View Full Version : The Forgotten Games (article)

24-07-08, 20:03
Hi folks :wve:

A month ago I made this thread (http://www.tombraiderforums.com/showthread.php?t=128290) about games that have been cancelled and why people keep the memory of these games alive. At the time I said it was for an article I had to write, but it was actually part of a series of tasks for a job interview with a gaming website. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job, which has left me a little down. However, some of you were so helpful in giving me leads for this article, I thought I would post the article as a thank you to those who helped, and in order to receive any criticism you guys might have about it. Bear in mind, this was for a gaming website aimed at teenage boys who spent most of their lives playing Halo, and who immediately load a Nude mod when playing a TR game (they even had links to a nude mod, the rascals!).

I would like to make a couple of direct thanks-yous though. Thanks to Conway and Smog for their ideas, and to Grenade for your help with the Soul Calibur stuff. Also a big thank you to EscondeR, for helping me pick up the pieces when I didn’t get the job. Anyway, enough of the mushies; this is the article:

The Forgotten Games

Why do fans hold on to games that have been cancelled?

Although thousands of new games hit the shelves every year, there are some that don’t make it. Most of the time, these just slip through the net, and disappear onto some developers discarded hard drive. Some of the more high-profile games develop a following, and once the cancellation is announced, the wailing of the fans can be heard for miles around. What makes fans mourn these games so much, even after only a press release, a few screeshots and (if they’re lucky) a video? We examine what keeps these games in the fans memories,

Most of the forgotten games are part of an already established franchise. For example: Sonic X-Treme, Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever were all part of a successful franchise before they were cancelled. The fans of the original games wanted something exciting and new to follow the original success, and were begging for news of sequels. Sometimes they were lucky, and other times they were met with bitter disappointment.

Some of the lucky ones were the fans of the first Resident Evil game. After the success of the first game a sequel was bound to come out, and the fans were delighted to hear about a new game set in Racoon City. The early images looked promising, especially with the two heroes – Racoon Police Department’s Leon Kennedy, and university student Eliza Walker. Eliza was the original incarnation of Claire Redfield, the heroine first seen in Resident Evil 2, and sister of Chris Redfield. Eliza was to have no relationship to any previous characters. There were also more kinds of zombies and monster, and bigger and badder bosses. The fans were positively drooling for this game.

http://img32.picoodle.com/img/img32/4/7/24/f_bio15m_2f62f09.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/4/7/24/f_bio15m_2f62f09.jpg&srv=img32) http://img27.picoodle.com/img/img27/4/7/24/f_ResidentEvim_e2e83fb.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/4/7/24/f_ResidentEvim_e2e83fb.jpg&srv=img27)

Capcom wasn’t as impressed with the game however, and even though the project was almost finished (estimates vary from 50% to 80% of the game was complete), the game was binned and started again, with only a few of the main characters remaining. It was worth the wait though, as Resident Evil 2 went on to become one of the most successful of the franchise, and one of the most successful PS1 games.

A game that never managed to get off the ground in the first place was Four Housemen of the Apocalypse for the Xbox. Four Horsemen was announced in 2002 by studio 3DO for a release the following year, and developed quite a following of fans with the impressive screenshots released for the game. Being one of the few computer games based on a book of the Bible, this game was going to be truly original experience. As the Angel Abaddon, you had to find the Chosen mortals before the Four Horsemen – Pestilence, War, Death and Famine, found them first and brought about the Chosen realised they had special powers. Sadly, when 3DO filed for bankruptcy the game was never heard from again, despite being nearly finished.

http://img29.picoodle.com/img/img29/4/7/24/f_apocalypse1m_b671009.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/4/7/24/f_apocalypse1m_b671009.jpg&srv=img29)

Developing studios going bust is one of the primary reasons these games are cancelled or forgotten. It is easy to forget just how much money has to be laid down for a game before it even reaches the shelves, making all but the most high-profile sequels risky. As publishers look for ways to lower the initial costs of a game, some of the less productive studios can be shut down quickly by a lack of investment from the publishers. This not only kills the studio, but their current projects as well.

Some games don’t die however, some just get lost for a little while. Aliens: Colonial Marines was one of the lucky ones. Originally slated for development by Check Six Games, the original Colonial Marines game was going to be an FPS for the PS2, published by Fox Interactive. The game was going to allow you to choose from a variety of Colonial Marines to fight your way through the hordes of Aliens in the abandoned salvage ship the Saluco, and generally kick Xenomorph butt. It was cancelled for unknown reasons in 2001, until Sega bought the electronic rights to the Aliens series in December 2006. In February 2008, Aliens: Colonial Marines was announced by Sega for the Xbox 360 and PS3, for release in 2009. The new game looks gorgeous, and looks set to be a big success for the Aliens franchise.

http://img34.picoodle.com/img/img34/4/7/24/f_alienscmps2m_13952a8.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/4/7/24/f_alienscmps2m_13952a8.jpg&srv=img34) http://img27.picoodle.com/img/img27/4/7/24/f_alienscolonm_96b5704.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/4/7/24/f_alienscolonm_96b5704.jpg&srv=img27)

One of the main reasons these games are so widely coveted after their cancellations is the “what if?” factor. What if this game had been released? Would it have been any good, or as good as it was expected to be? Only the original developers will ever know, but at least the fans can keep dreaming long after the game has died.

One game being kept alive long after its cancellation announcement is Tomb Raider: Anniversary Edition. In June 2006 a video appeared on YouTube described as: “a trailer that appears to show footage of the original Tomb Raider remade on PSP, rumour suggests it was being made by Core Design but has since been cancelled.” The video featured some faithful recreations of Tomb Raider locations, new moves for Lara, and interestingly a Star Wars soundtrack. Fans suddenly became very excited that the original creators of Tomb Raider, Core Design, were going to create a special edition to commemorate 10 years since the first games release. Less than a week later, YouTube pulled the video at the request of Eidos, and Core Design released a press statement confirming that the game has been cancelled. Eidos later announced that an Anniversary game would be made by the new developers Crystal Dynamics. However the cat was out of the bag, and fans have held on to the first trailer ever since. Some concept art and screenshots have been released since, but otherwise the game is no more. This doesn’t stop the fans debating which Tomb Raider Anniversary is better, even though no one outside the development team has even played the Core Design version.

http://img28.picoodle.com/img/img28/4/7/24/f_traem_dbf130f.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/4/7/24/f_traem_dbf130f.jpg&srv=img28) http://img27.picoodle.com/img/img27/4/7/24/f_img1649tranm_ea991d3.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/4/7/24/f_img1649tranm_ea991d3.jpg&srv=img27)

For some die hard fans, learning about the cancelled games is part of a rite of passage. It signifies them as a “true” fan of their favourite games, above and beyond normal players. It’s these fans in particular that keep the forgotten games alive, as part of their identity as gamers. In a way, the forgotten and cancelled games represent everything the fans wish their favourite games could be; it’s a game that they can invest all their hopes in, because whilst it may never be released, it will also never disappoint. Even if the few images and videos that have made their way into the public domain look appalling, some may still harbour hopes for the forgotten games to be released some day.

24-07-08, 20:21
You forgot to mentioned that Aliens: Colonial Marines is also coming for PC.

24-07-08, 20:51
Amazing..... Thanks... Love the Anniversary part though.. The others?? I don't know them... Never heard of;

25-07-08, 09:43
You forgot to mentioned that Aliens: Colonial Marines is also coming for PC.

Probably why I didn't get the job then! :D

25-07-08, 13:16
Nice Article. :tmb:
That brings me back memories, lol :p

26-07-08, 03:31
I think you should have covered RE3.5 as well. Very good example of a "forgotten" game. Other than that, nice job. :tmb: