Games we need to see at E3
© 2009 David Hilton:- 2IC-Sub Editor
Updated as we get more information (see below). For Part 2 click here.
We get some game announcement that attracts our attention, or perhaps some images or video footage, and then the game simply… disappears? The most famous example in gaming, of course, is Duke Nukem, but there have been a number of titles this generation that have ‘gone walkabout’ as we say here in Oz and I’m hoping that some of them reappear at this year’s E3, now less than a month away.
Is vaporware increasing due to economic pressures? Interestingly not one of the following games is a sequel. So, here are 12 of the games gone Missing In Action (MIA) but feel free to add to the list in the comments section below the article.
To End All Wars
This title was originally announced in 2007 by UK- based video game publisher Ghostlight Ltd. for a release in October 2008. That was quite some time ago, obviously, and rumours have had the game coming out early this year but so far nothing.
The game studio working on the game, Kuju, describes the shooter: “Set in the war-torn trenches of World War I Europe, To End All Wars will deliver unrivalled atmosphere and realism” and “no two battles will be the same and game maps will feature a massive variety of terrain”. The screenshots looked like they needed polish, but the premise was promising. Has the Great War already ended or will we see it flare up again at E3?
Update: Seems Gaslight Games now has Xbox 360 missing from its list of platforms it supports – odd?
Faith And A .45
This one, from Denmark independent studio Deadline Games, (also responsible for the 2 Watchmen games) looks to take some Gears of War style cover and shoot gameplay and mix it with a romantic road movie storyline. The story of two outlaw lovers in a re-imagined depression-era America, fighting to survive against a corrupt oil-man and his men, certainly seems original. It intends to be a gritty co-op shooter with an atmospheric cinematic quality.
The game takes the unlucky Bonnie and Clyde-styled couple, Luke and Ruby, across 1930s America fighting against a “dark army of steel-plated vehicles, and armour-clad pyromaniacs”. The fact that they are a couple is important to the game as Ruby will apparently give a “kiss of life” to Luke if he falls in battle to revive him and kisses as rewards for good work.
They really want the characters to ‘need’ each other and the player not to have a side-kick he/she doesn’t care about. “Since we at Deadline have our roots in movie production, we value original stories, settings and characters very highly,” said CEO Chris Mottes.
The problem is, as with many smaller studios who deserve more attention, they can’t find a publisher in the current economic environment, and the game is shelved. Will a publisher reveal that they have the rights at E3 and give this promising game the “kiss of life”? I sure hope so.
Update E3’09: This game is on indefinite hold as they search for a publisher. Come on publishers…it’s a buyers market!!
The premise of a 2000 year old immortal warrior makes for a perfect time-travelling video game with a great variety of game settings in different time periods. From New York to feudal Japan in the shadow of Mount Fuji and on to what promises to be a very interesting new game environment, Roman Pompeii during the eruption, this game had me very excited.
Announced by Eidos in January 2008 with an eye-catching trailer, it went missing shortly after. The latest is that the game, a third-person action game featuring a previously unknown Immortal, Owen MacLeod, as the main character, will be released in March 2010. With Square-Enix taking over Eidos late last month, will the game really see the light? Or will it be violently beheaded? Hopefully we’ll get some answers at E3. Check out Highlanders Official Website for more information.
Atari are handling the publishing/distribution of the game
Yes there has been confirmation that the game is still being produced, but man oh man we’ve seen and heard very little proof (or not enough anyway!) and this game needs to be at E3 with a very good gameplay showing. This game has been a long time coming but hopefully it will be released this year.
The Pacific Northwest, with its logging towns, great massive treed forests, and tiny fishing villages should provide a variety of excellent environments for a psychological action thriller game about a writer who has trouble sleeping but starts to pen a thriller he doesn’t remember writing that also happens to be coming true. Spooky and cool.
Update E3’09: This game made a big splash at E3 and is firmly back on the radar! Thank goodness! Release date sometime in 2010.
This 3rd person puzzle game by Greek Studio Track 7 Games looks like something different and largely missing from the 360. From modern Athens the characters of this adventure game explore ancient mysteries with environments that are both modern and ancient.
The game’s website is still active but the last entry made was a year ago, and this game also seems to lack a publisher. The 360 needs a good Broken Sword-like adventure, so here’s hoping a publisher comes to the rescue and we see it again at E3.
UPDATE (12/05/09): There are now rumours that the game has been canned. If so this is not surprising, but disappointing. Surely there was a publisher that could see the potential?
Crusaders: Invasion of Constantinople
Not much is known about this “deep action adventure game with an RPG touch” set in 12th century Constantinople (present day Istanbul) by French game studio Kylotonn. It was announced in 2007, but all is quiet now. With Assassin’s Creed moving into the Renaissance, the Crusades is still a rich period to set an action game.
If they can make the game’s primary location, Constantinople, medieval Europe’s bridge between West and East, come alive, then I’m sold. Another little guy who has to struggle to be competitive against the big studios who largely remake similar games in an economic environment gone bad, their website is also still active, but the last screenshot was posted in July 2008.
I very much hope this game gets up and running and that we see something at E3, but I’m not holding my breath.
Hydrophobia is set onboard the Queen of the World (no doubt a homage to the movie Titanic and the over-used quote ‘I’m the King of the world!’). It is the largest cruise ship ever constructed. The area between the hulls resembles a city – it has schools, universities, even a football stadium. You can live there if you are super rich, which sounds good to me: visit exotic ports by day and return to a city every night. It’s virtually a mini country, like a floating Vatican City- but its religion is money. No taxes and no prying Big Government here. And lots of water. Sounds like a winner…a city that turns into a waterpark when terrorists show up to spoil the party.
The game is being made by Blade Interactive who showed a trailer last E3 but the release date of March this year has passed, and not much news has been forthcoming since. Since the game is supposed to already have a sequel for it planned, we’d better see something at this year’s E3!
What happens if the Renaissance never occurs and medieval monk-knights the Templars never get killed off? Well Arkane studios thinks they would seize control of France and you would have a Paris that advances with medieval influences in both architecture and ideas and they do this through their game The Crossing. So you have two settings; normal modern Paris and an alternate reality Paris where things are very different.
I think it’s a great concept with lots of interesting environmental possibilities. Except this First Person Shooter has gone missing….or was released in an alternate reality where alternate me is playing it.
UPDATE (16/05/09): With E3 just around the corner we’ve heard more information about this game too. Apparently it has been put on hold due to “unexpected financial challenges”. Again I find this unfortunate because the crossplay idea and the alternate time setting were intriguing.
Edge Of Twilight
Here’s a local Australian game being produced by studio Fuzzyeyes for publisher SouthPeak Interactive that combines third-person platforming with hack ‘n slash; sort of like Devil May Cry, but in a steampunk fantasy world.
It is based around 5 characters, the main one being Lex, a halfbreed who can travel between the two realms of Day and Night. Then there’s Athern Guard, Majestic Lithern, Tainted Warrior and Tainted Bruiser. You’ll find their specific details on the website as well as some downloads and further information.
It’s another title that has been around in construction (as is their website…) for awhile (2007) that is supposed to come out this year. E3 will be their big chance to grab some interest and get it off the MIA list.
Update E3’09: This game is back on the radar with an appearance at E3 and a new trailer here.
Washington D.C. provides a great backdrop to political intrigue in a game promising to allow more freedom of choice and difference in storyline depending on your actions. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that before too, but Fable 2 was a start. It is supposed to come late this year.
Game studio Frontier (who are now hiring btw) is going for a ‘unique experience with The Outsider, using a dynamic world and story’. You are John Jameson, ex-CIA officer framed in the assassination of the President of the United States. All so very Jack Bauer-ish. Apparently there will be a lot of NPCs running around too, making the environment more realistic and interesting. Hopefully this game will combine a replayable game with multiple possibilities in an environment that is fresh and alive. So maybe a more interesting sandbox-like game with actual stories instead of ‘fetch this, protect that, find, chase and kill this and that’?
There’s an ‘outsider’ chance we’ll see this one at E3 (sorry….).
2 Days To Vegas
How long has this game apparently been in production? 2 Days To Vegas has been in production – since 2003! I’d have given up on this one except it has recently resurfaced and has a 360 and PC release date of 2009, and a PS3 one of 2010.
Game studio Steel Monkeys are creating a third-person action adventure game about one brother (a recently release convict -sigh- how original) going to Vegas to help out another brother in trouble. The game takes place over 48 hours during the journey from New York (sigh) to Vegas. If it really is coming this year, we should see it at E3.
It’s a sandbox first-person view survival horror game where the protagonist is trying to find his wife on a zombie-infested island. Think Lost (because you crash on the island and there are human factions) meets lots of zombies….stuff the ‘black smoke’!
The chance to kill zombies on a tropical island sounds interesting, as is its focus on melee combat over shooting. The game is supposed to be released this year, so again we need to see something at E3 to believe that.
To read PART 2, with 10 more games gone MIA, click HERE.