It happens all the time in the video game industry. Game developers can work on a project for months — sometimes even years — and a single obstacle can come along and shunt everything into obscurity. It's really that easy, unfortunately.
Financial problems, technical issues, time constraints, you name it — games get canceled for a number of different reasons, sometimes even after they've been announced to the public. This makes it especially heartbreaking when a promising project doesn't see the light of day.
Often times, canceled games are only discovered after their cancellation! All that hard work gets reduced to screenshots, gossip, and articles like these. Have you ever awaited a sequel that would never come? How could something that looks so cool not make the cut? Sometimes those great-looking games are actually too good to be true.
In honor of the games that have fallen to the depths of history, we've collected a list of some of the most popular cancelled video games ever (almost) made. Some of these failed productions are heavily documented, some were helmed by A-list creative minds, and others remain shrouded in mystery to this day. Whether they are recent discoveries or generations old, they all look like promising experiences. Unfortunately, it looks like we may never be able to play them.
You can probably think of a game you wanted that never made it to store shelves, but you'll be surprised to see what else almost was.
Here are 25 Amazing Canceled Video Games We'll Never Get To Play.
25 Silent Hills
This classic horror franchise seemed destined to return to its former glory, until it was unceremoniously canceled by its publisher Konami. Silent Hills was an intense reboot of the franchise by Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, in collaboration with director Guillermo del Toro and The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus.
The game's free demo was met with critical acclaim for its gameplay, atmosphere, and great scares.
It took the gaming community by storm until it was quietly pulled from all digital stores and canceled. Kojima would go on to leave Konami, and re-team with Reedus and del Toro for his upcoming game, Death Stranding.
24 Star Wars: 1313
Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm may have been a rebirth for Star Wars movies, but not for the games.
Star Wars: 1313 was a third-person shooter that would throw players into the shoes of a young Boba Fett as he begins his bounty hunting career. The game would be set in the seedy, crime-ridden depths of Coruscant's Level 1313.
The gameplay trailer blew fans' minds upon release — it had the cinematic action of an Uncharted game painted in a dark and gritty take on Star Wars. Sadly, the game would never make it to release. Similar Star Wars games are in development, but 1313 seems to be long gone.
23 Gotham By Gaslight
Day 1 Studios (F.E.A.R.) started work on a Batman video game that nobody saw coming. Batman: Gotham By Gaslight would have been a third person action game based on the Batman comic of the same name.
The world's greatest detective would track the infamous Jack the Ripper through a Victorian, vaguely steampunk England.
Prototype game footage was created for publisher THQ, who would need to secure the rights for the DC Comics character in order to officially greenlight production. Sadly, THQ couldn't swing it and the project was abandoned, with that early footage and a few screenshots being all that remains.
22 Dirty Harry: The Video Game
Clint Eastwood's loose-cannon cop almost had his own video game by the now-defunct studio The Collective Inc.
Dirty Harry: The Video Game would have been a third-person shooter in a sandbox-style map of San Francisco, where Harry Callahan would continue to track down the evil Scorpio. It was intended to be a continuation of the film series, taking place between Dirty Harry and Magnum Force.
Eastwood himself was supposedly heavily involved with the game's creation as well, but unfortunately it all fell victim to a rushed development cycle and financial turmoil. The project was in very early stages upon cancellation and has been abandoned ever since — how very unlucky for Harry.
21 Project Titan
World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment is the king of MMORPGs. Surprisingly though, the company's sci-fi MMO Project Titan would never see the light of day.
The game would have taken place in the future where players join opposing factions in an underground war, living normal lives by day and conducting espionage-warfare at night.
Titan was said to feature a handful of vastly different combat classes as well as non-combat roles, intended to build realistic, player-driven economies.
When the project wasn't coming along the way Blizzard intended, concepts were salvaged and reworked into the similar (and beloved) class-based shooter, Overwatch.
20 Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
Long before Batman: Arkham Asylum, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear could have been the superhero beat-em-up that took the world by storm.
Unfortunately, the game's development cycle was filled with rough patches, including graphic engine problems, clashes between the creatives at Sony and Marvel, and even behavioral issues with development staff.
Daredevil jumps and swings his way across the city, even grinding on rails (yes, really). It was planned to feature an original story that would have been loaded with Marvel cameos. The game was supposed to release alongside the Ben Affleck-led Daredevil film, but it would never be completed.
Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games has seemingly abandoned Agent, an open-world stealth game steeped in the world of spies and espionage.
Little info exists on the project and the only images come from concept art and early screenshots. It sounds decidedly more serious than Rockstar's other titles and it's unclear if their trademark satire would have been worked into the project.
The game has been a no-show for years and its trademark has expired several times since its initial reveal in 2007.
This has led many to believe that it has been quietly canceled. Oddly enough though, the trademark has been renewed twice, suggesting that it may be stuck in development hell.
18 The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive
Flash wasn't as popular in 2008 as he is now, but perhaps his own video game may have changed that. Developer Bottlerocket Entertainment set out to adapt the origin story of Wally West in an open-world action game, featuring a large map that consisted of both Keystone and Central City.
The game would have utilized extensive running mechanics to properly account for Flash's speed and manueverability, as well as a Speed Force-based combo system and even a morality gauge.
Unfortunately, poor management decisions would ruin Brash Entertainment, the game's publisher, as they wound up filing for bankruptcy before the project's completion. Bottlerocket Entertainment would never get to release The Flash and sadly closed down in 2009.
17 Battle Of The Sith Lords
Another great idea left behind by Disney's acquisition of Star Wars, Battle of the Sith Lords was a stealth-action game by Red Fly Studio that would center on Darth Maul.
Red Fly took inspiration from the Batman: Arkham Asylum games, framing Maul as both an expert swordsman and a deadly predator stalking from the shadows.
It had an aimless development, where LucasArts would reportedly demand changes to the concept with little forethought.
After struggling to adapt to creative demands, LucasArts terminated the project without warning. While Battle of the Sith Lords is officially canceled, Red Fly hopes to use its prototype to pitch another Star Wars game to Electronic Arts.
16 Starcraft: Ghost
One of the most well-known canceled projects on this list, Starcraft: Ghost was to be a stealth-action spin-off game to the strategy-based Starcraft series.
Not only was it a bold new direction for the franchise, but production began near the end of a console era where its tech started to feel outdated. This resulted in several delays in its complicated development cycle. Many gamers and news outlets believed that it would never actually release, and they were right.
Ghosts was announced in 2002, but Blizzard Entertainment wouldn't officially announce its cancellation until 2014, alongside Project Titan.
15 Mega Man Universe
Mega Man Universe is only one of Blue Bomber's many canceled projects in the last decade.
Universe was a return to Mega Man's roots — a side-scrolling action game where Mega Man would have been fully customizable.
The game also would have included a level-building mechanic like Super Mario Maker, so that players could create their own stages and share them with friends.
Unfortunately, like Mega Man Legends 3, Rockman Online, and the gritty first-person reboot Maverick Hunter, Capcom canceled the project for undisclosed reasons. Around the same time, Mega Man series creator Keiji Inafune left the company, leading many to believe that his departure may have had Capcom reevaluate the franchise.
The Xbox One severely lacks exclusive games, but Scalebound could have been one of them.
Developed by Platinum Games, the studio behind Bayonetta and Nier: Automata, Scalebound was to be a role-playing game where players would team up with a dragon to go on various fantasy adventures. Early footage features plenty of action and dragon-riding, but sadly the game was abruptly canceled.
Microsoft also announced the end of its partnership with Platinum Games on the same day as the game's cancellation, and provided no insights as to why.
13 Marvel: Chaos
Marvel: Chaos was intended to be an authentic Marvel Comics fighting game by the now-defunct studio Electronic Arts Chicago.
The game takes concepts from Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, a failed Marvel fighting game that featured original characters made specifically by EA. The game was meant to be an improvement on Imperfects with Marvel-exclusive characters only.
The game only made it to prototype stages, as quality control issues shut the project down back in 2007.
Video game preservation site Unseen64 has dozens of screenshots of the game archived — some of the only remnants left of Marvel: Chaos.
12 Doom 4
Doom 4 was announced way back in 2008 and was intially designed as cinematic take on the franchise with an emphasis on story.
The game would have taken place on Earth, and early footage drew comparisons to other big budget first-person shooters at the time like Call of Duty. Sadly, though, despite the polished gameplay, early builds of the game felt too generic to move forward with.
The game was canceled and redesigned from the ground up as a hyper-violent throwback and reboot, simply titled Doom.
Doom released in 2016 and was met with fantastic reviews — with the core concepts being entirely opposite of those shown off in Doom 4.
11 Justice League: Mortal
The scrapped Justice League: Mortal movie from 2008 has a scrapped Justice League: Mortal video game tie-in, and it actually looks quite fun.
The tie-in would have been a third-person brawler that featured the members of the Justice League fighting waves of DC rogues as well as each other, complete with individualized combos and movesets.
The game was apparently well into development before it was canceled, suffering the same fate as its film counterpart.
The Justice League wouldn't star in a major video game until Injustice in 2013, but the work on the Mortal tie-in would be salvaged and reworked into Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters.
Steven Spielberg's ambitious foray into the video game world was not a successful one, but many are still intrigued with LMNO.
The famous director wanted to create an emotional gaming experience that he felt the industry was lacking.
LMNO was designed to be both interactive and deeply moving.
LMNO was a first-person action game that would have the player travel with Eve, an alien seeking refuge from an organization that wants to capture her. The player would learn about Eve and bond with her over time, while protecting her from evil forces.
While concept footage seemed promising, publisher Electronic Arts deemed it little too ambitious and ended up pulling the plug.
9 Zone Of The Enders 3
Zone of the Enders and its sequel, The 2nd Runner, were cult hits during the PlayStation 2 era. Zone of the Enders 3 (also known as the Enders Project) had been planned early on, but it sadly never left the concept stages and barely received a spotlight during its short-lived production.
Hideo Kojima and his studio Kojima Productions drew up several pieces of concept art, which redesigned the Orbital Frame mechas and toyed with future story elements.
Unfortunately, the project was canceled after the lukewarm reception to the Zone of the Enders HD Collection, which failed to garner the hype that Kojima was expecting.
8 Fez II
Fez is a longtime indie darling in the video game industry. It was a small game made by small-time developers that started to receive a ton of exposure before release due to the game's outspoken developer Phil Fish, as well as Fez's featuring in Indie Game: The Movie.
Fez was universally praised upon release, which makes it especially disappointing that Fez II was canceled. because of a Twitter argument.
Phil Fish had some harsh words for an equally harsh critic of his, Marcus Beers of GameTrailers. The two went back and forth online until Fish matter-of-factly canceled Fez II out of spite.
The Wii wasn't known for darkness and horror, but that's probably because Sadness was never completed.
The game was an extremely ambitious psychological horror story— it would have had stylish black and white graphics, a branching story with different endings, a fully-interactive environment, and plenty of other highly unique features for the time.
Unfortunately, developer Nibris kept making promises without actually making the game.
The developer constantly failed to meet deadlines and couldn't get a grasp on the game's direction. Other than the live-action trailer and the soundtrack, Sadness may have never actually entered development and remains one of the more famous cases of vaporware in the last decade.
What is the deal with filmmakers and failed video games? inSane was going to be a survival horror game trilogy straight from the mind of gothic horror director Guillermo del Toro.
The game received a 30-second teaser trailer upon its announcement, with del Toro hoping to have players question their senses of "morality and reality" with every choice they make. It was ambitious to say the least — perhaps too ambitious.
Without so much as a gameplay prototype, inSane was canned due to corporate restructuring and the rights were given to del Toro himself. Theoretically, the game could return if del Toro felt the need, but the project has been quiet since.
5 Prey 2
The runaway success of Prey in 2006 made the hype for its sequel unavoidable. Prey 2's infamous reveal trailer looked incredible and promised fans an action-driven sci-fi adventure. Little did anybody know that it would never come.
Prey 2 was stuck in development hell for many years as the intellectual property rights moved from 3D Realms to ZeniMax Media, as the change in rightsholders came with a change in creative vision. After years of adjustments, the game was sadly cancelled due to the poor quality of early prototypes.
The series would be rebooted in 2017 as Prey, predominantly unrelated to its predecessor.
4 Six Days In Fallujah
Miltary games are so common that they are often dismissed, but that's not what happened to Six Days In Falllujah.
Atomic Games set out to recreate the Second Battle of Fallujah at the request of marines who fought there.
The game was not intended as a glorification of violence, but as respectful recounting of the horrors that those soldiers faced.
Naturally, the game was the subject to media scrutiny due to its subject being such a recent event, with publisher Konami dropping the project for fear of associating with the controversy. While the game has never been officially canceled, it's generations behind in technology and will likely never see a commercial release.
3 TimeSplitters 4
TimeSplitters arrived right before the first-person shooter craze, and it seems that it may never return again.
The absurdist spiritual successor to Goldeneye was last on the scene with TimeSplitters: Future Perfect in 2007. The sequel was announced soon after, but was canceled in 2012 with due to difficulties marketing the property to game publishers.
The only remnants of TimeSplitters 4's development are some leaked concept art, which shows off the cartoony visuals that the series in known for. It's unclear if the series will ever return, but if it does, it certainly won't be with the fourth installment.
2 Star Wars Battlefront III
The infamous Battlefront III was stuck in development hell — and yet, even after all these years, it still sounds so appealing. Footage of alpha-builds feature minor differences, but the core concepts remain all the same: more characters, more weapons, more planets, a feature-length story mode, and battles that enabled surface-to-atmosphere combat.
It sounds like the quintessential Star Wars game.
Sadly, the game is built on decade-old tech and it clearly shows. It's just a shame that all of that hard work went to waste after the Disney acquisition. Star Wars Battlefront would be rebooted in 2015 with way more polish, way less content, and way less fun.
1 The Avengers
An Avengers first-person shooter? Yes, really.
THQ's The Avengers was a four-player cooperative RPG where players could team up as the core Avengers to take on the shapeshifting alien race, the Skrulls. The story was written by comic writing legend Brian Michael Bendis as a loose adaptation of his own Marvel comic, Secret Invasion. The game would feature characters of the larger Marvel universe as well, including the Fantastic Four and even references to the X-Men.
Which one of these canceled games would you like to see released? Leave a comment with a choice of your own!