The E3 party is over. We here at Kotaku are crumpling up the paper tablecloths, throwing out the empty cake boxes, and pulling your shoe out of our fish tank as we wrap up the last of our coverage of the many, many things we saw and did at the event.
But what about what we didn't do? There are a handful of key titles that we thought we could expect for this year's holiday season, so why weren't they showing alongside their seasonal bretheren? We rounded up for you a complete list of this year's no-shows and the hype that preceded them, and then tried to get to the bottom of their conspicuous absence.
Hit the jump for the full report.
The Game: Alan Wake
The Hype: Max Payne developer Remedy announced the "action thriller" way back in 2005, promising to unveil it at E3 — but the game's skipped every event since then, while the developers denied cancellation rumors.
The Facts: A recent story referring to a Windows-branded contest that suggested the game would be shown at this year's Tokyo Game Show turned out to be old news from last year - Remedy posted on its Alan Wake forums that the team's just gotten back from a bit of holidaying, and that they "haven't had time to chat with Microsoft on upcoming shows/showings yet." We contacted Microsoft, and got a "no comment."
The Game: Beyond Good & Evil 2
The Hype: After the original Xbox title first earned critical acclaim in 2003 (making it the ideal title for the return of Kotaku's Game Club), Ubisoft at last announced a sequel for Xbox 360 and PS3 at its Ubidays 08 late in May with a single trailer. No release date was given, and the only other thing we've heard from boss Yves Guillemot is that the sequel will be "more accessible" (read: easier) than its predecessor.
The Facts: Ubisoft has not returned requests for comment, but since the lid was only peeled off the first trailer late in May, it's probable that E3 came too soon to expect the developer to put together a serviceable E3 build.
The Game: Tekken 6
The Hype: Back in 2006, some less-than-impressive E3 screens surfaced for the sixth Tekken title, and in early 2007, unconfirmed rumors suggested the title would launch on Xbox 360 after a period of PS3 exclusivity. When? All we heard is "after Soulcalibur IV" — that's this month, and with no show at E3, that seems pretty unlikely.
The Facts: It's been out on Namco's Japanese arcades, the ones modeled on PS3 hardware, since November 2007, and that's the only place it's been seen since then. We've got no comment from Namco as of press time.
The Game: APB (All Points Bulletin)
The Hype: Dave Jones of Realtime Worlds, the team behind Crackdown, first unveiled APB at GDC 08 in February, wowing audiences with the Counter-Strike-inspired MMO that featured character customization with so many choices that Jones demoed a battle featuring modded FFVII characters. It must have inspired investors, because only a month later Realtime Worlds scored an eye-popping $50 million in venture capital to support the game's development.
The Facts: After the developer bought full rights to the game back from Korean company Webzen, rumors abounded that the developer was angling to sell the game to Rockstar, to create a GTA IV-branded MMO. No such deal surfaced, and early in June the developer said they were in alpha, heading for a full public beta.
Realtime Worlds president Tony Harman told Kotaku that the investment, plus the changing of hands, is the reason behind the no-show at E3: "This year we would have had an exciting presence with APB at E3 if we had continued with Webzen as our publisher," Harman said. "But, given that we re-acquired the rights to APB just this spring and closed a very large fundraising round ($50,000,000) to secure APB's future, the timing just wasn't right to attend E3."
"RTW is very excited with APB's progress and we have used our fundraising as a means to invest even more heavily in the APB development team. RTW hopes to release more information later this year with regards to gameplay details and beta plans."
The Game: Brütal Legend
The Hype: The "heavy metal roadshow" epic, starring Jack Black and in development by Tim Schafer-fronted Double Fine, was first announced in September 2007 to much anticipation. We've since seen some effervescent concept art and even a trailer, enough to provoke anticipatory handwringing over the next opus from the well-reputed Psychonauts genius.
The Facts: Alas, it looks like the Activision-Vivendi merger tangled E3 plans for Brütal Legend — Vivendi was the game's original publisher, and the newly-combined company largely snubbed E3 amid its withdrawal from the ESA, though it did hold a press conference there. Just ahead of the event, Schafer confirmed that he hopes to show the game "soon after" E3, and told MTV Multiplayer that "As soon as the dust settles from this whole [Activision Blizzard] merger thing we should be able to talk about the game a lot more." On Double Fine's official blog, though, Schafer humorously told readers that he skipped E3 because he was much too fat to get through the door, but hopes the South Beach Diet will help.
The Game: Indiana Jones
The Hype: The game was announced in 2005 and first unveiled at E3 2006, appearing to be slated for a 2007 release — when 2007 came and went, we figured that LucasArts would time the game's launch with the release of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull flick. Nope.
The Facts: LucasArts has had its share of troubles lately; back in June, it sacked anywhere from 75 to 100 employees. Though the publisher stated it was still committed to internal development, it joined Activision, Vivendi, id and others in ditching the ESA, and while it still presented at E3, LucasArts told us in late June not to expect any new announcements or titles at the show because of "too much noise" around the event. The publisher has not yet returned requests for comment, but the facts seem to point to a resource-limited LucasArts preferring to focus on Star Wars right now.
The Game: Team ICO's Mystery Project
The Hype: The team behind ICO and Shadow of the Colossus is working on something, possibly even two somethings, with a Sony exec saying he was "pretty sure" it was an ICO sequel while another rep said it seemed "close to Shadow of the Colossus" in atmosphere. Since then, all we've seen is an exciting screenshot of a chain disappearing into a hole of some kind.
The Facts: Sony says there's nothing new to announce — if there are any details to be known about when we'll see the Team ICO game, they aren't telling us.
The Game: Duke Nukem Forever
The Hype: The "Forever" in the title must refer to how long it's been since we first heard about this game. Actually, it's been more than a decade — that's right, it's said to have entered development in 1997, a whole 'nother console generation ago. Since then, we've seen the occasional stray screen and twittering rumor to remind us that our favorite piece of vaporware does exist. But then, when a trailer surfaced at last, a 2008 release date was confirmed (and then promptly un-confirmed), and Shacknews actually got to take a demo for a spin, we wondered — could this E3 finally be the one?
The Facts: 3D Realms' Scott Miller said at the end of June that the game, although "coming along" (of course), would not be at E3. Why? Because E3 has become so unimportant that Miller just forgot it existed. "It's just that we view E3 as irrelevant nowadays. In fact, I wasn't even aware it was coming up," he said.
The Game: Aliens: Colonial Marines
The Hype: A new FPS based on the Aliens IP? Count us in. Sega first revealed official details of the Gearbox-developed title in February 2008, teasing with a quick trailer at its gamers' day in May. The release date is supposed to be "late 2008," the same timeline as other games shown at E3. So why did Aliens: Colonial Marines skip the party?
The Facts: Sega of America president Simon Jeffery told our own Crecente that Aliens was the game he was most looking forward to among the publisher's entire lineup. "I think Aliens is going to be kickass," he said. Coming out this year, then? "Well, fiscal year," said Jeffery. "This E3 we're really focusing on stuff that's coming out by the holidays, as much as possible," he added.
The Game: Bungie's Next Project
The Hype: Rumors abounded about what Bungie's next project would be — a Halo sans Master Chief? A 2D platformer featuring a plunger-wielding hero? Whatever it was, when a cryptic splash page appeared on Bungie.net at the start of E3 week, it seemed we were just about to find out.
The Facts: What's E3 without a little drama? When no Bungie announcement came, Bungie president Harold Ryan was quick to reveal the reason why via a simple letter posted on the front page of the developer's website — Bungie had been planning to announce its next game, but said it was as disappointed as the fans when its "plans were just changed by our publisher." When Microsoft's Don Mattrick let slip during E3 that Bungie's next project was indeed a Halo game, the publisher soon followed up with an explanation for why they held off on a big reveal: Microsoft thought it had its competition well enough beat with its E3 presser, and decided to save some of its "embarrassment of riches" for a later event that would "do this game more justice."