In the early 2000s, digital effects had finally evolved to a place that made it possible to adapt comic book concepts that may have been previously considered unfilmable. The X-Men and Spider-Man franchises ushered in the first wave of these movies, but far more visually ambitious movies were soon to follow; with Zack Snyder’s 300 and Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City, both based on Frank Miller comics, showing just what was stylistically possible with liberal use of bluescreens.
While 300 reaped the box office rewards, Sin City was the movie that got far more critical attention for its bold style. Of the seven original comic books, the first Sin City took most of its story from the third and fourth installment; leaving the events leading up to the movie fairly untouched. This created an opportunity for Australian game developer, Transmission Games, to come in and create a video game telling Sin City prequel stories.
The intention of the Sin City game was to recreate the Sin City aesthetic of a hard monochromatic tone, harsh lighting, and bright accent colors with a gameplay style reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed. The final product might have been like something of a cross between the noir detective tone of Max Payne mixed with the combat of the Arkham games, all behind the black and white look of the original comics. But there was no final product. Unfortunately, the game was canned before it could ever be completed.
While the concept of the game look enticing, behind the scenes troubles, eventually leading to the cancellation of the game, were twisting it away from what fans of the Sin City property would have wanted. Citing an anonymous source, Eurogamer says the game’s US based publisher, Red Mile Entertainment, and Frank Miller’s hand picked representative, Flint Dille, apparently had little familiarity or reverence for the source material, to which Transmission Games was attempting to strictly adhere.
Instead of going with comic accurate representations of the characters and scenes straight from the pages of the book presented by Transmission, the studio was tasked with amping up the sexual and violent elements in ways that ultimately betrayed the noir tone, the personalities of the characters, and twisted Sin City’s satirical take on sex and violence into something far more exploitative; including, what’s referred to as a “Dance Dance Revolution style” stiptease mini-game.
The game was eventually shelved when Red Mile was bought out due to financial troubles, but Eurogamer’s anonymous source claims the cancellation was a relief for Transmission Games:
“I think if that game had come out, people would have been disappointed. ‘What do these guys think they’re doing with Sin City, because that’s not Sin City.’ And we would have agreed with them.”
Sin City isn’t the only cancelled game to get recent exposure. Scrapped plans for Arkham-style Superman and Flash games were recently revealed, along with the LucasArts fatality featuring Darth Maul. It’s unlikely that any of these games will see production revivals like the Deadpool movie (re: due to leaked concept footage), but fans of these properties are always curious about what could have been.