When describing E3 to non-gamers, I often draw comparisons to a four-day banquet. We approach the event hungry for information and we devour every morsel of gaming goodness the industry can throw at us. Now that E3 2012 is over, we have time to recollect and digest this proverbial feast. It’s easy to recall the huge spectacle of a Big Three press conference. The insanely gorgeous reveal trailers for Beyond: Two Souls or Watch Dogs are hard to forget. But what about the games we didn’t see? The anticipation surrounding E3 each year is always centered on the speculation over which titles will be showcased. At times, developers allow us to gorge ourselves on demos, trailers, and interviews for their titles. Other times, our plates are left empty. These are the games that left us hungry this year.
The Last Guardian
Originally revealed at E3 2009, the most recent project from Fumito Ueda’s Team Ico has now been in development for over six years. After being given a late 2011 release window, it has since suffered a number of setbacks including the departure of Ueda. When asked about The Last Guardian’s absence from E3 2012, Sony president Shuhei Yoshida stated that the game was experiencing some “technical difficulties” and that the developer could not produce a viable demo in time.
The Last Guardian is expected to display stylistic, thematic, and gameplay elements similar to other popular titles from Ueda such as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. The story revolves around the friendship between a young boy and Trico – a large feathered creature that resembles a griffon. Together, they solve puzzles and overcome obstacles in order to escape a mysterious castle.
Perhaps they can work together to save The Last Guardian from the depths of development hell. Many of us are watching anxiously, hoping that they can.
Rainbow Six Patriots
After enticing us with some late 2011 “gameplay target” footage, Ubisoft Montreal has been stingy with any further information about the next installment in the Rainbow Six series. The game is to be centered around an American populist organization known as the “True Patriots” and their terrorist plot in New York City. We were all hoping E3 2012 would be the appropriate forum to unveil more head-capping, room-breaching goodness. Unfortunately, the game was nowhere to be found.
There is little doubt that Rainbow Six Patriots will see the light of day. The real question is when that day will come. Originally slated for a 2013 release, its absence from E3 2012 has cause some to speculate that the game has moved into development for next-gen consoles. According to Ubisoft Marketing VP Tony Key, that is not the case. Concerning its absence from the show floor, he stated, “Rainbow 6 is still in active development but what we decided was that the best thing for the brand was to not bring it to the show right now.”
But if I don’t get my hands on Rainbow Six Patriots soon, the terrorists win. No one wants that, Ubisoft.
Grand Theft Auto 5
We found out shortly before the start of E3 that Rockstar would not be in attendance. This came as little surprise, as they have not had a significant presence at E3 in several years. However, rumors did circulate that the looming launch window may provide enough motivation for GTA5 to make an appearance at Sony or Microsoft’s press conference.
While the game never made it to the big stage at E3 2012, further rumors have popped up indicating that Rockstar and parent company Take Two held private demos behind closed doors. Adding some credence to these reports is a recent Tweet by Tekken developer Katsuhiro Harada thanking, among others, “Rockstar Games GTA”. A photo has also surfaced showing a room, supposedly at E3, with Rockstar and Take Two logos displayed on the wall. Aside from GTA5, what do they have to show off?
Gossip and speculation aside, GTA5 will take the gaming world by storm whenever it is released. You can count on that. Just like you can count on an evening with a prostitute to replenish your health. That’s how it works in the real world, right?
Titled Codename Kingdoms when it was first announced during Microsoft’s press conference at E3 2010, this game was (thankfully) given a new moniker and another showing the following year. Since that time, we’ve heard absolutely nothing about this Kinect-based hack-and-slash. A possible shift in development from a layoff-plagued Crytek Budapest to Crytek Frankfurt may be the cause of the delay. When asked about the status of the game, Microsoft’s VP Phil Spencer responded, “We’re just not at a point right now to show the game.” He continued, “We’re still working with Crytek. We’re still extremely committed to the relationship, but we want to make sure that we’re putting our best foot forward every time we show the game. You’ll see more about that game, no doubt.”
Another possible cause for delay may be a reduction in the role Kinect plays in the game. When asked if Ryse was still “a Kinect game” as before, Spencer replied, “Kinect will be part of the game, absolutely.” At E3 2012, Microsoft was very focused on making games “better with Kinect”, rather than completely reliant on the peripheral, so that may be the route this game is taking. Either way, we can all agree Ryse would be better with a release date.
Taking a significant departure from its predecessor, Prey 2 garnered a good deal of interest when it was unveiled early last year. Developed by Human Head Studios as an open-world, bounty-hunting shooter that takes place on an alien planet, the game included a number of new elements such as RPG-style character development and parkour-inspired movement. With such drastic changes, we were intrigued to see how this game would evolve. Unfortunately, a year later, we’ve seen no progress at all.
Back in April, we found out that the game had been hit by significant delays. The game’s publisher, Bethesda Softworks, announced that while Prey 2 was still in development, it would not be making its planned 2012 debut. According to Bethesda, “The game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year and the game does not currently meet our quality standards.”
After some recent critically-abused releases, such as Brink and Hunted: Demon’s Forge, we can applaud Bethesda’s demand for higher quality standards. Let’s just hope that Prey 2 can meet these standards and make a big splash at next year’s E3. We’ve got our fingers crossed.
After their successful reboot of the Deus Ex series, Eidos Montreal confirmed that they were taking on the task of breathing life back into the Thief franchise. Since then, we’ve seen a leaked (and blurry) screenshot, a series of storyboard images, and a nifty new logo. Little else has been revealed about the game, so a surprise E3 reveal seemed possible. Fans definitely thought so, as Thief 4 made its way onto a number of “Most Anticipated” lists. In its absence, it ends up on lists like this one.
In a recent interview with OXM, Eidos Montreal general manager Stephane D’Astous confirmed that the game was still in development and that it would include “more than just stealth”. Hopefully they don’t stray too far from the game’s formula. After seeing Sam Fisher act out his best Rambo impersonation at this year’s E3, Thief 4 could be the new standard in stealth gaming.
Touted as Playstation’s new Rockstar exclusive after GTA went multi-platform, Agent was announced at E3 2009. The espionage action thriller set during the Cold War sounded absolutely amazing. However, in the three years since, we’ve heard nothing about it. As a result, rumors have surfaced suggesting that the project has been cancelled or that there have been issues with the exclusivity deal. Just hours before Sony’s press conference at E3 2012, Agent was listed on the website of well-known UK retailer Play.com. Naturally, this set the rumor mills into overdrive. This only exacerbated fan’s frustrations when the game was completely nowhere to be found.
When asked if Rockstar’s Agent was still in development and a PS3-exclusive, SCEA president Jack Tretton responded, “You couldn’t have said it better when you said Agent from Rockstar. I work for Sony Computer Entertainment. The minute I start working for Rockstar, I’ll have some definitive information for you on Agent, but I’d suggest you interview one of those guys. That’s what I’ve said for the last five years, and I’ll continue to do that.”
Well, that answers all of our questions about your highly-anticipated, platform-exclusive game. Thanks?
Anticipating the unveiling of Half-Life 3 has become somewhat of an annual ritual prior to E3. The last entry in the series, 2007’s Half-Life 2: Episode 2, left off on season finale-style cliffhanger. Unfortunately, we’ve been left hanging ever since. In the same way that we long for an announcement each year, Valve’s CEO, Gabe Newell dashes our hopes with his annual ritual of Half-Life denial.
Half-Life revolutionized first-person shooters and remains one of the most engrossing experiences in gaming. It’s been five years since we’ve seen anything from the series and it’s hard to believe that Valve will let one of gaming’s most beloved franchises sit idle for much longer. At least we hope not. I miss you Gordon Freeman.