Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gone But Not Forgotten: Game Cancellations That Still Sting

Oh, we're sure you know the feeling. That feeling of the world being pulled out from under you... That feeling of your heart ripped right out of your chest... It's a miserable feeling. Yes, we're talking about being extremely hyped for an announced game only to have it shelved forever. As gamers for over twenty years, we've experienced more heartache and subsequent depression over game cancellations than we care to admit. Okay, perhaps we're being a little melodramatic here... Okay. Maybe a LOT melodramatic, but the point still stands. The following is a group of games that we just think about what could have been... After you've read our picks, feel free to share your own in our comments section below.

Mega Man Legends 3 (3DS)

Capcom... you rat bastards. The company set up a website where fans could vote on a myriad of game-related options, such as character design choices for Mega Man Volnutt and new character Aero. However, Keiji Inafune, heralded as Mega Man's creator, left Capcom in 2010. The game's development team made it clear that the game would continue to be worked on. A prototype version of the game for the Nintendo 3DS's eShop was supposed to be released, showcasing the gameplay through ten missions. Eventually Capcom cancelled the entire project, disappointing fans, the development team, and Keiji Inafune in the process. While Capcom won't give fans their desired dose of Mega Man, Keiji Infaune's Mighty No. 9 looks to step in and give fans what they want if Capcom won't.

Mega Man Universe (PSN, XBLA, WiiWare)

Not pleased enough with kicking Mega Man and his fans to the curb once, Capcom decided to cancel another of the Blue Bomber's projects, Mega Man Universe. Covered in 2.5D aesthetics, Mega Man Universe would have given several nods to Mega Man 2. The most exciting part of the game was the ability to create and share custom levels, similar to what was seen in Mega Man: Powered Up on the PSP. After Keiji Inafune's departure from Capcom, there was total silence from the team behind Mega Man Universe. Eventually, Capcom revealed the game had been killed, like poor Mega Man on a spike trap. The reason for the game's cancellation? "Various circumstances." Well, we, along with many Mega Man fans, were all various types of angry.

Donkey Kong Racing (GCN)

We have listed twice that our favorite kart racing game of all time is Diddy Kong Racing, so the cancellation of a sequel to that game still bums us out. Some footage was shown of the project at Nintendo's SpaceWorld 2001 event. It featured Donkey and Diddy Kong, along with Taj the Genie (who debuted in Diddy Kong Racing) speeding through various settings aboard familiar Donkey Kong Country animal friends and foes, such as Rambi, Espresso, Zinger, and Necky. Due to Nintendo selling off their shares of Rare to Microsoft, Rare turned their attention to making games for the Xbox. This left Donkey Kong Racing in a state of limbo. It's been over a decade now, and we think it's finally safe to say that the game has been cancelled, much to our chagrin.

EarthBound 64 (N64)

A project that was mired with problems, EarthBound 64 was initially going to be a game on the Super Famicom. (Obviously not under that game name.) Development then shifted to the ill-fated Nintendo 64DD attachment for the Nintendo 64. Seeing as the 64DD was an immense failure, the team started work on the project for the Nintendo 64. However, the development team's inexperience with the more powerful hardware, and most notably, creating objects and characters in 3D, led the way to EarthBound 64 (or as it was known in Japan as Mother 3: Butaƍ no Saigo) being shut down. There is some solace in the death of what could have been a terrific RPG to a system starved for them. The ideas from EarthBound 64 would take root and grow into Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance. Many mechanics, characters, scenarios and such were built from ideas from the EarthBound 64 project. It's just a shame that no one outside of Japan can legally play it in English.

Dead Phoenix (GCN)

GameCube fans like us know all too well about the infamous "Capcom 5." These were five games that were originally announced as exclusive projects for Nintendo's indigo, black, or spice lunch box (we mean that in a loving way). Three of these games were given ports to other platforms. One stayed a GameCube exclusive (P.N.03), while the other, Dead Phoenix, was, well, dead. That was a huge shame, as the game looked rather interesting. It had a winged dude named Phoenix flying around a 3D space, shooting enemies in a vast fantasy world. Pretty cool, huh? After missing its awaited E3 2003 showing, Capcom put Dead Phoenix's flame out for good.

The Getaway 3 (PS3)

Jockeying for position as Sony's own version of GTA, only set in London, The Getaway 3 debuted in a show reel back in 2005. Oh, we were so innocent back then. Anyway, the preceding clips showed off what people expected to receive once they got the game in their hands-- speeding through London city streets, completing missions, and letting loose plenty of "wanker" bombs. Indeed, The Getaway 3 looked rather appealing to many. Unfortunately, Sony did not see the project as promising as gamers did. It cancelled its London's studio's project to have them focus on less ambitious franchises.

StarCraft: Ghost (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Atypical of the StarCraft series, StarCraft: Ghost was a third-person shooter, which at the time before guns in games were commonplace, it was a welcome adjustment to the franchise. The point of this, according to the developers back then, was that a third-person perspective would give players a closer look into the StarCraft universe. The game was originally announced in Fall 2002. Seeing as it has still yet to surface after its 2006 delay, StarCraft: Ghost is the poster child for "vaporware." While it's not "officially" cancelled, the game might as well be and is very much considered so by most of the gaming media. It's really unfortunate, because of all the games featured on this special segment, it was the most complete.

Project HAMMER (Wii)

Another "it hasn't officially been confirmed as cancelled but it might as well be" game is Project HAMMER, a game that was being designed by Nintendo's NST team here in the States. Shown only once, and that was at E3 2006, the game came off as a beat-em-up, allowing the player and their humongous hammer to slam and smash enemies, buildings, and anything else in their way. The disappointment of this game being silently smashed into smithereens is that NST would go on to make more casual-oriented titles instead of more gamer-friendly titles. They had just come off the success of Metroid Prime Hunters, so it was sad (and still is) to see them taking a different road.

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