So, everyone and their grandmother knows the story of Duke Nukem Forever by now. The game spent 12 years locked in development hell, where it became a legend whispered in hushed tones and broken promises. Delay after delay after delay, it was thought that The King would never take his throne, but then Gearbox stepped in to usher him to his seat of honor...which turned out to be more of an ugly metal folding chair than a seat fit for a king.
Hell, they probably spent a year alone on that intricately animated jump.
But I'm not here to talk about DNF. I mean, other than that first paragraph. I'm here to talk about the games that are starting to look like they'll take the same road as Duke and enter a protracted development cycle full of turmoil, missed release dates, and topped off with a nice "when it's done" when asked about the game's release. These are the candidates to become the next Duke Nukem Forever.
FINAL FANTASY VERSUS XIII
Status: As of October, it's "still in development."
FFVXIII as it shall henceforth be known because I am not typing that out every time, has good reason to get RPG fans excited - it's basically the gritty reboot of the FF series. It's dark, angsty, and moody, and it doesn't care what you think. The setting is also worlds different from what we've come to expect of the series, being set in a futuristic environment, but, like, Earth futuristic. Then there's the gameplay, which looks like a more fast-paced, action-packed version of the Kingdom Hearts battle system. All this combined might be the kick in the pants the FF series needs to draw in a new crowd and get back some of those who were less than impressed with plain ol' FFXIII. But Squenix has been relatively quiet about the game, only mentioning it in little blurbs because they're annoyed that everyone's asking about it. Still, the fact that they've confirmed it's still in development as recently as last year is better than when they were saying nothing and everyone assumed it had been cancelled. It's also been rumored that this game has been turned into FF 15, which, knowing Square, would just add a few more years onto the development cycle while they redo the logo or something.
We be rollin'. Slowly.
Likelihood of being released: It's not looking good due to the sporadic updates. They say they're working on it, but not how hard, or how often, or how far along they already are, or anything, you know, indicative of the game ever coming out. Don't hold your breath.
THE LAST GUARDIAN
Announced: 2007 or so
Status: Fumito Ueda says he's still working on it...that's something, I guess.
Hoo boy, where to start with this one. Team Ico's next game has a lot of people feverishly anticipating its arrival, and for good reason - Team Ico has made a couple of fantastic games, and gamers are ready for more. Not only that, but The Last Guardian hearkens back to Ico with its theme of bonding and friendship, only instead of it being between a little beast boy and a...whatever Yorda is, it's the friendship of a little boy (not beastly this time) and a gigantic...furry thing. The furry thing in question has a lot of appeal with those big sad eyes that tug at your heartstrings, so gamers are ready to find out just how darn lovable he really is. Sadly, all we're getting is little teases here and there that the game is still coming out, with no concrete evidence that it even exists in any form at this point.
Sit, Trico! Good...fluffy...birdy...thingy.
Likelihood of being released: Well, Sony would be foolish to let this one slip away, but it's still going to take a while. You might have to buy a PS4 for this one. Or, who knows, maybe, along with The Last of Us, it'll be part of Sony's "The Last" games to send off the PS3 after the PS4's release. Or something.
BEYOND GOOD & EVIL 2
Status: Coming to next-gen systems. Probably.
There's really very little to say about BG&E2, because there really hasn't been much said about it. It was announced to much fanfare back in 2008, and fans of the original game have been wringing their hands in anticipation of getting to finally play the follow-up to such a stellar adventure. Since then though, the game hasn't been heard from very much. There's been a few mentions of it here and there, but nothing really concrete until last year when it was announced that the game was actively being developed for next-gen consoles. Unfortunately, unless they never started on a current-gen version of the game, that probably means they have to redo a whole bunch of stuff to get everything ready for it's big debut on the fancy new PS4, 720, and Wii U hardware (well, ok, maybe not so much on that last one.) Regardless of whether or not that's the case, the development of this game has been so quiet that it wouldn't be that surprising if it just went dark again for a few years.
They seem content to wait it out, at least.
Likelihood of being released: There's a good chance this will come out, sometime. It's just hard to say when, but fans of the series seem willing to wait. Either that or they've already forgotten about it.
HALF-LIFE 3/HL2: EPISODE 3
This one is a bit tricky. Whether you want to call it Half-Life 3 or Half Life 2: Episode 3, the one thing everyone can call it is non-existent. Valve has never officially announced either game, but that hasn't stopped people from scouring the internet, Steam, and real life for any and all clues that point to the release of this most elusive of video games. Sure, there's this thing:
Now with realistic crowbar action!
But it's not a Half-Life 3 screenshot. It's not a Half-Life 3 anything, necessarily. It's just some fantastic concept art. Honestly, it's hard to find any concrete information on what, exactly, that is at this point (it was posted a few years ago), but if you ask the average PC gamer, it's a bona-fide Half-Life 3 screenshot and that's enough for them. And why wouldn't it be? The Half-Life games are some of the best story-driven FPS games ever made, and fans are itching for more. But, like a bad friend, Valve has no intentions of scratching that itch. So it looks like you'll be waiting a long while yet for a game that, according to that picture, looks better than anything Crytek has ever done. Better start upgrading your PC in the meantime.
Likelihood of being released: Oh, it'll be released, eventually. It pretty much has to at this point, it's just a matter of when. It could be this year, or it could be 2025. Who knows? Only Valve does, and they're not telling.
Agent - Announced (conceptually) in 2007, officially (with name) in 2009. Has been pretty much nothing said about the game since.
Prey 2 - Announced in 2011, which isn't that bad, but the development seems to be stalled. It's being polished to Bethesda's standards. Wait, why are you laughing?
So, sure, 6 years in development may not seem like much compared to DNF's 12, but they're halfway there - and if the developers continue to show the same amount of disinterest in releasing these games, they could go all the way, if not further. This is to say nothing of other HL3-esque games that haven't been confirmed but people think they're happening anyway - like Kingdom Hearts 3 or Shenmue 3 - which may not ever see the light of day, or even exist, but that hasn't stopped people from saying they're being made...ever so slowly. But let's just go ahead and agree on one thing - if any of these games end up taking 12 years to come out, they're probably not worth playing.