Since the Nintendo Entertainment System rejuvenated the home console industry following its near collapse, the form of entertainment has gone from strength to strength. The industry’s rise has, of course, been extremely beneficial for gamers worldwide; as the huge sums of money involved have led to improved hardware, an influx of gaming developers and publishers, and therefore more games.
Being the enormous form of business that gaming now is, with eye-watering amounts of money tied-in to it, publishers often have to make shrewd financial decisions; sadly for gamers, this can often mean pulling the plug on titles that are already in development. There have been some heartbreaking cancellations over the years, for numerous games that sounded fantastic on paper.
10 Star Wars Battlefront III
Following the success of the first two Star Wars Battlefront games that were released in 2004 and 2005 respectively, it’s not too surprising that LucasArts had plans for a third entry shortly after.
Developed by Free Radical Design, Star Wars Battlefront III was going to allow players to seamlessly transition from ground and space battles, which would have been an incredible accomplishment on sixth-generation console hardware. Frustratingly for fans of the series, Steve Ellis of Free Radical claimed that the game was 99% finished before it was canceled.
9 Crash Bandicoot: Evolution
When the fifth main series Crash Bandicoot game released, Crash Twinsanity, it was clear that the product was unfinished. The game had a ton of potential, exemplified by a fantastic opening section that introduced free-roaming to the series for the first time. However, progressing through the game uncovered numerous glitches, faulty gameplay mechanics, and disappointingly short runtime. The reason for the undercooked product becomes clear when learning about Crash Bandicoot: Evolution.
Crash Bandicoot: Evolution was what Crash Twinsanity was originally supposed to be; it planned to take Crash to a more sci-fi setting than ever before while implementing some RPG mechanics. The plan had to be scrapped, however, due to the release of Ratchet & Clank which had a very similar theme. The state that Crash Twinsanity released implies that Traveller’s Tales weren’t given much time to adapt to the drastic change in direction.
8 Doom 4
Doom 4 was announced in August 2007 and intended to be a reboot of the series. The game suffered from numerous setbacks until it was ultimately scrapped and replaced with Doom (2016). Bethesda’s Pete Hines revealed the reason for the change in an interview with Polygon.
Speaking in 2015 Pete Hines said that they weren’t happy with the game as it felt like it was becoming too similar to Activision’s Call of Duty series and that it simply didn’t feel enough like Doom.
7 Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
The superhero industry wasn’t always the powerhouse that it is today, but it was still a successful niche that Marvel hoped to profit from with a video-game tie-in to the 1993 comic series Daredevil: The Man Without Fear. The game was planned to release in 2003 but was canceled for numerous reasons including Sony and Marvel butting heads. A Game Boy iteration successfully released, though it was the console version that fans were hoping for.
As recently as November 2020, gameplay footage of the console version was posted on YouTube.
6 Mega Man Universe
Mega Man Universe was planned to release on PlayStation Network and the Xbox Live Arcade sometime in the early 2010s. The game planned to let players create their own levels and characters, and would have recaptured the gameplay of Mega Man 2.
In March 2011, Capcom said in an official release that the game had been canceled. The release didn’t give too much away, simply saying that the decision was made due to “various circumstances.”
5 Battle Of The Sith Lords
Published by LucasArts and Developed by Red Fly Studio, Battle of the Sith Lords was planned to release in 2011 on all major platforms. It’s believed that the cancellation was due to Disney’s acquisition of LucasArts.
Battle of the Sith Lords would have centered around Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace antagonist Darth Maul, with a coming-of-age story about his young life and turn to the Dark Side. An anonymous developer said that Darth Maul would have been kidnapped by Palpatine at a young age and forced into becoming a sith lord.
4 Prey 2
One of the most universally recognized canceled video games, Prey 2 hoped to recapture the success of the original 2006 game. Prey 2 was announced shortly after the first game’s release in 2006, though development didn’t start until years later. Bethesda, who took charge of the project, re-announced the game at the start of 2011; but it was ultimately canceled in 2014.
Although Prey 2 never made it past development, Bethesda and Arkane Studios did release Prey (2017) which received a positive response from fans and critics.
3 Gotham By Gaslight
Before the critically acclaimed Batman Arkham series, almost every non-Lego game featuring the caped crusader had been poorly received. Day 1 Studios looked to change this trend with a tie-in video game to the comic of the same name, which has since been made into an animated film.
Gameplay footage of Gotham By Gaslight can found on YouTube. The game appears to have been a decent way into development, exemplified by Batman’s impressive cape mechanics and immersively eerie interpretation of the Victorian Era.
2 Silent Hills
Along with Prey 2, Konami’s Silent Hills is one of gaming’s most well-known cancellations. Unlike the vast majority of canceled video games, players were able to get a taste of Silent Hills in the form of an interactive teaser titled P.T.
In April 2015, Guillermo del Toro told an audience at the San Francisco Film Society event that the game was canceled before actor Norman Reedus confirmed the news on Twitter the next day. The game was sadly canceled due to Kojima Productions’ public breakup with Konami.
1 Star Wars: 1313
Star Wars: 1313 instantly raised eyebrows when it was revealed that the game was going to have a mature rating. The game was set to follow bounty hunter Boba Fett in the criminal underworld of Coruscant.
Despite never releasing, Star Wars: 1313, believe it or not, won a Game of the Year award. The award came from Geek.com who aimed to offer an alternative perspective from the usual crowd of nominees and winners.