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Cut Down In Their Prime 88

Posted by Zonk
from the quite-a-sharp-blade dept.
Gamecloud has a piece looking at some worthy games that never made it to market for one reason or another. The one that hurts the most for me is Microsoft's canceled, but intriguing, Norse MMOG Mythica. From the article: "Date of Cancellation: February 2004. Microsoft Games Studios decided to get into the MMORG genre with this fantasy themed game that was announced with much fanfare in April 2003. This game, with a Norse mythology theme, was going to have more of a single player experience than most MMO games. However, less than a year later Microsoft decided to shut down development of Mythica with the team all laid off as well."
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Cut Down In Their Prime

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  • by Artifex (18308) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @02:40PM (#14877214) Journal
    Very little is widely known about the two games that were going to be made from the movie A.I., except that they were both supposed to be launch titles for the original X-BOX. My guess is that they were cancelled because the movie was not doing well. That's unfortunate, because apparently the games were going to expand upon the universe glimpsed in the movie, with completely different storylines.

    • Not really. The majority of games based on movies suck, and AI isn't a particularly movie-to-game conversion friednly film anywa. What genre could it possibly have been? I see no possible genre besides point and click adventure.
      • rpg.

        worst case scenario... platformer. *shrugs*

        never overestimate the intelligence of film execs.
      • by Artifex (18308) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:36PM (#14877697) Journal
        They were set in the universe, but telling completely different stories. So they weren't film conversions. Remember the fake websites and stuff that came out before the movie? There were apparently going to be tie-ins with some of that "history," and so forth. There could have been humans vs. robots taking over cities and the world (pick either side), etc.

        The point is, if they cover them, we'll get a chance to see.
        • Aren't Industry NDAs fun... One of the titles was not originally tied into A.I. but was being developed for a completely different (and pretty darn obscure) property. When MS acquired the rights for A.I., management of our studio was given the directive to swap it over to the A.I. universe...but the game under development didn't really fit the A.I. storyline at all (after getting/having to sit through A.I. opening day just because our studio was developing a game for it). Think Diablo-style action game w
    • Just to set the record straight, there was a game based on A.I. It was called The [4orty2wo.com] Beast [cloudmakers.org], and it was the first commercial alternate reality game. It was set between the first and second endings of A.I. and really fleshed out the world about 20 years after David left his family. If you noticed a certain weird job title in the film's end credits - that was part of this game.

      Apparently the early development was done at Microsoft, so maybe this is where the ideas for the XBox games ended up?
    • Very little is widely known about the two games that were going to be made from the movie A.I., except that they were both supposed to be launch titles for the original X-BOX.

      I think they were cancelled when playtesters expressed confusion over why David always falls down that goddam hole, and why his neck stretches as he levitates out of it -- ONLY TO FALL RIGHT BACK DOWN THAT FUCKING HOLE AGAIN!!!
  • by Thag (8436) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @02:49PM (#14877279) Homepage
    In fact, I had been planning to upgrade my PC so that I'd be able to play it.

    I know they shot the live footage needed for the game. I'd still love to see it get released, especially since some of the cast members are no longer with us.

    It would still be a great game, though they could probably bump up the textures and polygons by a lot now. They could probably use the models from the show more or less unchanged now.

    There was also another Sam and Max game for the XBox that was cancelled, that they fail to mention.
    • Well, someone http://ifh.firstones.com/ [firstones.com] has been doing a B5 combat game... I've poked around in it a bit and it looks kindof cool. There is apparently multiplayer added as well....

      Undoubtably having a space combat game that uses -real- physics would have been awesome (none of this "ship drives like a car" stuff)
      • If you want real physics in a space combat game there was an Elite sequel called Frontier ...a long time ago for amiga and atari st days. (I think there were some java conversions running round the net...to play now that is ). This game used real physics ... and I can tell you it was almost totally unplayable. You accelerate and accelarate and half way there you have to slow down ...or you smash into a planet at several hundred km/sec. You try to fight and the other guy is travelling 150km/sec in one direct
        • Sounds about right. My guess is that any real space combat will look al lot more like submarine warfare than air-to-air combat. Fat on stealth, sensors and long range weapons.
          • You, sir, are my hero. I've been saying the same thing for ages. I'd love to see a sci-fi game, movie or tv-series based on 'realistic' space combat principles.
          • Yes! I'm not sure where I got the idea from, but I've been thinking that's what space combat would be like. It would be sneaky, not flashy. Space is enormous, and it's hard to detect things at long range. It would be all about the sensors.

            If your sensors (or your tactical person) was better than the enemy's, and you detected him before he detected you... you'd do some kind of a springloaded launch that didn't release any radiative energy. You'd wait for the missile to get a nice long, long way from you
            • If you actually got to the point of needing short-range guns, it would be a massive tactical failure by both parties. Most of the time, space combat would be over before you had ever even figured out where the enemy was. It would be vast stretches of boredom interspersed with short periods of absolute terror.

              That's pretty similar to the state of Battleships before Carriers made them obsolete. Battles (what few of them there were) were fought over the horizon, using what little intelligence they had to try t
            • David Weber's "Honor Harrington" series of books tries to have 'realistic' space combat; their one concession to the fact that it probably wouldn't work is to invent a 'hyperspace' to get from star system to star system, and 'gravity wedges' to allow for high acceleration within normal space, but it's all very internally consistant.

              The battles themselves play out as anywhere from submarine/ASW warfare to 'the wall of battle' which basically involves two walls of really big ships flying past one another wh

            • Other weapons would be lasers and ion cannons. Things that travel at or near the speed of light, so there is no warning at all. I think missiles would be hard to use. Ranges would typically be on the order of thousands of miles. Still, fire a dozen of your stealth missiles and quietly leave, letting the missiles arrive at thier target two days later... nukes and kinetic energy weapons would rule I think. Similar to anti-balistic missile defences.
              • Not so easy...

                Lasers (esp. xray or gamma ray) would be great weapons, but, unfortunately with not-so-great range. Beams lose focus, so at long distance you would have effect more like searchlight than death ray. Even more for ion beams (electrostatic repulsion of same-charge ions).

                Nukes are crap in space. No blast wave to speak of, so only effect would be from radiation - must get very close to be effective.

                So you still would have to get quite close to the enemy to actually hurt them. Or rely on dropping mi
                • I didn't give a lot of detail, I wasn't sure anyone cared. So here are some details. I have given this more thought than what my first post took...

                  Lasers lose focus because of the optics. Bigger and better optics are the answer. Start at 20 meters or so in diameter. That plus our best tolerances should be enough for a range of 500 miles or more (a couple thousand would be better..) So they won't fit on anything smaller than a battleship. So what. 1GW of power for 10s would do damage to anything, even spread

                  • Ion beams. They start charged. them you merge 2 of them. It is called a neutral beam then.

                    Then it's a kinetic weapon. Has to be aimed very well and assume that the enemy doesn't change course. I'm not too sure on the impact it'd have on the hull and it would be an energy transfer weapon, i.e. impact energy <= energy drained from your power supply. I'd be more partial towards explosives accellerated with chemical reactions (i.e. conventional weapons), they are more space efficient and can be fired rapidly
                    • "Then it's a kinetic weapon"

                      Traveling at 1/2 c or better. Good luck with the dodge. And it is then just a very fast stream of gas, most of the effects on the target will be the same as charged particles. Heat, and lots of it. Better than a laser, as mirrors won't do squat. Of course it has to be aimed well, just like the laser would. But dodging it would be almost as hard as dodging the laser. As for the energy cost, any space-based warship will have fusion/fission or better power. Chemical explosives will

                    • If the enemy flies in a random pattern you'll have trouble hitting him, no matter how fast your weapon is. If you cause heat emissions the enemy will know your position (and can track it until your weapon has cooled down significantly) and assuming that the first hit is swallowed by the armor you will have to prepare for a drawn out battle even if you hit first.

                      And I'm not sure if gas pressure wouldn't cause neutral gas clouds to disperse over distance if you want to give them enough mass to do any signific
                    • At c/2, the beam would cover 10,000 miles in just over 1/10 of a second. Anything accelerating fast enough to make hitting it hard is all engine, is not a threat, and will be out of fuel in a few seconds anyway. Effectively, the target is standing still, or at worst moving in a straight line. Don't forget the 0.05s lightspeed delay that your targeting sensors have though or you will miss... And how much do you expect the gas to expand in that 0.1 seconds, anyway?

                      "If you cause heat emissions the enemy will

                    • And you won't want to use small accelerators, mostly 'cause they will cause more loss but also because there is little advantage to 'small' here.

                      I meant "small" compared to today's linear accellerators which are measured in kilometers. I doubt you could mount a 7 kilometer weapon in your ship, at that size you could fill it up with shells or missiles and just bombard 'em in the old fashioned way.

                      You would need lots of stealth spaceships scattered throughout the system, so the enemy never knows where your se
                    • "I meant "small" compared to today's linear accellerators which are measured in kilometers."

                      Oh. Today's linear accelerators are optimised for high energy research. 0.9 c and more. While that would make aiming easier, it would be useless here, the power and efficiency is way too low. We need hundreds of millions of joules, not 0.25 joules worth of 30GeV particles. The design parameters here are very different. 200-500 meter long acclerators should be more than enough.

                      "In space you could accellerate to yo

            • Dare I risk my karma and mention Wing Commander the movie? :P

              Space combat in it for capital class ships was somewhere between a US Navy battleship and submarine warfare. Basically you had no accurate control over what your targeting computer would lock onto, and anything but a guided missile was relatively inaccurate. This style of gameplay could also still be enjoyable - I remember a couple of submarine games back in the early 90's that were like this.

              Mind you, IMHO the physics engine for full 3d ve
        • Keep in mind that its possible to place reverse thrusters. You also rarely see a heavy fight in B5 in a massive gravity well (probably for this reason). Lots of TV sequences highlighted combat of this nature, etc. Cool stuff.
        • Space combat in Frontier was easy. Just shut your engines off and use thrusters to stay out of the way of your opponent's laser. If you were flying between planets manually, you're insane; that's what autopilot is for. oO;
        • For space combat with realistic physics that's not taken to such ridiculous extremes.
          • Agreed, or better yet, pick up the sequel, Independence War 2. IW2 is a great game, right up there with Privateer or Starflight. IW1 was good but had some very difficult missions that involved hunting down some magic key that activate a special option that would be useful for that one mission alone, whereas the use of remote control in IW 2 was made more reasonable and more optional (ie, being clever would help you complete a mission more easily, but you could try to do it the hard way and even succeed in
        • Terminus had realistic physics and the battles were quite enjoyable. The main sacrifices they made for playability were a maximum speed for ships and a maximum range for weapons. While there were some of the high-speed fly-by business you mention, after a couple passes both ships tended to reign it in so they could hit each other, and that's where the fun 3-D combat began. It was sort of like the circle-strafing battles of Doom 2, only with inertia and in three dimensions. Though the fly-bys could be fu
    • Might want to check out some of the Freespace 2 Mods out there. The Babylon Project is quite good, at least as a game, as I have little familiarity with the B5 universe. It works well with the Freespace2 Source Code Project and is also available as a stand-alone program if I remember correctly.
  • Bah, I'm not sure it would have been a hit. I have yet to meet a movie-based game that's really entertaining. Most of these games are created so quickly that they lack the finesse and details that we've gotten used to. Vice versa is equally true, movies based on games never really are THAT successful. I think only Tomb Raider I and Mortal Kombat I (the movies) can be said to have had a notable success.
  • by ianscot (591483) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @02:53PM (#14877316)
    "In their prime" would refer to something that had a prime to begin with. Pre-release cancellations would maybe be "stillborn," forgiving the crudeness of referring to it that way.

    The litany of reasons for the cancelled games:

    • Decided it would never be profitable.
    • Studio working on it was shut down due to broader financial troubles.
    • Studio sold off to another company.
    • Sequel to a poorly received release "never got off the ground."
    • Studio cancelled it to concentrate on another title, then closed up shop altogether owing to financial troubles.
    • Had a successful MMORPG, didn't want to siphon subscribers from it to a new one.
    • Second sequel to that same game cancelled, developers devoted to the original.
    • "Wasn't coming along as planned." This was a precursor to "The Sims Online."
    • "Internal problems" (followed by developer essentially shutting down).
    • Weren't ever serious about it. ("This was a game we had to give to our publisher in order to get a very sweet deal in another area. We've since talked them out of it.")
    • Well underway, but LucasArts decided it would never be profitable and pulled the plug.
    • Just plain "decided to cancel."
    • Missed its release date and eventually (sort of) got released using a different engine.
    • Shut down development, developers laid off.
    • Just plain cancelled.

    That's almost all financial troubles and projections -- "Our studio is strapped for cash and can't follow through," or "We don't think there's a market." Aside from the Sims title, the absence of "We got halfway there and decided it just didn't work that well" from the list is conspicuous.

    Another indication of how much like movie producing the games industry has become. Indies strapped for cash that can't follow through, big studios making projections about market space...

    • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:00PM (#14877386) Homepage Journal
      The official (or even semi-official) reasons aren't always the real reasons. "Financial Concerns" is often a codeword for "the developers aren't getting it done and we're not wasting any more money on this project".

      One reason I would have liked to have seen for about half of those games: "It was turning into yet another also-ran FPS, we wanted to work on something unique". The Bab5 game is a real loss though, although it looks like it would have been Wing Commander with different actors, I think it could have done really well.
  • Golden Sun 3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by fishybell (516991) <fishybellNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @02:53PM (#14877317) Homepage Journal
    The first Golden sun ended with the story only partially finished, the second finished with a huge cliffhanger, and the third...

    Well, the third Golden Sun doesn't, and probably never will, exist. It definitely tops my list of games never released.

    Of course, since this is talking about games that got started, announced, and then cancelled, the much anticipated Golden Sun 3 doesn't quite fit.

    • The first Golden Sun ended when the introduction was over. I didn't buy GS2 because that pissed me off. I'm not supporting the business model of "The first half is done, let's ship it at full price and work on the second half!".

      The company is still working on games, I think the rumour is that they're making an RPG for the Revolution console. Another rumour says it's related to Golden Sun but not a direct sequel.
    • Either there will be a sequel which pits the forces of good and evil in a climatic battle to save the world... or that guy will stay where he is for a billion years.
  • Is Fallout 3 ever going to be released?
  • Other than the fact that some of them have big names attached (Bab5, X-Com, Dikantana*cough*), the article doesn't give us a good reason to have wanted these games over the hundreds of others that have never made it out the door. Experience with games that have made it out the door, has shown that that only a small number of them are ever actually worth investing time and money into. Those that are blockbusters or cult favorites usually have something exceptional about them, such as powerful storylines, intense gameplay, or amazing engines.

    So quite seriously, what is it that makes these games special?
    • seriously - who would EVER want to see 'another' daikatana? did anyone actually play the original? the only thing 'interesting' about this game was watching the self-destruction of john romero's company in prime time...

      sorta like watching a car crash in slow motion...as far as the game goes - there wasn't anything interesting about it that i could see, yet another generic first person shooter developed with a licensed engine (ie a mod basically)...

      another of these the world doesn't need...

      fallout and xcom

  • Crack dot com

    Never came out, but I was looking forward to it
    • Good call. Abuse rocked, and I was itching to see more from them.
    • Re:Golgotha (Score:3, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *
      Here's the source code [sourceforge.net] to it. It's still possible to finish if you can generate enough interest in the idea.

      Unfortunately, Crack dot Com was a victim of poor project planning [loonygames.com], and Golgatha showed it. It was always one of those "cool ideas" that was never quite fleshed out into something playable. While larger companies can manage to survive such poor planning through deep pockets, it's the kiss of death for smaller ventures like Crack dot Com.

      It's too bad that companies always feel such pressure to follow u
  • Here is a game that made it to market, and had alot of promise. Playing the game during the beta stages was amazing, and great fun. I didn't even mind starting over every so often. Unfortunately when it actually went live the game turned to crap. It was no longer the same game and all the "patch", "fixes", "enhancements", and "rebalancing" that took place after awards never made the game any better.
  • Hmm, of the list those were the only two I would have been interested in.

    I seem to recall hearing about SimsVille, and think it was when SimCity was still fairly high on the lists, think maybe it died off when people stopped buying much in the SimCity line, and started becoming way more interested in things like Sims and Sims2 lines.

    Oh well, way too many releases right now to worry about what never happened.
    • As I understand it, a lot of the stuff they did for SimsVille ended up getting used in the Hot Date expansion.

      The Sims is not really a simulation game. It's more like a cybernetic dollhouse for grownups. Aside from the name and the reuse of some of the basic technology (graphics mostly), The Sims doesn't really have much connection with SimCity and other Maxis simulation games. Which is just as well -- I always found the underlying models for the simulation games unconvincing.

  • I remember really looking forward to this game when it was announced . . . it's a bummer that it got canned.

    Howver, for those that still want to fly a 'Fury on their PC, there's this:

    http://ifh.firstones.com/ [firstones.com]

    I believe there are some B5 Freespace mods as well.
    • when the game was cancelled they mailed out posters and mousepads to first come first served.

      It was depressing to see the game canned, there were unofficial remarks that it was nearly done. Boxes printed and all the included junk was there too, that was where the "hologramed" mousepads came from.

  • What about the Earthbound game that was originally slated for the NES? What about the sequel to the SNES "Earthbound" that was supposed to come out for the N64? IMHO, these games (at least one of them) would be a good canidate for the "most anticipated titles never released"
    • Dude, get on with the times:

      http://starmen.net/mother3/ [starmen.net] (Mother 3 GBA)
      • Dude, it's not the same... Sure it'll be a great game, and it's supposed to be in a 2d form like the original earthbound, but I remember seeing screenshots of Mother 3 for the N64 (before they canned the project) that to me looked great, for the time.

        Even if Earthbound 2 comes out for the GBA, and even if it has the same plot that it was going to have originally on the N64, it still wont be the same.


  • After 6-7 years in the making, UbiSoft cut the funding to Cyan while it was in its beta stage, still in the proloque before its main launch, after 10,000's of copies of the single-player/client portion of the game had been sold. Like many others, this was more a case of it being cut down before it even had a chance to reach its prime, though...

    It had a ton of potential, and now that the platform requirements and broadband issues are more inline with what more and more people have on their desktops, perhaps
  • by Aeron65432 (805385) <agiamba@ g m ail.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:39PM (#14877721) Homepage
    was the lack of Freespace3. I thought Freespace1/2 were phenomenally done. Freespace 2 was one of the few game sequels I thought thoroughly improved the previous game in every aspect. Graphics, gameplay, interaction were all great. It was an excellent start to what promised to be an excellent series. Cut down in its prime indeed.

    Sadly, Freespace3 was one of the many casualties of Interplay's death.

  • by sehryan (412731) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:45PM (#14877793)
    Well, if you are looking for games or, even better, series that were cut down in their prime, then I think the Freespace series deserves mention.

    In terms of space sims, both Freespace 1 and 2 are each easily near the best, if not the best, in the genre. I was disappointed when a Freespace 3 didn't materialize. I guess space sims just aren't that popular.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am still waiting for it...... so I can play it on my Phantom Console :)
  • Although Xenosaga and Xenogears had and will have all the main story fleshed out, their thoughts that they would have more time and funding ot develop the games have caused them to kind of be too slow, then too fast. I won't even get started on the prior parts of the Xenogears saga that were never techincally done. But With Xenogears, the first disc was _slow_, to the point where it stopped many from continuing to play. Then, realizing they couldn't drag the game on any more due to funding, the second di
    • Xenogears was cool. Xenosaga.... where the hell was the game? I remember literally running form one cutscene to the next. I think there were 4 or 5 small, way to easy to beat dungeons. Entire planets consisted of a town and 1 dungeon, and there were only 2 or 3 of those to go to. Throw in a ahckeneyed plot that couldn't have made sense even to the writers, and is it any surprise that it bombed?
  • It was going to be an FPS for the Mac (maybe PC too?) and the team included the guys that did Marathon Infinity. The setting was going to be a cool alien religous world. It had a pretty gritty look to the whole thing. At the time I was totally psyched because the story looked cool and it was going to be one of the first true 3D FPSs for the Mac at the time.

    Unfortunately after some nice looking screen shots, the project was cancelled and the studio dissolved. I think it was lack of money, but I'm not sure

  • From The Fine Article: (emphasis added)

    Human Hean went on to create, among other games, Rune, Dead Man's Hand and the upcoming Prey.

    OK, perhaps this just shows how out of touch I am with gaming news, but I was totally expecting Prey to be one of the examples on the list, not a footnote about games to be released soon.

    I thought Prey started development a little after Quake 2 got released, and was supposed to have a "revolutionary" 6 DOF game engine that they were making in house. Unfortunately, someone de

  • And why do I do it? Because I'm the creator of the Propeller Arena Fan Site [gametribute.com]. Worth checking if you're a Dreamcast fan!
    • Agree wholeheartedly, and thanks for the link to the fansite. :) I am very glad to possess a copy of the final beta version of this game that was leaked to the 'net, it is perhaps the finest multiplayer experience on a console and I firmly believe it would have saved the Dreamcast. However, in the context of this article which seems to reference only PC games, it really wouldn't have fit.
  • Sierra (Score:5, Funny)

    by Johnny Mnemonic (176043) <mdinsmore@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:17PM (#14879404) Homepage Journal

    Half Life for the Mac. Goddam Sierra.

    I still refuse to buy any of their product, in protest. I'll steal it, but won't buy it. Goddamit.

  • Halo (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:33PM (#14879489) Homepage
    If we're talking about potentially great games that never made it to market, how about the original Halo?

    You know, the one that was developed entirely by Bungee and was nearly ready for release before they were bought out by Microsoft. Let's call it Halo(PC) for simplicity.

    After the acquisition, pressure was put on Bungee to put out an XBox flagship since MS had nothing at that point. To fit in the enormous memory limitations of the original XBox compared to a standard PC, great wads of the game (geometry, textures, levels etc) were cut out and the original game was shelved never to be seen again. And Halo(XBox) was born. People flocked to it in droves since it was supposed to be this great revolutionary game, and left wondering, quite rightly, what the fuss was all about.

    When Microsoft was kind enough to announce Halo for the PC, Bungee wasn't allowed near the original PC game they'd written. No, instead they ported the XBox version (rather poorly) to the PC. So Halo(XBox[pc]) was created. And the PC gamer says "This plays better on my friends XBox" and goes out and buys an XBox himself, forgetting his clunky old PC.

    So yes, I would like to see Halo(PC) one day. I know it's not going to happen, but maybe after MS is split up by [insert future reigning superpower here] in 2015 we might see something.

  • It would be great if the content and code could be open-sourced or shared somehow, just so all the artistry and time put into the game could be appreciated. Even a viewer program that would allow you to view all the game art would be nice. The longer the publisher just sits on the data that went into the game the more worthless it will become due to obsolescence and the more likely that the data will be lost or damaged or deleted on purpose.

    I guess I'm asking for a lot, to take an example from another fie
  • For the game that I was most looking forward to but died was The Lost. I mean, the creepy atmosphere and "emergent gameplay" of Thief/System Shock 2, but in Hell? How could it go wrong? I actually put off buying a PS2 for a couple years because I waiting for it to come out. Oh well, hopefully Bioshock actually hits shelves (and doesn't suck).

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