Development hell is the place where dreams go to die. It's not necessarily a death sentence for games, but many good games have been trapped for years in the limbo of whether they will or won't get made. When games do emerge from development hell, they're sometimes a huge disappointment, both due to the wait and the fact that they've undergone so many incarnations that the original vision has been lost or warped.
Other promising titles lost in development hell seem doomed to stay in limbo forever—an absolutely heartbreaking prospect. These are four of the most frustrating offenders, tantalizing us with the hope that they'll be released while also never seeming to make any progress.
The Last Guardian Remains a Far-Off Mystery
Team Ico may not be the most prolific studio, but their games are near flawless examples of stellar gameplay, imaginative stories, and innovation. Unfortunately, their third game, The Last Guardian, has been trapped in development hell since 2007. Details on the game have been scarce, but fascinating. The player will take on the role of a young boy and his giant animal companion, some kind of eagle/cat creature, as they escape pursuit by guards.
Like Team Ico's other games (including Shadow of the Colossus), The Last Guardian looks to be incredibly imaginative. That it's languishing in development hell doesn't necessarily signal doom—it's hoped that the studio's dedication to perfection is at work. But since the game was originally slated for a PS3 release, and we've since moved past that console generation, fans and optimists alike are starting to worry. The game's trademark was renewed this year, but there's still no indication of when, or if, the title will be ready to play.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Though some concept art for Half-Life 2: Episode 3 surfaced in 2012, there's been little positive information about the game's development since. Image Source: Adapool via Wikia.[/caption]
Jokes Aside, Half-Life 3 is Anything But Confirmed
Half-Life 3 is one of the most anticipated games of all time. Though Valve has made some small hints in the past about continuations of the Half-Life series, there's been little in the way of concrete news.
The future of Half-Life is looking a little bleak. Valve has significantly shifted its focus from game development to Steam, its digital distribution platform, as well as the Source engine and their upcoming VR headset. Though Gabe Newell hasn't ruled out continuing the series, he has stated that it will only continue if the company's developers want to work on it—with so many other projects underway, that means Half-Life 3 might be on the backburner for some time.
Passion Project Beyond Good & Evil 2 Isn't Dead Yet
Ubisoft's Beyond Good and Evil was a unique little game that, despite acclaim from critics and players, didn't dominate in sales—its release in 2003's holiday season pitted it against heavy hitters like Final Fantasy X-2, Call of Duty, and Silent Hill 3, stiff competition for a new IP. Because it didn't sell many copies, it makes sense that a sequel wasn't a top priority for Ubisoft. But after unveiling that it was under development way back in 2008, it's become another tantalizing promise stuck in development hell.
Not all is lost for Beyond Good & Evil 2. Thought lead director Michel Ancel took a break from the game in 2011 to work on Rayman Origins, but Ubisoft has confirmed the project is ongoing despite Ancel creating his own studio in 2014. Beyond that, information is scarce. We can only hope that development is still ongoing, even as Ancel continues work on his new title with Wild Sheep Studios, Wild.
Rockstar's Agent Is a Almost As Secretive as its Espionage-Based Gameplay
Rockstar's Agent has been 'upcoming' since 2007. Like many games in development hell, it's a bit of a mystery. What we do know is that Agent will be set in the Cold War, featuring gameplay based around stealth, espionage, counter-intelligence, and assassinations. With Red Dead Redemption and L. A. Noire, Rockstar proved it can do serious and seriously fun. But still, Agent hasn't made a public appearance since a few screenshots (dated 2009) were released in 2011.
The game has been talked about as a real step into the future for the industry, and as a revolutionary title for Rockstar and the games industry as a whole. Though Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar's parent company, renewed its trademarks for the game in 2013, there's still little to show that development is ongoing.
Which games in development hell do you wish would get made, already?