Few can deny the enduring ferocity of the PlayStation 2’s legacy. It’s considered one of the greatest video games consoles of all time, right up with the Super Nintendo, and for good reason too. The PS2 boasted an amazing library of games that stayed consistently strong all throughout. There was never a drought for the PS2, a rarity for consoles.
As a result, this also meant that the PS2 only saw a handful of major cancelled game. For the most part, developers and the PS2 always meshed well. Even in this golden era of gaming, though, not all ideas were for the best & Microsoft and Nintendo weren’t about to let Sony dominate the industry without a fight.
10 City Of The Dead
With George A. Romero himself working on the game, City of the Dead was shaping up to be the 2000’s take on the franchise. In a video game format, City of the Dead could be bigger and bolder than the movies. Early press in particular focuses on the visceral levels of gore, bordering on the uncomfortable.
It goes without saying, but the game was ultimately cancelled. George A. Romero would go on to direct a few more films in the 2000s, but none of them compared with his pre-Day of the Dead filmography. Hopefully some other dev sees the value of a Romero esque zombie video game.
9 Fallout Extreme
Alarmingly little is actually known about Fallout Extreme and few images seem to exist as proof of the game’s development. It should come as no shock that Fallout was not a series that managed to thrive on home consoles until after Bethesda involves themselves in the franchise.
Fallout Extreme would neither have been the classic style of Fallout that series veterans loved or the modern style of Fallout that the general populace loves. Fallout Extreme more than likely would have been a shallow mess. For as good as the series was, there’s a reason Fallout had to continue in someone else’s hands.
8 Far Cry Instincts
The Xbox didn’t have many exclusives, but the ones it did have were always interesting. The original Far Cry’s remake, Far Cry Instincts, ended up being an Xbox exclusive, but a PlayStation 2 port was planned at some point in development. Given the sheer success of the PS2, this really only makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense was the port’s sudden, quiet cancellation. There’s simply no way that Far Cry Instincts would have sold worse on the PS2 than the Xbox, especially considering its well liked status. Some ports just aren’t meant to be, however, and Far Cry Instincts remained an Xbox exclusive until the 2010s.
7 Final Fantasy XIII
It should come as no surprise that, following the successes of Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XI, and Final Fantasy XII, that Square Enix decided to begin development on Final Fantasy XIII for the PlayStation 2. The PS2 was an incredibly popular console only getting more popular while developers slowly learned how to better take advantage of the PS2.
Late PS2 games frankly look as good as early Wii and PS3 games (if not better than the former sometimes.) Naturally, though, Square Enix knew they’d need a proper next-gen FF and XIII was in development long enough to become a PS3 game. The same exact thing would happen to the game that would become FFXV.
6 The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse
Very, very little is actually known about this game. Gameplay shots and footage do exist, but the game itself is such a bizarre mystery. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was presumably the last game 3DO had in development before they shut their doors. It was planned for not only the PS2, but the GameCube and Xbox as well.
Tim Curry was actually attached to voice Satan in the game and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would be a survival horror title set post-Rapture. It’s a genuinely interesting premise, but gameplay footage leaves a lot to be desired. Given 3DO’s track record, as well, it’s perhaps for the best that the game was canned.
5 Ninja Gaiden
Ninja Gaiden is considered one of the best action games of its generation by those who got to play it, but its nature as an Xbox exclusive more or less ensured that it wouldn’t be able to have the same impact as, say, Devil May Cry 3. Ninja Gaiden is still brilliant, it’s just not popular because it wasn’t on the PS2.
It almost was, though. A port was indeed planned for the PlayStation 2, but it fell apart, keeping Ninja Gaiden exclusively on the Xbox. Whether or not this is for the best is debatable. On one hand, the PS2 would have given the series a longer life span. On the other hand, Ninja Gaiden 2 would almost certainly have been developed as a multi-platform title, suffering as a result.
4 Puyo Puyo Sun
The only franchise that can really rival Tetris when it comes to puzzle gameplay, Puyo Puyo has only been getting more popular in the west, but it’s always found its way to western markets through other means (Kirby’s Avalanche, Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.) The third Puyo Puyo game, Puyo Puyo Sun, was actually slated to be ported to the PS2.
Originally released for the N64, PS1, and Sega Saturn, a next gen port was only natural, but the game was cancelled. Instead, Sonic Team took over development for a prospective PS2 Puyo Puyo game, and the multi-platform Puyo Puyo Fever was born.
3 Ratchet & Clank: Tools Of Destruction
The Ratchet & Clank PS3 trilogy is pretty mediocre when compared to the original games on the PlayStation 2. They’re not all terrible, but there’s a noticeable step down from the PS2 games, to the point where fans wouldn’t be wrong to assume that this was a natural consequence of shifting generations.
Interestingly, Tools of Destruction was originally planned as a PlayStation 2 game. As the least offensive of the PS3 sequels, this does make sense. It perhaps wouldn’t have meshed in as naturally as Deadlocked, but Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction may have actually fared better with a limited scope.
2 Spawn: In The Demon’s Hand
A Dreamcast exclusive, Spawn: In The Demon’s Hand wasn’t exactly a critical darling at release, but it’s a far better game than its metacritic score seems to indicate. If nothing else, it’s far and away the best Spawn game there is. Hunting down a Dreamcast may be tricky, but it’s worth it.
Interestingly, the title was specifically being ported to the PS2 as a launch title. Given that Capcom had both developed and published the game, it isn’t as if they would have run out of resources to complete the port. For whatever reasons, however, Capcom quietly cancelled the game.
1 StarCraft: Ghost
StarCraft: Ghost is probably the most tragic game on this list if only because of how well documented its development was. The game seemed on the path towards healthy completion for the most part, but development was slow enough where its scheduled release date of 2005 also saw the Xbox 360’s release.
Naturally, the 360 would cannibalize any multi-platform games at the time. Blizzard also seemed to struggle with development behind the scenes, eating up even more time that Blizzard couldn’t afford. Unfortunately, this is a realistic fate of many late-gen titles. Releasing too close to a new console’s launch can kill a game.