5. 100 Bullets
Whether now or a decade ago, an open world game with tons of violence, Tarantino-esque mobsters, sexy femme fatales, and a massive government conspiracy sounds like a recipe for success. So it makes all the sense in the world that Vertigo’s long-running noir series, 100 Bullets, is a perfect starting point for Acclaim to make its own Grand Theft Auto. To give the game even more cred, series creators Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso were even involved in story and art direction. What could go wrong? Just about everything.
As good as the intentions might have been for a 100 Bullets game, it got picked up by Acclaim just as the schlock-selling studio was entering its death throes. Despite being shown at E3 2004 and getting that snazzy trailer, Acclaim fell apart before the planned release date. Fans of the series got their hopes up once more when D3 grabbed the publishing rights, but their planned 360/PS3/handheld versions never materialized either, leaving the crime saga effectively dead once more. I’m sure what does exist of the game can’t be good, but much like Azzarello himself has stated, I still have hope that 100 Bullets could some day be the gritty action game it deserves to be.
4. Marvel Chaos
In the early ’00s, Marvel and EA seemed like a match made in heaven. You had Marvel, a comic house with few good games to its name, partnering with Electronic Arts, one of the biggest publishers of licensed games around. But the crummy Marvel: Nemesis showed that the pairing wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. And if there were hopes that EA Chicago’s next Marvel fighter would right those wrongs, those died along with the developer itself in 2007.
The game had big names like Spider-Man, Hulk, Dr. Doom, and many more battling it out in highly destructible 3D environments. Marvel Chaos had the potential to finally show the kind of destructive battles only seen on the comic page, with gameplay that’s similar to the Gundam games big in Japan right now. But after flops like Def Jam: Icon, the developer shuttered and EA let its deal with Marvel fizzle out, a marked change from the fanfare of its announcement.
3. The Flash
If you’re a member of the Justice League not named Batman, odds are you’ve never had a good video game. And that includes The Fastest Man Alive, though developer Bottlerocket aimed to change that. The team responsible for the underrated Mark of Kri (and, ahem, the Splatterhouse reboot) wanted to give the Scarlet Speedster the fast-paced open world game that he could flourish in. Unfortunately, they teamed with publisher Brash Entertainment to make it happen.
As their name implies, Brash was an ambitious publisher that planned to revolutionize licensed games, though they only ever put out shit like Space Chimps and Jumper tie-ins. The company even scored the rights to a Superman and Flash title, though only Flash got far enough to prototype footage (shown above). It would’ve certainly been flawed and (knowing Brash’s reputation) underfunded, but the open world running of The Flash is similar to the super-powered exploration of later Saints Row games and Crackdown. Working on this cancelled title contributed to Bottlerocket’s eventual closure, though there’s still hope Warner Bros. Interactive isn’t done with Barry Allen just yet.