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E3 Predictions and Preview: Square Enix

Our E3 2016 preview coverage continues with Square Enix, who are showcasing several titles at the event, including some highly anticipated JRPGs coming later this year, such as Final Fantasy XVII and Kingdom Hearts III. There is a lot here to be excited about, so let’s dive right in.

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past

Eric Fuchs, Fan Contributor

Dragon Quest VII is a remake of the 2001 PlayStation RPG, then known as Dragon Warrior VII. In the past few years, Square Enix has been remaking the ’90s Dragon Quest games for Nintendo handhelds, beginning with Dragon Quest IV. This 3DS remake was actually released in Japan all the way back in 2013, but has been in export limbo for a shockingly long time. The remake tweaks several things from the original, such as removing random encounters and bringing in a new translation. Even as the 3DS reaches its waning days, there will be plenty to do on the handheld. Dragon Quest VII should be out later this year for the Nintendo 3DS.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

Eric Fuchs, Fan Contributor

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is yet another Final Fantasy game for mobile platforms. There are quite a lot of them, but Brave Exvius seems to feature more polish than most. Yoshitaka Amano artwork is used in promo materials and there are quite professional looking FMV cutscenes. This is a collaboration between Square Enix and A-lim, the creators of the immensely popular Brave Frontier. In this title, players control a trio of 16-bit JRPG protagonists in a fairly classic plot involving a man in dark armor and crystals.

The draw here is a fast-paced, combo-centered, turn-based battle system. Players can also spend points to summon crystals, which will give them past Final Fantasy heroes, such as Sabin from Final Fantasy VI or Vivi from Final Fantasy IX. Players in Japan have taken a liking to it, with over five million downloads in the past eight months. Brave Exvius will be out this summer for iOS and Android.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Doug Trein, Staff Contributor

Perhaps the biggest announcement of E3 2015 was the confirmation that Square Enix would remake Final Fantasy VII. Fans have been clamoring for a remake of this beloved title for nearly a decade. We’ve seen some trailers and short clips of combat, but expect more exciting details about the project to be unveiled at this year’s E3. What we know so far is that the game is planned to be released episodically, and the battle system has been retooled to a real-time combat one instead of turn-based/ATB.

Final Fantasy XV

Doug Trein, Staff Contributor

The in-depth Final Fantasy Uncovered event that took place in late March of this year showcased an overwhelming amount of new trailers and content of the next Final Fantasy title. The game’s plot follows the exploits of Noctis Lucis Caelum, heir to the Lucian throne, and his companions . The group sets off to defeat the forces of Niflheim. The game features an immense open world, a hybrid real-time battle system called Active Cross Battle System, and an emotional story. With the game’s September release fast approaching, we can expect to see a new trailer or two, and perhaps even a new demo on the show floor.

Hitman

Kim Duel, Staff Contributor

Square Enix released Hitman earlier this year as the sixth entry in the Hitman series. This episodic action-adventure stealth game is the culmination of a 17-year journey by game developer Io-Interactive. During E3 2016, Square Enix plans to release information regarding the next installment of their seven-part World of Assassination experience.

I Am Setsuna

Eric Fuchs, Fan Contributor

I Am Setsuna is a little JRPG created by a new studio within Square Enix, Toyko RPG Factory. The RPG Factory is a small team of traditional JRPG enthusiasts and their love for the genre is obvious. I Am Setsuna shares more than a little bit of its battle system with Chrono Trigger. In fact, it’s almost identical. Since Square Enix doesn’t seem interested in bringing Chrono Trigger back any other way, fans of those games now have something all new to look forward to.

I Am Setsuna was released in Japan on February 14 for the PS4 and Vita to decent but not stellar reviews. It was also playable at PAX East 2016, so we shouldn’t expect to see anything spectacularly new at E3. One big unanswered question remains if there will be a Vita release outside of Japan. For now. I Am Setsuna is set for a July 18 release on PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam.

Just Cause 3 DLC

Kim Duel, Staff Contributor

Just Cause 3 is an action-adventure video game developed by Avalanche Studios and released in December of 2015 as the sequel to 2010’s Just Cause 2. In this version, the protagonist Rico Rodriguez returns to his homeland of Medici with the intent to thwart the control of the evil dictator General Sebastiano Di Ravelio.

The game’s first expansion pack, titled Sky Fortress became available early in March 2016 as part of the Air, Land and Sea Expansion DLC. That release “took to the air as Rico Rodriguez got a massive upgrade to his wing suit.” Square Enix has confirmed that the second expansion pack, Land Mech Assault, will be playable at E3 2016 and that this latest adventure will bring Rico back to land where he will be able to control devastating mechanized weapons.

Kingdom Hearts III

Eric Fuchs, Fan Contributor

It has now been a decade since the release of Kingdom Hearts II. In that time, the Kingdom Hearts series has experimented on handhelds with various side stories, all setting up a massive final battle with the evil Xehanort/Ansem/Xemnas (the plot has become legendarily complicated). Director Tetsuya Nomura has been keeping his cards close to his chest as to which gameplay mechanics from the side games and which Disney movies will be featured in this title. We do know there are massive fabulous Disney ride-inspired super moves and that there will be a Tangled world.

As for the overall story and other details, that is hard to say; Kingdom Hearts is so mythologically dense at this point that anything could happen. But we will have the core trio of Sora, Donald, and Goofy once again fighting Heartless. Fans have been waiting a very long time for this one, dreaming of seeing their favorite series return after missing an entire console generation. Kingdom Hearts III will be out someday for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Let’s hope we get a release date at E3.

NieR: Automata

Eric Fuchs, Fan Contributor

NieR: Automata is the sequel to Nier, one of the more unusual RPGs on the PlayStation 3. The Nier games are spin-offs of the Drakengard franchise, already a bizarre cult series featuring multiple timelines, girls with flowers growing out of their eyes and other indescribable things. Nier had a mix of game styles, open world side-quests, and mini-games. We can expect similar features, like gardening and fishing, to return in the sequel. What won’t return is the main character, Nier. Instead, you play as a new female protagonist.

While the original was already an action RPG, Square Enix have teamed up with the masters of the action brawler, Platinum Games, for NieR: Automata. Platinum Games have a spotty record lately though, so it’s hard to say whether we’ll get the Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising Platinum or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Platinum. However it plays, we are looking forward to seeing just what wonderful nonsense the story will include. NieR: Automata is scheduled for release later this year on the PlayStation 4.

Star Ocean V

Doug Trein, Staff Contributor

The long-time sci-fi role-playing game series has been quiet since the release of Star Ocean: The Last Hope back in 2009. But last year, Square Enix confirmed that the Star Ocean series will get another release in Star Ocean V: Integrity and Faithlessness. The series’ trademark real-time action battle system features improved game mechanics and will seamlessly transition into cutscenes. The game was released in Japan this past April, so E3 will certainly reveal more details of the localized content. Expect to see a playable demo with new trailers.

The Turing Test

Kim Duel, Staff Contributor

Back in October of 2013, Square Enix announced a new project they called the Collective Crowdfunding Initiative. The purpose of this project was to allow independent developers a way to gain feedback and possibly funding for their game ideas. A special website was created for the project that displays descriptions of the games and gives players an opportunity to express their interest to the developers. Square Enix will be debuting the Initiative project at E3 this year by offering players a chance to play two new game demos: The Turing Test and Black The Fall.

The Turing Test is a first-person puzzler from the developers of Pneuma: Breath of Life (released Feb. 27, 2015) that takes players on a narrated story of introspection and morality while uncovering the hidden mysteries of Europa. Black The Fall is an atmospheric game set up in a communist dystopian era where players face puzzles, pitfalls, and manipulation while learning to survive. Look for them both on the E3 show floor.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Jorge Albor, Games Editor

Adam Jensen is back, and I’m pretty sure Square Enix has managed to shove even more gadgets and swords into his robot arm this time around. Mankind Divided is a sequel to the much-loved Human Revolution, and will feature the same tactical stealth combat you know and love. Folks disenchanted with Revolution‘s sloppy boss fights will be pleased to know the developers, Eidos Montréal, are producing all of these combat sequences in-house. The game will be released August 23, so expect to see one final marketing push with some really cool-looking trailers.


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