Over the past couple of years Square Enix have been flexing their muscle as both a publisher and developer, delivering top content from all corners of the globe including Japan, Canada and more. At E3 2015, things heat up as the publisher took to the stage in their own press conference for the third time running. Thankfully, the end result was a well rounded one with the diversity of Square Enix’s lineup shining through.
Kicking things off was Square Enix CEO of Americas and Europe Phil Rogers. Rogers took the time to congratulate all aspiring developers for being a part of Square Enix’s Collective program; which aims to support and sustain ongoing independent talent and games. His screen time was unfortunately short lived as he passed the torch over to Roland Lesterlin of Avalanche Studios.
Just Cause 3 was the next tasty morsel on the menu. A gameplay trailer was shown featuring many different methods of travel within the game’s massive sandbox environment. Players can zip around the oppressed Republic of Medici as Rico Rodriguez as he liberates the land from the clutches of Di Ravello and his cohort. The grappling hook makes a return, and allows multiple tethers to objects and seamless use along with the hang glider and parachute. The trailer also detailed destructible environments, rocket riding and online challenges that test the player’s precision or ability to cause havoc among enemy strongholds. Just Cause 3 is currently slated for a global release on December 1st 2015.
Next up was Yosuke Saito with an incredible announcement that many had not anticipated; a new installment in the NieR series. Tentatively titled NieR New Project, it will be developed by Japanese action game powerhouse Platinum Games, directed by series mainstay Yoko Taro and soundtrack composed by Keiichi Okabe. After a brief but gorgeous teaser, game director Yoko Taro jumped on stage wearing a mask of Emil, a major character from NieR and expressed his excitement being involved, despite still being relatively early in its development. I for one look forward to purchasing all 10 physical soundtracks for NieR New Project in a couple of years time.
Yoko Taro. Truly the king of kings.
Rise of the Tomb Raider also received some ample screen time with a developer diary concerned with the graphical updates associated with the many character models in-game. Lara’s facial animations are incredible and the detailing from the scars on her skin (received from events in the previous games) to the textures on her heavy duty snow gear serves as a testament to the development team and the sheer power of current generation hardware.
After that, Eidos Montreal’s Patrick Naud was happy to report on the positive reception of mobile games Hitman Go and Hitman Sniper. With that momentum, he also announced another game for iOS fans to get excited about; Lara Croft Go. Taking cues and mechanics from Hitman Go, the player is tasked with navigating Lara Croft through all sorts of peril in a turn based. more ambient format. More information on Lara Croft Go will be available later after the conference.
Executive Producer of Kingdom Hearts Shinji Hashimoto took centre stage to announce everything Japanese RPG flavoured. First up, a Final Fantasy VII frenzy with the trailer shown at the Sony E3 conference just hours ago, fans will also have to endure a slight delay as the PS1 version of Final Fantasy VII will be ported to Playstation 4 and iOS platforms later this year. Hashimoto-san kept things simple and clean with Kingdom Hearts as an original smartphone property titled Kingdom Hearts Unchained is set to release on iOS and Android, along with a new gameplay trailer for Kingdom Hearts III featuring wallrunning combat and scaling of large enemies 10 times the size of protagonist Sora. Despite a strong and long showing, Kingdom Hearts III is in development and still without a release date. To curb the pain, more information was released for World of Final Fantasy, as director Hiroki Chiba discloses that the target audience is for anybody ranging from kids to adults.
IO Interactive popped in to finally divulge on their latest Hitman project, which will feature a persistent, sandbox environment which promises to return to the series’ roots of multiple methods and possibilities of dispatching targets. A steady flow of content and support will be released in a procedural format upon release. Contracts and targets constantly change and move in real time which can be shared with friends and other neighbouring assassins. Hitman has been scheduled for release December 8 2015.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, tri-ace’s fifth entry in their flagship franchise makes an appearance, with a gameplay trailer rendered in real time. Seamless transitions are featured from exploration into battle as all fights take place in the overworld. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness is set for release in 2015 for Japan and 2016 for the Americas and Europe exclusively on Playstation 4.
Eidos Montreal took to the stage once more as David Anfossi and Mary DeMarle discussed Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Story information including Adam Jensen’s adventures after leaving Sarif Industries and joining Interpol included a brief gameplay trailer showcasing some of his new augments and abilities that can be used lethally and non-lethally. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is set for release Early 2016.
And finally, President/CEO Yosuka Matsuda encouraged all Square Enix attendees to join him on stage as he announced several things including a handy Final Fantasy encyclopedia for smartphones titled Final Fantasy Portal App, and a new RPG project and IP known as Project Setsuna by new developers Tokyo RPG Factory scheduled for release sometime next year. More information on Project Setsuna will be released as its available.
A surprising turn of events and announcements, sprinkled with further information on existing projects ensured that everybody had something they could take from Square Enix’s E3 2015 presentation and subsequently, get super excited about. The new NieR project will definitely be something special, as a lot of the original creative team are behind it (not to mention Platinum Games) along with Square Enix’s strong emphasis on published games like Deus Ex, Just Cause 3 and Tomb Raider. Let’s face it, we’re all excited about the idea to be finally witnessing Kingdom Hearts III and a Final Fantasy VII remake. From all of the above that was mentioned in this article, there’s plenty to be excited about at E3 2015 and it seems that Square Enix’s lineup is exactly what the doctor ordered.