10 Video Game Franchises KILLED By Development Hell

What happened to Legacy of Kain? Well...

legacy of kain
Crystal Dynamics/Patrick Johnson

Development hell - the idea of a piece of media being worked on far longer than the average length of time - can be the death of a project. Sometimes the wheels spin for so long that they come off adn the sequel you've been waiting for never sees the light of day.

Many games have made it out of development hell and actually released after years of silence to varying different levels of success.

More often than not, a game that has been through hell comes out worse for ware and the protracted development has damaged the end result. Such is the case with Duke Nukem: a game that was not worth the wait and put the franchise to bed indefinitely.

However, the games on this list are all still in development hell and whilst some still have a chance of being realised you can't help but worry if all that time behind closed doors will produce anything worthwhile.

Beloved franchises are not immune to this kind of situation and in fact it's all the more likely when the pressure is so high. The longer you wait, the worse it gets and it may well be that we've seen the last of these classic series.

10. Dead Island

legacy of kain

The original Dead Island has one of the most effective and certainly most discussed game trailers probably ever released which helped the 2011 action game score some decent sales figures. Whilst it wasn’t blowing everyone away and had its fair share of problems at launch, many loved its camp ultraviolence, gore and gameplay enough to see the potential it had as a new property.

Surprisingly, original developers Techland moved on from the IP pretty quickly afterwards to work on another zombie series Dying Light. This caused publishers Deep Silver to enlist Yager Studios to step in to helm Dead Island’s sequel.

This group were famed for their work on Spec Ops: The Line so fans felt that the game was in safe hands. The title was formally announced at E3 2014 and originally had a Q4 2015 release window in mind.

Despite it being eight years, this period of pre-release is all that we’ve ever really seen of the game: a couple of characters, weapons and some lore details about the setting of California.

However, Yager had a falling out with Deep Silver and the project changed hands in March 2016 to Sumo Digital and again in 2019 to relative unknowns Dambuster Studios. Dead Island 2’s very public absence has made it the butt of many jokes, including having its 2014 trailer being parodied by Goat Simulator 3.


Painting pictures with words and writing articles with wax crayons. Resident Evil obsessed. They/them.