The No-Shows of 2019: All the Games We Didn't See

By Heidi Nicholas,
2019 has had some huge releases, such as Gears 5, Modern Warfare, Borderlands 3, Resident Evil 2, and The Outer Worlds. But it has also had a lot of casualties. Several big games were expected to release this year, whilst others have been pushed back. Whether they've been delayed or just not shown up at all, here's an obituary roundup of the games which we didn't see this year, starting with 2019's ghosts; the games which never showed.

Skull and Bones

This is one which has been a long time coming. Skull & Bones was originally announced back in June of 2017. It was then intended to release at the end of 2018, before Ubisoft then announced in May of 2018 that it was being pushed back until the 2019/2020 fiscal year. Skull and Bones is Ubisoft's open-world naval game set in the 1700s, where players worked up the path "from underdog to pirate king". The game's site gives a quick rundown of the story. In 1717, piracy abounded in the Caribbean, preying on merchant ships full of valuables. Once it became too prolific to ignore, Britain offered the King's Pardon to any pirates who promised to turn their back on their pirate lifestyle. Over 200 did, and some even turned pirate hunter. Those who refused were hunted down, and even Blackbeard was reportedly caught and killed. Those who survived turned to the Indian Ocean, in a last attempt to live the pirate life. Players will hunt along trade routes whilst on the lookout for rivals, storms, and other threats. They'll find new ships, customise them, and recruit a crew to man them. Naval battles dominate the Hunting Grounds, but players can make their own safe haven away from it. Things looked good for Skull and Bones to release in 2019 — that's still the release date on the game's site — but in May of this year, Ubisoft again announced that it was being pushed back until after the new financial year. This means we can't expect to see it until after April 1st, 2020.


Gears Tactics

Rod Fergusson announced Gears Tactics at 2018's E3, where he labelled it a "true Gears of War PC experience in a completely different genre". He said it was their take on the turn-based strategy genre. It's set 12 years before the first Gears of War game, and players would be hunting the "locust monster maker." It was announced to have a character-driven story, faster and more aggressive gameplay, and huge boss battles. Players would be creating a squad which would be customisable, as would their equipment. In January of this year, we talked about how it looked as though Gears Tactics could also be coming to Xbox One, as CES 2019 provided a list of Xbox One titles which would be supporting mouse and keyboard input, and Tactics was on that list. The Coalition haven't confirmed or denied this, and so we'll have to wait for news on that front. We'll also have to wait for news of a release date, since Gears Tactics didn't appear at E3 this year. Fergusson later explained to Kotaku that this was because they didn't want the game to always be appearing in a trio, besides Gears POP and Gears 5, which were announced around the same time. He said it was still in development, and we'd get more news on it "later." Gears POP and Gears 5 are both out now, but there's no sign of Gears Tactics.

Gears Tactics (Win 10)

Beyond Good and Evil 2

Production on Beyond Good and Evil 2 was confirmed three years ago, with an official announcement following the year after. Details on this game have been few and far between; it was only last year that the game got its cinematic trailer. Given that it was announced two years ago, fans had been tentatively hoping to see it sometime soon, but it wasn't at this year's E3. There's still no word on its release date; the game's site just says that it's "coming soon." Beyond Good and Evil 2 is an action-adventure RPG, and a "spiritual successor" to the original. It's set in System 3, where corporations create and enslave Hybrids to use in extending their reach to other stars. This Ubisoft title sounds a little like Skull and Bones in that the player will start as an unknown pirate, before working their way up to being a pirate captain of legend. The difference is that in this game, players will be piloting ships across the stars and to the edge of the galaxy.


Playground's unknown RPG

It's no secret that Playground Games are up to something big. They've been hiring in droves, both for what looks like Forza Horizon 5, and also for an as-yet unknown RPG. Back in October, we spoke about how they had 25 positions available in their Horizon team and 40 for their RPG, and hardly a week goes by without one or several additions to one team or the other. It's arguably the RPG team which is most interesting. Playground are recruiting got an "entirely new AAA open world Action/RPG project". There have been rumours about this project for years, and it's generally believed to be Fable 4. We've reported on this several times, and on Playground's hiring patterns. The Fable 4 rumours were kicked up a notch when Eurogamer published an article where they said they could reveal that the new Fable game was in development, and being worked on by Playground. The number and variety of the positions open within Playground, plus the job descriptions for those roles, would be fitting for a AAA game of that calibre. It's difficult to guess at what stage their unnanounced RPG is at, given that in October they were still looking for a number of key positions, such as a Principal World Designer, Senior Environment Artist, Dialogue Supervisor, and a Combat Designer. Nevertheless, the fact that these mysterious movements have been going on in Playground for a few years now, it had seemed possible that we could hear some sort of news about what they're working on, even if they weren't ready for a full reveal. Now that the year's almost over, it seems we'll have to wait a little longer for a glimpse of what Playground have been up to.

Could Playground Games be working on Fable 4?

The Initiative's unknown AAA game

Equally as secretive are "AAAA" studio, The Initiative. They're rumoured to be working on something big, and the team they're hiring would certainly seem to reflect that. Over the last year alone, they've recruited developers who have worked on games like GTA V, God of War, Red Dead Redemption, Apex Legends, and The Last of Us 1 and 2. It's still a mystery what The Initiative could possibly be working on with level of talent, but since they've been hiring for at least a year now, it had seemed hopeful that we might get a glimpse of it. Again, that now seems unlikely, but at least we can bet that whatever they create should be massive.

Biomutant

Biomutant is one of those ethereal games which always seems to be just a little further away. There hasn't been any news about this one for a long time. It was announced two years ago, and expected to release at some point in 2018, before being pushed back to summer of this year. Since then, it's gone pretty much radio-silent. It's an open-world, action RPG, described on the game's Twitter page as a "post-apocalyptic kung-fu fable". Martial arts will be a big thing in the game, along with acquiring "new Wushu combat styles", as the game's site says. Details about the game have been just as sparse as news on its release date. All we know is that the game revolves around the Tree of Life. The tree is dying, and the tribes which make up the land are divided. Your character (a red panda? A fox? A raccoon?) will have the task of uniting the land.


Then there's the titles which we almost got, but not quite; the ones that have been pushed just a little bit more out of reach, and delayed until next year. This second half of 2019 has seen a number of delays; just recently, Ubisoft announced the delay of Gods and Monsters, Watch Dogs: Legion and Rainbow Six Quarantine, to ensure they could work on Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Have a look at these 2019 games which have been delayed until next year:

Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe

The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe is a combination of the origninal 2013 Stanley Parable and a load of new content, some of which will be new endings. There's going to be so much new content that the developers said that the script for it is double the size of the script for the original game. The Stanley Parable was originally thought up as a mod for Half-Life 2. It's an interactive walking sim about Stanley, who's in his office pressing buttons when he suddenly notices that his screen has gone blank, and there's no one in the building with him. Stanley's life is being narrated by an impeccably British narrator, and the rest of the game is sort of a polite-but-firm struggle between the narrator trying to tell Stanley what to do, and Stanley himself, who can choose to do otherwise if he wants. This means that there's multiple different scenarios and endings, and the Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe will only add more ways to mess with Stanley. It was originally intended to release this year, but that impeccable narrator announced that this year's release date had been amended to 2020, most likely before Summer, but that it "sort of depends on how development goes".


Sable

Sable is an adventure game which draws inspiration from the likes of Shadow of the Colossus, Breath of the Wild, and Final Fantasy XV. It was announced at E3 last year, and intended for a 2019 release. Yet the developer, Shedworks, announced in May earlier this year that they'd made the decision to delay the game until 2020 so that they can take more time with it. They started out as a very small team; just two people, Gregorios Kythreotis, Daniel Fineberg, (and dog), who were literally working out of a shed. They've since brought more people on board but the game is understandably still taking longer than they'd originally anticipated, so it's looking set for 2020. Sable is a coming-of-age story set in an open-world desert, about the titular character sets out to explore the ruins of monuments, buildings and shops fallen from the cosmos or from civilisations long gone. There's no firm release date as yet; just sometime in 2020.


Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal, announced at E3 last year, is the first person shooter sequel to 2016's highly-popular Doom. The player becomes the Doom Slayer, and finds the Earth under invasion from demons. The Slayer can discover their origins and the truth about themselves by taking the fight across the dimensions. It was intended to release on November 22nd of this year, but iD Software announced the delay back in October, saying that it had been pushed back to 2020 to make sure they're "delivering the best experience". The game is now expected to release on March 20th, next year.


Psychonauts 2

Psychonauts 2 sees Razputin finally at the Mother Lobe; the headquarters of the Psychonauts, an elite team of psychic secret agents. It's a follow on from the first game, when the ten-year-old circus runaway took part in the Pyschonauts' training camp: the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. Now, in Psychonauts 2, he's fulfilled his dream of joining the team, and is officially in. The sequel has new abilities, new characters, and new mysteries and plots for Raz to solve as he explores the Mother Lobe. Like the Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe, Psychonauts 2 was originally meant to release this year, but in an update post, the developers announced that the game was being delayed to 2020. Some good news, though, is that now Double Fine are done with their rougelite game RAD, they'll have a bigger team working on Psychonauts 2, which they say will make the game even better and crazier than before. There's no firm release date yet for Psychonauts 2, but we expect to see it some time next year.


Two Point Hospital

Finally, there's the PC favourite Two Point Hospital, which was intended to come to consoles late this year. It was only four months after Two Point Studios announced that the management sim was coming to consoles that they then announced that they were moving the release date to 2020. They gave the reason for this as that they were essentially trying to "take the game apart and figure out how to fit it int what is essentially a smaller box", and that this would take a little longer than they originally planned. Two Point Hospital is described as the spiritual successor to Bullfrog's 1997 Theme Hospital. In it, players build and manage hospitals, curing all of the bizarre diseases which their patients present — such as mummification. The console release will include the two expansions already out on PC; Bigfoot and Pebberley Island. Bigfoot is set in the snowy mountains and has an additional three hospitals, and 34 new diseases specific to the region. Pebberley Island instead takes players to the tropics, with another three new hospitals, and more exotic diseases. Two Point Hospital is apparently planned to release for consoles some time in the first half of 2020, although there's been some debate on the Microsoft store, where earlier this year it changed from February 25th to December 31st. We'll keep an ear out for a firm release date.


So it seems that a lot of casualties were announcements from last year's E3. On the plus side, 2020 is looking particularly juicy for releases; alongside all of those pushed back from this year will be big titles such as Cyberpunk 2077, Gods and Monsters, and Watch Dogs: Legion.

Which of these missing titles had you most been looking forward to this year? What can't you wait to play in 2020? Let us know in the comments!
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!