With some exceptions, it’s fair to say that E3 2018 was a satisfying, varied show.
If you went in looking for exciting announcements and game reveals, we got a fair few of those like Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield, Microsoft's Halo Infinite, EA's Jedi: Fallen Order, Activision's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and lots more.
And, even though we didn’t get to see gameplay, everyone who went to see the Cyberpunk 2077 behind-closed-doors demo came back saying it was the highlight of the entire show.
But amidst all the surprises, detailed deep-dives and trailers so good you can’t tell if they’re CG or actual gameplay, a few games we assumed would be there were nowhere to be found.
These weren’t confirmed, mind you, but they’re nonetheless games we would bet would've made some sort of appearance.
In this list, we’re going to go over these games. Note that although some of us wish certain games were featured more prominently on stage (Dreams, hello?), if they were at E3 in any capacity, they won’t be on this list.
For years now, Ubisoft has mastered the art of closing off its E3 press conferences with a bang. The Division, Watch Dogs, Beyond Good and Evil 2 were all late show reveals that got everyone excited just as we thought the show had ended.
Like many of the games on this list, Ubisoft didn't explicitly promise an E3 reveal, but that would have ruined the surprise. However, a combination of events leading up to the show all but confirmed that the franchise would get revived this year.
Splinter Cell was one of several games Walmart Canada leaked ahead of time. Many of the games on that list we thought were very unlikely, like Rage 2(!) and Just Cause 4, were in fact later announced or detailed at the show.
This seemingly innocuous leak with a tonne of placeholder box art and fake dates actually accurately leaked the existence of several big games, so we hoped Splinter Cell would be among them.
Also consider this: the timing of the free Sam Fisher mission in Ghost Recon: Wildlands, which saw the return of Michael Ironside to reprise his role.
You don’t just get Ironside back into the booth for an hour to record a few lines for a throwaway mission, not unless he's also working on something much bigger. So, this Splinter Cell DLC out of nowhere, followed by the Walmart leak combined were pretty strong indications that we may just see the return of Fisher.
Alas, Splinter Cell was a no show. We didn’t even need a fancy announcement, all it would have taken is for Ubisoft to turn on a few green spotlights and play the iconic sound cue. That’s it, and we guarantee it would have been enough to get the crowd cheering.
The Avengers Project
Square Enix's E3 showcase was among the weakest among third-parties this year. It mostly featured trailers we had already seen at other conferences, and didn’t spend any time on meaty breakdowns for any of its biggest games.
Even Tomb Raider, arguably Square’s biggest release this year, got an incomplete demo and a few vague PR lines from the developers.
Yet, the publisher saw fit to announce a new Platinum Games project with a few pieces of concept art. The concept footage told us nothing about the game, but it was still enough for an announcement.
So how exactly is a game this early in development more worthy of screen time than a bloody Avengers game? The Avengers Project, which by the way doesn’t even have an official name yet, should have been front and centre at that show.
Even if we’re a long ways off from seeing gameplay footage, a few pieces of concept art and a CG trailer would have sufficed. A Crystal Dynamics developer could have simply walked everyone through some of the studio's high-level vision for the game without committing to anything specific.
We got none of that, obviously, which is a real shame.
The buzz around Marvel's cinematic universe is at an all-time high. People are still reeling from the Infinity War ending, and it would have been amazing to capitalise on this interest and remind everyone you're making an Avengers game.
The Avengers Project was announced almost a year ago, so even the smallest of nods at E3 this year would have been enough, just to refresh people's memory.
Monster Hunter World PC
Look, Capcom had an unusually busy E3 this year. Between Devil May Cry 5 finally getting announced, and the stellar reveal of Resident Evil 2 Remake - complete with extensive gameplay footage - you could hardly fault Capcom for the quality of its output at E3 2018.
The company has even been cooking up a special Monster Hunter cross-over with Final Fantasy 14, so you know Capcom was committed to having a good show.
But, the company has been strangely quiet about the PC version of Monster Hunter World all year. The PC version was announced for a fall release this year, so a simple trailer to reassure everyone it’s still coming was the least one could expect.
As a PC player patiently awaiting new information, I am worried the game has slipped into the winter or, even worse, 2019. The fall starts as early as September, so we’re not that far off if you think about it.
The fact Capcom also hasn’t mentioned anything at all about the PC version thus far, at E3 or elsewhere, is cause for concern. There’s a lot of appetite for a monster hunting game on PC, but the last thing PC players want is a gimped, forgotten port.
Star Fox Grand Prix
Yes, the recent report about the existence of a Star Fox racing game of all things took everyone by surprise, but several outlets have since reported that the information is in fact accurate.
Naturally, E3 would have made for a great stage to announce the game. Now that we’re on the other side of the show, there’s no denying Nintendo could have used one – or several – more announcements at its E3 Direct this year.
Assuming the reports are correct, it would mean that Star Fox Grand Prix had been in development at Retro for a while, and should surely be far enough for an E3 reveal at this stage.
Yet, apart from Fox’s cameo in Starlink: Battle for Atlas, we have not heard the words 'Star Fox' anywhere else at the show.
Mortal Kombat 11
It’s not hard to figure out that Mortal Kombat and Injustice developer NetherRealm has a particular cadence for announcing and releasing games.
It always starts with a game reveal at E3 or a little bit before, followed by smaller drips of information and gameplay throughout the year, before the game finally comes out in Q2 of the following year.
The studio has done this with the first Injustice, Mortal Kombat 10, and Injustice 2, so a Mortal Kombat-related announcement at E3 2018 was practically a given, almost as expected as EA’s sports segments.
Yet here we are, a week after E3 and not a blip from NetherRealm. It’s not clear why the studio bucked the trend this year, but it's certainly a very interesting move.
Maybe the studio is looking to unveil the game on its own terms at a private event sometime this year. Or, seeing as publisher Warner Bros. has traditionally favoured Sony’s stage, perhaps it’ll be revealed at gamescom or PSX in December.
We can't say for sure, but we're hoping this also doesn't mean the April spot for NetherRealm games is being abandoned, too.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake
The Final Fantasy 7 Remake was announced all the way back at E3 2015. Since then, Square Enix has generally been shying away from talking in any detail about the game, or showing fresh gameplay at subsequent E3s.
Many assumed that, three years later, an E3 check-in would be in order. Sadly, Square brought no such thing. In fact, it’s all been quiet on the Final Fantasy 7 Remake for a while now, with no significant news to speak of for months.
Fans are rightly worried it’s going to be yet another Square Enix project stuck in development limbo, and it’ll be years before we actually get to play it. Kingdom Hearts 3, for reference, as announced in 2013 and it’s only now just about to come out, some six years later.
And let’s not forget the Final Fantasy 15 saga, which even started out as a completely different game.
With all the talk about the next generation of consoles drawing ever closer, it’s not hard to see why some have just made peace with the idea that maybe the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a next-gen game.
Metroid Prime 4
Metroid Prime 4 was one of the biggest announcements at E3 2017. Despite how little was shown (just a logo), the mere confirmation a new Metroid game is in development made Nintendo fans dizzy with excitement.
If Nintendo was happy to show a logo last year, it definitely could have had a little more to say about the game this year.
Nintendo’s E3 2018 Direct certainly could have used a few more games, and a small update about Metroid Prime 4 – even if just to say the teams are working hard on it – would have sufficed.
Nobody expected Metroid Prime 4 to headline this year’s show or anything, but people certainly assumed they were going to get something.
Unfortunately, it’ll probably be another year before Nintendo opens up about the project.
Yet another absentee from the Nintendo Direct at E3 2018.
Platinum Games’ name carries a lot of weight. It’s why Square Enix had no problem showing barely anything when it revealed Babylon’s Fall at the show earlier that week.
Nintendo obviously knows this, the company has funded two Bayonetta games after all. It’s also why, much like Metroid, we only really got a logo when Bayonetta 3 was announced at the Game Awards in December.
Perhaps it was foolish to expect anything concrete just six months after the reveal, but for those of us who have no interest in Nintendo’s mainstay franchises, a Bayonetta 3 trailer could have certainly swayed a few into buying a Switch.
What’s really more disappointing than these major absences is that Nintendo didn’t temper anyone’s expectations before the show. If the platform holder had only just said not to expect Metroid or Bayonetta news at E3, we wouldn’t be disappointed not to see them.
There’s no way to prove this, but I guarantee you everyone watching Microsoft's E3 presser thought the skateboarding trailer shown was for Skate 4.
You only had to wait a few seconds to learn that it is in fact for indie skateboarding game Session. One would hate to take away from Session’s big moment, but we’d be lying if we said we weren't a bit disappointed it wasn’t Skate 4.
Of course, EA never announced it’s working on a new Skate game to begin with, nor have there been any reports that one is in development.
Everyone just assumed the publisher is gearing up to drop the bomb at E3 when EA brought Skate 3 servers back online out of the blue just a few days prior.
Imagine if EA managed to get Tony Hawk to take the stage and announce Skate 4. Think of how much buzz this single moment would've generated, even if the game wouldn't end up having Tony Hawk’s name on the cover.
Having Tony Hawk as a consultant for a Skate sequel is the stuff of dreams, but it was disappointingly just that; a dream.
Whatever Rocksteady has cooking
Batman Arkham Knight came out nearly three years ago. If you don’t count the game’s post-launch content, Rocksteady has been as quite as, well, a rock.
No one knows what the studio has been up to all these years. Is it working on a Superman game? A new take on Batman or the Justice League, perhaps?
Or, is Rocksteady moving away from comics altogether to create something entirely new? Any one of those would make for a good crackpot theory, and supposed “leaks” have certainly been trying for years now to start a few of these rumours.
Even the developer knows fans were frustrated not to see an announcement from Rocksteady at E3 this year, with co-founder Sefton Hill taking to Twitter to clarify that the team continues to work the next project, even if he had nothing new to share.