Most first-party SEGA games would eventually be ported to the Xbox, GameCube or PlayStation 2, but that’s not the case for many third-party games as they were cancelled outright for many different reasons.
One of those games is the Digital Infinity-developed online, multiplayer brawler Knights that was in development for the Dreamcast and PC back in 1999. The game, which was originally set to be published by Project 2 Interactive, evolved several times throughout its tumultuous development cycle, going from an arena brawler like Power Stone 2, to a team-based multiplayer action game and even a 3D action/platformer.
The game’s story was set in a magical kingdom called Whyrule, where its aged king had grown too old to maintain his rule. So its ungrateful citizens decided to get rid of him by organizing a grand combat tournament where knights across the kingdom would compete, with the victor being named Whyrule’s new king. Your character decides he wants his hand at ruling the kingdom and enters the tournament.
As Unseen64 notes, Knights was originally planned to be a 3D platformer/adventure game in the vein of the vastly overrated Mario 64, but due to lack of sufficient resources and development time, Digital Infinity had to go back to the drawing board and cobbled together a playable multiplayer demo that focused on a team-based multiplayer mode.
This demo included a variety of knights that would have different abilities who would do battle on floating islands that players would travel across via a series of slides that connected each island together.
Development on the game continued at a slow and steady pace, but disaster struck when its publisher Project 2 Interactive declared bankruptcy and was unable to continue funding the game. Luckily, Digital Interactive found an interested publisher in Swing! Entertainment, who injected some much-needed funds into the game that enabled Digital Infinity to expand the game’s platform release to include the PlayStation 2.
According to Unseen64, Digital Infinity was absorbed into Lost Boys Games soon after. Work continued on the game until SEGA infamously announced it was discontinuing the Dreamcast in early 2001, which led the team to cancel the Dreamcast version and reshaped Knights into a 3D platformer for the PS2.
However, in late 2003, Lost Boys Games was sold to Media Republic and renamed Guerrilla Games, which led to the ultimate and final cancellation of Knights once and for all. Guerrilla Games, which you might be aware, would go on to gain fame for its Killzone series on PlayStation.
It really is a shame we never saw more of Knights as it actually sounds like a really fun game. We hope that one day a playable copy will find its way into some lucky Dreamcast collector’s hands, and he or she will share it with the rest of us so we can finally experience a portion of the vision Digital Infinity had in mind.