E3 might be officially canceled for 2022, but we’re still headed into a storm of big showcases this summer. New announcements abound—but what about the stuff unveiled last year? It’s easy to forget what was announced a whole 360-some days ago, but there are a handful of no-shows that stand out when we take a look back.
Here are ten games that have been keeping a low profile since E3 2021. Whether they were just announced too early, have hit development troubles or have been axed in the intervening months, here’s why they’re a big deal and our best guess at whether we’ll be seeing them again this summer.
Check out our "E3" 2022 schedule guide if you're curious when these games might reemerge.
Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora
Developer: Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft Düsseldorf, Ubisoft Shanghai
Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series, Stadia, Luna
Unless there’s some unforeseen disaster in post-production, James Cameron’s long-awaited sci-fi sequel should be hitting theatres this December—a release likely flanked by Ubisoft’s tie-in game. The early trailer looks and sounds the part, although it also seems to contain nothing resembling real gameplay. As is Ubisoft standard, development is split between three massive studios, including Massive Entertainment, the Swedish crew primarily responsible for The Division series. They’ve a respectable track record, so I’m quietly hopeful. Giant smurfs riding alien dinosaurs battling space marines and mechs is a formula just begging for a good game, after all.
Odds of returning: Do Na’vi shit in the woods? Ubisoft have never been one to shy away from showcasing mega-budget projects, though it is possible they might be saving the publicity blitz for closer to launch.
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks (now under Microsoft’s banner)
Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X/S
Redfall’s debut trailer made a strong impression last year. It was purely pre-rendered hype reel stuff, sure, but it gave us a little peek into this co-op vampire-slaying shooter’s world. The characters were immediately memorable, the banter was charming, and some of the special powers on show seemed pretty interesting as well. As far as I’m concerned, Arkane can do no wrong, so I’m all on board for this immersive sim powerhouse to try their hand at a co-op multiplayer game. We’ve not seen anything new about it in the past year beyond confirmation that it slipped to 2023 and a leak suggesting it might be a little more Borderlands-esque than Left 4 Dead. Still, I’m hopeful we’ll see a little more of it this year.
Odds of returning: Sure as an Arkane game being critically praised but undersold. It won’t be launching this year, but it seems a no-brainer for a Microsoft showcase to drum up some hype, especially as it’ll be on Game Pass day one.
Developer: Slow Bros.
Publisher: Slow Bros.
One of the most striking indie productions showcased last year. Harold Halibut is a point-and-click adventure set in a sunken colony spacecraft, and over 10 years in the works. Who needs raytracing when you’ve got a stop-motion world that wouldn’t look out of place in an Aardman film production? There’s barely been a peep from the developers, outside of a brief appearance during the Slamdance film festival. Still, art of this caliber can’t be rushed. If they’ve taken 10 (now 11) years already, what’s a few months more?
Odds of returning: Fifty/fishy. It would be great to see more, but I’d not be surprised if this project stuck to silent running for a while longer, assuming production isn’t floundering.
The Outer Worlds 2
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Platform: PC & Xbox at the very least
Not to be confused with that other game about weird space exploration, The Outer Worlds 2 was nice to hear announced last E3, but they didn’t have much beyond the announcement and a short (and sassy) CG trailer. Beyond the initial reveal (promising a ‘New Star System, New Crew, Same Outer Worlds’) Obsidian has kept this one quiet, not even letting the slightest detail slip on social media. It’s anyone’s guess how this’ll turn out, but we can be relatively sure it won’t be coming to PS5.
Odds of returning: Always bet on Spacer’s Choice! While it seems unlikely that the game will be launching in 2022, a little bit of early gameplay footage feels like a safe bet during one of Microsoft’s showcases this summer.
Metal Slug Tactics
Developer: Leikir Studio
Platforms: PC, Switch
A bit of a niche to turn an arcade classic into a turn-based tactics game (though not unprecedented), but I cannot deny my deep and abiding excitement for this one. The Metal Slug series has claimed far too much of my spare change at various arcades over the years for me to turn away. Plus, it helps that the trailer showcased some fantastic sprite art that really captures the spirit of the run-and-gun shooters, replicating that bouncy SNK arcade style in a new isometric perspective. Still, there’s been scarcely a peep said about this one, beyond confirmation that it’s coming to Switch too, hopefully in 2022.
Odds of returning: We’re breaking out the rocket lawnchair to wait for this one. So long as it’s still shooting for a 2022 release, it seems a very solid bet that we’ll see new gameplay footage. Still, it’s going up against the remake of R-Type Tactics now, so here’s hoping Leikir are on their A-game.
Wizard With A Gun
Developer: Galvanic Games
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PC & Switch
Still a brilliant name, and a snazzy trailer, but very little else has been revealed in the past year. All we know is that it’s an isometric survival action-RPG about gunslinging mages. More than a little similar to Don’t Starve in its aesthetic, but significantly more action-packed. Who needs Melf’s Acid Arrow when you’ve got plenty of highly corrosive hot lead to spread around? Despite the radio silence, this one is still supposedly on track for a 2022 release, and given Devolver’s love of surprise announcements, anything could happen.
Odds of returning: The Orb of Pondering says ‘Likely’. If there’s any game I can see unceremoniously launching right in the middle of the NotE3 festivities, it’s this one.
Developer: Sad Cat Studio
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X
Replaced made a very strong showing when it debuted last E3. Gorgeously lit and animated 2D sprites against grungy 3D backdrops, with a shaky, tilt-prone camera accompanying some chunky platform action. Shades of classic rotoscoped platformers like Fade To Black and Flashback abound, although set in a very '80s-tinged grungy cyberpunk world. The good news is that there have been Twitter updates saying that Replaced is still coming, and will launch on Game Pass. Less good is that it’s delayed until 2023, as the studio is based across both Belarus and Ukraine. Needless to say, they’re firmly against the war.
Odds of returning: Chances seem as grim as the game’s setting. Here’s hoping that everyone involved can relocate to safety. Much as I want this game, the wellbeing of the creators always comes first.
Vokabulantis: A Stop-Motion Love Story
Developer: Kong Orange
The other stylish stop-motion indie puzzle adventure featured at E3 2021! Pretty wild that there were two of them, but both look pretty great. This one is more of an action-puzzler designed for co-op, but playable solo. However, much like Harold Halibut, there’s been almost nothing said or shown of the game since its Kickstarter success and initial E3 showing. The closest we’ve had to activity is a Kickstarter update in January, announcing that the team was hiring for a senior programmer, a junior programmer and a senior game designer, which suggests that development is going to take a good while yet.
Odds of returning: This one wins the ‘most likely to be absent’ award of the day. With stop-motion animation being a painfully slow process, and the development team being understaffed, I’d be surprised if we see much of this before 2023, although I hope to be wrong.
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platforms: PC, Xbox
A positively mysterious showing from E3, somehow telling us even less than Obsidian did with The Outer Worlds 2. We know that it’s a co-op open-world game set in a fictional country. We know that it’s developed by Just Cause studio Avalanche. The trailer suggests that vehicles are going to be involved, and there’ll be heists involving valuable goods. Beyond that? Not a sausage. Not a snippet of gameplay. Just vibes. Cool, classy vibes, but that’s not much to go on. Hopefully we’ll get to see a bit more of Contraband this summer.
Odds of returning: Can we even say it was here last time? I’d give it about even odds on it making another showing this summer. Maybe we might even get a snippet or two of gameplay.
Special mention: Atomic Heart
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PS4 & PS5
While most of the above games have been largely radio-silent, there’s still pretty solid odds of them turning up this Summer, even if E3 has left a bit of a void. The much-delayed Atomic Heart, however, does seem to be alive and kicking, and with a new trailer released just a few months ago. It’s looking more like a post-soviet Bioshock with each appearance, and that’s no bad thing. But the invasion of Ukraine is probably impacting Russian studio Mundfish, regardless of where they personally stand on the war.
Odds of returning: Mundfish might end up showing something over the summer, but most major channels aren’t hosting anything that looks or sounds Russian, and Mundfish last tweeted on February 21st, three days before the invasion.