It's no secret—making a video game is hard. And believe it or not, more video games are cancelled than you may think. Sometimes it comes from budgetary concerns. Sometimes it stems from creative differences, forcing the developers to throw up their hands and scream, "Forget it, then!" And sometimes things out of the developers' control get in the way.
It's a shame to see, considering how many people work hard on any given video game, but it absolutely happens. You just may not hear about it. Well, we're here to enlighten you.
These are ten canceled PC games you never knew existed.
10 Afro Samurai 2
Afro Samurai was released back in 2009 and proved enough of a success to warrant a sequel. Namco Bandai's senior producer, David Robinson, left the company to form his own studio, and they quickly went to work on Afro Samurai 2. The company had planned to release the game in three parts, and even managed to release the first, Revenge on Kuma, on all major platforms. However, it was critically eviscerated, and publisher Versus Evil pulled the game from all distribution sites and issues refunds to those who purchased it. They also cancelled the next two games in the series, effectively putting an end to Afro Samurai 2.
9 American Hero
American Hero was originally going to be released for the Atari Jaguar and PC, and it was going to utilize a new piece of technology called GameFilm. Essentially, GameFilm was an interactive movie format designed to blend the mediums of film and gaming into one cohesive whole. You were going to play as Jack Devon, a military intelligence operative tasked with both finding a missing biologist and saving Los Angeles from a tainted water supply. So, yeah, typical action movie stuff. Despite the film portion being completed, the game was later cancelled due to the failure of the Atari Jaguar. Luckily, playable prototypes have since surfaced, but American Hero was never released in any official capacity.
Much like American Hero, Gotcha! was set to be released on the Atari Jaguar and PC. It was being developed by The Dome Software Developments, and it had a heavy emphasis on multiplayer. The gameplay centered around players turning on all their light bulbs before the other team turned on all THEIR light bulbs. To prohibit the other team from doing so, you could employ close quarters combat and weapons, and the specific stages also provided thematic obstacles to hinder progress. But for whatever reason, the game was considered unsuitable for release, and the game was swiftly cancelled. To date, the only thing that survives is a screenshot that was featured in an old video game magazine.
7 Highlander: The Last Of The MacLeods
Highlander: The Last of the MacLeods was a video game released for the Atari Jaguar CD back in October of 1995. It received a mixed reception, but plans were put in place to make a port for the PC. It was going to be published by the newly-formed Atari Interactive and developed by Lore Design, the same developers behind the Jaguar CD version.
However, the company merged with JT Storage in 1996, and the PC publishing division of Atari Interactive was shut down. As a result, the port was cancelled and never officially released, although a beta build has since emerged online.
BattleSphere was a space simulator originally released for the Atari Jaguar in 2000. The game was essentially a first person shooter, although it also contained "space simulation" elements as players assumed the role of a space pilot fighting for their alien race. The game received stellar reviews, and some outlets even consider it to be one of the greatest video games ever released for the Atari Jaguar. Plans were put in place to port the game to the PlayStation and PC, but no publisher showed any interest in publishing the game on those platforms. Sadly, BattleSphere never saw the light of day on the PC, which is a darned shame.
5 Jurassic Park: Survival
Development began on Jurassic Park: Survival in October of 2000, and the game was set to be released on all major platforms, including PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC. It was originally going to serve as a video game adaptation of the upcoming Jurassic Park III, and it was going to play similar to the Tomb Raider series.
It also contained survival horror elements, which included outwitting dinosaurs and managing limited resources. However, a significant issue arose when Vivendi-Universal stopped funding the game, reportedly because they were not happy with the progress that was being made. The game was cancelled, and Jurassic Park III turned out to be an utter turd. No one won here.
4 Legions Of The Undead
If there's anything we're learning here, it's that developing for the PC and Atari Jaguar was a major headache in the mid 90s. Legions of the Undead was planned to be an action RPG developed by Rebellion Developments, the team most famous for the Sniper Elite and Alien vs. Predator series'.
The game was progressing well and had even been advertised and featured in various gaming magazines, but was prematurely cancelled by Atari in December of 1995 for unknown reasons. The following June, the trademark was abandoned and withdrawn, definitively signifying that the game was dead. It's too bad, because a lot of people were actually looking forward to it, considering Rebellion's solid track record.
3 Penn & Teller's Smoke And Mirrors
Smoke and Mirrors was planned as the video game equivalent to Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends and consisted of scam minigames. For example, player 1 ALWAYS had more points in Buzz Bombers (no matter what player 2 did), and Desert Bus saw the player driving from Tucson to Las Vegas...in real time.
Yes, it required eight continuous hours of play to complete, and it could not be paused. Unfortunately, publisher Absolute Entertainment went out of business shortly before release, and developer Imagineering couldn't find another publisher, as the Sega CD format was considered dead. The game was cancelled, as was its PC and 3DO counterparts. Luckily, a copy popped up online in 2005, allowing you to play this incredibly wacky game.
SimsVille was a Sims game being developed by Maxis in the late 90s and early 2000s. Unlike The Sims, this game saw you controlling a group of houses in an open world neighborhood. Unfortunately, the gameplay received a mixed response at a San Francisco reception, and this may have significantly contributed to Maxis' decision to cancel the game.
Instead, they relocated the developers to other Sims titles so they could focus on the core Sims experience. As such, SimsVille was effectively cancelled and has never been released, although many of its aspects have been integrated into other Sims games.
Titan was a Blizzard project that was officially cancelled in 2014. Like many of Blizzard's past projects, Titan was going to be a massively multiplayer online game, and Jeff Kaplan has since admitted that it was going to be a class-based shooter game. Following some internal shuffling and public hesitation, Blizzard officially announced that the game had been cancelled, at a cost of $50 million, in September of 2014. According to Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime, the project was cancelled because it was proving too ambitious and expensive. A core team of 40 was left on, and they used some of the Titan prototypes to develop Overwatch, which proved to be a monumental success.