Mirror’s Edge 2
DICE’s Mirror’s Edge was released in 2008 to much critical acclaim, but failed to reach EA’s high hopes of three million sales, instead lingering at just over one million. Dear EA, this is still rather good for a new IP. Mirror’s Edge was a game designed to curb the trend of adrenaline fuelled space marine shooters and busty badass female protagonists, by blending familiar FPS mechanics with fluid free-running upon a stylish dystopian landscape. The game was technically similar to Portal - a ‘toned down’ female protagonist, a twist on the FPS genre, and story-driven gameplay. The two games even share some similar flaws, such as a campaign that was just too short, even down to the song in the end credits - both titles featured a different song at the end, but both songs were titled ‘Still Alive’.
Why it should have been at E3: Mirror’s Edge had some glaring flaws throughout, and lacked the quirky humour and well woven story that granted the likes of Portal with a sequel. However, there are countless cases of innovative franchises that didn’t quite hit the mark with the first entry in the series, but were vastly improved with the second – look to the Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed series’. The announcement of a Mirror’s Edge sequel at E3 2011 would have certainly whet fans' appetites, especially after Senior Producer Owen O’Brien hinted that "the story we're telling at the moment is kind of a trilogy, a three-story arc."
Why it wasn’t: Mirrors Edge 2 is actually in somewhat of a grey area with regards to E3. Whilst no formal, show-stopping announcements were made probably due to DICE’s preoccupation with Battlefield 3, EA President Frank Gibeau quietly confirmed that a sequel was in development, and that it would probably be using Battlefield 3’s Frostbite 2 engine. Feel that buzz in your stomach? That’s anticipation.
Alan Wake 2
Remedy’s Alan Wake was released in May 2010, and quickly became popular due to its tried and trusted action horror style. While some critics lamented the repetitive nature of the gameplay; a well-crafted plot straight out of a Steven King novel and lingering cliff-hangers, even after the game’s two well-received DLC packs, made the next game in the series seem destined for an E3 announcement. And let’s not forget, Alan Wake is one of only a handful of exclusives left in Microsoft’s basket, so it would have been no surprise to find out that a sequel was in the pipeline.
Why it should have been at E3: Alan Wake was commercially successful at over one million sales, so a sequel is a justifiable venture. Also take into account that the game adopts an episodic format as it is, and was described by developer Oskari Häkkinen as only ‘season one’. However, on May 10th, Remedy did reveal that they are working on a new Alan Wake, but that it would not be DLC or Alan Wake 2. Considering the push on the Kinect during Microsoft’s conference this year, it seems very odd that a Kinect centric Alan Wake title was not mentioned. It may not have been the realisation of Alan Wake as fans would have wanted, but it would have certainly been a highlight amidst the already lacklustre Kinect Sports 2 and Star Wars Kinect.
Why it wasn’t: Another tough one to answer for. However, it is understandable that Remedy has not had enough time to polish their next title for a formal announcement due to working on the latest DLC pack, The Writer, which was released in October 2010. While it would have been nice to see Mr. Wake’s face somewhere at E3, Kinect-specific software has a tendency to warp some beloved franchises beyond recognition. Yes Fable: The Journey, I am looking at you. Perhaps we would be wise to be careful what we wish for and hope for a ‘proper’ entry in the series at next year’s E3.
Grand Theft Auto V
Ah, the big one. Before Modern Warfare confidently took the reigns, the Grand Theft Auto series regularly hit headlines as the king of controversy - ‘This is a game where you earn points for maiming prostitutes!’ became a common media outcry. Released in 2008, Rockstar’s GTA IV lacked some of the silliness and huge, open world setting of the likes of GTA: San Andreas, in favour of a more poignant story and the densely packed Liberty City. Regardless, it was, as expected, a huge critical and commercial success, becoming one of the highest praised games of all time, selling over 20 million copies to date and receiving two hefty DLC packs.
Why it should have been at E3: Obviously, GTA is already an established game series, so I’m not going to ramble about how deserving of a sequel it is (my mouth waters at the mere mention of GTA V). The rumour mill has been at work for quite some time however, and despite knowing that Rockstar were not going to have a huge presence at E3, theories such as GTA V being set in real world LA have been consistently reported. Inevitably, fan’s hopes have been burning bright for quite some time and an E3 announcement of GTA V was being begged for.
Why it wasn’t: Rockstar have been busy working on the hugely successful L.A Noire recently. Also, despite the lack of any such indication that they are still at work on it, their PS3-exclusive shooter Agent was announced two years ago and perhaps they’re refocusing their efforts on that. Max Payne 3 is another title announced by Rockstar that is slowly fading into the depths of vapourware after having been given countless release dates that were never even remotely fruitful. Work is still needed on that franchise reboot too. So if GTA V exists in any form it would have more than likely been stacked behind this build up of projects. As Rockstar also make time to ensure that quality is delivered with their products, and considering the potential size of GTA V, it would be wise to forget about the title for a while. That is, unless you actually enjoy subjecting yourself to long periods of torture.
Of course, there were many more franchises that were sorely missed at E3 - Project Gotham Racing, Resident Evil, Metal Gear (What the hell happened to Rising?) and Beyond Good And Evil to name just a few - but detailing them all would take much too long. Let’s just hope that developers use this time between now and next year’s E3 to create some truly amazing games and make E3 2012 a phenomenal one.