Top 7 Cancelled Horror Games

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It’s October, which means anybody who writes on the web is legally required to talk about horror video games before Halloween. But the joke’s on you, because you’ll never actually get to play these. Hah!

Halloween is right around the corner, and Laser Time is in full-on spooky nostalgia mode. We’ll be discussing horror games on Vidjagame Apocalypse, streaming scary games on Twitch, and putting together plenty of lists documenting fright-filled movies, games, and TV shows we’ve grown to love. But what about the projects that didn’t make it? We’ve dug up 7 games that died before they could make it to store shelves. That’s right… these projects are all g-g-ghosts!

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Thanks to the wonderful Unseen64, I was able to research about 40 horror games that never saw the light of day. To cut them down to a Top 7, I had to set some ground rules. First, no sequels or major franchises; you won’t see Resident Evil 1.5 or Jurassic Park: Survival here. There’s one major exception, but I know you’ll let it slide. I also tried to select unique games — seven entries about zombies isn’t fun for anyone. And finally, I needed enough information to actually write an entry. Guillermo del Toro’s inSANE might have been a great game, but we just don’t know much about it.

Trimming down to these seven games is a scary task, but it lets me make this sweet transition. Speaking of scary things…

7. Eon of tears (Xbox)

horror games, cancelled, halloween, top 7, hideo kojima, guillermo del toro, junji ito, silent hills, konami, P.T., eon of tears, deadlight, dead rush, asylum, sadness, virus

Here’s a million dollar question for you: what in-development horror game was based on the Bible? The answer: Eon of Tears. The overarching story involved traveling through various time periods to solve a mysterious “Bible Code,” unlocking an incredible power (and this was before The DaVinci Code, so you wouldn’t have rolled your eyes back then like you did just now). The gameplay was a mix of RPG and survival horror, which frankly sounds like a hit-or-miss genre mash. You’d expect this game to be aimed at children (they’re easier to indoctrinate), but you’d be wrong — Eon of Tears was built for a mature audience.

horror games, cancelled, halloween, top 7, hideo kojima, guillermo del toro, junji ito, silent hills, konami, P.T., eon of tears, deadlight, dead rush, asylum, sadness, virus

Honestly, this screenshot could just as easily be from Tomb Raider.

Take it from a guy who grew up in a Baptist church: there is some dark material in the Bible that fits the horror game bill. I’ll let the wonderful Cracked.com give you the gritty parts of the Good Book, but in case you’re allergic to opening up a new tab, here’s the gist: decapitations, impalement, dismemberment, Amen.

6. Asylum (Xbox, PS2)

horror games, cancelled, halloween, top 7, hideo kojima, guillermo del toro, junji ito, silent hills, konami, P.T., eon of tears, deadlight, dead rush, asylum, sadness, virus

Do you enjoy 1987’s The Running Man, but wish the runners were weaker than Arnie and the killers were undead monsters? Welcome to Asylum, also known by the way-cooler-sounding name Darkblack. In this FPS, you took on the role of a game show contestant where losers pay with their lives. I can’t imagine what Merv Griffin gimmick the show used, but it soon devolved into a horrifying experience involving psychos, zombies, and a whole lot of gore. Screenshots also show normal-looking NPCs (other contestants, probably), so some rescue/escort mechanics probably would have come into play.

horror games, cancelled, halloween, top 7, hideo kojima, guillermo del toro, junji ito, silent hills, konami, P.T., eon of tears, deadlight, dead rush, asylum, sadness, virus

Dude should have used a lifeline.

In a gaming world where game shows are limited to Buzz! Quizzes and Jackbox Party Packs (watch Laser Time play Fibbage 2, BTW), Asylum would have taken a completely different approach. Seeing other game show mechanics like lifelines, prizes, and audience participation repurposed into horror motifs would have been a treat. And you have to imagine there was a Bob-Barker-as-a-zombie Easter egg right? OK, maybe just me then.

5. Dead rush (Xbox, PS2, Gamecube)

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I can summarize Dead Rush in one easy math problem: Mad Max plus zombies (which means it would be greenlit immediately today). After an earthquake rocks the city of Eastport, amnesiac protagonist Jake must figure out why his town is now full of zombies. That’s the setup, but the real meat of Dead Rush was vehicular combat. Abandoned vehicles around town could be salvaged and rigged with additional armor; zombies would then dog-pile onto your sweet ride an tear it apart. The “survival” half of this survival horror title was more about maintaining your means of transportation.

horror games, cancelled, halloween, top 7, hideo kojima, guillermo del toro, junji ito, silent hills, konami, P.T., eon of tears, deadlight, dead rush, asylum, sadness, virusDead Rush or a GTA: San Andreas mod?

Dead Rush was being developed by Treyarch just a few years before the Call of Duty train barreled out of control, and one of the team’s goals was to release the game with zero load times. One boot up, and you got to play uninterrupted. Shame we never got to start the engine.

There are plenty of horror entries on the next page — including the big one you’re all expecting!

8 thoughts on “Top 7 Cancelled Horror Games

  1. Undead Labs could do a great job with the Dead Rush concept. It could easily be a game mode in State of Decay. Deadlight also looks like it could have been fun, but I bet it would be a hard game to make stand out. Other than the obvious #1 choice, I would have absolutely loved to play Sadness. The gloomy, foggy settings and feeling of isolation would have made a great and creepy world to explore.

  2. P.T. Silent Hills will haunt me forever as the most overrated video game experience in the history of the medium. Yes it was announced in a unique way that took people by surprise, especially the gaming press. Sure it had beloved names making it and starring in it. The gameplay of the actual teaser isn’t talked about nearly as much as the intriguing backstory and potential people think it had. A common argument for it I hear is, well the game would’ve been completely diferent, 1. How do you actually know that? 2. Why then would you rate a demo well that is in no way going to be close to the final product.

    Wander aimlessly down a repeating hallway, tapping the same button hoping it triggers the next jump scare or sound effect. Over and over, just mindlessly hoping the damn hallway would change and do anything interesting this time around. You can’t even call these events puzzles, all they require is on certain passes you look and investigate certain objects some of the time without any reason besides the occasional sound cue. Also, a common thing i hear about this “teaser” is people like Dave saying “I played it, I loved it, I used a walk-through then just looked up the ending on Youtube” How is that a good gaming experience? Most people couldn’t even be this mess of an experience without help or just give up to watch it on Youtube due to it being a poorly designed game.

    The story behind the game’s production, announcement and early cancellation have hyped this game unfairly given the awkward stumbling mess that it is. I played it, had friends play it and deleted it off my PS4 before it was removed and we have continued to be stunned at the collective love this game gets. Please try and rate the game on the game itself and not the book that should be written about its footnote in gaming history.

  3. why isn’t the top 7 its own 30 minute podcast? I would love to hear you guys discuss these in more detail roundtable style like the top 5 of VGA or the old top 7 of the Tdar days. I’ve never heard of ANY of these. except PT for obvious reasons. haha

  4. NUMBER ZERO: Castlevania Resurrection on the Dreamcast. Theres about 10 seconds of footage from that game and it don’t look pretty.

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