Most high-budget video games take around three to four years of development time to complete. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, for example, took at least three years to develop–from the moment the game began as an idea to the release date. However, there are some games that have been in production for a lot longer than usual. Called vaporware, these games have been in development for so long that it is believed by gamers that they will never see the light of day.
With the recent release of Duke Nukem Forever, a game that took 14 years to develop, games that were once believed to be considered vaporware have been resurfaced. The following are possible vaporware games that should be either be released by now on the current generation of consoles, or can possibly never be out.
StarCraft Ghost (Years in Development: At least 9)
Announced in 2002, this sci-fi stealth/action game is a spin-off of the StarCraft series and was originally set to be released for the XBox, GameCube, and PS2. Blizzard cancelled plans for the GameCube release in 2005, and eventually put the game on indefinite hold in 2006. Blizzard has announced that a release on the latest generation of consoles is a possibility, but considering that the XBOX 360 and PS3 is starting to reach the end of their lifespans and there hasn't been a single a peep about StarCraft Ghost in years, it's safe to assume that this game is probably never going to be released.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII (Years in Development: At least 5)
FF Versus XIII is an action-RPG that takes place in the same universe as Final Fantasy XIII, even though it's completely unrelated to the game's story. Been in development since 2006, the game has suffered through multiple delays, and was even put on hold in 2008 so that Square-Enix can concentrate development on the main title, Final Fantasy XIII. A new trailer featuring gameplay footage was shown in 2009 during Japan's Jump Festa, but no new information of the game has been released since. Director Tetsuya Nomura has stated that the game will unlikely be released in 2011, and that the earliest we'll ever hear anything new from the game will be during the 2011 Electronics Entertainment Expo. However, the game was nowhere in sight during the show.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 (Years in Development: At least 3)
Unveiled at Ubidays on May 28, 2008, very little information regarding BG&E2 has been released since it was first announced to the public. The developmental process has been so quiet, in fact, that many people believe that the game could have been secretly cancelled or will eventually reach vaporware status. Due to the small team size of the game's developers (in order to keep the artistic spirit), the game's development will take “some time,” and players are encouraged to be patient, as stated by the game's creator and director, Michel Ancel.
Half Life 2: Episode 3 (Years in Development: At least 5)
Developer Valve has been pretty famous for its delays, and considering how long it's taking for Half Life 2: Episode 3 to be released, this may be their biggest delay yet. Announced in 2006 that the game is scheduled for release during Holiday 2007, the game has been in development for at least 5 years. Other than a bunch of teaser images released in various games over the years, very little information of the game has been released to the public.
Shenmue III (Years in Development: At least 6)
You don't make a game that ends with “to be continued” without the intent to make a sequel for the game. The Shenmue series was planned for 16 chapters, 6 of which were presented in Shenmue I and Shenmue II. However, many unconfirmed reasons for the game's current vaporware status include budget issues, poor sales of Shenmue II, and creative differences between director Yu Suzuki and publisher Sega. The entire story of the Shenmue saga has already been written, but the final chapters of the game was never finished. Numerous fan-made online petitions were created for the completion of the Shenmue saga, including a high-profile petition by videoGaiden.
According to Japanese magazine Famitsu, Shenmue III is voted as the second most wanted video-game sequel.
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