Vaporware

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Then Indonesia claimed that they
Were gonna get one, any day.

Tom Lehrer on Indonesia's nuclear ambitions, Who's Next?.

Computer or video game software or hardware with revolutionary or next-generation capabilities that is continuously hyped to the public, but doesn't seem to be coming any closer to store shelves. Note that long development cycles do not, by themselves, qualify a product as Vaporware; the game must be repeatedly postponed and put off, all the while being promoted as "Coming soon!"

Sometimes this is intentional, done by various promoters and stockholders solely to drive up the company's share prices, lure in new investors, or create a buzz in the marketplace that will keep their name on top. In the most egregious cases, the developing company itself may be a total fraud. That said, the vast majority of vaporware isn't malicious. Most of the time there is legitimate product being produced, but internal problems simply result in it falling behind schedule and being passed in the marketplace by competitors. The developers simply promised more than their programmers could possibly deliver in too short a time frame.

Often, when a big goal is for the product to be up with the current technology, it becomes a self-reinforcing feedback loop of sorts when work has to be scrapped to keep up with the times. Combine this with people leaving the project out of frustration with the lack of forward progress and it gets harder to finish with every delay. More than a few games have also fallen victim to runaway ego and perfectionism, where the designers get distracted by their own artistic visions or desire to create something revolutionary and genre-shattering and won't be satisfied until it's "perfect", cost, publishers, and release dates be damned! (With predictable results).

Whatever the cause, it annoys consumers to no end. If and when the product finally is released, its quality and abilities are often lower than what was expected, to further the disappointment of users.

Compare Development Hell, Stillborn Serial. Contrast Dead Fic and Orphaned Series, which actually manage to release more than a teaser (thanks to serialization) before eventually being abandoned incomplete. See also Saved From Development Hell for a few who managed to get completed.

Should not be confused with Vapor Wear. Or "Valve Time."

Examples of Vaporware include:

Video Games[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The all-time king of vaporware in gaming is certainly Duke Nukem Forever, which languished in development from 1997 to 2009 before finally being released in May... er... June 2011. The game's status is so legendary that most people are now more familiar with it than the original series of three popular and well-reviewed Action Hero parodies.
  • The Wii game based on Connie Talbot's Over The Rainbow album was scheduled to be released on the first quarter of 2009, but copyright issues with the songs to be used left the game in limbo. And guess who developed it...
  • The entirety of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII franchise appears to be suffering this at large:
    • Final Fantasy XIII was revealed for the first time at E3 2006, via a CG trailer. It had already been in development for at least a year at that point, and later interviews revealed that the game had been in development even longer (the battle system had existed on a PlayStation 2 as a prototype). Every subsequent year they released a slightly modified version of the same trailer with a few new scenes mixed in, any new information being slowly drip-fed. It wasn't until 2009 that Square Enix showed some actual gameplay footage and revealed significant plot details, the game finally seeing retail later that year.
    • Then there is Final Fantasy XV, announced alongside FF XIII as Final Fantasy Versus XIII at E3 2006. Actual discernible information on the game since then was very sparse, and up until early 2010, trailers for it only contained CG and cutscene footage. The game has been languishing for so long that Noctis' costume hadn't even been finalised until some time in late 2009. Whilst development picked up after the release of FF XIII, Final Fantasy XV did not see release until 2016, ten years after its initial announcement.
    • Finally, the portable title, Final Fantasy Agito XIII; again, it was announced alongside the other two games as a mobile phone game, but little was said or shown of it (save for some concept art and a logo). This persisted until an announcement at a Square Enix expo in late 2008, where it was said the mobile phone version had been cancelled in favour of a PSP version. After a name change, the game was finally released in late 2011.
      • Square Enix has stated that the PSP version was in the works from the start and was always planned to be announced later. They also stated they scrapped the phone version because they didn't want to wait for phone technology to catch up to a point they liked.
      • A more literal form of vaporware is "Final Fantasy Haeresis XIII" which never existed as more than a trademark, but still stirred tons of rumors amongst information-starved fans. Considering how difficult and long the development of the other three games has been, its very much doubtful that this game will ever exist in any form - if it ever did in the first place.
      • It's now at a point where Square Enix held a press conference in January 2011 to re-introduce the remaining two games in the franchise.
      • Also worth mentioning is the infamous case of "Chrono Break", another rumored title that only existed as a trademark. It was thought to be a third game in the Chrono Trigger series; as time has told, nothing came of it on any level.
      • Final Fantasy XII started development as early as the beginning of the 2000s. It had originally been slated for release in 2004, but then was pushed back to 2005 due to development problems, but was pushed back again and finally saw release in late 2006, after the Fabula Nova Crystallis metaseries had been announced.
  • Crimsonland 2 is certainly taking its sweet time to appear.
  • StarCraft: Ghost, a Stealth Based Game starring a Terran Ghost named Nova. Initially announced in 2002, it was postponed six times before being put on "indefinite hiatus", a month before its projected release date. Nova turns up for one mission in StarCraft II where you can either help her keep a bunch of deranged criminal psychics from escaping a prison complex, or make life hell for her employer, The Dominion, by helping them all escape.
    • Given a Shout-Out in World of Warcraft with a special grave stone in Netherstorm Outland for Nova, the would-be protagonist, with the N.O.V.A written on it. Nova herself appeared as a stealthed blood elf next to the grave at one point but has since been removed. The grave stone is known as the Nova Shrine among players.
    • Blizzard never actually canceled it (despite what some people may say) and keep saying they have plans to MAYBE finish the game (hence its "Postponed Indefinitely" status). Whether or not this can be taken as a glimmer of hope is up to you. Given the fact that Diablo 3 was in development for 11 years before release and survived the closing of Blizzard North in 2005, it's not beyond the realm of possibility.
  • Daikatana. Created by Doom and Quake co-creator John Romero, the game was initially scheduled for Christmas 1997. It was finally released in 2000 to an underwhelming response; Daikatana was one of only a small handful of projects that Ion Storm released before closing its main development studio. There was a mountain of hype built up for Daikatana, consisting of blood-red full-page ads in gaming magazines saying only "John Romero's about to make you his bitch" and "Suck it down," which was started before the development team was assembled.
  • Sonic X-Treme is a notorious example of Vaporware meets Finagle's Law: thanks to an overdose of Executive Meddling, a massive drop in employees, the director's failing health, and the failing popularity of the Sega Saturn (which the game was to be released on), X-Treme never made it out. Since then, music and level designs for the game have been released publicly, which means outside of a homebrew (which is actually being made), it's highly unlikely the game will ever be released.
    • Sonic Rivals was code-named Project S in early development. The same name also referred to a fangame supervised by Chris Senn, which was originally going to be based on Sonic X-Treme. This caused some confusion in 2006 when Sonic Rivals was released, but when what was done of the fangame was released too, it became obvious that the two had nothing in common.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl was a clear victim of both this trope and rushing the game to stores in a messy half-finished state that makes the unrealized potential all the more obvious.
  • Neverwinter Nights; originally announced with a 1998 release date, delayed until mid-2002. Along the way, production company Bioware broke off its collaboration with publisher Black Isle, an entirely new engine was written for the game, and the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released, necessitating a reworking of nearly all the game's mechanics. In this case, however, the finished product was a popular success.
    • The Mac and Linux versions were originally going to ship in the same box as the Windows version, as full versions with development tools. About a week before release, Bioware announced that the Mac version was going to be a separate SKU after Mac Soft ported it, which they were going to start doing Real Soon Now, the Linux version would be available for download eventually, and neither would include the development tools. Mac and Linux users were a bit upset.
  • Fallout 3 spent five years in development at Black Isle studios, and was almost at a releasable stage in development, when Interplay went belly-up in 2003 and closed Black Isle down. Bethesda Softworks eventually acquired the rights to develop the game for a late 2008 release, but opted to begin entirely from scratch, meaning that Black Isle's "Van Buren" version of the game will likely never see the light of day, outside of the leaked tech demo that the Fallout community began distributing in 2007.
    • Black Isle Studios is a goldmine for this kind of thing. Baldur's Gate III: The Black Hound (A.K.A. "Jefferson", the source of "Van Buren"'s engine; supposedly coming out as a Neverwinter Nights module some time soon) and Torn are two of the more infamous examples.
    • Other Fallout vaporware included Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2, Fallout Tactics 2, and Fallout Extreme.
    • Fallout: New Vegas was developed by Obsidian Entertainment (primarily made up of former Black Isle staff), who incorporated elements of Van Buren's plot into the game's backstory and setting. Caesar's Legion, the primary antagonists of New Vegas, are particularly inspired by a similarly named group of slavers from Van Buren.
  • Vaporware is not a new phenomenon. Way back in the 8-bit days of 1984, Psyclapse and Bandersnatch (for the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum, respectively, although practically the same game) were in development for Imagine Software. Advertising promised much - hardware dongles to support new features Never Seen Before on either system, and promoting the achievements of its outrageously large development team (of nine - nearly nine times the average for the time). Despite the hype, it eventually became clear that Psyclapse never got past the design stage, Bandersnatch would need to sell for a ridiculous amount of money just to break even, and by the time The BBC arrived to film the spectacular successes of a Liverpool-based firm at the forefront of the then-upstart computer games industry, Imagine were absolutely in the toilet, and BBC found themselves making a cautionary tale about corporate excess that finished with the bailiffs arriving to repossess everything Imagine ever owned (and very nearly the BBC cameras, too). A couple of splinter companies later, Bandersnatch was released as Brataccas for the Amiga, Atari ST and Apple Macintosh, as the first title of Psygnosis.
    • Another notorious ZX Spectrum example was Street Hawk, a spin-off from a barely-noticed American action TV show that suffered such severe delays that the software company had to give a completely different game with the same title to a magazine that they'd promised copies to for a subscription gift offer.
    • Yet another notorious Spectrum effort was Spirit Software's Formula One, which promised greatest ever realism because it included a steering wheel peripheral (at a time when joysticks were not standardised but were an expensive add-on which were at least usable for many games). Adverts ran for literally years until the game eventually dribbled out onto the market to poor reviews and annoyance that the "peripheral" wasn't something you plugged into the computer, it was a cardboard ring that you rolled across the keyboard.
  • Will Wright's Spore was once considered by many to be vaporware, as it was announced in 2000 under the title "Sim Everything" and wasn't released until September 2008.
  • Closely related to the 64DD (see next section) is Mother 3, the sequel to the game released as EarthBound in the United States. Originally announced to be a 64DD title in 1996, it was seemingly cancelled despite a scenario being written for it and the opening part of the game designed and shown in videos. It was eventually re-imagined as a Game Boy Advance game and finally saw release in late 2006. To put things in perspective, Duke Nukem Forever didn't surpass Mother 3's development time until late summer of 2007. And don't even ask about an English translation (An official one, at least).
  • The Nintendo 64's path through history was littered by the emaciated bodies of partially developed games. Some, like Robotech: Crystal Dreams, Fire Emblem 64, 64 Wars and the above Earthbound 64, simply collapsed under their own weight and died. Others, like efforts toward a 3D Kirby game and sequel to Mario 64, produced various side-projects in lieu of their originally intended design. In fact, the N64 was legendary for this sort of thing, with games supposed to be launch titles stuck in development for years afterwards (Body Harvest, Mission: Impossible) and swapping between multiple development teams, executive meddling, and ultimately numerous cancellations. None of this helped the flagging fortunes of the system as gamers frustrated by the long software droughts often abandoned Nintendo for the more reliable Playstation lineup.
    • Remember Freak Boy? No? Didn't think so.
    • The Panel de Pon remake/sequel is a really odd case. The Japanese release of the game was canned, but the game did make it into worldwide markets as a Dolled-Up Installment featuring Pokémon characters. Japan (and regrettably, only Japan) would get what the game was originally intended to be one generation later in Nintendo Puzzle Collection.
  • Rare picked up quite a few of these in the hey day of the N64 and Gamecube era, each of which deserves its own entry:
    • One of the first platformers announced for the Nintendo 64 was a game called Conker's Quest. The cute platformer starring a child-friendly squirrel was intended to be a counterpart to the more complicated platformers of the time. This incarnation of Conker even made a cameo (along with future Rare star Banjo) in Diddy Kong Racing later the same year, intended to pave the way for his future franchise. Though initially shown at E3 in 1997, Conker's Quest disappeared for awhile before resurfacing in 1998 as Conker's Twelve Tales. Footage of this incarnation can found floating the net. Another game based on this version of the character came out in 1999 for the Game Boy Color, Conker's Pocket Tales, but there was still no sign of the N64 version. In 2000, in what many at first assumed to be an April Fool's prank, Rare unveiled that they'd completely tossed out all work on the child-friendly Conker's Quest, retooling it into Conker's Bad Fur Day, a violent, sexually charged platforming parody of gaming culture, its genre, and pop culture in general. When everyone realized that Rare was serious, pandemonium broke out. This essentially consigned the original Conker game to the mists of vaporware history, though fans of the game that finally came out don't seem too broken up about it.
      • Conker would once again have trouble with this as an Xbox remake was announced then vanished for some time. Eventually, it became Conker: Live and Reloaded, altered from Conker: Live and Uncut due to the game actually getting more censorship from Microsoft than it had from Nintendo.
    • Kameo: Elements of Power went through planned releases on three different consoles before being launched on a fourth. Originally planned for the Nintendo64, it was advertised on the boxes of Gamecube's at launch, switched to the Xbox after Microsoft bought Rare, and finally released on the Xbox 360'. Rare themselves engaged in some Lampshade Hanging by including an alternate costume for the title character based on her much older incarnation that had been used to market the game up until the 360 version gave her a new design.
    • Throughout the Nintendo 64's lifespan, Rare had worked on a title called Dinosaur Planet. Nintendo eventually repurposed the title from an original IP into a Star FOX-based game, though still slated for release on the N64. This got delayed further and further until it finally dropped on the Game Cube as Star Fox Adventures instead, becoming Rare's final console game for Nintendo as they had been already been sold to Microsoft before the game's release.
    • Perfect Dark, the Spiritual Successor to Rare's hit Golden Eye 1997, became embroiled in a three year development process that led to slow updates and many speculating the game would be cancelled as the end of the N64's lifespan grew closer and closer. During the development, two of the key designers left to form Free Radical Designs (later making Time Splitters), causing the entire game to be reworked and only the main story and characters retained. It finally launched in 2000 just as the N64 wound down, leading to lower sales than anticipated.
      • Its sequel, Perfect Dark Zero, was originally announced for the Gamecube, with art of an anime-styled Joanna leaking around but few details. After the sale of Rare to Microsoft, the game was announced again for the Xbox. Like fellow refugee Kameo, however, Perfect Dark Zero got pushed back long enough that it turned into a launch title for the Xbox 360 instead.
    • Banjo-Kazooie was originally scheduled to be released in November 1997, as Nintendo's big game for the Christmas season; ultimately, it had to be pushed back to Summer 1998 and Nintendo replaced it with Diddy Kong Racing.
      • Banjo-Kazooie was actually re-tooled from yet another game that never saw the light of day. This game, which bore the working title Dream, was to have been an RPG on the SNES to start, starring a human hero named Edison. It was gradually turned into a 3D platformer on the Nintendo 64 with an animal star shortly after the dev team previewed Conker's Quest and considered it vastly superior to their idea. All that has surfaced of Dream are a couple of screenshots drifting around on the Internet and 10 pieces of music, plus a brief history of the game, found on the composer's website. And Blackeye the Pirate, who was to be the Big Bad in Dream, got a cameo in Banjo-Tooie and a statue in Viva Pinata.
    • Banjo-Tooie launched several years late in 2000, without the "Stop n' Swop" feature that would interact with Banjo-Kazooie which Banjo-Kazooie itself had promoted, even showing images of these sequences being activated. For years, people speculated as to the loss of the feature, leading people to eventually uncover a patent that appeared to mirror the process by using a feature of the N64 that involved storing data for roughly 60 seconds after shutdown. Speculation led to many fans concluding that, because later models of the system could not hold data this long, the feature had to be dropped due to it no longer being technically feasible. "Stop n' Swop" eventually returned - on the Xbox 360 Live Arcade releases almost a decade later.
  • In a curious twist, many people believed BioShock (series) would fulfill this trope - but not only did the game come out, it was actually pretty good and received much critical and commercial success.
  • Ultima IX was stuck in development for five years, as conflicts between Richard Garriott and EA hampered production, much of its staff was diverted to Ultima Online, and the advent of 3D graphics caused the original Ultima Online-like version of game to be scrapped for a new 3D one. Upon its release in 1999, it was poorly received and is generally considered one of the worst games in the series, and certainly not the grand finale that long-time fans were expecting. Many fans prefer to ignore its existence, and one group of fans is currently developing their own Ultima IX as a mod for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
    • Ultima X, on the other hand, never saw the light of day at all.
  • X-COM games Genesis and Alliance were eagerly expected after years of development, but given the various studio shifts that Microprose suffered at the time, they were permanently delayed/cancelled.
  • Freelancer was announced in 1999, and the first demo was shown at E3 in 2000; back then, Digital Anvil promised entire worlds with moving transports, changing weather, dynamic economies, lots and lots of side quests and a non-linear story, you could buy and set up your own base, and the NPCs had their own personalities. However, Digital Anvil soon ran out of money, the owners had to sell the company to Microsoft Games, and while they were gathering up the needed money, they had to stop and scale down the goals of the project. Four years later, in 2003, the game was finally released: the economy was now static, the NPCs had a painfully generic personality, the worlds were reduced to pretty-looking menus, the storyline was made 100% linear (and oddly ends fairly early in the game before 80% of the content is even unlocked), and the side quests were removed. However, the final product did not suck, and still stands today as an example of excellent game design. The graphics were extremely outdated however.
  • The Survival Horror game Winter for the Wii was originally announced in 2007 and after making a demo and a trailer no publisher has been interested in publishing it. Last word from the company on the game was that it had been cancelled outright.
  • Working Designs initially announced a United States release of the Sega Saturn version of Magic Knight Rayearth in 1995. It was delayed for three years before finally being released after the console itself was officially dead in America (for six months). The first year of delay was for mostly unknown reasons (most likely relating to the vast amount of voice work involved), but the other two years were no doubt due to Bernie Stolar (head of Sega of America at the time) and his draconian policy towards third party developers. The game was actually finished for a good amount of time, but due to Stolar's involvement, it took a large amount of time before it was finally released - so long that it ended up the last Saturn game ever to come out in the United States.
    • Another part of the problem was a hard drive crash that deleted sections of the source code for that game (and several other Working Designs projects), forcing the developers to replace the lost sections from scratch.
    • Another possible part of the problem was the fight between WD and Sega over names. You see, Sega had thought Rayearth would be an awesome series to bring to the US and the game would be one way to bring the anime over. However, as it was common in the day, they wanted the names changed in the game to match it. Working Designs, originally planned to change the names in a different way but eventually fought to use the original names.
  • Mythri was an indie RPG by Team XKalibur initially announced for the Gameboy Color in 2000 that first received press when news site RPGamer began covering it and started a campaign to get a publisher for it. Variant Interactive eventually signed on board and the project jumped from the outdated (by 2003) GBC to the then-viable GBA, complete with comparison screenshots of improved graphical engine updates. After two years with absolutely no updates, news eventually trickled out that Variant had dropped the game and Team XKalibur was once more seeking a publisher. The game was finally quietly cancelled. Not long after, the developer was disbanded and the staff scattered across the industry.
  • While vaporware comes up occasionally in the commercial games industry, it's practically standard operating procedure among amateur authors (sorry guys, I got midterms coming soon!). Case in point: Work began on Return to Dark Castle, a modern sequel to the beloved classic from the monochrome Macintosh era, by a two-man team in 1996 (a decade after the first game's release.) First announced with a late 2000 release date, development and occasional beta releases dragged on for years while news petered down to nothing, causing most fans to write the game off. It ultimately made a surprise reemergence in 2007 as "nearly done" and was then delayed again until march next year due to legal issues, when it was finally finished. The level editor still isn't out.
  • Valve has a habit of this. What makes them notorious for their extremely long delays is their demand for perfection in their games, as they stated in the commentary for Team Fortress 2. Basically, unless they are happy with how the game is coming out, they will not release it:
    • Half-Life 1 Gold (Half-Life 1 High-Definition Pack and Blue Shift) was set to come out on the Dreamcast. It was even featured on the cover of Game Pro and had a strategy guide to Blue Shift. But due to an announcement by Sega that they would be ending production and support of the Dreamcast, the game was never commercially released. The game was eventually leaked onto the Internet. Those who've played the leak can vouch that while Valve used the leak as an excuse for demoralization and how they felt they needed to redo things, the truth was that the game was anything but finished at that stage. The demo levels they were demonstrating were around the only levels they had that were remotely finished. All the other content was still in alpha stage.
    • For several years, Half-Life 2 was considered one of these, due to the mysterious nature of the release dates and an infamous delay announced on the day it was supposed to come out. That the game not only came out a year later but turned out to be one of the greatest games of all time is truly mind-blowing considering its difficult development cycle. A common rumour supposed that the game was delayed so that Valve could restart development due to a leak of half-finished code. The truth is, no power in this or any other universe could've got a game like that out in the timeframe Valve set themselves.
      • The Half-Life 2 sequel episodes (Episode 1, which came out in mid-2006, and Episode 2, a year and a half later), while they were greatly praised by critics and players, lasted only a few hours each and there were no justifications for such delays. Multiple critics noted that content of this type was designed to be released quickly. We are now in 2012 and nothing has been seen or heard about Episode 3 yet, and frequent rumors say it has been ditched in favor of moving the storyline forward in Half-Life. Valve has expressed regret for this choice of episodic gaming, saying it has lengthened development. The complete failure of SiN Episodes probably hasn't helped.
    • Team Fortress 2 was originally announced as a realistic military FPS, got as far as having trailers and screenshots, then suddenly vanished for six years. After winning a few of Wired's infamous Vaporware Awards, the game miraculously reappeared in 2006 with a new look and the admission by Valve that they'd rebuilt it several times before coming to terms with a game they liked. The game was finally released in 2007 to much fan and critical acclaim, again, despite its turbulent development.
    • Valve somehow promised that Left 4 Dead would receive frequent updates like Team Fortress 2. After seeing all the problems in the gameplay that Left 4 Dead had and what needed to be fixed, Valve most likely would have to change and patch so many things that they believed it would be better to release a sequel that addresses all the issues. Fans naturally reminded Valve daily about the promise that was broken.
      • Left 4 Dead 2 is an inversion of this trope for Valve because it was literally released one year after the first game was published. This was Valve's response to everyone that made fun of Valve for their infamous Valve Time and Valve wanted to prove that they can release on a fixed schedule. However, the game came with many problems that are still around years later and many fans are starting to say Valve Time is a good thing now.
  • Following in Valve's footsteps are the makers of the Half Life 2 mod Black Mesa (formerly Black Mesa: Source). Announced in 2004, the Black Mesa team has made steady and well-documented progress chipping away at no small task: recreating the entirety of the original Half Life on Half Life 2's Source Engine. It usually wins the "Top Unreleased Mod of 200X", but lately the accolades have begun to turn into dubious honors, as it racked up its first Vaporware Award at the end of 2009. The team tried to settle on a late 2009 release, but were ultimately unable to meet it. Since then they have undergone a total media blackout, only publishing updates on their progress every once in a blue moon. The currently release date is "When it's done". Apparently Valve Time isn't just limited to Valve projects.
  • Speaking of Half Life, the fan film Escape From City 17 has seen an update (which just stripped away some of the unnecessary dialogue) and a teaser for the second part, those were in October 2009 and nothing has yet been seen since.
  • This is Older Than the NES: the numerous never-released games for the ColecoVision are pretty close. Some games, like Chess Challenger and Mr. Turtle, were advertised on the system's box, but never saw release, most likely due to the end of the system's production run in 1984.
  • League of Legends champions Evelynn and Twitch were severely nerfed by Riot in late 2010. By Riot's own admission, this was to get people to stop playing them - they intentionally broke the characters beyond all reasonable viability. This was so they could retool the characters' mechanics, and an overall stealth mechanic for the whole game. It was said that the rework would arrive very soon. After all, they wouldn't intentionally destroy two characters for over a year, right? Almost 2012, place your bets.
    • As of June 2012, this still hasn't happened yet.
  • L.A. Noire was announced in 2004, as a launch title for the Play Station 3. The next time anyone heard anything was October, two years later, with a pure CG trailer. No one heard from Rockstar Games regarding the game for years after, until 2010, when it resurfaced as a Play Station 3/360 cross platform game, and was released the following year.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Gamecube came close to being called Vaporware and even picked up one of Wired's Vaporware Awards, but eventually hit the shelves... as a launch title for the Wii with added motion sensing controls, and a bit after for the console it was originally made for. While the official announcement was "only" three years prior, only Nintendo knows for how long the title had been in development.
    • As of 2008, Nintendo announced they won't talk about new games until they are far enough in development it's clear they will be released to stores. This is done mostly to prevent Vaporware and Hype Backlash (but Rule of Perception means the Fan Dumb thinks games aren't being developed at all).
    • Keep in mind that Miyamoto often pushes the releases for games back because of his philosophy "A late game can eventually be good, but a bad game is bad forever."
  • After its cancellation, Joss Whedon expressed interest in further exploring the universe of Firefly as an MMORPG, and there was even evidence that it was in the works; Penny Arcade even remarked on it ("Everyone just rolls shaman"). There's been little word on the game since 2006, and while developer Dark-Cryo has picked up the pieces of what was developed, they seem to be doing so without authorization from 20th Century Fox or Mutant Enemy.
  • Battlecruiser 3000AD spent over seven years in development before Take Two Interactive released it to stores as-is in one of the video game industry's most infamous Executive Meddling moments. The sequel, Universal Combat, had a half-dozen different release dates, eventually resulting in a publisher switch after initial release.
    • Along the same creator, there was supposed to be some episodic game by him coming out exclusively on Gametap. It was on the Coming Soon list without much info for a while. It then quietly disappeared.
  • Harvest Moon games, and indeed most anything localized by Natsume, are notorious for being delayed months or even years at a time before finally being released. Most fans know that any release date is tentative at best and could be pushed back at any time right up to the day before release (A Wonderful Life, anyone?). You're probably safe if you assume that "release date" means "will likely be released within a year of this date."
    • Of particular note is the long promised, but still missing Harvest Moon MMORPG. Online connectivity (read: the ability to buy, sell, and trade items between other players) has also been long promised since Save The Homeland debuted. It finally appeared in limited form in Island Of Happiness via the Nintendo DS' WiFi.
    • The American release of Tree Of Tranquility was pushed back numerous times, finally being released more than a year after the Japanese version and still shipped with a Game Breaking Bug, which they took their sweet time fixing as well in a very quiet recall.
    • Just how slow Natsume is was further emphasized when Marvelous let XSEED Games, which it has partnered with on other games, handle localization of Rune Factory: Frontier. The result? The game came out mere months after the Japanese release with zero delays.
  • A game based on the comic series The Red Star was originally to be released by Acclaim, before the company went bankrupt (most likely because of how horribly BMX XXX failed), and this game was thought to be doomed to permanent Vaporware status. However, the PlayStation 2 version was picked up and released by XS Games in 2007, only about a year after the game was supposed to be released, and it didn't suffer for the delay.
  • There was supposed to be a 2.5D Kirby game for the GameCube, but it never materialized on that system and has yet to show up on the Wii. The best guess to where it went? It became the Adventure mode of Super Smash Bros.. Brawl, which also got its share of delays (including the company President saying there was already a development team working on the game when it hadn't even been formed yet).
    • An official trailer was released for a Wii Kirby game and is believed to be a the one originally planned for Gamecube. Nothing else has been said, aside from Nintendo stating on July 31 09 it's still being worked on. Any mentions of it however have been removed from Nintendo's websites and fans had relegated it to vaporware for the most part.
  • When the gamer completed Max Payne 2 The Fall of Max Payne at the end of the credits the encouraging message received was that "Max's journey through the night will continue." The third game in the series was announced by Jeffrey L. Lapin, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive (whom Remedy Entertainment sold the series to), in 2004. Thanks to drama in the background from former publisher 3D Realms, the third game went several years without any substantive news. The game was later announced for winter 2009, though that passed with no further news. Actual previews of the game surfaced, proving its existence but also showing a drastic change in the character and setting.
    • Max Payne 3 has since been entrusted to developer Rockstar Vancouver, was slated for a March 2012 release date, and had undergone enough of an advertising blitz that consumers could be forgiven for presuming that the game is actually going to come out.
  • Development of Limbo of the Lost began in the early '90s on the Atari ST. It was finally released on the PC in 2007, and befell the same fate as Daikatana—except Daikatana didn't get forced off the market due to accusations of copious Plagiarism.
  • Star Fox 2 on the SNES, despite being almost complete, never saw the light of day. Then again, it was near the end of the console's lifespan and the developers didn't think it would do well. Instead, some of the elements (such as all-range levels and the Star Wolf team) were worked into Star Fox 64, and Command for the DS got the rest.
    • Also worth mentioning are the other cancelled Super FX2 chip games: Commanche, FX Fighter (which saw a PC release), Power Slide, and Super Mario FX (Became Super Mario 64).
  • TimeShift was suddenly (and unexpectedly) delayed, its release changing from "two weeks from now" to "some unspecified time in the future" - the game disappeared from people's sight for a year, and the entire game ended up being completely redone, and eventually released.
  • Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur, a Famicom Disk System title that was planned to span five disks. What makes this entry so bizarre is that pre-orders were placed before one line of code could be typed because of a clever marketing campaign that involved very convincing-looking mock-ups. It was apparently unrelated to the later World of Mana games except for the title. More info here on that game and the planned fourth Final Fantasy game for the Famicom that was canceled to focus development on the Super Famicom sequel that became Final Fantasy IV.
  • George A. Romero's City of the Dead. It showed up at E3 2005 with no playable demo, and was soon canned.
  • Thrill Kill. The game was raked across the coals of Development Hell for years, its publisher - Virgin Interactive - trying to tone down the violence in it to conform to an M rating before being picked up by EA. While it's now available through filesharing by the game's developers, there will never be an official release of it; EA found the game so senselessly violent that they actually refused to sell the game off to someone else, for fear of it getting out and tarnishing their reputation.
    • Although a developer did get the rights to use the engine, which was the basis for Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style.
    • The game Manhunt 2 almost suffered the same fate when it received an AO rating (a de-facto ban). It had to be Bowdlerised to receive an M-Rating, although the death scenes were still shocking. Ironically, the first Manhunt was just as gory as the AO version of the second game, but it only received an M rating.
      • The controversy it had already stirred up might have been a factor. (The BBFC had refused to give it classification, essentially banning it in the UK).
  • Jet Moto 4 for the PlayStation 2, which was semi-officially announced, but never started, probably due to poor sales of Jet Moto 3 (which came out in the PS 1's dying days).
  • Three games based on Star Wars Return of the Jedi were announced by Parker Bros. for the Atari 2600, but they only released one, Death Star Battle, before abandoning video games due to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983. A prototype of "Game I" (also known as Ewok Adventure) was discovered, but the second game, whose concept art suggests being based on the Battle of Sarlacc's Pit, appears to have never been programmed. Other unreleased titles announced by Parker Bros. included The Lord of the Rings: Journey to Rivendell, McDonald's, The Incredible Hulk, and a James Bond game based on the Traintop Battle from Octopussy; prototypes of the first two have emerged.
  • California Raisins: The Grape Escape instantly springs to mind, developed late in the NES' lifespan. That's right, a game based on a marketing ploy to eat more fruit. Despite being finished and reviewed by many magazines, it utterly vanished into the night without being released on the NES. It actually had some cool concepts, like moonwalking... which resulted from a game bug. More can be found here and here.
  • The equivalents of Duke Nukem Forever in the Doom modding community are Mordeth Episode 2 and Millennium. Mordeth in particular is so notorious for this that the Cacowards' "longest development time" award is named the "Mordeth Award" in its honor.
  • Not even Game Makers are safe! In the MegaZeux community, the general rule is that if someone publishes a demo of their game, that game will never be released. Period. This trend is popularly known as the demo curse; among its best-known victims are A Death Beyond Imagination, Honor Quest 2, and Weirdness (by the creator of MegaZeux himself, who released only the first chapter before leaving the community.)
  • Alan Wake was originally previewed at E3 2005 alongside the Xbox 360 announcement, and was expected to be released some time in 2006. The game then promptly disappeared and the developers went very quiet, releasing a very vague trailer and a handful of screenshots in the space of 3 years. It was long assumed to be languishing in development hell, until E3 2009, where the game appeared again apparently very far along in development. As of May 2010, it was finally released to mostly positive reviews, although many critics felt that the end product didn't justify its development time. Especially since it ended up with less than what was promised, such as free-roaming and a PC version of the game.
  • Freeware developer tapeworm has been working on Velella for nearly five years, and Avaus for three. On his site, he mentioned he wants to have Avaus done by the end of 2007, then struck it through and appended 2008. Well, it's 2011 now...
  • The Legacy of Kain series has had a long history of finessing out of development and legal complications. However, its admirable run ended tragically with the cancellation of the sixth installment, to be titled Legacy of Kain: Dark Prophecy, after only three months in development. Only some concept art remains as evidence of its existence before evaporation.
  • Lugaru 2 was like this for awhile, mainly due to the core programmer being in college. It was announced in 2005, with some initial work. However, the one-man programmer went to college and Lugaru 2 just sat there collecting dust. Although he did create some physics tests and such (one even involved a moving ball that actually sounds like it's moving), the core of the game wasn't worked on a lot. After he graduated (near the end of '08), he changed the name to Overgrowth and his company, Wolfire Games has been "leaking" out alphas Since the beginning of November '08. Overgrowth was originally planned to be released in the first quarter of '09, then the second quarter, now it's done when it's done.
  • There was a sequel planned for the Macintosh First-Person Shooter Sensory Overload (which came out about the same time as Doom), but development apparently never commenced.
  • Halo was, originally, an extremely impressive project with graphics beyond stunning, especially for being developed by such a small team, and expected to come out at the end of the year 2000 or beginning of 2001. Then creator Bungie was bought by Microsoft, who decided to use it as an exclusive title to support the launch of their upcoming Xbox. The game WAS a smashing success on that console, but the PC version was delayed by over 2 years (We're talking longer than Daikatana here), and when it finally came out, was a mildly interesting but bland standard shooter riddled by grindingly dull Copy and Paste Environments. The result is that Halo is a powerhouse franchise on the Xbox, but a pathetic joke of a franchise on the PC.
    • Halo was originally supposed to come out exclusively on the Macintosh operating system, as Bungie had been producing games exclusively for Mac for years before (the Marathon franchise anyone?), making the buyout by Microsoft that much more painful. The fact that the Mac port took longer than the Windows port was just salt in the wound.
  • One running joke among players of the serial MMORPG A Tale In The Desert comes from the lead developer's insistence that 'This Telling (iteration) will be shorter'. Of course, that was back in the second Telling, which ran for a year and a half, and led to the third Telling, which ran for over two years. At this stage, there are no predictions for how long the fourth Telling will run, though a Tech Tree quickly pushed forth light years ahead of its predecessors is a good sign...
  • The recent Gran Turismo games, particularly Gran Turismo for the PSP, have their experience in this field. The PSP iteration was announced at E3 2004 as Gran Turismo 4 Mobile, and was scheduled for release in 2005. However, due to the frankly astonishing amount of content that will apparently be in GT5 (close to 1000 cars and around 70 variations of 20 tracks), the bigger project demanded most of Polyphony Digital's 100+ development staff, causing the PSP game to be stuck in development until its eventual release over 5 years after its announcement. An interesting case of one game being stuck in a long development phase directly causing another game to also get stuck in development.
  • Robotech: Crystal Dreams for the N64 slipped into vaporware oblivion when its developer, Gametek, went belly-up. Only a ROM of the demo version exists.
  • Warhawk 2 for the PSX. They did recently revive the franchise on the Play Station 3, though.
  • GURPS Online. It's still advertised in the text for GURPS 4th Edition.
    • For that matter, many of the online tools for Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition (Especially the online game table app) have still not been released, despite advertising that they would be bundled with 4th edition on release in 2008.
  • Too Human started development in 1998 for the PlayStation. It was later moved to the Game Cube when Nintendo announced an official partnership with developer Silicon Knights, but Silicon Knights started developing two other games and Too Human got left behind. Eventually it started development for the Xbox 360 and came out in 2008. The finished product was generally considered underwhelming by reviewers, and quickly forgotten by all but the most die-hard fans.
  • The English version of Digimon RPG ran into some delays after the site that would be hosting it disappeared. It finally came out in 2010 under the title of Digimon Battle.
  • Sadness for the Wii was announced so long ago that Nintendo's machine was still called the Revolution at that point. During "development" of the game, Nibris came under heavy criticism for not producing any evidence of any development, no images, demos, gameplay trailers, etc. All Nibris has to show for it is some concept artwork and broken promises. In the end, Nibris stopped develping games.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game oscillated between this and Development Hell. It was finally complete, and in time for a Halloween 2008 release, when the publisher decided not to publish it without warning. Frantic searching for a publisher meant that it was finally released June 16, just in time for the 25th anniversary of the original Ghostbusters movie. It would appear that the delay (which the developers used to polish the game and fix bugs in the engine) actually helped out, too; the game received overall positive reviews and may have reignited interest in a third Ghostbusters movie.
  • The last Commander Keen game ends with an ad for "Commander Keen in The Universe is Toast!", planned for Christmas 1992. It never happened—their publisher at the time, Apogee, offered more guaranteed money for a game featuring John Carmack's new 3-D engine rather than a sidescroller. What makes this vaporware instead of a mere tease is that it's never really been officially abandoned, and a couple of the creators still insist they'd like to make the sequel.
  • Another classic that promised a never-to-appear sequel was Infocom's take on The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, potentially called Milliways: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Delays, including the development of Bureaucracy (also written by Douglas Adams), meant the game was delayed, with Infocom eventually going bankrupt before the sequel could be made. All that is left to show for it are some of Douglas Adams' notes and a very, very small amount of code with nothing more than a few locations on the surface of Magrathea, only two of which have any description whatsoever. All of the code, what little there is, is playable online here. A complete history (as complete as anyone can make it, anyway) can be found here.
  • A couple of years after Final Fantasy VI was given its release Square turned to a Western PC game company to oversee a PC release of Final Fantasy V, but due to communication breakdowns between the company and Squaresoft Japan (and the company pretty much not caring about video games at all in the first place) that project was scrapped too. A remnant of their work exists: They are the source of the Blind Idiot Translation that V got in the Final Fantasy Anthology for the PlayStation, released in 1999.
  • Only Puzzle Quest players on the Xbox 360 and Play Station 3 got the expansion pack Revenge Of The Plague Lord. Versions were announced for the Wii and PC, but never emerged, nor were any cancellations of same announced. Though apparently, many of the elements from Plague Lords were integrated into the iPhone version of PQ. The Play Station 3 version came out so much later than the others that it was bundled with the expansion.
  • Freeware space exploration simulator Noctis IV saw a good (and justified, given how an entire galaxy was squeezed in 700 kilobytes of data) popularity in the early 2000s; the author announced Noctis V, a version with native Windows support, a renewed engine and many more new features and adjustments, around that time. For a while, it completely fell off the radar, and contributions to the NIV starmap weren't even included in the game anymore. Then, support to NIV resumed and its source code was released, but as of July 2009 (when the author once again assured that he hasn't given up on the project), NV still hasn't come out, while the older iteration shows more and more the signs of its age (like complete lack of sound and very cumbersome interface).
    • Note that Noctis V is taking awhile primarily because its sole developer (who works on it without pay) is currently focusing on writing an entirely new programming language on which to build the game.
  • Line's End, the sequel to the freeware RPG, A Blurred Line, has been eluding expectations of a conclusion to A Blurred Line's engrossing story for several years. The creator seems to have abandoned it in favor of a career in law.
  • Most Virtual Boy games. It was actually going to have a Star FOX and Super Mario Land game.
  • Chip's Challenge 2. The original game developer, Chuck Sommerville, produced this sequel, but then the company that had the copyright on the game decided not to have it published.
  • The developer Zoonami is infamous for this. The studio was founded in 2000, and hyped up to be a major third-party publisher for Nintendo, but its two major projects (A FPS for the Gamecube called Game Zero and the rhythm game Funkydilla) were announced but never released.
  • Twisted Metal Black 2: Harbor City was supposedly cancelled due to several developers dying in a plane crash, though that's now widely believed to be a hoax as there is no actual proof that anything like that ever happened and Jaffe himself more or less admitted it was false, it's more likely that Jaffe was too busy working on God of War to be able to devote his full attention to Twisted Metal, so he ultimately pulled the plug on the game because of it.
  • Dwarf Fortress's interface ('It's not coming in your lifetime, but it's coming.') will supposedly get a revamp when it gets closer to the fabled v1.0. Understandable, since it's an alpha product. Tarn Adams jokingly estimated in one interview that at his current rate of progress 1.0 will come out sometime in the early 2020s.
    • Which isn't to say that it's not being worked on. The Toady One releases progress reports on a fairly regular basis, but given the type of game that Dwarf Fortress is, it will be a very, very long time before it's near completion.
  • Tiberium, a strategy/FPS hybrid in the Command & Conquer universe, drew along for some two years before being canned by EA's Quality Control. According to Game Informer, it controlled well, but they just couldn't make it fun.
    • The team developing the game said it was cancelled for very different reasons, simply put there were rampant disagreements amongst the dev team, as several people wanted to take control of the project and all had they're own ideas for the game, with so many people competing for control of the project, the game development severely slowed down to the point where EA decided it was cheaper to cancel the game outright, rather then risk any more delays.
  • This appears to what has happened to Rock Band Japan. In June 2008, Harmonix said they were codeveloping the game with Q Entertainment for Japanese release, featuring popular Japanese artists. There has yet to be word of it since.
  • The fifth Ace Attorney game (known as Gyakuten Saiban 5 in Japan) looks to be barrelling into this territory; it was announced in May 2007, and there has been no mention of it since. Since then, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth was announced and released in Japan in May 2009 (two years after the announcement of GS5!) and in early 2010 for all major Western regions, and a second Ace Attorney Investigations game was released in Japan in February 2011.
    • The Court-Records.net Forums have recently started calling the game "The fabled GS5" (usually written this exact way, including italics) and some pessimistic fans there use the term in a simmilar way Duke Nukem Forever was used not too long ago. However, despite the fact that not one, but TWO Spin Off games, starring Edgeworth and Phoenix respectively, are in the works, the developers (including Shu Takumi) keep dropping hints that the second Apollo game might actually exist left and right... Fans are indeed confused.
    • And the odds of ever seeing it just got a little lower, with Capcom announcing the series' 10th anniversary project is a live action movie... starring Phoenix, not Apollo.
    • An 10th anniversary event in late January 2012 has reconfirmed Gyakuten Saiban 5, although no new info besides a logo.
  • Swordquest: Airworld, which never got started due to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983.
  • Mega Man Anniversary Collection for the Game Boy Advance would have collected MM's five original Game Boy adventures. One speculation was that creator Capcom had lost the source code for the original games. Eventually, Capcom declared it too expensive to produce, and that the GBA was in decline anyway.
  • Cheetahmen 2, except for the few very unfinished prototype cartridges.
  • Quantic Dream had originally planned on making a sequel to Omikron: The Nomad Soul called Nomad Soul: Exodus. However tensions between Quantic Dream and Eidos forced them to scrap it. A few years later they announced yet another sequel, this time called Omikron 2: Karma. Once again, the project was put on hold so Quantic Dream could focus on Heavy Rain. Given the long developmental cycles their games tend to have, who knows when—or if—Omikron 2 will actually see the light of day.
  • The now-defunct Tabula Rasa, an MMO by gaming legend Richard "Lord British" Garriott, spent ten years in Development Hell, cost $100 million, and, according to the hype, was going to do to MMOs what Ultima did to RPGs. The game was canned about a year after release. Ultimately, Garriott sued the publisher, with each claiming the other was responsible for one of the game industry's most spectacular failures to date. It turns out it was NCSoft's fault, through what can only be called a real life example of Corrupt Corporate Executive behavior—they cancelled the healthy MMO and forged a resignation letter from Richard Garriott to keep him from getting a stock windfall.
  • Maple Story DS was an example of this for a while. It was announced at E3 2006, and received multiple previews and release dates. The date got pushed from September 2007, to 2009, to January 2010, and was finally released in South Korea on April 15, 2010.
  • Resident Evil 2 was intended to be released during the spring of 1997, but ended up being revamped from scratch after the designers were unsatisfied with the nearly finished build of their first version (now dubbed Resident Evil 1.5), delaying the game by a whole year. The original version (1.5) had Leon S. Kennedy as the main male hero like in the released version, but instead of Chris Redfield's sister Claire, 1.5 had Elza Walker, who is pretty much the same character except she was a Raccoon University student and unrelated to Chris. The police station the game was set in looked more like a regular office building in 1.5 than the art museum-like design of 2.
  • Metroid: Dread was hinted at in the Metroid Prime series, and since then, every Metroid fan has been demanding to know its status or quick to assume any upcoming title will be Dread. With the announcement of Metroid: Other M, the first thing Nintendo did was state that it was not, in fact, Dread under another name, and were coy that such a game was ever even under development. Later, they claimed that it definitely existed, but had been "shelved indefinitely" during work on Other M. More recent interviews have stated that Dread exists, without a doubt, but no further details about which studio will work on it, where in the timeline it will fit, or when work on it will resume have been released.
    • Metroid Prime Hunters came dangerously close to becoming vaporware, having been promised to be released on the Nintendo DS' release date, and maybe even included. However, numerous push backs finally brought the game to release several years after intended release date.
  • The originally-in-English dating simulation Shira Oka: Second Chances began development around 2005. Demos were shown at conventions, but no demo was released to the public until July 2010, and the full Windows version was released through Impulse Driven in December 2010. (Several similar indie games such as Summer Session and Spirited Heart were created, completed, and released during that time.)
  • Knights of the Old Republic 2 was released in late 2004 in a very reduced state due to LucasArts giving Obsidian Entertainment only 13 months to work on it. Obsidian even offered to do a mega-patch for the game to restore all the cut content but in their infinite wisdom, LucasArts refused the offer. In Spring 2005, shortly after its release on the PC, a group of modders calling themselves Team Gizka started work on restoring the content that was still in the game, but not accessible. This effort was known as The Sith Lords Restoration Project. Work went on for many years, with even the developers of the game hoping to see it complete. As time went on, people began to think that the mod was just Vaporware, until 2008 when a closed beta was announced (the beta was later leaked to torrent sites and the like). In Summer 2008, a video was posted on YouTube which seemed to suggest that the mod would see a release very soon, but summer came and went without a release or any news. Cut to 2010 and it seems that Team Gizka's website is gone and the mod is apparently dead for good.
    • Fortunately, another team of modders known as Zbyl2 and Darth Stoney decided to attempt to restore much of the same content that Team Gizka was working on after progress on the Sith Lords Restoration Project seemed to slow to a trickle. They finished their mod, which can be downloaded here.
  • Freedom Fighters had a sequel announced half a year after its release in 2003. Very little has been heard of it since.
  • Super Robot Wars fan translations are pretty notorious for this. The team doing Super Robot Wars Judgement has recently gone on record saying it's unlikely to be done before the equally notorious SPT Layzner fansub, which, if it keeps going at its current rate, is expected to be finished sometime around 2016.
    • Scratch that. The patch is finally out.
  • The European Playstation Network's "line-up" of PS One Classics, since SCEE is either refusing to release most of its noteworthy Classics (read: non-shovelware and outside Disney licensed games) or actually waiting for the whole service to be discontinued for PS3/PSP and moved to next-gen consoles only.
  • Translation of Narcissu -side 2nd- was put through this because the combination of economic recession forcing one of the translator to take a job with no free time to work on it and complete disapperance of the other translator. It came out roughly a year behind schedule.
  • A sequel to the old Mac game, The Fool's Errand has been in development since 2003. The game, The Fool and His Money, is to replace the similarly-vaporous The Fool's Paradise, which was promised at the end of The Fool's Errand, back in 1987. The kicker? Fool's Paradise is now the planned third title, and two sequels to the developer's other major game, Three in Three, are also planned. There have been so many delays and missed deadlines that many have begun to wonder if it's actually an elaborate performance art project to see how much money can be separated from fools.
  • Dreamfall Chapters, the third game in The Longest Journey series, was first mentioned in 2007... and hasn't even started production yet, due to designer Ragnar Tornquist working on The Secret World (itself also delayed frequently). Also, it's apparently not even going to be the proper conclusion to the series, which is going to have to wait for The Longest Journey 2... expected to be released some time around 2030.
  • Castlevania: Resurrection was announced as a Sega Dreamcast launch title. Late in development, it was canceled for reasons that remain mysterious.
    • There was also a Castlevania title in development for the Sega 32X that also got canned when it was obvious that the system was not selling; some of its spritework was recycled for Symphony of the Night and Portrait of Ruin.
  • A very meta example: Makai Kingdom included a preview of the next game's protagonist, Asagi, as a bonus character. Her game, Makai Wars, has never surfaced so she's become a running gag who attempts to take over other games for her own. In-universe, Makai Wars was being worked on as a movie for well over a hundred years and Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories's Remake's Axel Mode, tells us that it was scrapped during or after the game, and they skipped directly to Makai Wars 2.
  • The computer game adaptation of Champions, the pencil-and-paper superhero RPG, provides an epic example of this trope. Cover-featured in a 1992 issue of Computer Gaming World, it promised to be an ambitious and groundbreaking game that would be faithful to both the RPG and the superhero genre. It never happened. According to Steve Peterson, designer of the original Champions, the game was about 50% complete when it was canceled. Problems included the game's extremely ambitious design for its day along with the divorce of the game's chief developers, a husband-and-wife team. Champions would finally become a computer game in 2009 as Champions Online, but apart from the underlying intellectual property, it has no relation to the vaporware classic.
  • It is a very common trope in independent game makers to plan out plots or characters and sometimes go as far as produce screenshots or artwork, only for the place updates of the game are posted on to go from frequent to quiet and for the game to eventually (and quietly) be dropped (a common red flag is when the latter updates over-emphasize how close it is to completion or something along the lines of "we're not dead, we're still workin' on it!", yet no real progress is shown otherwise). It is common because the core idea of the game was usually done out of a quick jolt of inspiration or impulse, and, among other reasons, die either because the creator's interest in the game waned, it turned out to be too much work (and if the engine in question isn't freeware or fully freeware, costly) than they expected, conflicting thoughts between the group (especially if the original creator was more dis-organized, inexperienced or holier than thou than the rest of the dev team they hired), personal reasons (school, work, personal life, we've all heard it before), or legal reasons (especially if said work was a fanfic embodied in a game, was a painfully obvious cut-and-paste of another source, or was meant as a fan-remake of another game). It has come to a point now that if there was someone out there that plotted out ideas for a game and was looking for a team, most would more than likely say "screenshots/demo/(privately-transferred-)prototype or it isn't serious." It is especially common in community boards dedicated to freeware game-making programs such as RPG Maker, Game Maker, DS Maker, Ren'py, Blade, Novelty, some ROM hack projects and tools, and so on.
  • Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, produced by Mithis and HD Publishing, released way back in 2005, was scedualed to have a Nexus 2 come out later in 2007. Its 2011. Many claim that no ship-to-ship space combat sim produced since has ever rivaled it, yet only a crusty layer of dust-caked die-hards can even remember its name. This is probably past vaporware by now...
  • Dead Island was announced at GC 2007, with a promised release date in 2008, and promptly went quiet until the release of a new trailer in 2011. The game was finally released in September 2011.
  • The Zoo Tycoon 2 User-made extension pack "Cretaceous Calamity" is still being worked on, but the high amount of leaks and the fact that it's been years since the pack was first announced is worrying to say the least. Not to mention that the pack has no release date.
    • The UXP has had a history of trouble, having even been accidently reported as cancelled and then worked on in secret for a while to stop the leaks. The leaks continued. One of Mysterious Map Marvels' other packs Awesome Avians, has been cancelled, and the fate of Jurassic Park Pack part 2 is unknown. 9 members have left Mysterious Map Marvels.
    • Update: The UXP is now on hold, again.
  • The Incarna expansion pack EVE Online developers CCP has promised for years, which would feature walking in stations outside of ships, continues to be delayed since its set launch date for 2010. Since its announcement as a coming feature, 7 or 8 other expansion packs have been released.
    • Now it's been released - well. It lets you walk around in your ship. That's something!
  • Mega Man Legends 3 wound up being unceremoniously cancelled in July 2011, after a promising start from positive fan reception, eventually culminating in Capcom's own disappointment in the project.
  • Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel is developing a reputation as this - it was originally intended to be released Summer 2009. As of August 2011, it still isn't out, and there is not a tentative release date.
  • After severing ties with Banpresto, Winky Soft, developers of Super Robot Wars Gaiden, created a similar game called Seireiki Rayblade. In 2001 they announced a sequel... Which hasn't come out yet, despite the official site being updated every few years. With the release of Duke Nukem Forever, it now holds the dubious honor of being the oldest unabandoned videogame project.
  • Garou Mark of the Wolves 2 and Last Blade 3 were apparently in development when SNK collapsed in 2001.
  • Postal III was officially announced way back in 2006, with development going even further back, and the first gameplay footage was released in 2008. It was released in 2012 in an Obvious Beta state and was trashed by most of those who played it.
  • For a while, there were rumors about a third Baten Kaitos game for the Nintendo DS. It was later confirmed to have never gotten part the first stage of production; however, rumors about Baten Kaitos 3 still persist.
  • The latest Mechwarrior game was announced to much rejoicing from the fans along with a spectacular looking trailer. Then, news surfaced of a lawsuit by Harmony Gold, and nothing has been heard since. Fans have already resigned themselves to another Mechwarrior-less decade.
  • Both attempts to make a video game for Kimba the White Lion were eventually canceled.
  • Break Shot, a billiards game by Konami for the MSX2, was advertised but never released.
  • Ultimate Journey was to have been released by Bandai America for the NES in the early 1990s. Apparently a Ninja Gaiden-like game with an Magical Native American warrior who could transform into animals, it must have been at least nearly finished, since box art was produced and Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it a full-page review, yet little more about it has emerged since.
  • They Came from Hollywood, a Real Time Strategy that has been in development since 2001.
  • Culpa Innata has a sequel, but it has not been released because the developers were owed money by the publishers and the game finished on such Gainax Ending.
  • Vic Viper, a 3D racing game by Konami, was described by EGM as "30-percent finished" when they previewed it in 1995. EGM's suspicions that the game might not be released proved correct.
  • After Conduit 2 flopped, High Voltage Software's Wii games The Grinder and Animales de la Muerte are becoming this. While both were close to being finished when last seen in 2010, High Voltage has not been able to find a publisher willing to release them, and now that the Wii is about to be replaced, it'll likely remain that way.
  • Ever heard of the (very NSFW) Emo Game? There was a Super Emo Game III' in development for a long time. Scheduled for a 2006 release, it... was never released. Very, very occasional updates were released for years. For a while, it was claimed the game was going to be on a CD you could order online. And then, to close the cycle, superemogame.com was taken down and all mention of Super Emo Game III was removed from emogame.com, as were the links to the blogs discussing it.
  • Tiny Toons: Defenders of the Universe was being developed by Treasure in the early 2000's under contract from Conspiracy, with screenshots and previews being shown. However, years passed by and there was nothing new on the release of the game. Eventually, the game was confirmed as cancelled, the reason supposedly being that Conspiracy went bankrupt around 2002, and lost the rights to Tiny Toon Adventures before the game was released. Fortunately, the game wasn't completely lost, as a ROM of the beta was leaked, and can be played on a PlayStation 2 emulator.
  • Thunder Force VI was first announced for the Sega Dreamcast, and an intro movie from late 2000 exists. The next year, Sega abandoned the console market, and Technosoft folded. The unreleased game's soundtrack was released. The rights to the series were acquired by Sega, who ended up releasing an all-new Thunder Force VI for the PlayStation 2 in 2008.
  • Shadowgate Rising was fairly close to complete as another Nintendo 64 installment in the franchise, but the GameCube's imminant release coupled with the middling reception Shadowgate 64 had garnered both combined to seal its fate.
  • The graphic adventure Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix, a sequel to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, was never produced except for a comic book tie-in. One reason for its cancellation was the worry that a No Swastikas version could not be produced for Germany, as the plot involved Nazis using the Philosopher's Stone to resurrect Hitler.
  • RPC Genjin, an advertised but never-released RPG spinoff of the Bonk/PC Genjin series.
  • Bio Force Ape, a fast-moving NES Platform Game by Seta starring a genetically altered chimpanzee using pro-wrestling moves, was previewed in 1991 as an upcoming release, but canceled within a year. Reports in 2005 that a prototype of the game had been discovered turned out to be a hoax, but five years later an actual prototype cartridge of the game was discovered.
  • Ys IV was slated to be released for all three of the main 16-bit platforms in Japan: the TurboGrafx-16, the Mega Drive and the Super Famicom. Each version was to be developed by a specific team based on a rough outline provided by Falcom. While the Super Famicom and PC Engine versions (produced by Tonkin House and Hudson Soft respectively) were eventually released, the Mega Drive version, which was to be developed by Sega-Falcom (the same co-production between Sega and Falcom members that developed the Mega CD port of Popful Mail), was canceled without even a single screenshot released.
  • The Lufia series has a few of these:
    • The Sega Genesis version of Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, which was advertised with a delay, but never released.
    • Lufia: Ruins Chaser for the Sony PlayStation, cancelled due to the bankruptcy of its developer.
    • Lufia: Beginning of a Legend for the Game Boy Color, originally in development alongside Ruins Chaser.
  • Doom 4 was first announced in 2008, but has repeatedly hit delays due to id Software being bought out by Zenimax, as well as development resources being channeled into Rage, and is not expected to be released until 2013.
    • Doom 4 confirmed released in May 2016, with an Open Beta released prior.
  • Dead Phoenix, a Rail Shooter starring a Winged Humanoid named Phoenix, was one of the "Capcom Five" set of games announced for the Nintendo GameCube, and the only one that wound up being canceled.
  • Agent by Rockstar. Revealed at e3 2006 as a Playstation 3 exclusive title, and has been MIA since. As of 2012, nothing has been shown of the title other than the logo.
  • "Stellar Dawn", a Sci Fi MMORPG by Jagex, has been in development since 2008 or 2010, depending on whether or not you include the never finished predecessor Mechscape. Its development has currently been paused indefinitely.
  • Cleveland M. Blakemore's Grimoire was in development for 25 years, longer than Duke Nukem Forever and The Last Guardians time from announcement to release combined, and so long Grimoires genre had died and undergone a revival. Cleve continued to post semi-regular updates across the years, even releasing a demo in 2013 that proved the game wasn't an elaborate hoax. Eventually, after issues with Windows 10 caused a 3 day delay, Grimoire was released on August 4th 2017.

Video Game Systems & Peripherals[edit | hide]

  • The Phantom game console has earned numerous vaporware awards and frequent comments on its auspicious name (as if the entire thing was a practical joke on a massive scale). First announced in 2002 (when its download-only sales model seemed downright insane), it was repeatedly delayed and pushed back until being put on infinite hold in 2006. The design company has since been accused of fraud by the SEC, changed names, and decided to focus on releasing the console's couch-keyboard-and-mouse accessory for other platforms. Unlike the Phantom, this one actually was released, and the reviews for it were quite favorable. The only recurring complaint would be the terrible mouse that had to come along with it. That said, the company is still in dire straits regarding its financial and legal troubles. The other problem with the Phantom was that the CEO was a well-known con artist who specialized in vaporware.
  • Nintendo's CD-ROM add-on for the SNES—also known as the PlayStation X -- which not only never materialized, but resulted in the Sony PlayStation and the worst slump in the company's history.
  • The 64DD, a disk drive for the Nintendo64. By the time it was released in 1999, everyone had long since lost interest, and it never saw the light of day outside Japan.
  • Many of the designs invented by Active Enterprises were doomed to fail from the start, but the most ambitious of these was their planned portable gaming console, the Action Gamemaster: Conceived as a massive, foot-and-a-half wide beast with a 3.2 inch screen, this system would not only be compatible with proprietary game discs (including "killer app" Cheetahmen 3), but it would also house an expansion port that would accommodate cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis, and it could also be used as a portable television set, with a projected price point of 500 dollars. It seems as though Active were truly ahead of their time with their idea for a multisystem portable - many of the Gamemaster's features now seem to have manifested in Sony's PlayStation Portable instead.
  • The Panasonic M2 console was to have been the 64-bit successor to the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, but was canceled very close to its announced 1997 release. Konami did manage to release a few arcade games on its hardware. D2, originally announced as an M2 game, ultimately saw release on the Sega Dreamcast.
  • The Control-Vision VHS-based console for which the Full Motion Video games Night Trap and Sewer Shark were originally developed.
  • The Sega Neptune, an integrated Mega Drive/Genesis and 32X, which was swiftly canceled when it became apparent how absurd releasing this would be (as indeed releasing the 32X already had been) when the Saturn was just around the corner.
  • As buyers were shifting from consoles to computers during The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, ColecoVision promised an expansion module that would essentially turn their console into an Adam computer in an attempt to draw in customers. It never went past the prototype stage.
  • Wii Vitality Sensor was shown at e3 2009. It has not been shown again or talked about since by Nintendo. Some video game journalists seriously doubt that project was ever real and the sensor itself was just a mock up shown because Nintendo didn't have anything new or interesting to reveal at e3 that year.
  • The Konix Multisystem, a british console that definitely got past the prototype stage was looking pretty good before it disappeared.


Other[edit | hide]

  • In an ancient example, back to the 1960s, one of IBM's very first operating systems, OS/360 for their System/360 mainframes, was released in 1966 after budget over-runs, excessive hardware requirements and several mismanagements of time. Despite its numerous development problems, however, derivatives of the OS/360 operating system are still in use today.
    • The book The Mythical Man-Month was written based on the experience of developing OS/360 and goes over the errors that led to the project taking longer than expected. Despite being widely read by programmers, similar errors keep being made.
  • Talk of a sequel to His Dark Materials, The Book of Dust, started soon after The Amber Spyglass was released in 2000. As of May 2011, there isn't even a tentative release date.
  • Anti rape condom Rape-aXe from South African doctor Sonnet Ehlers was introduced in August 2005 in South Africa and production was scheduled to begin in April 2007. Nevertheless, up to now (Feb 2011) nothing has come of it.
    • It was banned on the grounds that women might forget to take it out...or that they would use it to torture men.
  • There are projects in application and system software that are older still. The most notorious example is Project Xanadu, the first computer hypertext system and intended to catalog all human knowledge: begun in 1960, still arguably in development, although its creator seems to have abandoned it of late.
  • A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. It was in the works since at least 2000, split into two volumes (the smaller one was released under the title A Feast For Crows in 2004), and finally published in July 2011.
  • In an example old enough to predate personal computing, one of the reasons usually given for the failure of the Edsel was that the hype led people to expect—and the market was ready for—something so different as to be revolutionary. The actual product, a reskinned (and more expensive) Ford, became synonymous with failure to this day.
    • The Vector must be the ultimate in automotive vaporware. Ten years from concept Vector W2, in 1978, to a production run of seventeen W8s. Then fourteen M12s made in 1996. Then another ten years roll by before the WX-8 prototype turns up at the LA motorshow.
  • GNU HURD operating system kernel. Once meant to replace commercial UNIX, it long ago lost that honor to Linux, which it is now championed to replace Any Day Now. Meanwhile, the constellation of open source software meant to be built around it has been Linux-based for decades now and will have to be ported back to its officially "home" system if the thing ever sees release.
    • For some perspective, development on HURD began in 1984 and the first actual, installable OS based on it came out in 2003; there is yet to be a release of even beta quality, meaning the project is older than this editor and still in alpha!
    • The fact that the GNU toolchain is most widely associated with Linux (and, to a lesser extent, Mac OS X and Solaris) led to GNU creator Richard Stallman attempting to get people to refer to the system as a whole as "GNU/Linux", which some have seen as justified acknowledgement of Stallman's work and many others as a sour-grapes attempt by Stallman to latch onto Linux's success. The issue remains a very polarizing one.
    • It also doesn't help that the HURD is based on a type of architectural design so complex (a microkernel with multiple user-space servers for OS functions) that no one has ever really succeeded in pulling it off. In fact, microkernels in general have fallen out of favor due to unresolvable problems with speed and operational overhead; the only really successful design on the market is Mac OS X, and it doesn't work even remotely like a microkernel was "supposed" to (specifically, the "kernel" is, operationally the kernel itself (xnu) as well as a number of other processes running in privileged mode).
      • And besides, the Mac OS X kernel is just the Mach microkernel (HURD is based on a fork of the same) and parts of * BSD slapped together. Hybrid kernels (ex. the NT kernel) are becoming more popular, being a mix of both monolithic and microkernels.
      • There are useful and reliable microkernel-based operating systems (e.g. QNX), but they see very little desktop use - practically speaking, they seem to be best suited for a few niches.
  • Vaporware also occurs for The Merch of a Merchandise-Driven series, as shown by this article at TFWiki.net.
  • Ovation. It was going to be the great software release for MS-DOS, and the company flogged it mercilessly in the late 80's, claiming it would be THE killer app, replacing anything you could think of, with every bell and whistle imaginable. It never came out. Not even an alpha test version.
  • The SCEE display was vastly superior in both energy efficiency and color reproduction compared to CRTs, LCDs, and Plasma, and was supposed to enter mass-production "real soon now" - since 1989. Besides production problems, a lawsuit slowed things down in the mid-2000's, followed by the crash of 2008, and Canon finally threw in the towel in 2010 when LED-LCD screens obsoleted the technology.
    • Similarly, e-Ink and OLED have been in and out of the tech hype cycle since the 90's, and only reached production use in the late 00's, with both still limited to fairly niche markets. (e-Ink being too slow for most uses, and OLED being unavailable outside prototypes on monitor-sized screens.)
  • The Mac OS was infamous for its replacement projects that either got stuck in Development Hell (Taligent and Copland) or never even started (Gershwin). In 1996, while on the verge of bankruptcy, Apple finally gave up and bought NeXTSTEP to get Steve Jobs back, which eventually became Mac OS X and helped save the company.
  • Chapter 2 of the Star Wars fan film series IMPS: The Relentless was in post-production, "almost done", for four years. It was finally released November 2009. Only 6 more to go according to the website.
  • The conclusion of the second "Starship Exeter" fan episode was originally promised to be released around Christmas 2007. Nearly 4 years later, no word on when or even if we'll see it beyond "a few months from now" (though the person doing the editing has released some screenshots on TrekBBS).
  • Trillian Astra - an improved version of the multi-client IM app, Trillian, has been promised since 2006. The Windows and iPhone versions finally came out of beta three years later. The MacOS version is still in alpha as of May 2010.
  • NASA's X-33/Venture Star, which was supposed to replace the space shuttle.
    • Along the same lines, scramjets, precooler jets, combined cycle ramjets, or any other technology promising hypersonic, air-breathing aircraft. Attempts to build such date back to the 1970s, at least.
  • The Moller Skycar. In the words of the SEC when they brought a suit against the company for exaggerating the likelihood of it ever working, "As of late 2002, MI's approximately 40 years of development has resulted in a prototype Skycar capable of hovering about fifteen feet above the ground."
  • Rumors of a new American Girl doll, Rebecca, began to surface in the adult collector community as far back as 1998, when Mattel trademarked the name of the character. Eventually details leaked that she'd be the first Jewish historical, and after that, she seemed abandoned, with dolls such as Native American Kaya and '70s girl Julie (and the entire Best Friends line) appearing instead. Rumors of prototypes of Rebecca being seen by company insiders floated the entire time, with various descriptions given of her appearance, but most of the collecting world have given her up as an idea dumped on the drawing room floor. Following the retirement of Samantha in 2008, American Girl finally confirmed they were producing Rebecca, who was released in May of '09.
  • Fusion reactors. With a fusion reactor and a glass of water, you could power a city like New York for 3 years. Research has been conducted since the 1950s, at which time they promised the first commercial fusion reactors by the year 2000. For a time, this was a joke on soc.history.what-if: "Kolker's Law: The estimated time until commercial fusion reactors will arrive remains constant." In other words, if an expert believed that fusion was 20 years away 20 years ago, he probably still believes it's 20 years away today. Not to say that progress hasn't been made. The advances in superconducting materials and lasers that modern experimental fusion reactors are built around hadn't been made when fusion research started in the '50s and what is now known as the field of plasma physics hadn't even been recognized fully as a discipline unto itself. Partly the reason why development has been so slow is also because fusion is always deemed of being too far away and too difficult to get any near-term returns from an accelerated effort. Presently several countries are involved in national and international scale projects in fusion and plasma control, and interest has grown, but given the timeframes of experimental research in the field, several decades of Vaporware are still to be expected.
  • Years after the events of 9/11, Ground Zero remained depressingly empty. Plans for a new World Trade Center were approved in 2003, scheduled to finish by the 10th anniversary; a cornerstone was laid in 2004... and all work halted until late 2006 while financial and architectural lawsuits raged. The actual tower construction didn't start until 2008, and the Port Authority now estimates 2013 before it's ready for move-in.
  • Chyoo, an adult create-a-story[1] website run by the same folks who run Literotica, has been advertising "Chyoo 3.0" for several years. In fact, their front page has a notice claiming Chyoo 3.0 will be released in a few months... that dates back to 2006. In actuality, the Literotica owners have apparently lost all interest in maintaining Chyoo. Lack of quality content probably has much to do with it.
  • Guns N' Roses' album Chinese Democracy spent 14 years in development hell before being released in 2008 to mixed reviews. Dr Pepper even offered a free drink to everyone in America if Axl Rose ever got his act together and released the album. They did, though the event was marred by website problems and poor communication.
  • Remember all that noise about the "All American Basketball Alliance", that supposed all-white baksetball league that supposedly was supposed to start in 2010, supposedly? Remember Don "Moose" Lewis' inflammatory comments about fundamental basketball and wanting to take the street out of it? No? Well, that's hardly surprising, since that's as far as this stupid idea ever got.
  • Wintersun's second studio album Time was originally slated for release in November 2006, and was pushed back to August 2007. When August 2007 came, it was postponed to 2008. It still has yet to be released and no date has been given. However, if frontman Jari Mäenpää is to be believed it is nearing completion and only 2 songs remain to be recorded.
  • Immortal's Handbook, a third-party splatbook for Dungeons & Dragons. Take a look at all the products mentioned, compared to what is actually being sold. The front page, at a glance, seems to be 60% "look at all the cool stuff that I'm making!" and 39%, apologizing for not updating or releasing anything for years.
  • In 1973, Harlan Ellison announced he'd be publishing a collection of others' SF short stories named The Last Dangerous Visions. He's announced its impending publication several times since then. We're still waiting, but in the interim, Christopher Priest wrote a scathing criticism of the whole situation.
  • Castle Greyhawk. Dungeons & Dragons fans have been waiting since the mid-70s for an official release of Gary Gygax's home dungeon. Gary was looking at releasing the complex as early as 1978, but got sucked into the monumental task of writing The Temple of Elemental Evil and released only a few levels. In 1986, just as he had promised the castle again, he was unceremoniously fired as head of TSR. Any hint that Gygax would be releasing new Greyhawk or AD&D material would have sparked a lawsuit. In 2007, however, Gygax announced that he was creating a non-Greyhawk version of his iconic castle. One box set was released, detailing the castle fortress and the first level of the dungeons. Then Gary Gygax died on March 4, 2008.. Co-writer, Jeffrey Talanian was set to complete the project using Gygax's copious notes, but he was fired within six months and the Gygax Games site seems to be all but abandoned. Gygax's original co-writer Rob Kuntz was releasing material from his notebooks, but he has also dropped the project. Finally, a dedicated fan who knew both Gary and Rob and had played in Castle Greyhawk released his own version of the dungeons starting on level 2, which is probably the closest we will ever get to the actual Castle Greyhawk.
  • Speaking of D&D, the newest (so far) 4th edition never received a promised Virtual Tabletop app.
  • IPv6, the replacement Internet protocol for IPv4. No clue when it's going to see widespread deployment, let alone when it will fully replace IPv4... and now that the last IPv4 block has been given away, the problem is growing more acute by the day. IPv6 will require a wholesale updating of hardware, firmware, and software, along with major networking changes, that most companies are loathe to pay for in a recession, despite the writing being on the wall for a decade.
  • Vocaloid CV04. Fans rejoiced when they learned that it was the fourth product in Crypton Future Media's "Character Vocal" series. Fans rejoiced further when it was announced that he would be a male voice instead of a female one. The few fans that heard the demos rejoiced even further when it was implied that Yuuki Kaji would supply the voice. The fans were incredibly annoyed when they realized that he was taking so dang long to be released and that they don't even know his real name. It's been about three years since his existence was made known and still nothing. And don't go searching for those demos either, they're long gone. Worse still, it's been announced that Vocaloid3 will be released this September and the CV series is in Vocaloid2. Unless CV04 is released soon or released with Vocaloid3, he may stay this way forever.
  • There was a fourth Bard's Tale game in development. Rumor has it that it was about 80% completed before being killed for unknown reasons. Much later, a completely different company announced, via a very nice-looking website, a spinoff game called Bard's Legacy: The Devil's Whiskey. All that ever came of it was a demo and a few song files.
  • Billboard magazine was supposed to have developed a new country music chart in 2011 which would have weighted both airplay and downloads similarly to the Hot 100. Nothing ever came of it.
  • Beyond the countless pilots that are shot but never picked up, some TV series never even make it that far despite being talked about.
  • Fearless Photog was a character created for a 1986 He Man and The Masters of The Universe contest by then twelve year-old Nathan Bitner. Among other prizes the winning character was supposed to have entered into production. It wasn't until 2011 and after a massive case of "whatever happened to...?" on the Internet that Mattel announced that it would indeed be produced in 2012.
  • The tenth and final book in the Night World series. It's been more than a decade since the last book came out, and the publishers even re-released the earlier books in pretty omnibuses in anticipation of Strange Fate. Alas, she is still writing it.
  • Furaffinity.net, an art gallery that caters to the Furry Fandom, is notorious for promising new features and updates that never materialize. Shortly after the site launched in 2006, a rewrite of the entire site was announced (dubbed Ferrox) and that it would be in closed beta "soon". A year later, another announcement was made that a new version of Ferrox was in development. That project was eventually shelved two years later. Another project which would overhaul the UI has seen similar delays, first announced in 2007, having mock-up previews released in 2009, and finally setting a deadline of Summer 2011 for completion, which didn't happen. Dozens of other planned features have gone through similar treatment.
  • Pottermore, an esoteric and unexplained online supplement to the Harry Potter book series. Originally opened for limited beta testing in July 2011 and scheduled for public release that August, release dates have been continually pushed back…and back…and back…
    • Pottermore opened to the public on April 14, 2012, so it is Vaporware no more!
  • Bruce Coville's The Unicorn Chronicles. After writing books one and two in fairly quick succession (1994 and 1999 respectively), and leaving the captive audience with a massive cliffhanger, he then dropped off the face of the earth for nine years before publishing the third book in 2008…which ends with another cliffhanger. Coville even lampshades this in his author's note, saying that he feared fans of the first books would have outgrown the series before he finished it.
  • Stephenie Meyer began a POV Sequel for the Twilight series, entitled Midnight Sun. She originally hoped to publish it in 2008, but after a partial draft was leaked, she put it off indefinitely, saying she wouldn't touch the novel again until she was "sure everyone's forgotten about it."
  1. Think Choose Your Own Adventure erotic fiction, collectively written.