It’s here again – after a year’s hiatus, E3 2021 is back in full swing with four packed days of non-stop gaming announcements. Previous years have given us incredible memories. A lot of cringe-worthy ones, for sure, but some of the best have come from game announcements that were totally out of left field.
That said, it’s a turbulent time for all of us. Game production timelines are likely all over the place as studios adapt to working from home measures. Games that were announced a few years ago might still be miles away from concrete release dates.
Deep Silver has recently tempered fan expectations by confirming that several of its games won’t be appearing this weekend.
Not to tempt fate, but I’ve compiled a list of games that I don’t think we’ll see at E3 2021.
The Elder Scrolls VI
Starting out with an obvious one, I’ll chew my socks if we see anything to do with Elder Scrolls VI. In an uncharacteristic move from Bethesda, it was announced at E3 2018 that Elder Scrolls VI was entering pre-production.
Bethesda is usually one to keep its cards close to its chest until the very last moment. Todd Howard, the executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios, said at the recent Brighton Develop conference that he’s not a fan of showing off a game too early:
“Preparing trailers, demos and assets take time away from development. I remember games we’ve done where you’re doing that for multiple years and it’s like you have to top yourself. You have to top your previous demo. I’d rather spend all that time focusing on the game and prepare one big demo.”
Depending on the game, it can take several long years to develop a video game. RPG titles on a huge scale especially take the longest. Cyberpunk 2077 was reportedly in the works for around nine years before it hit shelves.
It’s thought that the last Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, was in development for around three years. That might be a reason to get your hopes up, but bear in mind the current challenges that Bethesda faces. It also has Starfield to get out of the door first. In addition, Howard also says that the team has completed a massive engine overhaul. Working with new technology is likely to slow down development significantly.
We’ll almost definitely see some of Starfield this weekend, but don’t get any hopes up for Elder Scrolls just yet.
While it seems that Ubisoft may have forgotten about its iconic protagonist, Sam Fisher, we sure as heck haven’t. It’s been eight years since a new Splinter Cell last hit shelves and it’s about time we saw a new one.
With the rise of battle passes and live services, plenty of new releases opt for loot-based action gameplay. That means we’ve lost a lot of stealth gameplay that was typically synonymous with self-contained, linear experiences.
Though the most recent release in Blacklist gunned for a more action-oriented approach, the series as a whole had a penchant for well-designed stealth. The closest we’ve gotten to Splinter Cell in recent years is Metal Gear Solid V, and that’s six years old. I’d love to see Ubisoft return to Splinter Cell – something similar to Metal Gear Solid but with far less edge.
However, it seems very unlikely that Ubisoft will be revisiting old ground anytime soon. The only places we’ve seen Sam Fisher used recently have been in mobile game spin-offs and occasional easter eggs. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fisher turn up as an Operator in Siege before he gets another game of his own.
I’m perfectly ready to be proven wrong, but I reckon we won’t see any Splinter Cell at all this weekend.
The Simpsons: Hit and Run
It’s the remaster that everyone and their mother would love to see, but will likely never happen. A recent survey suggests that Simpsons Hit and Run tops the list of many gamers remaster wishlists. We’re hard-pressed to disagree.
18 years on and it’s still the best Simpsons video game adaptation we have. Riffing on the Grand Theft Auto formula, it enabled younger gamers to get a taste of the action while remaining fairly PG.
It was even written in the satirical fashion synonymous with both The Simpsons and Grand Theft Auto, frequently poking fun at the idea of a Simpsons themed video game.
Back when it was released, Hit and Run was developed by Radical Entertainment. It went on to create the Prototype games before suffering a huge financial loss. It’s since been relegated to supporting other development studios like Bungie and its work on the original Destiny.
Since Disney’s acquisition of Fox a few years ago, the ball is in the mouse’s court for a potential remaster. While initially rather averse to the idea of video games, Disney seem to be branching out with their IPs with Indiana Jones and Star Wars games currently in development at separate big-name studios.
I’ll be extremely surprised to see Hit and Run appear in an E3 2021 presentation, but then again – aren’t surprises what E3 is all about?
Indiana Jones and Star Wars
Speaking of Disney, it’s also incredibly unlikely that we’ll see anything to do with the Indiana Jones or Star Wars games currently in development.
As mentioned, video games take a ruddy long time to build. With franchises as huge as Indiana Jones and Star Wars, Disney is going to want to ensure that these releases are spotless – it’s been burned before on Star Wars Battlefront 2.
Both projects were only announced in the early weeks of 2021, and that was to say that they were entering pre-production. That usually means that the concept of the game is being drawn up – the story threads, the basic gameplay patterns, that sort of thing. It’ll be a long while yet before working, playable demos of these games are available to provide a vertical slice of the final product.
We don’t even know much about the basic concepts of each game yet, other than which studios they’re in development in. Indiana Jones is being worked on by MachineGames, the studio behind the modern Wolfenstein games. Turns out they really have a penchant for thwarting Nazi’s.
The Star Wars title is in development at Ubisoft Massive. That’s the team behind The Division games, suggesting that this new title might have something of an MMO-looter shooter vibe. Nothing is confirmed yet, though, and definitely won’t be during the E3 2021 presentations.
Much to do with EA
If the only games you play are EA’s sports titles, maybe give E3 2021 a miss. EA hasn’t participated for a number of years now, and this one is no different. While the company usually schedules its EA Play Live presentation the day before E3 kicks off, this year it’s decided to grab our attention next month in July.
We will, however, see our first gameplay of Battlefield 2042. The epic reveal trailer dropped earlier this week and looks to take the series right back to its roots. Besides that, though, you’ll have to wait another month for updates on what’s next for Apex Legends and all of EA’s sports titles.
If we’re going to see EA anywhere, it’ll be at the Microsoft event. The publisher has a good working relationship with Microsoft as its EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate services were merged last year. There was also that unfortunate moment when the Battlefield 4 reveal trailer simply refused to play with sound on the Xbox stage in 2013. Poor Patrick Söderlund.
I can’t say that I’ll be complaining – purely from my own perspective, the sports sections are usually the best time for a pee break. Actually, maybe I should be complaining. When else are we supposed to relieve ourselves amidst these lengthy press conferences?
Enough of the pessimism. Safe to say, it’s good to see E3 back in one form or another. Having a bunch of gaming news all packed into one weekend can be stressful, but it’s all the more exhilarating for it.
What are some games you’d like to see at E3 2021 but definitely won’t make it? Let us know across our social channels.
[Featured Image Credit: Bethesda/EA/Ubisoft]
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