I’ve long admired Luca and the rest of the Unseen 64 team, who have formed a community around their desire to collect information on cancelled games. Over the last few years Unseen64 has, along with The Cutting Room Floor, become one of the biggest and best sources of information about games that never saw the sun.
So, when Luca told me was planning to publish a book about the games they’ve explored, I was honoured to contribute a foreword to the book, as well as my own research into a number of games such as Deus Ex 3: Insurrection and Thief 4: Dagger of Ways.
The completed book, Video Games You Will Never Play, took two years to write and is over 500 pages long. It includes analysis of over 200 cancelled games and projects, including Jade Empire 2, the port of Halo to Nintendo DS and the Sleeping Giants RPG created by Warren Spector’s Junction Point Studios.
You can buy Video Games You Will Never Play from either Amazon or Createspace, in full colour or black and white. The editions are identical, save for different front covers and that the black and white version is a bit cheaper.
Createspace: Video Games You Will Never Play color edition or black and white
Amazon UK: Video Games You Will Never Play colour edition or black and white
Find out more about this book at Unseen64
Discover more articles by me about cancelled video games
In 2014 I spent six months researching two cancelled Deus Ex games that had been in production at Ion Storm Austin before it collapsed. Neither of the games were announced at the time, but with help from the Dolph Briscoe Archive at the University of Texas I was able to uncover design documents, concept art and more.
In the end I wrote a feature on the topic for Eurogamer, called Ion Storm’s Lost Deus Ex Sequels.
Both games were cancelled ahead of release and suffered from protracted, troubled development. The first attempt, called Deus Ex: Insurrection, was led by Art Min – a long time collaborator with Warren Spector. The second, called Deus Ex 3, was developed by Jordan Thomas, who later worked on Thief, BioShock and The Magic Circle. I spent a long time speaking to both Art and Jordan about their visions, the collapse of Ion Storm and the legacy of Deus Ex.
Each of the games would have been very different and Jordan’s in particular sounds especially exciting – an open world version of Deus Ex that would have been similar in structure to Crackdown. Sadly, it wasn’t to be and the studio was closed by Eidos before development began in earnest.
Here’s a quote from Jordan Thomas about the closure of the Ion Storm and his feelings about it almost a decade later.
“There’s a reason the place closed and it was chiefly hubris. There are many people who will tell you that the publisher f***ed us but, no. No. The method failed. Making a smaller, more intimate Deus Ex was on nobodies mind. Including mine.”
It took a long, long time to research all this and write about it, so please – read the full article to find out more. You can also contact me if you’d like a copy of the original research and documents I uncovered.
January was not a busy month; I accepted a new job early on, meaning most of my time was then spent running out remaining assignments prior to the new start. I also collected outstanding interviews for Unlimited Hyperbole‘s next season. Squeezing production in on weekends will cause delays, but Harriet and I are keen to keep the show alive – particularly since this season features several heroes of mine who are too cool to ignore.
Even though I’m not taking on anymore commissions or journalistic work at the moment, it’s likely some of my work will continue to trickle out for the next month or two. I have unpublished pieces still waiting with Custom PC and Gamasutra, for example. I’ll try to cover those as they come out, but in the mean time here’s what I did in January…
Continue reading “January Jollies…”
After 11 months of saying how busy I am, I finally had a quiet month. That’s because I deliberately turned away a lot of work in December so that I could focus on other stuff and have a jolly old Christmas instead. That meant I had time to catch up with old friends, see my nephew and get some decent walking done on the moors. It turns out that some of my friends had even listed to Unlimited Hyperbole – they described it as ‘about as pretentious as I expected of you‘.
Now the quiet period is over though, I’m back in London and working on stuff full time again – which means it’s time to look back on what I did last month, as well as how 2012 went as a whole.
There’ll be minimal grumpiness, I promise.
Continue reading “December Dreadlines…”
September was a busy month, partly because every month is a busy month and partly because it really was the busiest I’ve ever been. Moving house on your first day back from holiday is not recommended; neither is going straight from having moved in to attending the Eurogamer Expo and the string of associated parties.
It should say something about how busy it was that Unlimited Hyperbole has been delayed. I’m hoping to put the first episodes out early this month, but I’m not going to skimp on quality just to meet a self-set and arbitrary deadline. Do it right or don’t do it.
So, sorry about that – especially to the guests who’ve been forced to wait before hearing the final thing.
Apologies and explanations aside though, here’s what else I did this month…
Continue reading “September Send-off…”