront III (PS4)
Typically, when you have a big name franchise like Star Wars, and a tie-in series like Battlefront, sequels are more of an inevitability than an option. When both titles have a Metacritic score in the 80s, you literally do not need an incentive to release a third title. Amazingly, development for the game—and the engine and gameplay mechanics designed around it—halted due to lack of funds and missed deadlines, even though the game was practically finished. Why Free Radical and LucasArts never picked up this sure thing again is beyond us.
11 Legacy Of Kain: Dead Sun (PS4)
When a video game series has more than three entries, it usually becomes a franchise which sees titles being released in a conveyor belt-like fashion. Legacy of Kain appeared to be one of those series. That was, however, up until 2012, when Square Enix Europe was set to release the sixth title in the series, Dead Sun, but inexplicably pulled the plug on the project. The reason here is not so important because, with a proven track record and a market for the name, it’s another game that would’ve sold had it been released.
10 P.I.G. (PSone)
Developed in the mid-1990s for the PSone, P.I.G. was to star a pig named George, a private investigator investigating missing piglets taken by the evil Dr. Gotem, in a Crash Bandicoot, Banjo Kazooie-inspired platformer. It had promise, containing a variety of worlds (snow levels, the planet Mars) and interesting mini-games.
Team 17 CEO Debbie Bestwick stated that the success of their title Worms ironically lead to the downfall of the studio, and by extension P.I.G., stating “all that mattered was Worms” and they “should’ve stayed true to what [they] had been doing.”
9 InSane (PS3)
Promise and ambition have been two prevailing themes on this list, and this one has (or had) both in spades. Announced back in 2010, this THQ published game was to be the first in a trilogy of survival horror games, head developer Guillermo Del Toro wanted to “take players to a place they have never seen before,” and make them “question their own sense of morality and reality.” However, when development and the IP were handed back to Guillermo, he seemingly hasn’t progressed the project since, in spite of his ambitious statements!
8 Batman: Gotham By Gaslight (PS3)
Based on the one-shot comic book of the same name, where the dark knight takes on Jack the Ripper in a 19th Century Gotham City, the game was in development by Day 1 Studios, and with early moody, atmospheric footage befitting a Batman title released, looked to be a great game in the making. That they couldn’t anyone willing to publish it is one thing, that they couldn’t find one in 2010, a year after the release of the beloved and acclaimed Arkham Asylum title, is simply mind-boggling.
7 Star Wars 1313 (PS4)
Another example of a potentially great game canceled when a studio is bought up by another, bigger studio. Star Wars 1313, announced in 2013, was to be set in Coruscant’s underworld. Showing off a darker side of the Star Wars universe, the game had an “oppressive” atmosphere “bearing down on the player all the time. Early gameplay footage looked great, but when Disney bought LucasFilm, LucasArts was shut down, and the project was terminated. The force was strong (initially), but it was not to be.
6 Viper: Red Sector (PSone)
Back in the time of the PlayStation and the fifth generation of consoles, action open world games/RPGs were hard to come by. Typically, you either had an on the rails action or shooter title or an open world game, with highly contained turn-based combat sequences, due to the limited power of the hardware. That’s why Red Sector, a sci-fi shooter set in open world levels, would’ve been such a tantalizing prospect. Unfortunately, when 3D0 purchased New World Computing, who was developing the title, they inexplicably axed the promising game.
5 Powerslave 2 (PSone)
What was meant to be a sequel to the original Powerslave game, Powerslave 2 was set thousands of years prior to the first game in ancient Egypt. In it, you play and Egyptian warrior who has to rescue the sun God Ra from the clutches of evil to bring light back to the world. Aside from being a cool concept, it was to be in a third-person action format and less linear than the original title. Like many games, it was lost when the original developer—Lobotomy Software—was bought up by another company, Cave Entertainment.
4 Dirty Harry: The Game (PS3)
With an all-star ensemble cast, this movie tie-in seemed a guaranteed cash cow had Warner Bros. actually released it in 2007, and the almost, almost did. Set between the Dirty Harry movie and Magnum, Clint Eastwood himself was writing the script and also lending his voice to the game alongside the likes of Lawrence Fishburne, Lucy Liu, and Gene Hackman.
The game was 70% finished when Warner Bros. Entertainment pulled the plug on it, citing they were unhappy with progress. Noble maybe, but given the time and resources put into it, it could’ve been a mistake…
3 TimeSplitters 4 (PS3)
Oh dear, what could have been. Seen as the spiritual successor to GoldenEye, the three TimeSplitters were originally released on the PS2. Well received by critics—particularly the second and third installments which were acclaimed—fans loved them even more, especially the whacky, fast-paced local multiplayer. Which makes it baffling that Cevat Yerli, who worked for the title's developer Crytek, said this of the canceled project in 2012: “If we made a sequel… nobody would accept this apart from some fans.” Lies, all lies!
2 Bioshock Vita (PS Vita)
Another game from another stellar series that not only could’ve been amazing, but potentially could’ve resurrected a console. A re-release of the original BioShock on a portable console would’ve been amazing, an original game overseen by Ken Levine would’ve been unreal. However, Sony and Take-Two were unable to come to an agreement on how to proceed with the title, and Irrational Games shut down in 2014. That being said, anyone with a brain at either Sony or Take-Two would be crazy not to resurrect this project.
1 Fez 2 (PS4)
A truly bizarre one here, and as ridiculous a reason to cancel a game as any. The original Fez—an indie puzzle game—was a hit with both fans and critics, both of which were clamoring for a sequel.
And one was in development until the game’s lead designer Phil Fish had a twitter argument with a gaming journalist and canceled the game abruptly without informing any of his staff. Yep, he was so enraged he threw his career—and those of his colleagues—down the toilet, just as things were starting to happen.