The past month has seen numerous video game projects bite the dust. Gears Of War spinoffs, hack and slash sequels and follow ups to highly regarded shooters have all been canned, largely due to budgetary restraints or corporate restructuring. Of course, not every aborted video game venture is a tragedy - Milo & Kate we're looking at you - but there are countless genuinely exciting prospects that have failed to make it to retail.
With rumors of next-generation consoles growing by the week, we take a look at some recent games that will never see the light of day.
Call Of Duty: Devil's Brigade
Work started on Call Of Duty: Devil's Brigade five months before the release of Modern Warfare, the game that would take the franchise to new heights of popularity. Unfortunately for Devil's Brigade, Modern Warfare's success meant that Activision had bigger fishes to fry, and the third-person, squad-based shooter was canned after nine months in development.
Set during WWII, the game was to feature an elite band of American and Canadian soldiers, with cinematics and set pieces playing second fiddle to the tactical gameplay.15 minutes of gameplay footage is out there somewhere, and rumors of a Call Of Duty spinoff exist to this day, so who knows, maybe this will be resurrected in the future.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Armada Of The Damned
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Armada Of The Damned was the victim of restructuring at Propaganda Games in 2010. It's a real shame too, because Armada Of The Damned was an incredibly attractive proposition, combining action, strategy and role-playing elements in an open-world Pirates Of The Caribbean-themed adventure.
Far from a cheap movie tie-in, Armada Of The Damned would have given players the freedom to carve out their identity as a loved and legendary pirate or a ruthless scoundrel of the Seven Seas. The game was to feature mythical creatures and supernatural elements, with players able to form allegiances with different factions and countries.
Intriguing Square Enix title Gun Loco was set on a prison planet populated by a colourful collection of the galaxy's craziest criminals. Described as a sprint-action shooter, the game combined running, jumping, ducking and vaulting with over-the-top gunplay and character-specific finishing moves, a unique premise which sounds like a lot of fun.
A playable version of the game appeared at the 2010 Tokyo Game Show and the web is home to many a trailer, suggesting that the title was deep into the development process. Considering the facts, it's odd that it was cancelled with little or no explanation by Square Enix in 2011, the same year it was due to be released.
Mega Man Universe
Cancelled for "various reasons" last March, the Xbox Live Arcade and PSN title was billed as a revolutionary take on the classic franchise, reportedly taking its queue from Mega Man 2, and featuring a variety of characters including Ryu from Street Fighter and Arthur from Ghouls And Ghosts.
Universe had an ace up its sleeve in the form of customisable levels, which could have been shared online, opening up limitless gameplay opportunities, especially with interchangeable attributes for Mega Man and his friends. And it isn't the only Mega Man to suffer the chop, Nintendo 3DS title Mega Man Legends 3 was also binned last year.
Gears Of War Exile
Kinect exclusive Gears Of War: Exile was officially cancelled last month, although in many respects, it was never really on to begin with. Little is known about the title, other than the fact that Epic filed a trademark for it last year before Cliff Bleszinski lifted the lid on its demise in April.
Exactly how it would have fit into the Gears Of War universe is anyone's guess, but the word is that it would have taken the form of an on-rails Kinect shooter. Judging by some of the games we've played on Kinect, we wouldn't be surprised if it was canned due to hardware limitations, but with the franchise's focus on cover-based gameplay, it could have been interesting.
Not long after Gears Of War Exile was shelved, Epic revealed that Bulletstorm 2 was no longer in the works, despite development studio People Can Fly having already made a start on the creative process. Unfortunately, despite proving popular with critics, the original Bulletstorm was not a financial success, so it's not hard to see why the sequel bit the dust.
Bulletstorm fans can take some consolation in the fact that Epic Games hasn't ruled out a sequel altogether, although with an unannounced title currently in the pipeline, it could be a while before we hear anything about a successor.
The on again, off again S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sequel was cancelled in December, before reappearing once again in January. Unfortunately, it appears as though the project is once again no more, with original studio GSC Game World closing its doors for good in recent weeks.
Elements of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 will instead appear in upcoming game Survarium, the new title from members of the original team. It's a shame because the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was a well received shooter that perfectly captured the post-apocalyptic mood and atmosphere.
The original Bayonetta was one of the finest games of 2010, making it to number ten in Digital Spy's games of the year list. Unfortunately, our joy at finding out that a sequel was in development was cut short, following this week's announcement that the follow up was cancelled due to restructuring at Sega.
Small consolation comes from the fact that Bayonetta will make an appearance in upcoming fighting game Anarchy Reigns. It looks like we'll have to get our hack and slash fighting fix from DmC: Devil May Cry and God Of War: Ascension instead.
Which recently shelved games were you looking forward to? Are there any projects that you hope to see resurrected? Add a comment to the space below!