This E3 brought plenty of great announcements (opens in new tab), both for games that seem so far away (opens in new tab) our grandchildren will probably enjoy them someday, and those that are more immediately exciting (opens in new tab). The show always throws up a few notable absences, though, and below we've captured those. These include games that seemed like sure bets for the major conferences to projects that are just slightly too far away to feel real.
Age of Empires 4
This one felt like it was a way off to me when it was announced at Gamescom last year (opens in new tab) with just the name of its developer, Relic, and some nice concept art. I would like to have seen another teaser for the long-awaited strategy sequel, though. Even if it was just a bizarre, overly-detailed CG video of an elderly monk slowly bellowing 'WOLOLO!' to convert a catapult to attack Genghis Khan, that would've been exciting to me.
Gearbox's Randy Pitchford has said a fair amount about Borderlands' future in the past. Since, er...what was it called...Battleborn was released over two years ago, I thought it might have been time to hear something on Borderlands 3 (opens in new tab). It wasn't to be, though, even if this would've been a perfect year for that announcement, given Destiny 2's mixed fortunes since launch. People would've been enthusiastic about any alternative co-op shooter where you're constantly looking for guns with better numbers, but I guess The Division 2 (opens in new tab) scratches a similar itch.
New footage of a Star Wars game (but not Battlefront 2)
While we got a soft announcement of singleplayer action game Jedi: Fallen Order (opens in new tab) by Respawn's Vince Zampella, it didn't register too much of an impact without any footage to tell that story. I wondered if, after the Battlefront 2 backlash last year and Solo's recent box office disappointment (it's just an okay film, but the Kessel run is brill), EA might've avoided Star Wars entirely this year. It didn't, but Battlefront 2 footage was all we got to see, and to be honest, playable General Grievous won't get me to reinstall the game.
I guess it was instead Anthem's year in the spotlight, despite the most useful information about BioWare's project being put on Twitter afterwards instead of in the conference itself.
As of this holiday season, it's been two years since Titanfall 2, and about two-and-a-half years separated the sequel's release from the original. We know a third Titanfall is on the way (opens in new tab), as it was announced during EA's acquisition of the company, but the publisher will almost certainly be doing its best to avoid clashing with Battlefield this time. That seems wise.
The studio is working on two games too, of course, which is a potential factor. Respawn suggested (opens in new tab) they were staffing up to make Star Wars as of 2016—but Fallen Order's announcement for late next year suggests that's probably coming first. With my guessing hat on, Titanfall 3 seems more likely to me in spring or summer 2020, when it's a bit quieter on the FPS front.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Square Enix got some criticism—at least from the hellscape that is my Twitter feed—for the brevity of its conference. I appreciate that they focused on actual games you'll be able to play in the near future, though (The Quiet Man (opens in new tab) was also present). Final Fantasy VII's remake, which was announced three years ago and has switched developers (opens in new tab) in the meantime, is still elusive. By the time this comes out, we'll probably be closer to the original game's 30th anniversary than its 20th.
The Avengers game
This project seems like it's in a similar situation to the above, in that it's probably too soon for Crystal Dynamics' Marvel adaptation (opens in new tab) to show us anything meaningful. But I have to ask, Square Enix: you bring me The Quiet Man, yet you won't bring me the Iron Man? Games are really hard to make and take ages, though, so fair enough. By the time we hear about this one, the remaining movie Avengers will have probably sorted the whole Thanos problem out, and Bucky and Cap will be driving off into the sunset.
Er, I mean Cap and Agent what's-her-name.
Whatever Rocksteady Studios is working on
Speaking of superheroes, it's been a few years since we've heard a peep out of the London-based Arkham studio about its future plans. Rocksteady's last project was Arkham VR, which originally shipped in late 2016. I've read some eyebrow-raising rumours of them making a Superman game, which sounds like wild speculation to me, but whatever it is might be a better candidate for next year. As of January, the studio was mo-capping for something:
The Rocksteady Mocap studio. Calm before the storm... pic.twitter.com/creAOFtsBWJanuary 30, 2018
Earlier this year, reports emerged that newly-acquired Forza Horizon studio Playground Games was in the very early process of making a new, open world and story-driven entry in the Fable series, which was originally created by defunct studio Lionhead. I was far from certain it would appear on Microsoft's stage on Sunday, but it sounded like Xbox's Phil Spencer was alluding to its creation when announcing that the company had bought Playground.
"Not only will Playground Games continue to work on Forza Horizon, they're bringing their open world expertise to an entirely new project. We can't wait to share more about that later." You just had to say Fable, Phil! In fairness, Microsoft has spoken in the past about announcing games too early, and I think a bit of caution makes sense if this game is still three years away.
System Shock 3
We've known that System Shock 3 is in developer Otherside Entertainment's future since 2015 (opens in new tab), but the studio is all-in on Underworld Ascendant at the moment. For now, we'll just have to enjoy the below teaser over and over again, or maybe just give Prey another go.
I was convinced that the appearance of Sam Fisher in Ghost Recon Wildlands (opens in new tab) was a prelude to the return of Splinter Cell proper, especially after this Wal-Mart leak (opens in new tab) ahead of the show correctly called Rage 2 and Just Cause 4. It didn't happen, though, and Ubisoft's conference was instead more predictable, probably because Assassin's Creed Odyssey (opens in new tab) leaked twice before the show had even started.
The running joke at the EA Play conference this year was the lack of a new Skate game. Skate never came to PC—although we wish it did (opens in new tab)—but hey, if they ever made a new one, it probably would. What the heck, EA?
What did you feel was missing from E3 this year? Let me know in the comments below.