Six legendary game designers. Six dream projects that were never meant to be.
1. Will Wright (SimCity, The Sims)
“In the late ’90s, I started working on a game called Wild Geography Excitement. The object of the game was to steal bars of soap from fancy hotels and feed them to a dog. Each time the dog ate one of your stolen bars of soap, he would say the name of a European country. You’d feed the dog some of your soap and then he’d say something like ‘France.’ My goal in making the game was to teach children that sometimes when you steal from hotels, a dog will tell you basic facts about Europe.
“Unfortunately, during early playtests of the game, there was a huge news story about a kid in Montana who fed stolen soap to his dog, causing his dog to say ‘Austria.’ A small but vocal group of furious parents blamed my game for causing this geography-oriented talking dog tragedy of soap. Production was halted on Wild Geography Excitement, and the game has never seen the light of day.”
2. David Jones (Grand Theft Auto series)
“Ever since I first started designing games, I’ve had a vision for an epic role-playing game called Paul Samuelson: The Dentist Who Is Locked Out Of His Office. You play as Dr. Paul Samuelson, a dentist who has been locked out of his office. You press the space bar to loudly exclaim, ‘I’m locked out of my office!’ and you press the shift key to say, ‘I can’t believe it’s been 1,000 years since my wife was turned to stone.’ The game has never been made because Paul Samuelson is a real person and he refuses to sell me the rights to his life story.”
3. Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear series)
“I’ve always wanted to make a video game about a dove that can talk, but chooses not to.”
4. Markus Persson (Minecraft)
“Before Minecraft made me famous, I was just an independent game programmer working on a passion project called Belt Quest, an action-adventure game where players traveled through an enormous open-world environment carrying a giant duffle bag filled with belts. To save your game, your character would crawl into the duffle bag with all of his belts and go to sleep. The goal of the game was to crush yourself to death with your own duffle bag full of belts.
“Unfortunately, once players achieved this goal, the game initiated an hour-long cutscene where Jafar from Aladdin married the Nike swoosh logo in an elaborate wedding ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Both Disney and Nike filed lawsuits against me for copyright infringement, and I ended up paying each of them over a billion dollars. Belt Quest was killed shortly after that.”
5. Sid Meier (Civilization)
“Several years ago, I began designing a fighting game called Cast Of ‘Friends’ vs. Apollo 11 Crew: Death Gauntlet. It was a brutally violent game in which Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey from Friends engaged in extremely graphic hand-to-hand combat with Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. The death scenes I programmed were so chilling that I still have nightmares about them. In one of them, Monica stuffs Buzz Aldrin into Neil Armstrong’s mouth while Ross rips out his own spine and uses it to strangle Michael Collins. I truly believe that this could have been the greatest game of all time.
“I chose to crowdfund the project through a Kickstarter campaign. Unfortunately, most of my Kickstarter video was dedicated to me demonstrating how to construct a functioning pipe bomb, and so Homeland Security shut the entire thing down. The fact that I have yet to complete Cast Of ‘Friends’ vs. Apollo 11 Crew: Death Gauntlet is the greatest failure of my career.”
6. Shigeru Miyamoto (Super Mario Bros., The Legend Of Zelda, Donkey Kong)
“Just once, I would like to make a game where Mario takes his shirt off, but I know that I can never do this because the date that the world will end is written on Mario’s chest.”