It’s that time of year again. The E3 hype train is leaving the station, as gamers everywhere prepare for a flurry of announcements from the industry’s biggest annual event. As we’re unlikely to get much in the way of major hardware announcements at E3 2018, this year’s event is gearing up to be very software focused and as always, there are many games that we already know are going to be there and even more that have yet to be announced.
Rather than put together a traditional E3 predictions list, I thought I’d round up all the heartbreakers. By that I mean, what are the games that many of us would love to see announced but know with near certainly probably won’t be? Of course, anything is possible and there’s a very real possibility that at least a few of the games on this list will get surprise announcements between June 12-14, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on any news when it comes to the following titles.
Honestly, of all the series on this list, Burnout is the one I could see actually being at E3 this year. The release of Burnout Paradise Remastered earlier this year could be attributed to it being the game’s 10 year anniversary, but it was also likely an experiment on EA’s part to gauge how much interest there still is out there for the frenetic arcade racing series.
And really, 10 years is too long a wait for a new Burnout. The franchise had a brilliant run starting in 2004 with the release of Burnout 3: Takedown, which is still arguably one of the greatest racing games ever made, but after publishing Paradise in 2008, EA has largely ignored Burnout in favor of its other major car racing franchise, Need For Speed.
With Need For Speed’s reputation slipping over the past few years following a string of solid, if unremarkable releases, now would seem a perfect time to bring Burnout back. But then, this is EA we’re talking about: a company that has willfully ignored the demand for a new Burnout game for a decade, so I’d argue there’s a much better chance of us getting yet another Need For Speed announcement instead.
11. Conker’s Bad Fur Day 2
I really thought that Sea of Thieves would be a return to form for beleaguered development studio Rare, but the cooperative pirate shooter failed to make much of a splash when it was released earlier this year. Truth be told, both Rare and Microsoft could really use a win right now, what with the Xbox One’s absolute dearth of exclusives and bringing back a beloved series would be a good way to get both companies back into gamers’ good graces.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day was first released on the Nintendo 64 and later received a remastered version on the original Xbox but we’ve never gotten a proper sequel. Although mascot platformers are all but dead these days, a Bad Fur Day sequel could still have a lot of fun satirizing other genres and delivering a colorful and crass adventure for a whole new generation. I do believe we’ll see Conker revived at some point but with Rare just having shipped Sea of Thieves a few months ago, E3 2018 seems like an unlikely place in which to do so.
10. Dead Space 4
EA’s mistreatment of the Dead Space franchise is one of the most unfortunate stories to come out of the previous console generation. The first two games in the series earned critical praise and put up impressive sales numbers, but EA botched things with Dead Space 3 by downplaying the franchise’s horror elements and implementing all sorts of intrusive microtransactions. After that game failed to meet EA’s ridiculous sales targets, Dead Space was put on ice and with the closure of series developer Visceral Games last year, there seems little hope of ever getting Dead Space 4.
But while I don’t think we’ll be seeing an announcement at E3 this year, EA has to realize at some point that there is still a place in the market for survival horror games to succeed (Resident Evil 7 demonstrated this in 2017); the publisher just has to not expect Dead Space games to sell millions upon millions of copies.
9. Elite Beat Agents 2
A rhythm game in which a trio of government agents solve peoples’ problems with the power of music and dance, Elite Beat Agents is one of the best games ever made for the Nintendo DS and has attracted quite the cult following since its release in 2006. Unfortunately, the game didn’t sell as well as had been hoped in North America, which is probably why we’ve never had a sequel. That being said, the success of the Nintendo Switch and increased viability of niche games makes the idea of an Elite Beat Agents 2 not beyond the realm of possibility.
The game’s unique touch-based controls would also translate well to the Switch and there would be opportunity to implement Joy-Con controls as well. Still, the prospect of Elite Beat Agents 2 being announced at E3 seems like a long shot, especially with how many other, more popular franchises Nintendo has yet to bring to the Switch.
8. Freedom Fighters 2
Squad-based action games were all the rage in the early 2000s and IO Interactive’s Freedom Fighters was one of the best. Featuring an interesting alternate history plot that sees the Soviet Union invade the United States, Freedom Fighters is full of Cold War-era cliches, but it revels in them to the point where it actually feels unique when compared to similar games of the era. The gameplay remains innovative to this day, employing easy-to-use squad commands and a mission structure that demanded careful planning when infiltrating various Soviet-held strongholds.
As an added bonus, the game’s soundtrack is absolutely stellar, employing a Russian choir/orchestral score that went a long way in evoking the game’s sombre, “fight for freedom” tone. While there’s little reason to believe that 2018 will be the year where we suddenly see a sequel for a 15-year-old game announced, the fact that IO Interactive is now an independent studio that owns both the Hitman and Freedom Fighters franchise makes it at least a little more likely that we’ll see Freedom Fighters 2 someday.
7. Grand Theft Auto VI
It’s inevitable that Rockstar will make Grand Theft Auto VI but we’re not going to get an announcement at this year’s E3. Even if the publisher wasn’t busy gearing up for the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 later this year, there’s the fact that Rockstar doesn’t typically use E3 as a platform for game announcements. There’s also the ridiculous ongoing success of Grand Theft Auto V to consider.
Although the game is nearly five years old at this point, GTA V is still consistently in the top 10 best-selling games month in and month out thanks to the popularity of its online multiplayer, so there’s little reason for Rockstar to go all-in on a sequel right now. This doesn’t mean that we couldn’t see the next Grand Theft Auto announced even within the next year, but don’t expect it to happen at E3.
6. Half-Life 3
You knew it had to be here somewhere. It’s been the better part of 15 years since the release of Half-Life 2 — not to mention a decade since that game’s final expansion — and as such, it’s looking increasingly doubtful with each passing year that Half-Life 3 will ever see the light of day. Half-Life 3 is now regarded as the greatest mystery in PC gaming, as no one outside of Valve Corporation can seem to make sense of why the company refuses to release the game, let alone talk about it.
Of course, Valve doesn’t actually need to ever make a new Half -Life game, as it generates more than enough revenue through its digital distribution platform Steam. However, the company has dropped enough hints about the game over the years to keep fans’ hope alive, even if many have resigned themselves to the knowledge that they very well may never get to play Half-Life 3 … which is why I’m confident in predicting that it will be a no-show yet again at E3 this year.
5. Jak and Daxter
Some may argue that a series such as Jak and Daxter — a mascot platformer with cartoonish characters — is played out at this point, but anyone who experienced Naughty Dog’s trilogy (the spin-off racing game was okay too) of PS2 action-platformers would likely disagree. The Jak games were some Sony’s strongest exclusives during the PS2 generation, but when Naughty Dog decided to move onto more sophisticated fare with Uncharted and The Last of Us on the PlayStation 3, the series went dormant
A PSP title called Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier was released in 2009, but it wasn’t developed by Naughty Dog and paled in comparison to what the studio accomplished with the original games. Naughty Dog currently has no plans to make another game (although they haven’t ruled it out completely), though Sony could always get another studio to create it if Naughty Dog doesn’t want to. Either way, it’s unlikely that we’ve seen the last of Jak and Daxter, but I wouldn’t count on any surprise announcements at E3.
4. Left 4 Dead 3
Evidently, Valve is incapable of counting to three, as the developer has yet to announce third games in any of its major series, including Portal, Team Fortress, and the aforementioned Half-Life. Left 4 Dead can also be added to that list, as after releasing the first two games back-to-back in 2008 and 2009, the cooperative zombie shooter franchise has remained dormant ever since.
Part of the reason for this surely has something to do with the zombie genre as a whole fading in popularity in recent years, but Left 4 Dead and its sequel are still regarded as some of the best zombie shooters ever made and it’s reasonable to assume that a Left 4 Dead 3 announcement would be met with considerable fan fare were it to happen at E3.
That being said, the fact that Left 4 Dead 3 wasn’t announced years ago when it would have made the most sense gives me pause to think that this year’s E3 will be the moment where it happens but when it comes to Valve, who can possibly predict what they’ll do at this point?
3. Metal Gear Solid 6
The very notion of a sixth mainline Metal Gear Solid game is something I’m conflicted about. For one thing, Konami already proved to us earlier this year with the dreadful Metal Gear Survive that it is seemingly incapable of producing a proper Metal Gear game without series creator Hideo Kojima, who parted ways with the publisher following the release of Metal Gear Solid V in 2015.
Still, just because Konami hasn’t made a good Metal Gear without Kojima yet doesn’t mean that can’t change. All it would take is for the publisher to hand the reins to a hungry studio eager to deliver a new vision for the franchise. Plus, as spin-offs like Metal Gear Rising and Metal Gear Solid for the Game Boy Color have proven, Kojima doesn’t necessarily have to be involved in order to be good.
And yet, Metal Gear Solid 6 is almost certainly not getting announced at E3 because Konami actively hates its fanbase. Oh well.
2. Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time stands as one of the best action-adventure games ever made and still holds up nearly 15 years after its original release. Ever since that seminal game though, Ubisoft has had a hard time replicating the magic of The Sands of Time, releasing four mainline Prince of Persia titles of varying quality in the intervening years. The last entry in the series, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, is an underrated entry that actually got closer to the Sands of Time formula than its predecessors, but failed to make much of a splash. The game was released alongside the 2010 movie adaptation starring Jake Gyllenhaal and many thought it was just a derivative cash-grab.
Things have been relatively quiet on the Prince of Persia front ever since, but judging by comments made by Ubisoft CEO Yannis Mallat in 2013, the company is still interested in making more titles and stated that, “As soon as we have something to show, we will.” It’s now five years later and we still haven’t heard anything new. With Ubisoft rumored to be showing off a new Splinter Cell at this year’s E3, Prince of Persia will likely be a no-show but the company can’t ignore the series forever … can they?
1. Super Mario RPG 2
There have been dozens of Mario spinoffs released over the years, but few measure up to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Developed by Squaresoft back when the company was the undisputed king of turn-based RPGs, Legend of the Seven Stars is still regarded as one of the best games ever made for the Super Nintendo. And yet, more than 22 years after its original release, we’ve still never gotten a proper sequel.
Sure, there have been other Mario RPGs released over the years with the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi titles, but they’ve all been spiritual successors at best set in separate worlds from the one imagined by the team at Squaresoft. With the recent collaboration between Nintendo and Ubisoft having produced the stellar Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle for the Switch, there is reason to hope that Super Mario RPG 2 could come to fruition, but I just don’t see it happening, at least not this year.