However, despite the lack of new IPs and the severe grinding of franchises at E3 2011, there were several sequels, some even heavily rumoured, that were sadly absent from the show. Following are just a few that pulled a surprising disappearing act.
The original Borderlands seemed destined to become somewhat of a ‘cult’ game; featuring a bold but funny style, blending the vivid semi-apocalyptic world of Pandora with deep RPG elements, all whilst retaining the fun, frantic action of a first-person shooter. Borderlands was deep, packed with content, continues to have a dedicated online co-op community and was well supported by developers, Gearbox, with four downloadable add-ons. For a new IP it was received positively and sold surprisingly well, which is why it is so confusing that Borderlands 2 hasn’t already been announced. In May, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford denied claims that the development team were at work on a sequel, saying “If we haven't announced it, it doesn't exist.” However, he added that Gearbox is “going to want to do a lot of things with Borderlands in the future.”
Why it should have been at E3: Borderlands was released way back in October 2009, and sold ridiculously well for a new IP. However, it did have its flaws of course. One in particular was the relatively shallow class and upgrade system, and fans are eager for a sequel that improves upon elements such as these. Expectations of a follow up to Borderlands sprouted when Gearbox had reportedly trademarked the name ‘Borderworlds’.
Why it wasn’t: Gearbox made sure to be very supportive of Borderlands through DLC, so much so that they were still hard at work on the game up until around September 2010 when the Claptrap’s Robot Revolution DLC was released. This only means that Gearbox have had barely any time to focus on developing a second game in the series, especially with trying to restore the since decrepit, Duke Nukem Forever. On top of this, id Software’s Rage hits shelves this September, which could be described as a ‘grown-up’ Borderlands, making Borderlands 2 an understandable but frustrating E3 no-show.
Half-Life 2: Episode 3 / Half-Life 3
In 1998, Valve Software’s Half-Life rocked the gaming world. Players stepped into the unlucky shoes of the silent protagonist, Gordon Freeman. Once a humble physicist at the Black Mesa research facility, Freeman became a victim of circumstance, but reacted by taking up his trusty and now-iconic crowbar as he was flung through a sci-fi tale of multiple dimensions, aliens and shady government agencies. The game received critical acclaim and has sold over eight million copies to date. Six years later in 2004, Half-Life 2 was released, and was even more widely praised than the original, as players once again took up Freeman’s crowbar and began an epic journey that once again revolutionised the FPS genre and similarly revitalised PC gaming. Half-Life 2 won almost 40 ‘Game of the Year’ awards, and was followed with two episodic titles, Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and Episode 2, that just left players begging for more.
Why it should have been at E3: There was a six year gap between the releases of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, and as gamers tend to be creatures of habit, Half-Life 3 was perceived as one year overdue for release already. Yet it still has not even been announced! There were also tons of hints that Half-Life 3 would be announced very soon in Valve’s most recent serving of ambrosia, the equally popular spin-off, Portal 2.
Why it wasn’t: This is a toughie. But keep in mind that Valve has been preoccupied with the release of Portal 2 in April, and DOTA 2 hitting shelves later this year. There is also the somewhat flimsy argument that Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was practically a main game in the series, and with it being released in 2007, the preconceived 6-year development cycle suggests a 2013 release of Half-Life 3, which seems more than likely. Regardless, fans are eager to raise Freeman’s crowbar in battle once again. Let’s just hope that Valve leaves all this episodic business behind for now and focuses on giving us what we have all been truly waiting for; a full-fledged Half-Life 3.