It looks like Bethesda has canceled the widely hated Commander Keen mobile reboot. The resurrection of the 1990 classic was announced at E3 2019 a year ago and was instantly slammed as a weak free-to-play cash-grab reinterpretation that has nothing to do with the original platformer. While neither Bethesda nor the studio developing the title, ZeniMax, have officially stated that the project is canceled, there’s an overwhelming body of evidence that the title won’t see further development.
While we haven’t heard much from the game following its big reveal a year ago, there’s apparently been some public beta testing, as a Play Store listing for the title exists. It looks like availability was severely limited, though, as none of us at the Android Police team were able to download it. It has also never been officially announced by the developers.
A look at AppBrain’s statistics also reveals that the Play Store listing has never seen much activity. The game was first released in November 2019, followed by an update in December, and then nothing. According to the website’s statistics, it has only been downloaded about 1,000 times, which further indicates limited testing. This limited-release phase has also never been announced anywhere, but the few people that were able to participate voiced tons of concern: The Play Store ratings have an average of only 1.9 stars.
Good news, that Commander Keen mobile game has been officially cancelled.
— Pixelbuster (@Nitomatta) June 25, 2020
Fast forward to this month, and evidence is mounting that Bethesda and ZeniMax have stopped developing the game altogether. A Twitter user hyperbolically says it’s been “officially cancelled” as “almost every single trace of it” has been deleted off social media. A quick search for the game’s social network handles confirms as much: The Facebook page has been taken offline, and the Twitter profile is set to private. Looking at the Internet Archive, the Twitter account hasn’t even posted much (read: anything) between June and September 2019 — not really a good sign. The game is also nowhere to be seen on ZeniMax’s website anymore, which previously prominently featured the title.
Twitter and Facebook profiles are offline, which is not a good sign.
While there’s no word from Bethesda or ZeniMax and even though the Play Store listing is still live, we’re pretty much convinced that the Commander Keen reboot is dead in the water. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic might have postponed the release (which wouldn’t be unprecedented), but that shouldn’t be a reason to delete social media accounts and any mention of the game on the developer’s site. In fact, it’s possible that the Play Store listing only remains active because the PR team handling Twitter and Facebook doesn’t have access to the developer account, and the employees in charge of it might have other priorities than deleting traces of a shattered project.
We’ve reached out to Bethesda for more information.