It’s a sad fact of modern life, but video games are subject to cancellation all the time.
It seems like nothing is safe – from the moody horror vibes of Silent Hills, to the recently deceased Xbox-exclusive Scalebound. One day you could be waiting patiently for a game, and the next it could be gone forever.
However, sometimes fate will smile on us and pluck a promising project from the jaws of cancellation. Below are seven games that were saved – or in some cases even brought back – from cancellation.
This promising indie horror project and spiritual successor to PT was cancelled in June last year, leading many to believe that there was something of a curse on first person horror adventures.
Developer Lilith Ltd and former publisher Team17 released a joint statement saying only that it was time to end the collaboration, and that was that.
Fortunately, creator Christian Kesler revealed back in August that his baby would be returning, under a new studio called Far From Home.
By all accounts, Kesler seems keen to go it alone and cut out middle men whenever possible to ensure his vision ships intact. It’s still a long road to release, but it’s definitely in better shape now than it was back then.
Resident Evil GameBoy
Did you know that at one time Capcom planned to port the entirety of the original Resident Evil to the GameBoy, complete with all the camera angles, rooms, and puzzles from the PlayStation classic?
If it sounds like absolute madness, that’s because it was, and Capcom dropped it – an official statement released in 2000 claimed that the company was ‘not confident that the product would have made both consumers and Capcom happy.’
In this instance, it was the fans who rescued Resident Evil from cancellation. A $2,000 Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded back in 2012 to restore a recovered prototype – it’s only 90% done, but that’s pretty good going for a game that was cancelled 12 years earlier.
The Last Guardian
Fumito Ueda’s long awaited follow up to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus finally released late last year to a relatively solid reception (we certainly liked it), but there was a time where the project was in danger of dying.
This is hardly surprising, of course. The Last Guardian was first announced for PlayStation 3 back in 2007, and things were slowed down considerably when the team realised they’d need to shift the project over to the then-nascent PS4.
In fact, Shuhei Yoshida, president of SCE Worldwide Studios, revealed in an interview with EDGE back in 2015 that the game would’ve been canned, but the fans kept asking about the game, proving to Sony that there was a hungry audience.
The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings
Here’s a chilling thought: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt might never have existed. Developer CD Projekt RED actually nearly went bankrupt in an effort to port the first Witcher game to consoles.
The story goes that the console port – known as White Wolf – was to be handled by French studio Widescreen Games, though CD Projekt ended up throwing more and more money and staff at the project, as it became increasingly clear that it just wasn’t working.
It was at this point CD Projekt realised they’d almost completely ran out of money for The Witcher 2 – not ideal.
The company could have gone bankrupt at this point, robbing us of two incredible Witcher games in the process. Mercifully, it wasn’t so – the team buckled down and used what they had to make The Witcher 2 as good as it could possibly be.
Following the relative success of their first Witcher sequel, work then started on a third – and we all know how that went down.
Call Of Duty: Zombies
I think it’s fair to say that Call of Duty’s zombies mode is one of the coolest and most-loved diversions in gaming – but it almost never made it into World at War.
Treyarch CEO Mark Lamia was reportedly furious when he first found out the development team had been working on a zombies mode, an effort on their part to try and keep their work on the popular WWII shooter interesting (because what’s better than shooting undead Nazis?).
While Lamia’s initial reaction was to try and shut it down so that the developer could focus on the core game, seeing just how much fun the team had playing Zombies convinced him to allow it to remain. Thank God.
Grand Theft Auto
It’s hard to believe that one of the most successful and groundbreaking video game franchises of all time nearly didn’t make it out the gate.
The original Grand Theft Auto was very, very nearly cancelled during development. Apparently the game was pretty much horrendously broken and crashed nearly every PC that tried to run it, with tons of bugs and some shitty driving mechanics.
Just as the team started to think that GTA might not be worth the effort, they discovered that cranking up the police AI through experimentation led to some fantastic gameplay in the form of insane chase sequences – it’s a key element that has kept GTA going strong to this day.
Star Fox 2
Star Fox 2 for the Super Nintendo was pretty much ready to go when Nintendo bigwig Shigeru Miyamoto decided to shelve the sort of 3D game so as to maximise the impact of the impending Nintendo 64, and all of its polygon goodness.
While I get the reasoning behind it, it was definitely a shame to see a Star Fox sequel more in-line with the original simply tossed aside like that.
Much smarter fans than myself clearly agree. Similar to the Resident Evil GameBoy project, fans managed to get hold of an alpha (which had the multiplayer mode) and a beta (which contained a nearly finished story mode).
After fixing the last few bugs and translating the game into English, Star Fox 2 was finally released into the wild – presumably much to Nintendo’s chagrin.
Are there any games you wish could be brought back from the abyss of cancellation? If there are, write them down on a piece of paper, fold up said piece of paper… and burn it, because it’s probably never ever coming back.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.