© 2009 David Hilton
Prior to E3’09 I listed 22 games gone Missing In Action (MIA) that I hoped to see at E3. Well in this update you will see which ones re-appeared, which ones remain lost, and which ones are stuck in production waiting for a publisher to help out. For more details about each game see the full-write up by clicking here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.
In the meantime, if you’re like me, you’d like to see some of the big publishers enter into the buyer’s market and pick up some of these new and interesting titles that aren’t just safe sequels or offshoots of existing IPs.
In a year full of talk of twos (Bioshock 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Killzone 2, Mass Effect 2, Uncharted 2: Drakes Fortune etc.) it is the newer IPs like Alan Wake and Heavy Rain (for PS3) that have me the most fascinated. Sure, those twos, threes, and fours are some really great IPs that I have or will be picking up, but creative new ideas and games give diversity, and the little studios could use some help to get their vision to full potential and market.
Here is the list and current status of each game as we know it:
Found at E3
OXCGN has some great interviews with the various developers and publishers on those games mentioned below that were found at E3-09. We will endeavour to have those interviews, screens and videos up in due course.
Alan Wake: Found at E3
The Pacific Northwest, with its logging towns, great massive treed forests, and tiny fishing villages should provide a variety of excellent environments for a psychological action thriller game about a writer who has trouble sleeping but starts to pen a thriller he doesn’t remember writing that also happens to be coming true. Spooky and cool.
Darkest of Days: Found at E3
I really like the sound of this shooter, probably because history is a passion of mine. The concept behind this little known game announced way back in 2006 is that Darkest of Days puts you in a historically-based first-person shooter where you travel back and forth in time to experience some of history’s “darkest days” and fight through some of the most epic battles and events in history, including the eruption of Pompeii during Roman times, the U.S. Civil War, World War 1, World War 2 and more.
8Monkey Labs is working on it for the PC for sure, but even though they’ve said it will be out in Fall 2009 for PC and Xbox 360 and having a video on their website that shows a bunch of gung-ho marines (yes them again) heading off on their ‘last best hope’ missions through time, there is little evidence of a 360 version. I hope there is because I’m particularly curious about the scenes where you shoot Roman Centurions with a modern machine gun and about the Nazi concentration camp.
Edge Of Twilight: Found
Here’s a local Australian game being produced by studio Fuzzyeyes for publisher SouthPeak Interactive that combines third-person platforming with hack ‘n slash; sort of like Devil May Cry, but in a steampunk fantasy world.
It is based around 5 characters, the main one being Lex, a halfbreed who can travel between the two realms of Day and Night. Then there’s Athern Guard, Majestic Lithern, Tainted Warrior and Tainted Bruiser. You’ll find their specific details on the website as well as some downloads and further information.
• New videos leaked? It seems Atari and FuzzyEyes Studios are having a lovers quarrel about this “leaked video” at E3 . . .
Section 8: Found at E3
Section 8 means to be discharged by the military by being mentally unfit for service and I wondered if this game had gone MIA because it was unfit for service or if it just has just ‘gone dark’ to surprise us at E3. Well now we know…it was to surprise us at E3. To be honest another FPS based around gung-ho space marines (albeit with lots of armour) doesn’t really excite me.
To be fair the concept by TimeGate Studios (who are hirinig btw) is that you will be able to dynamically alter the flow of battles by calling for vehicles and ‘burn in’ wherever you want on the map, sort of like a faster futuristic version of the parachute jumps we did in Medal Of Honor: Airborne a few years back.
Venetica: Found at E3
A year ago first footage of a new RPG fantasy game that promised to mix cinematic emotion, story and action called Venetica and developed by studio Deck 13 was revealed. The environments were an amazing colourful fantasy version of Venice, Italy, and certainly grabbed my interest.
In it you play Scarlett, the daughter of Death, who must grow her powers to save her father and defeat the evil necromancers. I never thought of Death as the good guy…but anyway. Then it went MIA and I feared that this was going to be yet another new IP from a smaller developer that would just disappear. After all, we now have Assassin’s Creed 2 that is re-creating Venice so perhaps they got a bit intimidated?
Good news is that the game is still kicking. A new ‘behind the scenes’ video was revealed, but the footage still doesn’t show how far along the game is, though they still have ambitions of a Q3 2009 release for PC and Xbox 360.
On hold – seeking new Publishers
Faith and a 45:
On hold, awaiting new publisher
This one, from Denmark independent studio Deadline Games, (also responsible for the 2 Watchmen games) looks to take some Gears of War style cover and shoot gameplay and mix it with a romantic road movie storyline. The story of two outlaw lovers in a re-imagined depression-era America, fighting to survive against a corrupt oil-man and his men, certainly seems original. It intends to be a gritty co-op shooter with an atmospheric cinematic quality.
The game takes the unlucky Bonnie and Clyde-styled couple, Luke and Ruby, across 1930s America fighting against a “dark army of steel-plated vehicles, and armour-clad pyromaniacs”. The fact that they are a couple is important to the game as Ruby will apparently give a “kiss of life” to Luke if he falls in battle to revive him and kisses as rewards for good work.
On hold, awaiting new publisher
This 3rd person puzzle game by Greek Studio Track 7 Games looks like something different and largely missing from the 360. From modern Athens the characters of this adventure game explore ancient mysteries with environments that are both modern and ancient.
The game’s website is still active but the last entry made was a year ago, and this game also lacks a publisher. The 360 needs a good Broken Sword-like adventure. This was a no-show as well at E3, but they at least told us why.
On hold due to unexpected financial challenges
What happens if the Renaissance never occurs and medieval monk-knights the Templars never get killed off? Well Arkane studios thinks they would seize control of France and you would have a Paris that advances with medieval influences in both architecture and ideas and they do this through their game The Crossing. So you have two settings; normal modern Paris and an alternate reality Paris where things are very different.
I think it’s a great concept with lots of interesting environmental possibilities. Except this First Person Shooter has gone missing….or was released in an alternate reality where alternate me is playing it.
Their website has lots of interesting screenshots, but no news on a release date (even in the forum where some devoted gamers are begging).
Still Missing In Action
Doom 4: Still MIA
Ahh Doom. It came at the dawn of the First Person Shooter (FPS) game, after Wolfenstein 3D, another Id Software creation for PC, in the early 1990s. We had a remake of sorts with Doom 3 last gen on Xbox and PC, but another was supposed to be coming. While Id has confirmed it is hard at work on another Wolfenstein for this gen (which looked great at E3) as well as the new IP Rage, Doom 4 was announced a year ago and not much has been heard or seen since. This game was firmly MIA. Then some news finally trickled out of GameSpot last month: it was still being planned with a new team, Id Software were still hiring, and it’s not a sequel or a reboot. But it wasn’t shown at E3.
Halo Chronicles: Still MIA
Awhile back the idea of ‘episodic video games’ became popular, with games like Alone In The Dark doing “previously on…” TV-style recaps. Other titles decided to do episodic downloadable content instead. In 1997 Peter Jackson (of King Kong and Lord Of The Rings film fame) had his Wingnut Interactive start work on an episodic game (we think meaning an interactive film-game) using the Halo franchise called Halo Chronicles. Even in 2008 it was confirmed that people were being hired and Halo Chronicles was being produced, but this year rumours are that the game is on hold indefinitely. With Microsoft wanting to get Halo fans in a frenzy about Halo: ODST and with the surprise announcement of Halo: Reach it’s no surprise it didn’t make an appearance at this year’s E3, so that leaves it not alive, but not quite dead yet either. What happened? Did Microsoft or Peter Jackson have problems with each other? Will it be a Natal game in the future?
Perfect Dark 2: Still MIA
Rare’s Perfect Dark series began on the N64 console and Perfect Dark Zero was one of the first games made and released for the 360 console at launch. Though its look was overly ‘shiny’ the rebooted game was mostly a success because of its deep split-screen and online multiplayer. Not many other games have come close, even today, to the number of multiplayer gameplay options, except Halo 3. We’ve heard at E3 that the N64 title is coming to XBLA, but this is different.
This game wasn’t announced, so technically it isn’t MIA. However, there were rumours of it being made back in late 2007 and Rare‘s other games this gen, though creative and with a niche following, have not been the big successes that Microsoft would have liked. The next Perfect Dark Zero (2) on 360 was said to be darker (of course), with a less shiny but more interactive environment, have moral choices with a variety of storylines, will avoid having cut scenes like the Half Life games, and be as big as Halo. Yet we’ve heard nothing solid since those rumours and still didn’t at this year’s E3. Rare have to be hard at work on something…..and my guess is that Natal may be involved.
Star Wars: Battlefront 3: Still MIA
As early as 2006 there were rumours that Star Wars Battlefront III was in development by Free Radical for LucasArts. However, Free Radical imploded after the failure of the PS3 exclusive title Haze and after LucasArts removed the Battlefront game from their hands. The company went into administration and half the staff were dumped and then finally Free Radical was bought by Crytek. Meanwhile, leaked images and promising footage of Battlefront III found their way onto the net before LucasArts did their best to shut them down.
Rumours then turned to the possibility that Pandemic (who made the recent Lord Of The Rings: Conquest game, which is similar in style) would be the next studio handed the game. This was denied by Pandemic and nothing showed up at E3. So is it happening?
Age of Conan: Still MIA
In 2008 the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) Age Of Conan was released on PC, a platform known for its online-only games. The thing is that it was also announced for the Xbox 360 and has yet to appear, almost exactly a year later.
Is there trouble porting it to the 360 or is the whole concept of a MMO game for a console just too uncertain? Are console gamers going to take to a game that is only played online the same way many PC gamers have? After all the Halo MMO and The Lord Of The Rings: White Council MMO games were either cancelled or put on ‘indefinite hold’.
Then there’s the issue of those who would be most excited by the game having already purchased it for PC, thinking it would be at its best there anyway (assuming they have a high-end PC).
Crusaders: Invasion of Constantinople: Still MIA
Not much is known about this “deep action adventure game with an RPG touch” set in 12th century Constantinople (present day Istanbul) by French game studio Kylotonn. It was announced in 2007, but all is quiet now. With Assassin’s Creed moving into the Renaissance, the Crusades is still a rich period to set an action game.
If they can make the game’s primary location, Constantinople, medieval Europe’s bridge between West and East, come alive, then I’m sold. Another little guy who has to struggle to be competitive against the big studios who largely remake similar games in an economic environment gone bad, their website is also still active, but the last screenshot was posted in July 2008.
Dead Island: Still MIA
It’s a sandbox first-person view survival horror game where the protagonist is trying to find his wife on a zombie-infested island. Think Lost (because you crash on the island and there are human factions) meets lots of zombies….stuff the ‘black smoke’!
The chance to kill zombies on a tropical island sounds interesting, as is its focus on melee combat over shooting.
Highlander: Still MIA
The premise of a 2000 year old immortal warrior makes for a perfect time-travelling video game with a great variety of game settings in different time periods. From New York to feudal Japan in the shadow of Mount Fuji and on to what promises to be a very interesting new game environment, Roman Pompeii during the eruption, this game had me very excited.
Announced by Eidos in January 2008 with an eye-catching trailer, it went missing shortly after. The latest is that the game, a third-person action game featuring a previously unknown Immortal, Owen MacLeod, as the main character, will be released in March 2010. With Square-Enix taking over Eidos late last month, will the game really see the light? Or will it be violently beheaded? Check out Highlanders Official Website for more information.
• possible early 2010 release?
Hydrophobia: Still MIA
Hydrophobia is set onboard the Queen of the World (no doubt a homage to the movie Titanic and the over-used quote ‘I’m the King of the world!’). It is the largest cruise ship ever constructed. The area between the hulls resembles a city – it has schools, universities, even a football stadium. You can live there if you are super rich, which sounds good to me: visit exotic ports by day and return to a city every night. It’s virtually a mini country, like a floating Vatican City- but its religion is money. No taxes and no prying Big Government here. And lots of water. Sounds like a winner…a city that turns into a waterpark when terrorists show up to spoil the party.
The game is being made by Blade Interactive who showed a trailer last E3 but the release date of March this year has passed, and not much news has been forthcoming since. Since the game is supposed to already have a sequel for it planned, we had hoped to see something of it at this year’s E3! – But alas, it was a no-show.
Rainy Woods: Still MIA
Access Games is aiming for a Twin Peaks-type atmosphere with their PS3 and 360 game Rainy Woods, but not much is known about it and their site only has a page that says its coming in 2009, which is doubtful.
With that other mysterious missing game Alan Wake seen at E3, and the exciting PS3 mysterious game Heavy Rain already looking fantastic, would there be enough room for a game about a young FBI agent, who happens to have an alternate personality, investigating a murder outside the fictional American town of Rainy Woods? Obviously not…it didn’t show.
I love mysterious atmospheric games but this one may have gone MIA to stay away from these other two more famous atmospheric games.
No, not Terminator Salvation, the game based on the film. This Salvation has a very interesting story, but not much has been seen since the basic video on the Salvation website. The game is being made by Black Wing Foundation and N-Game Studios.
The story goes something like this: it is the year 2026 and the world government has resorted to stem cells and gene engineering to stage the Judgment Day. They create a genetic replication of Christ and the Antichrist and destroy them to set forth severe fundamentalism on Earth. Salvation was not at E3…
To End All Wars: Still MIA
This title was originally announced in 2007 by UK- based video game publisher Ghostlight Ltd. for a release in October 2008. That was quite some time ago, obviously, and rumours have had the game coming out early this year but so far nothing. The game studio working on the game, Kuju, describes the shooter: “Set in the war-torn trenches of World War I Europe, To End All Wars will deliver unrivalled atmosphere and realism” and “no two battles will be the same and game maps will feature a massive variety of terrain”. The screenshots looked like they needed polish, but the premise was promising.
But it’s all quiet on the gaming front….
The Outsider: Still MIA
Washington D.C. provides a great backdrop to political intrigue in a game promising to allow more freedom of choice and difference in storyline depending on your actions. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that before too, but Fable 2 was a start. It was supposed to come late this year.
Game studio Frontier (who are now hiring btw) is going for a ‘unique experience with The Outsider, using a dynamic world and story’. You are John Jameson, ex-CIA officer framed in the assassination of the President of the United States. All so very Jack Bauer-ish. Apparently there will be a lot of NPCs running around too, making the environment more realistic and interesting. Hopefully this game will combine a replayable game with multiple possibilities in an environment that is fresh and alive. So maybe a more interesting sandbox-like game with actual stories instead of ‘fetch this, protect that, find, chase and kill this and that’?
2 Days 2 Vegas: Still MIA
How long has this game apparently been in production? 2 Days To Vegas has been in production – since 2003! I’d have given up on this one except it has recently resurfaced and has a 360 and PC release date of 2009, and a PS3 one of 2010. Game studio Steel Monkeys are creating a third-person action adventure game about one brother (a recently release convict -sigh- how original) going to Vegas to help out another brother in trouble. The game takes place over 48 hours during the journey from New York (sigh) to Vegas.
If you have any further information on these games you can link to, please do not hesitate to let us know.