Ask gamers to come up with an example of video game vaporware and most will give the same answer: Duke Nukem Forever. Game developer company 3D Realms first announced this PC video game title in 1997. It's a sequel to "Duke Nukem 3D." In late 2007, 10 years after the initial announcement, 3D Realms said the game was still in development but would make it into stores soon. Skeptical gamers sometimes compare 3D Realms to the boy who cried wolf. Rather than get excited, these gamers prefer to take a wait-and-see approach.
Another game that has been in development for several years is "StarCraft: Ghost" from Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard's Web page for the game describes it as a tactical-action console game set in the StarCraft universe. The company first announced the game's development in 2002. According to Blizzard's official FAQ, the game should have been finished before 2004. But since Blizzard's announcement, gamers have moved on to a new generation of consoles. Blizzard hasn't officially canceled the game, but many people consider it vaporware.
Ritual Entertainment's planned first-person shooter series called "SiN Episodes" was meant to give gamers access to episodic content. Ideally, gamers would be able to purchase episodes as they became available, expanding the game's world and storyline with every download. Unfortunately, the series seems to have stalled after just one episode called "Emergence." The episode found a small but enthusiastic fan base. Gamers still hold out hope that the series will continue.
LucasArts' four-game series of Monkey Island adventures cast the player as the awkward would-be pirate king, Guybrush Threepwood. In 2002, a Monkey Island fan Web site convinced some gamers that a fifth game called "Return to Monkey Island" was in development. It even went so far as to get LucasArts' blessing for the joke and partnered with the voice actor for Guybrush, Dominic Armato. Skeptical gamers pointed out that the announcement came on a suspicious date: April 1. In 2009, game developer Telltale Games answered the pleas of many a scurvy gamer and released "Tales of Monkey Island," a serialized adventure. While a sequel to the Monkey Island series, "Tales of Monkey Island" isn't the same game as the purely fictional "Return to Monkey Island."
The games in this article represent only a tiny percentage of all the projects that never made it into the hands of gamers. Some games might not have made a big impact even if published, but more than a few of them developed an eager fan base. Will we ever see any of these games emerge from what is popularly known as "development hell?" Only time will tell.
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