The Dorklyst: 15 of the Most Sadly Unfinished Videogame Franchises

By Alex Z. Rogers / March 22, 2013
The Dorklyst: 15 of the Most Sadly Unfinished Videogame Franchises - Image 1

Among the many plagues visited upon gamers over the years, the unresolved cliffhanger ending is one of the worst. Sure, in a game it's the journey that's most important, but would Mario be as popular today if he didn't finally get his cake-baking princess? With the time and hours invested in a game one might think developers would be kind enough to reward us with just a little smidgeon of closure, but too often we're stuck waiting for sequels that may never arrive. The list below includes just a few of the great unfinished game sagas that, unlike this paragraph, never had a fitting end. Actually, even this paragraph never had a

15. Too Human

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Like your dystopian robot apocalypse scenarios swimming in Norse mythology? In that case, you're probably one of the very few people who played "Too Human". Developed by Silicon Knights, a studio known for quality titles nobody played like "Eternal Darkness", the series was an action/RPG set in a world in which mankind's war against rampant machinery has left it on the brink of extinction. Survivors huddle in a futuristic metropolis and are watched over by cybernetics-enhanced ubermensch based off Viking gods who seek to end the threat posed by Loki's army – or basically the plot of the movie "Thor" (minus Natalie Portman). The first game was set to be part of a trilogy, ending with Loki uncovering what would likely be a new threat and your character leaving his comrades in a huff after learning a terrible truth about himself and his connection to – oh who cares? Apparently nobody. After ten years in development, crappy reviews and poor sales, it appears that we'll never know what happens to the people of Asgard. Want to play it once just to see what you missed? Too bad! After losing a lawsuit to Epic Games, creators of the game's engine, all extant copies of the game were recalled. So basically the game has become the equivalent of a quickly annulled Vegas wedding: we can't believe we were crazy enough to do it, and now we'll all pretend it never happened.

14. XIII

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In a brazen attempt to show the world that "Tin-Tin" was not Belgium's ONLY graphic novel series, Ubisoft released the funky first-person shooter XIII. Utilizing cartoony comic book visuals, the game followed the title character – an amnesiac who may actually be a Jason Bourne-style assassin involved in a government conspiracy. The original game ended with the main character having just learned the identity of his main adversary and the nature of the conspiracy, but still fuzzy on his identity and unable to stop a government coup. Two mobile game sequels (the video game equivalent of "direct-to-DVD" for a former major title) answered more questions about the character's past but the truth behind it all and a final resolution to the story remain out there. That line was a reference to the fact David Duchovny voiced XIII in the original game. Thanks Wikipedia!

13. Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy

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"Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy" is a game that fits comfortably into the ever-growing genre of games that use colons to unnecessarily elongate their titles. Because God forbid we mistake this "Psi-Ops" for those other "Psi-Ops" titles. The game used the old "amnesiac protagonist" device to explain why your character, a veteran psychic commando, starts the game knowing nothing about where he is, his powers, or any conspiracy – let alone a mindgate conspiracy. The game ends with your character using his full god-like powers to destroy his enemies and then reaching the conclusion nobody should end up with the technology that made these powers possible. After downing a helicopter owned by his previous employer, the stage seems set for a new psychic conflict – the words "TO BE CONTINUED" flashing on the screen were also a subtle hint of more to come. Unfortunately, you don't have to be a psychic-power super soldier of the near future to foresee that the closure of studio Midway make a finale unlikely any time soon. And that is the last dumb psychic joke I'll be making in this entry… or is it? It is.

12. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

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Like your dystopian robot apocalypse scenarios immersed in classical Chinese epics? Then like me you may have played "Enslaved". After escaping a slave ship, main character Monkey is forced by a plot device to escort Trip to her village. A final titanic mech battle between two massive machines resulted in an whimper rather than a bang as Monkey and Trip reveal their enemy to have somewhat justifiable motives. It turns out the evil slaver was the last human to remember the pre-apocalyptic society while all the slaves were linked to a computer simulation of a world at peace. The old man almost sounds pitiful as he begs Monkey not to take away their dream world and the character almost falls into this happy matrix – then Trip kills him, only later pausing to wonder if she did the right thing. In some ways this can read as a proper if ambiguous end, but the fate of the characters, the freed slaves, and the actual outcome for a human race on the verge of extinction is never revealed. As the series was planned as a trilogy, presumably Monkey and Trip would have explored the ramifications of their actions – maybe with an odyssey to the north. If you really are clamoring to know what might have happened had the proposed trilogy come to pass you need only read the original Chinese stories and add giant robot dinosaurs.

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