Black 9

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Name: Black 9
Developer: Taldren
Systems: PS2, Xbox, PC
Due date: 2003

Black 9 / Black9 is a cancelled PS2, Xbox, and PC game by Taldren.
It was to be a third-person shooter with RPG elements.

Plot

The year is 2081. You play as a ruthless mercenary, scorned by his employers.
The eponymous Black 9 are the different sects of the Illuminati, fighting for control.
They are using you to do their dirty deeds.

Gameplay

The missions would take you around the world, from Hong Kong, to the moon, and to Mars.
Completing missions gives attributes and skill points.
From there you can build your character to suit your playstyle.

The weapons were the standard fare, but the fun is in the vehicles you can drive.

You also had spells and skills you can use. These costs chi.
You can use skills like Urban Tracking to find chi, or you can swing like in Bionic Commando.
There was to be five classes of spells: four elemental, and one called Drain.

Multiplayer was also on the table.
Co-op mode was a given but its unknown if its splitscreen or not.
The 16 player combat scenarios hark back to Halo, but objectives are more like Counter Strike.

Cancellation

Black 9 was cancelled at around 80-85% completion when Taldren went under.
Sounds simple enough, but there is a dark story behind its folding.

Taldren and Majesco worked on a contract but hadn't signed anything together.
Majesco would demand big things from Taldren but would not pay them for reaching milestones.
They would even send producers around to watch everything. Taldren wanted out.

Majesco sent over two 'programmer assistants' to the Taldren studio.
Turns out their real purpose was to upload the game's source code in the dead of night.
Probing questions hurled their way saw Taldren seek an exit.

Taldren almost hopped over to Vivendi, until Vivendi reorganised and froze acquisitions.
Majesco called Taldren over to New Jersey for a talk. It was actually a set up.
Majesco stated it was no longer going to pay Taldren.

The development team was to be laid off. The founders of Taldren were offered jobs.
It was a scare tactic that didn't work. Taldren had too much honour to slave away for free.
They voluntarily shut down the studio.

Majesco was shocked. For this fiasco their shareholders sued them.
The lawsuit saw that many of Majesco's executive board were kicked out.

Summary:

  • Majesco demands too much
  • Majesco doesn't pay when goals are hit
  • Majesco sends over two men who steal the source code
  • Taldren tries to leave
  • Majesco tries to scare Taldren into working for free
  • Taldren spites them by closing down
  • Majesco gets sued by its shareholders

Stevie Case has a build of the game in her possession.
Given the emotional trauma and upsetting memories within, it might not be dumped or sold.

Video

Trailer

Gallery

External Links