Trade association TIGA has called for protection for cancelled projects under the government's new Games Tax Relief.
"Some publishers have been known to leave studios high and dry by obliging them to maintain teams of developers for months on end, only for them to finally cancel projects. This can have damaging repercussions for the studios in question," explained CEO Dr Richard Wilson.
"Just as some expenditure on unreleased films qualifies for film tax relief, so cancelled game projects should in principle be eligible for Games Tax Relief. This is consistent, fair and reasonable. Provided that the game in question would pass the cultural test and is demonstrably intended for release then it should in principle be eligible for Games Tax Relief."
The associations's 2011 research found that 22 per cent of UK developers had experienced a cancellation by a publisher before a game was completed. It suggests that pre-production work and prototypes should qualify for Games Tax Relief.
"Games Tax Relief is designed partly to promote the creation of new content," added Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley.
"By enabling developers to claim Relief on cancelled projects, the viability of studios will be enhanced. Studios will have more confidence to develop and pitch new IP to external publishers, or experiment with more direct to consumer business models. TIGA will be contacting Government officials to emphasise these issues and to seek clarity of guidance on these points."
Draft legislation for the Games Tax Relief was published in December, and revealed support for post-release development like DLC, a cultural test to judge games' eligibility for the scheme and that there would be no minimum budget.