Following last night’s back-to-back JRPG stream, not-E3 2022 is officially a wrap. It was a weird one this year. Bethesda finally showed off more than eight seconds of Starfield gameplay, four years after its initial announcement. Several prestigious studios announced remakes of cultural touchstones that may or may not need the remake treatment. A series of indie-driven showcases handily upstaged the big AAA events.
It was made even weirder, too, thanks to the outright absence of major publishers like EA and Take-Two Interactive. For all intents and purposes, Ubisoft was MIA, save for a five-minute announcement about an Assassin’s Creed announcement coming in September. Nintendo didn’t air a Nintendo Direct, as it traditionally does each June, though the rumour mill is (very reasonably) convinced that one is coming later this month.
The Outer Worlds 2
During last year’s E3, Obsidian revealed a sequel to The Outer Worlds, its 2019 capitalism-skewering role-playing shooter. This year, Microsoft focused its big annual Xbox showcase on games “planned for the next 12 months.” The Outer Worlds 2 was a no-show. A graphic published after the event, meant to outline games coming out for the rest of this year and into next year, didn’t mention The Outer Worlds 2 either. It’s safe to assume this sequel — one of four revealed games in the pipeline from Obsidian — isn’t coming out for a while.
Even without The Outer Worlds 2, Obsidian has two games — the side-scrolling Penitent and the full release of A Bug’s Life sim Grounded — due later this year. But it’s also been two years since Obsidian has revealed Avowed, which was first teased with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trailer during not-E3 2020 and has seen little info follow. In sitting out this year’s not-E3, Avowed has been absent for two years of high video game marketing season. All we know about it so far is that it’s a first-person RPG in a fantasy setting.
God of War Ragnarök
It’s not surprising, per se, that the action game God of War Ragnarök was absent from not-E3. Prior to its big presser, Sony explicitly said that the event would primarily spotlight third-party and virtual reality games. Plus, in recent years, Sony has opted to showcase first-party PlayStation games in dedicated, singularly focused livestreams. But seeing as Ragnarök is unquestionably one of the most anticipated games of the year, its absence during this year’s conferences was keenly felt. A recent Bloomberg report suggested it’s still on track for a fall release, though, so a formal announcement may be imminent.
Pragmata is still an enigma. First announced in June 2020 and slated for a 2022 release, Capcom delayed the sci-fi game last November. It’s now planned for next year, but there’s no indication about what it actually…is. Capcom’s big event this year was all Resident Evil, Resident Evil, Resident Evil, and more Resident Evil, with, sure, a dash of some other games. Pragmata was not one of them.
Seeing as Halo is Microsoft’s flagship, fans expected some sort of news about Halo Infinite, be that a new multiplayer mode (the studio Certain Affinity is reportedly working on…something for Halo) or an expansion to the campaign (Microsoft recently trademarked a phrase related to events from Infinite’s narrative). But the only Halo news at not-E3 2022 was, um, two batches of tie-in DLC. Fall Guys, Mediatonic’s effervescent platformer royale, will receive a slew of time-limited costumes themed after Halo characters at the end of the month. Microsoft Flight Sim, meanwhile, will let players fly Halo’s iconic pelican transport vehicle.
Rare’s Everwild has been under wraps for about three years. Announced in 2019, Microsoft showed it off again the following year. Everwild wasn’t anywhere to be seen during the big Xbox event at E3 2021, which raised eyebrows. But it quickly made sense: VGC reported that the game was internally rebooted. Reportedly, Rare doesn’t expect it out until 2024.
In 2020, Microsoft announced a revival of Fable, the long-dormant series of fantasy games from Lionhead (RIP). The next entry is under the purview of Playground Games, which released open-world racer Forza Horizon 5 last fall and has a Hot Wheels-themed expansion for that game in the works right now. If Fable is even a fraction as eye-poppingly gorgeous as Forza Horizon 5, oh man.
The other big revival from Microsoft was announced two years ago and has yet to be seen since: Perfect Dark, the series of future-chic espionage shooters, is coming back. But Rare, the original developer, isn’t leading the project. The next entry is being developed by The Initiative, a new studio.
Game development takes longer than ever these days, exacerbated by a number of factors, from the ballooning scale of big-budget games to the woes of developing those games in the middle of a pandemic. Short takeaway: We’ll see ‘em when they’re ready.