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Cut Down In Their Prime

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the quite-a-sharp-blade dept.

88

Gamecloud has a piece looking at some worthy games that never made it to market for one reason or another. The one that hurts the most for me is Microsoft's canceled, but intriguing, Norse MMOG Mythica. From the article: "Date of Cancellation: February 2004. Microsoft Games Studios decided to get into the MMORG genre with this fantasy themed game that was announced with much fanfare in April 2003. This game, with a Norse mythology theme, was going to have more of a single player experience than most MMO games. However, less than a year later Microsoft decided to shut down development of Mythica with the team all laid off as well."

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88 comments

I hope part 2 covers the games from "A.I." (4, Informative)

Artifex (18308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877214)

Very little is widely known about the two games that were going to be made from the movie A.I., except that they were both supposed to be launch titles for the original X-BOX. My guess is that they were cancelled because the movie was not doing well. That's unfortunate, because apparently the games were going to expand upon the universe glimpsed in the movie, with completely different storylines.

Re:I hope part 2 covers the games from "A.I." (0, Redundant)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877242)

They could have made a pretty cool game out of that teddy bear. That thing was pretty cool.

Re:I hope part 2 covers the games from "A.I." (1)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877277)

Not really. The majority of games based on movies suck, and AI isn't a particularly movie-to-game conversion friednly film anywa. What genre could it possibly have been? I see no possible genre besides point and click adventure.

Re:I hope part 2 covers the games from "A.I." (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877434)

rpg.

worst case scenario... platformer. *shrugs*

never overestimate the intelligence of film execs.

I think you missed what I was saying. (3, Interesting)

Artifex (18308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877697)

They were set in the universe, but telling completely different stories. So they weren't film conversions. Remember the fake websites and stuff that came out before the movie? There were apparently going to be tie-ins with some of that "history," and so forth. There could have been humans vs. robots taking over cities and the world (pick either side), etc.

The point is, if they cover them, we'll get a chance to see.

Re:I think you missed what I was saying. (1)

Drogo007 (923906) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878457)

Aren't Industry NDAs fun... One of the titles was not originally tied into A.I. but was being developed for a completely different (and pretty darn obscure) property. When MS acquired the rights for A.I., management of our studio was given the directive to swap it over to the A.I. universe...but the game under development didn't really fit the A.I. storyline at all (after getting/having to sit through A.I. opening day just because our studio was developing a game for it). Think Diablo-style action game with an "upgradeable main character" But the whole thing was scrapped after A.I. tanked...

Re:I hope part 2 covers the games from "A.I." (1)

realityfighter (811522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879538)

Just to set the record straight, there was a game based on A.I. It was called The [4orty2wo.com] Beast [cloudmakers.org], and it was the first commercial alternate reality game. It was set between the first and second endings of A.I. and really fleshed out the world about 20 years after David left his family. If you noticed a certain weird job title in the film's end credits - that was part of this game.

Apparently the early development was done at Microsoft, so maybe this is where the ideas for the XBox games ended up?

Re:I hope part 2 covers the games from "A.I." (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879873)

Very little is widely known about the two games that were going to be made from the movie A.I., except that they were both supposed to be launch titles for the original X-BOX.

I think they were cancelled when playtesters expressed confusion over why David always falls down that goddam hole, and why his neck stretches as he levitates out of it -- ONLY TO FALL RIGHT BACK DOWN THAT FUCKING HOLE AGAIN!!!

I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (2, Interesting)

Thag (8436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877279)

In fact, I had been planning to upgrade my PC so that I'd be able to play it.

I know they shot the live footage needed for the game. I'd still love to see it get released, especially since some of the cast members are no longer with us.

It would still be a great game, though they could probably bump up the textures and polygons by a lot now. They could probably use the models from the show more or less unchanged now.

There was also another Sam and Max game for the XBox that was cancelled, that they fail to mention.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877415)

Well, someone http://ifh.firstones.com/ [firstones.com] has been doing a B5 combat game... I've poked around in it a bit and it looks kindof cool. There is apparently multiplayer added as well....

Undoubtably having a space combat game that uses -real- physics would have been awesome (none of this "ship drives like a car" stuff)

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (2, Insightful)

mrsev (664367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877578)

If you want real physics in a space combat game there was an Elite sequel called Frontier ...a long time ago for amiga and atari st days. (I think there were some java conversions running round the net...to play now that is ). This game used real physics ... and I can tell you it was almost totally unplayable. You accelerate and accelarate and half way there you have to slow down ...or you smash into a planet at several hundred km/sec. You try to fight and the other guy is travelling 150km/sec in one direction and you are at 200km/sec in the other. You have 1 second to get him in your sights at 100km range before he is gone.... then good luck in turning round. Great idea but could have met you half way. Anyway ...happy childhood memories.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (2, Insightful)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877740)

Sounds about right. My guess is that any real space combat will look al lot more like submarine warfare than air-to-air combat. Fat on stealth, sensors and long range weapons.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

qeveren (318805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877940)

You, sir, are my hero. I've been saying the same thing for ages. I'd love to see a sci-fi game, movie or tv-series based on 'realistic' space combat principles.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (2, Interesting)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878488)

Yes! I'm not sure where I got the idea from, but I've been thinking that's what space combat would be like. It would be sneaky, not flashy. Space is enormous, and it's hard to detect things at long range. It would be all about the sensors.

If your sensors (or your tactical person) was better than the enemy's, and you detected him before he detected you... you'd do some kind of a springloaded launch that didn't release any radiative energy. You'd wait for the missile to get a nice long, long way from you, and then activate it, so that the enemy couldn't discern where you were. And ideally, the missile would have a very low-power burn to start with.... even a few minutes at 0.01g acceleration will result in a very large absolute velocity. Whisper the engine a few minutes, get up a good amount of velocity, and then coast in silently, hoping for the explosion to be a total surprise.

If you actually got to the point of needing short-range guns, it would be a massive tactical failure by both parties. Most of the time, space combat would be over before you had ever even figured out where the enemy was. It would be vast stretches of boredom interspersed with short periods of absolute terror.

Unfortunately, this would make _very_ boring games, I think.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878624)

If you actually got to the point of needing short-range guns, it would be a massive tactical failure by both parties. Most of the time, space combat would be over before you had ever even figured out where the enemy was. It would be vast stretches of boredom interspersed with short periods of absolute terror.

That's pretty similar to the state of Battleships before Carriers made them obsolete. Battles (what few of them there were) were fought over the horizon, using what little intelligence they had to try to hit the precise point of the enemy vessel. Exercises developed to simulate these conditions were the origins of the "battleship" paper/boardgame.

Unfortunately, this would make _very_ boring games, I think.

It would make a very boring action game. As a strategy game, there are a lot of elements there that can be quite enjoyable. Starfire [starfiredesign.com] is an example of a strategic board game based on massive expanses of space and proper weapons ranges. You'll note that kinetic weapons are extremely powerful and difficult to counter, but they also require close quarters. Long range weapons are less powerful and easier to intercept, but can be launched as soon as the opposing force is detected.

I assume I don't need to mention David Weber's books as an example of semi-realistic space combat? Unfortunately, I don't know of any examples of books that cover such combat with a bit more near-future tech. The Harrington and Starfire series do a reasonable job on weaponry, but they absolutely suck when it comes to propulsion. The wedges and impeller drives used by these series are pure science fiction, and significantly change the dynamics of any battle. (Which would otherwise involve complex orbits around nearby bodies.)

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

NoStrings (622372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879394)

If you want more books with this type of space combat/travel, try Larry Niven's Known Space series, particularly the early stories, such as:

Tales of Known Space [amazon.com]
Protector [amazon.com]
World of Ptaavs [amazon.com]

These books feature the slow (less than the speed of light) space travel and long distance space combat discussed above. Generally, the entire Known Space series is quite a good read, IMHO.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945400)

Night Down trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton has possibly the best space combat description with near future tech. It is also has reasonably good plot and reasonably good characters.

I would highly recommend it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/033034032 8/qid=1142634482/sr=1-4/ref=sr_1_3_4/203-2662547-9 848710 [amazon.co.uk]
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/033035143 5/qid=1142634382/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_3_1/203-2662547-9 848710 [amazon.co.uk]
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/033035145 1/qid=1142634447/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_2_1/203-2662547-9 848710 [amazon.co.uk]

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878680)

David Weber's "Honor Harrington" series of books tries to have 'realistic' space combat; their one concession to the fact that it probably wouldn't work is to invent a 'hyperspace' to get from star system to star system, and 'gravity wedges' to allow for high acceleration within normal space, but it's all very internally consistant.

The battles themselves play out as anywhere from submarine/ASW warfare to 'the wall of battle' which basically involves two walls of really big ships flying past one another while letting the broadsides fly.

There is an constant thread, however, that the only reason space combat is feasable is because there are individual points in space, i.e. planets, that need to be defended; otherwise, needle in a haystack.

The other interesting thing is watching him figure out the implications and improvements on his own idea throughout the books, and watching the tactics, strategy, and technology evolve in ways that make sense.

From a 'literary' point of view, his first few books get awfully hammy, like naming a character Rob S. Pierre, no relation or similarity to Robspierre, nudge nudge wink wink, but he's never been afraid to royally screw with characters, or kill off major players.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878746)

Other weapons would be lasers and ion cannons. Things that travel at or near the speed of light, so there is no warning at all. I think missiles would be hard to use. Ranges would typically be on the order of thousands of miles. Still, fire a dozen of your stealth missiles and quietly leave, letting the missiles arrive at thier target two days later... nukes and kinetic energy weapons would rule I think. Similar to anti-balistic missile defences.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

MSZ (26307) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881705)

Not so easy...

Lasers (esp. xray or gamma ray) would be great weapons, but, unfortunately with not-so-great range. Beams lose focus, so at long distance you would have effect more like searchlight than death ray. Even more for ion beams (electrostatic repulsion of same-charge ions).

Nukes are crap in space. No blast wave to speak of, so only effect would be from radiation - must get very close to be effective.

So you still would have to get quite close to the enemy to actually hurt them. Or rely on dropping mines, stealth missiles etc that would drift towards the enemy and activate when they get close. Assuming enemy does not change course...

Kinetic energy weapons might be quite effective, but again, must be fired from short distance so the enemy can't detect them early and dodge.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14882133)

I didn't give a lot of detail, I wasn't sure anyone cared. So here are some details. I have given this more thought than what my first post took...

Lasers lose focus because of the optics. Bigger and better optics are the answer. Start at 20 meters or so in diameter. That plus our best tolerances should be enough for a range of 500 miles or more (a couple thousand would be better..) So they won't fit on anything smaller than a battleship. So what. 1GW of power for 10s would do damage to anything, even spread over 4 sq meters. (still 250k times sunlight at 1 AU). Besides, even a strong searchlight can cook cameras etc, and a blind target is a soon to be dead one. I am no laser expert, but this sounds doable.

Nukes. No blast? Add a few dozen tons of shrapnel (your guidance still better be good...) On the other hand, there are other ways to kill a spaceship than blowing it up. Radiation still kills stuff. That is mostly what I had in mind anyway. Could you find a way to aim the radiation... ? Shaped charge nukes??? Perhaps nukes are better suited for minefields.

Current anti-missile missiles are already fired from hundreds if not thousands of miles away. And they are all kinetic energy weapons. No warhead, they just hit the target at closing speeds of 2-6 thousand mph. Now all you have to do is make it invisible to radar, small profile, control it's temperature (so it does not show up vs. the background) and paint it black. It can't be easy to see a black football against a black background at 100 miles. And in space, a closing speed of 100 miles/second should be easy. To dodge this, you need to spot it, determine it's path, and move in one second. Not easy. Neither would the guidance system...

Hmm.. At one metric ton, assuming my math is good, that speed equals 2.8 kilotones TNT of energy. Ouch.

Ion beams. They start charged. them you merge 2 of them. It is called a neutral beam then. Better have it focused before they merge... (google for more info)

Space warships (if they ever happen) will be big. Star Destroyer size. Not X-wings.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14884206)

Ion beams. They start charged. them you merge 2 of them. It is called a neutral beam then.

Then it's a kinetic weapon. Has to be aimed very well and assume that the enemy doesn't change course. I'm not too sure on the impact it'd have on the hull and it would be an energy transfer weapon, i.e. impact energy <= energy drained from your power supply. I'd be more partial towards explosives accellerated with chemical reactions (i.e. conventional weapons), they are more space efficient and can be fired rapidly.

Or go with homing missiles (using radar or IR tracking, the latter only for targets that fired their thrusters recently). Build pods of these things (kinda like torpedo mines that launch a torpedo at certain sounds) that can be launched into space and fired from a position far away from your own and the things will still find the enemy even if he changes course.

Of course the problem is detecting the enemy in first place. A craft that does not want to be seen will be hard to see. Unless it uses its engines (not necessarily happening) or has really bad insulation you can't use its emissions and radar gives away your position. A radar drone that would send out the radar signals could be used to lure the enemy away but would still tell him that someone's nearby. Of course you can just have active radar all the time if your radar range is big enough to spot targets before they are within range but it would still alert everyone to your presence.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14887735)

"Then it's a kinetic weapon"

Traveling at 1/2 c or better. Good luck with the dodge. And it is then just a very fast stream of gas, most of the effects on the target will be the same as charged particles. Heat, and lots of it. Better than a laser, as mirrors won't do squat. Of course it has to be aimed well, just like the laser would. But dodging it would be almost as hard as dodging the laser. As for the energy cost, any space-based warship will have fusion/fission or better power. Chemical explosives will be used only when there is no alternative. Way too low energy density.

The B-2 stealth bomber is almost invisible to radar. We are doing this now. Space-based warships don't need to fly in an atmosphere like the B-2 does, so stealth will be easier. You will never find a space-based warship on radar. Count on it. Radar-guided missiles won't work. Not only will they not see the target, but the radar signal tells the target exactally where it is. Just begging for an ion cannon, laser, or rail-gun shootdown. Or a dodge - closing speed has to be fast to avoid a shootdown. Manoeuvring at these speeds will take a lot of propellant, which means limited manoeuvring. an active radar lets the target start dodging way too soon, and the missile runs out of fuel.

Unless it's position is known anyway, (orbital platforms, asteriod based forts etc.) anything with active radar dies as soon as an enemy ship gets within 10,000 miles. Submarines almost never use their active sonar for the same reason.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889424)

If the enemy flies in a random pattern you'll have trouble hitting him, no matter how fast your weapon is. If you cause heat emissions the enemy will know your position (and can track it until your weapon has cooled down significantly) and assuming that the first hit is swallowed by the armor you will have to prepare for a drawn out battle even if you hit first.

And I'm not sure if gas pressure wouldn't cause neutral gas clouds to disperse over distance if you want to give them enough mass to do any significant damage.

As for the energy cost, any space-based warship will have fusion/fission or better power.

Can those really output enough to keep the weapons firing? Accelerating matter to c/2 takes a lot of energy and will most likely cause a lot of loss, even more if you want to keep your accellerator small.

Radar-guided missiles won't work.

Then use IR or laser guided, the latter will work as long as your targeting system can keep the laser on the enemy and even if you lose track for a moment the missile could just assume linear movement for the target until you mark it again. With a good targeting system that should deliver enough payload to any large vessel, if in doubt let it blow when it's close enough, with a nuke on board that should melt the target's armor (or at least heat it up for easy tracking) if your target guidance wasn't too bad.

Of course you most likely won't see a target that isn't stupid in first place, a vessel ordered to avoid detection could probably get close enough to any stationary target to deploy heavy weapons without prior detection. You could probably even send the missiles without any starship around them. So how would you defend a planet if you can't spot enemy WMDs before they reach the atmosphere?

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890324)

At c/2, the beam would cover 10,000 miles in just over 1/10 of a second. Anything accelerating fast enough to make hitting it hard is all engine, is not a threat, and will be out of fuel in a few seconds anyway. Effectively, the target is standing still, or at worst moving in a straight line. Don't forget the 0.05s lightspeed delay that your targeting sensors have though or you will miss... And how much do you expect the gas to expand in that 0.1 seconds, anyway?

"If you cause heat emissions the enemy will know your position (and can track it until your weapon has cooled down significantly)"

Dead right. you never want to do this. However, the heat I mentioned is what happens to the target when the beam hits, not the gun. (it may emit heat too, and you'll have to deal with that. I suggest putting something cold and shiny inbetween the gun and the enemy, with a small hole for the 'barrel')

"Can those really output enough to keep the weapons firing?"

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] 600-1200 MW is doable now. You may well be limited to a 1/10 duty cycle for your gun though... And we are accelerating micrograms to milligrams of hydrogen, not kilograms. just a few billion joules - at 1/10 duty cycle 1000MW is overkill.

Missiles. I didn't mean to imply that missels wouldn't work, or that they wouldn't need guidance. Just that active radar was a really bad idea. Lasers are still bad, but much better. And you won't want to use small accelerators, mostly 'cause they will cause more loss but also because there is little advantage to 'small' here.

How to defend a planet. Your question is mostly right here. If all your sensors are on the planet, your first clue that there is an intruder in the system will be his missiles hitting you. This is the same problem that the US and USSR had during the cold war. Balistic missile subs could be anywhere. The solution was attack subs, constantly on the prowl, and also stealthed. You would need lots of stealth spaceships scattered throughout the system, so the enemy never knows where your sensors are - this makes hiding from them much harder. Sure he is out of detection range from the planet at 200,000 miles, but not from that attack ship 500 miles off his starboard side, that he can't see (cause it is smaller? better stealth? better sensors?)

Most of our conversation has been on weapons, but stealth and sensors will be far more important. Have you ever read 'Hunt for Red October'?

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891335)

And you won't want to use small accelerators, mostly 'cause they will cause more loss but also because there is little advantage to 'small' here.

I meant "small" compared to today's linear accellerators which are measured in kilometers. I doubt you could mount a 7 kilometer weapon in your ship, at that size you could fill it up with shells or missiles and just bombard 'em in the old fashioned way.

You would need lots of stealth spaceships scattered throughout the system, so the enemy never knows where your sensors are - this makes hiding from them much harder.

OTOH during the cold war they were guarding a two dimensional plane (because subs can't go very deep) and there was friction that would cause noise. In space you could accellerate to your desired speed, turn of the engines and drift towards your target with zero emissions. I doubt you could detect such a vessel at 500km or more if it wasn't particularly reflective, had a good insulation and an anti-radar hull. Even worse if the enemy fired a bunch of warheads in a cloud of debries, while you'll spot those you'd have trouble picking out the warheads and your planet cannot dodge.

If stealth technology would not suffice against the radars in that future you could of course pepper the system with radar drones and automated weapons platforms, even though the enemy knows where the radars are he'd have to disable at least some of them if he doesn't want to show up as a blip and that would notify you of his presence. Perhaps he'd even have to give his position away by firing his weapons which should give your weapons platforms plenty to shoot at.

Of course fortifying a sphere in 3d is not easy and you'd have to place a lot of sensors out there.

Most of our conversation has been on weapons, but stealth and sensors will be far more important. Have you ever read 'Hunt for Red October'?

I even read his followup where he explains the discrepancies between the fiction he wrote and the real world. Nothing that would influence this discussion.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895128)

"I meant "small" compared to today's linear accellerators which are measured in kilometers."

Oh. Today's linear accelerators are optimised for high energy research. 0.9 c and more. While that would make aiming easier, it would be useless here, the power and efficiency is way too low. We need hundreds of millions of joules, not 0.25 joules worth of 30GeV particles. The design parameters here are very different. 200-500 meter long acclerators should be more than enough.

"In space you could accellerate to your desired speed, turn of the engines and drift towards your target with zero emissions."

First, that is very hard. Any vehicle, especially a manned one will generate heat. This heat must be dumped. You can control which direction the heat goes, but it has to go. Looking at it from more angles makes hiding much harder.

On the other hand, even if emmisions were droped to zero, space is not totally dark. There are stars. A moving object, even with no emmisions, can be racked by the stars it blocks. If the ship is traveling straight at you this is hard. This is why multiple angles would be so usefull.

You are right that 3d space is much harder to defend than 2D. In practice this will at least partly be offset by sensor range. Subs can only hear at best a few dozen miles. Space is much clearer, we have the whole EM spectrum that we can use, and we have much better sensors for it already. That said, it is still a hard problem. On the other hand, this just emphasizes my original point - Space warfare is stealth, sensors, and long-range weapons. Not dogfights.

"If stealth technology would not suffice against the radars in that future you could of course pepper the system with radar drones and automated weapons platforms, even though the enemy knows where the radars are he'd have to disable at least some of them if he doesn't want to show up as a blip and that would notify you of his presence. Perhaps he'd even have to give his position away by firing his weapons which should give your weapons platforms plenty to shoot at."

I am sure that radar won't work here. Stealth is just too easy. It will be replaced with lots of very good passive sensors. Other than that, this sounds about right.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

Meph_the_Balrog (796101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879375)

Dare I risk my karma and mention Wing Commander the movie? :P

Space combat in it for capital class ships was somewhere between a US Navy battleship and submarine warfare. Basically you had no accurate control over what your targeting computer would lock onto, and anything but a guided missile was relatively inaccurate. This style of gameplay could also still be enjoyable - I remember a couple of submarine games back in the early 90's that were like this.

Mind you, IMHO the physics engine for full 3d vectoring in basically zero gravity (this is assuming a total avoidance of combat within a gravity well) would be a nightmare to build and streamline.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877754)

Keep in mind that its possible to place reverse thrusters. You also rarely see a heavy fight in B5 in a massive gravity well (probably for this reason). Lots of TV sequences highlighted combat of this nature, etc. Cool stuff.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

qeveren (318805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877883)

Space combat in Frontier was easy. Just shut your engines off and use thrusters to stay out of the way of your opponent's laser. If you were flying between planets manually, you're insane; that's what autopilot is for. oO;

Check out "Independence War" (2, Informative)

brouski (827510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878105)

For space combat with realistic physics that's not taken to such ridiculous extremes.

Re:Check out "Independence War" (1)

cswiger2005 (905744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878773)

Agreed, or better yet, pick up the sequel, Independence War 2. IW2 is a great game, right up there with Privateer or Starflight. IW1 was good but had some very difficult missions that involved hunting down some magic key that activate a special option that would be useful for that one mission alone, whereas the use of remote control in IW 2 was made more reasonable and more optional (ie, being clever would help you complete a mission more easily, but you could try to do it the hard way and even succeed in IW2, in IW1 you'd fail unless you followed the pre-scripted expected course).

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878618)

Terminus had realistic physics and the battles were quite enjoyable. The main sacrifices they made for playability were a maximum speed for ships and a maximum range for weapons. While there were some of the high-speed fly-by business you mention, after a couple passes both ships tended to reign it in so they could hit each other, and that's where the fun 3-D combat began. It was sort of like the circle-strafing battles of Doom 2, only with inertia and in three dimensions. Though the fly-bys could be fun too, since your torpedoes would do more damage based on the extra relative velocity -- I used that to good effect for surprise attacks. Heh heh.

Re:I had been looking forward to the B5 game. (1)

Locke03 (915242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878166)

Might want to check out some of the Freespace 2 Mods out there. The Babylon Project is quite good, at least as a game, as I have little familiarity with the B5 universe. It works well with the Freespace2 Source Code Project and is also available as a stand-alone program if I remember correctly.

Not sure... (1)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877306)

Bah, I'm not sure it would have been a hit. I have yet to meet a movie-based game that's really entertaining. Most of these games are created so quickly that they lack the finesse and details that we've gotten used to. Vice versa is equally true, movies based on games never really are THAT successful. I think only Tomb Raider I and Mortal Kombat I (the movies) can be said to have had a notable success.

Apparently their "prime" was after conception? (4, Insightful)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877316)

"In their prime" would refer to something that had a prime to begin with. Pre-release cancellations would maybe be "stillborn," forgiving the crudeness of referring to it that way.

The litany of reasons for the cancelled games:

  • Decided it would never be profitable.
  • Studio working on it was shut down due to broader financial troubles.
  • Studio sold off to another company.
  • Sequel to a poorly received release "never got off the ground."
  • Studio cancelled it to concentrate on another title, then closed up shop altogether owing to financial troubles.
  • Had a successful MMORPG, didn't want to siphon subscribers from it to a new one.
  • Second sequel to that same game cancelled, developers devoted to the original.
  • "Wasn't coming along as planned." This was a precursor to "The Sims Online."
  • "Internal problems" (followed by developer essentially shutting down).
  • Weren't ever serious about it. ("This was a game we had to give to our publisher in order to get a very sweet deal in another area. We've since talked them out of it.")
  • Well underway, but LucasArts decided it would never be profitable and pulled the plug.
  • Just plain "decided to cancel."
  • Missed its release date and eventually (sort of) got released using a different engine.
  • Shut down development, developers laid off.
  • Just plain cancelled.

That's almost all financial troubles and projections -- "Our studio is strapped for cash and can't follow through," or "We don't think there's a market." Aside from the Sims title, the absence of "We got halfway there and decided it just didn't work that well" from the list is conspicuous.

Another indication of how much like movie producing the games industry has become. Indies strapped for cash that can't follow through, big studios making projections about market space...

Re:Apparently their "prime" was after conception? (3, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877386)

The official (or even semi-official) reasons aren't always the real reasons. "Financial Concerns" is often a codeword for "the developers aren't getting it done and we're not wasting any more money on this project".

One reason I would have liked to have seen for about half of those games: "It was turning into yet another also-ran FPS, we wanted to work on something unique". The Bab5 game is a real loss though, although it looks like it would have been Wing Commander with different actors, I think it could have done really well.

Re:Apparently their "prime" was after conception? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14880980)

For Mythica, it was:
  "We just bought Sigil, with Brad McQuaid! Certainly it will be better than what any internal team is putting together, and we don't want to compete with ourselves. Cancel Mytica!"
"Genius!"
(2 years later)
"Oh, fuck. Sigil's game looks like shit! Where'd that other MMO go?"
"You canceled it, genius."

Golden Sun 3 (4, Informative)

fishybell (516991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877317)

The first Golden sun ended with the story only partially finished, the second finished with a huge cliffhanger, and the third...

Well, the third Golden Sun doesn't, and probably never will, exist. It definitely tops my list of games never released.

Of course, since this is talking about games that got started, announced, and then cancelled, the much anticipated Golden Sun 3 doesn't quite fit.

Re:Golden Sun 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878305)

I thought the ending to Golden Sun 2 wasn't all that much of a cliffhanger.

Sure, there's plenty of ways to continue the story, but it certainly didn't leave me yelling "No! Wait! What happens next? TELL MEEEEEE!!!"

Re:Golden Sun 3 (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14884245)

The first Golden Sun ended when the introduction was over. I didn't buy GS2 because that pissed me off. I'm not supporting the business model of "The first half is done, let's ship it at full price and work on the second half!".

The company is still working on games, I think the rumour is that they're making an RPG for the Revolution console. Another rumour says it's related to Golden Sun but not a direct sequel.

Re:Golden Sun 3 (1)

Impotent_Emperor (681409) | more than 8 years ago | (#14884722)

Either there will be a sequel which pits the forces of good and evil in a climatic battle to save the world... or that guy will stay where he is for a billion years.

Fallout 3? (1)

Ruediger (777619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877333)

Is Fallout 3 ever going to be released?

Re:Fallout 3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14877919)

Fallout 3 was called codenamed Van Buren, and was abandoned by Interplay.

http://www.svatopluk.com/fallout/van_buren/ [svatopluk.com]

Re:Fallout 3? (2, Informative)

TaoTehChing (954321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878077)

I seen something a while ago about Bethesda picking it up: http://www.nma-fallout.com/fallout3/ [nma-fallout.com] It's apparently in pre-production according to the FAQ, I am really looking forward to it as well. I think they are the perfect company to develop it.

Re:Fallout 3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878239)

think they are the perfect company to develop it.

Why in god's name would you say that?

They do Elder Scrolls. 1st person, real-time, fantasy setting.

Not:

3rd-person, turn-based, post-apoc setting.

I want to see it made, too, and they are all we have. But, to say they're the perfect people to make it is a little nuts.

What makes these games so special? (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877336)

Other than the fact that some of them have big names attached (Bab5, X-Com, Dikantana*cough*), the article doesn't give us a good reason to have wanted these games over the hundreds of others that have never made it out the door. Experience with games that have made it out the door, has shown that that only a small number of them are ever actually worth investing time and money into. Those that are blockbusters or cult favorites usually have something exceptional about them, such as powerful storylines, intense gameplay, or amazing engines.

So quite seriously, what is it that makes these games special?

Re:What makes these games so special? (1)

abandonment (739466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878938)

seriously - who would EVER want to see 'another' daikatana? did anyone actually play the original? the only thing 'interesting' about this game was watching the self-destruction of john romero's company in prime time...

sorta like watching a car crash in slow motion...as far as the game goes - there wasn't anything interesting about it that i could see, yet another generic first person shooter developed with a licensed engine (ie a mod basically)...

another of these the world doesn't need...

fallout and xcom on the other hand, are two that definitely needs to be redone in some shape or form...

guess we'll have to wait and see how bestheda does with their 'version' of fallout...

Golgotha (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877352)


Crack dot com

Never came out, but I was looking forward to it

Re:Golgotha (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878034)

Here's the source code [sourceforge.net] to it. It's still possible to finish if you can generate enough interest in the idea.

Unfortunately, Crack dot Com was a victim of poor project planning [loonygames.com], and Golgatha showed it. It was always one of those "cool ideas" that was never quite fleshed out into something playable. While larger companies can manage to survive such poor planning through deep pockets, it's the kiss of death for smaller ventures like Crack dot Com.

It's too bad that companies always feel such pressure to follow up one success with others even when they're not ready. Had CdC taken more time to develop the technology and concepts they wanted before plunging into a 30K/mo burn rate, they might have become a big player in the industry. :-(

Heh, the REAL Ultima Online (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877354)

Here is a game that made it to market, and had alot of promise. Playing the game during the beta stages was amazing, and great fun. I didn't even mind starting over every so often. Unfortunately when it actually went live the game turned to crap. It was no longer the same game and all the "patch", "fixes", "enhancements", and "rebalancing" that took place after awards never made the game any better.

Daikatana2 and SimsVille (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877361)

Hmm, of the list those were the only two I would have been interested in.

I seem to recall hearing about SimsVille, and think it was when SimCity was still fairly high on the lists, think maybe it died off when people stopped buying much in the SimCity line, and started becoming way more interested in things like Sims and Sims2 lines.

Oh well, way too many releases right now to worry about what never happened.

Re:Daikatana2 and SimsVille (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877584)

As I understand it, a lot of the stuff they did for SimsVille ended up getting used in the Hot Date expansion.

The Sims is not really a simulation game. It's more like a cybernetic dollhouse for grownups. Aside from the name and the reuse of some of the basic technology (graphics mostly), The Sims doesn't really have much connection with SimCity and other Maxis simulation games. Which is just as well -- I always found the underlying models for the simulation games unconvincing.

Babylon 5: Into the Fire (1)

Kaimelar (121741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877393)

I remember really looking forward to this game when it was announced . . . it's a bummer that it got canned.

Howver, for those that still want to fly a 'Fury on their PC, there's this:

http://ifh.firstones.com/ [firstones.com]

I believe there are some B5 Freespace mods as well.

Re:Babylon 5: Into the Fire (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879459)

when the game was cancelled they mailed out posters and mousepads to first come first served.

It was depressing to see the game canned, there were unofficial remarks that it was nearly done. Boxes printed and all the included junk was there too, that was where the "hologramed" mousepads came from.

Earthbound 0,2 (1)

jshackles (957031) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877520)

What about the Earthbound game that was originally slated for the NES? What about the sequel to the SNES "Earthbound" that was supposed to come out for the N64? IMHO, these games (at least one of them) would be a good canidate for the "most anticipated titles never released"

Re:Earthbound 0,2 (1)

SirDaShadow (603846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877707)

Dude, get on with the times:

http://starmen.net/mother3/ [starmen.net] (Mother 3 GBA)

Re:Earthbound 0,2 (1)

jshackles (957031) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877734)

Dude, it's not the same... Sure it'll be a great game, and it's supposed to be in a 2d form like the original earthbound, but I remember seeing screenshots of Mother 3 for the N64 (before they canned the project) that to me looked great, for the time.

Even if Earthbound 2 comes out for the GBA, and even if it has the same plot that it was going to have originally on the N64, it still wont be the same.

Re:Earthbound 0,2 (0)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878311)

Oh really? And you have evidence that you are correct?

Huh? (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878664)

You need evidence that the GBA can't display 3D graphics on par with the N64? Or what exactly are you asking for?

Re:Huh? (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879479)

You have evidence that polygons truly make a game "different"? I didn't think so.

Re:Huh? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880135)

So playing "Link to the Past" on the SNES or GBA is the same experience as playing "Ocarina of Time" on the N64 or 'Cube?

Lets face it, as far as plot goes there just ain't that big a difference between the two (or even between the two of them and "The Legend of Zelda" for that matter). I think it's very hard to argue honestly that there isn't a difference between the two experiences. I think it is clear that the original poster thought the difference in gameplay experience between a 2-D Earthbound, and 3-D Earthbound would have been novel and enjoyable in ways that the same way that "Ocarina of Time" was/is.

Re:Huh? (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14886237)

So playing "Link to the Past" on the SNES or GBA is the same experience as playing "Ocarina of Time" on the N64 or 'Cube?

OoT could've been done in 2D. Sure, it would've been a bit different, but not all that much.

Polygons don't, 3D does (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889681)

You have evidence that polygons truly make a game "different"? I didn't think so.

Oh, polygons by themselves don't. A three-dimensional word, however, that's a different story. What's the difference between the GBA version of GTA and the PS2 version of GTA? Same story, same action, same options. Not same game at all. Mario can jump on mushrooms whether you're playing Super Mario Bros or Mario 64, but surely you won't claim that there's no difference.

No mention of URU Live? (1)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877646)


After 6-7 years in the making, UbiSoft cut the funding to Cyan while it was in its beta stage, still in the proloque before its main launch, after 10,000's of copies of the single-player/client portion of the game had been sold. Like many others, this was more a case of it being cut down before it even had a chance to reach its prime, though...

It had a ton of potential, and now that the platform requirements and broadband issues are more inline with what more and more people have on their desktops, perhaps there's a chance that that potential will still be reached.

Full Throttle 2 (1)

basketcase (114777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877663)

The game that never was that I want most is Full Throttle 2. I loved the original was very impatiently awaiting the sequel when Lucas Film killed it :(

What about games chopped to shit before release? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14877691)

Just off the top of my head a MMORPG like Horizon's was promising the world, only to be a shadow of what it was intended to be.

Games where they are rushed, watered down, and released would be better off to be just canned and not released.

My biggest disappointment (5, Informative)

Aeron65432 (805385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877721)

was the lack of Freespace3. I thought Freespace1/2 were phenomenally done. Freespace 2 was one of the few game sequels I thought thoroughly improved the previous game in every aspect. Graphics, gameplay, interaction were all great. It was an excellent start to what promised to be an excellent series. Cut down in its prime indeed.

Sadly, Freespace3 was one of the many casualties of Interplay's death.

Cut down in its prime (2, Insightful)

sehryan (412731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877793)

Well, if you are looking for games or, even better, series that were cut down in their prime, then I think the Freespace series deserves mention.

In terms of space sims, both Freespace 1 and 2 are each easily near the best, if not the best, in the genre. I was disappointed when a Freespace 3 didn't materialize. I guess space sims just aren't that popular.

Duke NukeEm Forever (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14877935)

I am still waiting for it...... so I can play it on my Phantom Console :)

Xeno* (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878119)

Although Xenosaga and Xenogears had and will have all the main story fleshed out, their thoughts that they would have more time and funding ot develop the games have caused them to kind of be too slow, then too fast. I won't even get started on the prior parts of the Xenogears saga that were never techincally done. But With Xenogears, the first disc was _slow_, to the point where it stopped many from continuing to play. Then, realizing they couldn't drag the game on any more due to funding, the second disc was _fast_, to the point where cut-scenes of dialogue were used to tell big parts of the story since they couldn't devote any more time to gameplay for those scenes. Fast Forward to Xenosaga, the unofficial prequel (It is, but isn't due to licensing issues). Was suposed to be quite a few games. First game was slow. Second game was faster, but still a bit lax in big story twists compared to single-game RPGs. Now they have decided to cram all the rest (which I'd imagine contains quite a few big events) into one last game since it has been decided there will be no more after this. It's sad and ironic what happened to Xenogears is happening to Xenosaga. Xenosaga is in my opinion what a serialized RPG should be. .hack has some fun gameplay, but the story on the first part at least was very lacking.

Re:Xeno* (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878284)

Xenogears was cool. Xenosaga.... where the hell was the game? I remember literally running form one cutscene to the next. I think there were 4 or 5 small, way to easy to beat dungeons. Entire planets consisted of a town and 1 dungeon, and there were only 2 or 3 of those to go to. Throw in a ahckeneyed plot that couldn't have made sense even to the writers, and is it any surprise that it bombed?

Duality (1)

cubicle_cowboy (521716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878358)

It was going to be an FPS for the Mac (maybe PC too?) and the team included the guys that did Marathon Infinity. The setting was going to be a cool alien religous world. It had a pretty gritty look to the whole thing. At the time I was totally psyched because the story looked cool and it was going to be one of the first true 3D FPSs for the Mac at the time.

Unfortunately after some nice looking screen shots, the project was cancelled and the studio dissolved. I think it was lack of money, but I'm not sure.

PREY getting released??? (1)

Zinho (17895) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878563)

From The Fine Article: (emphasis added)
Human Hean went on to create, among other games, Rune, Dead Man's Hand and the upcoming Prey.
OK, perhaps this just shows how out of touch I am with gaming news, but I was totally expecting Prey to be one of the examples on the list, not a footnote about games to be released soon.

I thought Prey started development a little after Quake 2 got released, and was supposed to have a "revolutionary" 6 DOF game engine that they were making in house. Unfortunately, someone decided that it was good enough to sell to Real Estate agents to make 3D walkthroughs of their properties for sale (or something like that), so the engine got sold and the game got permanently shelved. If someone knows better, please correct my memory.

Looking online, I've found that IGN has news items [ign.com] on this game going back to 1998 showing developers leaving and 3D Realms desperately trying (unsuccessfully) to stave off rumors that that the project was dead:
March 12, 2002 - Prey, its very name is the definition of vaporware, and is even perhaps responsible for a lot of the Duke Nukem nay saying.

Wow. Actually being released. Using the Doom 3 engine, no less. Who knew? (answer: anyone paying attention to E3, which obviously didn't include me)

Personally, I'll belive it when the game gets released; No US release date + hyped E3 demo = still vaporware.

Re:PREY getting released??? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14884360)

I think this isn't the same Prey those reports were about. They probably cancelled the game and just recently dug out the design document again and made a new Prey.

The game I always mention... PROPELLER ARENA (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879185)

And why do I do it? Because I'm the creator of the Propeller Arena Fan Site [gametribute.com]. Worth checking if you're a Dreamcast fan!

Re:The game I always mention... PROPELLER ARENA (1)

Jurrasic (940901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879860)

Agree wholeheartedly, and thanks for the link to the fansite. :) I am very glad to possess a copy of the final beta version of this game that was leaked to the 'net, it is perhaps the finest multiplayer experience on a console and I firmly believe it would have saved the Dreamcast. However, in the context of this article which seems to reference only PC games, it really wouldn't have fit.

that's not "cut down in their prime" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14879341)

They aren't "cut down in their prime", they're stillborns. Cut down in their prime are games like Star Wars Kinghts of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, where a game that is fantastic up until 2/3-3/4 of the way through becomes disjointed and a major disappointment. The first in the series was ground-breakingly good, developed by Bioware and published by LucasArts. For the sequel LucasArts wanted a game as good as the original done in less time. Greedy bastards. The new developer, Obsidian, were arrogant enough to agree to do it and then arrogant enough to try to massively improve upon the original despite the amount of time it took Bioware to produce the first one -- part of this arrogance was from their misplaced belief that LucasArts would allow them extra time once they saw the work-in-progress. Of course, the soul-less money-grubbers at LucasArts wanted their money and wanted it NOW, and the game was released unfinished.

Fortunately, Team Gizka [team-gizka.org] have decided to complete the game for us :)

Sierra (4, Funny)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879404)


Half Life for the Mac. Goddam Sierra.

I still refuse to buy any of their product, in protest. I'll steal it, but won't buy it. Goddamit.

Halo (2, Informative)

Trogre (513942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879489)

If we're talking about potentially great games that never made it to market, how about the original Halo?

You know, the one that was developed entirely by Bungee and was nearly ready for release before they were bought out by Microsoft. Let's call it Halo(PC) for simplicity.

After the acquisition, pressure was put on Bungee to put out an XBox flagship since MS had nothing at that point. To fit in the enormous memory limitations of the original XBox compared to a standard PC, great wads of the game (geometry, textures, levels etc) were cut out and the original game was shelved never to be seen again. And Halo(XBox) was born. People flocked to it in droves since it was supposed to be this great revolutionary game, and left wondering, quite rightly, what the fuss was all about.

When Microsoft was kind enough to announce Halo for the PC, Bungee wasn't allowed near the original PC game they'd written. No, instead they ported the XBox version (rather poorly) to the PC. So Halo(XBox[pc]) was created. And the PC gamer says "This plays better on my friends XBox" and goes out and buys an XBox himself, forgetting his clunky old PC.

So yes, I would like to see Halo(PC) one day. I know it's not going to happen, but maybe after MS is split up by [insert future reigning superpower here] in 2015 we might see something.

Re:Halo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14879551)

"You know, the one that was developed entirely by Bungee and was nearly ready for release before they were bought out by Microsoft. Let's call it Halo(PC) for simplicity."

The Mac/PC version of Halo was nowhere near "ready for release" when MS bought Bungie.

All that wasted effort (1)

patternjuggler (738978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880915)

It would be great if the content and code could be open-sourced or shared somehow, just so all the artistry and time put into the game could be appreciated. Even a viewer program that would allow you to view all the game art would be nice. The longer the publisher just sits on the data that went into the game the more worthless it will become due to obsolescence and the more likely that the data will be lost or damaged or deleted on purpose.

I guess I'm asking for a lot, to take an example from another field few authors get their notes and partially completed works etc. published, and then usually only after they are dead (and therefore won't object).

The Lost (1)

snorb (109422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881325)

For the game that I was most looking forward to but died was The Lost. I mean, the creepy atmosphere and "emergent gameplay" of Thief/System Shock 2, but in Hell? How could it go wrong? I actually put off buying a PS2 for a couple years because I waiting for it to come out. Oh well, hopefully Bioshock actually hits shelves (and doesn't suck).
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