It is tough to develop a video game. Game development goes through many stages with more roadblocks than we as consumers will ever know. Often, games are created and canceled before they are ever even announced. Right now is a great time to be a gamer when so many titles that were thought never to see the light of day have been released to the public, such as Kingdom Hearts 3, Final Fantasy XV, and Shenmue 3. However, a handful of announced games in development have disappeared in recent years, leaving fans asking what has happened to them.
These are five games that have us scratching our heads as to their whereabouts.
Initially revealed at E3 2017, Metroid Prime 4 is the long-awaited return of Samus Aran to the 3D first-person game style after nearly a decade since Metroid Prime 3. Nintendo’s initial reveal at E3 2017 showed very little about the game, with fans only getting a glimpse at the title screen. Bandai Namco was announced as the development studio behind Metroid Prime 4, a departure from the original team behind the Prime series, Retro Studios. Metroid Prime 4’s reveal had fans clamoring for more news and hopeful for more footage at E3 2018. Nintendo had other plans, with Metroid Prime 4 being notably absent from their E3 2018 Nintendo Direct.
What Happened to Metroid Prime 4?
In January of 2019, Nintendo announced that development on Metroid Prime 4 had restarted. The project shifted from Bandai Namco back to Retro Studios with no explanation for why this shift happened. Original producer Kensuke Tanabe is still involved with the project, and Nintendo is still very hush-hush about Metroid Prime 4. Retro Studios has posted various job listings recently, indicating that work on the title is moving along. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we hear about Samus’s next adventure again.
Dead Island 2 is a roller coaster of a game development story.
Techland created the original Dead Island, and the team would later abandon the IP to develop Dying Light. Publisher Deep Silver would announce Dead Island 2 at E3 2014 with a great trailer that wowed the audience, much like the first game did. This time the game would be taking place in California.
What Happened to Dead Island 2?
Since the reveal, Dead Island 2 has bounced between 3 developers: the now-defunct Yager Development, Sumo Digital, and is currently in the hands of Dambuster Studios. Many signs point to Dead Island 2 as being a very troubled game with seemingly no direction.
To put Dead Island 2’s development timeline into perspective: since Dead Island 2’s E3 2014 reveal, Techland has released Dying Light, supported it with DLC for six years, announced Dying Light 2, had development hell problems with Dying Light 2, and now appear to be releasing it before we even got a second trailer for Dead Island 2. Not much is in the rumor mill about the current state of Dead Island, with the only other footage we have seen are builds of the 2015 version of the game that leaked in 2020.
Hollow Knight: Silksong hit the ground running in the first year of its reveal. It was first announced in February 2019 for PC, Mac, and the Nintendo Switch as a sequel to the spectacular Hollow Knight instead of being a DLC.
Later in March, the developers would share images and descriptions of the various characters and even had a playable 16-minute demo at E3 2019. Silksong’s announcement year would culminate with a preview of the soundtrack in December. Hype for Silksong was out of this world within the Hollow Knight community. Then Team Cherry went silent.
What Happened to Hollow Knight: Silksong?
There has been no word from the developers since the end of 2019, with only occasional shut down of rumors every time rumors start to spread that it will be at a Nintendo Direct. Perhaps a reworking of Silksong has happened, or Nintendo wants Team Cherry to stay quiet about the game until it is closer to being finished, which Nintendo loves to do.
We gather that Team Cherry is still hard at work making Silksong and with shoes as big as Hollow Knight’s to fill, it's understandable if they need the time to make this game the very best it can be.
The original Beyond Good and Evil was released in 2003 to critical acclaim, and its legacy is still felt in Ubisoft games of today. Even though critic reviews were great, Beyond Good and Evil never made it past being a cult classic and was a commercial failure for Ubisoft. Despite underperforming in sales, rumors of a sequel to the 2003 game began to make the rounds in 2007. In 2008 a teaser trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2 was released as a part of the UbiDays event.
What Happened to Beyond Good and Evil 2?
There was no word from Ubisoft in any capacity post-teaser trailer, a common theme among this list. Rumors of the project being canceled or put on hold made the rounds for almost ten years. Many head developers at Ubisoft were shifting to other more important projects, but Ubisoft reassured fans that Beyond Good and Evil 2 was still in development. Finally, nearly ten years later, Ubisoft re-revealed Beyond Good and Evil 2 at E3 2017.
Once again, we have had little communication about the ongoings of this game since this re-reveal. A gameplay update was released later on, and we can say that this project looks highly ambitious and very different from Ubisoft's latest games. Perhaps scope creep has overtaken Ubisoft, and they have bitten off more than they can chew. It might be a while before we see this game; hopefully, we see something new before we reach Beyond Good and Evil's twentieth anniversary.
Rockstar hasn’t always been known for canceling projects. They set out to make the most ambitious and jaw-dropping game they can come hell or high water. However, there exists the curious case of Agent, Rockstar’s cold war stealth action game announced in June of 2009. Intended as a PS3 exclusive with the rights to the franchise belonging to Sony, Rockstar promised a spectacle of a video game that could only run on Sony’s hardware.
From 2009 to 2011, Take-Two would reassure customers that Agent was still on the way and development was going well. As years went on, confidence began to fade, and fewer people within Rockstar or Take-Two were sure about the state of Agent. As the next generation of consoles drew closer, Agent seemed farther and farther away. Eventually, Rockstar and Take-Two would never even mention Agent as a game that even existed.
What Happened to the Agent Game?
We still don’t know much about Agent as this is a game that never even had a trailer; only a logo officially exists. There have been notable leaks, like images from former Rockstar employee portfolios showcasing indoor environments and various assets. Rockstar would renew the trademark for Agent repeatedly until 2018 when it was ultimately abandoned. Perhaps someday, Rockstar will renew the trademark; Agent was never officially canceled after all, but with the success of the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption IPs, it is difficult to see Rockstar tackling yet another ambitious franchise.
I am confident that one day we will see most of these games release. If gamers received a new Half-Life game in 2020 then anything is possible. But for now, it is fun to speculate and think about what could be happening to the development of these games.
Is Beyond Good and Evil 2 really going to be as big as Ubisoft says it will be? How will Metroid Prime 4 take advantage of the Nintendo Switch?
Could Hollow Knight: Silksong really build on top of what made the first so great? One day I’m sure we will receive the answers we’re looking for, but until then, we’re just going to have to sit tight and hope that everything is going smoothly for these great development teams.
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