Square Enix E3 2018 Recap

Square Enix E3 2018 Recap

Every year when E3 rolls around I like to plan my time and catch all of the big platform and publisher press conferences as they stream live. This means I’ll usually have to try and swing a couple of days off of work, thanks to global timezones putting most presentations at ridiculous hours of the morning. This year Square Enix’s E3 showcase was set to start at 3am local time in Melbourne and so I set my alarms, had a quick nap and then drudged into my loungeroom bleary-eyed but ready.

Bookmarked by some cute animatic sequences narrated by none other than Keith David, it was time to see some games:

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Okay, so this was a pretty obvious choice for an opener. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is about the biggest title Square Enix have coming before the end of this year so it’s good to finally see some actual gameplay footage here. Senior game director Daniel Chayer-Bisson talks us through the concept of ‘becoming one with the jungle’, which basically amounts to Lara being The Predator and killing a whole mess of dudes in cold blood. New gameplay mechanics and a bigger, deadlier world are also touted. Look, I’m pretty damn keen for this one to be honest.

Final Fantasy XIV Online

I really wish I could get into MMOs because Final Fantasy XIV Online just looks like everything a Final Fantasy fanboy like me could want. We see a short trailer for the already-out Stormblood expansion as well as a quick tease for the next update called Under the Moonlight. Then, as is fashionable in Japanese games at the moment, a Monster Hunter crossover is revealed, coming later this year.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

Some more info on the free not-Life is Strange 2 standalone episode with a bit of an introduction from the creative directors at developer DONTNOD. Not much we didn’t already see at the Microsoft conference already though, which turns out to be a running theme in Square’s showcase.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Hard to be mad about a flashy new trailer for the Western release of Dragon Quest XI. Despite looking pretty as hell, it’s hard to not pop a big JRPG stiffy over that classic Dragon Quest theme. The trailer is mostly a montage of the main character doing some flashy attacks and then unleashing the infinity stones from the new Avengers film. Perfect time to segue into the Avengers game we’re all waiting to see?

Apparently not. Just a first look at the special editions of the game and a quick video about a Dragon Quest collaboration with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius mobile game.

Babylon’s Fall

Here’s something new! Unfortunately there’s not much to go on here other than a teaser half-explaining some historical dates that probably have some significance in the game but don’t mean much now. The closest we get to seeing what this game might be about is a couple of knight-looking dudes squaring off. The best thing about this reveal is that it’s being developed by none other than PlatinumGames! Looks to be a PS4/PC exclusive, too.

NieR: Automata BECOME AS GODS Edition

This is great, NieR: Automata deserves to be played by as many people as possible. Not much else to say about this that hasn’t already been said at the Microsoft conference as well, though. Coming to Xbox One with all previously released DLC on June 26. Tidy.

Octopath Traveller

A nice little new trailer for Octopath Traveller, I really dig the visuals in this game. Can’t wait for it to hit the Nintendo Switch on July 13. As an aside, how great would it be if Square did a Final Fantasy VI remake in this same style?

Just Cause 4

Next up in the Microsoft Square Enix E3 showcase is a deeper look at Just Cause 4. The South American region of Solis is being touted as the largest Just Cause open world yet, which is a pretty big deal considering how large the game worlds in the series usually are. We get a better look at the new ‘extreme’ weather featuring in the game as well, which looks like it’ll be a pretty intense twist on gameplay. Promises of better story, combat and enemy AI are also welcome and the new Apex Engine-powered visuals look nice enough, but I can’t help but feel the tone of this one looks a tad too serious for a Just Cause game.

The Quiet Man

Another brand new reveal with next to no indication of what the game is actually about. A live action scene transitions into CG as a deaf guy confronts a couple of thugs in an alleway and… that’s about it. Deafness will obviously be a key feature in the game but I’m not sure how, it’s not like he can’t see who he’s fighting. Does being deaf heighten your punching senses? We’ll see in August, apparently.

Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts, baby! Hang on, this is the same trailer that was at the Xbox conference goddammit. Okay, so there’s a few extra scenes that will get Kingdom Hearts fans’ rocks off but seriously? Also what is with the weird cuts and fucked up audio? Whatever, it’s time for Avengers and Final Fantasy VII Remake.

That’s It.

Wait, what? It’s over? So what we got was a bunch of stuff we’d already seen at the Xbox showcase, some trailers for games already near release and two vague teasers for new games. I don’t think I’ve ever been as disappointed with an E3 presentation as I am with this 30-minute snoozefest. Tomb Raider, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts are great but they don’t distract from the lack of any sort of acknowledgement of the games that Square Enix fans desperately want to see.

I should’ve stayed in bed.

Kieron started gaming on the SEGA Master System, with Sonic the Hedgehog, Alex Kidd and Wonder Boy. The 20-odd years of his life since have not seen his love for platformers falter even slightly. A separate love affair, this time with JRPGs, developed soon after being introduced to Final Fantasy VIII (ie, the best in the series). Further romantic subplots soon blossomed with quirky Japanese games, the occasional flashy AAA action adventure, and an unhealthy number of indie gems. To say that Kieron lies at the center of a tangled, labyrinthine web of sexy video game love would be an understatement.