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Square Enix and the Nebulous Release Dates

It would seem that Square Enix (Apparently pronounced “EH-nix”. Who knew?) didn’t shell out for the stadium seating Ubisoft managed to get, which was probably because they couldn’t afford Jason Derulo and didn’t need that big a space as a result. If you’ve come to this breakdown wondering who Square got as their musical guest you can click away now cause it’s pretty much no one.

The conference opened with a pretty sick-looking Just Cause 3 trailer, which wasn’t mentioned again until after the opening remarks. The remarks assured that Square as a company has been listening to their customer’s thoughts and complaints and making improvements to their games based on them. They also promised “longer and stronger customer support”, and I’m not sure what they meant by that but it sounds reassuring. They also took the time to briefly mention Square Enix Collective, which is a bunch of indie studios that work with Square Enix to make games that are voted on by the community to become the next great franchise. Or something. They didn’t really go into that either.

Just Cause 3

Finally someone remembered that dope-ass trailer everyone was watching a second ago and introduced the Game Director for Just Cause 3. He showed us another trailer that basically held the press conference for him and rehashed everything he said prior to it.

Just Cause 3 will feature an improved grappling hook and a more stabilized parachute, allowing for easier combat when you’re falling out of the sky. They’ve also added a wingsuit, which, in combination with the grappling hook, seems to completely eliminate the need for walking. The jury’s still out on whether you’ll still want to drive around, cause they’re throwing in monster trucks and Formula One cars for racing missions and pretty much to blow up spectacularly. The game really seems to be built on the fact that you can un-build things quickly and gloriously, I feel as though most of the budget went to the physics engine. I mean they allow for “unlimited C4” so I’m not sure whether you’re trying to save this island paradise or blow it up so it can never be tainted by humans again.

The story will feature the game’s protagonist Rico Rodriguez heading to his mother’s homeland, the Mediterranean island republic of Medici, to explode wrest it from the hands of a dictator who has his eyes set on the world.

Just Cause 3 releases December 1 this year.

Nier

Some of you probably know that Nier has already been announced, and which letters are supposed to be capitalized, but at E3 Square Enix announced a new Nier game that will be developed with Platinum Games. No information has been released about it, much less a release date, only that it features a feminine-looking character with a long sword, which could be an accurate description of at least 100 games.

Also Yoko Taro has a crazy mask.

What fresh hell

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Having already shown off the good bits at the Sony conference already, Square didn’t have much to present except to show off how incredibly detailed the Lara Croft model is going to be. They’ve mapped Lara down to the pores and eyelashes, and it certainly looks stunning. The team also showed the way the model adapts to the environment, meaning that when Lara’s in the snow, snow will accumulate on her jacket, and when she gets in a fight she’ll get bloody, and as she explores she’ll get dirty. We’re in the future, people. A future where Square Enix “puts the tombs back in Tomb Raider”. Rise of the Tomb Raider releases November 10 of this year.

Lara Croft GO

On the heels of the success of Hitman GO, Square Enix is releasing a “Mobile turn-based adventure” starring Lara Croft. It’s isometric and very minimalistic, which is a major departure from the developers of Rise of the Tomb Raider raving about how detailed that zit on Lara Croft’s face that never went away is. As it stands now, Lara Croft GO has no release date.

Final Fantasy VII

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ4_t_GqGAM

The rest of Square’s press conference could be accurately described as “The animu section”. After being teased by distinctly hearing the phrase “Kingdom Heartsu” twice from the presenter (Who was presented as one of the directors of the Kingdom Hearts series) and the translator having gone to the bathroom or something, Square presented the trailer for the new Final Fantasy VII remake. While it was indeed epic, and realized Square’s dream of making Advent Children: The Game, I was angered at the prospect of any real news of Kingdom Hearts 3 being violently yanked away from me. Square promised that more information on the remake will be available this Winter, and they want to bring (What I assume is the original) FFVII to iOS by the end of summer.

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X

Right off the bat, the title is pronounced “Kingdom Hearts Unchained Key”. Because, y’know, keys are being made into blades and shoved into keyholes all up in this franchise. You will end up referring to it by one way, your friends by another, and you’ll harbor that resentment for years. (It’s 358 days over 2, Dennis) Anyway, this is another smartphone game that reportedly ties into the story of Kingdom Hearts 3 and features a bizarrely Game of Thrones-esque storyline. Five families/unions (With Crazy animal sigils and everything!) have to come together to stop what I assume is The Darkness in some form or another. The combat seems to be a mixture of turn-based and card-based, but at this point it’s a huge mystery to me. The game is currently in development and will be available for iOS and Android devices.

Kingdom Hearts 3

Honestly this is the entire reason I’m covering Square Enix for TSG. I need to know what’s going on with this game that’s been in development hell since I started my Sophomore year. Of high school. As a result my notes on this particular section of the press conference are a bit illegible but there’s a trailer you can W-OH MY GOD HE’S ATTACKING WITH THE ELECTRIC LIGHT PARADE WHAT IS THIS

Sorry.

But, yeah, as seen in the trailer, one of the new worlds that will be featured is that of Tangled, though we’ve yet to see any of those characters in the trailer. Also apparently the Rock Titan from Hercules is going to be a big deal possibly in this world.

Also Sora can summon rides from Disneyland apparently to aid him in whatever quest has been cooked up for him now, including the teacups from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. There’s also new attacks, some crazy laser pistols that turn into a giant ray gun, and all the thrilling excitement that can come when two people you don’t know banter through a symbolic game of chess.

I am so hyped. And so was everyone else in the crowd, one guy even shouting “THANK YOU” after the trailer had ended. This was the real crowd pleaser of the event and it’s strange it wasn’t saved for last. Probably because the fact that it’s still in development and doesn’t have an official release date would have started a riot.

World of Final Fantasy

World of Final Fantasy features a bunch of delightfully chibi’d characters making their way through the Final Fantasy universe, despite assertions that this was a completely new one. The characters collect pets to fight with and for them, and at various points in the game un-chibi for dramatic effect, I guess. Square wanted the game to be one that children could share with their parents, and have a feel of playing with toys and figurines in a toy box. They’re trying to release it sometimes next year.

Hitman

I know, right? Jeez, Square, would it kill you to put a little more effort into your lead-ins? Immediately after the childlike fantasy of World of Final Fantasy Square Enix went deeper into their new Hitman remake, specifically their multiplayer functionality that features contracts for hits that light up all the time, and if failed offer no chance to retry. Square also described how successful assassinations unlock better equipment and better methods, allowing the player to think of multiple ways to pull off a hit. Hitman is looking at a December 8 release but is now available for preorder.

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

Besides sounding like a PSA for fidelity, the newest Star  Ocean is an attempt to get back to “Old-fashioned JRPG” style, and will focus on seamlessness. Indeed, the trailer features characters instantly transitioning from a defined “explore” mode to a “battle mode” when encountering an enemy in the field. However, despite the name of the franchise, not once did any of the levels seemed to take place in space. Full disclosure: I have never played any Star Ocean games in my life nor have I seen the anime, so I dunno how much actual space travel takes place in it. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness comes to the PS4 for the US and Europe in 2016.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Missing out on a chance to open with “You asked for this”, Square presented the trailer for the newest chapter in the Deus Ex franchise. The story centers around Adam Jenson, who has left his job at Seraph to join an elite INTERPOL group dedicated to cutting down terrorists, but is secretly like “Y’know what maybe these guys suck” and tries to uncover an Illuminati conspiracy. Meanwhile an allegory for racism (The phrase “augmented apartheid” was used) is happening amongst those who’ve cybernetically augmented themselves. Ask for it for your next-gen consoles and PCs early 2016.

Final Fantasy Portal App

I’m pretty sure this is just an app that will tell you things about Final Fantasy, including news and updates. Alright then.

Project Setsuna

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2DOnoriMTk

Square Enix finished up with the announcement of a new RPG franchise created by Tokyo RPG Factory. Little to nothing is known about this game, known only as Project Setsuna. It’s still in the earliest stages of development, and all that was shown in the trailer was a few shots of artwork accompanied by melancholy piano music.

Square Enix then finished up with a mish-mash of all the trailers they had shown thus far, with all the presenters applauding themselves on a job well done of hiding release dates.

Seriously, Square, we appreciate that you’re working on these games, but if you don’t have a relatively concrete plan for release, hold onto those trailers until you can give some fans some assurance that they’ll actually get these games. I feel as though Square sees E3 as a chance to show fans what they’re working on, which I suppose is a fair viewpoint. The issue is that other companies use the Expo as a station for their hype trains, which have a definite arrival time. Having a definitive release date is a promise that you WILL get these games that you like and it kinda drives up the hype I feel, and hype is one of the forces that sells games. Otherwise you end up screaming praises at Japanese executives for showing you not that much.

Besides that Square’s conference was pretty meh, getting a definite boost from KH but immediately losing it due to indefinite release information.

Whaddyou think? Does Square use E3 improperly? Did I spell Nier right? HOW SICK WAS THAT KH3 TRAILER OHMYGOD