The other Dante’s Inferno game: Irrational’s canned PS2, Xbox title, The Lost

While everyone’s in a tizzy over Electronic Arts’ upcoming third-person action title Dante’s Inferno, it seems some people might have forgotten — it’s certainly not the first game based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.

In 2000, Boston-based Irrational Games began working on what was to be their first console title, a third-person action game called The Lost. Loosely based on the “Inferno” portion of Alighieri’s epic poem, the story revolved around a single mother who loses her daughter to a tragic car accident. Suicidal, she makes a deal with the devil and is given the chance to fight through Hell to recover the soul of her lost daughter.

More info and videos after the jump.

In development for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, The Lost was announced attached to publisher Crave Entertainment, and was even shown to the press at industry events like E3. Unfortunately, the title was apparently plagued by development and legal issues, and eventually shelved. Irrational Games’ (now 2K Boston/2K Australia) first console game, BioShock, would be released several years later to rave reviews.

Irrational had described the game as a “survival horror action RPG” and “a dark modern day re-telling of Dante’s Inferno.” The player was going to be able to switch between four different characters each with its own unique magic and weapons, and each with its own fully-upgradable attributes. Irrational also promised “storytelling at it’s [sic] digital best.”

The rights to The Lost were eventually sold off to FXLabs, who released a re-tooled version of the game — with entirely new artwork and stripped down gameplay — in India for the PC as Agni: Queen of Darkness.
Video of the game’s trailer and an early version of the title in develpment can be seen below. You can also check out some thumbnails of screenshots and concept art of the game, thanks to Internet Archive. We’ve also dug up some art assets from the title (which also looks to have been called Infernal Abyss at one point), found in the online portfolio of artist Michael Swiderek, who currently works at 2K Boston.

Would you have had more faith in a game loosely based on the Divine Comedy had Ken Levine and company been the minds behind it?

Nick Chester