The Witcher 3 has been pushed to 2015. It’s always scary when a game is delayed, because it opens up the possibility of cancellation. Whether the result of a developer meltdown, financial problems or blatant mismanagement, there are a few games gamers miss more than others. Here’s a list of the five cancelled games that showed the most potential before their untimely demise.
5. Battlefront 3
If not for a recent development, this game would be #1 on this list. LucasArts’ failure to produce a third installment to the Battlefront series is possibly the worst mistake in the company’s history– even though they made many. If done well, it could have saved the studio.
Fortunately, EA purchased the rights to make Star Wars video games, and DICE has announced 2015 as a tentative release date for their own title. It’s not going to be called Battlefront 3, but it seems like a perfect fit; DICE is responsible for the Battlefield games, which Battlefront is a clear descendant of. It seems like fate that they’d get the rights to develop the next installment.
The distant release date is a good thing; it means we’ll get a separate, unique Star Wars experience, and not a re-skinned Battlefield game. However, meeting gamers’ expectations for a game already eight years in the making might be too much for any developer. May the Force be with DICE.
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned
Back when the Assassin’s Creed games were still stuck in medieval times, Disney planned to publish an open-world RPG set in the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. Developed by Propaganda Games, the game would have followed pirate captain James Sterling as he sailed across the Caribbean making a name for himself.
The game was set to include a customizable character, combat style, weapons, pirate ship and crew. Battles were possible on land and sea, and the player was in control of steering the ship, firing its cannons and even launching boarding parties.
Despite using movie universe, the game showed promise as its own experience. Unfortunately, Disney laid off most of the team working on the game and transferred the rest to work on Tron: Evolution, which received mixed reviews. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag should heal the musket ball-sized hole this game left, but not without leaving a scar.
3. Lord of the Rings: The White Council
While there are many other Lord of the Rings games on the market, The White Council had perhaps the most potential–imagine it, an Elder Scrolls-style game set in Middle Earth. The Tolkien universe has yet to receive a real open-world, single player adventure game. As an MMO, LOTR Online doesn’t really fill this niche.
The best we’ve gotten is LEGO Lord of the Rings, and while it’s a good game, it doesn’t exactly take the subject matter seriously. That’s fine, but the absence of a game like The White Council means expectations for a LEGO game that it simply can’t meet.
There was never much information released about the game, as it was cancelled just 6 months after its announcement. Officially, it was “delayed indefinitely” after executive producer Steve Gray was let go from EA. The development team moved on to other projects, so instead we got Lord of the Rings: Conquest, a mediocre-at-best Battlefront clone. In the words of Tolkien himself, ““It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.”
2. Megaman Legends 3
Nintendo announced Megaman Legends 3 in September 2010. A 3DS exclusive, the game likely caused some people to buy the handheld just to play it. However, the game’s production was terminated in July 2011. Keiji Inafune, considered by many the “father of Megaman,” left Capcom after 23 years right around the time the game was cancelled, but it’s unclear if that was related.
The game has developed somewhat of a cult following. A Facebook group called “100,000 Strong for Bringing Back Megaman Legends 3” does in fact have 100,000 likes—but Capcom has shown no signs of answering their call.
What makes this one sting even harder is the cliffhanger ending to Megaman Legends 2. The game ends with Megaman stranded on the moon after defeating the main villain. That kind of ending is like an unmatched left parenthesis (it creates a sense of unresolved tension that will stay with you all day.
1. Starcraft: Ghost
Blizzard isn’t known for releasing games on time. But while the company did eventually release StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3 after repeated delays, StarCraft: Ghost never materialized. The third-person shooter was announced in 2002 and finally put on “indefinite hold” in 2006.
StarCraft: Ghost promised a scale that no one had seen in games of the genre. In fact, it was practically a new genre altogether. The single-player campaign focused on stealth gameplay, while the multiplayer mode involved large-scale team battles taking up both land and sky.
Best of all, the game offered a chance to explore the lore of the StarCraft universe in a brand new way. It’s hard to appreciate the monstrosity that is a rampaging Zerg ultralisk when it’s limited by the constraints of an RTS game. Ghost could have provided a great new perspective on Blizzard’s creations; instead, like all these other potential games, it vanished for good.