It's the kind of question much more commonly associated with the Final Fantasy series: what is it that makes a ___ game a ___ game? Since Square Enix oversees the fate of Deus Ex, I suppose it's appropriate to turn the discussion in that direction. Patrick Fortier, the director of gameplay for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, spoke with the folks over at Polygon about precisely that. It turns out there are four essential ingredients to a Deus Ex game: stealth, combat, hacking, and social interaction. Those four things, of course, "all wrapped up into this tight rope of freedom and choice and consequences."
Fortier continued to suggest that while continuity with prior titles developed by different hands was a primary concern with Mankind Divided's immediate (and critically-acclaimed) predecessor, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the team is looking to explore new possibilities -- and of course offer more gameplay options, more augmentations, and more narrative choices.
Multiple other interviews with other personnel working on the game have cropped up on several other videogame websites in the last couple days, saying almost the exact same things: the four pillars of Deus Ex, expanding possibilities for the franchise, and no-way-is-the-wrong-way when it comes to player-drive plot choices. Eidos Montreal and Square Enix are certainly barnstorming, and from the headlines the cumulative effect looks positive: "Deus Ex left me obsessing over cyborg oppression" (theverge.com) and "Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a better shooter than most actual shooters" (gamesradar.com), to name just a few.
This wave of comments comes after a successful E3 presentation: while their demo initially at Sony's main event, its successful reboot showed not only that they were actually playing live (something that is not always the case for demos at events like this); it also showed that the game is darn beautiful. They also come, however, after a bit of heat from several quarters regarding the team's use of the now-trademarked term "mechanical apartheid." It must be added that several persons, connected with the game's development and with Eidos Montreal, have made strong and sensible responses to these critiques, saying that a vital part of the franchise has always been considering complex social questions in a sci-fi world that nonetheless has bearings on reality. But for now, "social justice" isn't listed as one of the "four pillars" of a Deus Ex title -- not yet, at least.
Source: Polygon, Kotaku UK
Tetsuya Nomura has been a busy, busy fellow. He appeared in Famitsu this week to speak even more about Kingdom Hearts III -- after already doing so last week -- to add a few more tidbits to the.... tidbit bouquet. Apparently Square Enix has already internally established a release window for the title, but they aren't telling anyone yet. I suppose sharing this is just supposed to make us feel better? Nomura added that development is moving along smoothly.
Nomura clarified that Kingdom Hearts III's battle system would not be like Birth By Sleep but would instead be a bit more "traditional" and more in line with the previous two main entries in the series. Most of the worlds in the game will be new to the series; evidently the team has already talked with Disney and decided on the next new world to announce.
Finally, Nomura reiterated that the third Kingdom Hearts installment would mark the end of a story, not the end of the series (we've heard this before, but that was back in 2013). Xehanort and the Dark Seeker part of the series will conclude, but decisions have already been made about the future of various characters in the series. Nomura concluded by teasting that the team is currently thinking about secret videos and the game's ending.
Videogame website Polygon spoke to Shuichi Kobayashi, the producer of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (the fifth entry in the series). Having shown the title's first gameplay trailer at E3 last week, Kobayashi made it clear he -- and others at Square Enix -- already have plans for where the series will go next. Kobayashi said that he would "like to make something that can work as a basis for future possibilities," alluding to the fact that the Star Ocean series has been scattered temporally, geographically, and in terms of plot relation. He reiterated that it was important this next title be a "really clearly defined game" on which future titles could build.
Reporting that he had received significant fan feedback seeking an open-world Star Ocean, Kobayashi said it is an "evolution" he wants to take place, but that it isn't the right time for that yet. A strong product in a more traditional format would certainly be a valuable step for the series, which despite being well-respected has had, in its last two titles, a botched release (Star Ocean 3) and a lukewarm reception (Star Ocean 4).
At another point, Kobayashi all but admitted Star Ocean 4 wasn't good, and emphasized that the team of Integrity and Faithlessness is looking to the first three Star Ocean games for inspiration and pursuing "a very tri-Ace creative direction." Between this title and the new Nier title, it seems that Square Enix's current theme is continuity.
Finally, Kobayashi commented a bit on how characters would work in Star Ocean 5. The trailer showed at E3 included several characters on screen at once, and he said that your entire party will be present in the field. It has yet to be seen how this will impact combat -- whether only some of these characters will actually participate in battle or whether you'll have the whole batch fighting at once. It is also reported that there will be more than six playable characters (the number shown in the trailer) in the final game.
Source: Polygon, RPGFan
A Nier sequel was announced at E3 last week, and director Taro Yoko has since been busy letting additional details about the game slip. We already reported on a Dengeki interview with director Taro Yoko, and now we have a bit more from Dengeki to share.
The game world will show an awareness of its predecessor, meaning that players will potentially hear of Nier, Yonah, and Kainé. It is confirmed, however, that Emil will make an appearance. The runic text that appeared in the announcement trailer reportedly says "doll, human, machine." The meaning is of course vague, but players of the original game will recognize these three categories -- and the potential fluidity between them -- as a major theme.
Yoko insisted that the game would have a happy ending this time around -- perhaps a surprise to players of the original Nier and certainly a surprise to producer Yosuke Saito, who was also present for the interview. Despite the fact that Saito is, um, producing the game, Yoko assured him that it would manage to end happily.
It seems, from early images and comments, that there will be larger and more ruins in the Nier sequel. The overall impression is that the world will be larger overall this time around. There will be multiple things (creatures? machines?) available for players to ride this time around (not just a boar).
There will be three playable characters; it seems that players won't be able to switch characters freely, but that these switches will be mandated based on overarching plot, player in-game decisions, and the number of playthroughs. The different characters will have different weapons with different commands and combos.
Finally, there was the customary talk of negotiating between maintaining the spirit of the original Nier while still doing new things. While Yoko cautioned that it would be impossible to capturing the same feeling as the original Nier, the staff at PlatinumGames, the company working with Square Enix on the title, have professed a liking for the original and are evidently committed to recreating that spirit. It was agreed that this new title is "very Nier." Nothing to worry about then, right?
Ed. Note: The first iteration of this post mentioned, in error, the presence of Kainé in the trailer.
Obviously, this week's news of the long-teased Final Fantasy VII remake has stolen the Square Enix spotlight. But, what of other, similarly-teased projects like remakes of Final Fantasy V and VI?
As quoted at VentureBeat, when asked about remakes of other games in the series in the wake of Final Fantasy VII, Nomura responded, "Considering that we have remakes of Final Fantasy up to IV and then we have VII — I’ve been working with Mr. [Yoshinori] Kitase since Final Fantasy V, and we’ve noticed that V and VI are missing. That bothers me. How come we skipped over those two?"
This is idle chatter, of course, but if anyone's going to get those projects off the ground at this point, Nomura would be the prime candidate. Clearly, there's no other information about the status of these projects, but one could (and should, friendly CoN posters) speculate wildly in the comments below.
Square Enix has hit the Japanese gaming magazines hard with followup information on several of the titles shown at their E3 press conference yesterday.
Taro Yoko, director of the new Nier title announced yesterday, took to Famitsu to explain the new project's relationship to the original Nier, released in 2010 (which was itself a spin-off of sorts from the first Drakengard game). Yoko said that the setting is connected but that the stories themselves are not, and that the new game will take place after the original. A few characters will make reappearances, but don't expect them to be main characters. Yoko promised that this game will also have the New Game + elements of its predecessor. He added the estimation that the game is 10% complete.
Tetsuya Nomura, who was a part of Square Enix's E3 presentation, appeared in Dengeki to talk about both projects he is currently connected with. He commented a bit on the gameplay shown in the Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer, saying that Sora will automatically engage slopes and ledges for a "more dynamic sense of action." He also explained that the conversation over chess between (younger versions of) Xehanort and Eraqus is an excerpt of a larger conversation which will take place in the game's opening sequence. Acknowledging that the scene took place well in the past, Nomura added that this will somehow facilitate a plot connect between Kingdom Hearts 3 and Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, which was announced for mobile release at E3 and takes place during the Keyblade War.
Finally, Nomura spoke with both Eurogamer and Dengeki about the remake of Final Fantasy VII. The game's announcement so early in the development process seems to stem in part from a concern for console sales in Japan, which have been slow this generation. In a pragmatic business move, Square Enix wanted its fans to know what they have coming later on before their rather impressive slated 2016 lineup hits. Nomura continued to say that the remake won't simply be a graphics update. Kazushige Nojima, who wrote Final Fantasy VII, is back to work on script. Nomura did not say whether this meant simply additions or changes, or whether these would impact just dialogue or the overall plot. He did, however, remark that if someone wanted to play the exact same game as the original, they should play the original. Yoshinori Kitase, who directed Final Fantasy VII, is also on board as producer; Nomura suggested that the choice to begin a remake was influenced by the desire to keep the game in as many of its original hands as possible. There was some speculation in CoN chat over whether Cloud would still be able to don a dress in this new version: put your fears to rest, people, Nomura apparently told Eurogamer to "look forward to it." He reiterated the promise made at E3 that more information will be coming in winter.
Source: Siliconera, Eurogamer, Siliconera