Top 7 Cancelled Comic Games That Need Another Chance

top-7-cancelled-comic-book-games-laser-time

Not every cancelled game is worth remembering, but these Marvel and DC games coulda been a contender, they coulda been something…

The colorful world of comics have been a part of gaming as early as the Atari 2600 version of Superman. Comic book games can be Game of the Year-worthy blockbusters (like Batman’s Arkham series), or they can sell tons of plastic toys, as seen in the Marvel expansions of Disney Infinity. But in a weird form of retail jazz, sometimes it’s the games that don’t get made that make the most impact.

Gaming history is littered with projects that failed to materialize, and given the often-spotty quality of licensed games, sometimes those cancellations are wholly justified. Still, when you see leaked footage of some games that failed to hit the market, your heart can ache a bit at the lost potential. These are the top 7 titles we wished had seen release, if for no other reason than we wouldn’t be left guessing what might have been.

Special thanks to Unseen64 for much of this insider info!

Honorable Mention: Green Lantern (SNES)

Planned for release by Ocean Software in 1994, this Kyle Rayner-starring platforming looks about as mediocre as other action platformers of the day. It’s cancellation is hardly worth mourning, but what is worth celebrating is its unused soundtrack. Eventually uploaded to YouTube, composer Dean Evans made some pretty good tunes, some of which were reused in the horrible Waterworld game. Give the full thing a listen above, and just imagine a better game around it.

7. Daredevil (PS2)

The early 2000s were a bit of a non-starter for Daredevil, despite the hopes that the B-level Marvel character would finally go mainstream around that era. Ben Affleck was playing him in a new movie, Kevin Smith and Brian Michael Bendis reinvigorated his books, and he even had his own console and handheld games planned. However, while the abysmal GBA movie tie-in shipped, the PS2/Xbox release only got as far as a trailer that has been saved for posterity above.

Daredevil

Originally planned for a 2002 release from now-defunct publisher Encore, the game faced a number of delays until it quietly missed its final 2004 release window and wasn’t heard from again. At one point it seemed real enough even receive ads in Marvel comics, though it’s telling that the ads relied heavily on artwork and less on postage stamp-sized screenshots. The gameplay resembled a grittier version of the Spider-Man games of the time, and DD’s Radar Senses would be a fine fit for finding objectives (this was years before we were wowed by Batman’s Detective Vision).

6. Gotham By Gaslight

We live in an age where Rocksteady’s Batman games are GOTY contenders and each sequel arrives with sky high expectations. But in a pre-Arkham Asylum world, a Batman game was seen as having as little potential as any other DC hero, which lead to some strange choices being made. Instead of a straight on Bat-game, you got kiddie titles and things based on lesser-known spin-offs. That was the odd approach of Day 1 Studios Gotham By Gaslight game, which dropped The Dark Knight into the foggiest of locales, Victorian London.

Gotham_by_Gaslight_Screenshot

Based on an Elseworld one-off comic of the same name, developer Day 1 dreamed up a scenario for THQ to publish; a steampunk Batman chasing down Jack The Ripper through the ugly streets of Whitechapel. However, after pulling together the test footage above, THQ failed to secure the rights from DC, making this a rather expensive fan game. While I doubt seeing Batman beat up chimney sweeps will ever beat the Arkham games, this extra-gothic take on the vigilante could still be worth doing as a smaller downloadable adventure. At the very least, you’ve gotta give Day 1 props for creating some quality cape physics.

14 thoughts on “Top 7 Cancelled Comic Games That Need Another Chance

  1. Great article, but I think the first hurdle is getting Disney to actually make video games with their product. So far the Marvel license is only being used on a Free to Play MMO of sorts and Free to Play iPhone “games”. Hopefully, if Star Wars Battlefront 3 and the other mystery planned Star Wars game, are successful Disney will start seeking out ways to give Spidey his Arkham Asylum style return.

    1. That will never happen. Disney has proved that they’re entirely comfortable being completely irrelevant outside of their current wheelhouse. One day, when Disney finally merges with Warner Bros., we’ll begin seeing actual games come out, but not a second before the inevitable one company future comes to pass.

      1. I dont understand why Disney is fine with being irrelevant vidja game wise, (from the outside, at least) it looks like a high reward/no risk opportunity to just farm out (probably not the right term) their marvel franchises to third parties. Even at the worst, a bad ‘Avengers’ game would have still made millions. And its not like it would hold back the movie (or franchise) in any way, did the bad iron man games hold back the movies? (And again, at best we get good games, disney makes even more millions, and good press is had by all)

    2. Disney just doesn’t publish full console games anymore barring Infinity, and Marvel won’t let anyone else handle it after they were burned so badly by SEGA’s mishandling of their tie-in games. And now Activision’s licenses have expired we won’t be seeing any Marvel games for a long while.

      And if Disney merge with Warners then they’ll dissolve the games publishing arm, with the possible exception of the Batman and LEGO games. Disney just aren’t interested.

    3. I read awhile ago that Marvel was looking to start up it’s own game development like what it did with MCU. I’m still hopefully they will put the same attention into making games that they have into their movies. I really enjoyed the first Iron Man game. The second one was just unforgiveable.

  2. I remember seeing that Gotham by Gaslight demo quite a while ago and it’s incredible how good that cape still looks all these years later.

    Who knows? Maybe we will still get it one day. I’ve heard Rocksteady has been wanting to do something else for a while now so anything is possible.

    1. I highly doubt “something else” equates to “another Batman game”!

      At best it’ll be a Justice League game, or something original that’ll get them shut down after it sells 10 copies less than Arkham Knight.

  3. Man, those cape physics in the Gotham by Gaslight look good but just in the short clip I could see why they wouldn’t work in 3rd person game. Batman would look like an undulating mess 90% of the time.

    Put those physics to work in a “The Blob” game, think Katamari Damacy but with more seeing people actively digested.

  4. Excellent article Henry, I love reading about cancelled games.

    One minor correction (hey, you know that’s what I’m best at): there are actually TWO Gotham By Gaslight comics. The second is called ‘Master of the Future’ and has him go up against a mad Jules Verne-like inventor in an airship.

  5. Great article Henry. To anyone that has that Marvel itch that needs scratching, play Marvel Heroes 2015. The game is free to play, it’s fun, it plays just like Diablo 3 and the game was made by David Brevik, the creator of the original Diablo and Diablo 2. I am baffled that there has been no stream of the game by Laser Time, knowing what big Marvel nerds they are. The story mode is not bad at all, playing through Hell’s Kitchen, the savage land and Asgard!! Seriously running on the rainbow bridge for the first time was so cool. The game has almost 50 playable heroes!! One thing I like from the game is the banter between heroes when they run into each other, it’s spot on.

    1. The main reason is that Marvel Heroes was utterly awful when it came out. I have heard that it’s got a lot better recently.

      1. Yup, when Marvel Heroes first launched it es garbage. I played for about an hour then I uninstalled. That’s how much I hated the game but since it relaunched last year the has improved so much. Also, for the keyboard hating controller loving people, the game is getting controller support this fall.

  6. A Marvel’s Avengers could have been a fun play through, but I’m not a fan of the first person view. I agree with you on the Batman By Gaslight point; It probably couldn’t exist as anything other then a DLC add-on. With so many games copying the Rocksteady fighting formula, Daredevil could easily exist as a solid gameplay experience, but I doubt it would get the budget needed to make it great. It probably wouldn’t make it’s money back either…

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