This year’s E3 is quickly promising to be one of the biggest in the expo’s history. Bethesda recently announced, surprising many, its own press conference for the first time, which will air the day before both Microsoft’s and Sony’s annual shows. But another major publisher is also getting in on the action now, as Square Enix will also have an hour-long conference. Though the Japanese behemoth has arguably lost its luster over the years, what with the deluge of unsatisfying Final Fantasy games, and practically ignoring what its fans really want, there’s still a slight air of optimism and intrigue.
Final Fantasy XV, formerly known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, has been in development hell for nearly a decade. However, its latest demo did show a lot of promise. Square will most likely, finally reveal the game’s official release date, which will probably be sometime in spring 2016. Game director Hajime Tabata said that the game is about 60 percent finished back in late February. As far as whether or not more footage will be shown, it’s unlikely, given the recent demo, and the barrage of details that have been released. The long-gestating JRPG probably won’t be the conference’s headliner.
Then there’s the curious case of Kingdom Hearts III. The game was first unveiled back at Sony’s E3 2013 press conference to a plethora of eager fans – the second main entry came out back in 2005. However, Square alongside series creator Tetsuya Nomura have been quick to state that the project is a long ways off, with most of the game’s development team still working on FFXV. Add the fact that the studio had to switch game engines over to Unreal Engine 4, which will only complicate and delay the project even further. But something has to be revealed, right? Anything beyond a five-minute demo showcasing Sora’s new moves is wishful thinking, but you never know. It is E3 after all.
The new Star Ocean game, which was recently announced a few weeks back, will definitely be in attendance, though the series has never reached the same gargantuan heights as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts. And speaking of Dragon Quest, whatever happened to a proper single-player entry? Just like Kingdom Hearts, the last prodigious entry was Level 5’s Dragon Quest VIII for the PlayStation 2 back in 2005. A brand new spanking, meaty adventure for PS4 will definitely catch quite a few headlines.
On the publishing side of things, Square has a panoply of exciting new games. The biggest of all is Eidos Montreal’s sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The recent trailer retains the same type of production value and hype that Human Revolution’s reveal trailer provided. This will most likely be the headliner, and will take up most of the conference’s time with the inevitable live demo that will be played.
The new Tomb Raider game however, is an interesting situation. Microsoft has proudly deemed it as one of Xbox One’s biggest exclusives this year, and is the company’s answer to Sony’s Uncharted 4. The game can either only be shown during Microsoft’s presser, or will also make a brief appearance the next day at Square’s. And just like Deus Ex, a substantial demo should definitely be expected.
In terms of actual surprises, a new Hitman game might be in the cards alongside a new IP. There have been some whispers of a totally new JRPG game, though one must wonder if Square can actually tackle any new projects at the moment, given the fact that it’s struggling to release game that was announced nearly a decade ago. Maybe it’ll just publish it? Then there’s a potential sequel to the surprisingly good Sleeping Dogs game. Developer United Front Games has been dormant ever since the game’s 2012 release, and a new Hong Kong detective crime tale on current-gen consoles totally makes sense.
Whatever the case may be, Square Enix is definitely not showing up empty handed. Though one thing’s for sure, it shouldn’t beg people to be excited for the next industry event, i.e. Gamescom.