My Top Ten: Cancelled Games

Last week something strange happened. I got an email from a gentleman called Nick. No, not Saint Nick. Better than that. This email was from the Nick that used to write for TSA. He was generally praising me for being the most awesome person alive (that bit might not be true) when he mentioned that, as a way to perhaps improve on my awesomeness (if such a thing were possible), I might like to stop doing stupid comedy Top Tens and actually write a well-researched, informative piece. He suggested cancelled games as a topic and, being the lazy bugger that I am, I suggested we make him do it instead. To my immense satisfaction he agreed to do a one-off (unless we can convince him to quit his job and come back to volunteering for us). So here it is. The best My Top Ten of the year isn’t mine at all. It’s his!


Ho-ho-ho-hello everyone. Incase you’ve missed what the shops and media have been blaring out for past five months, Christmas is upon us and in the true spirit of all things St Nicholas-ey I’ve given Peter the gift of a week off from the Top Ten feature.


This week I’ve decided to go for something a wee bit depressing but I’ll do my best to tart it up in nice sugar coated TSA humour. This week it’s My Top Ten Cancelled Games.

Saints Row (PS3) – Some of you may know that I’ve been around these parts for yonks. Back then this was just a humble PS3 blog with a spring in its step and chip on its shoulder. As a new PS3 owner hungry for some next-gen goodness I had heard fairly good things about this 360 exclusive. Now, having played its sequel I can only wonder at what kind of fun was to be had in the original.

Alas, The PS3 wasn’t to get its own GTA clone till, well, GTA 4, and by that time you were all pissed that it had gone and grown up. Well I couldn’t love that game more. But after the delights of Nico’s satirically disturbing journey through the sleaze of liberty city Saints Row 2 was a slap in the face that took me right back. Needless to say, I was pissed when the PS3 version got canned.

Shenmue III – I’ll be the first to admit that when I saw the original, I failed to see the appeal of Shenmue. All the work, the gambling and the QTEs. After the release of number two on the Xbox I picked it up on the cheap and on a whim. It was good. Not great, but it had that certain something. A potential. If only the huge ambition was directed at a console with the power to cope.

Video is Shenmue 2

Thankfully its unofficial successor, Yakuza, has earned a place in Japan’s heart. Whilst not quite conjuring up the same kind of atmosphere and freedom, it does bare similarities. Now the third in the series is on it’s way west which, for those of you that got on with the first one, is great news.

Duke Nukem Forever – What? Ok, so this is only on here because I find the whole thing so very, very humorously tragic. For years this game lived in that place that few big named franchises dare go. Development Limbo. A screenshot here, a teaser there. For twelve years this game survived on pushed release dates, myth, legend and a small hunk of cheese.

An impressive feat, no doubt, but it all ended in tears and lawsuits this year when 3D Realms gave up the ghost. This game will live in infamy forever.

Eight Days – The next two haven’t exactly been cancelled but I’m throwing them in here because, to me they might as well have been. You see, when I saw footage of this cracking shooter I was convinced it was another pre-rendered farce. Turns out I was right, but once the leaked vids hit, I was amazed at how close the real footage was.

Like Killzone 2 (minus the extreme pressure) this game had nailed the look, feel and quality animation in the target vid. Great stuff, except it’s now been done, several times over and will probably be surpassed before it comes out. Forgive me for sounding like a pessimist but free internet beers for everyone if this doesn’t live up to it’s potential when it comes out.

The Getaway 3 – This is just here for show. I didn’t get on with the first two as well as I’d hoped. Great story, fantastic graphics and believable characters but there was one small problem. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to make London’s walls have magical healing capabilities needs to go to rehab. That’s not herbal tea your drinking there is it? Just thank god someone said no to the hackney flying carpets.

I’m hoping someone in the team sees fit to leave this particular series staple out of this when, or indeed if this comes out. As is the case with many of these games The Getaway has great potential. Thankfully Sony aren’t planning on dropping this from their list completely but it will take a considerable amount of work for this to live up to expectations.

Fear Effect Inferno – Now I don’t suppose many of you remember this one, but those of you who do may have an idea as to why this PS1 game is on my list. The first title in this cell shaded point and click style/action/thriller series was serious business. The second will be remembered for one thing and one thing only, the lesbian sex scene.

Now-a-days sex in games is two a penny, but back then this was as close as you could get to anything mildly titillating in a console game. What with the strange success the sequel had over the original, according to the trailer, this was headed in exactly the same direction. But like your mum finding your dirty magazine before you’d even had a go, this went straight in the bin.

Redwood Falls – Damn. Seriously, damn. You know when you catch a really good series on TV right at the end of the first season only to find that it’s already been cancelled? Well consider this ten times worse. All we’ve ever known of this game is a kick ass slice of gameplay complete with a beautifully creepy forest, a flesh ripping shotgun and a giant mutant thing.

And all of this came after the cancellation. Damn.

Factor 5 Game – This generation has seen many great studios get sucked under but none hit me as hard as Factor 5. Pre Lair, Factor 5 were kings of the sky producing some of the best Star Wars titles and making flying games not limited to those in possession of bafflingly complicated joysticks.

Now I may very well be wrong here, but as I remember it Sony came to the motion control party seriously late in the development of the PS3, stunning some developers as they are forced to release a launch title knowing full well that the tiny bit of sixaxes gameplay was tacked on at the 11th hour.

If, and this is a pretty mammoth ‘if’, Sony forced Factor 5 to use the sixaxis, which ended up breaking the dragon flame-em-up, then someone owes Factor 5 a job. All reports of the hugely delayed regular control patch were positive. Would Factor 5 still be in the game if Lair shipped without motion control? Sadly, we’ll never know.

Fear and Respect – Ok, stop me if you’ve heard this one. A lovable gangster with a heart. He’s rolling in his pimped out lowrider with his homies. Uzi’s and tunes, check. Wind in his cornrows, check. Rival gangs and dead friends… wait, it’s got Snoop in it? Sweet!

Ok so despite what you eyes are telling you after watching the trailer, this is not San Andreas. No, this is not even a PS2 game. Fear and Respect was what happens when you mix a flimsy licence with a weak game engine. You’ve got to admit though, even if it did look like the the PS2 had chewed up a Blu Ray and shat it out, hearing Snoop Dog’s silky quips would’ve made San Andreas even more enjoyable.

Stargate The Aliance – I know it’s massively nerdy but there aren’t many gamers out there who aren’t susceptible to a bit of sci fi. So when I heard the Stargate universe was going interactive I did a little girly sequel and dreamed of the possibilities. Team based combat, co-op, massively varied worlds and levels, the list goes on.

Once again my hopes were dashed as the game fell into the abyss. If there was ever a TV franchise that could translate well to the gaming platform, this is it. And no, the crappy looking MMO isn’t what I had in mind. If this does happen properly I’ll be a happy bunny.

Whilst it’s a bit depressing thinking of what could’ve been, my wallet’s currently taking a bit of a pounding. The thing is, there are too many new and exciting titles on the way and, personally, I’m acquiring quite the backlog. With 2010 harboring the Modern Warfare refugees and a ton of big titles in the first quarter alone it looks like I’ve got bigger financial problems ahead. Bring it on.