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The big games missing from E3 2021

Fable
(Image credit: Lionhead Games)

...And that’s a wrap for E3 2021! It was a strange year for the annual games showcase, having been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, it meant there was no physical, in person show, and instead a series of publisher-ran streams to keep up with.

The lack of a physical presence meant some major players, not least EA and Sony PlayStation, have opted to skip E3 in favor of their own events, while each publisher that did turn up had notably fewer big titles to show off. It’s an understandable side-effect of a period in time where regular, collaborative work practices have been disrupted by illness, travel bans and newly-established work from home standards.

There were still some big hitters on show – Starfield appeared out of the black hole it’s been gestating for instance, as did The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. But some games we’d have thought were dead-certs to make a splash failed to materialize at all.

Collected here are the games we missed the most at E3 2021, no-shows at the conference that we’re desperate to learn more about.

  • E3 2021: everything announced, trailers, news and more
  • New games 2021: game release dates for console and PC

Fable

(Image credit: Playground Games)

Fable 4

Considering we only just found out that a new Fable game was on the way in 2020, it’s not too surprising that the beloved adventure RPG wasn’t ready to be shown at E3. The game is also being handled by Forza Horizon 5 developer Playground Games, so it’s unclear how much resources has gone into the next entry in the Fable series at this stage. Hopefully we’ll find out more at next year’s E3 conference. 

Metroid Prime 4

Metroid Prime 4 was first announced six years ago, and it seems like Nintendo still isn’t ready to show the game off just yet. During Nintendo’s Direct, the company confirmed the company was “working hard on Metroid Prime 4”. In the meantime, fans of Samus Aran can look forward to playing Metroid: Dread, which releases on October 8.

Hellblade 2: Senua’s Sacrifice

Remember that disturbing Hellblade 2 reveal trailer? Well, that’s the last we saw of Ninja Theory’s follow up to its 2017 hit. The game was first revealed at The Game Awards 2019, alongside the reveal of the Xbox Series X, but information has been thin on the ground ever since. Ninja Theory has been slowly sharing development updates on the game, such as how it’s using new cloud tech, but we’re impatient to find out more. 

Perfect Dark

It’s been 11 years since the last Perfect Dark game, and it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer until we find out when we can get our hands on Joanna Dark’s next adventure. Perfect Dark was teased during The Game Awards 2020 and is being developed by The Initiative – hopefully we get an update during next year’s E3. 

Everwild

Rare’s brand new IP hasn’t been seen since its initial reveal at Microsoft’s X019 event, and its release date seems to be a good few years away. With news that the game recently got a new creative director, don’t expect to hear much about Everwild anytime soon. Rare did reveal that Sea of Thieves is getting an impressive new Pirates of the Caribbean crossover, though, so it wasn’t all bad news for fans of the studio.

Hogwarts Legacy

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Hogwarts Legacy

Publisher Warner Bros were up front early on this E3 season that its only game on show would be zombie shooter Back 4 Blood. Which is a shame, as Hogwarts Legacy, the upcoming Harry Potter RPG, appears to be coming along quite nicely from the early footage we’ve seen. Still, we’ve no idea what impact Covid-19 has had on the development team at Avalanche Software, and, with a rough 2022 launch window lined-up, there’s plenty of time yet to see where this ends up.

Avowed

Obsidian’s Skyrim-esque first-person RPG wasn’t part of Microsoft’s Xbox and Bethesda showcase, but head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirmed the game is still in development. The studio did announce it’s working on The Outer Worlds 2 and releasing more updates for Grounded, but we can’t say that we weren’t slightly disappointed that Avowed was absent from E3. 

BioShock 4

BioShock 4 (or whatever it will be called) is officially in development at 2K Games’ new studio Cloud Chamber. Given that it’s been two years since the new BioShock was announced, we were hoping that we would finally get our first look at the next entry in the retrofuturistic series during E3 2021, along with an official name and release window - but had no such luck. 

Skull and Bones

It’s a bit worrying that Skull and Bones didn’t make an appearance at Ubisoft’s E3 showcase. Having had a troubled development over several years, we’d been expecting some news on the game, which is said to have had a bit of a production reboot and a change of direction in the intervening years since its 2017 unveiling. But it was a no show – worrying given that it currently has a March 2022 release window pencilled in. Perhaps it’s come full circle – starting life as an Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag spin off, perhaps it will again be more closely linked to the series?

God of War

(Image credit: Sony)

God of War: Ragnarok

Sony recently revealed that God of War: Ragnarok (or God of War 2) is scheduled to release sometime in 2022. The game will also be available on PS4, which was a surprise to many. As Sony wasn't present at this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo, it made sense that no God of War: Ragnarok news was shared. Still, you can’t blame us for being optimistic. 

Gran Turismo 7

With Sony opting to skip E3 for the second year running, the likes of Gran Turismo were never going to be shown. We can expect a State of Play event in the future that will focus solely on Polyphony Digital’s upcoming racing sim, which is coming to PS5 and PS4. 

FIFA 22

With EA set to host its own event outside of E3 called EA Play Live, it wasn’t too surprising that FIFA 22 didn’t make an appearance. However, it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll get a closer look at EA’s annual soccer sim on July 22.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Having missed several release dates, we were holding out hope that the next Lego Star Wars adventure would appear at E3. It didn’t. The next big opportunity will be at the inaugural Lego Con, taking place on Saturday 26 June.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

We don’t know a whole bunch about Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League quite yet and E3 2021 didn’t see that change. We were hoping that Warner Bros. would give us an update on Rocksteady’s next outing, which is set to release in 2022, but instead the publisher used its showcase to focus on Back 4 Blood. We could be waiting until this year’s DC FanDome in October to learn more.

Gotham Knights

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Gotham Knights

Like with Suicide Squad, we were expecting Warner Bros. to share some more details on Gotham Knights at E3 2021, but the new Batman game was a no-show. Unlike with Suicide Squad, we do know a fair few details about Gotham Knights, but a release date still escapes us. The last update we got on Gotham Knights revealed that the open-world, action RPG had been delayed from a 2021 release into 2022. It’s likely we’ll get a solid Gotham Knights update at DC FanDome in October.

The Elder Scrolls 6

We may finally have been given a release date for Starfield, but Bethesda’s other highly anticipated title was only mentioned briefly at the end of Microsoft’s Xbox and Bethesda Showcase. It’s unclear when we’ll hear more about the game, but it seems a surefire bet that the game will be an Xbox exclusive. 

Indiana Jones

Having only seen a teaser trailer for Indy’s return to gaming in January 2021, suggesting development was still very much in progress, it would have been a bit of a stretch to see Indiana Jones at E3 2021. With a new, fifth Indiana Jones film scheduled for release in July 2022, don’t be surprised if we see this one tie in with that, and be revealed fully late in 2021 or early 2022.

Beyond Good and Evil 2

We’re getting big ‘vaporware’ vibes from Beyond Good and Evil 2. First revealed in 2017, it seemed maddeningly ambitious, promising vibrant cities to explore across a colorful sci-fi galaxy – and all the space and ships in between you’d need to reach them. In a post-No Man’s Sky world it feels a little more feasible now, but with there being four years of radio silence and original director Michael Ancel now having departed the project, we’re starting to think this one’s dead, sadly.

The Sims 4

(Image credit: EA)

The Sims 5

Okay, this one was maybe a bit of a long shot considering EA has just announced a new The Sims 4 expansion pack - and that developer Maxis was only in the pre-production phase in early 2020. But we were naively hoping that EA would give us an update on the next-generation of The Sims, which is confirmed to be in the works. It’s likely that it’ll be a few years before we get solid details on The Sims 5, but that doesn’t stop us being excited or from hoping it makes an appearance at the EA Play showcase on July 22. Though, we’re not holding our breath.

Final Fantasy 16

There was a lot of Final Fantasy during Square Enix’s E3 2021 showcase, from classic 2D remasters to ‘normcore’ spin-off Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin. We’d have loved to have seen more of mainline entry Final Fantasy 16, set to offer a return to the high-fantasy stylings of earlier Final Fantasy games. However, as it’s set to be a timed exclusive for PlayStation 5, this might be another game being held back for Sony’s own eventual post-E3 State of Play showcase.

Bayonetta 3

Platinum Games stylish beat ‘em up Bayonetta failed to show during E3, which means it’s been over three years since we last got an update. Nintendo hasn’t provided any new screenshots, trailers or even a general status check on the game, so who knows when we might see it again. 

Hollow Knight: Silksong

The follow up to the indie darling Hollow Knight, Team Cherry’s highly anticipated sequel didn’t feature during Nintendo’s E3 presentation, which was a slight surprise. The game is still without a release date, but if it’s anything like the original, we’re more than happy to wait until it’s good and ready. 

Dead Island 2

Dead Island 2 could be best described as vaporware at this point. Vaporware is a term used for games that have been announced, but are not available to buy, either because it’s still just a concept, or because it hasn’t been designed. Weirdly, Dead Island 2 was revealed back at E3 2014, but it’s been AWOL ever since. At this rate, your guess is as good as ours if Dead Island 2 will ever see the light of day. 

Deathloop

(Image credit: Arkane)

Deathloop

A curious one this – destined to be a timed exclusive for PlayStation 5, that’s despite the fact it’s from a studio now owned by Microsoft (Bethesda’s Arkane). As a result, with Sony skipping E3, there was no opportunity to to show the time-looping hitman caper (save the unlikely event of Bethesda showcasing a PS5 game during the Xbox event). Regardless, this one’s due to hit stores September 14, so it won’t be too long until we get our own mitts on it anyway.

Ghostwire: Tokyo

Another oddity is Ghostwire: Tokyo, developed by Tango Gameworks. The studio is also part of Bethesda, but Ghostwire: Tokyo is coming to PS5 as a timed exclusive. The game is set to release sometime in October 2021, and sees Tokyo overrun with deadly supernatural forces.

As Dusk Falls

Interactive drama As Dusk Falls was revealed in July 2020, but it wasn’t present at this year’s E3. As Dusk Falls sees you explore the entangled lives of two families, and features a striking artstyle. The game is coming to Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC, and will be available on Xbox Game Pass on day one. 

CrossfireX

The legendary PC franchise CrossfireX is coming to Xbox, but we didn’t see it at this year’s E3. The single-player campaign is being developed by Remedy Entertainment, the team behind Alan Wake and Control, and sees you take control of both the Global Risk and Black List mercenary factions in a series of action-packed stories told from both sides of the conflict. 

Cuphead

(Image credit: Studio MDHR)

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

Studio MDHR’s upcoming DLC, Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course, still doesn’t have a firm release date, and unfortunately it didn’t make an appearance during E3. And that’s a shame, because we can’t wait to play more of the classic-cartoon-inspired run and gun game. Oh well.

Scorn

Scorn, the weird, fleshy-looking game that’s inspired by the works of H. R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński is still slated to release on Xbox Series X in 2021, but it was absent from Microsoft’s E3 presentation. We expect an update will be delivered in due course, but wouldn’t be too surprised if the game’s release date slipped into next year. 

WWE 2K22

The WWE Universe was left wanting at E3, as 2K Games didn’t show anymore of its upcoming wrestling game, WWE 2K22. We’ve still only seen a brief snippet of the game, which was shown during Wrestlemania 37, but hopefully more information will be shared soon.

Pokémon Legends Arceus

We were surprised that Pokémon Legends Arceus didn’t appear during Nintendo’s showcase, especially given that it’s releasing in January next year. While we already know a fair bit about Arceus, we were hoping that Nintendo would at least give us a new trailer for the upcoming Pokémon game or provide a deep-dive into some of its new features. We expect we’ll be waiting for another Nintendo Direct for these details.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

Much like Pokémon Legends Arceus, we were expecting Nintendo to give us an update on the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes, which are set to release later this year. Alas, they were absent from Nintendo’s E3 Direct, meaning we’ll be waiting a little longer for solid details on just how Ninty looks to improve these classics.

Forspoken

With Square Enix hosting its own showcase during E3 2021, we expected Forspoken would make an appearance. Unfortunately, the action RPG was a no-show, so it’ll be a bit longer before we get details on this narrative-driven adventure. We’re expecting it could make an appearance at a future Sony games showcase.

New Call of Duty 2021

Was this the first E3 not to feature a spotlight on the latest Call of Duty game? We briefly learned about Season 4 for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty: Warzone, but no details were shared about Call of Duty 2021, which is rumored to be called Call of Duty: Vanguard. The series is usually released in October, so we’re expecting to hear more about the next entry in Activision’s blockbuster franchise soon.

Forza Motorsport 

It makes sense that Forza Motorsport wasn’t shown after Forza Horizon 5 was revealed, but we now know the game will be targeting a 2022 release date. Developer Turn 10 Studios recently let players participate in testing the game, and there will be more opportunities for racing enthusiasts to try it out before it releases. 

Diablo Immortal and Diablo 4

With Blizzcon 2021 cancelled, there was an outside chance we’d see the upcoming Diablo duology make an appearance at E3. And while Diablo 2: Resurrected (the 4K remake of the seminal second game in the series) did pop up briefly at Xbox’s event, the other too were sorely absent. Diablo games have notoriously protracted development cycles (as do most things at developer Blizzard) so it may be some time till we get more info on Diablo 4. But with Diablo Immortal beta testing on phones, we’d actually expect a full release for that mobile spin off relatively soon.

Dragon Age 4

(Image credit: BioWare)

Dragon Age 4 

Dragon Age fans who have been clamoring for news on Dragon Age 4 will likely have been disappointed by the game’s absence during E3 2021. But, it likely won’t be long until we get more details - and maybe even an official name - for the next Dragon Age, with EA hosting an EA Play showcase on July 22.

Little Devil Inside 

Considering supernatural action-adventure Little Devil Inside is slated to release in July this year, it’s a bit odd that it didn’t make an appearance at this year’s E3 - leading us to speculate that it could be delayed. Little Devil Inside is a timed-console exclusive for PS4 and PS5, so we expect it’ll make an appearance at a future Sony games showcase.

GTA 5 on PS5 and XSX

Rockstar’s GTA 5: Enhanced Edition is still without a release date, and the game didn’t make an appearance at E3. In fact, none of Rockstar’s titles did, so it wasn’t too much of a shock that GTA 5 was absent. Still, as the game is a port of a title that was released back in 2013, we’re not sure why it’s taking so long to come to PS5 and Xbox Series X. 

Grand Theft Auto 6 (not announced, but hoped for)

Another year goes by without a GTA 6 announcement - but in a way, that means we’re one year closer to getting some news on the next game in Rockstar’s legendary franchise. Little is known about the game at present, but there’s a slew of rumors that speculate on where the game might be set, and even if players will be rewarded cryptocash for completing missions.

Mario Kart 9 (not announced, but hoped for)

Even though Nintendo brought back many classic titles during its E3 presentation, the company is stubbornly refusing to announce Mario Kart 9. We usually get one Mario Kart game per console generation, but because Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was a port of the Wii U game, we feel rather cheated. Switch deserves its own standalone Mario Kart game, so hopefully Nintendo makes it happen soon.

More Zelda remasters (not announced, but hoped for)

We might be getting The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD on July 16, but Nintendo didn’t reveal Switch ports of Wind Waker or Twilight Princess like many had hoped. Instead, it revealed its releasing a Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda console, which includes The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves his gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Based out of TechRadar Towers, London, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK. He dreams of the day when he can pop on a VR headset and meet Lawnmower Man-era Pierce Brosnan. Sadly, Pierce doesn't share the dream.