2015 is already off to a pretty good start for Square Enix. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD was met with mostly positive reviews and the included demo of Final Fantasy XV also went over well. Anticipation continues to build for Kingdom Hearts 3, and we’ve even gotten a couple of cool teasers for new games in the Star Ocean and Deus Ex franchises.
With so many big games on the way, it wasn’t a surprise last weekend when the Japanese developer and publisher announced it would hold its own press conference at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles.
What was surprising a few days later was when Final Fantasy XV‘s director took care to mention in a video broadcast that XV will not have another big reveal at E3, with Square opting to wait for Gamecom in August.
So with the 800-pound gorilla getting pushed out of the room, the question becomes, what will Square Enix spend its time previewing this June? Luckily, we have this nifty crystal ball that uh, a moogle gave us? Yeah, that’s our story.
Here’s what we think you can expect at Square Enix’s 2015 E3 press conference:
Final Fantasy VII Remake
If you had told us a month back that this day would finally come at E3 2015, we would’ve told you that you were crazy. But after so much waiting, that’s exactly what’s happened. Revealed at Sony’s Media Briefing, we got our first glimpse at the game and what it will look like on a current-gen console. Just look at the trailer above for yourself! We don’t know much more about this game except that it exists. No release date, but we can assume that it will be out for PC, PS4, and XBO at some point in the future.
World of Final Fantasy
Well, this one’s a bit bewildering, but that’s okay because Final Fantasy VII Remake was announced right after. World of Final Fantasy seems to be about tiny versions of franchise characters, who embark on an epic quest to blah blah blah ancient magic crystal blah blah blah of light. BRING FORTH FINAL FANTASY VII. (This game will be out for PS4 and Vita in 2016.)
Just Cause 3
This one came as a bit of a surprise a few weeks ago, but we’re happy to see Just Cause return for a current-gen outing. The open-world spy thriller has a lot of live up to in terms of what came before. Let’s hope Square Enix can really wow us during their conference.
A new Hitman game was bound to come out at some point, right? And the title is quite the mouthful! While Hitman: Absolution was good, we’re hoping that Square Enix shows us a bit of the old school, less ridiculous game we know and love, one that was dark and calculating…and that doesn’t involve dudes with robot arms or South Dakota. Not much known about this one except that there’s a snowy forest. It will also get a PS4-exclusive beta and six exclusive PS4 contracts. The game doesn’t have a release date, but will arrive for PS4, XBO, and PC.
Final Fantasy XV
Wait, what? Yes, we just said that Square Enix is moving its next major XV discussion to August, but the chances of Square Enix letting the biggest industry event of the year come and go without at least mentioning its most anticipated game are between slim and none. We’ll most likely just get a new trailer with some new areas or characters, perhaps to kick off the event.
Kingdom Hearts 3
It’s been reported over and over again that the reason it’s taken so long for Square to finish Kingdom Hearts 3 is that most of the KH team was working on Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the game that would become Final Fantasy XV.
We’ve gotten a couple of teaser videos over the last year, but E3 would seem to be an opportunity for the big reveal we’ve all been waiting for. Unfortunately, it’s been reported by multiple outlets that Square Enix might be waiting for Japan’s D23 Expo in November for the first gameplay reveal. D23 is a huge celebration of all things Disney, so it would be a perfect fit for the game, not to mention give Square some more time to make sure everything looks great before showing it to the public. That’s disappointing if true, but no one was expecting Kingdom Hearts 3 to hit shelves before Final Fantasy XV, so it’s not really surprising either.
At E3, expect the first full-length trailer, and expect it to be in English. (Some English voice actors for the game have been quoted as saying that their work is mostly done or complete.) Also don’t be surprised if we get yet another Kingdom Hearts spin-off announcement, perhaps a mobile title that director Tetsuya Nomura has alluded to before. I’m also putting money down on a PlayStation 4 port of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD. If you think that’s odd, remember that Square is already doing the same thing with Final Fantasy X’s PlayStation 3 remaster.
Star Ocean 5
One of the more pleasant surprises over the last month for old school RPG fans was the reveal of Star Ocean 5 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. It’s the first new Star Ocean game in six years and a return to the company’s roots. The three minute long announcement trailer spends a good chunk of time recapping the story from the previous games and doesn’t show anything from the new installment other than the subtitle: Integrity and Faithlessness.
With Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 both possibly getting pushed to other events as far as major announcements go, I think we could be getting a big Star Ocean reveal at this year’s E3. A full trailer is a given, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some video or even an in-depth walkthrough of the game’s battle system. Star Ocean has always been known for its unique battle systems, and E3 would be the perfect showcase for what Square has cooked up this time. Star Ocean used to be one of Square Enix’s most beloved franchises, and this could be the start of a push to bring one of the classics back into the spotlight.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Star Ocean wasn’t the only surprise April announcement from Square Enix. Deus Ex also got some love with the announcement trailer for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. It once again was all CG, though. Our theory is that the reason Square Enix chose April to leak and then officially announce both Deus Ex and Star Ocean is that it’s just the right amount of time between now and E3 to start building up some hype. We also expect to see a good deal more from this title, including some gameplay.
Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
The first major expansion to the revitalized Final Fantasy XIV drops June 23, just a few days after E3. We already know a ton about Heavensward, like the addition of flying mounts, a new level cap and other standard MMO expansion goodies. There won’t be any major announcements about the title at E3, but a press conference the week before the game comes out is the perfect time to release the final launch trailer.
Hopes and Dreams
The five titles mentioned above are the major AAA games that we know for sure are coming from Square Enix in the near future. But it’s not an E3 press conference if there’s not at least one surprise or two. Here are a few possibilities:
Before the Square and Enix merger, Dragon Quest competed directly with Final Fantasy for everyone’s RPG dollars, although it’s always been far more popular in Japan than in the West. The franchise has taken a back seat to Final Fantasy since the merger, but Dragon Quest still has its die hard fans.
The last major DQ title to grace consoles in North America was Dragon Quest VIII way back on the PlayStation 2 in 2005. Dragon Quest IX was a Nintendo DS title and X is an MMO that’s exclusive to the Wii and Wii U in Japan.
2016 does mark the 30th anniversary of the franchise though, and the game’s creator said last year that Dragon Quest XI is in development for consoles, and that he wants to get it out in time for the anniversary. Assuming the title is going to be a full-fledged single player adventure and not another online title, E3 would be a great time to start building some hype for it in North America ahead of the anniversary next year.
Final Fantasy Type-1
The ending video of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD alludes to a sequel, and the game’s director has since said that he envisioned turning the Type franchise into an ongoing series of more experimental Final Fantasy games. Given that Type-0 HD was mostly well received, it’s at least a possibility that its creative team could be given the green light on the next game in the franchise. I wouldn’t expect much on this one, but a short teaser or announcement trailer would suffice.