It's always a major blow when a video game gets unexpectedly cancelled and doesn't get to see a release. This is often a major upset for audiences, but that's to say nothing of the many people that put hundreds of hours into a title and then may not get to see it come to life.
Even a bad game involves a ton of effort and manpower so it's never ideal when a game gets shut down and that work ostensibly goes to waste. Sometimes from a financial perspective it just makes sense to shut down a project before a lost cause can get too out of hand, but that doesn't always mean that the reasons behind cancelled titles always make sense. Accordingly, Here Are 20 Games That Were Cancelled For Crazy Reasons.
20 Silent Hills
Many fans freaked out when they learned that not only would Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Solid fame would be working on a new Silent Hill game, which would also team him up with Guillermo del Toro and The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus. Fans got a taste of what Silent Hills might look and play like with the surprise demo, P.T., but this made the project’s cancellation even more devastating. Triple-A titles were no longer Konami’s focus and it was all shelved; although this team has since reunited for Kojima’s upcoming Death Stranding.
19 Mega Man Legends 3
The dormant series was revived on the Nintendo 3DS and was far enough along that a prototype version of the game was incredibly close to completion and about to his the eShop. Then, abruptly, Capcom just announced that the prototype wouldn’t be put out and the game as a whole was cancelled. Fans wouldn’t get the conclusion of that cliffhanger that they’ve been waiting for since Mega Man Legends 2. Lack of enthusiasm seems like a very short-sighted reason to cancel, especially when it’s something that fans are still asking for
18 Super Mario RPG 2
Nintendo and Square (then Squaresoft) found real success with their reinvention of the Mario series with Super Mario RPG. Square wanted to keep this good luck going and develop a sequel, but Nintendo’s relationship with the company soured when they were producing the cartridge-based N64. Super Mario RPG still got a sequel in the form of the N64’s Paper Mario, but it was an entirely re-worked game and far from the title that Square was planning, which would have continued the themes of the original game.
17 Streets Of Rage 4
The Streets of Rages titles are an incredibly popular beat-‘em-up series for the Sega Genesis, so developers eventually decided to design another game in the series. The team was partway through completion of a Streets of Rage 4 for the Dreamcast, which would push the series into the modern console generation, but it was shut down before release because the new president of Sega of America had never heard of Streets of Rage before. This just highlights how much a change in leadership can affect projects that are in development.
16 Aliens: Crucible
There have been a number of Alien video games, with some of them being real duds, but Aliens: Crucible would have made for a fascinating experiment. Obsidian, a developer most commonly known for creating RPGs, wanted to insert the world of Alien into the genre and craft a horror sci-fi RPG hybrid where the terrors of this threat could really be felt. Unfortunately, the publisher thought that an Alien RPG was too much of a risk and shut things down.
15 TimeSplitters 4
TimeSplitters 4 was far enough along in development, but then the previous title, Future Perfect, underperformed and the company just didn’t know how to properly market it. They considered it a hard to describe game with no set hero that was easy to advertise on the box art and no real face for the franchise. They eventually decided there was no audience outside of its fans, which wasn’t enough, and it was shut down, as silly as that may seem.
14 Star Fox 2
Star Fox 2 for the SNES was basically finished, barring the removal of some debugging tools. Nintendo nearly released the game, but then the Nintendo 64’s release was pushed up and Nintendo wanted the newest Star Fox game to come out for their fancy 3D console instead. Accordingly Star Fox 2 was cancelled and repositioned for the N64. However, the game finally saw release on the Super Nintendo Classic.
13 Liquids Kids
Liquid Kids is a platforming title that was popular in Japan. It started as an arcade title that was later ported to the PC Engine and Sega Saturn. An Amiga port was planned and even finished, but the publisher Ocean Software couldn't release it because it turns out they never checked if they owned the rights to the property. In 2003, a copy of the game eventually made its way online.
12 Fez 2
The blow up behind Fez 2 is especially brutal because it seems like a situation that could have been entirely avoided. A very public feud took place with Fez's developer, Phil Fish, over the topic of how Microsoft treats indie developers. Fish exploded on Twitter over how he was being attacked and announced that not only was Fez 2 now cancelled, but that he was exiting the gaming industry entirely.
11 Eye Of The Beholder
It's always very interesting when one person with a strong opinion or an axe to grind can singlehandedly shut down a game. Eye of the Beholder was a fantasy RPG from the 1990s that was a popular title for the Super Nintendo and Sega CD. It was big news when there was apparently going to be a handheld version for the Atari Lynx, but then the company's president, Jack Tramiel, publicly denounced the game and said it would be too costly to make the cartridges that would be required to run the title on the Lynx.
10 Ms. Pac-Man: Maze Madness 2
Even through the Pac-Man titles are often associated with retro gaming and older generations, they’ve still had a popular life on modern consoles, too. Ms. Pac-Man: Maze Madness proved to be a popular return to form for the series, so Namco naturally moved ahead with work on a sequel. Unfortunately, after Namco merged with Bandai, the new brass weren’t thrilled over the concept and shut down the game, citing and “oversaturated market” as the cause, but that feels like a scapegoat.
9 Super Mario Spikers
Nintendo has found a lot of success with their plethora of Mario-based sports titles. Next Level Games, the team behind Super Mario Strikers tried to recreate that magic in a volleyball game, Super Mario Spikers. It seems like a natural fit, but Nintendo ultimately turned down the pitch because the game somehow "clashed with their code of honor." It's a rough loss, but at least Mario Party 4 still has a robust volleyball mode.
8 Six Days In Fallujah
A rather interesting story, since Konami’s tactical war shooter, Six Days in Fallujah, wanted to realistically depict modern combat stories and battles with real soldiers. It’s emphasis on being as genuine as possible caused enough controversy for Konami to back down and cancel development. It’s a fair stance, but so many modern shooters like Call of Duty, have prided themselves on the same things and still been released.
7 Motorstorm Apocalypse
The Motorstorm series has found moderate success among the many racers out there and even though Motorstorm Apocalypse came out in North America and other regions, it never got released in Japan due to some incredibly unfortunate bad timing. Japan was plagued with devastating earthquakes in March of 2011, which is exactly when Motorstorm Apocalypse was supposed to come out. The title's release was postponed internationally due to the game's premise involving driving through destroyed cities, but after the delay in Japan, it never got back on schedule and came out.
6 Thrill Kill
Extreme violence and gore were a double-edged sword for video games in the 1990s, but some titles even revolve around being excessive with their violence. EA was putting together a four-player fighter called Thrill Kill that prided itself in its brutality. As Thrill Kill got further into production, EA decided to back out before completion, afraid of a controversy, but the title’s fighting engine was still put to use elsewhere, most notably, Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style.
5 Superman: The New Adventures
Superman 64 is one of the biggest disasters in gaming history, so when the same title was also supposed to be released on the PlayStation, the N64 version’s poor reviews slowed down the port’s development in an attempt to correct the titles many problems. The team took so long to smooth out Superman: The New Adventure’s rough edges that their ownership of the property’s rights actually expired and someone else acquired them. At this point they had a nearly finished game, but then were unable to do anything with it. As improved as this game could have been, this was still perhaps for the best.
4 Star Wars 1313
In many ways, Star Wars 1313 could have been LucasArts’ final hurrah on the gaming front. They were working on an action-adventure title set in Coruscant and starring Boba Fett, of all characters. The project was gaining steam, but unceremoniously cancelled when Disney acquired LucasArts and then shut down the studio.
3 Disaster Report 4
The entire point of the Disaster Report series is that it chronicles what it's like to work through and survive real world disasters. Another casualty of the 2011 earthquake, it's not surprising to hear that Disaster Report 4 was put on hold and postponed since its development took place during the tragedy. Development of the game would later begin again, albeit for the PS4 instead of the PS3, and the plot radically changing.
The precursor to the SNES classic, Earthbound, Nintendo’s translation of Mother was completely finished and ready to go. However, at this point they assumed that their window of opportunity to release it had passed and it was a lost cause with the more advanced Super Nintendo coming out. Fortunately, this didn’t impede Earthbound’s eventual localization and Mother would eventually come out decades later via Virtual Console, as Earthbound Zero.
1 Parasol Stars
The shut down of the Commodore 64 title, Parasol Stars is perhaps the craziest and most upsetting story on this list. In the case of this game’s cancellation, it’s not the fault of a developer, poor marketing, or sales figure, but rather a violent act of revenge that gets horribly out of hand. There was extremely bad blood between the game’s creator and his ex-wife, who destroyed the Commodore 64 game in an alcoholic rage.
These are some of the cancelled video games that we thought were the most crushing and undeserved, but there are even more horror stories out there. Sound off over your picks in the comments below!