Featuring gameplay in the vein of genre staples like Twisted Metal and Smuggler’s Run, Damage Inc was intended for release in the mid-2000s for PCs, the PlayStation 2, and the original Xbox before its sudden cancellation. An in-progress prototype version has since been discovered, and gameplay footage released this week gives fans a taste of what might have been.
Developed by the since-shuttered Black Rock Studio, creator of racing games like MotoGP and The Italian Job, Damage Inc would have featured a post-apocalyptic storyline in which players drove heavily armed, customizable vehicles across vast stretches of bombed-out wasteland.
Similar to the contemporary PlayStation 2 release Twisted Metal Black, Damage Inc featured high-speed vehicular combat mechanics at its core. Unlike many competing games in the genre, however, Damage Inc. allowed players to exit their vehicles and hijack their opponents’ rigs at any point during gameplay, Grand Theft Auto style.
Fans got their first glimpse at Damage Inc. in a prerendered trailer included with Metallica’s 2003 album St. Anger, which teased a 2005 release. Little else regarding the project was revealed in the years since, as Damage Inc. was canceled behind the scenes by publisher Vivendi Universal. Upon discovering a prerelease build of the game, YouTube channel PtoPOnline uploaded a brief snippet of in-game footage this week, marking the first time that actual gameplay from Damage Inc has been showcased publicly.
According to PtPOnline, the project was canned after developer Black Rock Studio merged with Climax Group, and licensing issues may have further delayed development. Black Rock Studio would later go on to produce acclaimed racers like Pure and Split/Second prior to its closure in 2011.