Late to the party
Every year's E3 has a few disappointments. Every year's E3 has a few potential guests who, despite being thoroughly welcome to appear, decide not to bother turning up. However exciting the rest of the show's reveals and revelations, things are always overshadowed by those big, long-awaited games we hoped would be there, but for one reason or another just didn't arrive.
And when we say "every year's E3", we of course include 2013. So here's this year's list of most notable absentees. A note on our definition of "no-show" though. It has to be a game that we know officially exists (so no imaginary Gears of War on the Xbox One), and it can't be a game that we already knew wasn't coming (so no Valve or 2K games). That understood, let's get on with it...
7. Yarn Yoshi
Why were we expecting it? Because after the unremitting brilliance of Kirbys Epic Yarn its one of the most exciting parts of Nintendos upcoming Wii U line-up.
Why wasnt it there? It just wasnt ready, basically. Takashi Tezuka, General Manager of Nintendos EAD Software Development Department, admitted during the show that the reptilian follow-up to Kirbys quilted quest just isnt up to being shown off yet. Bit odd, perhaps, that the game wasnt referenced at all during the E3 Nintendo Direct (a few new gameplay clips as a reminder would have been welcome), but considering other entries on this list it seems that Nintendo is stockpiling its announced releases for a staggered launch schedule and more focused attention over the next year.
6. Tekken X Street Fighter
Why were we expecting it? Because it was announced nearly three years ago in July 2010, alongside Capcoms Street Fighter X Tekken, which came out over a year ago.
Why wasnt it there? Probably because it still barely exists. Converting Street Fighters gameplay into Tekken-style 3D was always going to be a tougher task than making Tekken work in 2D, as Capcoms Yoshinori Ono did in Street Fighter X Tekken. And it seems that Tekken boss Katsuhiro Harada is feeling the strain. Nothing has been seen of the game since a render of Ryu at the games announcement, and in April of this year Harada stated that the game was only 10% complete. With a fan survey of potential roster stars going out just a month earlier, it seems that TXSF remains in the early stages. Recently Harada admitted that the game is being considered for a platform shift (presumably because its taken so long to even get to this stage that next-gen is already knocking at the door), so expect more delays as it switches from current-gen to the Xbox One and PS4. The Duke Nukem Forever of fighting games? If we dont see anything at E3 2014, dont be surprised if it goes that way.
5. Doom 4
Why were we expecting it? Because it was announced as being in development at Quakecon 2008. Even with Rage taking up John Carmacks time between then and now, wed expected to see something official this year. Particularly with next-gen consoles meaning Carmacks always tech-hungry vision should be easier to realise across a multi-format release.
Why wasnt it there? The charitable explanation is that iD is saving it for a Quakecon reveal. The less charitable? That the games development has been a mess for years, and still isnt going great after an alleged full project reboot in 2011. Thats the story according to an anonymous source who spoke to Kotaku earlier this year. While we cant vouch for the validity of the story, the talk of a project restart would fit in with iDs reaction to the supposed leaked screenshots that turned up in early 2012. There was no outright denial that the screens had never been related to Doom 4, just a statement that they were nothing to do with Doom 4 now. All eyes on Augusts Quakecon then, and fingers very much crossed.
4. Beyond Good & Evil 2
Why were we expecting it? Because Ubisoft all but said it was going to be there. At the end of May, the publisher posted a picture of Peyj from the original game (but sporting his new next-gen makeover), alongside a status about calling in reinforcements to get ready for E3. Naturally this made it seem that the long-silent sequel was for a re-reveal. Unless of course, Ubisoft was just trolling.
Why wasnt it there? Ubisoft was just trolling. No Beyond Good & Evil 2. Not even any mention of the franchise. It seems that lead developer Michel Ancel is still too busy with the current Rayman games to get BG&E2 ready to show. Ancel should be free fairly soon though. In fact according to Ubisofts original plans, he already should be. Rayman Legends was supposed to be out in February as a Wii U exclusive, but got pushed back to August/September so that Ubi could get the newly announced Xbox 360 and PS3 versions ready. BG&E2 surely has to turn up at E3 2014 when the second wave of next-gen games gets announced, right? Focus, Ancel, focus!
3. New Wii U exclusive Zelda
Why were we expecting it? Because we know that its in production, and the Wii U has been out for six months and is still waiting for a real AAA first-party exclusive.
Why wasnt it there? Presumably so as to not distract from the Wind Waker HD remake that Nintendo has coming in October. Apparently the game is at a stage where it is ready to show, but Nintendo chose not to bring it to E3. Shigeru Miyamoto, speaking after the Nintendo Direct broadcast, said that Ninty didnt want a mega-ton Zelda announcement to distract from the games that were playable at E3, as well as noting that online bulletins like Nintendo Direct offer a good alternative for big announcements. As such, well probably get a big Zelda reveal via the internet some time this year, but no-one outside of Nintendo has any idea when. Damn shame, because with Wind Waker HD and the 3DS Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds both getting E3 showings, there was a killer Triforce-related marketing line just begging to be used.
2. New core-series 3D Mario on Wii U
Why were we expecting it? Because the Wii U is overdue the announcement of a proper, showstopping core-series Mario game. Whether they appear at launch or a little later, theyre always the gleaming centrepiece of a new Nintendo home console. And usually the greatest showcase of why Nintendo remains, for all its faults, one of the cleverest, most imaginative game developers in the world.
Why wasnt it there? Worryingly, perhaps because it doesnt exist. Nintendo announced in January that EAD, its main game development studio, was working on a new 3D Mario game. EAD made Super Mario Galaxy, and the excellent Super Mario 3D Land. The latter was a corker of a handheld Mario game, harking back to the best of the series 2D design while re-focusing it through a lens of sort-of 3D platforming. A perfect fit for the 3DS. But EAD is now making a Wii U sequel, Super Mario 3D World. Super Mario 3D World is technically a 3D Mario game, but is certainly not the Galaxy successor that Nintendo led us to imagine. But right now, it looks like the only one Nintendos core development department is working on, unless it has a secret team working on one hell of a surprise
1. The Last Guardian
Why were we expecting it? Because we always are.
Why wasnt it there? Because it never is. Official word from Sony is that the game still exists but is on hiatus. What form that existence takes though, could be anything between nearly finished, tech demo and What the hell is this game? Weve only managed to render a bird-cat thing in five years and we dont know what to do with it. With much talk of slow progress over the last couple of year, but not much talk of definite gameplay mechanics, its no surprise that the game has hit multiple delays and never even threatened to hit a release deadline. We wouldnt be at all shocked if hiatus in this case means Coming back for a full rethink a while down the line. The technology jump between the PS3 and PS4 is likely to add even more time to development when it eventually restarts, so that in mind, expect to see The Last Guardian resurface a year or two into the PS4s life. And possibly in a very different form than the one youve seen so far.
Anyone missing games missing?
So there's our line-up of the seven most notable absentees from this year's E3. But are there any more important ones you think we missed? Let us know.
And while you're here, check out some of our other E3-related content. 11 things E3 tells us about the future of PS4 and Xbox One would be a good bet, as would E3 2013, adapted as a Hollywood movie.