You have probably tried something and then it didn't work, right? However, this experiment most likely didn't cost you a million dollars. This is exactly what happened to Warner Bros. Interactive: It was recently announced that the publisher had this huge sum in one in 2008 Tech demo of a possible game in the Lord of the Rings universe invested but never showed it to the public. As a developer, the British were entrusted with TT Games, the makers of the well-known Lego adventures.
TT Games developed a total of four playable demo sections, using Peter Jackson's film trilogy as a template. Warner Bros. Interactive hoped that with a convincing presentation, the Mexican star director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Shape of Water) could be won over for the development. In any case, the ideas behind this early pitch sound tempting: every character would receive gameplay peculiarities. If your ring bearer controls Frodo, the game would be a stealth adventure, but Aragorn would be more of a classic action game.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/abgebrochen02-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Unfortunately, the biker adventure Full Throttle vob LucaArts has not been continued until today. Admittedly , the set Full Throttle 2: Hell on Wheels really doesn't look good in the old shots.
TT Games co-founder Jon Burton said on his YouTube channel that he had even presented the prototypes to Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro in New Zealand and the two were quite impressed with the concept. Warner Bros. Interactive, on the other hand, is completely different: the publisher did not want a film implementation, but a game that took Tolkien's works as a template, but created its own universe. This would later become the middle earth developed by Monolith Productions: Mordor's shadow. At least a conciliatory ending, because Mordor's shadow turned out to be a fantastic action adventure.
Big names, no games!
The Lord of the Rings prototype is only the last chapter in a series of productions that never officially saw the light of day and were canceled in advance. License games in particular often turn out to be a risk for publishers and developers. In previous reports we reported that, for example, Blizzard was in negotiations with George Lucas before Starcraft was developed, and so on almost gave a Star Wars real-time strategy game penned by the Warcraft makers. But while we were on The Lord of the Rings, in the licensing sector, we must of course not forget The Lord of the Rings: The White Council, which was announced in 2006 by EA Redwood Shores (later Visceral Games). The game even had its own website where fans could see the first artwork and even diary entries from the developers.
The White Council should become an open world game in which you travel as a human, dwarf or hobbit middle earth. After the early announcement, however, there was a long silence before the game was officially put on hold in early 2007. The reasons given by Publisher Electronic Arts included slow progress in development work and management problems. Another Lord of the Rings game should still exist in the following years with The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, for which the Pandemic Studios (Star Wars: Battlefront, Destroy All Humans) were responsible.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/abgebrochen03-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Starcraft Ghost is surely one of the best-known games. The stealth shooter was in development is already well advanced, but never came onto the market.
Source: Blizzard Entertainment)
But not only Tolkien's heroes have been sawn off, Marvel's Avengers have also had to give in several times. The Xbox 360 action game The Avengers fell victim to the THQ bankruptcy in 2011; old gameplay material recently released on YouTube. In 2010, the company secured the rights to the well-known Marvel comic. THQ Studio Australia and Blue Tongue Entertainment were entrusted with the development of the first-person game. The Avengers was designed to highlight the strengths and characters of the Marvel universe based on the Secret Invasion story. As Captain America you would have hurled the shield, as Hulk you would have rolled everything flat.
However, THQ got into financial difficulties in 2011 after, among other things, the production of the only moderately successful first person shooter Homefront and the uDraw tablets tore a hole in the till. THQ had to close the mentioned studios. These in turn asked Marvel for financial support to complete the Avengers game. But the Disney daughter refused, and the project was stopped. Ubisoft subsequently secured the concepts and story of the game and turned it into Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth, which was released in 2012 for Xbox 360 and Wii U.
Classic for the bin
And with this first Disney reference, we take a small leap over to LucasArts: as is well known the Mickey Mouse inventor closed the cult studio in 2013 – and only half a year after the media company swallowed the developer. This was accompanied by the termination of the work Star Wars 1313, which was introduced at the game fair E3 in 2012 and should be based on the Unreal Engine.
However, LucasArts also had some play corpses in the basement that never came on the market. The most prominent and perhaps the most curious candidate is certainly Full Throttle 2: at the beginning of 2000, LucasArts started developing Full Throttle: Payback. Even if full throttle creator Tim Schafer was not part of the game, Larry Ahern and Bill Tiller were two experienced men at the top of the production. But at that time things were anything but smooth in the company, and so the two LucasArts left in 2001. For Full Throttle: Payback, obviously there was no common way, so LucasArts stopped development.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/abgebrochen04-pc-games.jpg" alt = "There was already a website for The Lord of the Rings: The White Council with artwork and developer diary, but nothing more.
Source: Moby Games
But the Full Throttle brand was not yet to be buried. So in 2002 the team made a second attempt with Full Throttle: Hell on Wheels under the creative leadership of Sean Clark (The Dig, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and others). LucasArts even presented a playable demo at E3 2003, but received some harsh criticism for it. Technically, the adventure was lagging behind the competition. As a result, LucasArts hired a full-throttle successor a second time in quick succession. However, the brand itself did not disappear from the scene with the departure of LucasArts: published in 2017 Tim Schafer's indie studio Double Fine Productions is a successful remastered version of the biker adventure.
Another sequel that never appeared was hidden from everyone's eyes: it was more than eight years a multi-minute gameplay video for Prince of Persia: Redemption on YouTube before anyone noticed. Similar to the tech demos for The Lord of the Rings mentioned at the beginning, these are supposed to be so-called pitch demos. Often only small teams work on such prototypes and then propose them later in internal meetings. Prince of Persia: Redemption was unfortunately not continued or even tackled on a grand scale. The last offshoot of the action adventure series appeared in 2010 and listened to the Name of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/abgebrochen05-pc-games.jpg" alt = "The demo for the sports simulation NBA Elite 11 received only negative reviews. The consequence: EA Sports initially postponed the title – and discontinued it a little later.
Source: Moby Games
The hard online business
Thanks to patches and service ideas, games today are constantly evolving programs. There are countless cases in which disappointing titles with time, money and dedication have matured into genuine hits – such as No Man's Sky. However, there are always reverse cases: titles that start with great expectations and then no one plays. And so the work on the projects is often only stopped in the course of further development.
One of the most well-known flops in the recent past is certainly the Arena shooter Lawbreakers. Cult developer Cliff Bleszinski (known for the Gears of War and Unreal series) took responsibility and wanted to create a completely different team shooter. An ambitious project, which went quite badly: After the weak start on August 8, 2017, the blame was initially put on the overpowering PUBG, but quickly found that there were simply too few players interested in lawbreakers. An online shooter without a player just doesn't work! Therefore, the further development of the title was discontinued in April 2018. Too bad.
Almost in the same period, the Unreal Tournament in progress at Epic Games suffered a very similar fate. In this case, Fortnite's success caused problems. Epic officially introduced the development to Unreal Tournament in December 2018 – and thus four years after the pre-alpha version – one. The developers entrusted with the work at that time were withdrawn in favor of further updates of the Battle Royale Primus. How and whether Unreal Tournament will continue in the future is up in the stars. By the way, the arena shooter is not the first game that got under the wheel thanks to Fortnite: The MOBA Paragon was already hit in April 2018.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/abgebrochen06-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Star Wars 1313 looked extremely promising. However, LucasArts discontinued the game in 2013, before the studio itself was closed by Disney.
CCP Games, the creators behind EVE: Online, presented themselves less consistently. The Icelandic company has tried several times to place a shooter in the extremely popular science fiction universe. The last attempt was called Project Nova and was discontinued in December 2018 respectively restarted . The official announcement of the final end of this finally took place in February 2019 via Reddit. However, Project Nova is not the end of CCP's shooter ambitions: you want to build on the previous basis and develop an even better MMO shooter. CCP London is responsible for the work on the new action spin-off, but information about the title is not yet available. CCP has learned from the past, according to its own statement, and would therefore only like to publish details when they are really ready to be spoken. Why are fans and critics skeptical anyway? CCP has failed several times on shooter projects such as Dust 514, Project Legion or Nova.
And last but not least, there is Titanfall Online. The South Korean development studio Nexon designed and developed the shooter especially for the Asian market. Despite the first beta tests and some gameplay recordings Nexon and Electronic Arts discontinued the project. After all, people in South Korea tend to play with mobile devices anyway, it said on the part of those responsible. When and how, by the way, a successor to Titanfall 3 is also unclear so far. Developer Respawn Entertainment recently focused heavily on the Battle Royal shooter Apex Legends. There didn't seem to be room for Titanfall 3.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/abgebrochen07-pc-games.jpg" alt = "The gameplay video for Prince of Persia: Redemption has been included for eight years YouTube before the gaming world became aware of it, but the Prince of Persia successor never got past this demo phase.
To be continued …
We could have continued our list of discontinued game productions indefinitely, but deliberately picked out only a few particularly exciting examples. On our Youtube channel you will find two videos dealing with the topic. There you will find information about the canceled aliens role-playing game from Obsidian, Blizzard's Starcraft Ghost or a planned sequel to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
It is unfortunate, but cannot be changed nowadays: It is often obviously safer for game developers to ride the current wave of success instead of taking unnecessary risks. Posting or canceling productions will certainly accompany us as long as there are video games. And there will certainly be a lot of excitement in the future!
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