10 Great Video Games Lost in Development Hell

By Charles Webb in Daily Lists, Video Games
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 6:00 am

5. Jet Set Radio Adds Typing, Is Even More Awesome

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For fans of Typing of the Dead, this SEGA follow-up would have been a treat - although I'll be damned if it makes much sense how it would play.

Working from the same, basic concept of Typing, this remix of the cel-shaded rollerblading/graffiti game would have players executing tricks and movement by typing in words, letters, and phrases around - presumably - the same locations found in the Dreamcast classic.

Development on the project began after the 1999 release of Typing of the Dead in parallel development with the full Jet Set Radio, but SEGA's struggles to keep their final attempt at the hardware market afloat saw them narrow their focus to proven franchises like Sonic and Phantasy Star.

4. Perfect Dark Returns

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It's hard to imagine much of anyone being excited about a new Perfect Dark now, but once upon a time, fans of developer Rare likely had a three-deep wishlist consisting of a modern Goldeneye, a new Killer Instinct and another adventure starring futuristic spy Joanna Dark.

Well for a brief time after the release of the Xbox 360 game Perfect Dark Zero, the studio had a team at work on a proper sequel to the N64 original. How far into development the sequel got varies depending on who you ask (I've heard it reached the prototype stage before Rare owners Microsoft shut it down), but supposedly, Perfect Dark 2, or whatever it was being called, would have resolved some of the issues with Zero, including more intuitive and easier-to-navigate maps as well as a collection of futuristic guns inspired, in part, by weapons in Halo 2.

3. Fallout: New Vegas Almost Had Mechs

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Unlike the other entries here, this was less a full game and more a mechanic nixed at the last minute due to technical considerations.

Fallout: New Vegas, before it was officially unveiled to the public, was all set to include 20-foot-tall mech-on-mech action under the banner of an offshoot of the Brotherhood of Steel. In the game's fiction, the Brotherhood would have discovered a cache of powersuit prototypes that were lager and more imposing than the armor they typically used to tool around the wasteland in.

It's likely that it was a pain in the ass to include something which would dramatically impact how travel and combat in Fallout worked as well as messing with the scale of enemies and how players would deal with them. From what I understand, though, these mechs would have been repairable and upgradeable with their own skill and perk trees.

2. GTA IV: The Lost and the Damned (and a Bunch of Zombies)

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This is less a case of a game being cancelled so much as its core concepts getting shuffled over into another title.

The Lost and the Damned was one of a pair of expansions for 2008's moping criminal simulator Grand Theft Auto IV alongside The Ballad of Gay Tony; and originally, Liberty City was set to experience a zombie plague like no other at the hands of Rockstar North.

Like The Lost and the Damned, this supernatural expansion would have focused on the titular biker gang, but instead of getting into deals gone bad, they would have had to contend with an outbreak of the living dead across Liberty City, and be forced to fight their way through hungry hordes within the 24 hour game clock.

This version of The Lost and the Damned never made its way past the concept phase, with Rockstar instead opting to build out a more traditional storyline and working in a zombie expansion for their next big open world game, Red Dead Redemption - as well as a Halloween-themed zombie mode for GTA IV's online mode back in 2008.

1. Going on a Quest With The Simpsons

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Since the series made its debut back in 1989, The Simpsons has been a licensing powerhouse, and there hasn't been a console generation where the franchise was represented in some way.

Everything from Konami's beloved side-scrolling brawler, The Simpsons Game, to the less well-loved spate of side-scrollers and oddities like Bart's Nightmare have given us virtual Springfields for nearly three decades.

And its unrealized moment of greatness came in the form of an uncompleted top-down RPG for the SNES from developer Ocean. Ocean had developed one other Simpsons game by the time the unfinished RPG was underway, and the studio was largely known for licensed games of... varying quality (their Robocop arcade game was admittedly dope).

From what I've been able to find, the 16-bit game was actually "code-complete" (all but finished), but never made it onto a cartridge. Story-wise, The Simpsons RPG would have put players in the role of Bart on a quest around Springfield (with a detour into Shelbyville) in order to save the town from a plot involving Mr. Burns and aliens Kang and Kodos.

And the unnamed Simpsons RPG might have been the next Earthbound if not for, you know, all of the not-great Simpsons games that came before.

While the handful of side scrollers releases for the Gameboy did steady business, publisher Acclaim was wary of dumping the resources into another ambitious failure like Bart's Nightmare, robbing the rest of us of something truly weird and exciting in The Simpsons' universe.

Still, we'll always have Virtual Bart.

Previously by Charles Webb

8 Things I Learned While Surviving Space Camp

8 Reasons You Absolutely Must Watch Cosmos

10 Modern Heroes of Black Nerddom (and Urkel Is NOT One)

7 Ways Hollywood Tried to Make the First RoboCop Family-friendly

The Top 7 Ways Vision Will (Probably) Attempt to Kill His Teammates in The Avengers 2

Deathlok Lives! 6 Things to Know About the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Kill-Borg

The 10 Grossest, Weirdest Reactions to Gal Gadot Being Wonder Woman

The 8 Craziest Things About the Dead Rising Franchise

20 Wonderful, Weird and Wild Things to Do at New York Comic Con


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