Yes, there was a lot of stuff at E3 this year, and yes, it was one of the most important shows in years. And sure, we saw two new impressive consoles and several new games revealed for the first time, and there was also stuff like the Oculus Rift that stole the show. And yes, OK, there were plenty of big titles we’ve known about that we got a closer look to, and we had the chance to speak to some of the most influential people in the gaming industry, but what about the Last Guardian, dammit! Where was Fable IV?!?
Perhaps we are walking in the shadow of Veruca Salt, but there were a few games we had hoped to see at E3 this year but didn’t. Some may have been held back as part of a long term strategy, while others may have skipped the show for more ominous reasons. Others were just games we had speculated based on guesswork would be there, but they proved us wrong.
Whatever the reason for their absence, here are 10 games we had hoped to see at E3, but didn’t.
Beyond Good and Evil 2
When it comes to game development, you don’t want to rush things. After all, it’s only been nine years since the release of the first Beyond Good and Evil – 10 this November. In geologic terms that’s, like, nothing. To a normal human though, a decade is a fairly sizable chunk of time.
For years, Ubisoft has been promising a follow up to Beyond Good and Evil, and for years we’ve been waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And it isn’t like the sequel rumors are only fan-driven – the game’s creator Michael Ancel continues to toy with the hearts and minds of fans, offering update after update. According to Ancel the game has been in development – legitimate development, with people actually working on the game – since 2006.
That said, with the next gen of consoles drawing the attention of the gaming industry and media in general, why not make this show the launching pad for the new game? Chuck a trailer out there with a vague release date and watch people go berserk. It worked for the Mirror’s Edge prequel. But no, sadly we got nothing about this game. The wait continues.
There wasn’t any specific reason to assume that there would be a new Fable unveiled, other than it would have made sense. At the Xbox One reveal in May, Microsoft claiming that it had 15 exclusives in the works, including eight original titles. That left seven returning franchises to be guessed at. We knew a few like Forza 5, but that left several to guess at leading up to E3.
Of all of Microsoft’s exclusives, the Fable property seemed like an obvious choice. It has been nearly three years since the previous Fable game (not counting the Kinect-only Fable: The Journey), and there have been rumors of a new Fable MMO for over a year now, so the timing would fit. Lionhead also began tickling the fancies of its fans, promising a big announcement leading up to E3.
Turns out the announcement was for an HD re-release of the original Fable, and it’s not even for the Xbox One. Maybe next E3.
War never ends, and judging by what Bethesda has already said, neither will the Fallout franchise. We know there are more Fallout titles on the way. We may even know where the next game is going to be set: Boston and surrounding areas. What we don’t know is when to expect it.
After releasing Fallout 3 in 2008, Bethesda followed it up with New Vegas just two years later. Bethesda had a fairly strong showing at E3, but a peek at Fallout 4 would have been a nice surprise. Sure Bethesda Game Studios just completed work on the impressive Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and all its DLC, and sure its developers are probably enjoying a well deserved rest after back-to-back projects that pushed the current gen beyond where most thought it could go, but see above about Veruca Salt, re: wanting it all now.
It’ll happen eventually, and probably sooner rather than later.
Another property in the THQ fire sale sweepstakes, Homefront left a lot of unfulfilled potential. The original had a smart and dark story written by John Milius, the director and writer of several 80s classics like Red Dawn and Conan: The Barbarian, the inspiration for Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, and a genuinely weird guy. The gameplay was solid (although unremarkable) too, but there were some major issues in the game. It was ridiculously short and skipped a huge chunk of the story, plus there were technical issues. But it had promise. When Crytek bought the rights for a mere $500K, it was a steal. It also guaranteed that the franchise would get a second chance to get it right.
Crytek continues to steadily improve its own stature around the world. It is more than just the maker of Crysis now, it is the developer behind the game Ryse: Son of Rome, the team that put together what promises to be one of the most popular free-to-play games in the world with Warface, and now the owner of Homefront 2.
Homefront 2 may not be ready to show off to the public, but it could have made this E3 into the biggest yet for Crytek. Maybe next year.
The Last Guardian
See that image for The Last Guardian above? Yeah, that was released in 2009. So it really wasn’t a surprise to not see, or hear, or even catch more than a few downward glances from Sony execs when people mentioned The Last Guardian, but it does confirm some serious fears about Team Ico’s long gestating project. The game has been in development since 2007, but for every step forward the game takes, it seems to take two back.
Team Ico makes art that pretends to be video games, and you can’t rush art. But showing off the game, even just confirming it was still in the works, would have helped to alleviate some fears. Instead, we are left wondering once again, after yet another E3, where is The Last Guardian? Hopefully we won’t be asking the same question next year.
The Legend of Zelda on Wii U
Nintendo had a weird E3 showing. After imprisoning journalists and convincing them that the four fingers it was holding up were actually just three, Nintendo then launched into a press conference that it swore wasn’t a press conference – which is good, because if it was a press conference, it was a really, really, really bad one. The big reveal from the event was that Wii Fit Trainer was now a playable character in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. The general reaction could best be summed up with this quote: “…”
The thing is, Nintendo had an easy way out of it, and possibly out of the hole it has so expertly dug for itself with the Wii U’s poor launch: it just needs games. With more and more third-party developers abandoning the Wii U, Nintendo needs to turn inwards, something it has always done anyway.
Look, we know that Nintendo is working on every famous Nintendo exclusive franchise. Some may be near completion, others may be years out, but we know they are coming. So why not give us a teaser? Microsoft showed a generic CGI trailer for the new Halo – it didn’t even confirm the name Halo 5 – but people went nuts. We know there is a Zelda project for the Wii U on the way. What better time to unveil it and several other Nintendo exclusives while the industry and fans look on? It may not make up for the hot rod like power compared to the Wii U’s “sensible car” approach to hardware design, but it would have staved off plenty of fears.
See the comments about The Legend of Zelda. Donkey Kong is neat and all, but it is no Metroid. Nintendo desperately needs games, and since its first party properties are some of the most beloved in the history of gaming, it has a shot at competing with more powerful hardware. Nintendo just needs to excite its fanbase! Instead, it’s like Nintendo’s strategy for the Wii U is modeled on the “drunk uncle” strategy, as it wobbles around and tries to remind us of the good old days without actually doing anything new.
It’s surprising we didn’t see more from Nintendo. The argument that it is holding its stuff for more fan based events and just didn’t care about the pomp and circumstance of E3 may make sense (except that it totally doesn’t). Plus, Nintendo has already confirmed that it will have a big presence at Gamescom in August. So maybe then we’ll see Nintendo finally act like it cares, at least a little.
There are a lot of rumors about Prey 2, and none of them are particularly good. After a strong debut and a good showing at E3 2011, Prey 2 was on everybody’s radar – right up until it wasn’t. Now, no one is entirely sure of what the state of the game is.
Bethesda may have taken the team from Human Head Studios out back and lined them up against the wall. Arkane, the team behind Dishonored, is said to be taking the lead now, and undoing most of the work Human Head did. Assuming the game isn’t completely dead, it is likely that Prey 2 is years from release. It’s not surprising that the game wasn’t shown at E3, but it would have been nice to reassure fans that it was still on the way.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots
Of all the games on this list, this is the one we are most surprised wasn’t shown at E3. Following the success of the Rainbow 6 Vegas duology it was obvious that the franchise would return. And then Ubisoft went ahead and unveiled the whole thing in 2011 in a feature article for Game Informer. It was very exciting.
There were some rumors that the game was being held for next-gen, but the next gen is here and still no Rainbow 6: Patriots. We got a completely new Tom Clancy game in The Division, so at least old Tommy is taken care of, but nothing about a game that was officially unveiled two years ago.
Rainbow 6: Patriots is scheduled for 2014, so unless that changes we should see something soon. Maybe Ubisoft is holding it for a big Gamecom reveal, or maybe Rainbow 6 is sneaking up on gamers… in fact it may be closer than you think… Oh, God! Rainbow 6 is calling from INSIDE THE HOUSE!
This was a bit of a longshot, but it would have made sense. The Uncharted franchise helped to define the PS3 and they helped to sell more than a few consoles on their own – or at the very least gave PS3 owners something to brag about while their 360 rivals enjoyed a robust online experience and a dominant presence in the U.S. Yeah, it wasn’t the best comeback, but it was a good one.
Naughty Dog has been busy working on the excellent The Last of Us, but the team is big enough to handle multiple projects. It will be a while before Uncharted 4 is released, but an announcement along with the E3 unveiling of new games would have been fitting, and would have been one more giant kidney punch from Sony to Microsoft via its press conference.
Uncharted 4 is said to be preparing for an unveiling at the Spike TV Awards in December, which would be in fitting with the recent tradition of the series, and give people at least one reason to watch that show. On top of that, Naughty Dog certainly wouldn’t have wanted to steal attention away from The Last of Us (which you should either be playing right now, or at least bragging to your 360 frenemies about). Still, it would have been a nice surprise for fans.