As the video game industry has grown exponentially over the last few decades, so too has its hype machine. Developers frequently tease games years in advance of their actual release, building up fan momentum before there’s even a game to play. This can backfire when it results in a dissonance between player expectations and the final result, but never more obviously than when the game never comes out at all. Software that’s gone MIA — aka“vaporware” — has been a perennial feature of the protracted development process necessary for games.
Many of the longest-standing vaporware bugbears such as Duke Nukem Forever and The Last Guardian did eventually see the light of day — a fact that keeps fans on the lookout for coded Half-Life 3 messages in everything Valve says — but there are plenty of juicy titles in that sweet spot where we’ve assumed that someone has been working on them, but things have been awfully quiet. Here are some of the games we’ve been scratching our heads over.
Gears of War developer Epic Games’ Fortnite was first announced in 2011, picking up Bulletstorm studio People Can Fly in 2014 as a co-developer. It’s a third-person, cooperative survival game where players work together to build and defend a base against nightly waves of zombies. Epic co-founder Tim Sweeney once described it as “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead.” Despite some early buzz, news on the project’s development has grown quiet over the last few years as it’s taken a backseat to Epic’s Overwatch-style first-person MOBA, Paragon. That game’s development has followed the course of free-to-play, with extended early access and the promise of steady post-release support, so we expect Fortnite to follow a similarly protracted release plan when it does come to the public.