Cancelled Horror Games – Chapter 4: I Am Alive (DarkWorks)

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Adam Collins, the original protagonist before the project was restarted. 

I Am Alive is a survival horror video game from Ubisoft, that was originally in development by DarkWorks before it was cancelled. After being cancelled and restarted several times, Ubisoft finally settled on a version of the project and released it as a smaller, downloadable only, horror game, rather than the intended, full retail, horror title.

I Am Alive – DarkWorks – PS3/360/PC

Planned Name: I Am Alive

Planned Platform: PS3/360/PC

Eventually Became: Same Title, but restarted from scratch by Ubisoft.

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A photo showing the world. DarkWorks stated it was “Real Gameplay”, showing the open world and Protagonist. 

I Am Alive was originally in development by French game developer, DarkWorks, and began development as a Playstation 2 title in 2000. This title was one of two survival horror projects the developer started at the same time. The other, USS Antarctica, was never released.  I Am Alive was originally supposed to be called “Alive”.

Eventually, the project was put “On Hold” while DarkWorks worked on more higher budget projects, such as the survival horror video game, “Cold Fear”, which was released as a horror game set on a ship and played similar to Resident Evil 4. After the moderate success of Cold Fear, DarkWorks and Namco got together to work further on the “Alive” concept, which officially began full development in 2005 for Next Gen systems rather than the originally planned PS2. This new version was highly different than the original pitch. In the original pitch, according to a former DarkWorks general manger, “Alive” was intended as a survival horror zombie post apocalyptic game, until it was modified into a squad based horror-action game.

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Unknown Location, probably a hotel.

Eventually, all of that was scrapped and restarted again into the trailer seen here.

This version eventually got developed to about 90% according to an estimation by former developers at DarkWorks. Eventually, when the title was transferred to Ubisoft, they were completely dissatisfied with the project, and like Capcom with their original Resident Evil 2 version, rather than Ubisoft release a project they were not happy with, they completely scrapped it yet again and restarted it from scratch entirely in 2008. This new version was drastically different in direction from the original with darker elements, human and mutated monster based enemies, open world and multiplayer. In early 2009, once again for unknown reasons, Ubisoft scrapped the project, fired DarkWorks, and assigned the project to the Ubisoft Shanghai branch.

Sadly, this new version was a much smaller vision. DarkWorks intended a full scale survival horror title with an open world, branching storyline, RPG elements, multiplayer, full retail release and heavy advertising with the option of making sequels. However, Ubisoft released it digital only, and the game was estimated to be about 40% of the length the original was. The original plot was also scrapped in favor of the protagonist trying to find his daughter and wife, compared to the DarkWorks plot of Adam looking for his girlfriend, and girlfriend only.

Additionally, unlike the original version which was set immediately after the destruction of the United States, the released version takes place a full year later, with the now unnamed protagonist looking for his family and helping random strangers.

In estimation, the project lost millions of dollars in spotty development, which for a time the project was essentially known as being in “Development Hell”. Unlike development hell projects that eventually release and find success, such as the recent “DOOM” title, I Am Alive was released to mixed or negative reviews for its short story, technical problems, broken key items and the price not being justified for the length. Additionally, due to the low sales, a potential I AM ALIVE sequel that was mentioned prior to release was scrapped, and the PC version cancelled. (It eventually came out a year later.)

I Am Alive was intended to be a success, and DarkWorks dream was sadly stolen from them by Ubisoft and squashed into a mediocre budget horror title. Sadly, the developer of a few horror games, DarkWorks no longer exists, with I Am Alive having been there last project. Thanks Ubisoft!

 

 

Here are several concepts, in game shots, and more, of the original version:

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