No one's denying the fact that the Xbox E3 2021 showcase delivered the goods – or rather, the games – last night. Debuting new IPs alongside fresh looks at some of the biggest upcoming games of 2021 (the majority of which will be available from day one with Xbox Game Pass), it was a perfectly paced celebration of our medium, and another glimpse into its future.
That said, the livestream wasn't without its fair share of notable absences, too, as a number of previously revealed games were curiously MIA, with nary a mention of their existence outside of a few vague comments from the show's hosts. There's usually a good reason behind every non-appearance, however, even when it's tinged with the disappointment of not being able to learn more about them. Below, we look at the missing games from the Xbox Bethesda E3 showcase, and try to figure out why they might not have showed up.
The Elder Scrolls 6
Let's start by addressing the mammoth in the room. Even as it gave us a brand new look at Starfield, complete with a release date, The Elder Scrolls 6's absence could nonetheless be felt in the air during Bethesda's portion of the Xbox E3 briefer. Senior vice president of global marketing Pete Hines did tacitly acknowledge the fantasy RPG's existence, promising that "the games you've been expecting and hoping for are still in the works", but that was about it.
The truth is that we won't be playing The Elder Scrolls 6 for a while yet; it's due to release after Starfield, and that game isn't launching till the end of next year. With that in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see The Elder Scrolls 6 at E3 2022, either, let alone 2021. Hard to hear, I know, but that's just the reality of Bethesda's development timeline.
Announced as a PC and Xbox Series X/S exclusive last year, Playground Games' first title beyond the world of Forza Horizon was also a no-show during the Xbox conference, even as the studio cast a large presence on stage for the reveal of Forza Horizon 5.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer mentioned the game in passing right at the end of the show, if only to confirm that it's still in development, but we're unlikely to hear anything more about Fable anytime soon. Perhaps once Forza Horizon 5 is released later this year, Playground can throw its full weight into bringing this next-generation RPG to our Xbox platforms as soon as humanly possible.
Perfect Dark is the first game from brand new Xbox studio The Initiative and, other than the cinematic reveal trailer from last year's Game Awards, all we know is that this reboot is "a secret agent thriller set in a near-future world".
Again, this is a title that's likely still in the early stages of development, so to see anything else at this year's E3 was always going to be rather unlikely. The upcoming first-person shooter will get its time in the spotlight at some point down the line, but let's be honest; Xbox has more than enough games to keep us happy until it does.
Obsidian certainly showed up at the Microsoft E3 presser, but with a different first-person role-playing game that the acclaimed studio's fans might have been expecting. The Outer Worlds 2 was made official last night, debuting alongside an update on survival game Grounded's future roadmap, but that meant we didn't get to see any more of Avowed, the fantasy adventure set in Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity universe.
In a follow-up blog post on Xbox Wire, studio head Feargus Urquhart promised that the team was still hard at work developing Avowed, and that it would have something more to show from the game "soon". Make of that what you will.
In a similar fashion to Obsidian, Rare had some big news to unveil for E3, but it wasn't related to the game that had been announced during Microsoft's next-gen campaign in 2019. Instead of a better look at Everwild, we discovered that a Pirates of the Caribbean expansion is coming to Sea of Thieves.
As for the former, Rare's latest multiplayer experiment is very much still in the works, but recent insider reports suggest the game was rebooted when its original creative director left the studio, and won't be arriving on our Xbox console until at least 2023. Don't expect to see more Everwild in the near future, in other words.
Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga
We have good news and bad news. Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga, the very first game that Microsoft used to show off the power of Xbox Series X, was nowhere to be seen during its E3 event. The good news? There's a strong chance that it'll show up at the Extended Xbox Games Showcase this Thursday, June 17, where developer Ninja Theory is confirmed to be in attendance.
That could just mean an interview with the studio, but there's every likelihood we'll get another glimpse at its narrative-focused action sequel, even if that glimpse isn't quite snazzy to have featured as a slot at the main event.
In addition to Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga, Ninja Theory is also working on Project Mara, an experimental title that aims to present "real-world and grounded representation of mental terror."
The project was announced at the start of last year, but Microsoft's E3 briefing came and went without a reference to Project Mara. Perhaps a platform like E3 isn't the place to show off an experience like this one, but here's hoping we learn more about Project Mara sooner rather than later.
MachineGames' orginal Indiana Jones game was only announced this year, and it sounds like the project is still only in the early stages of pre-production. Any kind of whisper of the game at E3 2021 was always going to be a long shot, then, but it's a shame to not hear any news from the beloved Wolfenstein studio nonetheless.
Could another title in that first-person shooter series also be in the works somewhere around the Bethesda family of developers? If there is, Microsoft's E3 presser certainly gave no indication of it.
Phil Spencer confirmed that Turn10 was still "hard at work" at the next iteration of Forza Motorsport, but - other than a very brief snippet of previously shown gameplay – we got no new information about the upcoming title, which is being pitched as a spiritual reboot of sorts for the longrunning racing simulation series.
Forza Motorsports' absence can perhaps be explained by the reveal of Forza Horizon 5, as Microsoft likely didn't want the two games competing for attention, or causing confusion. Either way, it's almost been four years since Forza Motorsport 7 launched on Xbox One, so here's hoping we see more from its successor before the end of the year.
State of Decay 3
Undead Labs' third entry in its hugely popular zombie survival series has remained radio silent since its reveal in the Summer of 2020, and that's remained the case for this year's E3, it seems.
We're not hugely surprised, in all honesty; State of Decay 2 only launched in 2018, and the studio has only just finished up its post-release support for that game, so it's not hard to imagine that State of Decay 3 needs a little more development time yet, before a full reveal inevitably arrives in the future.