Vaporware is a term used to describe a product as being widely-known on a global scale, with all its roots pointing towards a final launch, only with no actual concrete release date set in stone. In the gaming world, that basically means if a game has been the talk of the town for years, but has no signs of ever releasing — then it’s considered vaporware. Basically a game lost in limbo, with no means to ever try and escape its shadowy depths. An empty shell, so to speak.
There are tonnes of reasons why video games end up being branded as vaporware — mainly due to the financial side of things taking a turn for the worse. But that’s just one of the unfortunate things developers can stumble into, of course. Outside of that, teams count on fortune in order to transform their visions into reality — hence the reason for neither abandoning nor cancelling it. And that, like these five following games — is vaporware, plain and simple. Lost…but definitely not forgotten.
5. Beyond Good & Evil 2
First appearing back in 2008 as a teaser to the critically acclaimed 2003 debut, Beyond Good & Evil 2 only managed to raise doubt in follower’s hearts as the future of the game neither progressed nor released. Come 2017, Ubisoft finally announced the game at E3, confirming the status of the game and its launch platforms. Since then, the developer has refused to let anything slip in regards to the release of the game, effectively giving it that vaporware branding.
The good news is — Beyond Good & Evil 2 does, in fact, have a trailer to boost its hype. But that’s about it. The rest of the details — other than our understanding of it being a PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC title — have been left in the shadows. And now, as of 2021, fans have lost all faith in Ubisoft and the future of the game. And that’s a shame, considering the trailer itself looked like a pretty solid homage to its sibling chapter. If only Ubisoft had it in them to bring us up to speed.
4. Star Citizen
First coined to a global audience on Kickstarter in 2012, developer Cloud Imperium Games Corporation (CIG) looked to create the next open-world sci-fi phenomenon, boasting a massive multiplayer experience with hundreds of explorable planets and in-game expeditions. Originally set with a $500,000 target, the highly ambitious Star Citizen quickly garnered both the backing from loyal followers and the required funds to green light the project.
Eight years later and Star Citizen has pulled in a mouth-watering $339 million over several sources, making it one of the most expensive games ever to enter development. And yet, despite all the money thrown at it — Star Citizen still hasn’t seen the light of day. Of course, there has been plenty of promises, though nothing concrete enough to justify the millions of dollars latched to it. A release date wouldn’t be too much to ask, but you know. Nevermind.
3. Half-Life 2: Episode Three
Despite releasing the first two episodes like clockwork, both releasing over 2006 and 2007, Valve failed to mention that, even with the high demand and expectations from loyal fans — chapter three just wouldn’t make the cut. Fourteen years later, and it’s the same old story. Contrary to Valve’s constant sour promises over the flopped trilogy, fans have accepted that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 is, unfortunately, a thing of the past, and no longer a relevant point of discussion.
Of course, rumours were regurgitated about Valve releasing a full-fledged title instead of a standard episode. But that was about a decade ago. As of this moment, in the midst of 2021, Valve still hasn’t followed through with their stale promises of finalizing the trilogy. But at this point, it’s probably not worth stressing about. It is what it is. Unfortunately.
2. Six Days in Fallujah
Way back in 2009, Highwire Games made the risky decision to delve deep into the Iraq War, specifically the real-life Second Battle of Fallujah, which spanned six cruel days between the two armies. Although originally picked up by Konami, who were originally going to publish the first-person shooter, controversy eventually engulfed the game, meaning Konami soon backed out of the deal and left Highwire without a foot to stand on.
For over a decade, Highwire refused to can the project, and instead continued to promise curious fans that the game was still well underway and in development, despite not having a publisher. Fast-forward to present day, and Six Days in Fallujah has finally managed to snatch up a publisher. And now, although without a confirmed release date, Highwire Games will look to roll out the long-awaited chapter to all major platforms. Talk about development hell.
Agent is a clean example of what can happen when you pretty much bite off more than you can chew. Like many other vaporware works on the market, the highly-ambitious open world game made lofty promises that the teams behind it just couldn’t fathom. And while Rockstar has always been known for delivering powerful video games to the community — Agent was perhaps one step in the wrong direction, with far too many cogs to assemble in a single machine.
First coming to light in 2007, and then officially in 2009, Agent was supposed to be set around the late stages of the Cold War, with a heavy focus on action and exploration. With Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser even claiming it would be a game changing experience, Agent was in line to becoming the new big thing. However, with too much on their plate and attention faltering to other IPs, the project eventually fell apart. Rockstar moved on to Red Dead Redemption, and Agent cracked. To this day, neither Rockstar nor any of the minds behind the game have stepped up to explain the abandonment.
So, what did we miss? Was there something we should’ve put on this list? Did you know about any of the five we mentioned? Let us know over on our socials here.
Had enough of vaporware? Looking for more content? You could always take a look at one of these lists: