Welcome back to the “Cancelled Horror Games” series of articles. This time, in chapter 2, we talk about a widely disputed cancelled title by Hydravision Entertainment. This title was developed as a direct sequel to the 2008 game, “Obscure 2: The Aftermath”, but never saw the light of day due to various problems during development. Here we go!
Planned Name: Obscure D
Planned Platform: Nintendo DS (original “aura” build), PS3, X360, 3DS, PC (Obscure D build)
Eventually Became: Obscure: Final Exam – PS3/360/PC (3DS and Vita versions were planned)
Obscure D originally started development as a game starring Shannon Matthews, one of the protagonists from both Obscure 1 and 2, who gained supernatural aura powers due to her fascinating immunity to the aura virus that took down both LeafMore High and Fallcreak College in the two console games. In this original build, Shannon would have been caught up in yet another spore outbreak, but this time, she would have had full use of her powers and would protect the students, similar to her role in Obscure 2.
Obscure Dark Aura eventually was merged into a separate project in development at the time and became Obscure D. This title was never official revealed to the public except for a facebook page made by a disgruntled employee who became frustrated with her bosses at Hydravision for being so secretive. Eventually, it was revealed that the game was a prequel title that would launch as a downloadable title on PS3, 360, Steam and 3DS. The title would bridge the gap between the first two titles and answer some questions about the fate of two major Obscure 1 characters who were oddly absent in Obscure 2 sans a secret videotape found toward the end of the game by Shannon and Stan. Here is the leaked plot outline: (ignore some of the mistakes, as they translated it from French I believe)
Liddyah Thompson, a Senior at the new Leafmore High School in Fallcreak, decided to get a search party together and search for her missing sister and her sisters boyfriend. Her sister is Ashley from the first game and Ashleys boyfriend is Josh from the first game. The game would take place 3 days before Obscure 2/The Aftermath. Right after they get into the woods they are attacked by a deformed man and fight him off. Liddyahs boyfriend Carlos is then killed by a monster, who rips him in two. After that, she vows revenge and looks for the source of the creatures. Next Jason is killed when the car he is trying to start to escape explodes. When it explodes a hole in the ground is revealed, and the survivors escape into an abandoned sewer. This sewer turns out to be the Sewer from the first game near the old school. While traveling the sewer, Molly, another friend, is attacked and her arm is cut off. Liddyah manages to save her, and wrap the wound.
They continue and find access to the old school, where they are again attacked by more creatures. After fighting there way through the school, they find out that Molly is infected due to spores being implanted in her wound after her arm was ripped off. She then mutates and attacks Liddyah. Liddyah is then infected by the virus, and tells the final survivors she is going to die. The other survivors, Jacob and Claire, think they still can save her, and they all travel to the hospital in the woods. After a brief fight with a creature, Liddyah starts to lose control. She quickly snaps back back into it. She starts to climb higher in the hospital, and gets to room 304. She discovers Ashley and Josh are inside trapped in a cage being experimented on. After freeing them, and after a short tearful reunion between sisters, Liddyah transforms into a creature. The player now takes control of Ashley, and you must fight. Liddyah then kills both Claire and Jacob, but right after Liddyah is killed by a trip wire fence activated by Josh. Ashley then goes and breaks down due to the loss of her sister.
After a twist of ironic fate, Ashley and Josh make it to the old high school from the First game. They are intending to burn down the school, since this is where everything started. Right after, they are attacked by a mutated man with an axe. Ashley is killed, and josh is heard screaming in the final moments. Right after, another deformed man picks up the camera. Shown a few minutes later, Creatures start to escape into the woods, and Obscure 2`s story now begins…”
The title would have contained 4 player co op, and targeted a T rating rather than the series traditional M rating. The title was intended to be more story oriented than what it eventually became, but would have been essentially a 2D version of games such as Resident Evil Outbreak and Left 4 Dead.
Sadly, in late 2012, Obscure D and two unknown HE projects were finally cancelled due to severe problems with funding at Hydravision Entertainment. Nearly everyone at the studio was laid off and the title was believed to be cancelled.
Eventually in early 2013, studio head at Hydravision Francois Potentier revealed that he and a handful of former Hydravision Employees were able to stay together after securing funding from Focus Home Interactive. Focus Home allowed them to open a new studio under their wing and as of that point, the Obscure IP and all other HE assets become property of Focus. One of the biggest reveals was that Obscure D was reworked by about 50% and that it would now be an arcade beat em up platformer rather than have any horror elements.
Unfortunately, many Obscure fans were not pleased at all. Between the title having a completely non canon separate universe storyline, a completely different gameplay aspect and the Obscure D story being scrapped, fans voiced their very angry opinions on twitter, facebook and more. Eventually, Mighty Rocket and Focus decided to rename the title to simply “Final Exam”, although in some countries, the “Obscure: Final Exam” title is used as a selling point. Additionally, many things from Obscure D still remained. Shannon still appears as a “Special” NPC, Leafmore and a few other environments from Obscure D are reused, and a couple character models from Obscure D were touched up and used as different characters. (Liddyah Thompson, Ash’s sister, became one of four playable characters).
Teaser for Obscure 2013: https://youtu.be/yVzI9cE5GRg
Eventually, the title did release as Obscure: Final Exam, as I said before. (In some areas it is known only as “Final Exam”.)
The title was released to mixed reviews. Even worse, the title sold less than 10000ish copies across all three platforms, heavily underselling its required number. Due to this, Mighty Rocket Studios was in the red zone with their new parent company, Focus Home. Around this time, Mighty Rocket was said to have started a new, 3D, “Obscure” sequel that would play like the classic Obscure horror games and would likely have been an official Obscure 3. Sadly, too much time past, Mighty Rocket was no longer profitable, and the studio was shuttered officially on September 30th, 2015. An official twitter post was posted by Focus Home thanking fans for their support of the Obscure brand, posted a link to where the game could be purchased, and confirmed the shutdown of MM studios.
An eagle eyed Obscure Wiki user eventually noticed Focus Home deleted the tweet, possibly meaning that MM was resurrected, although at this time their social media pages are all abandoned, and the official MM site no longer works.
Unfortunately, all of this is disputed by some users on Unseen64, thanks to a false post claiming they got into contact with the studio who shot down everything. For the record, they wouldn’t admit to all this anyways as some studios are under obligation NOT to disclose this, and in addition, eventually, Francois confirmed the story to be legit, and a build of “Dark Aura” on the DS has been quietly circulating on the net for some time since 2015.
Sidenote: I had some indirect and direct involvement in revealing of some of this info, which is why I got banned from a few Obscure related official sites and even blocked by Francois from tweeting his official twitter. Sorry sir! 😛 Doing searching online you will likely find comments saying I am a liar. However, this has all been proven true by Francois himself.
Obscure: Final Exam is available on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, and is also available on Vita/PS4 via the Playstation Now streaming service.
Thank You for reading Chapter 2 of the series! Tune in tomorrow for another look at a cancelled/beta horror title!