E3 2015: Square Enix or "All Aboard the ‘Oh Dear’ Express"

Dear oh dear. With a great amount of games coming out later this year and into 2016, Square Enix no doubt had one of the best conferences of E3. Unfortunately, they didn’t. While they did have a deluge of treats available such as Deus Es: Mankind Divided, Just Cause 3, Kingdom Hearts 3 and some other Final Fantasy smatterings, the conference was overburdened by lengthy speeches, forced teleprompter moments and a stunted translator that belaboured phrases with awkward formalities.

The conference began by showing Just Cause 3 in all of its destructible glory. The trailer shown displayed a large amount of action involving grappling hooks, buildings getting demolished, oil rigs getting demolished, and cars getting demolished with a great emphasis on physics based destruction. Objects seemed to react as realistically as possible to explosions, causing debris to fly off in multiple directions. The visual carnage of the trailer presented a game that looked immensely entertaining, but unfortunately, a very unnecessary narrator ruined some of its awesome explosive candour with forced description.

A flying vehicle being demolished.

The next iteration in the Nier series was shown for PlayStation 4 in a number of gorgeous shots. That seemed to be the end of the announcements, until a horrifying moon man came out of nowhere to give every viewer horrifying nightmares. This strange creature might have brought some interest back into the conference, but instead of summoning forth a demon or sacrificing a goat, he merely talked for far too long. Poor show moon man.

A celestial nightmare.

The Rise of the Tomb Raider trailer shown yesterday at the Microsoft press conference made a repeat performance up on Square’s stage. As if that wasn’t disappointing enough, no new game play was shown either, and a behind the scenes documentary was used in its place. This provided an insight into the creation of the new Lara Croft for this generation of consoles, but failed to give any information of worth or interest.

Next, Eidos Montréal appeared to introduce their latest mobile game. A Hitman Go successor called Lara Croft Go, because that was the only name they could think of. It follows the same simplistic, yet fun, turn based game play of Edios’ previous effort, and looks wonderfully pretty. This one could be a winner.

Very pretty.

An awkward montage with no introduction followed that showcased the Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensword Expansion, some seemingly random scenes from the unfinished episodic adventure Life is Strange and a cinematic trailer for Dragon Quest Heroes. After this, the same Final Fantasy VII trailer from Sony’s conference was shown, along with zero information of any real value. The PC port of FFVII promised last year was mentioned at least. It shall be arriving by Winter 2015.

The Tower of Tangled

A new addition to the Kingdom Hearts series was announced. It is called Kingdom Hearts: Unchained Key and is a mobile only title. It looked incredibly pretty, but it is disappointing that such an interesting game in a beloved series is stuck on smart phone. Bring it to the Vita!

Kingdom Hearts 3, the game that everyone had been waiting for, was then shown, but not before an unnecessary video from some of Disney’s finest staff members. Oh, and a brief moment to clap for “Roy.” The footage of KH3 looked fantastically rich and colourful. A stage from Hercules was shown, in which Sora and friends battled against a lava Titan. A locale from a newer movie, Tangled, was also present. Square have definitely been using their work on Final Fantasy XV to improve the environments of Kingdom Hearts as they appeared to be incredibly vibrant, realistic, yet still cartoony, and overall, much more vast than previous iterations.

Silent as a crow bar.

Back to The World of Final Fantasy, a game shown yesterday at Sony’s press conference. The game was presented as a version of FF that will cater towards the entire family. Thus its cutesy, colourful and simplistic aesthetic. This was all well and good, but the most important point was yet to come: it will be available on the Vita.

IO Interactive then turned up to briefly give me a heart attack, as I feared that Hitman was going to be a free to play title. Thankfully it is not. It shall be releasing December 8th, and is being treated as the largest sandbox in the series’ history, with assassination missions that will be continually updated and improved through player feedback. Game play was shown, and it appears to be the open adventure that 2012’s Hitman Absolution should have been.

Black and gold.

Star Ocean: Integrity of Faithfulness was given a 2016 release date for the West. It was also touted as being “seamless” with smooth transitions between cut scenes and game play. Too much talking faltered this demo as well, and the detail that the UI was not final was a bit unnecessary. This conference abounded in too much chatter, as well as awkwardly specific game features.

Hooray! After some more looking at the teleprompter for minutes on end, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was given a first game play trailer. Some lovely genocide was shown at the beginning, and the great aesthetic of gold and black was retained throughout. The stealth and action seemed to be equally viable solutions towards success within the trailer, indicating less punishment for subpar sneaking skills.

And that’s not even all of them.

And now for the dire closing moments of the conference in which an app dedicated to cataloguing the entire Final Fantasy universe was shown: The Final Fantasy Portal. President and CEO of Square Enix Holdings, Yosuke Matsuda then announced that a new studio was being opened, called Tokyo RPG Factory. They are working on an unknown game, a laudable concept of course, but nothing was shown apart from some pretty stills that were accompanied by piano music in an attempt to create some sort of dramatic effect. Things went on far too long once again, and the conference finished with every speaker returning to the stage to give themselves a round of applause. They clapped for what felt like an eternity, but fortunately, moon man made an appearance to break up the boring moments of calm with a hungry look of terror. They might still be clapping even now.

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