I feel spoiled lamenting the absence of any one game when this year’s E3 has offered such a bounty of riches. Nintendo responded to fans clamoring for the return of bounty hunter Samus Aran with announcements of Metroid Prime 4 for Switch and Metroid: Samus Returns on 3DS. Microsoft ran down 42 titles in less than two hours, and managed to give each game time to shine during its press conference. Sony turned the faucet on a stream of announcements for PS4 exclusives—even though most of them won’t be available this year—and Ubisoft, Bethesda, and EA promised more from a range of their respective franchises.
And yet. And yet in the case of several fan favorites, we got nothing except the static drone of radio silence. (Before you ask, Kingdom Hearts 3 didn’t make this list, since Square Enix dropped a trailer during a Kingdom Hearts orchestrated event this week.)
Resident Evil 2
The 1998 follow-up to the lovably cheesy game that coined the term “survival horror” is considered by many to be the best in the classic style of the series. Fans were overjoyed when Capcom announced a from-the-ground-up remake in the summer of 2015. Producers were candid in explaining that the game was very early in preproduction and would not be ready to show, much less play, anytime soon.
Nevertheless, that was almost two years ago. I wasn’t expecting a release date at this year’s show, but given the positive reception Resident Evil 7 received when Capcom unveiled it during Sony’s conference one year ago, and how RE7’s positive reception since its release back in January, I’d hoped for a nominal update. A trailer, a single screenshot, or a “Yes, we’re still working on it, now leave us be” passing mention given purely to pacify fans. Instead, Sony’s press conference came and went without a peep from Capcom.
Forza, Halo, and Gears of War are the crown jewels of the Xbox lineup. The conceits of Halo and Gears are similar enough that Microsoft staggers release to give players time to enjoy a new installment in either franchise without cannibalizing interest in the other. Halo 4 premiered in 2015, and Gears of War 4 led the publisher’s charge into last year’s fourth quarter. Precedent dictated that the runway was clear for 343 Industries to tease Master Chief’s next mission on Microsoft’s stage, setting up a 2018 release.
To my surprise, we saw no sign of the one-time Xbox mascot. 343 boss Bonnie Ross tweeted an explanation earlier this week. “Team back at 343 heads down on next big Halo-it is good, but not ready to announce yet,” she wrote. I won’t argue with the smorgasbord of announcements we got in lieu of a preview of Halo 6. Given 343’s explanation, however, we shouldn’t expect to learn of the next FPS entry in the franchise until late 2018 at the earliest.
The Last of Us: Part 2
Of all the glaring omissions at this year’s event, Sony and Naughty Dog staying mum on The Last of Us 2 makes the most sense. E3 isn’t the granddaddy of venues that it was 10 or even five years ago. Fans got word of Joel and Ellie’s next adventure at the 2016 PlayStation Experience last December. Sony’s holiday event gives it an opportunity to create and control news cycles, whereas even the biggest publishers have to compete for attention at the cacophony of trailers, previews, and announcements. That, and Naughty Dog has said that The Last of Us 2 still has a long way to go before they can invite us behind the curtain for a deep dive into the sequel’s story, setting, characters, and gameplay. If we’re going to get a progress report anytime soon, it’ll happen at this year’s PSX.
FromSoftware’s Next Game
Dark Souls 3 closed the book on FromSoftware’s Dark Souls trilogy. That means whatever SoulsBorne director Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team are working on is either Bloodborne 2 or, more enticing, a brand-new property. The latter seems more plausible. In early 2016, Miyazaki gave an interview in which he revealed that his studio is working on three projects: a dark fantasy action RPG in the vein of Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne; a title the director described as “weird”; and a reboot of another FromSoftware brand.
Anyone familiar with FromSoft’s pre-Souls history can make the educated guess that the third project is related to Armored. Regardless, none of the three were brought up during Sony’s conference—the date and time any or all would have debuted, since FromSoftware and Sony signed a deal for several exclusives.
Unlike the rare artifacts Lara Croft seeks out in her exploits, the development of a third Tomb Raider in Crystal Dynamics’ reboot timeline isn’t exactly a secret. Leaks have pointed to a project called Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but the only ancient tombs plundered at E3 were cracked open by the protagonists of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
Final Fantasy 7
Square Enix hasn’t been leading fans on: Final Fantasy 7’s remake, which will be released as an episodic series, is still a distant speck on the horizon. You could make the argument that mentioning the game at E3 would have been the worst kind of teasing. Still, some news is better than no news.
Two years ago, Sony and Ys Net revived the dormant Shenmue series by, in essence, asking fans to help crowdfund a new entry. Shenmue 3 should be out in the second half of 2018 per recent prognostications, meaning fans may have to wait until next year’s E3—or the Tokyo Game Show this September—to get a substantial look at the three-quel.