What You Missed: Square Enix E3 Conference
Square Enix took the E3 Stage today to make major announcements on all of their upcoming games. For those of us who couldn't make it to LA, livestreams brought us up to speed on the action.
While waiting through a short delay, Twitch users were treated various trivia about past Square Enix games, while a never-ending feed of fan comments scrolled by on the side. Recurring themes in the chat included cries for a sequel to The World Ends With You, "KH3 or riot," "FF7 HYPE TRAIN," Illuminati symbols, and, of course, complaints on the late start.
When the conference finally did begin, it kicked everything off with a bang. Several bangs. Probably a few low-grade missile explosions.
Just Cause 3
Avalanche Studios is upping the ante on their popular open-world series, promising to allow you to basically do whatever, whenever. Explore 400 square miles of freedom, providing "a new benchmark for action and destruction."
Rico Rodriguez returns to his mother's home in Medici, where a dictator has taken complete control of the island and is setting his sights on global domination. The preview gives us a nice look at the game's main feature: lots and lots of explosions. With improved physics-based motions, you can watch that whole building go down with unparalleled realism.
Other major features include an all-new wingsuit for exploring the skies, stablized parachute gameplay, and a completely redone grappling hook sporting multiple tethers and a manuel retract function. You can do a lot of damage with the grappling hook alone - form a wrecking ball, attach your enemies to explosives, even bring entire helicoptors down. And with over 80 land, sea, and air vehicles, you'll be able to test out these new functions all over the island.
"Set the world on fire" this December on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
New NieR Project
Yosake Saito of Business Division 6 started with a coy presentation of a mysterious new project. In the following artwork showcase, we were treated to various landscapes featuring a mysterious generator, a ramshackle treehouse, and sprawling urban ruins.
A white-haired girl wielding a sword rises from the ground in the previews only action shot, teasing more information this fall.
Director Yoko Taro dropped by in full Emil Weapon Mode cosplay, thanking the fans, but refusing to disclose much information, not even the game's subtitle, besides confirming development by Platinum Games.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
We then jumped right into the action for the upcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider, showing video game icon Lara Croft trudging through an arctic expanse, making weapons, and discovering the enigmatic Prophet's Temple. This new installment will push Lara's limits, allowing her (and you, the player) to explore and survive in completely innovative ways.
Game Director Brian Horton made an appearance, promising to make Lara as human and believable as possible. In an exclusive look behind the scenes, we see staff members focusing on the finite details of character design, even down to the last nuanced facial expression. Finally, they've decided to use actual people as models to make sure they get the proportions right (good bye and good riddance, back-breaking boobs), but don't worry. This is still the Lara we all know and love. She's even sporting the scars she got in the last game.
Additionally, Lara and the environment can affect one another, with various natural objects available for use and Lara's appearance changing based on her experiences. So if you go trekking through the mud, you'll actually get muddy. If you tumble down the hill, you can see the scrapes and bruises.
The hyper-realistic Rise of the Tomb Raider is looking at an Xbox-exclusive release November 10, 2015.
Lara Croft Go
In the same vein as Hitman Go, Lara Croft Go will distill all of your favorite elements of the Tomb Raider series into a puzzle adventure game for mobile platforms.
The visuals are simple and clean (sorry, I have Kingdom Hearts on my mind), a departure from the gritty graphics of the main games in the franchise. The moving platforms and art style are reminiscent of another popular mobile game, Monument Valley.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Though Sony already dropped the big bombshell yesterday that Final Fantasy VII was getting a full remake, Square Enix brought up the monumental news again today, featuring the same preview. Everything is beautiful. Cloud is beautiful. The Buster Sword is beautiful. Even that ominous feather floating in the puddle was beautiful.
The already-promised PC version of the original game is still on, coming to PC this winter and iOS as early as Summer's end.
Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ
One mention of Kingdom Hearts and the crowd basically lost their minds. They became considerably less excited however, when they realized they were watching news about Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ, a remake of the Japanese-exclusive mobile game Kingdom Hearts χ [chi].
After a brief view of the gameplay, featuring power-ups based on the familiar fighting styles of old characters, and a reaffirmation that this is in fact relevant to the main series, Square Enix confirmed that the game would be coming to North America.
Kingdom Hearts III
Wow. I admittedly had trouble hearing this one over the sound of my own sobbing. Before showing us any footage, Square Enix revealed that they would be working with Disney Animators to make it feel like you jump right into the movies. Also confirmed: a Tangled world, one of the most highly speculated additions to the franchise.
The all-new sneak peak started off with a gorgeous shot of young Xehanort and Eraqus discussing the Keyblade War over a game of chess. They are adorable. We then get another look at the gameplay, featuring the transforming keyblade as previously advertised, making each fight new and dynamic. While we've already seen the rollercoaster, gun, and ship transformations, the Pegasus-drawn carriage is new.
It also looks like Sora's getting a new look. Halfway through the video, he ditches his magical KH2 threads for a sleek red and black ensemble, sticking true to his past aesthetic while bringing a fresh twist on his Dream Drop Distance outfit.
World of Final Fantasy
Another one previously announced in the Sony Conference, the World of Final Fantasy showcases a new chibi style, taking characters both old and new to a completely original universe.
Director Hiroki Chiba says that the main purpose of the game is the introduce new players to a long-established series like Final Fantasy. Its simple but accessible style is meant to appeal to players of all ages and genders.
The World of Final Fantasy will also feature "towers" of players and monsters that you can use in battle. Different formations create different outcomes, adding a whole new layer of strategy.
"Enter a world of assassination" with the newest addition to the Hitman series. With a digital release scheduled for December 8th, Io Interactive plans on releasing new content at regular intervals, while adjusting the game based on user feedback.
In the trailer, we take control of Agent 47, who has been hired to take out Victor Novacov, the ring leader of a corrupt organization known as Iago. Hitman is a sandbox game that gives you the freedom of approach. You can choose brute force or get a little more creative. Decide on a disguise and get ready to improvise as you create a "genuine masterpiece of assassination."
The online aspect of the game will revolutionize the Hitman series. The preview showcased two new features. The first of which allows players to mark their own targets and then challenge their friends. The second advertised hits that will appear only once before disappearing forever, encouraging the Hitman community to take them out.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
Despite its admittedly clunky title, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness is all about "seamlessness." From exploration to battle, the transitions will be smooth, aiming to maintain immersion. Additionally, tri-Ace will be incorporating "dynamic cutscenes," blending the story perfectly into the gameplay.
The preview started off with a brief recap of the last six years of Star Ocean, promising new and exciting plots and "heart-wrenching farewells" in this fifth installment of the main series. While Integrity and Faithlessness had already been confirmed for a Japanese release this winter, E3 confirmed future availability in North America and Europe.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The year is 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution. Adam Jensen returns, decked out with cybernetic enhancements as one of the augmented, a type of human facing wide scale discrimination and being forced to live in "aug-only" slums. Adam joins Task Force 29, a division of Interpol, as a double-agent, believing them to be controlled by the Illuminati. Apparently the Twitch stream had some truth behind it after all.
The augmentation provides all-new weapons including a gun built into Adam's mechanical arm and detachable nano blades that can be used as projectiles. Other highlights of the trailer include nano-based body armor and a rare look at Adam's eyes behind the shades.
Choices will play heavily into the gameplay and will ultimately decide the ending you're shown.
Mankind Divided will be released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One early 2016.
In a penultimate anticlimax, Square Enix announced the Final Fantasy Portal App, providing up-to-date info on all things Final Fantasy, set for a Japanese release this summer. English release dates and how this will differ from the Final Fantasy Wiki will supposedly be provided at a later time.
To finish things off, Square Enix officially announced Project Setsuna, a completely original console RPG. They made it a point to mention that this was neither sequel nor spinoff, remake nor reboot. It's all-new. In honor of that, a new studio, the Tokyo RPG Factory, is taking the reigns on development. Though they refused to give us more than a few gorgeous pieces of landscape artwork, Square Enix confirmed a global release in 2016.
What did you think of Square Enix's conference? Which of these games are you most excited for?