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Some eagerly awaited upcoming games were absent from E3 2017

no show games e3 2017 the last of us 2
Image used with permission by copyright holder
E3 2017 featured plenty of new game announcements from major publishers like Nintendo and Bethesda, and it also had quite a few extended gameplay demonstrations of titles like Super Mario Odyssey, Days Gone, and Assassin’s Creed Origins. But as we stop to think about the best games of the show, a few more titles come to mind — the games that skipped E3 entirely. While we knew we wouldn’t see some of the games on our list going into the event, others were surprisingly absent. These are our top “no-show” games from E3 this year.

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 Unreal Engine 4 Tech Demo - GDC 2017

Gearbox Software has a lot on its plate at the moment. The studio is currently transitioning to a pseudo-free model for its multiplayer shooter Battleborn, and has entered the publishing business with games like Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, but we truly expected to hear news on Borderlands 3 this year.

It has been nearly five years since the launch of the smash-hit Borderlands 2, and CEO Randy Pitchford hinted at the future of the franchise with a technical demo at GDC a few months back. The technology is undeniably impressive, allowing the team to render characters and environments in exquisite detail without compromising the series’ signature art style. Gearbox could have used the unveiling of the Xbox One X as an opportunity to pull back the curtain on the next game. Still, we expect a formal game announcement to arrive sooner rather than later at this point.

Death Stranding

Death Stranding - Teaser Trailer - TGA 2016 - 4K

The reborn Kojima Productions’ first project, Death Stranding, was announced last year at Sony’s E3 press conference, and we were immediately blown away by its downright bizarre imagery, as well as the appearance of Norman Reedus, who previously worked on the canceled horror game Silent Hills.

At The Game Awards in December, Mads Mikkelson was revealed as the game’s villain, and in classic Kojima fashion, we were left with far more questions than answers. Death Stranding was already a known absentee from E3 this year, as Kojima said his team was “fully focused” on development. Given the delays associated with some of his games in the past, that’s probably for the best. During an interview, PlayStation 4 architect Mark Cerny revealed that he has seem some early work on Death Stranding and that it is, “in the best sense possible, a Kojima game.”

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch

Wii U - Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 50-Fact Extravaganza

Nintendo hasn’t even really hinted that a Super Smash Bros. game is in the works for the Switch, but it seems like a given. The Wii U version’s excellent fighting mechanics and deep roster of characters made it a perfect amalgamation of Brawl and Melee, but it was on a console that very few people owned.

With the Switch, Nintendo has the chance to get Smash Bros. back into the hands of a larger audience, complete with local, on-the-go multiplayer that would absolutely trounce the 3DS version. If Nintendo wanted to simply port the Wii U game, the company likely would have announced those plans already. If Masahiro Sakurai and his team need more time to make the next full entry as inventive and polished as fans are hoping for, we’re more than willing to wait another year or two for a reveal.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Given Rockstar’s general aversion to E3 press conferences, there was a pretty good chance going in that we weren’t going to see anything new on Read Dead Redemption 2, but we were still disappointed that we didn’t learn anything more about the game.

Now scheduled to launch in 2018 after being pushed from its original fall release date, we know very little about Rockstar’s Western follow-up. Its characters, location, and story remain a mystery, as do any details on its gameplay. The first Red Dead Redemption came out more than seven years ago, and a lot has changed in the design of open-world games since then. We want to see what changes have been made to the original world that justify the game’s existence — after all, the previous game ended on a satisfying note, and protagonist John Marston’s tale doesn’t need to be examined any more closely.

Fire Emblem for Nintendo Switch

Fire Emblem Direct 2.18.2017

A few months back, Nintendo revealed four Fire Emblem games to the public in a special video presentation. Two of these — Fire Emblem Heroes and Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia — have already been released, while the action-adventure spinoff Fire Emblem Warriors will hit the Switch this autumn.

We know next to nothing about the last game, a traditional strategy role-playing game in development for the Switch, and the title was completely passed over during Nintendo’s Spotlight presentation this year. Any information, even just on the game’s basic premise or its visual style, could satisfy fans looking for a Fire Emblem game that goes beyond the power of the aging 3DS. We’re just hoping that when it is announced, it returns to the more sophisticated narrative of the Radiant series, as Awakening and Fates‘ tales appeared to be a little watered down.

The Last of Us: Part II

Sony had plenty of gameplay demonstrations at its press conference this year, with God of War and Insomniac’s Spider-Man looking absolutely gorgeous, but Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us: Part II wasn’t even mentioned during the event. Creative director Neil Druckmann said that this was so the stand-alone expansion Uncharted: The Lost Legacy could receive the spotlight, but that game’s only presence during the conference was a short, story-heavy trailer. The Last of Us: Part II was announced more than six months ago, and we still haven’t seen it in action.

What gameplay changes can we expect? Will Clickers still play a key role, and how has Ellie’s relationship with Joel changed over the last few years? Unless Sony is planning to show off the game at a separate event later this year, we could end up waiting until the next E3 to hear more about The Last of Us: Part II. We really, really don’t want that to happen, and though a new Uncharted adventure is always welcome, it doesn’t scratch the same itch as Druckmann’s emotional and disturbing creation.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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