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High-Profile Games Announced Years Ago That Still Have No Release Date

It's nothing new for video games to take years to be released after they are announced, especially when delays are taken into account. Perhaps more than any other form of mass media, video game release dates are more often than not a case of wishful thinking on the part of the developer or the publisher. Fans almost expect at this point for the first release date shown for a newly-announced game to be pushed back at least once.

Still, for the vast majority of games that are announced, gamers are typically given some sort of heads up for when to expect it, usually in the form of a definite date or target release window. It's unusual for an in-development game to be known about by the public for more than a few years without even an estimate of a release date, but that's the case for all of the following games.

Metroid Prime 4

It's easy to assume that Nintendo is actively developing the next "Mario" or "Zelda" game at any given moment. Meanwhile, Nintendo also has a few series that fans hope have sequels in the works, though there's no guarantee that is the case. One such franchise, unfortunately, is "Metroid." Though the sci-fi action series is one of Nintendo's pillars, the company often seems to struggle with what to do with it, taking long breaks between new entries.

So fans were thrilled when, in 2017, Nintendo confirmed that a fourth installment of "Metroid Prime" was officially in the works. However, all that was shown at the time was the title image — and that's still all that's been shown. Nobody was pleased when the company finally broke two years of relative silence regarding the game in 2019, only to announce that all current development was being scrapped and the project was being restarted from scratch by a different studio. At least now it's being made by Retro Studios, the developer behind the original "Metroid Prime" games.

Since then, all fans have gotten are assurances that the game is still in the works — with nothing in the way of when anyone might see so much as footage or screenshots. Thank goodness "Metroid Dread" filled the void in the meantime.

System Shock 3

The "System Shock" games were legendary blends of science fiction and horror, having been worked on by such luminaries as Warren Spector and Ken Levine — the latter of which went on to lead the "BioShock" series. "System Shock" went dormant following its 1999 sequel, but that all changed in 2012, when Night Dive Studios acquired the rights to the franchise. This announcement immediately led to speculation of a new entry in the series being in the cards — which was officially confirmed just a few short years later.

Excitement really ramped up when it was revealed that none other than Warren Spector was going to lead the team that was developing "System Shock 3." Unfortunately, Spector and that team left the project in 2019, and Tencent now owns the rights to the franchise (per VentureBeat). Night Dive Studios is currently working on a remake of the original "System Shock," but has expressed interest in taking over development of "System Shock 3" if and when Tencent gives the go-ahead (per VGC). Sadly, this seemingly leaves the game in limbo for the foreseeable future.

The Last Night

First-time developer Odd Tales announced its debut game, "The Last Night," all the way back in 2014. With aesthetics that recall "Blade Runner" and gameplay reminiscent of "Flashback," the intriguing title was initially aiming for a 2016 release for PlayStation 4 and PC (per Engadget). Not only did it not meet that window, but by the end of that year, developer Adrien Soret — who initially conceived of the project alongside his brother, Tim — announced via Twitter that he was no longer with the team.

Still, development continued, with publisher Raw Fury scooping up the game in early 2017 and helping ready it for its first official reveal by that year's E3 conference. At that point, 2018 was the target window, but that too came and went. In a December 2021 interview with "PC Gamer," Tim Soret explained that the team was going to take its time to ensure that "The Last Night" becomes the absolute best game it can be, rather than stress about release dates. Things were then shifted to "when it's ready" status in terms of release dates — and that's where they remain, according to the game's official website

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake

This one is unusual in that it not only previously had a planned release date, but its publisher was already allowing people to put down money to pre-order the game. However, Ubisoft announced in November 2022 that its highly anticipated remake of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" was not only being delayed, but it was still so far out from being ready that the company decided to refund all pre-orders — while insisting that the game is still very much in development.

It's been over a decade since the release of the last AAA "Prince of Persia" title — 2010's "The Forgotten Sands." In the meantime, "Prince of Persia" led to the creation of "Assassin's Creed," which became a larger success for Ubisoft. With that franchise feeling less like "Prince of Persia" in recent years, it seems as good a time as any to bring back "Prince of Persia" proper, right? A remake of what is arguably the most well-received entry in the "Prince of Persia" series seems like the perfect place to relaunch the series for a modern era — and hopefully fans get to see it sooner rather than later. 

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

2009's "Avatar: The Game," a prequel to the hit James Cameron film, was a perfectly serviceable movie tie-in game — not excellent, but certainly not terrible either. Another "Avatar" movie meant another "Avatar" video game, and so "Frontiers of Pandora" was set to come out near the release of "Avatar: The Way of Water," even though the game will have a separate story from the film. 

Unfortunately for fans of Pandora and the Na'vi, "The Way of Water" arrived and cleaned up at the worldwide box office, but there was no sign of "Frontiers of Pandora." As it stands, there is still no official release date set for the second "Avatar" game, with some of the more ambitious estimates suggesting it may hit by the end of 2023, but it could come out as late as 2024, according to an earnings report from Ubisoft. It seems like there is a concerted effort by all relevant parties to make sure the game lives up to its potential when it finally does come out. At this point, however, it'll be arriving closer to the release date of the third "Avatar" film.

In the Valley of Gods

After the acclaimed "Firewatch," the gaming community was hyped for what Campo Santo was going to do next. During 2017's The Game Awards, the developer revealed that its sophomore effort was to be another first-person adventure game titled "In the Valley of Gods." The game is set in 1920s Egypt and stars a female lead exploring the region and recording her efforts.

Campo Santo revealed in April 2018 that the company had been purchased by Valve, and it wasn't long before the publisher had members of the Campo Santo team working on Valve projects such as "Half-Life: Alyx" and "Dota Underlords." This move put the fate of "In the Valley of Gods" in question. Near the end of 2019, the year that "In the Valley of Gods" was originally intended to be released, Campo Santo lead Jake Rodkin confirmed to Polygon that the game was, in fact, on hold. 

The game's Steam page still lists it as "currently in development" and allows users to wishlist it, so there's no reason yet to jump to any conclusions about its demise.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2

Having spent a few years working on other properties, developer Ninja Theory returned to original IP with the release of 2017's multi-award-winning "Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice." The game was celebrated for its atmosphere and its handling of mental illness within its fantastical narrative. Two years later, the developer announced the follow-up "Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2" at the 2019 Game Awards with a teaser that promised an even more realistic and intense depiction of the franchise's titular protagonist.

Things were mostly quiet on "Hellblade 2" for a few years, other than the announcement of the game becoming an Xbox console exclusive. In the meantime, Ninja Theory began teasing another "experimental" horror title, "Project Mara." 

Studio head Tameem Antoniades finally shared some new footage of the game in 2021 in a video update, but that exciting footage was accompanied by the reveal that full production on the game had yet to even begin at that point. Needless to say, this made it pretty obvious that "Hellblade 2" wasn't anywhere close to being finished — and it still doesn't seem to be. The developer's official website still has the dreaded "TBA" release window listed for "Hellblade 2."

Deep Down

The announcement of a new console is generally accompanied by word of one or more games that will serve as technical showcases for the console's capabilities. These may take a bit of time to release, but most of these games do eventually come out. As of now, that can't be said for Capcom's "Deep Down," a futuristic fantasy title which was originally shown off alongside the official announcement of the PlayStation 4. 

It's questionable whether "Deep Down" is even in the works at this point. Capcom renewed the trademark for the game in 2018, but that doesn't necessarily translate to development progress. Longtime Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono, who was leading the project, resigned from the company in 2019. He assured Eurogamer that work on "Deep Down" was going to continue after his departure, despite the fact that the game's original team had since disbanded. 

That said, there hasn't been an official word from Capcom about the game one way or another since then. Bloomberg's Jason Schreier asked former PlayStation chief Shawn Layden what happened to the game in a 2021 interview, to which Layden reportedly responded, "I have no idea." At least he didn't say it was cancelled, right?

Fear Effect Reinvented

What was to be the third entry in the "Fear Effect" franchise was cancelled in 2003 — largely as a result of publisher Eidos needing to do some serious restructuring in the early-2000s (per IGN). And with that, a promising franchise was cut down in its prime, and wouldn't be heard from again until the release of "Fear Effect Sedna" — arguably one of the worst games of 2018 — a decade and a half later. While the underwhelming "Sedna" did little to revive the brand, a remake of the original "Fear Effect" was also announced. After some early art was shared by the developers, "Fear Effect Reinvented" went several years with almost no updates.

It was beginning to look like vaporware until a new teaser suddenly showed up out of nowhere in August 2022, which featured actual gameplay footage for the first time since the project's announcement. The remake looks to recapture the thrills of the original, which combined hardboiled crime fiction with supernatural action. That trailer ends with the promise that "Fear Effect Reinvented" will be coming out "sooner than you think," which is definitely reassuring. Still, that hardly equals a release date.

Lost Soul Aside

First revealed in 2016 through a proof-of-concept video created by just a single person (Yang Bing), it was pretty obvious that "Lost Soul Aside" wasn't going to be coming out anytime soon. And, sure enough, things went pretty quiet pretty quickly for the stylish action game, with nothing in the way of significant updates or even confirmation that the game still existed until late 2022.

Interestingly, Sony released what it called an "announcement trailer" for "Lost Soul Aside" in December 2022, despite the game having already been publicly discussed for six years and the existence of previous gameplay videos. Instead, this "announcement trailer" marked the official announcement that Sony Interactive Entertainment will be publishing the game. Not only that, but Yang Bing now has a full team working with him on the project. This trailer was the public's major re-introduction to "Lost Soul Aside," along with a confirmation that it was coming to both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Sony aims for an early 2024 release window, but a specific date for the debut of "Lost Soul Aside" has yet to be nailed down. Given how long players have waited, there's no telling if this newest window will stick.

Avowed

Developer Obsidian Entertainment initially made a name for itself by developing scrappy sequels to games made by different developers, with "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2" and "Fallout: New Vegas" being particular standouts in the company library. That being said, Obsidian does have a few original IP under its belt, including the critically-acclaimed "The Outer Worlds" and the 2022 hidden gem "Pentiment." 

The developer currently has two officially announced games in development; one is a sequel to "The Outer Worlds," while the other is a new fantasy title, "Avowed." Neither of these games have release dates, but it's "Avowed" that has already had a few years pass since its July 2020 reveal during an Xbox showcase. Since then, the "Pillars of Eternity"-adjacent RPG has seen very little in the way of updates.

Fans of "Pillars of Eternity" are no doubt chomping at the bit to finally explore the world of Eora in 3D from a first-person POV (and with Obsidian's trademark action-RPG stylings). However, they may be waiting a good long while for the privilege. 

Beyond Good and Evil 2

Although not officially announced under the title "Beyond Good & Evil 2" until E3 2017, a follow-up to the beloved "Beyond Good & Evil" was first teased way back in 2008, when a brief teaser trailer was shown during an Ubisoft event.

Still, even if you're only counting when it was first formally titled, over five years has elapsed since the announcement of "Beyond Good & Evil 2," but there's still nothing in the ballpark of a targeted release window. Series creator Michel Ancel's retirement from game development in 2020 was definitely cause for alarm, but he reassured fans via his Instagram that the game was still coming along nicely and its development would continue in his absence.

Fast forward to October 2022, when PC Gamer noted that "Beyond Good & Evil 2" had officially broken the record set by "Duke Nukem Forever" for the longest-ever development time for a game. All we really have to confirm that it hasn't been cancelled yet is its page on Ubisoft's website and the fact that a new lead writer for the game was announced in August 2022.

Quantum Error

A lot was riding on "Quantum Error" from the moment it was announced in 2020. After all, it held the distinction of being the very first horror game in development for the PlayStation 5. By the end of 2022, the console had already seen the release of several horror games, with several more on the horizon — but "Quantum Error" was still nowhere to be found. 

TeamKill's game, which follows the story of a firefighter facing off against cosmic horrors, was once was aiming for a 2021 release, but now its PlayStation Store page simply says "release date to be determined," while the game's own official website says nothing more specific than the fact that it is "in development." Here's hoping that it lives up to the expectations of being a defining horror experience for the PlayStation 5 — and also the Xbox Series X, which TeamKill has since confirmed as a platform.

Star Citizen

What makes "Star Citizen" unique among the other games in this list is that it is technically playable, and has been for some time. Way back in 2013 — before most of the games on this list were even announced — an alpha build of the game was made available, and several updates have followed over the years. Still, an alpha build is hardly a full game. In fact, an alpha build isn't even a beta version. And as it stands, there isn't any word on when either will be released for "Star Citizen."

Across various crowdfunding avenues, "Star Citizen" has amassed over $500 million since the game's 2012 announcement. "Star Citizen" remains somewhat controversial among gamers due to its long development cycle, constant addition of new features, and lack of a finished product. Still, fans have been able to play the space sim MMO in various states of completion for years now, which puts it ahead of many other Kickstarter gaming disasters that ended up completely falling apart without so much as a playable demo to show for it. 

No matter how you look at it, though, "Star Citizen" is a game that has spent over a decade in active development.

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