Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Have you ever wondered what the classic X-Wing games would look like if you stripped out the Star Wars in exchange for flying beasts and spearfishing? Well, me neither, but as footage from the American site Axios shows, Totally Games (the developer behind those classic Star Wars games) apparently did just that in the early 2000s and there's even some footage to prove it.

According to Axios, the game, which was called all manner of things from Knights of Utu to Archipelago to Knights of Decayden, was first pitched to PlayStation 2, before making its way over to Xbox where it was intended to launch within a year of the console's late 2001 release date.

It was also planned to have single-player and multiplayer modes, with the original pitch to Sony describing the game with the following sentence: "Imagine jousting high in the air amid skyscraper-like islands soaring above a sparkling sea."

Obviously, as history tells us, this never came to pass and the game was never released, but now years later we finally know why. In a recent conversation with Axio's Stephen Totilo, which accompanied the footage, Totally Games founder Larry Holland called the project "incredibly ambitious and sort of foolish in equal measures". He also told Totilo that the project - which would have been a signature release of an operation called Studio X focusing on partnerships between Xbox and third-party developers - proved overwhelming for his team.

This was due to the schedule, which required a substantial time crunch to get things done, but also because of Xbox management's relative inexperience with working with game developers. As Holland recalls, one boss had previously managed the Excel spreadsheet program, which (though impressive) might not be exactly what you want from your new video game employer.

According to Holland, because of these difficulties, the team never "ironed out all of the issues with regard to scale and speed and melee" and it was therefore still in a rough place when an up-and-coming Xbox employee named Phil Spencer appeared and cancelled the project in early 2002.

You can watch footage of this cancelled game below: