Though E3 2012 was filled with a ton of no-shows — some revealed to be not attending before the event, others simply not ready for scrutiny — there was one really big title that didn’t have a presence at the show, nor did it have one before the show. Of course, we are talking about Grand Theft Auto 5, Rockstar Games’ highly anticipated next entry in their open world crime franchise, a game that was unveiled seven months ago with an exciting trailer.

In past years, Rockstar hasn’t been too keen on making appearances during E3 2012 (very rarely do they hold live demos or make presentations) but occasionally they have been known to pop up during one of the big three’s press conferences. During this year’s expo each of the big three seemed like a fitting candidate for Rockstar to shed more light on GTA 5, as each has some ties to the franchise.

First up was Microsoft, who with GTA 4 was able to secure first dibs on the two pieces of DLC for the game, The Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and the Damned. Unfortunately, amidst Smart Glass and Halo 4, there was no room for GTA. One down, two to go.

Then came Sony, the original home of Grand Theft Auto.  Alas, there was no GTA 5 reveal during the Sony Press Conference either, but in place were some closer looks at the publisher’s upcoming slate, which did include some really intriguing titles.

And finally there was Nintendo, who were dying for that killer Wii U launch title and example of true third-party support — a role that Grand Theft Auto 5 could have filled perfectly. We all know how that went down, though, with a bang not a whimper — a virtual fireworks bang.

So, knowing that Rockstar wasn’t going to have any presence on the E3 show floor, and not seeing them make an appearance during any of the major press conferences, gamers were sent into a tailspin. Up until now much of the speculation had Grand Theft Auto 5 releasing fall 2012, but a lack of any substantial details or new footage this month has left us less confident.

Grand Theft Auto 5 Release Date Feature

Take-Two Interactive has confirmed they will attend GamesCom this year in Germany — a slight glimmer of hope — but did not make any mention of bringing Grand Theft Auto 5. If nothing is seen from Grand Theft Auto before or during the event, then it’s almost a given that GTA 5 will not be hitting store shelves this year.

That might be a safe bet for the title though, since many a triple-A title like BioShock Infinite has been scared off by the oversaturated Fall season (although it was believed that BioShock was moved to make room for GTA). Unfortunately, all of those titles that were pushed into 2013 have taken up space in the early part of next year, making that quarter just as crowded.

In all reality, gamers might be looking at a Grand Theft Auto 5 release that doesn’t take place until April or May of next year — a typically strong release month for Rockstar. No matter when it releases however, it will still dominate, but when it will release is now completely up in the air.

Do you think that Grand Theft Auto 5 will release this year, or early next year? Has the lack of post-trailer content worried you at all? Feel free to share all your thoughts in the comments below.

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