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Top 10 Games in Development Hell

VO: Dan Paradis
We've all experienced the frustration of seeing a preview for a new game, only to never get to play it! For this list, we’re covering both games that have been released, and have yet to be released. We’re judging these based on a combination of development time, hype and drama that came with development. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Games in Development Hell.

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Top 10 Games in Development Hell

These are the games that are taking forever. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Games in Development Hell.

For this list, we’re covering both games that have been released, and have yet to be released. We’re judging these based on a combination of development time, hype and drama’s that came with development.

#10: “LA Noire” (2004-2011)

An ambitious title from first time developer Team Bondi (“Bond-eye”), Noire was originally developed as a PS3 exclusive, with Sony as their publisher, for a 2008 release date. However, year after year the game was pushed back, and the team eventually changed publishers to Rockstar. The huge amount of money invested in the game’s facial motion-scan technology and the overall ambitious scope of the project cause Team Bond-eye to go belly up so after the game’s release.

#9: “Too Human” (1999-2008)

This game started life as a 4 disc PS1 game, before developer Silicon Knights moved production to the Gamecube, before finally settling on the Xbox 360. Oh, and naturally, the game was intended to be part of a trilogy. When it was released, it was panned by critics for awkward controls, bizarre animations and repetitive gameplay. To make matters even worse, the game was recalled following a court case with Epic Games over the dispute of the Unreal engine. Ouch!

#8: “Diablo III” (2001-2012)

Originally beginning development back in 2001, Fans of the popular series were forced to wait patiently for 11 years between Diablo 2’s expansion and this title. The main reason for the delay was because the game was scrapped and restarted 3 times because Blizzard weren’t happy with the results. The game finally arrived in the hands of patient fans in 2012, many of who’s patience instantly turned to anger with the game’s always online DRM and real money Auction house. Oh well…

#7 “The Last Guardian” (2007 – ongoing)

Being developed by the team that brought us Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, this game was originally announced at E3 2009 with a spectacular trailer that wowed critics and fans alike. Annnddd that’s all we’ve heard it. We were about to write this title off as vaporware, but Sony insists the game is still in development.

#6: “Aliens Colonial Marines” (2000-2001, 2006-2013)

ACM was developed by Fox Interactive and EA for the PS2 before being cancelled for reasons unknown in 2001. Then in 2006 Sega acquired the Aliens license and assigned Gearbox Software to develop the game under the same name. But it was cancelled in 2008, then later restarted. The game was eventually released … and instantly garnered fame for being borderline unplayable.

#5: "Final Fantasy XV" (2006 – Ongoing)

Back at E3 2006 before the PS3 had been released, the game was originally announced as “Final Fantasy XIII Verses”, intended an exclusive for that system. However with details of the game being kept very “hush hush” Square-Enix frequently had to fend off rumors that it had been cancelled. Its now slated as a PS4 and Xbox One title: Release Date unknown. The Graphics do look pretty though.

#4: “Prey” (1995-2006) & "Prey 2" (2006- Ongoing)

The guys at Human Head Studios must be real perfectionists. First showed in off 1997, the original game went through multiple revisions before it eventual release 11 years after it began development. Miraculous, the game was well received by critics and fans, which lead to ground being broken on the development of an ambitious sequel. And guess what’s happening with that now.

#3: "Half Life 2: Episode 3" (approx. 2007-ongoing)

What was supposed to be a short length episodic chapter turned into one of the biggest “hush hush” tales in the Video game industry. No promotional media has ever been released aside from some concept art. And employees at Valve refuse to comment on the game. More ironically in 2006 in an Interview with Euro Gamer, Gabe Newell said the reason they went with episodic Half Life was because shorter gameplay chunks were still better than fans having to wait 6 years for the next installment. We’ll let you do the math, but guess how long it’s been since episode 2?

#2: "MOTHER 3" a.k.a. "Earthbound 2" (1994-2006)

This is pretty painful for Earthbound fans for multiple reasons: originally beginningdevelopment on the SNES, when that system’s lifespan was coming to an end it was moved to the 64DD, when that failed it was moved to the N64 … Then finally the Game Boy Advance. But, it was released when the DS was already on the market, and even at that, only in Japan, much to the frustration of Western fans. However, some fan-made translations do exist if for the true fanatics out there.

Before we get the the top spot, lets see what else took so long to come out

Honorable Mentions
Team Fortress 2 (1998-2007)
Pikmin 3 (2007 -2013)
Fallout 3 (2002 – 2008)
Spore (2000-2008)

#1: “Duke Nukem Forever” (1997-2011)

If you know your gaming history this should be no surprise. For 15 years this game with the most ironic title ever was being cobbled together. It went through multiple revisions and ended up switching developers and publishers. And to finally put an end to this tragic story, when it finally did come out, it was absolute dookie. Front and center was the fact that it seemed to be unable to decide if it wanted to be a retro or a modern shooter, and featured humor that was so outdated it was way past offensive by today’s standards.

Agree with our list? Which games made you go give up hope for the future? For Top 10 list that come out each day rather than every decade, be sure to Subscribe to

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