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Gamer's Piece: What may have been

By Joe O'Leary
On October 23, 2012

 

For any gamer who wants to read about the history of gaming, there are always interesting games that never came out for one reason or another. Sometimes, these games' paths that ended in cancellation are incredible. Some are well known; "Mario 128," a Gamecube tech demo, was said for years to be a "Mario" game in development, but it never saw the light of day. "Starcraft: Ghost" is another; the "Starcraft" shooter spinoff spent five years languishing in development hell before Blizzard canned it.

Thing is, though there are a lot of storied games that never were way back in history, it's more rare to find a 360 or PS3 game that was canceled. But they exist, and some of them have interesting backstories. I've dug up a few bones from the graveyard; read on to see what may have been.

"Pirates of the Carribean: Armada of the Damned" - In 2009, Disney announced they were creating a morality-based game in the universe of Jack Sparrow, where much like in "Fable" the player character's appearance would change depending on the choices the player made throughout the game. While IGN said the action-RPG seemed extremely solid, the House of Mouse canned the game in late 2010.

"NBA Live" and "NBA Elite" - EA Sports had struggled with basketball games in the face of 2K Sports' competing "NBA 2K" series for most of the latest console generation, but things got rough when they tried to counter the excellent "NBA 2K10." EA decided to rebuild from the ground up, bringing "NBA Elite" into the world. Unfortunately, the revamp was dreadful. The warning signs were there in an early demo that was later recalled; a famous Youtube video still up today shows horrible controls, poor graphics and game-breaking glitches where Andrew Bynum became trapped in a T-shaped pose at midcourt. "Elite 11" was canned. After a year off, EA tried to get back into the game with "NBA Live 13," but they couldn't pull that one off either; after a rough development, including rumors that it'd be downloadable, it too was cut down before release.

"The Dark Knight" - Imagine if there was an excellent game out alongside "The Dark Knight" in 2008, the then-second-highest-grossing movie ever. It would sell like hotcakes. EA was prepared for this, and tried to have a Caped Crusader simulator out in time for the movie's release. Unfortunately, its scope meant massive delays. EA lost the rights to Batman on the first day of 2009 to Warner Brothers according to Kokatu. Their new ownership led to the excellent "Arkham Asylum" and "Arkham City." Still, it's fun to wonder what a game based in Nolan's Gotham City would have been like.


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