Gotham by Gaslight, Day 1 Studios, Never released
Gotham by Gaslight is a Batman graphic novel that has a good reputation among fans. The story is set in an alternate timeline and about the historical figure Jack the Ripper. Set in 1989, it established a plot that was ideal for a delve into the steampunk aesthetic. In fact, that was so much the case that Day 1 Studios began to turn the graphic novel into a game. They pitched their idea to THQ but failed to convince them.
However, the gameplay footage and in-game menus surfaced online and have left many fans disappointed that the game disappeared into thin air. Gotham by Gaslight saw players take on the role of the Caped Crusader in 19th-century Gotham at the time of Jack the Ripper. The setting and plot are indicative of Day 1’s steampunk intentions, leaving many fans wondering whether any developer other than Rocksteady could have gotten this one right. There have been some stunning games in the Batman universe, and, unfortunately, we’ll never know where this one would have ranked among them.
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Troika Games, 2001
Arcanum gave off a steampunk vibe like no other. From the box art and the name to the world’s industrially developed cities, the game can be defined by its distinctive aesthetic. Arcanum’s archetypal Orc, Dwarf, and Elf races help to create a fantasy setting, although it goes in another direction with its repeater rifles and flintlock pistols. The combination of technology and science fiction is evident in the loot collected by the players as they make their way through an isometric RPG not dissimilar to the first Fallout game. Even the mana and health of each of the characters are displayed as tubes encased in bronze casings.
The game’s mix of the industrial and mystical establishes an intriguing setting worth exploring. Insufficient modernisation in some areas results in a significant change in scenery from the steam trains and zeppelins found throughout the rest of the game’s world, as well as a fascinating view of the industry’s effects. While Troika Games dissolved back in 2005, the studio succeeded in establishing the quintessential steampunk game.
Darkwatch, High Moon Studios, 2005
While not an enormously famous shooter game, Darkwatch gained a cult following, thanks to its unusual setting and unique story. The Wild West world is full of colossal steam trains and vampires wielding revolvers setting the tone for an interesting story. The wars between technology and magic, and temptation and betrayal, are themes found in the game, which only helps to add to its steampunk credentials. Some of the missions might play out like a gunfight from a John Wayne western, while others challenge players to hijack industrial steam trains. The gameplay might not be regarded as being innovative and excluding the novel character abilities and the melee attacks, the shooting is somewhat generic. However, the game is best known for its distinct style, which is all about the steampunk genre.