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What's Missing At E3

Sometimes what doesn’t make an appearance at E3 is as surprising as what does. Here’s a list of games and announcements we thought we might see this year but which haven’t made an appearance.

Microsoft

Gears of War – As one of the few big franchises that Microsoft can point to as differentiating its Xbox hardware from Sony’s PlayStations, Gears of War has often been central to the company’s messaging. Both developer Epic Games and Microsoft are silent on the Gears front at the moment, though. Perhaps it will lead the charge of the second wave of Xbox One games, or perhaps Microsoft is content to hold it back for now because of how much software it already had filling up its E3 2013 press conference.

Fable – What happened to Fable? After starting life as a typical Peter Molyneux pie-in-the-sky over-promised game, it eventually came out as a series of pretty great third-party action/RPGs. Then Molyneux started making Kinect demos instead, Microsoft couldn’t decide what it wanted to do with its first-party titles, and eventually a terrible on-rails buggy-driving curiosity came out. We still can’t understand why Microsoft is so confused about what to do with Fable. We don’t care if the musical combat or dog AI isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (come on, we’ve dealt with Molyneux for years). Just give us bigger, better, and more humorous third-person RPG action with clever writing and a gorgeous world. Is that so much to ask?

Kinect – Yes, it's integrated into the system and Microsoft spent a lot of time on voice commands at the Xbox One reveal event a few weeks ago, but the company didn't spend much time on showing us any innovative gameplay uses – but neither did it shove a bunch of casual minigame-based crap down our throats. Let's call this one a wash.

Sony 

Uncharted/Naughty Dog – This one is slightly unfair because Naughty Dog is shipping an awesome game on Friday in The Last of Us, but an E3 no-show is surprising for one of Sony’s flagship studios that has multiple teams working simultaneously on multiple projects. Look for Naughty Dog to return to the spotlight sooner than later.

God of War – Maybe this one shouldn’t be counted as a surprise given how God of War II came out on the PS2 after the PS3 was already out, but a series like this that always pushes graphical boundaries would have been a great way to show off the PS4’s power.

The Last Guardian – We wouldn’t have to bang the drum so hard for the next game by the creators of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus if it didn’t look so awesome. Unfortunately, Sony boss Jack Tretton said earlier today that The Last Guardian is “on hiatus,” so we’re unlikely to learn anything new in the near future…not that that’s going to stop us from hoping.

Nintendo

Metroid – The best way to make us forget about Metroid: Other M is to release a new awesome Metroid title, be it a 3D console blockbuster or a side-scrolling 3DS game in the old style. For now, though, Samus is stuck kicking Villager in the face and getting Metal Blades chucked at her instead of starring in epic atmospheric quests like she should.

Gimmicks – Whatever your opinion of the Wii U relative to the PS4 and Xbox One, you can’t fault Nintendo for keeping the focus strictly on games in the Nintendo Direct presentation that took the place of its traditional E3 press conference. Neither Vitality Sensor, Shaun White, or Ravi Drums took any attention away from where it should be: on Nintendo games. Mario Kart 8, Super Mario World 3D, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze – we’ll take those all day long instead of awkward peripherals or bad celebrity cameos.

Something New – Look, everyone loves Mario Kart and Donkey Kong. A new 3D Mario game is always welcome. At the same time, though, Nintendo hasn’t introduced a new franchise that can hang with its big boys in quite some time. Something new and creative could go a long way toward earning the Wii U the hardcore gamer cred it so badly lacks right now, but it’s not anywhere to be found at E3 2013.

Third Parties

The Elder Scrolls – Whether Bethesda is afraid of stealing the thunder of The Elder Scrolls Online or for some other reason, the next mainline Elder Scrolls game is nowhere to be seen. We still don’t know the first thing about The Elder Scrolls VI, where or when it’s set, or what crazy technical advances Todd Howard’s team is going to blow our minds with this time.

Star Wars – Disney and Electronic Arts are still in the early phases of their partnership to bring us new core Star Wars games, so this doesn’t come as too much of a shock. Still, it’s unusual for something as polished as the Star Wars 1313 demo from last year to go completely missing at the following show, and while the new Battlefront announcement is welcome something concrete on the game would have been nice.

Gearbox – The Borderlands studio is one of the biggest independent developers left, and it’s always got several irons in the fire – but it’s MIA at this year’s show. Maybe if Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 hadn’t been sent back to the drawing board we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

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