E3 just wrapped up, and we’ve got a lot of news for you to pick through if you haven’t checked it out yet. But while the news piled up from all quarters, there were some conspicuous absences at this year’s expo. Were the powers that be hoping we just didn’t notice? Were they just not ready, or were there more ominous reasons for their lack of appearance? What was the most noticeable absence of all? Click on in to find out what was missed at E3, because it may be the most interesting news of all!
Let’s start with the titles that were straight up missing. Mirror’s Edge 2 is one I just can’t turn up any information on. I’m not doing the “boots on the ground at E3” thing, so I’m running on Google and company information here. If this title actually made an appearance, it’s being kept secret from search engines. A rather conspicuous absence for a title popular enough that EA saw fit to drum up versions on iOS and Android devices, in addition to the PC and consoles.
More explicitly missing was Ubisoft’s Beyond Good and Evil 2, meaning it wasn’t planned for this console generation. The details are pretty light, but there you have it. It’s still in development, but don’t count on seeing it anytime soon. That’s kind of a surprise to me, particularly the ‘this generation of consoles’ part. With neither Microsoft nor Sony saying anything about their next console generations this E3, that means this one’s a long time off.
Kingdom Hearts 3 (not to be confused with Kingdom Hearts 3D) is another one in the ‘conspicuously absent’ column. It’s one thing to not have a game present at E3 in a tangible, playable way, and maybe even lacking footage is understandable. With games like these – big games, from major developers and publishers, each with a sizable fan following – you’d think they’d at least give us a little to nibble on. Why isn’t there any concept art or preliminary information of any kind? In the case of Kingdom Hearts 3, where it’s been years since the last one, it would be bizarre to hear that nothing was even in the planning stages. Hard as it is to believe, that may well be the case.
Another long-awaited title – The Last Guardian – actually generated a little news by its absence. As of this writing the game is not cancelled, there’s nothing to say about it. At a past E3 we actually saw a trailer for this game! At least potential fans of this one can rest assured that it’s coming, eventually, at least for now.
Other games with noticeable absences like C&C Generals 2 come to mind, as well as a bunch I’m probably missing. (If you can think of any I glossed over, feel free to throw in a comment because I’d enjoy knowing what titles people were looking forward to.) There was one big absence at E3 this year that was expected, but it was the most noticeable absence of all. It’s a company rather than a game, and even though it never bothers to show up at E3, its invisible presence was felt even at each of the Big 3 Press Conferences.
The Biggest Absence of All
Apple. Why beat around the bush? Apple’s lack of presence at E3 is glaring, if not entirely unpredictable. As the largest company in the world, it doesn’t need to show up at E3. If they want to have a press conference, they just set up a stage and flash the Apple logo in the sky like the Bat-Signal, and the press comes running. This year more than ever, you could just feel the effects of the iPad and iPhone (and to a degree the Android platforms as well) reverberating through the Big Three’s press conferences.
You could feel Apple’s influence at Nintendo’s press conference of course, in the form of the Wii-U tablet controller. That’s not a new announcement, but the comparisons there are obvious and inevitable. The ghost of Apple was present at Microsoft’s show as well, primarily in the form of SmartGlass technology. The mockups used even had an Apple vibe to them, and the compatibility with everyone’s favorite black slate devices was touted explicitly. Even Sony’s conference had an Apple vibe to it, primarily in the form of the Vita’s touted interlocking features with the Playstation 3. This was particularly evident in the Dust 514 presentation, because frankly, most of the draws of the Dust 514 Vita app are features that sound more typical of iOS and Android connectivity, at least with various PC games (League of Legends, World of Warcraft).
For my money, that was the most glaring absence of all. With the changes tablet and phone gaming have wrought to the portable market, and the accompanying media and software interfacing they’re presenting, it’s striking that the company shaping so much of the gaming market was itself absent at E3. You can’t blame Apple for not making an appearance, as they have the Apple logo they can shine in the sky if they want to. Despite their lack of a booth at the event, their presence was tangible all the same. The future of gaming will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on in the coming years, particularly the future of Sony and Nintendo’s handheld market.
That’s my take on the suspicious absences of E3. If any of you guys can think of anything else the show missed such as titles, hardware, or even imaginary titles you wish would have shown up (For me, Ultima X tops the list – a man can dream, eh?), let us know in the comments section. Who knows, we may actually turn up info on something similar out there as a result.
Victor Grunn has been a gamer since the days of single-button joysticks and the Atari 800XL. When not lamenting the loss of the Ultima series or setting people on fire in Team Fortress 2, he's an aspiring indie game developer and freelance writer.