Top 10 most anticipated video games that never came to fruition

Best canceled games Scalebound Final Fantasy Versus XIII

The best canceled games that failed to reach the finish line

The gaming industry is brutal. You need the right budget, a talented team, and a realistic working schedule to finish a project. These “best canceled video games” failed at least one of those three aspects.

Sometimes, fans get a metaphorical punch to the face when a game they’re looking forward to gets shut down. Let’s look at 10 games that had potential (or were exciting to hear about, at least!).

10. BioShock on Vita

Image via 2K Games

When series director Ken Levine announced BioShock on Vita on the PlayStation E3 2011 stage,  I was intrigued.

How could you place the intensity of Rapture into a portable game? According to Levine himself on Twitter, it was supposed to be a “Final Fantasy Tactics style thing set in pre-fall Rapture.” The unique genre mixed in with BioShock‘s groundbreaking storytelling and setting would have been amazing. Hopefully, one day, 2K revitalizes the idea because I’m intrigued. It’s one of the best canceled games based on its concept.

9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned

How hasn’t an open-world Pirates of the Caribbean game been released yet?! It would be a slam dunk, and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag proved that it can work.

Armada of the Damned was actually going to give us this dream game before it was canceled. The combat looked clunky, but exploring the seas on a ship like the Black Pearl or the Interceptor would have been sensational for fans of the property. We did get a Pirates of the Caribbean expansion in Sea of Thieves, but it would be cool if a developer like Rare or Ubisoft went the extra mile with this Disney property.

8. Scalebound

The Xbox One was a rough era for Microsoft. Like Fable Legends (which could also be on this list), Scalebound was canceled. This particular game was something special. It offered an action-RPG experience that included dragon-focused combat from Nier Automata developer Platinum Games. Scalebound looked spectacular but struggled with its frame rate, potentially leading to the game’s cancellation. It would be cool if the project gets rebooted by Microsoft because its subscription service Xbox Game Pass is lacking new triple-A titles.

This is one of the best examples of a canceled video game that should return on stronger hardware.

7. Telltale’s Stranger Things

Telltale gets too much flak. Its games feature impactful narratives and memorable decision-making. Telltale’s Stranger Things adaptation was going to be a step up from the traditional formula and get the studio to the next level.

It was developed in the Unity engine, upgrading the graphics and fixing the stiff animations in prior games. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to develop Telltale’s Stranger Things before the studio closed down (before reopening again). The staff thought at the time, “We are going to do what people want to see and hopefully [the game] will be groundbreaking and different enough for the studio that reignites interest,” according to Executive Assistant Paul Mastroianni in a Noclip documentary.

6. Silent Hills

Silent Hills best canceled games
Screenshot via GameZone’s YouTube Channel

P.T. is genuinely spooky. While playing it, I never knew what to expect around every corner, and its gameplay approach was intriguing. Once you finished the engaging demo, a trailer revealing Silent Hills played, showing future Death Stranding star Norman Reedus walking into the mysterious town. Silent Hills was highly anticipated due to its intense demo but was sadly shut down by Konami in 2015.

You can’t even download P.T. anymore, and it’s infuriating. Hopefully, the Silent Hill 2 remake brings new life to the horror series.

5. Star Wars 1313

Star Wars 1313
Screenshot by Star Wars’ YouTube Channel

Playing as a bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe sounds exciting to me, so I was thrilled to see the announcement trailer for Star Wars 1313. Little did I know that Disney would cancel the LucasArts project after it purchased the studio behind the sci-fi franchise. It’s one of the biggest disappointments as it mixed the shooting platformer gameplay of the Uncharted series with the Hollywood blockbuster universe of Star Wars. The visuals that were shown off are also impressive for 2013, with detailed character models and environmental design.

It’s a shame this was dropped amid the Disney buyout. Maybe the right studio could bring it back; I’m looking at you, Respawn! Bring back one of the coolest-looking canceled video games ever.

4. Visceral Games’ Star Wars title

Star Wars Visceral Games Amy Hennig
Screenshot via EA Star Wars’ YouTube Channel

Unfortunately, another Uncharted-like Star Wars game was canceled. What makes it worse is Amy Hennig, the creative director of the original Uncharted trilogy, was behind the production of the Visceral Games title before the studio closed down.

The early in-game footage looked impressive and seemed to be set in Tatooine with a huge Star Destroyer in the background. While we did get the excellent Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, it would have been amazing to get another interactive Star Wars story from the galaxy, far far away.

3. Agent

The lauded developer of the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption series, Rockstar Games, was working on a PlayStation exclusive called Agent. Not much was shared about it, but Sony was happy to announce the project during E3 2009. Then PlayStation boss Jack Tretton said it would have taken “a player across the shadowy world of espionage and assassins in the darkest hours of the late 1970s.” The project sounded promising, but we heard very little since its mysterious announcement.

It has been abandoned since, and the URL of the original website is defunct. Perhaps with the power of the PS5, Rockstar’s ambition to make an espionage game may return, but right now, all signs point to GTA 6 being its next project. Regardless, Agent is one of the best canceled video games, due to its promising concept and the studio behind it.

2. Final Fantasy Versus XIII

Final Fantasy XV is just okay, but Final Fantasy Versus XIII looked amazing. While the 15th entry has the same protagonists, it did not follow the story or Kingdom Hearts-like battle system in the above trailer. Its combat system let you switch between characters, take out mini-bosses roaming around the world, and had blockbuster-like action within key gameplay moments.

It looked exciting and not as restrictive as Final Fantasy XVa game that took director Tetsuya Nomura’s characters and placed them in a different direction. However, the ending of Kingdom Hearts III Remind and Yozora bears an eerie resemblance to Versus XIII’s camera angles in the trailers and its interpretation of Noctis.

1. Banjo-Threeie

This one is so strange on multiple levels.

We hoped for a polished Banjo-Kazooie sequel on Xbox systems, and it was finally teased at E3 2006. The first trailer shows Jiggies, the Honeycombs, and all kinds of collectibles you’d expect. However, what we actually got was Nuts & Bolts, a mediocre vehicle construction game. What made this even worse is how the introduction of Nuts & Bolts made fun of the fanbase. You control a version of the duo chasing after a straight line of golden collectibles. “Gamers today don’t want all this,” one of the characters says. “They just want to shoot things.” It was a real jab at the fans of the original two N64 classics.

The annoying thing is that Xbox still hasn’t provided us a Banjo-Threeie or even a remake of the first two after Crash and Spyro had their comebacks. They have shown their popularity through their delightful inclusion in Super Smash Bros. UltimateCome on, Xbox, hire a talented studio, and give the fans what they want.

About The Author
Chris Penwell
Chris is a freelance writer for multiple outlets, including Destructoid! He loves narrative games like Kingdom Hearts, Life is Strange, and Beyond Good & Evil. However, he does enjoy Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from time to time.
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