#5 L.A. Noire
It’s an exciting endeavor when you start something up which is what Brendan McNamara likely felt when he created Team Bondi. This was a new studio where that contained a team of thirty employees gathered together to work on a new project known as L.A. Noire. This is a game that follows a neo-noir story with players investigating and solving crimes.
The setting takes place in Los Angeles during the 1940s where developers intended on creating an insanely detailed replica of the city. Originally set to be a PlayStation 3 exclusive, the development team worked out a deal with Sony Computer Entertainment of America in order to gain the support needed to develop the game.
After so long Sony decided to leave the project which Rockstar Games was able to jump in and help to publish the game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. There was also even talks of Rockstar Games acquiring Team Bondi, but apparently, there were some issues between the two companies resulting in Rockstar Games scrapping the idea.
This title was first in development starting in 2004 but the final game didn’t officially release until 2011. After its release, the company was disbanded with a number controversies being reported by former employees. Essentially it seems that Team Bondi was becoming a toxic studio to work at for developers who were being overworked and underpaid for their efforts.
#4 Too Human
Too Human was developed under Silicon Knights after it was first announced at E3 1999. The game was made to be a PlayStation 2 exclusive based around a science fiction crime game. However Too Human was shelved when Nintendo tasked the studio to create Eternal Darkness along with co-developing Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes on the Nintendo GameCube.
A few years later Microsoft made a deal with the development studio to bring back Too Human for the Xbox 360 which was once again shown at E3 in 2006. However that actually sparked a rather nasty legal battle between Silicon Knights and Epic Games.
Without going into the fine details, Silicon Knights claimed Epic Games offered a stripped down version of the Unreal Engine. Essentially Silicon Knights felt that Epic Games could use their current full engine to develop a better overall product giving them an edge against those who also used the engine.
Not only did the judge favor Epic Games but found that Silicon Knights actually stole coding from the Unreal Engine and claimed it as their own. When it was all said and done the development studio owed millions and was ordered to destroy any unsold copies of Too Human when it launched in 2008. A few short years later the studio filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors.
#3 Alan Wake
Remedy Entertainment has been around since 1996 though they are likely best known for bringing out Max Payne in 2001. After the release of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne the development studio decided to work on a new IP known as Alan Wake. The concept for the game was being thrown around in 2003 where the developers decided on a new psychological horror title set in the Northwest.
It wouldn’t be until 2005 where the game was finally announced during E3. It was first announced to be available for the upcoming generation of consoles and PC platforms. However, it was finally set to be an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2009. The game would then find a home on the Xbox 360 in 2010 though the PC version of the game remained missing despite the demos shown off previously. Finally in 2012 Remedy Entertainment launched a PC port of the game.
Alan Wake was a hit and while fans have pleaded for a sequel, there are currently no plans in the works as the IP is owned by Microsoft.
#2 BioShock Infinite
The BioShock franchise also saw a title stuck in a bit of development hell. Months after the release of BioShock the development team was going over different game concepts that would eventually be used for BioShock Infinite.
In 2010 the game received its first official reveal though the title seems to have lost a few features when it finally launched a few short years later. With the first reveal, it looked as if developers had offered a bit more innovation than they could handle or scrapped completely for a new direction.
Even with various features and mechanics missing from the game when it was first unveiled and teased, BioShock Infinite still went on to be a hit once the game released in 2013. Unfortunately, that has been the last installment made to the franchise since the closure of Irrational Games.
#1 The Walking Dead: The Final Season
The Walking Dead: The Final Season has a pretty interesting backstory. While this game didn’t last very long in development hell, it was uncertain if the full game would actually launch. If you’re familiar with the game, Telltale Games released the title back in 2018 as an episodic adventure would follow the endgame of Clementine, the protagonist who we have been following since the first installment to this franchise in 2012. However, during this time the game developer, Telltale Games were having some serious problems. In fact, by the second episode release, Telltale Games closed down leaving gamers unsure if we would see the final two episodes would release.
This was surprising as the game was already confirmed to be the closing story for the main protagonist of the video game franchise. After some time passed, Skybound Games stepped up and managed to get a few developers to stay back and finish the game. So while the title didn’t have a very long development hell, it was still a scare for gamers who have been waiting to close the series.