9 Huge Game Projects That Somehow Got Canceled

Games get canceled all the time, but rarely do we ever hear very much about them. Usually, they’re canned well before the public is aware of their existence, with the studios quietly pushing the project under the rug (or recycling the work into new games entirely). These games however, failed pretty spectacularly.

Whether it was because they had big names or huge budgets attached to them, or because the publisher got a little over-zealous with the marketing… these 9 games won’t be soon forgotten, despite the fact that they were never finished.


In 2004, iconic filmmaker Steven Spielberg partnered with EA to create a (their words, not mine), “watershed event” in video games. “Can a computer game make you cry?” EA’s Neil Young asked Gamespot. “Can it move you like a great piece of art, a great movie?”

The game would have centered around the player’s relationship with a mysterious alien named Eve, whose character would grow and develop according to how the player acted around her over the course of the story. It was an intriguing concept, especially with Spielberg on board.

Alas, they may have shot a little bit too high on this one, as the publisher struggled to find a way to coalesce all of their big ideas into a coherent gameplay experience. Despite a half a decade of development and a huge budget attached to it, the game was unceremoniously cancelled in 2010. Given how high-profile this disaster was for EA, it’s not surprising that they’ve declined to comment on it ever since.

2. Sadness

One of the earliest games announced for the Nintendo Wii was also one of the most exciting. A psychological horror game with a black-and-white color palette, Sadness was hugely ambitious for the time. The developers promised that players would be able to use the Wii’s motion controls to organically interact with any object in the game, such as swinging a rope to use it as a lasso, or breaking a chair to use one of the legs as a weapon.

Unfortunately, this proved to be a bit too much for the indie studio, and despite four years of development, not a single playable demo or even a screenshot emerged. The game was subsequently (and unsurprisingly) cancelled once funding ran out.

In 2014, word got around that two indie developers had acquired the rights to the game, and were planning on redesigning it for the Wii U. Literally a day after that though, the pair retracted their announcement, making it extremely unlikely that this game will ever see the light of day.

3. Star Wars 1313

After years of mediocre shovelware, this was supposed to be the next big Star Wars game. Star Wars 1313 was envisioned as an in-house project at LucasArts with assistance from ILM, Lucasfilm Animation, and Skywalker Sound. A big E3 reveal followed in 2012, with a series of teasers and gameplay trailers soon after.

Everything looked great, and excitement over the game was pretty high. Then in 2013, Disney happened, and all of LucasArts’ projects were subsequently put on hold. Fans still held out hope though that development would resume. After all, so much work had obviously been put into the game already.

Sadly, Disney soon turned over an exclusive Star Wars game license to EA, and the publisher was silent on whether or not the project would be picked up. At the end of the year, we got our answer when the Star Wars 1313 trademark was not renewed.

4. inSane

inSane was a pretty awesome proposition. A horror game by the developer of Red Faction and Saints Row, created in a partnership with Guillermo del Toro. The game had a big announcement at the 2010 VGAs, with Volition talking up plans of a trilogy and settling on a 2013 release date.

Despite the hype though, not a single frame of gameplay was ever revealed, and publisher THQ officially pulled the plug on the game in 2012. The IP rights are still with Del Toro if he wants to make the game sometime in the future, but considering he’s currently working on the next Silent Hill game, that doesn’t seem very likely.

5. Command & Conquer: Tiberium

In 2008, EA announced that Command & Conquer would be making the jump to a new genre with Tiberium. The game was going to be a tactical FPS developed by EALA, and was revealed with a big featured cover story in Game Informer. EA’s marketing machine soon went into action, and previews were popping up on everywhere from IGN to GameTrailers.

It turns out EA might have jumped the gun a little though, as less than a year later, the game was officially canceled. The official word is that it simply wasn’t up to their quality standards, which seems strange considering that EA had no problem with letting their studio pump out increasingly mediocre Medal of Honor games for the past decade.

6. Prey 2

The fact that development on Prey 2 began at all is pretty remarkable considering the first game took 11 freakin’ years to hit stores. It’s not like it was a huge success either. The game sold pretty well, but nowhere near enough to guarantee an immediate sequel.

For whatever reason though, Prey 2 was quickly put into production just months after the original game’s release in 2006. Half a decade later though, that version of the game was scrapped entirely when Bethesda picked up the rights in 2011.

Bethesda then spent the next three years waffling back and forth on whether or not Prey 2 was still being worked on. The saga of Prey 2‘s development finally came to an end earlier this year though, when Bethesda confirmed that they had officially ended production on the game.

Well, at least we’ll always have that awesome announcement trailer.

7. Gotham by Gaslight

In 2011, THQ tasked the developer of the console versions of F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 3 to create a Batman game based on the Gotham by Gaslight comic book. Despite the fact that Rocksteady’s Arkham Asylum and Arkham City were already out, THQ’s version would have differentiated itself with an intriguing steampunk-inspired setting.

Unfortunately, there was one big obstacle facing the publisher: they didn’t have the rights to create Batman games. Considering WB Games was making money hand-over-fist with their take on the caped crusader, they were unsurprisingly not keen on sharing the license, and Gotham by Gaslight was subsequently canned.

8. B.C.

On any list of games that reached a little bit too far, you just know that Peter Molyneux’s name is going to pop up. In 2001, Molyneux’s Lionhead Studios announced that they were working on a game set in prehistoric times.

The finished product would have featured a huge open-world, with players taking control of a tribe of primitive humans as they evolved and survived in a living, breathing ecosystem. It was extremely ambitious, and sadly, the studio had to choose between devoting its time to B.C., or to a little project in development called Fable. They probably made the right call.

9. Starcraft: Ghost

In 2002, Blizzard was at the top of its game. Starcraft was still the most popular RTS in the world, Diablo II was a knock-out success, and WarCraft III had just arrived to stellar reviews. It looked like everything they touched turned to gold, and hot off of this hype, the studio embarked on an action game called Starcraft: Ghost.

With both the Blizzard and Starcraft names behind it, it seemed like nothing could go wrong for this game. Unfortunately, Blizzard decided to partner with a studio called Nihilistic Software on the project, and this relationship proved to be less than satisfactory.

The game was delayed several times, until Blizzard finally broke off relations with Nihilistic in 2004, hiring a new studio, one that they would eventually purchase outright. This didn’t seem to help at all though, and the game was pushed back again and again.

It was eventually re-announced at E3 2005, although this didn’t amount to anything much, and Starcraft: Ghosts was indefinitely postponed just a year later.

The entire experience was apparently such a headache for Blizzard that it wasn’t until this year’s Diablo III that they finally returned to consoles.

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