E3 is upon us yet again, and with it comes all of the new gaming announcements and reveals that fans will spend months poring over and dissecting until we do it all over again next June. Dreams will be realized, classic franchises will return, new ones will be born.
It's always a lot to take in, but despite all of the hype and ceremony, not everything announced on the E3 stage actually makes it into the hands of players. Over the years there have a been a number of games, features and peripherals that made a splash at the show only to never again see the light of day.
The circumstances behind each disappearance vary. In fact, the truth behind what happened to some of these titles is still a mystery to this day. Though some haven't been seen for years, several of the games listed below aren't officially canceled. Others died almost as soon as they were shown to the world.
That's E3 for you. Oftentimes publishers are more concerned with making a big impression at the show than following up those promises. Sometimes those lofty tech demos and impressive new games simply aren't ready, and as is the case with the projects below, never would be. Here are some of the biggest E3 games and announcements that never became reality.
Brothers In Arms: Furious 4
A spin-off of Gearbox's Brothers in Arms series, Furious 4 made its debut at Ubisoft's press conference in 2011. It was essentially an Inglorious Basterds video game in all but name. Rather than adopt the serious, historically accurate style of previous Brothers in Arms games, this never-to-be-released game instead had four players teaming up to do battle against the Nazis with often comical (and bloody) results. Eventually the game dropped the Brothers in Arms portion of the title before being officially canceled outright.
Almost nothing is known about this mysterious game from Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar. No gameplay. No release date. Supposedly it's a Cold War-era action title, but beyond that what all Agent is about is anybody's guess. The game "debuted" at Sony's 2009 E3 press conference as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, and since then there has been almost no word on it.
Publisher Take-Two said in 2011 the game was still in the works, but it's hard to believe the game is still around given how Sony has now moved onto the PlayStation 4.
Project Natal (Milo)
Poor, poor Milo. Peter Molyneux's virtual boy certainly looked interesting when it debuted in at Microsoft's press conference in 2009. Using the Xbox 360's Kinect camera, players would be able to interact with Milo, a virtual boy who would change over time.
Molyneux, who is best known for creating the Fable franchise, is infamous for over-promising and under-delivering, and this case proved no different. Despite an intriguing premise, Project Natal would never officially be released.
Microsoft made a big splash at its E3 2014 press conference when it showed a cinematic trailer for a new Phantom Dust, a reboot of a cult classic from the original Xbox era. Few players immediately knew what the project was, but those who did were excited. Phantom Dust's focus on online multiplayer and unique third-person action/card battling system could work well in today's gaming environment.
Unfortunately, players would never get to see the new Phantom Dust in action. Despite it being a highlight of Microsoft's 2014 show, the plug on the project was later pulled by Microsoft. It's possible the title could be reborn again in the future, but the game that was shown in 2014 is no more.
This game was announced alongside the Wii at Nintendo's E3 2006 press conference along with a slew of other titles. From what gamers got to see, it looked like players took on the role of a large, hammer-wielding cyborg, with players swinging the Wii remote back and forth to crush enemies. Many even got a chance to play a demo of the game on the show floor.
That would be the first and last fans saw of the action game, but development allegedly continued on for some time as the game underwent a number of drastic changes. Eventually work on the project ended altogether, resulting in yet another unfulfilled E3 promise.
All Those Legend Of Zelda Demos
Nintendo wowed fans when it showed footage of what Legend of Zelda could look like for the Nintendo Gamecube. Then they it did it again with a look at what Zelda could be on the Wii U. What do both of these cases have in common? The two Legend of Zelda games fans received for both consoles ended up looking completely different from the concept footage shown on the E3 stage.
Nintendo showed a realistic, Ocarina of Time-style Legend of Zelda for E3 2001 in the lead up to the release of the Gamecube, only for fans to later receive the cell-shaded Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker instead.
History repeated itself in 2011, when Nintendo revealed a concept demo for a Legend of Zelda game on the Wii U. Fast forward a few years, and Nintendo would show a completely new Legend of Zelda game with a more vibrant art style that looked nothing like what the company originally showed. Wind Waker proved to be a great entry in the franchise and no doubt the upcoming Wii U game will be as well, but many fans still dream of a Legend of Zelda entry that looks like what was shown in those tech demos all those years ago.
Star Wars 1313
Fans of a galaxy far, far away had their collective jaws drop when footage of this third-person action game was revealed during E3 2012. Star Wars 1313 promised to drop players into the seedy underbelly of the Star Wars universe in an Uncharted-style action title featuring cover-based gunplay and climactic, platforming set pieces. Despite a huge positive reception, the project would eventually be canceled after Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm and Lucasarts.
Wii Vitality Sensor
Nintendo is known for releasing all kinds of peripherals over the years, and the Wii was the perfect opportunity. The company saw huge success as non-traditional gamers adopted the console for more health-based reasons, with the Wii Fit and Wii Sports being two of the most popular experiences on the console.
The Wii Vitality sensor would have built upon the Wii health craze by allowing users to check their pulse. The peripheral was announced on stage at E3 2009, but quickly disappeared, never to be seen again. Turns out the main reason the device never saw release was that Nintendo couldn't get it to work 100 percent of the time.
Some of these games have yet to be officially canceled. Might we see games like Agent and Phantom Dust make a return at E3 2016? Or perhaps E3 2016 will only add to this list, as new games and products are announced too soon and later canceled. Gamers will have to tune in to this year's show to find out, but no doubt E3 2016 will be full of surprises. It always is.