History Of Canceled Games: Visceral's Star Wars, Silent Hills, StarCraft Spin-Off, More
Shelved and gone.
For one reason or another, games get canceled. Oftentimes we don't get to hear about many of gaming's most ill-fated projects, as they're often not revealed to the public. However, there are plenty of games that do get announced that are inevitably canceled midway through production. Sometimes we find out why through official announcements or myriad rumors. Whether it's from not meeting the standards of publishers or just getting lost in development hell, some games often get the boot before they can even reach the hands of anxious gamers.
There are many unfortunate projects that have met untimely ends over the years, including Blizzard's recently canceled StarCraft spin-off and last year's The Wolf Among Season 2. And what's worse is that many of these canceled games were highly anticipated. Cancellations for games like Silent Hills and Mega Man Legends 3 have spurred massive disappointment from fans. While other times, there were cancellations for games that simply fell by the wayside after their initial announcement.
Whether you were excited for any of the games we list in this feature or not, it's a bummer that these projects never made it to the finish line. From the most hotly anticipated canceled games to the most obscure, here's a list of the most notable games that have been canceled in the last few years and detailed history on what they were.
Which game cancellation disappoints you the most? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check back often as we (sadly and inevitably) update this with more games. Otherwise, focus on happy thoughts and check out our feature covering all the biggest new game release games in 2020 and beyond.
Blizzard's Unannounced Starcraft Spin-Off
Unbeknownst to many, Blizzard was working on a new game based in the StarCraft universe. Blizzard developer David Gibson, who worked as a senior animator on Overwatch, started working on a mysterious unannounced Blizzard project in July 2017, according to his LinkedIn page. He worked on this game for about two years before announcing his departure from Blizzard this week, revealing that the game has been canned.
"Unfortunately, you'll never see what we made over the past two years--that's [game development]," Gibson said on Twitter. When GameSpot reached out to Blizzard for comment, they said the following:
We don’t generally comment on unannounced projects but we will say the following:
We always have people working on different ideas behind the scenes – including on multiple projects right now – but the reason we tend not to discuss them publicly is because anything can happen over the course of development. As has been the case at Blizzard numerous times in the past, there is always the possibility that we’ll make the decision to not move forward on a given project. Announcing something before we feel it’s ready stands the risk of creating a lot of frustration and disappointment, both for our players and us, not to mention distraction and added pressure for our development teams.
We pour our hearts and souls into this work, and as players ourselves, we know how exciting it can be to see and know with certainty that a new project is coming. Knowing that changes or disappointments can happen doesn’t make it any less painful when we have to shelve a project or when an announcement doesn’t go as planned. We always make decisions about these things, regardless of the ultimate outcome or how things might be interpreted, based on our values, what we believe makes sense for Blizzard, and what we hope our players will enjoy the most. The work that goes into these projects – whether they ship or not – is extraordinarily valuable. It often leads to great things and helps foster a culture of experimentation here.
With all that said, we’re very much looking forward to revealing other things we’re working on when the time is right.
EA Vancouver's Star Wars Project
For a while, EA has had in development two big Star Wars games. One of them became what we know now to be Respawn Entertainment's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The other was a project initially headed by ex-Naughty Dog veteran Amy Hennig and Visceral Games, a studio most known for its work on Dead Space and Battlefield: Hardline.
Visceral's Star Wars game was to be a "story-based, linear adventure game." However, responding to market trends and player feedback, EA decided to "pivot" the design to make it a service-based game that players could "come back to and enjoy for a long time to come." At the same time, EA executive Patrick Soderlund announced the closure of Visceral and that its internal studio in Vancouver would lead development on the title. Also, the game was to be delayed.
After some time, EA Vancouver's Star Wars game was canceled. According to EA, the project was dropped in favor of a smaller-scale title that can be released sooner. The company said to GameSpot: "There's been speculation overnight about one of our Star Wars projects. As a natural part of the creative process, the great work by our team in Vancouver continues and will evolve into future Star Wars content and games. We're fully committed to making more Star Wars games, we're very excited about Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order from Respawn, and we'll share more about our new projects when the time is right."
Very little was shown of both Visceral's and EA Vancouver's Star Wars game over the years. It's a shame we never got to see it, but we can hope that one day we'll get to hear more about it once the drama of its unfortunate cancellation begins to settle.
The Wolf Among Us Season Two
Following the end of The Wolf Among Us Season One, developer Telltale Games expressed interest in creating a second season. But the studio had already committed to developing Tales from the Borderlands, Minecraft: Story Mode, and Game of Thrones, preventing them from actively pursuing the project.
A second season was eventually announced at San Diego Comic Con in July 2017. Both actors Adam Harrington and Erin Yvette were set to return to voice protagonists Bigby and Snow White, respectively. However, Telltale announced in May 2018 that due to internal issues, it had to delay sequel until 2019. But news soon emerged later that year that Telltale would undergo a majority studio closure due to "insurmountable challenges," resulting in the unfortunate cancellation of The Wolf Among Us's second season among other projects the studio had in development.
Breakaway was to going to be Amazon Game Studio's big debut into the massively popular MOBA genre. First announced in September 2016 at Twitchcon, the game was a 4v4 hero sports brawler that combined elements from variety of games, like League of Legends, Power Stone, and Rocket League. In addition, it was being designed to be easily streamed on Twitch.
Double Helix Studios--known for its work on Killer Instinct Season 1 and the 2014 Strider reboot--was handling development and it was to be the studio's first new game after being acquired by Amazon Game Studios in 2014. After Breakaway's initial reveal, little else was shown of the project in the intermittent years outside a few gameplay showcases. Eventually rumors began to circulate suggesting that Breakaway's development was on hiatus and that it was essentially cancelled.
This was inevitably confirmed in April 2018 when Amazon released a statement asserting the following: "While we have developed many ideas and made a lot of progress, we are also setting a very high bar for ourselves. In spite of our efforts, we didn't achieve the breakthrough that made the game what we all hoped it could be. After a lot of soul searching, the team decided to focus on new ideas. As a result, Breakaway is no longer in active development."
In the same statement, Amazon Game Studios left the smallest glimmer of hope for Breakaway, saying it could return to the project "if a thunderbolt of inspiration strikes." However, the official word is that Breakaway will not continue development anytime in the foreseeable future.
Scalebound was an Xbox One-exclusive action-RPG by PlatinumGames first announced at Microsoft's E3 2014 press conference. It followed the story of Drew, an adventurer who shares a symbiotic relationship with a dragon named Thuban. The two embarked on an adventure through the land of Draconis, battling enemy forces and giant creatures.
The concept behind the game was conceptualized back in 2006, but Platinum moved forward developing Bayonetta instead. The idea was revised and re-pitched until its development was officially approved during the final phase of development for the studio's Wii U-exclusive action-adventure The Wonderful 101.
Scalebound was scheduled to launch in 2016, but a crowded holiday release schedule pushed it into 2017. The game made a few appearances at trade shows throughout the years, showcasing its large-scale combat scenarios and online cooperative multiplayer. However, the game's development was cancelled in early January 2017. Microsoft commented: "After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for Scalebound." As of writing, no other details have been confirmed over why the game was cancelled or if Microsoft will continue in a development partnership with Platinum.
Doom 4 was officially announced in May 2008 after former id Software lead developer John Carmack teased it at QuakeCon. The game was to detail the uprising of Hell on Earth and that it would follow the style of early Doom games. While the game was affirmed to be in active development in the years that followed, little was shown of the game, which led gamers to speculate about its development cycle.
Interviews from key members of the team revealed that Doom 4 changed direction as development progressed, taking on heavily scripted qualities akin to the Call of Duty franchise. This build was scrapped in favor of a series reboot in 2012, which became 2016's Doom. Speaking in retrospect on the Doom 4 build, Bethesda VP of marketing Pete Hines commented that it didn't evoke what Doom should be about and that it wasn't hitting the marks it needed.
Star Wars 1313
Star Wars 1313 was an action-adventure game set to be a gritty take on the Star Wars universe. By the tail end of its development, it was going to follow the exploits of a young Boba Fett exploring an underground area of Coruscant known as level 1313. But when Disney purchased Lucasfilm, it made the decision to change the Star Wars franchise’s position from internal development to a licensing model for Star Wars video games. As a result, on April 3, 2013, massive lay offs were made to LucasArts and all projects were canceled, including Star Wars 1313.
Silent Hills was going to be the next installment in the Silent Hill series. Hideo Kojima was set to direct the project in collaboration with film director Guillermo Del Toro. The Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus was also attached to the project to portray the game’s main character. When news of Kojima’s plans to leave Konami after finishing MGS V began to circulate, his involvement in Silent Hills was left unclear. Konami finally confirmed the game was cancelled on April 27, 2015 after a variety of reports from those involved with the project had stated that the game was no longer in development. Despite the cancellation, Konami stated the Silent Hill franchise will continue.
Titan was a new MMO game by World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment. Development of the title was speculated upon as early as 2007 when Blizzard posted job listings for a next-gen MMO. It was confirmed to be in development in 2008, but Blizzard eventually canceled it in 2014. Reasons cited behind the cancellation include a lack of passion for the project and the trending success of their smaller-scale titles.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6 Patriots
Announced in 2011, Rainbow 6 Patriots was a first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft Montreal. It put players in control of a counter-terrorism unit known as Team Rainbow as they went up against a populist militia group known as the True Patriots. Ubisoft canceled the game on June 9, 2014 due to the desire to produce a more next-gen game experience for the Rainbow 6 series.
Prey 2 was a first-person shooter developed by Human Head Studios. As the sequel to 2006's Prey, it would have put players in control of a bounty hunter on the alien world of Exodus who is trying to recover his lost memories. But on October 30, 2014, publisher Bethesda confirmed that Prey 2 was cancelled due to the game not being up to its standards.
Shadow Realms was a 4v1 online action-RPG being developed by BioWare’s Austin studio. It was first announced during Gamescom 2014. Set on modern day Earth and a parallel world known as Embra, it would have had players taking on the roles of magic wielding heroes caught in a war to save humanity against the evil Shadow Legions. Unfortunately, Shadow Realms got the boot due to BioWare Austin focusing their development efforts on other BioWare family projects, such as Dragon Age: Inquisition and the next Mass Effect.
Star Wars: Battlefront 3
Star Wars: Battlefront 3 was a third- and first-person shooter that was being developed by Free Radical Design. Despite never being officially announced, this version of Star Wars: Battlefront 3 was in development from mid-2006 to early 2008. But right when it was about 99% finished, the game was cancelled due to financial reasons.
Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun
Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun was an action-adventure game that was to be the sixth entry in Crystal Dynamics’ long-running Legacy of Kain series. It was being developed by Climax Studios under the supervision of Crystal Dynamics. Development for the game began secretly in 2009-2010 after Square Enix Europe chose Climax Studios to take on the job of creating a next-gen Legacy of Kain game. However, Square Enix Europe canceled the title in 2012 before it was able to reach full production.
Fez 2 was to be the sequel to 2012’s Fez, an indie 2D puzzle platformer that revolves around players solving puzzles while rotating between four sides of the game’s 3D world. The game was canceled a month after its announcement following a Twitter argument between lead designer Phil Fish and a video game journalist.
Dawngate was a free-to-play MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) developed by Waystone Games and published by Electronic Arts. Aiming to differentiate itself from other MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2, Dawngate tried to implement an evolving story into its gameplay. Despite being in beta for quite some time, Waystone Games announced that the game was cancelled due to its beta not shaping up to the standards they hoped it would.
World of Darkness
World of Darkness was a vampire-themed MMO that was being developed by EVE Online developer CCP Games. Based in the supernatural world of the tabletop RPG series World of Darkness, the game was going to make heavy use of player politics and social interaction in its gameplay. However, CCP Games canceled the project on April 14, 2014 after being in development for nearly eight years.
Fallout Online was an MMO that was being developed by Interplay Entertainment, the Fallout series' original creators. Officially confirmed to be in development in 2009, the MMO would eventually be canceled in 2012 after a long legal battle between Interplay and new series publisher Bethesda that resulted in an out-of-court settlement. Bethesda then got the rights back to develop a Fallout MMO.
Bioshock for the PS Vita
BioShock for the PS Vita was a game announced by former Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine during Sony's E3 2011 press conference. It was going to be a completely new original entry in the series rather than a port of previous BioShock games. But in July 2014, it was confirmed that deals between Sony and BioShock publisher Take Two failed to materialize. And with closure of Irrational Games in 2014, whatever plans Levine had for the portable title are effectively buried.
NBA Live 13
NBA Live 13 was to be a reboot to EA’s long-running basketball game franchise that at the time hadn’t seen a release since 2010. However, due to lack of satisfaction over the game’s builds in the lead-up to launch, EA decided to cancel the game a mere six days before its planned release date.
Mega Man Legends 3
Mega Man Legends 3 was to be the next entry in the cult classic Mega Man spin-off series. It would have had players controlling two new characters named Aero and Barrett who would have joined alongside returning series characters to save Mega Man Volnutt from Elysium. Initial development of Mega Man Legends 3 was originally helmed by series creator Keiji Inafune. However, when he left the Capcom in 2010, development continued without him. Unfortunately, on July 18, 2011, Capcom canceled the game citing that it did not meet the required criteria to go into full production.