For some gamers who follow indie developers particularly closely, Steel Monkeys has been something of a mystery company for years now. The company website describes the group as having been founded in 2004 with offices in Minsk, Belarus, and Vancouver, though it is believed they also once had a base in London before ultimately closing up shop. The website also displays some quirky and intriguing steampunk-style graphics of the sort that make you wonder what a developer might be capable of—and yet, they really don't have a particularly noteworthy game to their credit. They did develop a few moderately popular games, the most recent example being the I,Gladiator app, but their biggest project to date is one that has yet to see the light of day: 2 Days To Vegas.
News first broke of this project years ago, and there was a time 2 Days To Vegas was a pretty eagerly anticipated title. This is probably because it was presented more or less as a competitor to Rockstar's indomitable Grand Theft Auto series. Referring back to the Steel Monkeys website, the game was described as a "story driven 3rd person action adventure game... crammed full of car chases, shootouts, and unexpected twists." The game was meant to take place over a 48-hour period spanning major cities across the U.S., as Vinny, recently released from prison in New York, journeyed to get his brother Tony out of trouble in Las Vegas. Basically, it sounded like an all-out cross-country gang war very much built in the style of a GTA game.
The game never got off the ground, though, and it's beginning to appear as if it may never do so. Lazy Gamer wrote an article back in 2013 examining what came of 2 Days To Vegas and even showed a screenshot from early production that was pretty impressive given the standards for gaming graphics in 2008, when the game was supposed to be released. The article did reveal that Steel Monkeys was still looking for beta testers for the game as late as 2012, which means they might still be working on the game. However, if that's the case, it's becoming an unusually stretched out production period.
Fans of the GTA series, however, are likely hoping that Steel Monkeys is indeed still working on a competitor. One fun way to think about the drawn out production is that between 2008 and present day, major American cities have gained new intrigue in popular entertainment, perhaps making them all the more interesting as potential stopping points on Vinny's cross-country journey to help his brother. After all, the only confirmed cities in a game that would reportedly "span major cities across the U.S." were New York and Las Vegas. So where else would Vinny go? Here are a few ideas that could be a lot of fun based on the last decade of pop culture and entertainment.
The first option that comes to mind is Atlantic City, which is a pretty logical stopping point for a gangster journey that begins in New York. The history of the town is described as having transitioned "from a troubled resort to a prosperous gambling mecca," now boasting a quality of casino gaming and entertainment that "can be likened to that of Sin City." Not a bad warm-up spot for a game called 2 Days To Vegas! Plus, in the last several years, the prohibition era gangster history of the town has been immortalized in the TV show Boardwalk Empire. It's not an accurate portrayal of modern Atlantic City, but it's a great backdrop for some gang action should this game ever come to life.
Speaking of TV influence, another ideal location for an exciting, crime-ridden action game spanning the U.S. is New Orleans, which could capitalize on the dark, mystical violence that captivated huge audiences in the first season of HBO's True Detective in 2014. Granted, the show had nothing to do with New Orleans specifically, but it had a great deal to do with the crime and atmosphere of Louisiana in general. With so many people having enjoyed the show, on top of the droves of people who are fascinated by New Orleans to begin with, the city would be a great spot to focus a chapter of the game.
Finally, there's Chicago. As it's essentially the only major U.S. metropolis in the midwest, it was likely always planned as a city to be featured along Vinny's route to Vegas. But lately, the city has gained even more attention than usual for its crime issues, given that prominent film director Spike Lee is releasing a film titled Chiraq(as in, a blend between Chicago and Iraq). Though it's said to be a musical comedy/drama, the film concerns violence on Chicago's infamous south side, and its impending release and inflammatory title have caused a fresh discussion about Chicago's problem with gun violence. The Daily Beast was even prompted, last year, to write an article titled, "How Chicago became 'Chiraq.'" These are serious matters, but should 2 Days To Vegas ever hit the shelves, extra attention on Chicago's violent history will make it all the more intriguing as a potentially featured city.
Unfortunately, this is all speculation at this point. There is no fresh news on 2 Days To Vegas, though Steel Monkeys is still active, and the lack of an official cancellation may be promising. In the meantime, other forms of entertainment have provided the developers with plenty of ideas for what to cram in between New York and Vegas!