5 Incredible Real Video Games (You'll Never Get to Play)

Gamers tend to get more excited about the titles they're promised for the future than the ones that are actually available for purchase right now. This leads to a lot of heartbreak, since many of the most groundbreaking games get stuck in development limbo for years, or never get released at all.

Granted, there's no guarantee that any of these games would have been good (see: Duke Nukem Forever), but they're all intriguing as hell, which makes it that much sadder that they seem to be dead in the water.

(Y'know what's not dead in the water? Cracked's Star Wars mini-series. You can watch the trailer now.)

#5. The Last Guardian

Sony Computer Entertainment

The Last Guardian is a heartwarming tale of a boy and his giant bird-dog griffin creature that was first announced in 2009 as a project of Team ICO, a development studio that has only ever produced two games. However, those two games are ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, which are widely regarded as two of the greatest video games ever made in terms of both innovative play mechanics and emotionally resonating story. Even The New Yorker went out of its way to talk about how amazing those titles are, which must have caused people who actually read The New Yorker no end of confusion.

"Hmph! Video games will never have anything on the single-panel gag cartoon!"

Why You Want It:

A huge part of The Last Guardian was to revolve around taking care of the mythical superbeast as you adventure through the environment. Basically this means feeding him, tending to his injuries, and generally keeping him not dead -- Team ICO likened it to taking care of a pet. And also like a pet, the creature will occasionally completely ignore your commands, bounce around like a jimmy-legged man-child when you need him to be still, or root himself to the floor when you need him to sit somewhere else to solve a particular puzzle.

Sony Computer Entertainment
"Yeah? Why don't you come make me roll over?"

Furthermore, you as the main character are completely helpless against the game's enemies. Your only means of defense is getting the griffin to stomp suckers out like a trashcan fire, so it's your job to keep him in good fighting shape. It's an action/puzzle game where you take the role of the support character rather than the hulking super-badass. Basically, it's like BioShock Infinite if you played as Elizabeth instead of Booker.

Why You'll Probably Never Get It:

The Last Guardian has been so plagued by delays and setbacks that getting any new screenshots or information about it is like spotting a leprechaun riding Bigfoot. The official reason for the deafening four-year silence is that the game is loaded with more bugs than a motel mattress, and Team ICO has to constantly rework large sections to make the damn thing playable.

Sony Computer Entertainment
Every one of those feathers needs to be individually bug tested.

At this point, Sony, the game's publisher, refuses to clarify whether The Last Guardian is on hold or still in active development, and the head of Team ICO announced that he would be leaving Sony as soon as the game is finished, which is typically a pretty good indication that a project is not going well. We will probably be having sex with our World of Warcraft characters before we get a chance to hang out with our giant luck dragon BFF.

#4. Star Wars 1313

LucasArts/The Walt Disney Company

It was the game that, in the spring of 2012, simultaneously got everyone excited about gaming and Star Wars again. Star Wars 1313, a cutting-edge "looks too good to be possible" game to be released on the next generation of consoles ...

LucasArts/The Walt Disney Company
Hell, the game might have almost justified buying an Xbox One. Almost.

... promised to cast you as a bounty hunter descending into the seamy underbelly of the Star Wars universe to kidnap and/or murder people for money (but not credits -- credits are no good in the Outer Rim). It was a balls-out third-person action game / laser explosion festival created by a team culled from every branch of the Star Wars empire, including LucasArts, Lucasfilm Animation, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound. That's like if every member of the Justice League got together to build a supersonic asskick mobile and then tossed you the keys.

Why You Want It:

For starters, 1313 would have been the first Star Wars game to ever receive a Mature rating, even though the films themselves are famously applauded and derided in equal measure for being kid-friendly. However, the developers stressed that the Mature rating wasn't a reflection of how much blood and gore would've been in the game (although just one time we'd like to see a Wookiee rip someone's arms off), but rather the adult themes and character motivations in the game's story. If true, that's a big leap forward for a series previously dominated by puppets and bumbling slapstick aliens.

LucasArts/The Walt Disney Company
And maybe, just maybe, we would've gotten to see Jar Jar take a blaster to the face.

Also, most other Star Wars games focused on the Jedi and their magic Force powers, despite the fact that they're less than .001 percent of the galactic population. 1313 would've thrown all that space mysticism out the window in favor of darker, grittier realism, presenting us the Star Wars universe as it is experienced by the overwhelming majority of its inhabitants. The unnamed bounty hunting protagonist was also heavily rumored to be none other than Boba Fett, the most inexplicably popular ancillary character in the history of anything (some leaked concept art indicated that Boba Fett was the star, and "1313" is one of Boba Fett's aliases). If that were true, Star Wars fans would have torn their pants off in their hurry to pull out their wallets.

Marina Bartel/Photos.com
"I don't have to pay my rent this month! Forget the baby's formula! Take it! TAKE IT!"

Why You'll Probably Never Get It:

Star Wars 1313 had been changed, cancelled, and revived a ridiculous number of times before it was ever even revealed to the public, and shortly after Disney acquired all things Star Wars, they dropped the hammer on LucasArts, effectively killing all titles currently in production. Odds are we'll see a 60-year-old Princess Leia in a metal bikini before we ever get to play 1313.

#3. The City of Metronome

Tarsier Studios

Mainstream gaming is nearly bereft of completely original game concepts, and by God, this looked like it was going to be one. Back in 2005, a new development studio by the name of Tarsier revealed their debut effort, a third-person action-adventure game called The City of Metronome wherein players would tiptoe through a haunted urban landscape playing prerecorded sounds to defeat satanic horrorbeasts. Think Fatal Frame, only with a soundboard instead of a camera.

Jaimie Duplass/Photos.com
"Stand back! I've got a mini-recorder and I'm not afraid to use it!"

Why You Want It:

First of all, the game had a striking visual style. It looked like Tim Burton and Hayao Miyazaki transcribed a bunch of H.P. Lovecraft stories onto their knuckles, punched each other into unconsciousness, and then made a game out of their ensuing nightmares. Looking at footage of the game, you could easily be convinced it was made this year instead of nearly a decade ago.

Aside from its awesome visuals, The City of Metronome had a truly original premise -- use a variety of recorded sounds, ranging from angelic melodies to bloodcurdling infernal shrieks, as a universal tool to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and command the environment. Combat in the game would have you either running around enemies and playing sounds so harsh that their souls would flop spastically out of their bodies like a ghost on PCP, or enchanting your targets with a tuneful melody and forcing them to do your bidding. This is in sharp contrast to the "military shooter or Madden" approach most developers take when creating new games.

Tarsier Studios
"Man, hopefully this map shows me where they're keeping the automatic weapons."

Why You'll Probably Never Get It:

Despite how brilliant the game both looked and played, Tarsier couldn't find a publisher willing to invest a large bag of cash in The City of Metronome because of the game's unconventional premise and the fact that Tarsier was a new and unproven developer. Please remember that this is the same industry that dumped millions of dollars into shitty Kinect games because they found the prospect of gamers shouting and waving frantically at their televisions too compelling to pass up.

Tarsier Studios
"Yeah, original and beautiful are fine, but does it have a motion-controlled bowling game anywhere in it?"

The game was put "on the back burner" in 2007, and now Tarsier has many successful projects under their belt and a development deal with Sony. So you're welcome to cling to a shred of hope that we might actually get to play The City of Metronome before the children born the year the game was first announced have gone to college. But honestly, how many games that fell off the radar for eight years ever actually hit shelves?

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