Vaporware is a word that gamers never want to hear. It indicates a game or product that is publicly announced, but never officially released nor canceled. The kind of product that’s stuck in a limbo where it’s not “dead,” but it’s not clear if any actual work is being done on it.
When developers and publishers talk about these games, they may shoot a blank stare and hesitantly clarify that the game is still being made, but it almost feels like the window of opportunity is shut. Waiting any longer feels fruitless because why wait for something that probably doesn’t exist? Of course, the definition of “vaporware” isn’t just limited to the games that are so obviously stuck in development hell; it may also refer to games that have been announced and been in development for years, with no release date in sight. This could be due to the scope or ambition increasing, a roadmap that never seems to stop getting larger, or just the game being stuck in a perpetual alpha state that never seems to move forward.
In 2022, there is no shortage of games that can be classified as vaporware. Here are five such titles that we’re convinced are not coming anytime soon.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake
It’s weird to think that Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake ever had a release date in the first place. Announced at the Ubisoft Forward 2020 event, this revival of the long-dormant franchise was set to release on Jan. 21, 2021. Gamers should’ve had this well over a year ago by this point.
Instead, criticism set in from the original trailer, and the game was initially delayed to March 18, 2021, before being taken off the release schedule entirely. Though Ubisoft reported that it would be released during the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the publisher has since delayed it indefinitely.
Outside of the announcement that Ubisoft Montreal would take over the game’s development, we’ve heard nothing substantial about it since its initial announcement. If the game is still in development, it may be a long time before it arrives.
Star Wars Eclipse
Announced at The Game Awards 2020, Star Wars Eclipse has been wrapped in controversy ever since. The game is being developed by Quantic Dream, a developer that’s faced a lot of criticism for hostile workplace allegations that it’s grappled with since 2018.
This has led to a fan outcry, and it seems to be impacting the game’s development. It was initially reported that it wouldn’t be ready for at least three to four years, but the game may not release until 2027-2028. It appears Quantic Dream has been struggling to hire talent, which may be a result of the allegations.
It might be strange to call a game that was only just recently announced “vaporware,” but this has all the makings of a title that will languish for a long time without seeing a release. It’s not the only Star Wars game going through trouble, either: the Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic remake has recently changed developers and also appears to be indefinitely delayed.
Metroid Prime 4
It’s painful to call Metroid Prime 4 “vaporware,” but as the days pass, it’s looking more and more like that. The game was announced back at E3 2017 – the first year of the Nintendo Switch’s life – but we’ve seen nothing of it since.
The biggest news that we’ve gotten out of Metroid Prime 4 was that it switched developers in 2019, with Retro Studios back at the helm. Otherwise, Nintendo has been extremely quiet on it other than the occasional “we promise it’s still happening” statements in financial reports and Nintendo Directs.
Thankfully, Metroid has seen a revitalization thanks to last year’s Metroid Dread, which became the highest-selling entry in the franchise and even received some major game updates this year. The interest in Metroid is there; it’s just a matter of whether Nintendo wants to deliver on it.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
At this point, no vaporware list feels complete without Beyond Good & Evil 2’s inclusion. It’s a title that’s been shrouded in rumors and speculation for well over a decade, so much so that even a re-announcement didn’t quell concerns about its existence.
First teased by Ubisoft in 2008, Beyond Good & Evil 2 was not officially announced until 2016, and we saw nothing of it until a CGI trailer was shown at E3 2017. After one more look during E3 2018, Ubisoft has gone back into silence mode with this one.
While we’ve gotten occasional comments about how it’s “progressing well,” nothing else has come of it other than series creator Michel Ancel leaving the company in 2020. At this point, any news of the game will be met with raised eyebrows at best, and scoffs of disbelief at worst.
It’s easy to forget that it’s been five years since Shigeru Miyamoto last spoke about Pikmin 4. After first announcing that it was “very close to completion” in 2015, Miyamoto noted at E3 2017 that it was “progressing.” Since then, there’s been no news of a fourth mainline Pikmin game.
Miyamoto’s comments may have been about the recent spin-off titles, 2017’s Hey! Pikmin, and 2021’s Pikmin Bloom. Still, it’s fair to wonder where a new mainline Pikmin game is, given that we haven’t received a wholly new entry since 2013’s Pikmin 3. It’s nice that Nintendo has offered spin-offs in the meantime, but a proper Pikmin 4 is long overdue.
When it comes to vaporware, almost no game comes close to what space trading/combat simulator Star Citizen has done. After an initial $2 million Kickstarter was successfully funded in 2012, the developers would sell ships and other forms of in-game content that turned the project into the most crowdfunded video game ever at $495 million.
It may be hard to believe, but despite raising all of that money, the game still has not been fully released. Its development history and legal battles have become so notorious that you would be forgiven for knowing more about it than the gameplay itself.
Cloud Imperium Games, the team behind Star Citizen, has continuously released videos about the game’s development, but it’s currently only in a playable alpha form. Even with its incredibly massive budget, it’s still hard to tell when it will ever receive a full release.
In The Valley of Gods
Of all the games on this list, In The Valley of Gods may be the one you’ve heard the least about. Developed by Campo Santo, the team behind 2016’s Firewatch, this first-person, single-player adventure was set to be the developer’s first game following its acquisition by Valve in 2018.
A year later, however, it was confirmed that the game would be put on hold, as members of the team were helping Valve with other projects, including the then-upcoming Half-Life Alyx. In that same year, however, various members of Campo Santo removed the game from their Twitter descriptions, and it vanished from the company’s website while its trailer was made private on YouTube.
Campo Santo never commented on its disappearance, and we’ve heard nothing about it since. While its team members may simply be busy helping with Valve’s other projects, the game very well may have taken its last breath. It’s yet to officially be canceled, but if it is quietly still in development, we may not see it for several years.
This is just the tip of the iceberg that is vaporware. What are some other long-dormant games that seem stuck in development limbo? Give us your picks in the comments below!