10 games missing since E3 2021

E3 could be officially canceled for 2022, but we’re still heading for a storm of big showcases this summer. New announcements abound, but what about the stuff unveiled last year? It’s easy to forget what was announced 360 days ago, but there are a handful of no-shows that stand out when we look back.

Here are ten games that have kept a low profile since E3 2021. Whether they were announced too early, ran into development issues, or were scrapped in the months since, here’s why they are significant and our best estimate of whether we will see them again this summer.

Discover our 2022 “E3” program (opens in a new tab) guide if you’re curious about when these games might reappear.

Avatar: Pandora’s Frontiers

Developer: Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft Dusseldorf, Ubisoft Shanghai
Editor: Ubisoft
Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series, Stadia, Luna

Unless there’s an unforeseen disaster in post-production, James Cameron’s long-awaited sci-fi sequel is set to hit theaters in December, a release likely accompanied by Ubisoft’s tie-in game. The first trailer looks and sounds the part, although it also appears to contain nothing resembling real gameplay. As is the case at Ubisoft, development is split between three major studios, including Massive Entertainment, the Swedish team primarily responsible for The Division series. They have a respectable track record, so I’m quietly hopeful. Giant Smurfs riding alien dinosaurs battling space marines and mechs is a formula that only needs a good game, after all.

Chances of returning: Do the Na’vi shit in the woods? Ubisoft has never been one to shy away from pitching mega-budget projects, though it’s possible they’ll keep the publicity blitz closer to launch.

red fall

Developer: Arkane
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks (now under the Microsoft banner)
Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X/S

Redfall’s first trailer made quite an impression last year. Sure, that was purely pre-rendered hype reel stuff, but it gave us a little glimpse into the world of this co-op vampire-slaying shooter. The characters were instantly memorable, the banter was charming, and some of the special powers featured seemed quite interesting as well. As far as I’m concerned, Arkane can’t be wrong, so I’m all for this immersive sim powerhouse trying its hand at cooperative multiplayer gaming. We haven’t seen anything new about it in the last year beyond confirmation that it slipped to 2023 and a leak suggesting it might be a bit more Borderlands-esque than Left 4 Dead. Still, hopefully we’ll see a bit more of that this year.

Chances of returning: Sure, like a critically acclaimed but undersold Arkane game. It won’t launch this year, but it seems obvious that a Microsoft showcase will get quite a bit of hype, especially since it will be the first day of Game Pass.

Harold Halibut

Developer: Slow Bros.
Publisher: Slow Bros.
Platforms: PC

One of the most outstanding independent productions presented last year. Harold Halibut is a point-and-click adventure set in a sunken colony spaceship, and more than 10 years of work. Who needs ray tracing when you have a stop-motion world that wouldn’t look out of place in an Aardman film production? There’s barely been a peek from the developers, aside from a brief appearance at the Slamdance film festival. Yet art of this caliber cannot be rushed. If they’ve already taken 10 (now 11) years, what’s a few more months?

Chances of returning: Fifty/fish. It would be great to see more, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this project went quiet a bit longer, assuming production doesn’t flounder.

The Outer Worlds 2

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft
Platform: PC and Xbox at least

Not to be confused with this other A game about weird space exploration, The Outer Worlds 2 was nice to hear announced at last E3, but they didn’t have much beyond the announcement and a short (and sassy) CG trailer. Beyond the initial reveal (promising a “new star system, new crew, same Outer Worlds”), Obsidian has kept this one quiet, not letting even the slightest detail slip on social media. It’s anyone’s guess how it will play out, but we can be relatively sure it won’t come to PS5.

Chances of returning: Always bet on Spacer’s Choice! While it seems unlikely the game will launch in 2022, some early gameplay footage seems like a safe bet at one of Microsoft’s showcases this summer.

Developer: Leikir Studio
Publisher: DotEmu/SNK
Platforms: PC, Switch

A bit of a niche for turning an arcade classic into a turn-based tactics game (although not unprecedented), but I can’t deny my deep and abiding enthusiasm for this one. The Metal Slug series has claimed way too much of my spare money in various arcades over the years for me to turn away. Plus, it helps that the trailer features fantastic sprite art that really captures the spirit of run-and-gun shooters, reproducing that bouncing SNK arcade style in a new isometric perspective. Yet there has been barely a word about this one, beyond confirmation that it is also coming to Switchhopefully in 2022.

Chances of returning: We pull out the rocket lawn chair to wait for this one. While it’s still filming for a 2022 release, it seems a very solid bet that we’ll see some new gameplay footage. However, it clashes the remake from R-Type Tactics now, so let’s hope Leikir is on his A-game.

Wizard with a gun

Developer: Galvanic Games
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PC and Switch

Still a brilliant name and a catchy trailer, but very little else has been revealed in the past year. All we know is that it’s an isometric survival action-RPG about gun-throwing mages. More than a little similar to Don’t Starve in aesthetics, but definitely more action-packed. Who needs Acid Arrow of Melf when you have a lot of highly corrosive hot lead to spill? Despite the radio silence, this one is still supposedly on track for a 2022 release, and given Devolver’s love of surprise announcements, anything could happen.

Chances of returning: The Reflection Orb reads “Likely”. If there’s one game I can see unceremoniously launching in the middle of the NotE3 festivities, it’s this one.

Replaced

Developer: Sad Cat Studio
Publisher: Coatsink
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X

Replaced performed very well in its debut at E3 last year. Beautifully lit and animated 2D sprites on grungy 3D backgrounds, with a shaky, tilt-prone camera accompanying chunky platforming action. Shades of classic rotoscoped platformers like Fade To Black and Flashback abound, albeit set in a very 80s grungy cyberpunk world. coming soon and will launch on Game Pass. The less good is that it is postponed to 2023, as the studio is based in both Belarus and Ukraine. It goes without saying, they are firmly against war.

Chances of returning: The odds look as bleak as the setting of the game. Here’s hoping everyone involved can move on safely. Although I want this game, the welfare of the creators always comes first.

Vokabulantis: a stop-motion love story

Developer: Kong Orange
Publisher: Unknown

The other a stylish stop-motion indie puzzle adventure premiering at E3 2021! Wild enough that there were two, but both look pretty good. This one is more of an action puzzler designed for co-op, but playable solo. However, much like Harold Halibut, there’s been almost nothing said or shown of the game since its success on Kickstarter and its first showing at E3. The closest we’ve gotten to activity is a January Kickstarter Updateannouncing that the team was recruiting a senior programmer, a junior programmer, and a senior game designer, suggesting that development is still going to take a long time.

Chances of returning: This one wins the “most likely to be absent” prize of the day. With stop-motion animation being an extremely slow process and the development team understaffed, I’d be surprised if we saw a lot of that before 2023, although I hope I’m wrong.

Smuggling

Developer: Avalanche
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platforms: PC, Xbox

A positively mysterious show from E3, which tells us even less than Obsidian did with The Outer Worlds 2. We know it’s a cooperative open-world game set in a land fictitious. We know that it is developed by Just Cause Avalanche studio. The trailer suggests that vehicles are going to be involved and there will be break-ins involving valuable property. Beyond that? Not a sausage. Not a gameplay snippet. Just vibrations. Cool and classy vibe, but that’s not much to go on. Hopefully we’ll see a little more smuggling this summer.

Chances of returning: Can we even say it was here last time? I would give him an equal chance that he will do another screening this summer. Maybe we could even get a gameplay snippet or two.

Special Mention: Atomic Heart

Developer: Mundfish
Publisher: Mundfish
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PS4 and PS5

While most of the games above have been largely silent, there’s still a good chance they’ll show up this summer, even if E3 left a bit of a void. However, the much-delayed Atomic Heart seems alive and well, and with a new trailer released just a few months ago. It looks more like a post-Soviet Bioshock with each appearance, and that’s not a bad thing. But the invasion of Ukraine is likely impacting Russian studio Mundfish, regardless of their personal stance on the war.

Chances of returning: Mundfish might end up showing something over the summer, but most major channels don’t host anything that looks or sounds Russian, and Mundfish last tweeted on Feb. 21, three days before the invasion.