E3 09: Where are the missing games?

Such as...

We were sure. We were so sure. We’ve had artwork. We’ve had teasing conversations with Valve themselves. It’s been nearly two years since Episode 2, so even by Valve’s leisurely standards we must be due a big reveal. But no. Not a bean. We cry.

Our explanation: Valve essentially operates outside of the standard industry model. With Steam, it's free to self-publish for PC on its own terms with presumably reduced overheads. It needs answer to no-one, except its devoted fanbase, and none of them want it to rush a thing. Plus Steam is as efficient a hype delivery system as any, so it could be argued that the House o’ Gabe doesn’t really need E3 anyway.

Possible reveal: Before the end of this year, via a big trailer released directly onto Steam. Valve looks after its fans, so while Microsoft got Left 4 Dead 2 this year, the next big Gordon Freeman announcement is likely to go to the community first.

It was Capcom’s worst-kept secret in years. Then it was its most unsurprising announcement. We got a brilliant trailer, and E3 was surely the time to show us more. But then…

Our explanation: Dead pigs. Capcom Japan got antsy about international travel following the swine flu panic and the zombies stayed in the east.

Possible reveal: Although Europe’s summer games shows are traditionally a case of “Previously on E3…”, the Tokyo Game Show (traditionally September or October) is surely too far away to be the site of the big reveal. Our money is on another, more in-depth trailer over the next month or so, then a proper showing at the new Cologne GamesCom event in late August. Provided the pig mortality rate is down by then.

The possibilities were many. With the 360 as full of Banjo as can be right now, we were expecting a new IP, or at the very least that much rumoured Perfect Dark XBLA remake. And maybe Killer Instinct 3 if the gods were smiling upon us.

Our explanation: Natal. Microsoft’s Shane Kim has come out and revealed that Rare is busily beavering away on applications for the 360’s new motion capture controller. Though perhaps worryingly, he also stated that “Rare is alive and well and really having a broader impact on the entire Xbox world than just doing the games they traditionally have in the past”.

Does that mean that Twycross’ finest are now relegated solely to the world of avatars, interfaces and casual applications? We certainly hope not.

Possible reveal: Given the tone of Kim’s words, Rare’s next project could be anything from a casual Natal game to a new Xbox Live feature. As such, we’re not expecting a big games show reveal. Something will probably just slip onto the ‘net as Natal and the next stage of Live upgrades come to fruition.

How long must we wait? How long, Ancel? After all these years of dedicated sequel requests, a reveal teaser at last year’s Ubidays and a supposed E3 video leak last month, we get nothing at the actual event itself.

Our explanation: We very much doubt that the Youtube footage was a homemade fake, but it did have a slight tang of pre-rendered target footage about it. So maybe the game just isn’t as ready to show as our fanboy excitement temps us to believe.

Possible reveal: Ubisoft always had a big presence at the now-defunct Leipzig Games Convention, so we’ll be holding out for something in Cologne. Again. If not, we’re going to stop trying to guess. At least for a couple of minutes.

It’s scheduled for the 2009 fiscal year. It’s still PS3 exclusive. Sony needed a bumper line-up this year. Surely we had to see more of Rockstar and Team Bondi’s deliciously atmospheric vision of ‘40s crime drama? Well no, as it happens.

Possible reason: Aside from the initial CG trailer, we’ve heard exactly bugger all about LA Noire aside from its delay two years ago. Not a promising sign at all. In fact we won’t be surprised if a canning is announced some time this year.

Possible reveal: Given the mention of Agent, a different Rockstar IP, at Sony’s E3 09 conference, we’re tempted to suspect never.

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.