Image Source: Whimsical Whitfield
Hundreds of video games die premature deaths every year, often in complete silence. Sometimes, they leave behind great-looking trailers and unreleased material that makes us wistfully wonder about what could have been.
There are many reasons for canceled video games before release. Sometimes, they are over-ambitious and impossible to complete. Sometimes, the developers go bankrupt before they can finish a game, and occasionally, there is no explanation as to why a finished work of art is left to gather dust in some corner of a working studio. Here are ten video games that never came out, and it’s a shame they didn’t.
1. Scalebound (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k4FTt-Ri0c)
Image Source: Video Games Uncovered
Scalebound is one of the most gorgeous video games canceled before release. It would have been a stunning ‘photo-realistic’ (in the words of its developer) XBox adventure following Drew and his dragon Thuban, as they battle enemies and giants in large-scale combat through the land of Draconis. The game was going to have a 2016 release, pushed back by several other holiday releases. Then in 2017, Microsoft Studios announced it canceled. We still don’t know why Scalebound is one of the video games that never came out.
2. Silent Hills (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay_RAkE7bUY)
Image Source: Techno Buffalo
Silent Hills would have been the next installment in the Silent Hill series, but sadly, it’s one of the video games that never came out. It boasted big names like Guillermo Del Toro and Hideo Kojima as directors. But Konami cancelled the game in 2015, not explaining why. The good news is, the Silent Hills franchise is not dead, says the game company.
3. Prey 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a78kzAffb4)
Image Source: Wikia
Yet another among the video games canceled before release is Prey 2, by developers Human Head Studios. The game was an FPS designed as a sequel to 2006’s Prey. Players could control a bounty hunter on an alien world, trying to get his lost memories back. But in 2014, Bethesda confirmed that Prey 2 was canceled because it didn’t meet Bethesda standards. While we appreciate this reason for canceled video games before release, Prey 2 did have a fantastic plot twist planned involving Samuels and a clone of his…
4. Jurassic Park – Survival (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hswq1v9-GYo)
Image Source: Giant Bomb
This game from Savage Entertainment may look dated today, but at the time it was announced in 2000, it was promising. It was based on the Jurassic Park III film but expand on it. You’d play a security guard at the InGen’s secret dinosaur preserves, who must save the day. There would have been near open-world levels and elements of action adventure. But Savage ran out of money and time, and the backing company withdrew funds, turning the game into one of the fossilized video games that never came out.
5. Fallout 3: Van Buren (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyHL24mqd4w)
Image Source: 3D News
You’ve probably already played the brilliant and award-winning Fallout 3, so this cancellation won’t hurt as much as the others on this list. But before Bethesda took on the developing of the game, Fallout 3 was called Van Buren, and being worked on by Interplay Entertainment, at its Black Isle Studios which also made Fallout and Fallout 2. The company went bankrupt and the studio closed. Bethesda took over and started from scratch. It was obviously a good idea, but here’s what you missed when Van Buren joined the ranks of video games canceled before release. The game had been almost complete when they axed it.
You start Van Buren as a prisoner. Whether or not you’re guilty is up to you at character creation. Someone attacks the prison, and you have to escape the wasteland while in the middle of a war between the Brotherhood of Steel and the New California Republic. Classic, epic shooter material.
6. Mega Man Legends 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSzzXnv5JYo)
Image Source: Nintendo Scene
This is one of the canceled video games before release that many people want back. Mega Man Legends 3 was going to be the fourth game in the beloved Nintendo action-adventure series with a solid story and 3D gameplay. It was announced in 2010 by Japanese company Capcom. It was going to have two new characters Aero and Barret, who would join MegaMan Volnutt and his friends to keep Volnutt from the Elysium.
Sadly, the following year Capcom canceled the game due to lack of support from fans. Developers have said they would like to finish the game if they ever get the chance. With a 100,000 strong Facebook group to bring back the game, we hope it will come to life soon!
7. Six Days in Fallujah (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiEHrfEYXnc)
Image Source: SFGate
If you like war games, you’ll regret this game joined the ranks of video games canceled before release. Like many other war games, Six Days in Fallujah was to be based around a real war, the Iraqi war. It was going to be a realistic shooter until it got embroiled in controversy. Even though the game developers said Six Days revolved around lives of the marines in the war and not the politics around it, British war veterans argued that it was glorifying the lives lost. Developers at Konami didn’t think it was prudent to release the game in the midst of this controversy.
8. Fez 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGltYRq2JU4)
Image Source: Giant Bomb
This is about one of the most anticipated video games that never came out. We loved exploring indie developer Polytron Corporation’s Fez and its adorable 8-bit style 3D world, playing as 2D character Gomez. In this award-winning game from 2013-2014 (when it saw staggered releases across various consoles), Phil Fish did something remarkable with changing perspectives.
We were eagerly awaiting Fez 2, about which we knew almost nothing. The teaser trailer for the sequel didn’t give anything away with regards to the game mechanics, world or subject. But we had been expecting exciting things. So it was a shock to many of us when a Twitter fight blew up, and Phil Fish threw in the towel with a message that announced Fez 2 is dead. It’s not clear what caused the game’s demise, but Fish said that it had been a long time coming and he was disgusted with the way the industry treated him.
Over three years down the line, there is still no sign that Fez 2 will see the light of day. But one can still hope that Fish will come around, can’t they?
9. Faith and a .45 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6evhLp20FKw)
Image Source: Adam Rished Artwork
Who wouldn’t love a third person shooter with outlaw lovers who become heroes? Plus Faith and a .45 was going to let you co-op with an AI that felt like a real character. The setting was the Great Depression of the 1930s, and you played as one of two outlaws trying to rescue a friend from John Memon, an anarchist who was trying to destroy the Congress and build a new capitalist society.
Sadly, Danish company Deadline Games went bankrupt in 2009 after 13 years in the game industry and took two of its titles with it. Faith became one of the canceled video games before release. Total Overdose 2 was the other. The gaming community, enthused by the hype surrounding Faith, mourns the loss of what could have been an epic Bonny and Clyde adventure.
10. B.C. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCzLbJxp1V8)
Image Source: Unseen 64
Here’s another of the most promising video games canceled before release. The action-adventure offering B.C. had a fantastic concept that excited gamers at its announcement over a decade ago. The setting was a prehistoric MMO world where dinosaurs coexisted with human-like ‘simians.’ The world would have five levels, and the map was set to be larger than any game map seen at the time.
Sadly, the game was too ambitious for the backing company, Lionhead Studios Ltd., led by Peter Molyneux. After having been hyped at E3 where viewers praised the impressive artificial intelligence, the game couldn’t stand up to its ambitions. It was canceled in 2004, and while we mourn its loss, we are glad that it wasn’t a title that couldn’t match up to expectations (looking at you, No Man’s Sky).
Do you think there are canceled video games before release that we missed, which deserve to be on this list? Which of these games would you be willing to start a petition to bring back? Comment below!