LOS ANGELES--This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo saw many a headline generated by games that had their first trailers unveiled at the event, such as Halo 3 and Call of Duty 3. Others came from titles whose mere existence was revealed, such as Grand Theft Auto IV. Still more came from the hundreds of games that were playable at the Los Angeles Convention Center, such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Wii, Warhawk for the PlayStation 3, and Too Human for the Xbox 360.
But for all the games that make appearances at E3, a notable number of titles are newsworthy by virtue of not being at the event. Each year sees a series of highly anticipated titles skip the event, and their absences often speak volumes. Here are a few of the major games GameSpot editors were expecting and/or hoping to see at E3 2006--but didn't.
The PlayStation 3 Killzone sequel: In 2005, the trailer for Sony-owned Dutch developer Guerrilla Games was the talk of the show. Its jaw-dropping graphics became the subject of controversy for being too good, causing many to whisper that they were prerendered. Sony steadfastly denied the accusations, and many E3 2005 attendees were confident that by the time the 2006 expo rolled around, subsequent Killzone 2 footage and/or demos would settle the kerfuffle surrounding the game.
Just one problem: There haven't been any. A year has come and gone, and Sony has kept a shroud of secrecy wrapped tight around the Killzone sequel. It wasn't included in Sony's pre-expo press briefing, it wasn't at any of the 62 PS3 demo stations on the E3 show floor, and it wasn't shown behind closed doors to the press. "I couldn't even get the guy from Guerrilla to say the words 'Killzone 2,'" said one editor.
First-party GameCube and Game Boy Advance games: Though a few third-party publishers had games for the console (Over the Hedge at Activision) and the portable (Atlus' lineup), Nintendo didn't have any demo stations for either platform at its massive booth. That meant that titles such as the new Pokémon Dungeon for the GBA, Super Paper Mario, and, yes, even the GameCube version of the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which caused nerd stampedes the year prior, were nowhere to be found.
In their stead, Nintendo decided to show off its DS and Wii lineup exclusively. However, some E3 attendees noticed that demos for the latter platform were running off of dev kits that included modified GameCubes, which created some confusion.
Resident Evil 5 and Devil May Cry 4: Capcom's two most anticipated next-generation games were not present at E3 in any form. The absence of even a frame of footage was particularly glaring, given that trailers for the two games had been shown at Microsoft's X05 event last October and at E3 2005 one year ago.
Half-Life 2: Episode One: Remember when Half-Life 2 was the biggest thing at E3? Times have changed: Even though the episodic expansion is just two weeks away from digital distribution, developer Valve Software decided to skip E3 in any official capacity, though CEO Gabe Newell was seen wandering the show floor outside the Nintendo booth.
Gran Turismo 4 Mobile: Though there were nearly a dozen PS3 demo stations for recently remonikered Gran Turismo HD, the first portable racer from Polyphony Digital was garaged out of sight.
Dragon Age: Role-playing game fans were hoping that BioWare might show off its forthcoming all-original high-fantasy RPG. However, the Canadian developer's focus this year was on Jade Empire for the PC and Mass Effect for the Xbox 360.
Culdcept Saga: On May 1, Namco Bandai made much of the fact that the newest entry into its popular Magic-meets-Monopoly game franchise would be coming to the Xbox 360. However, the first next-gen installment in the series, which has previously appeared on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation, and Dreamcast, couldn't be located at E3 less than a week later.
Starcraft: Ghost: Though it was "indefinitely delayed" on current-gen consoles, many expected Blizzard Entertainment to reveal that the long-in-the-works title would be taking a Perfect Dark Zero-esque roundabout route to next-gen consoles. Guess again--the game was completely missing from the event, further fueling speculation that it has been scrapped in any shape, way, and form.
Rockstar's Untitled Western Shooter for the PS3: When footage from the unnamed third-person six-shooter was included as part of the initial PS3 montage at E3 2005, many expected that a Red Dead Revolver 2 announcement wouldn't be far off. Twelve months later, though, nothing has been heard about the game, and the information well remained bone-dry at E3.
Bully: Though Rockstar eagerly showed off its Xbox 360 Table Tennis game to the press, its controversy-courting high school beat-'em-up called in sick. The game had been announced during E3 2005, but has since come under fire for its depiction of high school brutality, which game-industry gadflies have said could incite real-life violence.
Fallout 3: Months prior to the show, Bethesda Softworks said that the third installment of the storied postapocalyptic RPG series would not be on hand at E3. However, that didn't stop the developer-publisher from teasing attendees with a poster, as it did in 2005. This year's one-sheet showed the series' emblematic "Fallout Boy" (called "Action Boy" and "Pip Boy" by some, after the perk and PDA in the game, respectively) superimposed over a faded poster of a happy, 1950s-esque soon-to-be-postnuclear family. "Prepare for the future," read the tagline at the top, further raising expectations of a sequel that crosses the Interplay Fallout games' sly wit and bleak setting with the top-end graphics and free-roaming setting of Bethesda's current bestseller, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.