E3's all done now for 2013, and this was a pretty big one for Square Enix. Well, at least the Square side of things. We reported earlier in the week the biggest news from the company, both that Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 were coming for the PlayStation 4, and then just a few hours later that the same games were also meant for Xbox One.
Final Fantasy XIV was also announced for PlayStation 4, with an upgrade system for users who want to start on PlayStation 3 and then move on up. New screenshots and trailers emerged for the Final Fantasy X and X-2 updates, and there was not just a debut trailer for Final Fantasy XV, but also a followup video showing the first elements of high-fiving, male-centric battle first appeared in the private "Future of Final Fantasy" event but was later released to YouTube.
Obviously, all that made for the biggest news of the conference. However, it's worth noting that Squenix put together a blog post to cover all the little things they did, and it has other videos such as new videos from Lightning Returns, the official announcement trailer for Murdered: Soul Suspect, and the kinda-creepy iOS action RPG Bloodmasque, in which your hack and slash master shares your face.
All in all, this was probably one of the better years the company's had at E3 in a while. They were definitely showstealers at least twice, and the release schedule coming up in the next year is looking pretty solid. And we're not even to the Tokyo Game Show yet.
Source: Square Enix Members Blog
Final Fantasy VII Remake for PlayStation 4!
No, just kidding, I couldn't resist. While the "Future of Final Fantasy" event was invite only with no stream or public video released (at least, not yet), you can't stop the liveblog freight train. Now that the event has been over for a bit, here's what came from it:
- Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be released for both PS3 and PS4. If you buy on PS3, you can port your data to PS4 later. No word on whether you have to buy the software twice, though.
- XIV also got a pretty serious new trailer.
- New Final Fantasy X HD remake screenshots were bouncing around.
- And, hey, a new trailer for that too!
- New gameplay work-in-progress from Final Fantasy Versus XV 13 was shown for the first time.
- Oh, yeah. And XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 are not Sony exclusives. They're also coming to Xbox One. Goodness. It's currently unknown if those games will have simultaneous releases on all platforms, though, or if some limited exclusivity will apply.
Source: RPG Site Twitter, DualShockers
Well, that was both expected and unexpected. I had been saying all day that it didn't make sense for Square Enix to make any big announcements at Sony's pre-E3 press conference because Squenix had their "Future of Final Fantasy" private event coming up tomorrow (today, now).
I don't know whether Squenix wanted to make sure their big news was immediately available to everyone, or Sony coughed up some hard cash to be allowed to host the debut, or something else; regardless, there it was about an hour into Sony's show: Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3.
I think that the notion that Versus XIII would become Final Fantasy XV was a common one; in fact, I think that I mentioned it myself in a CoNcast at some point. As it turns out, that is exactly what happened; the title that started as Versus XIII explodes in the trailer and becomes XV. However, the game looks very much like what we were told to expect years ago, so it's anyone's guess right now how they are altering the setting and plot to make sure that this is no longer a XIII-universe game. Perhaps there will be more of that soon.
Kingdom Hearts 3 was also a little bit of a revelation. That the game would at one point exist was well known, but in the past, Squenix had said in the past that the game wouldn't begin development in earnest until after Versus XIII had been released. It must have been reassuring for KH fans, then, when that game's trailer showed up too.
The exclusivity of both games was not addressed. At Sony's conference? Color me shocked. No matter what the platform, this is a pretty big breakthrough moment for Square Enix. Both of these games have been hidden from sight for quite a while, and suddenly the company has something real to talk about for two of their biggest IPs again. While, based on those trailers, neither is particularly interesting to me personally yet, this is the very definition of a huge deal when it comes to Square.
It also begs the question, what could be left to talk about in today's private event? It seems like since we know the next two numbered Final Fantasy games, "the future" will have to revolve around them for a bit. Maybe it's more detail on the new engine we've seen a couple times. Since my ticket never made it to me, I guess we'll have to wait for some leaks!
Source: Siliconera, Engadget
Well, no surprises yet, anyway. Square Enix announced their official E3 lineup late last night, and, quite frankly, the most shocking aspect is that there's no talk about the confirmed localization of Bravely Default. I really rather thought that there would be a playable English version around for E3 this year.
The full announced list contains A Realm Reborn, Lightning Returns, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD, and the X/X-2 remaster project; Eidos will show Thief and the Human Revolution Director's Cut, as well as the mobile-based action RPG Deus Ex: The Fall. Murdered: Soul Suspect and a mobile game called Mini Ninjas round out the headline games in the press release.
It's not clear from the release which games will be playable. Even the games marked as having "theater presentations" do not explicitly say that they won't also be playable, so it might be a wait and see. The company also says that there will be a "first look" at the next generation of Final Fantasy - while this could be big news, it's yet again something that I think we all expected to happen either at E3 or TGS or both. There's still hope it could be something genuinely interesting!
Source: Square Enix Members Blog
It was confirmed today that Mike Fischer, president and CEO of the American arm of Square Enix, left the company earlier in May to join Amazon Japan as Vice President of Music and Video. Fischer was previously at a few other gaming giants before his role at Squenix, but now is leaving the gaming space "on good terms."
Just as Yoichi Wada left the flagship earlier this year, it's presumed that not meeting sales expectations for the major releases over the last year doomed Fischer's tenure, though I'm hearing that the expectations being quoted were a bit ludicrous to begin with. There are also rumors that there may be big shakeups coming in North America relative to the mobile release strategy or even that entire division of the company; this could be the sign of an executive getting his golden parachute as the plane goes down.
The most recent "big" game from the North American division was last year's Quantum Conundrum.
Source: Polygon (via Kotaku)
With photos! I was only able to spend about six or seven hours there yesterday, but I had a blast and met some good people and some great Final Fantasy (and other) cosplayers while I was at the exhibition hall. Being there certainly gave me some good new things to talk about in the next CoNcast (and if you have questions about what I saw, post them here! We're going to be recording a CoNcast later today and I can answer them then or any time).
While some of the interesting stuff for Squenix came out before I could go, I did manage to find some time to check out the FFX HD trailer a bit, and while I didn't come up with any photos of it, it looked solid. I would say it is definitely approaching the level of visual quality that Final Fantasy XIII managed, at least in the cutscenes they showed on the 40" HDTVs they had scattered in the booth. If you're one of the folks who enjoyed Final Fantasy X a decade ago, you should be excited for this, I do believe.
In any event, a good time was had by all. You can see the photos to learn more! Be sure to give props to the cosplayers I talked to, either here or on Facebook, so that they know their hard work is appreciated by the rest of us!