Top 5 Friday: Games That Never Were

Last week Blizzard broke the news that Project Titan, their “officially unannounced” MMO project had been officially scrapped.  Hearing that news really sucked, but we’ll get to that later.  It got me thinking though; what games seemed to mysteriously disappear into the ether before we ever got to properly give them a go?

  1. Starcraft Ghost

I have very mixed feelings about Blizzard’s willingness to cancel projects.  On one hand I can’t help but applaud the resolve it takes to cancel a project that has had thousands of man-hours and probably millions of dollars poured into it already.  On the other hand, I want to play cool games, so seeing a game get cancelled that seemed to have a lot of potential sucks.

For those who are unfamiliar, Starcraft Ghost was a third-person stealth action game set in Blizzard’s Starcraft universe.  A huge departure from the isometric real-time strategy games and hack-and-slash RPGs that the company had previously been known for, the title ended up stuck in development hell.  Announced in 2002, the project was officially canned in 2005 after multiple delays.  Fans of the Starcraft series still talk about the game, hoping that maybe one day Blizzard will give the title another shot.

  1. The Last Guardian

I know what you’re thinking; ‘this is a list about games that never came out, and you’re putting a game on here that is still in development?’  I sure am.  Look here friends, I want The Last Guardian as much as anyone, but until that game is on a disc, in a box, and on the shelf at a store I can buy it from, I’m convinced it’s not coming out.  Furthermore, Fumito Ueda, the creative mind behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus left his position at Sony in 2011, so it’s possible that even if The Last Guardian somehow makes it out of development hell and becomes more than vaporware, it may share the same characteristics that made the team’s other titles so memorable.

  1. Thrill Kill

Oh Thrill Kill, my 16 year old self still fawns over the idea of your existence.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Thrill Kill saga, it’s a strange one.  Thrill Kill was a four person fighting game (a unique twist on the genre for the time) that featured some really over-the-top amounts of gore.  The game was developed and completed, but weeks before it’s release EA decided to cancel the title on the grounds that didn’t want to “publish such a senselessly violent game”.  Of course, that’s never seemed to stop them from publishing senselessly incomplete games, or needlessly broken games, or…ok you get the picture.  I hate you EA, I hate you so much.

  1. Star Wars 1313

From the Star Wars 1313 Wikipedia page:

“The game was supposed to revolve around Boba Fett in his early adulthood”

If that’s not enough to get you hyped for a game like that, maybe this will.  The game was to be a grittier take on the Star Wars universe and feature fast-paced gadget and weapon based combat instead of the more traditional light-saber and force power combat that other Star Wars titles had.  It seemed as though the game was rolling along quite well until Disney acquired both Lucasfilm and LucasArts.  Upon acquiring LucasArts, Disney promptly cancelled all ongoing projects and shut down the studio.  Of all the games on this list, this one might hurt the most because it didn’t seem as though there was any reason to believe that it wouldn’t have come out.  It looked like a cool game, on track get released and enjoy some success.  On the other hand though, the Disney acquisition did pave the way for a new Star Wars trilogy that, one can only hope, will be better with some fresh blood at the helm.  It had better be or Boba is going to be pissed.

  1. Project Titan

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you know that I’m a big ole Blizzard fan boy and that I love me some World of Warcraft.  At least, that’s typically what I convey.  The truth is a bit more complicated.  There was a time when I loved WoW.  It was the only game I played for several years.  It’s place in my heart is rapidly fading though, and with each expansion and subsequent patch I feel less and less of a tug to go back and pour more hours into a game that’s quickly approaching 10 years old.  I’ve played it, it was incredibly fun, and now I’m ready for something else.  As a player who loves MMO’s, I’ve tried a great many of them, hoping that one of these ‘WoW killers’ might be the one.  Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Secret World, Final Fantasy XIV, Wildstar, the list goes on and on.  Nothing has ever seemed to capture the magic that WoW did.

During all of this though, I knew that project Titan existed.  I’d periodically check the internet for rumors or news, hoping to get a little tidbit of new info.  Every year I’d watch Blizzcon online, waiting with baited breath as the opening keynote was delivered, hoping to hear “and here’s our first official look at Project Titan”.  It never came.  If you look at my outlandish predictions for 2014 article, I even mention it there.  As it turns out, my prediction was just that; completely outlandish.  If the game truly wasn’t coming together, and it wasn’t fun, then I understand canceling it.  It still breaks my heart that the greatest hope I had for new breath in the MMO space is now nothing but a fart in the wind.