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Is this gaming's biggest ever waste of money?

This Is Vegas canned, $50m up in smoke

The video games industry has been guilty of some astounding examples of wastefulness in its history. But Midway/Warner Bros sandbox title This Is Vegas is today revealed as perhaps the most spectacular of all time.

CVG has been told by a cast iron source close to the project that it has been canned by Warner Bros after three years in development.

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That's not a great surprise, considering the publisher stealthily closed the studio behind the game, Surreal Software, this year - dispersing staff between fellow Seattle developers Monolith and Snowblind.

That was back in June - a full year after Warner picked it up as part of the $33m deal for Midway's assets.

But the shocking amount of hard cash wasted on the project is a recession-busting bombshell - and apt for a game that takes its inspiration from gambling mecca Sin City.

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"Apparently the entire This Is Vegas project has been totally canned," said our source.

"Midway spent in the region of $43 million up to the point when it was being sold to WB [July 2009]. Alan Patmore, who was [Surreal] studio boss, either left or was let go - but considering the resources and art created this is a lot of work down the drain.

"It was moving along to a point where the title was on the [Warner] schedule for release late last year - but [development] still needed another eight months to a year to finish, with a studio burn rate of $250,000 per month."

Do the maths - and that comes out at a total expenditure between WB and Midway of just under a cool $50 million, inclusive of pre-release marketing and other costs. Just think what you could buy with that: Most of Red Dead Redemption, for one.

"It's a ridiculous waste of money," added our source, "a silly budget when you think that games like Konami's Saw - which made profit - were built with around $3m."

This Is Vegas was due for release on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. No more, it seems.

CVG has contacted Warner for comment. Don't hold your breath.

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