Video games are an art form. They are a creative works and super intensely-crafted pieces of software, but also a product made for sale by businesses. These businesses are run by a wide variety of executives and shareholders, and all of the above is a scary combination of factors. While games like Anthem, which release in dubious condition, have gaming communities alight with anger, hope, and confusion, just as many games never see the light of day. Sometimes, the game what gets canceled is in bad shape, sometimes projects run out of money, and other times games are cancelled for seemingly no reason.
Whatever it is that causes these cancellations, there are games that we know about that are practically the video game equivalent of legend and myth. Here are some of the biggest examples of games that many others and I would love to see somehow come back to life.
A recent cancellation that is also a very controversial one, Scalebound appeared at what seemed to be the height of Platinum’s popularity as a developer. At the same time, things seemed to start to get shaky at the company, with rumors of management difficulties surrounding this specific title, and things going sour with the Activision relationship. Ultimately, while the people behind Scalebound creatively seemed to love it, the project wasn’t shaping up well and Microsoft and Platinum agreed mutually to cancel it.
It’s cool now to yell at Konami, but there are certain realities behind why the relationship between Konami and Hideo Kojima broke down. While that doesn’t justify the treatment of the company’s employees who are still there (especially), it makes sense that Silent Hills ended up on the chopping block. Kojima’s projects are famously expensive and take a long time to produce, and trying that approach with a Silent Hill game was likely to be doomed right out of the gate. Still, the “Playable Teaser” was an incredible experience, and while that’s gone too, it’s a great reminder of what could have been. At least, for the people who never deleted it.
Mega Man Legends 3
Now this one was wild. Keiji Inafune, who has since sort of exposed himself as a creative leader with Mighty No. 9, sort-of strong-armed Capcom into greenlighting a Mega Man Legends 3 at a time when the company seemed to be struggling to get interesting and popular games out. This would be a 3DS title, and one that the community was directly involved with. There were art contests, votes, and more that were all directly shaping the face of the game. Nearly as soon as Inafune left the company though, the project was canceled because there wasn’t enough support behind it internally. Luckily, Mega Man finally came back years later, and the brand is in a much better place.
One of my favorite shooter series of all time is Timesplitters. It took the Goldeneye formula, with many of the original developers, applied it to (at the time) modern shooting conventions, and made it all a giant piss take. These games were so funny, but in addition to being funny, they had some of the best multiplayer structures available in the genre. Bots! Cheats! So many weapons and modes! It was like classic shooter gaming in the Halo era, something that was sadly doomed to fizzle. It made sense that the fourth game never saw the light of day, but it was cool to eventually see concept art show up in the wild.
Star Wars 1313
All of the Star Wars video game drama today can be traced back to this title. Back when LucasArts was still a thing, Star Wars 1313 was set to be the next big deal in Star Wars video games. It was to be an Uncharted-like game set in the Star Wars universe, with a scoundrel-type character in the leading role. Disney shut down LucasArts, which took 1313 with it. The idea was sort of revived at Electronic Arts once Disney outsourced the license, but that project was cancelled as well, despite the involvement of industry legend Amy Hennig. Would either of these games end up as great as they sounded? Who knows, but their cancellations being rooted in industry drama has made them stand out in a distinct way.