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Rockstar Games You'll Never Get To Play

Over the years, Rockstar Games has made a name for creating some of the most successful franchises around. The company is best known for its wildly popular Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption titles, but even Rockstar's less mainstream titles like Manhunt, Bully and L.A. Noire have diehard fans to this day.

Rockstar is also well known for taking its sweet time when developing titles. This is a big reason why its games are generally high quality across the board, but it has also led to more than a few of them hitting the bin for various reasons during their development. If Rockstar wants to maintain its quality standard with every game release, it has to be willing to cut games loose if they aren't coming along the way they should be.

Today, we're taking a look at some of those Rockstar titles that, for one reason or another, were halted during development and will never see the light of day. We know you can't truly say "never" in the video game industry, but these are the Rockstar titles you probably won't get to play.

Agent

Agent was, presumably, supposed to be a big deal for Rockstar, and its development seemed to be humming along nicely. It was first announced back in 2009 as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, and since then, trickles of information and various leaks have sprung up about it over the years. However, it appears Agent has been officially abandoned by Rockstar and parent company Take-Two Interactive as of 2018, as the trademark has expired.

Prior to Rockstar cutting the game loose, Agent was being hyped as a "genre defining" action title set during the Cold War. It would take players on a "paranoid journey into the world of counter-intelligence, espionage, and political assassinations." The team behind it seemed really invested in the project. Take-Two's CEO at the time, Ben Feder, said Agent was "a game we have wanted to make for a long time," and that it combined "intense action, atmosphere, and story in a great period setting to create something that feels quite unique."

There's no real telling why Agent's development fell off, though some sources believe the ongoing success of GTA5 and the creation of Red Dead Redemption 2 may have siphoned resources from it. All we seem to have left of Agent are these (alleged) leaked screens.

Bully 2

Of every title on this list, Bully 2 is the one that could still conceivably have a chance to see the light of day. The original game developed a bit of a cult following, and multiple sources have indicated that a true sequel actually made it pretty far into development. Bully 2 was far enough along to apparently have a playable demo, but Rockstar eventually shut down production of the title.

According to Metro, Rockstar New England (the developer that worked on Bully: Scholarship Edition) was the central developer of the sequel. The game's opening scenes had reportedly been scripted out and an outline for the full game was complete. Bully 2 would continue to follow Jimmy, the protagonist from the first game, but that's where details start to fade. Apparently, the development team was worried that Bully 2 would just be a rehash of the original game and were unsure where to take Jimmy to keep things interesting. There were rumors that he'd head to college, but nothing concrete.

Bully 2 could still be resurrected at some point. Seeing as sources inside Rockstar say that all development was scrapped years ago, however, the odds aren't great.

Spec Ops

The original developer of the Spec Ops series was the now defunct Zombie Studios, with Ripcord Games serving as its publisher. In 2000, however, Take-Two Interactive started publishing the series, and it brought in a few new developers to give the series a jolt. Runecraft Ltd. got its shot but, after a few entries, Take-Two handed over the Spec Ops reins to the newly acquired Barking Dog Studios. Barking Dog had just been rechristened Rockstar Vancouver, and Spec Ops would be its first title under the new moniker.

There aren't a ton of details available on what Rockstar's version of Spec Ops would've been like. It was mentioned in Take-Two's 2002 financial report as an upcoming title for the PlayStation 2, and a few early concepts of what the game would look like have also been released. The Spec Ops Fandom wiki has the game listed as Spec Ops: Airborne Division, indicating that it would have been a sequel to 2002's Spec Ops: Airborne Commando. And in a 2005 interview with MTV, the band Queens of the Stone Age announced it was working on music for the game.

Obviously, it never came to be. Rockstar Vancouver scrapped the title and released Bully instead, and Spec Ops came back years later from Yager Development as Spec Ops: The Line.

XGirl

XGirl was reportedly going to be a launch title for the original Xbox, developed by Angel Studios. Around the same time, Angel Studios was acquired by Take-Two and renamed Rockstar San Diego. The reports around XGirl indicate that it would have been an "interactive girlfriend project," with a female character who would respond to different inputs with "natural engaging facial animations." It was likened by some to a Tamagotchi, but with an onscreen woman instead of an onscreen pet.

This type of "girlfriend simulator" is actually fairly popular in Japan, and there are reports that a project did eventually emerge from the ashes of what Angel Studios worked on. That game was the delightfully (and grossly) named N.U.D.E.@ Natural Ultimate Digital Experiment. N.U.D.E. was developed by Red Entertainment and only released in Japan. Angel Studios, aka Rockstar San Diego, thankfully went on to develop some of the titles that helped put Rockstar on the map, like Red Dead Revolver and the Midnight Club series.

Race'n'Chase

In a way, we've pretty much all played Race'n'Chase. The bones of this title eventually became the original Grand Theft Auto, the flagship franchise for Rockstar Games (known then as DMA Design). The original design documents for Race'n'Chase have been made available, and it actually sounds pretty similar to the GTA we know and love today. There were just way fewer crimes. There weren't zero crimes, mind you — it just wasn't the focus of the game.

Developer Mike Dailly posted the original design documents that the team at DMA Design put forward for Race'n'Chase. It was supposed to be a "multi-player car racing and crashing game" that would see players racing through three different cities: New York, Miami and Venice. Players would participate in races and demolition derbies, and certain missions also involved bank robberies.

Race'n'Chase would have had some of the early, criminal draw that GTA would eventually run with. Besides the bank robberies, players could also run over pedestrians and steal other cars. While we didn't quite get the game that Rockstar originally had in mind, it's safe to say GTA implemented some of Race'n'Chase's ideas and then some.

Buggy Boogie

Back when Rockstar was known as Angel Studios, it teamed up with Nintendo's own Shigeru Miyamoto to work on a series of games. None of them ever came to fruition, but the closest we got seems to be Buggy Boogie.

Buggy Boogie was a "DNA based racing game" that was apparently being built for the Nintendo 64. The basic concept was that cars could "eat" other cars throughout the course of a race. This would allow them to evolve and develop all sorts of different powers by the time they reached the finish line. It actually sounds like a fascinating concept, but it never got past the early development phase. There are only a handful of screens and some short test videos of Buggy Boogie floating around out there.

Considering Rockstar is known for extremely violent and mature content, a partnership with Nintendo probably would have dramatically altered the company's course. However, Buggy Boogie and other projects (like a golf game) the two companies worked on together just weren't meant to be, apparently.

We Are The Mods

Just like the film it's based on, Rockstar's The Warriors is often overlooked. There are some gamers who absolutely adore the PlayStation 2 brawler, and they might be dismayed to learn that a "spiritual successor" was planned which could have possibly led to a brand new franchise for the developer. Unfortunately, We Are The Mods never got past early development.

The spiritual successor to The Warriors started out in development for PS2, but eventually moved to the next generation. Matt Kazan, an environmental artist for Rockstar Toronto at the time, said the Xbox 360 was the main system being targeted with We Are The Mods. The game would feature similar gameplay to The Warriors, but would be set in England during the 1960s — the height of the "Mods vs. Rockers" subculture rivalry.

It's too bad, as that backdrop could have made for some great set pieces and an awesome licensed soundtrack. GIven Rockstar's ability to tell great stories, it would have been nice to see the developer take a beloved gameplay style but add its own story to it.

Midnight Club 5

It seems unlikely we'll get a new Midnight Club title, as the fan calls for a fifth game have pretty much disappeared. There was a time when the Midnight Club series was one of the premiere racing titles available. Now, though, plenty of other racing titles have come along to take its place.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles, the fourth game in the series, released in 2008, and trouble apparently followed. Even though the game was well received and the team had begun working on a new title, employees began leaving Rockstar San Diego. It wasn't long before the entire team behind the Midnight Club games was completely dismantled and the game declared dead.

There are many questions about why the team fell apart so quickly, but evidence seems to indicate there was a culture of crunch at Rockstar that raised a lot of the issues. As fate would have it, those same crunch issues continued to plague Rockstar Games for many years to come.

Grand Theft Auto: Online Crime World

There's maybe an asterisk on this one; we did get to play the general concept of Grand Theft Auto: Online Crime World eventually, just not in the form it was originally planned. The original idea may have just been ahead of its time, but a lot of the mechanics of Crime World eventually showed up in GTA Online.

The original idea came out before Grand Theft Auto 3 even released, which seems to indicate that Rockstar (then DMA Design) planned the original online game to be in the classic GTA overhead view. A 1999 issue of PC Zone magazine wrote that DMA Design was planning both a 3D Grand Theft Auto (which eventually became GTA 3) and an online version, where players could "drive with and against other players in local cities." This was, apparently, the only time the game was ever mentioned, and it seems to have been cancelled after GTA 3 released.

We don't know how far into development GTA: Online Crime World actually got, but it must have gone some distance if it was being reported in a major news outlet. Sadly, it seems we'll never get our 2D online Grand Theft Auto. We'll just have to stick with GTA Online.