Like with other forms of entertainment, video games can face cancellation. A developer could work on a title for months or years, but then they might see all that work go down the drain in a single moment. Whether it is a financial issue or a political decision from a publisher, there are many canceled video games.
What is even sadder about many canceled games is that fans might not even know about them. Titles often face the ax before being announced. So, that means players might only find out about a canceled game years later. Here are the 10 most devastating canceled games that should have been made.
Described as a kind of horror version of the 2007 game Mass Effect, Aliens: Crucible never officially released. Obsidian, a studio well known for RPG games, was working on the title in 2009. Inspired by the sci-fi movie franchise, it would have seen players take part in a terrifying story. Conflict between the developer and publisher Sega eventually led to the scuppering of the project. A real shame considering the lack of quality Alien games that exist other than the 2014 title Alien: Isolation.
Donkey Kong Racing
After the success of Diddy Kong Racing in 1997, Rare and Nintendo set about working on a sequel. Donkey Kong Racing would have been an expanded experience that would take advantage of the GameCube’s hardware. One of the standout features would have been the ability to ride animals and smash through obstacles. The cancellation of the title came about when Microsoft purchased Rare, ending the developer’s long association with Nintendo.
Planned to be a sequel to the successful 2006 game Prey, Prey 2 had a difficult development period. It was announced in August 2006, a mere month after the first game released. At first, 3D Realms handled the publishing duties, with Human Head Studios in charge of development. However, Bethesda took control of the IP several years later. This coincided with a major shift in both the gameplay and narrative for Prey 2. Yet, for unexplained reasons, development stopped in 2011 amid rumors of a rift between publisher and developer. Bethesda officially canceled the project in 2014 before work began on a reboot.
Fable Legends was a scrapped co-operative multiplayer game where players teamed up against a single human opponent. Featuring the series’ signature humor and charm, fans were eager to see it release fully after a period of closed beta testing in 2014. With no Fable games releasing over the previous few years, this would have been a highlight for the franchise. But it was abruptly canceled in 2016 and its beta servers were closed. Testers even received full refunds for in-game purchases. Its cancellation was doubly disappointing because it also led to the closure of developer Lionhead Studios.
Super Kid Icarus
Kid Icarus became one of the most important games for the NES when it released in 1987. Setting the standard for action platformers, Nintendo quickly announced a sequel for the SNES. Super Kid Icarus would have carried on where the first game left off, with new features and better graphics. However, Nintendo quietly dropped the sequel, and instead, development shifted to a spin-off for the Game Boy. So players never got to experience a proper console followup to this outstanding game.
Announced in 2006, Halo: Chronicles was going to be a collaboration between Bungie and The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Expected to be an episodic release, it would tie into a Halo film that Jackson was also working on with Microsoft. Exactly what Bungie might have included in the game is unclear. However, insiders expected it to have a deeper story and feature characters other than Master Chief. Unfortunately, Microsoft canceled Halo: Chronicles in 2009 when plans for the Halo movie fell apart.
EA licensed the rights to the Star Wars franchise after Disney purchased LucasFilm in 2012. The publisher quickly set in motion several projects. While the Battlefront (2015) revival was not all that successful, the 2019 release of Jedi: Fallen Order drew acclaim.
But EA was also working on another Star Wars game under the codename Project Ragtag. The game would have been a singleplayer action-adventure game with a deep and emotional story. Amy Hennig, who had previously led the teams working on the Uncharted series, was writing the plot. But the Visceral Games title was canceled in 2017. Among the reasoning behind the cancelation was EA shifting priority to the Battlefront sequel. But it’s not the first notorious canceled Star Wars game — just ask Star Wars: 1313.
PlatinumGames is a well-known name in the gaming industry. In 2013, the studio announced it was working with Microsoft on an Xbox exclusive. Before its cancellation in 2017, Scalebound was widely seen as one of the most anticipated titles for the Xbox One. Players would have taken control of a character that had a dragon companion that would assist them in battle. The role-playing game would also have been something very different from what the studio had previously worked on. Unfortunately, Scalebound never got to see the light of day.
Although it has not officially been canceled, Agent looks unlikely to ever see a release. Rockstar first began working on the title in 2007, with teases that it was set to be a stealth action game. With a Cold War setting, players would take the role of a covert agent. This would involve working in both espionage and assassinations in what would likely have been a dark story. The trademark for the title was officially abandoned in 2018 and it is unknown whether it will be revived.
The TimeSplitters series held a special place in the gaming industry. While it was a first-person shooter, it focused on humor and quirky gameplay rather than quick-based action. Free Radical Design (later renamed Crytek UK) took ideas and concepts from the 1997 game GoldenEye 007, inserting them into a time-traveling story.
Despite three successful installments, a fourth game never released. That’s despite several years worth of development and many teases dating all the way back to 2007. By 2012, Crytek UK announced TimeSplitters 4 was not in development. The developer declared bankruptcy and shut down in 2014. The future of the series is unclear.
Of course, there are many more canceled games that deserved to see the light of day. Fellow Gammicks writer Chris Snellgrove has his own list of The Top 10 Canceled Games We Wish We Could Have Played. Check it out!
Which video game title cancellation devastated you the most? Tell us in the comments below!