Another E3 has come and gone, with the next calendar year pretty much laid out in terms of new game releases. Unlike most years, no publisher seemed to have a true megaton announcement up their sleeve. Sony primarily talked up games we already knew about such as The Last of Us Part II, Microsoft put a large focus on games without really addressing the Xbox One’s recent struggles, and Nintendo doubled down on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and not much else. That being said, it wasn’t really a down year either, as there were a lot of games to get excited about, with titles such as Ghosts of Tsushima, Rage 2, Cyberpunk 2077, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey having particularly strong showings (just to name a few of the dozens of games we’re excited for).
Of course, no E3 would be complete without a few letdowns and heartbreaks. From cringe-worthy presentations to anticipated games being no-shows, here are our biggest disappointments from E3 2018. And for more E3 content, check out our biggest surprises from the show.
13. ‘Elder Scrolls VI’ Is Still Years Away
Fallout 76 was always going to be the centerpiece of Bethesda’s E3 conference this year but considering it’s been nearly seven years since the release of the last proper Elder Scrolls game, you would think they’d have more to show than just a teaser that amounts to little more than a logo. Yes, it was good to get confirmation that The Elder Scrolls VI is real but since Bethesda had no gameplay or even proper cinematics to show off, we can only assume that the game is still far from completion.
This is disappointing news for fans of Bethesda’s single-player RPG offerings, as while Fallout 76 looks good, its always-online, multiplayer focus is already causing a backlash among those who would much rather just have a new deep RPG to play solo (more on that later in this list). We can only hope that Bethesda’s recent practice of announcing games less than a year before their release holds true for Elder Scrolls VI and that the game is being planned for a 2019 release.
12. ‘Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order’ Gets Lackluster Announcement
We’ve known for awhile that Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment are hard at work on a new Star Wars game and though the team doesn’t yet have anything to show, studio head Vince Zampella offered some off-the-cuff remarks about the project during EA’s live event and the results were rather awkward and lackluster, to say the least. Zampella confirmed that the game will be called Jedi: Fallen Order and take place “during the dark times” between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, but that was all he’d reveal about it.
While host Andrea Rene from What’s Good Games did an admirable job of keeping Zampella talking and making the best of an odd interview situation, it was a strange decision to have such a big game announced so informally rather than getting Zampella up on stage to properly introduce it with a short cinematic trailer or even just a logo.
11. The Square Enix Press Conference As A Whole
Of all the major publishers, Square Enix by far had the weakest E3 presentation, which was all the more surprising considering it was their first in three years. Not only was their presentation shockingly brief, it had little in the way of exciting announcements and was instead comprised primarily of previously released trailers. Sure, games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Kingdom Hearts III look great, but those are known quantities at this point.
Square Enix had the opportunity to show off more of the Final Fantasy VII remake or debut the Avengers game being worked on by Crystal Dynamics, but both were no-shows. Overall, it was just a sad effort from a publisher everyone knows is capable of so much better.
10. Nintendo Wasted Too Much Time On ‘Smash Bros’
Everyone knew that the new Smash Bros. game would form the majority of Nintendo’s E3 presence this year, but the company still found a way to spend too much time talking about the game in their Direct. In fact, Nintendo devoted 25 whole minutes of a 40-minute presentation talking up Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in minute detail. While this likely had a lot to do with Nintendo not having a ton of stuff to show off this year, the company easily could have cut the segment devoted to explaining the ways in which all 66 fighters have been changed in favor of spending a little more time on other upcoming Switch games.
After all, the sizzle reel that preceded the Smash Bros. segment showed that Nintendo has more than just one big upcoming exclusive up its sleeve for the rest of 2018, so why not give other games a platform too? Most of the Smash Ultimate stuff could have been saved for a future Nintendo Direct dedicated exclusively to the game rather than being presented at the biggest annual event in the industry.
9. No ‘Bloodborne 2’ Announcement
From Software’s Bloodborne remains one of the PS4’s best exclusives and there was good reason to believe that the developer would announce a follow-up this year. Unfortunately, Bloodborne 2 was a no-show at Sony’s press conference and there’s a good chance that the game isn’t even in development, as the original game’s director Hidetaka Miyazaki is currently working on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
While From has released three Dark Souls titles now, many fans still hold Bloodborne in high regard, so it’s surprising to still have no word of a sequel three years after the original game’s release. It’s still likely that Bloodborne 2 will be announced someday but it looks like it may not be anytime soon.
8. Sony Press Conference Format
In terms of the actual games on display, Sony had one of, if not the best showing of any publisher at this year’s E3 but when it came to format, their press conference was an absolute mess. The show kicked off with attendees gathered in a church-like tent, with it soon becoming apparent that the venue was themed around the first game being shown off, The Last of Us Part II.
Unfortunately, what began as a clever idea quickly turned both impractical and inconvenient, as Sony spent the next 10 minutes ushering the audience into another convention hall, grinding the show to a halt. Livestream viewers were treated to a talking heads segment to fill the time, but this was more of an annoyance than anything, considering people tuned in specifically to see PlayStation games on display. On the bright side, the total failure of Sony’s experimental show format will likely convince the publisher to scrap the idea altogether when it comes time to plan next year’s.
7. ‘Fallout 76’ Is Always Online
Fallout 76 was easily one of the most talked about games of E3, with Bethesda’s Todd Howard appearing on stage to give an insightful look into the game and how it will differ from previous Fallout titles. Unfortunately, depending on your tastes, Fallout 76’s multiplayer focus is either the best or worst thing to happen to the series, as taking the post-apocalyptic wasteland online opens many doors while closing others. While Howard made assurances that the entire game can still be played solo, it’s hard to imagine this being the optimal way to play, especially when you consider that there won’t be any NPC characters in the game.
This means that there won’t be any traditional quest-givers or many things fans have come to expect from a Fallout game, creating a situation where multiplayer is definitely privileged over flying solo. While we’re keeping an open mind on Fallout 76 and have to admit that it looks like it will be a blast to play with friends, a lot of people play Bethesda RPGs to get lost in a world by themselves, so it’s hard to know if this new game will offer enough of that same experience to please longtime fans.
6. No ‘Skate 4’
Speculation that EA was gearing up to announce Skate 4 at E3 amplified over the past few months, especially when the servers for Skate 3 were suddenly switched back on the other week. While EA could still be working on a new entry in the popular skateboarding video game series, they didn’t give any indication at E3, which is a shame because the time is arguably right for a new Skate.
The franchise has yet to release on current-gen platforms and some thought that Tony Hawk might even be involved in bringing the franchise back after the legendary skater walked away from Activision in the wake of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5’s failure a few years ago. It briefly looked like Skate 4 would be announced at Microsoft’s press conference, but that turned out to be an entirely different skateboarding game called Session, which is due out on Xbox One and PC next year. Ultimately, Skate 4 was a no-show and we’re still kind of broken up about it.
5. Underwhelming ‘Halo Infinite’ Reveal
Even though its pedigree isn’t what it used to be, Halo is still one of the biggest brands in gaming and Microsoft’s most important exclusive franchise. Following the somewhat disappointing response to Halo 5: Guardians in 2015, developer 343 Industries vowed to make things right with their next Halo game and we finally got a look at what they’ve been working on during Microsoft’s press conference.
Unfortunately, Halo Infinite’s two minute trailer offered little in the way of concrete details other than that it will again feature series protagonist Master Chief and that the new game engine, Slipspace, is very pretty. With no release date offered, it’s clear that the game won’t be coming out anytime soon but at this point, everyone just assumes Microsoft has a new Halo game in development – why not wait until you have something truly impactful to show?
4. Microsoft Still Giving Few Reasons To Own An Xbox One
Microsoft had a much better showing this E3 than in recent years, smartly focusing on great video games and emphasizing that they have some exciting stuff on the horizon. Unfortunately, while the majority of the games they showed off were impressive, Microsoft bumped up against a recurring issue they’ve had this generation in that there were very few actual Xbox exclusives. Every Microsoft Studios game is also available on PC thanks to Play Anywhere, which is a great service from a value perspective but doesn’t do much to move Xbox One units.
Then again, it looks like Microsoft has already conceded defeat this generation and isn’t particularly concerned with how many Xbox One consoles they sell going forward. How else to explain Xbox head Phil Spencer’s comments to The Guardian this week, in which he states that his company’s focus is “bringing console quality games that you see on TV or PC to any device.” That may be the smart move in the long run, but it sure doesn’t do the already struggling Xbox brand any favors right now.
3. Rocksteady Is A No-Show (Again)
We’ve been hearing rumblings that Rocksteady Studios, the U.K. based developer behind the acclaimed Batman: Arkham franchise, are working on a Superman game and many expected that E3 2018 would be the stage where the veil would finally be lifted. After all, other than Batman: Arkham VR, which was more of a tech demo than a full-featured game, Rocksteady hasn’t released a new game since Batman: Arkham Knight in 2015.
One would think that the team would be close at this point to having something they’re ready to show, but the studio wasn’t involved in any of the major press conferences. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer to find out what Rocksteady have been working on, as even if it’s not a Superman game, anything the studio makes post-Batman is sure to draw a ton of attention.
2. No New Details On Metroid Prime 4
Nintendo made a big splash at last year’s E3 when they announced Metroid Prime 4, the first new entry in the beloved series in over a decade. One year later, many were hoping that Metroid Prime 4 would be a big focus for Nintendo’s E3 2018 lineup, but the game was nowhere to be found in the company’s E3 Direct. According to Nintendo’s Bill Trinen, the company simply wasn’t ready to show the game off – “When we think we’re ready to show Metroid Prime, we’ll show Metroid Prime,” – but given how lacking Nintendo’s Fall lineup looks outside of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, even a brief CG trailer would have been enough to generate excitement. It would have also taken a bit of the focus away from the fact that all the company really had to show was Smash Bros., a Pokemon game that isn’t the Pokemon game people are waiting for, and a handful of niche titles.
1. No Splinter Cell
Perhaps the hottest rumor heading into E3 was that Ubisoft was preparing to announce a new Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. After all, it’s been five years since the release of the underrated Splinter Cell: Blacklist and with original voice actor Michael Ironside reprising his role in Ghost Recon: Wildlands earlier this year, it seemed like a guarantee that Ubisoft had something big to announce for Sam Fisher. Unfortunately, the moment never came and Ubisoft’s press conference came and went with no mention of Splinter Cell, which is strange given that many industry observers are still convinced that a new game is in development.
Perhaps Ubisoft is just waiting until the game is a bit further along in production before they show anything, but Splinter Cell’s omission definitely left a gaping hole in Ubisoft’s E3 lineup … alongside another perennial no-show, Prince of Persia (we’re obligated to mention Prince of Persia every year as long as Ubisoft continues to ignore it).