Each year the world's biggest publishers trot out their biggest games at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. They build huge, elaborate displays at sprawling booths, sparing no expense--all to tell as many people as possible about their latest game lineup.
But while E3 helps publishers showcase which titles they are prepping for release, it also singles out which games they don't have ready. Case in point--nowhere was the much-vaunted Gran Turismo 4 Mobile for the PSP to be seen. Ditto for another of the most-anticipated titles for Sony's portable--Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Though Rockstar Games had one of the half-dozen tour buses in its heavily fortified compound coated with logos for the game, it was not on display to anyone but potential investors.
Also surprising was the absence of Final Fantasy XII. Though it made a brief appearance at Sony's press conference, the much-awaited PlayStation 2 role-playing game was absent from Square Enix's booth, both to the public and to the press. Same deal with the spin-off Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. However, the absence of the former was more perplexing than the absence of the latter, since FFXII was playable on the floor last year.
Though the absence of Duke Nukem Forever was expected, the absence of another top PC title was not. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl was nowhere to be found at THQ's booth, despite the fact that a gameplay trailer was featured prominently at last year's E3. Though the game has been in development since 2001, its 2006 release remains tentative.
On the sports tip, several EA Sports titles were benched at E3: NBA Live 06, March Madness 06, and FIFA 06.
Last but not least was the no-show of the controversial Phantom PC gaming console. After being the butt of many industry in-jokes about venture-capital scams, the company came to E3 in force in 2004. But, although Infinium Labs forked out thousands of dollars for the South Hall's largest plots last year, this year the sleek white PC console was missing in action.