Where Are They Now? 5 Games Languishing in Development Hell

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Not every game makes it to release despite widely publicized announcements and progress. Here we take a look at a few we haven’t heard from in a while, but are still (technically) on the way!

Much like the film industry, gaming has their own level of “development hell” to contend with. Creating games can be a long, and expensive, endeavor. While there have been a number of high-profile cancelled games out there (StarCraft: Ghost, Star Wars 1313, etc), I wanted to take a look at some other titles that are supposedly still being worked on, to see where we are now…

WiLD

Announced back in 2014 during Gamescom, WiLD had a lot of positive buzz going for it. After a swanky reveal and some impressive looking gameplay the following year at Paris Games Week. The open-world game, exclusive to Sony’s PlayStation would force players to survive in a harsh prehistoric wilderness, where you can spiritually take control of animals as you hunt and war with other tribes. The idea was to craft a procedurally generated world, so everyone would have a different experience.

People were particularly excited for this as it was coming from Michel Ancel, the developer behind Beyond Good & Evil. Remember, this was a time BEFORE the sequel was officially announced and had been “confirmed” dead multiple times. As such, fans were eager to see what was coming next for Ancel…

Welp, at the rate it’s going, Beyond Good & Evil 2 will be arriving before WiLD. While BG&E2 was absent at E3 this year, development is hot and heavy with a demo still expected this year. WiLD meanwhile hasn’t seen any attention in a while. Ancel posted a screenshot of the game in 2017 to his Instagram confirming it was still being worked on. Other than that, the only reason we know it’s still in development is Sony filed a new trademark for the game in March of this year (2019).

Ubisoft’s Avatar Game

Ubisoft announced back in EARLY 2017 that they were developing a video game based on James Cameron’s sci-fi film, Avatar…And then went completely silent. The game was/is being developed by Ubisoft Massive, the same team behind The Division, and that’s about all we know.

The last update anyone had on the game was back in May 2018, where the studio told IGN gamers shouldn’t expect the game until early in their 2021 fiscal year (which would make April 2020 the earliest we’d see it). The idea was to have it launch shortly after Avatar 2 hit theaters. Thing is, the movie just recently got hit with (another) delay and won’t be in theaters until December 2021.

So will Ubisoft keep the game coming next year to prep fans for the new film, or push it back to keep in line with releasing it after the sequel? Considering E3 2019 came and went with nary a whisper of the game from Ubisoft I’m leaning towards the very real chance we won’t see this game until 2021 or even 2022.

Routine

Back in 2012, Lunar Software revealed a chilling new survival/horror game called Routine. Trapped on a desolate looking space station, players would have to scavenge for supplies while avoiding some sinister looking robots patrolling the area. In many ways, the first few trailers and descriptions were incredibly reminiscent of Alien: Isolation, even though that game wouldn’t launch until two years AFTER Routine’s announcement.

Routine was initially supposed to launch in 2013, but it blew by the date pretty quick. Developers were providing fairly regular updates, however, so it wasn’t anything to get worked up about. As time (years) went on, however, updates came fewer and far between. Suddenly though, a new trailer hit in 2016 that promised a March 2017 release date! Yet here we are in 2019 and Routine still hasn’t launched. The most recent update came last year when Lunar Software responded to fans reaching out with, “We are indeed still working on Routinebut things have been a bit rough on the personal side, the team is good and well though and we are going very strong!”

Sadly, that’s been the latest and even the company’s Twitter page hasn’t seen an update since 2017. As of last year, the game was still being developed, which means there’s still a chance we’ll see it at some point, but the lack of updates certainly isn’t helpful for fans.

Dead Island 2

Despite only garnering lukewarm reviews upon its release, Dead Island managed to strike a chord with fans for it’s world-building and characters. After a standalone expansion (Dead Island: Riptide) and spin-off title (Escape from Dead Island), a full-on sequel was announced during Sony’s E3 2014 presentation. The cinematic trailer hearkened back to the first game’s stellar/haunting announcement trailer.

The sequel returns you to the open world setting, but this time the entirety of California is under quarantine due to the zombie outbreak. Er…maybe. The problem is, since it’s initial announcement, Dead Island 2 has gone through a couple developers and “refreshes.” So the game might be very different that what was initially shown. Yager (Spec Ops: The Line) was handling the game when it was revealed at E3 2014, but Sumo Digital took over in 2016…who’s been silent ever since.

The latest word came in March of this year when it was mentioned during THQ Nordic’s Interim Report for investors. There CEO Lars Wingefors said the game is still being worked on and to “stay tuned.” Meanwhile Techland, the first game’s developers, is prepping a 2020 release for a sequel to Dying Light; a game that released four years AFTER Dead Island arrived.

Deep Down

Do you remember when the PlayStation 4 was first (officially) announced? Well, Deep Down sure as Hell does because it was THERE at the presentation in February 2013. Capcom showed off the action-RPG dungeon crawler as it praised Sony’s powerful “new” console as the only way to bring the title to life.

The game would take place in both the far future and in (fantastical) historical settings, as players could explore procedurally generated dungeons. The co-op title was slated to release in 2014 as a free-to-play title, but it never came to pass. It wasn’t until 2015 that gamers even heard an update on the title. In an interview with Japan’s 4gamer, producer Kazunori Sugiura stated that Capcom’s vision for the game had changed/expanded. The idea would be to make it more appealing to players for the “long term.” As such the timetable had been pushed back…

That’s it. That’s about all we’ve heard about Deep Down and here we are on the cusp of the NEXT generation of consoles. Sounds pretty dead, so why am I mentioning it here? Last year, Capcom filed a trademark extension for Deep Down. While that doesn’t seem terribly exciting, it means they aren’t quite ready to let the name go. Generally one of the best ways to know a game is well and truly dead, is when the company let’s the trademark lapse (although The Last Guardian proved the exception)…So there’s still a chance to see Deep Down on the PS5!


These are far from the only games stuck in Development Hell, but they seem to be ones who have a shot of escaping it at some point in the (hopefully near) future. Some others include:

Rockstar’s Agent – Still listed on their website and supposedly in some level of production.

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord – Announced in 2012 as a sequel to the 2008 Action RPG title.

Star Citizen – Surely someone, at some point, who hasn’t invested hundreds of dollars to the (STILL) in production game will actually get to play it.

Half-Life 3 – Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…….