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In media industry jargon, development hell (or development limbo) is a state during which a film or other project remains in development without progressing to production. A film, video game, television program, screenplay, computer program, concept, or idea stranded in development hell takes an especially long time to start production, or never does. Projects in development hell are not officially cancelled, but work on them slows or stops.
The film industry buys rights to many popular novels, video games, and comics, but it may take years for such properties to be successfully brought to the cinema, and often with considerable changes to the plot, characters, and general tone. This process can last for months or years. More often than not, a project trapped in this state will be abandoned by all interested parties or canceled outright. As Hollywood starts ten times as many projects as are released, many scripts will end up in this state. This happens most often with projects that have multiple interpretations and affect several points of view.
In the case of a film or television screenplay, the screenwriter may have successfully sold a screenplay to producers or studio executives, but then new executives assigned to the project may raise objections to prior decisions, mandating rewrites and recasting. As directors and actors join the project, further rewrites and recasting may be done, to accommodate the needs of the new talents involved in the project. Should the project fail to meet their needs, they might leave the project or simply refuse to complete it, resulting in further rewrites and recasting. At any point, a project may be forced to begin again from scratch.
It may also be the case that the screenwriters have an issue with the final rights agreement after signing an option, requiring research on the chain of title. The project may be stuck until the situation is resolved and project participants are happy with the full terms, or the project is abandoned.
When a film is in development but never receives the necessary production funds, another studio may execute a turnaround deal and produce the film to make it successful. An example of this is when Columbia Pictures developed, but then stopped production of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Universal Pictures then picked up the film and made it a success. If a studio completely abandons a film project, the costs are written off as part of the studio's overhead. Sometimes studios or producers will deliberately halt production in order to stop competition on a different project, or to ensure that people invested will be available for other projects that the studio prefers.
During a potential writer's strike in 2001, major studios wanted to spend less time and energy bidding on longer-term developments, such as film rights to books. Instead they focused more on buying projects that would immediately receive a green-light such as big budget action thrillers, and high concept comedies written by established and credible writers. Studio executives put all uncertain scripts and pitches on the shelves during this time to avoid taking a chance on a long-term development, and only wanted projects that were ready to go into production. Some studios and producers still bought film rights to books, but only ones that had successful sales. Examples of this are Dino De Laurentiis' $9 million acquisition of Thomas Harris' Hannibal and Miramax purchasing Mario Puzo's Omertà for $2–$3 million.
In software development, unreleased products that have been in long-term development are considered a type of vaporware. In film and television screenplay, unreleased products that have been in long-term development are considered as "vaporfilm". The anime OVA adaptation of Alien Nine has been cited by fans and critics as an example of "vaporfilm" because it was put on hiatus in 2002 after four episodes.
- Alien vs. Predator: Released in 2004 after more than a decade of different scripts, changes to the cast, false starts, orphaned tie-ins, several series of video games and even promotions of the movie.
- A.I. Artificial Intelligence: Originally a joint project led by Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick, it was halted with Kubrick's death and finished by Spielberg two years later.
- Akira: Warner Bros. has been developing a live-action American version of the animated film for years. As of January 6, 2012, Warner has "shut down" production for the fourth time.
- Atuk: A film adaptation of the novel The Incomparable Atuk. Several principals involved in the film have died over the more than 10 years the film has been in development hell.
- Battlefield Earth: Based off the first half of the novel of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Shortly after the novel was released in 1982, Hubbard hinted at a film adaption of the book by 1983, but the project was scrapped due to rising costs and an inability to find a studio willing to finance the film. John Travolta, a long-time Scientologist, continued to pitch the film for several years, but several studios turned down the project for many reasons, one being the project's connections to Scientology. In 1998, Franchise Pictures, an independent film studio, agreed to finance the film and production began in 1999. Battlefield Earth was released on May 12, 2000, and was met with poor reception from critics. It has since been described as being one of the worst films ever made.
- Beverly Hills Cop III: Went through multiple script revisions, including a treatment that had Axel Foley teaming up with a Scotland Yard detective to be played by Sean Connery until being finally released.
- The failure of Batman & Robin also hindered many attempts to produce a fifth Batman movie until Warner Brothers opted to reboot the franchise with far greater success.
- Blade Runner 2: Has been in development hell since 1992.
- The Brazilian Job: A sequel to the 2003 remake of The Italian Job was in development by the summer of 2004, but has faced multiple delays. Principal photography was initially slated to begin in March 2005, with a projected release date in November or December 2005. However, the script was never finalized, and the release date was pushed back to sometime in 2006, and later summer 2007. Writer David Twohy approached Paramount Pictures with an original screenplay entitled The Wrecking Crew, and though the studio reportedly liked the idea, they thought it would work better as a sequel to The Italian Job. Gray was slated to return as director, as well as most, if not all, of the original cast. At least two drafts of the script had been written by August 2007, but the project had not been greenlit.
- Curious George: This project had been in development hell at Imagine Entertainment for a long time, dating back at least as long ago as 1992 (and possibly many years before this). In various points during its development, it was proposed that the film be entirely CG or live-action mixed with CG, before the decision was finally made to use traditional animation to bring the titular character to life.
- The Cabin in the Woods: Filmed in 2009, the film was set for a February 2010 release date, however due to the studio filing for bankruptcy, it was delayed for release until 2012.
- Colossus: The Forbin Project: A reboot of the original 1970 movie based on the Colossus trilogy by D.F. Jones, it has been in development since 2007, with several changes in scriptwriters and proposed actors.
- Cowboy Bebop: A live-action film version of the anime series was originally announced for a 2011 release. There have been no further announcements since then.
- Dallas Buyers Club: Screenplay was written in September 1992 by Craig Borten. Throughout the 1990s, he wrote 10 different scripts for it to be picked up. It was unable to secure financial backing, going through three different directors, before Jean-Marc Vallée directed its late-2013 release.
- Delgo: Development began in 1999 by Marc Adler, who wanted to make a big-budget, computer-animated film independent of titans like Disney and DreamWorks Animation. Marc and his small animation studio, Fathom Studios, spent $40 million making the film. When they couldn't get any major studio interested in distributing Delgo, Fathom instead had a distributor-for-hire give the film a wide release, which it received on December 12, 2008, three years after two of the film's voice actors (Anne Bancroft and John Vernon) had died. Delgo had the worst opening weekend of any wide-release film until the release of The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure in 2012.
- Dragon's Lair: According to Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, a movie adaption of the 1983 video game has been considered. Bluth and Goldman are looking for funding to put the movie in production. As of 2013, the status of the film is unknown.
- Driver: In 2002, it was announced that a film adaption of the hit video game series Driver would be created. In 2007 the project was sold to another studio, and Roger Avary was reported to have written the script, which was later leaked online. However, the film has not been made yet.
- Exorcist: The Beginning: In an example of development hell continuing into post-production, the film Exorcist: The Beginning had completed filming and was in final post production when the studio fired director Paul Schrader and replaced him with Renny Harlin. Harlin chose to reshoot most of the film, changed the context of the scenes he did not have reshot, and completely rewrote the film's climax. Because many of the supporting cast had moved on to other projects after Schrader's production wrapped, Harlin had to recast most of the supporting roles. After Harlin's film failed, Schrader was allowed to finish his version with a very limited special effects budget, and it received a theatrical release as Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, and did only a little better critically than Harlin's version.
- Foodfight!: In 2004, the CGI film Foodfight was announced. Described as "Toy Story in a supermarket", the film promised to bring together over 80 famous advertising characters with voice talent including Charlie Sheen, Hilary and Haylie Duff, Wayne Brady, and Eva Longoria. Creators expected it to be a commercial hit and merchandise for the movie appeared on store shelves before the film had a release date. Unfortunately, the film ran into many problems. After several years, a trailer was finally shown at AHM in 2011, a company bought the DVD distribution rights for the film in Europe, and a quiet video-on-demand American release came in 2013.
- Freddy vs. Jason: Like Alien vs. Predator, Freddy vs. Jason was also famously mired in development hell for years. Originally, the studios that owned the two franchises wanted to make a crossover film for years, but could not agree on how to make it. When New Line Cinema bought the rights to the Friday the 13th franchise, the film stayed in development hell, as New Line went through numerous screenwriters and even more script ideas. Eventually, the two men who ended up writing the script for the film threw out every other script that came before them, and set a list of rules to follow that respected both parent franchises involved as they wrote their script. The film was finally released in 2003, and ended up making more money than any other film in either of the parent franchises. The story of the film's stay in development hell, and the numerous script ideas that came before the final script make up a bonus feature on the film's DVD.
- Frozen: This film was originally going to be a biography film of author and poet Hans Christian Andersen. The film then went in development hell twice. The most well-known reason for this was in 2010 when the studio failed to find a way to make the story and the character of the Snow Queen work.
- Gangs of New York: Martin Scorsese first started trying to get Gangs of New York made in 1978. He finally did so in 2002, and a good deal of Scorsese's DVD commentary on the film is devoted to explaining the arduous process.
- Ghostbusters III: Has been in development hell since 1989.
- Hell's Angels: Due to Howard Hughes' perfectionism and his insistence on using the latest film technology, the film took three years and a budget of $4 million to complete. It was the most expensive film made up to that time. Two decades later, Hughes would take seven years to complete a similar film, Jet Pilot.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Announced in 1982, filming did not begin until 2003, two years after series creator Douglas Adams died. Adams said of his experience trying to get the film made, "Getting a movie made in Hollywood is like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it." For several years, the About the Author blurb in Adams' books included the line "A major motion picture is currently in development hell and should be coming out any decade now."
- The Hobbit Trilogy: The Hobbit went through development hell, before finally being greenlit. The film then suffered additional problems involving creative control and the studio's refusal to allow filming to take place in New Zealand, where the preceding film series The Lord of the Rings had been shot. This was a deal-breaker for director Guillermo del Toro, who left the project. Peter Jackson retook control of the project and split it into three films, the first of which was released in December 2012.
- Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil: The film was originally announced for release in January 2010, however, the creator himself wasn't sure when, if ever, it would be released. The film finally came out in April 2011. This meant Hayden Panettiere had two movies saved from development hell in 2011, as Fireflies In The Garden had a long wait before US release due to mixed reactions in Europe and distributor difficulties—it was eventually released in October of that year.
- Hulk: Development began in the 1990s, but the film was not released until 2003.
- ID Forever Part I and II: The sequels to Independence Day were in development hell from 1997 until 2009, when director Roland Emmerich announced the pre-production of the films to be shot back-to-back. ID Forever Part I is scheduled for a July 1, 2016 release.
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: The film was in development hell since 1989; it was finally released in 2008.
- Inglourious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino announced his plans to shoot a World War II movie titled Inglourious Basterds shortly after the 1997 release of Jackie Brown. As of 2007, he was still working on the script. The film began shooting in late 2008 and was released in August 2009. Inglourious Basterds was Tarantino's most commercially successful film until his spaghetti western homage Django Unchained was released three years later.
- Iron Man: The film had been in development since 1990 at Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and New Line Cinema, until the rights were reacquired by Marvel Studios in 2006. The project was Marvel's first self-financed film, being distributed by Paramount Pictures. The script was originally written by multiple writers and the film and attached to direct were several directors, including Joss Whedon, Quentin Tarantino and Nick Cassavetes. Originally, actor Tom Cruise was in talks to play the role of Tony Stark, before the role went to Robert Downey Jr. after Jon Favreau was finally hired as director.
- John Carter: John Carter spent the longest time in development hell of any film to date. The original production dated as far back as in 1931, placing the film in development hell for 81 years. A Princess of Mars, John Carter began initial development in 1931. Rights passed through multiple studios, with interest being expressed within Disney in the 1950s. Disney acquired the rights in the 1980s, but these later reverted to the Burroughs estate, and were competitively re-bid by Paramount and Columbia. Paramount began production in the early 2000s, but stalled. Eventually the rights were repurchased by Disney, leading to the film's release in 2012, whereupon it quickly became a box office bomb owing to the cost of production.
- Jurassic World: A new installment in the Jurassic Park series was first expected to be released in 2005, four years after the third film, as Jurassic Park IV. It was finally slated to enter production at the beginning of 2014 for a release of June 15, 2015 as Jurassic World.
- The King and the Mockingbird: The French animated film started production in 1948. The film has been in development hell with many takes to shoot it. After stranded on the shelf for 30 years, the film has been in production again in 1978, and released in 1980.
- The Keith Moon Movie: A biopic of The Who drummer Keith Moon was first floated by The Who's singer Roger Daltrey in 1994. A competing movie by Keith Moon's personal manager, Peter "Dougal" Butler, produced by Robert De Niro and written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, was cancelled in 1998 after Daltrey had Pete Townshend deny the use of music by The Who. Since then, some major names have been attached to the movie (a script by Alex Cox among many written, and a starring role for Robbie Williams or Mike Myers) but no script has yet gotten Roger Daltrey's approval. As of 2013, the movie is attached to Exclusive Media and Da Vinci Media Ventures.
- Les Misérables: A film adaptation of the stage musical began in 1985. After the musical's 25th anniversary concert in 2010, producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that the film had resumed development. It was released on Christmas Day, 2012.
- The Lord of the Rings (film series): The rights to a live action adaptation of The Lord of the Rings were sold to United Artists shortly before JRR Tolkien's death in 1973; it wasn't until 1994 that Peter Jackson was given approval to begin shooting. The first film was not released until 2001.
- Mad Max: Fury Road: The fourth film in Mad Max series was one of the most famous delayed films in history. The film was meant to follow the 1985 Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and had Mel Gibson returning as Max Rochatansky, it was meant to be released in 1987. The production ceased, and the film wasn't picked up again until the early 2000s. The script was rewritten, completed in 2007, but the casting was delayed until 2011. The production went in 2012, and the film will be released in 2014. Mel Gibson won't return for the film.
- Megalopolis: In development since the 1980s, the film is a large-scale Francis Ford Coppola project about the aftermath and reconstruction of New York City after a mega-disaster.
- Men in Black 3: Men in Black 3 was meant to be shot right after post-production for the Men in Black 2 ended, which was released in September 2002. The film went into development hell for 10 years, and the production started in 2010, and the film was released in April 2012.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: A live-action adaptation of the anime series has been in development hell since it was first announced in 2003.
- Osmosis Jones: went through development hell during production. The animated sequences, directed by Tom Sito and Piet Kroon, went into production as planned, but acquiring both a director and a star actor for the live-action sequences took a considerable amount of time, until Bill Murray was cast as the main character of Frank, and Peter and Bobby Farrelly stepped in to direct the live-action sequences. As part of their contract, the Farrelly brothers are credited as the primary directors of the film, although they did no supervision of the animated portions of the film. Will Smith was interested in the part, but in the end his schedule didn't permit it.
- On the Road: A potential film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's novel began in 1957 after Kerouac wrote a letter to Marlon Brando asking him to play Dean Moriarty. Over the decades, several major studios and directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, wanted to buy the rights to make the film. Coppola eventually helped produce a film adaptation, which was released to mixed reviews in 2012.
- The Postman: Author David Brin described the ten-year effort to get his novel produced as a film, with the production began in 1987, but the film released in 1997. In the process, the screenplay went through so much revision as to barely resemble the book, even leading writers to "borrow" from the book they were supposed to be creating as a film.
- Rambo V: The Fifth installment of the Rambo film franchise was announced in 2008. after the release of fourth movie. Its current status is unknown.
- Random Hearts: Based on the 1984 novel by Warren Adler, the film rights were bought soon after the novel was released but it took 15 years for the film to get made. Dustin Hoffman was originally attached to star in the film in the 1980s, but by the early 90s Kevin Costner was attached as was director James L. Brooks. Eventually, in 1999, Harrison Ford starred in the film which was directed by Sydney Pollack.
- Rush Hour 3: Because of development hell, Rush Hour 3 was not released until August 10, 2007—six years after Rush Hour 2. A fourth installment in the series is in negotiations, however, and reportedly may be set in Moscow.
- Soul Calibur: The Movie: A film adaptation of the Soul Calibur video game series has been in development hell since its 2001 announcement.
- Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: Sin City 2, which was supposed to be released in 2008, entered production in 2012, and is slated for a 2014 release.
- Speed Racer: A Speed Racer live action film was first announced in 1992. Four directors later and through many casting, studio, and writer changes, the film was released in May 2008. It is considered one of the biggest box office bombs in history.
- Star Wars Sequel Trilogy: The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy was planned with the original trilogy and the concept was constructed since 1975, the Star Wars sequel trilogy remained in development hell beginning in 1983. Even though the prequel trilogy was created with the films released in 1999, 2002 and 2005, the sequel trilogy was changed and denied for several years. The trilogy was brought back in 2012 after Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm, starting with Star Wars Episode VII, which is scheduled for a 2015 release.
- Superman Lives: A scrapped reboot of the Superman film series, very loosely based on the comic book storyline "The Death of Superman".
- Supernova: The 2000 film Supernova was in development for 12 years, and cost an estimated 60 million dollars. Although the theatrical version runs only 87 minutes, reportedly several hours of completed footage exists, much of it self-contradictory due to changes made to the script during the filming stage. Both Francis Ford Coppola and H. R. Giger were involved at one point.
- The Thief and the Cobbler: The film began production in 1964 but wasn't released until 1993. Vincent Price recorded his lines 20 years before it was released, and died before seeing the finished film. Production was halted several times by funding problems, and ran over budget on multiple occasions.
- Watchmen: Film rights to the 1986–1987 comic book series were first acquired in 1986; numerous versions were attempted, with a film adaptation finally released in 2009.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit Sequel: A sequel to the successful Who Framed Roger Rabbit was conceived almost immediately following the release of the original film. Several scripts have been written, and many actors, producers, and other executives have shown interest in the project, but it remains in development hell.
- Warcraft: A live-action adaptation of the Warcraft series was first announced in 2006. The film spent several years in development hell before the project advanced. It is scheduled for a 2016 release.
- The X-Files: I Want To Believe: The second film based upon the popular American television show The X-Files began pre-production planning in 2001 and was announced for release in 2003 to follow the show's ninth season, but languished in development until it was finally produced for its release in the summer of 2008, six years after the television show had ended.
- Aliens: Colonial Marines: Although the original game was meant to be released in 2001, right after the release to the Alien versus Predator 2, sharing a same engine and graphics as the game, it went into development hell. The game again began development in 2008 by Sega and Gearbox Software, and was released in Summer 2013, but to a negative reception.
- Banjo-Kazooie 3 The game was in development since 2002 for the Game Cube. After the Rare buyout from Microsoft. the game was turned into a remake of Banjo-Kazooie for the Xbox. Due to technical issue and booting problems the game was delayed in development then turned into a cart racer. Data for the Xbox game reboot is found online.
- Brothers in Arms 4: A planned fourth, and final, installment of the series was planned, that would end the story of the 101st Airborne's participation in war in Europe. The game was announced after Borderlands' release in 2009. In 2012, publishers announced a new franchise of Brothers in Arms, based on the demolition squad "Filthy Thirteen". The announcement was made at the same time as the release of Borderlands 2. The title of the new game is currently unknown.
- Cartoon Network: Block Party: Development began in 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, but was cancelled and then moved to Nintendo 64DD, then the Nintendo 64 after its failure, and finally the Game Boy Advance in 2004.
- Conker's Bad Fur Day: The game was in development since 1997. The game went through development hell since 1998 due to the development of Banjo Kazooie/Project Dream, Donkey Kong 64 and other games. They turned the game from family friendly to an Adults only game.
- Duke Nukem Forever: A sequel to the mega-popular Duke Nukem 3D from 1995, the original game was announced on E3 1998 to be released in January 1999, but was pushed back to 2001. The game was re-written and redeveloped, and a teaser trailer was shown in 2007. The game was then officially announced in 2010, and released in 2011. The game had negative reviews.
- Doom 4: Announced in 2008, the fourth installment has been in development ever since. id had announced a trailer for the game would be released, but was not revealed in 2011 or 2012. The development was "restarted" in 2011 due to dissatisfaction with the quality but the restarted material is also, apparently, considered less than ideal.
- Final Fantasy XIII: Development of the thirteenth installment in the series began in 2004, and trailer was released in 2006, then development stalled. The game was released in late 2009. Reasons varied from an under-developed Crystal Tools engine to late play testing.
- Half-Life 2: Episode 3: Valve Software announced a release of around December 2008. In 2012, Valve stated that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 will still be released, but did not provide a release date.
- Kirby's Return to Dreamland: The game was first announced in 2005 as a Nintendo GameCube title. It was eventually released in late 2011 as a Wii title.
- The Last Guardian: A PlayStation 3 exclusive game to be developed by Team Ico (developers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus) was originally announced at E3 2009. It has been stuck in development hell since then. It was recently[when?] revealed by Sony's Jack Trentton that The Last Guardian was put on hiatus.
- Mother 3: The game began development in 1994 as a Super Famicom title, but development transitioned to the Nintendo 64DD. After the system failed, it was moved to the Nintendo 64, and finally to the Game Boy Advance. It was released in Japan only, on April 20, 2006.
- Pikmin 3: Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto first hinted about the possibilities of a new Pikmin game in a July 2007 interview with IGN. A new Pikmin game was eventually confirmed at E3 2008 during Nintendo's developer roundtable, in which Miyamoto stated that his team were working on a new entry in the series. However, details concerning gameplay and development were left unmentioned. At Miyamoto's roundtable discussion at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011, Miyamoto stated that Pikmin 3 development was moved to Wii U, the Wii successor. On June 5, 2012, Pikmin 3 was shown at Nintendo's press conference at E3. It was said that it would be released around the same time as the Wii U, was then delayed to the end of the launch window (March 2013), and its release was later delayed again until mid-2013. Pikmin 3 was finally released in Japan on July 13, 2013 and met with very positive reviews.
- Prey: The game features a long and storied development history that spans over a decade, starting in 1995. Since then it went through several iterations of the game design and software technology before its eventual release in 2006.
- Prey 2: Announced shortly after the release of the original, the first trailer was not released until in Early 2012. On March 23, 2012 rumors from the French website suggesting that the game have be cancelled by the publisher were not responded to by the development company. But, on April 19, 2012 it was announced that the game was not cancelled, and that the geame would be released in 2012 rather in 2013. On August 20, 2012 the game was removed from the products page on Bethesda Softwork's website. A spokesperson from Bethesda informed Eurogamer that until they're ready to talk about the game more, the focus on the site is on their upcoming titles. In early 2013, many stores began offering pre-order of Prey 2, with release expected by the end of 2013. However, the release was not confirmed by Developer or Publisher. In May 2013, the Kotaku reported rumors that development has moved to Arkane Studios and that the development has been rebooted, scrapping all of Human Head Studios work, and that release was targeted for 2016. It has also been reported that Obsidian Entertainment worked on the game at one point for at least a few months. However, it was completely denied again on August 2, 2013. The game's status is currently unknown. But it was showed confirmed that the game is developing after the leak email being released to the public in August 15, 2013.
- Sadness: One of the earliest announced titles for the Wii, Sadness was cancelled in 2010.
- Sonic X-treme: The game changed platforms many times during development and was ultimately cancelled. It led to the overworking and disbandment of Sega Technical Institute. In 2006 an early test version of the game was leaked.
- South Park: The Stick of Truth: Originally announced in December 2011 and to be released by THQ in the "latter half" of 2012, the game has faced numerous delays. In March 2012, developer Obsidian Entertainment laid off 20-30 of its staff, including some of the Stick of Truth team. After the layoffs, THQ moved the projected release date to April 2013. In December of 2012, THQ filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, liquidated all of its assets (including the sale of Stick of Truth to Ubisoft) and closed its doors the following month. Upon acquiring the rights to the game, Ubisoft set a projected release date for December 2013. Ubisoft most recently moved the launch date to March 2014, citing a "major overhaul" being applied to the game.
- Star Wars: Battlefront III: In development by LucasArts and Free Radical Design between 2006-2008, the game was put on hold following Free Radical's shutdown. The game was officially announced at Electronic Arts' E3 2013 press conference as "Star Wars: Battlefront", now a reboot of the franchise rather than a sequel. It will be developed by DICE Los Angeles, run on the Frostbite 3 engine, and will be released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: The sequel of the cult-hit S.T.A.L.K.E.R was announced after the release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat in 2010. However, after the announcement, the company developing the game closed down, due to a government crackdown. All negotiations with a new developer have fallen through and the game was cancelled in 2013. Former developers of GSC Game World have formed a new studio, Vostok Games, and are working on a spiritual successor called Survarium
- Team Fortress 2: The game was first announced in 1998 as a sequel to the original Team Fortress mod for Half Life 1, but has since been through various concept and design periods. The absence of media information or apparent development progress for six years of the game's development caused it to be labeled as vaporware, and it was regularly featured in the Wired News' annual vaporware list, among gaming news outlets. However, it was eventually released in 2007, and received critical acclaim and several awards.
- Too Human: The game was first announced in 1999, to be released on the original PlayStation. First teaser showings occurred during the 1999 E3 show. Unlike its eventual single-disc release format on the Xbox 360, the game was to be released across four CD-ROMs bundled together (a similar format to that of Final Fantasy VIII released in 1999). Also, unlike the finished product, the plot, while involving the theme of human cybernetic enhancements, was to be set in the distant future of 2450 AD instead of the alternate science fiction take on Norse mythology. Development halted when Nintendo announced an exclusive partnership with Silicon Knights, and the game was moved to the Nintendo GameCube in 2000. Prototyping for the game took place on the GameCube, but the staff at Silicon Knights soon devoted their efforts towards two other releases, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. There were no further announcements about Too Human, and no any indication of future development being announced, until five years later in 2005. Too Human was finally released in 2008, to mediocre critical review.
- The Beatles on iTunes. The release of the band's catalogue was intended to happen at the end of 2008, but it fell through. Apple Corps issued a limited release of the entire discography on MP3 before the band's music appeared on iTunes in November 2010, a year after a deal had supposedly finally been made.
- Chinese Democracy: Released in 2008 after 14 years in development, prompting the long-standing joke that China itself would become democratic before Chinese Democracy was released. Perhaps inevitably, a song from Chinese Democracy was released in 2008 on Rock Band 2, about two months before the album itself was released.
- Detox: The long delayed third studio album by rapper Dr. Dre that has been in development since 2001.
- Lifestyles of the Rich and Flavor: Flavor Flav's solo album, Lifestyles of the Rich and Flavor, had been touted since the mid-'90s. It finally saw release as Flavor Flav in 2006.
- Paul Pena recorded his second album New Train in 1973, but it got caught in a tug-of-war between his management and his label and never got released. Oddly enough, Pena still made a fair amount of money from the project when Steve Miller Band had a huge hit covering one of the album's songs, "Jet Airliner". After 27 years a deal was finally worked out and New Train was released in 2000.
- An unnamed sequel to The Rocky Horror Show has had multiple false starts. Planned to be a stage play like its predecessor, with the possibility of becoming a film if the play had become a financial hit.
- Animusic 3 has been in production for over eight years, having been pushed back for various reasons. It is currently planned for late 2014.
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