Found the solution. Apparently the “blank” folder that it opens up is, in fact the “set project folder” and if I click open on it, it opens the projects normally.
The following is copied from a Reddit post that explained the issue exactly and the appropriate solution:
When I open or open with the last 4 projects in Cubase Elements LE 10.5.0, it flashes a single loading bar and then sends me back to the folder.
When it sends me back to the same folder, all the .cpr and .bak files have ‘disappeared’. And not only in that folder, but in all folders.
They are not actually gone - in the windows file explorer I can see them. And in fact, most projects open fine. It is just the last 4 (the most important ones I’ve been working on) that cause this to happen.
I really don’t want to lose them and start over - has this happened to anybody else, or does anybody have any possible solutions?
Okay, so the file window that appeared blank was actually “Set Project Folder” and so that is why the files were not appearing - after selecting the ‘empty’ folder and proceeding, it opened the .cpr! However the tracks inside were all missing - but a ‘search’ resolved these missing files. Voila! Thanks to everyone who tried to help out - solution was easier than I thought!