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Video Game Graveyard

Video Game Graveyard

The following three pages consist of cancelled PlayStation games that have been known to be in development.  If you have any additional information, please contact the Museum.

 

Aaron Vs. Ruth: Battle of the Big Bats
Publisher: Mindscape

The Basics
This pairing of baseball’s all-time home run leaders was released on the PC in mid-1997, but Mindscape never shipped the promised PlayStation version. The game features eight “teams” of 36 current and all-time All-Stars, with their real-life appearances meticulously recreated (in other words, Ruth looked like Ruth, et cetera). Alas, the reviews were mostly thumbs-down, and Mindscape eventually exited the PlayStation market after shipping an unbroken series of mediocre or outright crappy games.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Unknown

Aeon Flux
Publisher: Viacom New Media

The Basics
If William S. Burroughs had ever decided to try his hand at penning Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy” strip, the end result would have likely been much like Aeon Flux – the hyper-surreal-ultra-violent animated feature that debuted in ’91 as a series of shorts in MTV’s Liquid Television, before landing its own show in ’95.

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Nonlinear almost to the point of defying the description “storyline,” the Aeon Flux television show revolved around its self-named lead: a lanky, black leather-clad super-spy who played both sides of an ambiguous societal conflict. A loose adaptation of the TV episode, “The Demiurge,” the video game would have pit the character against her sometimes lover/sometimes enemy, Trevor Goodchild. Always up to some kind of mischief, Trevor’s would then have introduced the entire planet to the power of The Demiurge – a creature that is, in series creator Peter Chung’s own words, “some kind of divine being who’s neither good nor bad…just all-powerful.” Those who encountered the entity would have had a sort of revelation within its gaze and as a result, would have turned into blue-skinned zombie-like followers. Never really one to conform, Aeon not wanting to be “saved,” might have endeavored to rid the world of The Demiurge’s power. The game’s story would have been told through a series of ALIAS-rendered cutscenes between the levels, as well as through hints provided by characters she encountered. While that may be all well and good, you would still have been left with the question: How do you kill an unkillable being? Well, let’s just say the game’s goal effectively altered the old Eastern saying “If you meet the Buddha in the road, kill him” to “If you meet the Buddha on the road, place him on top of a large missile and blast him into space.”

One quite interesting element almost adapted from the TV program was Aeon’s ability to clone herself (and therefore have multiple lives, explaining the video game convention of being able to die and then keep on playing). However, in order to be cloned, you had to preserve fluid samples of Aeon while she was alive. So not only would you have to find the mechanism that allowed you to create a duplicate, but you would also have to make sure you’re carrying a fluid sample with you at the time. This would’ve acted as a fairly good example of the puzzle-solving aspects of the game, keeping it from being just a simple 3D shooter – though admittedly, Aeon’s various fighting moves and two different modes of shooting (accurate and strafe) would’ve essentially prevented that from happening.

Fans of the animated feature at one point were glad to know that not only were Aeon Flux’s main characters planned within the title, some of the lesser-seen characters in the series would have returned as well. “It sort of tells alternative stories [to the program],” says Chung, “recombining characters from different episodes in ways that they didn’t interact in the show. Part of the reason for that was that some of the characters seemed to have far more potential than they were given in the shows, so we wanted to give them a second chance. Along the way, there were a lot of subplots and incidental things that allow [these] characters to have cameo appearances.”

Even with all this going for it, we questioned whether the game could have held up as an accurate adaptation of the series. The creator thought so. He even flew to France to direct the game’s motion capture shoot, ensuring that the characters in the game would have moved exactly as strangely and spider-like as they do in the TV program. “I couldn’t have expected it to be any closer,” Chung commented, “in terms of a 3D-modeled, computer-generated rendition of the Aeon Flux world.”

WHAT HAPPENED?
Viacom was dissolved when Spelling Entertainment realized it had two video game divisions. Spelling folded Viacom into Virgin, which then canceled all working and planned Viacom titles – Aeon Flux being one of them.

Meanwhile, Cryo reworked the game into a title called PAX Corps, which was released in Europe to poor reviews. No US publisher has signed on to bring the game here.

Also worth mentioning is the fact the GT Interactive has acquired the rights to the Aeon Flux license, though no game has been announced to date.

Alien Virus
Publisher: Vic Tokai

The Basics
This point-and-click outer-space adventure was reviewed in the April ’96 issue of PSExtreme and slammed to the turf, but the product never shipped for the PlayStation (a PC version made it to market).

WHAT HAPPENED?
Unknown

Armed
Publisher: Interplay

The Basics
The plot for this 2D side-scrolling action/platformer: “In the future, the Earth has been ravaged by global warfare. The few survivors left are constantly at war to gain control of what is left of the once-bountiful planet. You are a lone cyber-agent, hired out by the governing body of your city-state to infiltrate the enemy’s area and take out a rumored weapon of mass destruction.” As for features: “3D-rendered texture-mapped backgrounds, more than seven minutes of cinematic cut-scenes, over 4,000 frames of animation, and each level will be comprised of thousands of tiles, compared to the usual hundreds found in cartridge games.”

WHAT HAPPENED?
Unknown

Athenor
Publisher: Psygnosis

The Basics
Athenor was almost your one chance to become a Greek god. This Psygnosis title was planned asa Greek mythology-inspired battle arena in which you were to take on beasts such as the Minotaur, Gorgon Medusa, and the Hydra in order to become a hero.

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WHAT HAPPENED?
We’re not exactly sure why this game was canceled.

Barb Wire
Publisher: GT Interactive

The Basics
European developer Cryo Interactive’s Barb Wire (named for the Dark Horse comic and the major motion picture that stars Pamela Anderson Lee) planned to take from screen what screen took from print. The result might have been a 32-bit title for the Sony PlayStation console system. Barb Wire herself was created with live action motion capture and blue-screen assistance, presumably testing the limits of 3D modeling.

The game action was to begin with you assuming the identity of the tightly corseted Barb Wire. As the proprietor of The Hammerhead Bar and Grille of Steel Harbor (a far cry from Venice Beach, to be sure), Barb’s job was to use her bounty-hunting and freedom-fighting skills to preserve the town’s status as the last neutral territory in the second American civil war.

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In the originally designed storyline, Ms. Wire was rumored to be a bit of an ice-queen, but the pellicle thawed when her beloved (and blind as a bat) brother Charlie was killed by the Congressionalists – the biological-weapon packing Eastern army dead-set on taking over the country. You would have entered the slaughter as Barb taking up the cause of two revolutionary characters, Alex Hood and Dr. Tyra Armstrong (who enlisted her because of her legendary John Wayne-esque fighting aptitude). Barb would have then set about racing through the streets on her black Triumph motorcycle, plentiful arsenal in tow, battling each and every enemy unfortunate enough to cross her path.

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The aerial perspective of this single-player game would have resembled that of Alone in the Dark, offering a gratuitous banquet of motion-captured, pixelated butt-shots to shepherd you through the action. Then, once you’d tire of Ms. Wire’s posterior, you could have assumed the role of one of the crime lords and embark on a mission to hunt Barb down and kill her.

Barb Wire would have been stacked with combat, traps, and challenges that, upon completion, might have allowed you to advance through the various levels. The title’s design had many levels, though the gameplay would have been nonlinear in that you would have selected the sequence of missions and events. You also could put Barb to the test by engaging in multiplayer deathmatch mode, where Barb would’ve taken on all of the bad boys simultaneously.

WHAT HAPPENED?
GT Interactive quietly canceled this title.

Beavis and Butt-Head Do Hollywood
Publisher: GT Interactive

The Basics
Beavis and Butt-Head are not role models. They’re not even human. They’re cartoon characters. Some of the things they do would cause a person to get hurt, expelled, arrested, possibly deported. To put it another way: Don’t try this at home.

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Well, actually, you might have been able to try their tricks at home, but GT Interactive pulled the plug. Already stars of some latter-day SNES and Genesis games, Mike Judge’s gruesome twosome almost made the jump to 32-bit.

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Humor is obviously the most important element of any game starring these two. Yes, you need the graphics to be recognizable, but underneath all the icing, you need to ensure that the underlying game is rooted firmly in adolescent, ridiculous humor. And B&B was designed very much with that in mind. The game was set in Hollywood. The plot went something like this: After the guys had finished work on their latest movie, they found they didn’t have any money with which to get home, so they took odd jobs on film sets in order to make cash. Conveniently, there were all sorts of movies being made, so B&B could have traveled through some varied environments with vaguely “filmy” themes.

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At its heart the game was a simple 3D graphic adventure with smallish locations that contained tasks that melded platform elements with puzzles and stupid jokes. The gameplay itself wasn’t particularly hilarious (although some of the puzzles were reasonably chuckle-worthy), but what really stood out was the interaction between Beavis and Butt-Head. You didn’t just control one character or the other; you actually controlled both. By switching between the two, you could manipulate objects, lure things, push things around, and distract people. It wasn’t spectacularly original in concept, but it was refreshing to see the idea used in this context.

WHAT HAPPENED?
GT Interactive decided to clean house and save some money. Beavis and Butt-Head didn’t do Hollywood, or the PlayStation, for that matter, and were kicked to the curb with other GT console titles.

BioSwarm
Publisher: 3DO

The Basics
The basis for BioSwarm, also known at one time as NRG and Groundwave, was Nasty Radioactive Garbage, or more affectionately, NRG, a Sony PlayStation action title that never came out.

The story began with living, toxic space waste that found its way to earth, animating or, perhaps re-animating, animate and inanimate objects, turning the lot of them into predators.

Through a first- or third-person perspective, you would have selected one of three mech-style ships or one of three more organic, crab-like vessels in which to battle the predators. The mission was to capture the opposing force’s energy by stunning them three times before they had time to rejuvenate themselves. Once you’d stunned them the third and final time, you had to gather their ejected energy and so on, until the last predator was defeated.

There were five levels, which progressed in difficulty; however, you could have started on either end of the spectrum and worked your way through. For example, you could play through the levels starting with Silicon Slums, then move through Viva Las Vegas, Polar Necropolis, Auto Wrecking Yard, and eventually the final bout in The Radiant City. Or, you could’ve begun with Auto Wrecking Yard, and worked your way to Radiant City backwards. Whichever path you chose, you could have played either a mission-based game or campaign levels.

WHAT HAPPENED?
3DO canceled the game, as it was appearing to be the weakest in the company’s console lineup.

Bloodshot
Publisher: Acclaim

The Basics
Bloodshot, an arcade-style 3D shooter, would have placed you, as the title character, into a futuristic environment called the City, where you would encounter familiar faces from the comic book, such as Simon Oreck and Stroheim. Throughout the 20-plus expected levels would be varying types of vehicles (like cars, jeeps, motorbikes, tanks, and trucks) for you to mobilize against the enemy – the organization that made you. Certain areas of the game were only going to be open to you if you had the right vehicle. Your weapons stash included about 22 various arms, such as the screamer, a nasty sonic toy; the microwave projector, which would have melted all kinds of metal and body parts; and the flechette, with hundreds of small C4 darts. You would have been able to run in one direction and shoot in another because Iguana had installed a multidimensional firing system.

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Hard Nanite power-ups would have enhanced your chances against the enemy. Hard Nanite was a completely moldable substance; when Bloodshot encountered any Hard Nanite object, he would have absorbed those Nanites into his own and could have later reproduced the object. So any weapons, information, vehicles, or technology that he have came into contact with, would be absorbed and then reproduced – enemy toys included.

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A few of the power-ups available were the vampire, which sucked all the energy out of nearby objects and gave it to Bloodshot; the harbinger, which caused temporary insanity in his enemies; the sentinel, which acted as a shield; and the MTCS, or the multi target combat system, which would cause Bloodshot’s Nanites to shoot offscreen aggressors while he was busy shooting bad guys. A four-player mode was planned as well.

WHAT HAPPENED?
In January of 1999, Acclaim had officially ceased development of Bloodshot. An Acclaim spokesman said that the game didn’t pass a “green light evaluation,” and the game’s future was in fact uncertain. The evaluation was to determine the game’s viability in the market. In the form it was in, Bloodshot did not pass.

Clay Fighter X-Treme
Publisher: Interplay

The Basics
Those with fond recollections of Interplay’s twin 16-bit satires of the fighting genre, Clay Fighter and sequel C2: Judgment Clay, almost had cause to celebrate, with Clay Fighter X-Treme. Was this to be old-time stop-motion animation artist Ray (King Kong, Jason & The Argonauts) Harryhausen’s dream…or nightmare? We’ll never know.

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Originally planned for Matsushita’s vaporware 64-bit gaming system, Interplay’s onetime “Clay Fighter 3” was transformed into two virtually identical games on two quite disparate systems: Clay Fighter 63 1/3 for the Nintendo 64 and Clay Fighter X-Treme for the Sony PlayStation. Why was Clay Fighter popular enough to justify an update? Silly as the concept seemed, Clay Fighter was popular with parents who found malleable, bloodless clay far less offensive than the familiar “spine ripping” sights seen in some fighting games.

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What made these titles exciting, though, was that Interplay took the fighting game aspects of the series seriously. While the latest Clay Fighter remained a 2D fighter, new elements such as 3D polygonal backgrounds, unconventional sight gag special moves, and breakthrough walls updated the game. The title also boasted an entirely new fighting engine, which Interplay touted as being as complex as any of the top fighters (the old games were based on a more simplistic, side-scrolling engine).

The story began in the sleepy burg of Muddville, where a meteor crashed down outside the town limits, spilling forth a sea of green claymutagen upon impact. The town then went “clazy;” buildings, people, and animals turned into animated clay. To make matters worse, the local community college professor, Dr. Kiln, became horribly evil and began creating powerful, mutant clay servants. The game picked up in a brand new locale (the mysterious “Klaymodo Isle”), and from there the battle began for Clayfighter 63 1/3 and would’ve begun for X-Treme.

The cast combined a mix of new characters and old favorites. There were four returning characters: Ickybod Clay, a crazy scarecrow; Bad Mr. Frosty, who’s heart was as black as a Cola Slushee (well, OK, dark brown); Bonker, an insane clown minus his posse; and Taffy, a circus expatriate who had a score to settle with Bonker. There were new characters planned as well: Dr. Kiln, the often-mentioned but never before seen evil genius who planned to turn the entire world into clay; High Five, Dr. Kiln’s severed hand, which took on a grisly, mutated life of its own; and LockJaw Pooch, a Dr. Kiln experiment gone horribly wrong. Also included, most likely as hidden characters, were Boogerman and Earthworm Jim (popular faces from Interplay’s past).

WHAT HAPPENED?
The reason that Interplay decided not to develop it [Clay Fighter X-Treme] is because it was not on schedule for release simultaneously with the N64 version. Rather than have it be perceived by PlayStation consumers as a late port, they decided to stop the project and focus on ensuring simultaneous releases for our other cross-platform titles.

Colliderz
Publisher: ASC

The Basics
Colliderz was a clever futuristic hockey type game, and that’s about all we know of it.

WHAT HAPPENED?
ASC killed the title in 1997 because it had witnessed the failure of BallBlazer and a similar title and worried for the livelihood of Colliderz. But the company also said the real reason it killed that game was because it just wasn’t fun (and that it looked pretty crappy too).

Cyber Gladiators
Publisher: Sierra

cybergladiators-01The Basics
Cyber Gladiators came out on the PC, but the PlayStation version never arrived. The game would’ve been a one- or two-player fighting game with rendered graphics and detailed animations.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Cyber Gladiators quietly disappeared from Sierra’s lineup.

Dark Net
Publisher: American Softworks

The Basics
One of several games killed when American Softworks became ASC Games, Dark Net was an isometic 3D shooter where you played as one of four students who unexpectedly get sucked into cyberspace (hate it when that happens) and battle it out with bizarre Cyboid creatures.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Unknown

Deadly Skies
Publisher: JVC

The Basics
Deadly Skies pits you in deadly one-on-one aerial combat with your choice of eight of the world’s finest jet fighters as your weapon. Each fighter comes equipped with a fully qualified pilot, hailing from a variety of different countries. The mission is to win two out of three dogfights with your opponent, progressively working your way through more challenging matches until you rule the ‘deadly skies.’ It was kinda like Street Fighter in the sky, really.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Unknown

Deadline
Publisher: Psygnosis

deadlineThe Basics
Deadline was to be a single-player action game in the form of a mystery game. It looked like a cross between Steel Harbringer and Project Overkill.

WHAT HAPPENED?
The game quietly disappeared from Psygnosis’ lineup.

Deadly Honor
(aka Steven Seagal: The Final Option for SNES)
Publisher: TekMagik

The Basics
Slap an action star’s name on a video game and people are bound to pay attention, at least at first. But the problem is that this game went through an SNES incarnation before it wandered into PlayStation and N64 development, and then it never came out for any of the systems. Deadly Honor was TekMagik’s upgrade from the SNES game, Steven Seagal: The Final Option, the company was working on. If Deadly Honor was to be somewhat along the lines of The Final Option, it would have placed you as Steven Seagal in a game loosely based on the star’s action films, such as Under Siege, Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, and so on. The game was to be an action game where you ran around doing a lot of damage. What’s notable about the game is that it was reportedly being created from digitized film footage and was to use AnimaTek’s Caviar technology – a surface pixel real-time rendering engine, to create realistic figure and object animations.

WHAT HAPPENED?
The game was in development for the SNES and supposedly had a couple of complete levels, however TekMagik announced Deadly Honor for the N64 and PlayStation, and you can guess where the SNES game went. Ironically, the N64 and PlayStation games never saw the light of day either.

Death Drone
Publisher: Viacom

The Basics
The Death Drone story was originally something like this: In the over-populated, crime-ridden future, convicted criminals are given their choice: death or possible fame by playing a death-game. Death Drone would have featured two perspectives as you piloted your vehicles through the open 3D environment that would have allowed you to roam freely instead of sticking to pre-designated tracks. Taking all this and mixing in a variety of realistic physics to base the combat on might have produced a well thought-out title. Or another Twisted Metal clone.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Viacom was dissolved when Spelling Entertainment realized it had two video game divisions. Spelling folded Viacom into Virgin, which then canceled all working and planned Viacom titles – Death Drone being one of them.

Down in the Dumps
Publisher: Philips

The Basics
Down in the Dumps was to be a single-player adult cartoon adventure set on a stinking rubbish dump. The title would’ve featured a near-seamless transfer from cinematic sequences to interactive sessions. DitD might have been a pretty cool game, with a potentially witty script and well-cast voices. The game would’ve also allowed you to record the cartoon sequences so you could play them back later.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Philips canceled its console plans, and Down in the Dumps went exactly there.

Duckman
Publisher: Playmates

duck02The Basics
Duckman, the hero, of sorts, of the USA Network animated series would have starred in this single-player graphical adventure called Duckman: The Legend of the Fall. You would have controlled Duckman and guided him through puzzles and away from traps, all the while attempting to outwit King Chicken – Duckman’s arch nemesis. The game would have offered more than 40 locations and 80 different scenes to explore, all of which took 10,000 frames of hand-drawn animation to create. About 35 characters from the show, including Bernice, Ajax, Charles, Cornfed, and Mambo would’ve populated these locations. The character’s voices would’ve been provided by the show’s original actors, as well.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Playmates canceled the title for unknown reasons.

Elric
Publisher: Psygnosis

The Basics
Based on the popular book series by Michael Moorcock, Elric, which was being developed by Haiku Studios, was to be an overhead adventure/RPG game. Similar to Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and the popular PC game Diablo, the game hoped to immerse players in a 3D fantasy/role-playing world on a mystical quest to bring down evil forces.

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Rather than creating a new property, Psygnosis was bringing Michael Moorcock’s Elric character to video-game consoles for the first time. The science fantasy book series has many installments, and the character of Elric has quite a history. Elric, an albino warrior and the last of the Menilbonean emperors, kills his opponents with the soul-stealing rune sword Stormbringer. Condemned by the gods to battle everything (and everyone) in his path, Elric is one bad mother.

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The game contained nine levels for you to explore on your quest to bring Elric’s beloved Cymoril out of her eternal sleep. Battling through a variety of dungeons and villages, you had to defeat the dark wizard Almon and complete the Cross of Chaos, which had to be set on Cymoril’s coffin to wake her. Using an array of weapons and spells, the game played like an adventure game with added RPG elements. Additionally, a variety of monsters and enemies provided plenty of things to hack and slash while you learned new spells and picked up a variety of helpful objects.
The graphics in Elric looked impressive, and the game looked to be one of the better RPG-type games on the horizon. All the action was took place in real time (using an overhead view similar to Legacy of Kain), and the 3D graphics were rendered on the fly. Word has it that Haiku Studios was also working on a split-screen mode that would let two players go through the game at once.  RPG fans would likely have enjoyed Elric, and players with more mainstream tastes would likely have found it more accessible than most other games in the genre. The game was originally scheduled to be released during the first quarter of 1998.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Unknown

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4 Comments

Leave A Reply
  1. November 19, 2013, 12:07 am

    […] Video Game Graveyard […]

    Reply
  2. Charles says
    April 3, 2014, 4:35 am

    Man a lot of these games would have been great to own, but such is history. Plus why did Psygnosis cancel a lot of games for the PS1? I love their games and they don’t have too many on the PS1 🙁

    Reply
  3. Leonardo Culver says
    June 8, 2014, 9:54 pm

    Damn,that sucks.I would’ve loved to play Beavis & Butthead Do Hollywood.It looked like so much fun.

    Reply
  4. Profile photo of Wesley Campbell
    April 14, 2016, 2:59 pm

    Beavis and Butthead Do Hollywood should exist. 🙁

    Reply

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