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Will these 12 games miss E3 this year?

These big-name games have been neither seen nor heard from in years

Every year before E3, we talk about the games we expect to see, along with the ones that we hope we’ll get to take another look at. These include the obvious ones, like big games announced at the previous year’s conference. But they’re also the hypothetical projects, the titles that we’ve neither seen nor heard from in years — perhaps since they were first announced.

Some games have gone quiet much longer than others, though. We’ve gathered up some of the most notable “missing in action” games that we'd love to see make a grand reappearance at this year’s big show.

Below, we’ll offer an update on each game, plus our assessment of the likelihood of the project resurfacing at E3 2017 (on a scale of 1 to 10). Follow along and reminisce about some of the industry’s most elusive games.

(A quick note: We weighed in on many of these titles last year. In those cases, we’ve generally lifted the original text, with some minor tweaks. You can still check out the 2016 list to see which projects haven’t carried over to 2017, likely because they ended up making it out of E3 purgatory. Outdated predictions are always good for a laugh, after all.)

Agent logo 800 Rockstar North/Rockstar Games

Agent

Agent might be the most notorious game on this list.

Nearly a decade ago, Sony announced that it had made a deal with Rockstar Games to bring "the next great franchise from the Rockstar studios" exclusively to PlayStation 3. The companies didn’t unveil the project until E3 2009, when Sony spent approximately one minute during its press briefing to reveal that Rockstar North, the studio behind the Grand Theft Auto franchise, was working on a new PS3-exclusive title called Agent. Here’s how Jack Tretton, then the president of Sony Computer Entertainment America, described the game:

Agent will take a player across the globe amidst the shadowy world of espionage and assassins in the darkest hours of the late 1970s.

A Cold War-era spy action game with a badass pistol-cutout-forming-the-letter-G logo? Everybody was on board — well, unless you were Microsoft or Nintendo. Then again, it seems that Sony’s competitors had nothing to worry about.

The most recent official update on Agent came in May 2011, when Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive, said that the game was “still in development.” A few images have leaked out over the years, such as the artwork posted by ex-Rockstar artists in August 2011 and December 2015. But we really don’t know any more about Agent today than we did nine years ago.

How likely is it to show up? 1.

Rockstar is notorious for delaying its games again and again, but this situation goes far beyond a simple delay. In 2016, Take-Two applied for a fifth and final extension to its Agent trademark. That doesn't mean anything, though; the company already had a previous trademark to the name that expired, and seems to be holding onto the current one as a matter of course. Rockstar should just come out and acknowledge that Agent was killed in action long ago.

BattleCry BattleCry Studios/Bethesda Softworks

BattleCry

Bethesda Softworks opened a new game developer called BattleCry Studios in Austin, Texas, in 2012. That company’s first project is BattleCry, a class-based multiplayer melee game that was revealed in May 2014. Bethesda announced at E3 2015 that a beta was coming sometime that year, but said in October 2015 that it was evaluating how to improve BattleCry so the game would meet the publisher’s standards. That certainly doesn’t sound encouraging.

How likely is it to show up? 3.

Despite going on a hiring spree early last year, BattleCry Studios hasn’t updated us on the status of its next game since 2015. Maybe 2017 will finally mark its return, even if Bethesda has plenty else to talk about at this year’s press conference.

beyond good and evil 2 teaser 1280 Ubisoft Montpellier

Beyond Good & Evil 2

It's now been more than eight years since Ubisoft announced Beyond Good & Evil 2 with a teaser trailer featuring Pey'j, the anthropomorphic boar who served as the protagonist's caretaker in the original game from 2003. Development on the sequel is being led by Michel Ancel, the series' creator. But on most of the occasions that Ancel and Ubisoft have discussed Beyond Good & Evil 2 since its reveal in 2008, the parties have tried to reassure people that the game is still in development.

That continued in July 2014, when Ancel started a new company called Wild Sheep Studio but remained in his existing role at Ubisoft's studio in Montpellier, France, to work on "select projects" including Beyond Good & Evil 2. At the time — which, let's not forget, was more than six years after Ubisoft announced the game — the publisher said, "It's still far too early to give many details about this new title."

Yet things began to pick up speed toward 2016’s end. Ancel dropped several hints last September that production on the game would soon begin, which Ubisoft confirmed a week later. We’ve been treated to a few more pieces of art as a result, but nothing much in the way of actual gameplay or development stills.

How likely is it to show up? 2.

With the game still fairly early on, and plenty else for Ubisoft to talk about this year, we wouldn’t bet on a Beyond Good & Evil 2 reveal. The pre-production concept art and Ancel’s open admission that the project has been anything but abandoned does imbue us with more confidence than we had last year, however. Maybe Ubisoft will sneak a little Beyond Good & Evil time somewhere between the next Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry 5but Ancel said in an Instagram comment last month that he’s “not sure that E3 would be the best place to showcase” the game.

Dead Island 2 Techland/Deep Silver

Dead Island 2

It’s been a long, bumpy road for Dead Island 2.

After the original Dead Island became a surprise hit in 2011, developer Techland began pre-production on a sequel. But the studio moved on to Dying Light, so publisher Deep Silver started looking for a new partner. Enter Berlin-based Yager Development, which went in a very different direction from the first game’s emotionally manipulative debut trailer with its Dead Island 2 announcement at E3 2014. At the time, the sequel was scheduled to be released in spring 2015.

That didn’t happen; in April 2015, Deep Silver delayed the game all the way to 2016. In the meantime, the publisher had pumped out three additional entries in the Dead Island franchise: Dead Island: Riptide, Escape Dead Island and Dead Island: Epidemic.

After Dead Island 2 failed to rear its head at E3 2015, Deep Silver and Yager said in July 2015 that they had gone their separate ways as a result of creative differences on the project. As a result, the branch of Yager that had been working on Dead Island 2 was forced to file for insolvency.

It wasn’t until March 2016 that Deep Silver announced a new developer for Dead Island 2: Sumo Digital, a U.K.-based studio with experience working on franchises such as Disney Infinity and LittleBigPlanet.

How likely is it to show up? 5.

Deep Silver once again neglected to mention the project at last year’s show. The publisher is promising at least one big reveal for E3 2017 — but that doesn’t sound quite like an update on how Dead Island 2 is doing. At least we know the game is still alive, at any rate.

deep down Capcom

Deep Down

Capcom announced during Sony’s PlayStation 4 reveal event in February 2013 that it had a game in development for the console: Deep Down, a fantastical, procedurally generated, free-to-play dungeon crawler. This was nearly a year before the console’s launch in Japan, and the game was set to begin beta testing upon the PS4’s Japanese debut. (Capcom had never confirmed a Western release.)

That was not to be; the beta still has never been released. Instead, Deep Down flirted with controversy and met several delays, pushing the beta launch from February 2014 until, most recently, sometime in 2015. It obviously missed that window, but Capcom hasn’t said a word on when to expect the game since. Last we heard, the publisher had filed a totally new trademark on the game, so at least we know Capcom’s intent on locking that down.

How likely is it to show up? 5.

On the one hand, the game did at one point exist in some playable fashion, and Capcom said in 2015 that it was still working on the game. On the other, Deep Down’s been in the works for a long, long time, and its then-impressive graphical engine just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Dreams intro screenshot Media Molecule/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Dreams

Media Molecule, the British studio behind the LittleBigPlanet franchise, unveiled an ambitious new project called Dreams at E3 2015. The game is designed to allow players to realize their, uh, dreams, using prebaked assets and custom-made ones — along with their own imagination, of course — to unleash their creativity.

We haven’t heard much about Dreams since 2015. Media Molecule planned to launch a beta last year, but the studio admitted in December that it was going to miss that window.

How likely is it to show up? 9.

When Media Molecule announced the delay last December, the company said it would have more to say “in the New Year.” We’re over five months into 2017 and we haven’t received an update yet, but the studio said a month ago that it was hiring people to help “finish” the game. That’s an encouraging sign, and we’d be surprised if it didn’t make an appearance at Sony’s press briefing.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake art Image: Square Enix

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Watching Sony’s 2015 E3 presser was like seeing a dream come to life. The Last Guardian reappeared. A new Shenmue game was revealed (we’ll get to that one in a bit). And most exciting of all, a full-scale update to Final Fantasy 7 was in development for PlayStation 4.

Square Enix showed off a gorgeous, totally pre-rendered trailer for the remake during the show, which was enough to excite most fans at the time. The company delivered another look at the game later that year, at PlayStation Experience in December; that gave us hope that this wasn’t a fluke. A handful of details accompanied this second teaser, like the fact that the remake could be released episodically. But for the most part, Square Enix had little else to show or say.

We’ve received only occasional updates since then — and they’ve been as meager as possible. In January, Square Enix dropped a piece of key art and asked for forgiveness from impatient fans, because this project’s gonna take a while.

How likely is it to show up? 2.

Square Enix is getting serious about Final Fantasy 7’s production now, based on a livestream held late last month. The company’s nixed the outside help it had enlisted for the project, instead bringing development back in-house. That sort of sounds like the remake’s still in its early stages, though, so we’re not convinced that there will be any further updates ready by E3 time.

Half-Life hi-res Valve

Half-Life 2: Episode Three / Half-Life 3

We considered just dropping an image here of Gabe Newell smiling, and leaving it at that, but that seemed mean.

More than a decade has now passed since May 2006, when Valve announced that Half-Life 2: Episode One was ready to be released on June 1 of that year. In that press release, the company also said that another expansion, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, would be released later in 2006. Finally, Valve added that it was working on one more chapter in its episodic follow-up to Half-Life 2. At the time, Valve said the trilogy of episodes “will conclude by Christmas 2007.”

Episode Two ended up launching in October 2007, which suggested that Half-Life fans would have to wait a while longer for Episode Three. But Valve has not offered further details about the game — or Half-Life 3, which many people assume the company has moved on to by this point — since then. (You can see an exhaustive chronicle of every update on the Half-Life Wikia, including three pieces of concept art that Valve released.)

In a podcast with Geoff Keighley in March 2015, Newell, the managing director of Valve, spoke generally about the company’s philosophy when it comes to revisiting old franchises.

“The only reason we’d go back and do, like, a super classic kind of product is if a whole bunch of people just internally at Valve said they wanted to do it and had a reasonable explanation for why [they did],” said Newell. “But, you know, if you want to do another Half-Life game and you want to ignore everything we’ve learned in shipping Portal 2 and in shipping all the updates on the multiplayer side, that seems like a bad choice. So we’ll keep moving forward.”

Newell quickly noted that his comments didn’t necessarily mean Valve would never make another Half-Life game. But this all seems like a decadelong troll job at this point, doesn’t it?

How likely is it to show up? 1.

It’s not encouraging that several team members associated with the Half-Life series have left Valve over the past 12 months. Even worse: Game Informer ran a report earlier this year suggesting that Half-Life 3 might never have existed at all. Valve runs a clandestine operation, so that’s a tough thing to verify. More obvious is that the company’s priorities appear to have shifted toward managing its Steam service full-time. Valve seems to be doing just fine without working on a new Half-Life.

Big Hero 6 Kingdom Hearts 3 Square Enix

Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts fans have waited more than 10 years for the third game in the series — which, it should be said, is not quite the third game in the series. Square Enix teased the game at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2, then said it was in the works in 2010. But the company didn’t properly announce that Kingdom Hearts 3 was coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One until Sony’s E3 2013 conference.

Square Enix has dropped the occasional image, teaser and update in the years that have followed: an appearance at D23 2013 here, a Famitsu interview about how things were coming along there. After leaving the game out of its E3 2014 lineup entirely, Square Enix brought the game to its own press event during E3 2015. We’re now on an every other year cadence, it seems, because we’ve yet to see any footage since the tiniest peek in December 2015.

How likely is it to show up? 7.

That “every other year” thing bodes well for E3 2017. It’s especially telling that Square Enix ported nearly every major Kingdom Hearts game to PlayStation 4 earlier this year in honor of the series’ 15th anniversary. A release date announcement for Kingdom Hearts 3 would be the perfect topper — or at least another full-fledged gameplay trailer.

Shenmue 3 Ys Net

Shenmue 3

It had been 14 years since the last Shenmue game, so fans had every reason to believe the series was dead. It didn’t help that Yu Suzuki, its creator, parted ways with series publisher Sega and started developing mobile games instead. But at E3 2015, Suzuki shocked viewers by announcing that Shenmue 3 was happening — with help from Kickstarter.

The crowdfunding campaign racked up serious amounts of money, with Sony contributing some cash toward the project. But what started as an exciting project with a lot of momentum quickly turned into a waiting game for fans, who realized that the campaign rewards were pegged for an estimated December 2017 ship date.

A handful of screens later, Shenmue 3 still hasn’t been seen in action. But it remains in development, and for some, that might be enough.

How likely is it to show up? 1.

In a May Kickstarter update, Suzuki told backers that the game was still coming along slowly, and that they shouldn’t expect to see Shenmue 3 at any shows this year. Today, he announced a delay until the second half of 2018. So no, an E3 2017 appearance isn’t happening.

Street Fighter X Tekken - Rufus / Ogre screenshot 1280 Bandai Namco/Capcom

Tekken x Street Fighter

It's been seven years since Bandai Namco and Capcom announced they were bringing their two biggest franchises together. The developers revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2010 that not one, but two crossovers were in the works: Street Fighter X Tekken and Tekken X Street Fighter, both to be released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Capcom was to produce the former in the style of Street Fighter; Namco was handling the latter, which would use Tekken gameplay.

Capcom held up its end of the bargain: Street Fighter X Tekken launched on PS3, 360, PC, Vita and iOS in 2012. Bandai Namco, however, kept on chugging along with its project. As recently as 2015, the company said that the game was coming together, even nearing the end of its development. But last April, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada announced that Tekken X Street Fighter had been put on hold for the time being, so that the company could release it during “the right time.”

How likely is it to show up? 3.

Now that Street Fighter 5 is a year old and Tekken 7 has finally hit consoles, perhaps both companies have more time on their hands to wrap up this crossover? That being said, Capcom’s plenty busy with this September’s new Marvel vs. Capcom game, so we may just have to keep waiting.

Wild - shaman on hill looking at island town Wild Sheep Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Wild

Nearly three years have passed since Michel Ancel’s Wild Sheep Studio revealed Wild at Gamescom 2014. The open-world adventure game, which focuses on a shaman trying to survive in nature, allows the player to control animals. We’ve seen trailers with some incredible images, like a snake who transforms into a giant woman. But that was in the fall of 2015, and there haven’t been substantial updates on this PS4 exclusive since.

How likely is it to show up? 7.

Wild is very much in active development, as far as we know. Ancel periodically posts images of the game on Instagram, with the most recent one — which noted that trees are an early presence in all of his games — coming in early February. Ancel’s other project, Beyond Good & Evil 2, is almost certainly skipping E3, which would seem to give Wild a better chance of showing up.

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