LOS ANGELES—Square Enix has changed a lot in the past few years. Once just a Japanese role-playing game powerhouse, the company is now a diverse developer and publisher, with open-world, action and mobile games joining its traditional lineup. At E3 2015, Square Enix showed off a variety of games, and although there's nothing too shocking, each one looks like it could find its own audience.
Just Cause 3
In Just Cause 3, series protagonist Rico Rodriguez returns, and seeks to liberate the Mediterranean country of Medici – even if he has to destroy every square inch of it to do so. Just Cause 3 features destructible environments, and gives Rico all the tools he needs to knock over just about any structure in-game. With grappling hooks, parachutes, guns, grenades and dozens of vehicles, Just Cause 3 looks like pure, well-designed mayhem.
NieR New Product
People usually associate Platinum Games with over-the-top action titles like Bayonetta, but soon, the company will collaborate with Square Enix on a new game that's part of its quirky NieR franchise. A quick trailer showed off a silver-haired girl with a sword in a dark forest, but did not go any deeper. The NieR New Product, as it's currently called, will get a name this autumn, and that should reveal a few more of the story details for what will most likely be a dark action RPG.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Fans already saw the Rise of the Tomb Raider trailer earlier at E3, but Square Enix, the game's publisher, had a few things to add. The game's director, Brian Horton, revealed that the trick to making Lara look realistic was to focus on fine details: skin pores, scars from the first game and even how much snowfall accumulates on Lara's jacket. These graphical flourishes may seem minor, but they help make Lara and her world just a little more cohesive.
Lara Croft Go
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a little too complex to fit on a smartphone, but Lara Croft will still make her way to the small screen. Tomb Raider Go comes from the same team as mobile title Hitman Go, and the basic premise is the same. Guide Lara through a turn-based game with a stripped-down art style that's perfect for small bursts of play. The art is stylized and colorful, and the gameplay is tried-and-true, so Hitman Go fans should know what to expect.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Square Enix rebroadcast the trailer for the Final Fantasy VII remake, which shows off how the beloved game will look when it makes its way to PS4 sometime in the not-too-distant future. For fans who can't wait that long, the PC version of the original Final Fantasy VII will come out for iOS by the end of the summer, and for PS4 this winter. More information about the remake should trickle out within the next few months.
Kingdom Hearts Unchained
Kingdom Hearts III is still a long way off, but a smartphone installment could help ease the wait. Kingdom Hearts Unchained is the latest entry in the Disney/Square Enix hybrid series, and stars a variety of different characters – including series mainstays like Sora, Donald, Goofy and Cloud – doing battle with Heartless while exploring an original story. The game is already out in Japan, and will make its way stateside soon for iOS and Android.
Kingdom Hearts III
Most fans lost track of what was going on in the Kingdom Hearts story roughly four games ago, but if audience reaction was any indication, they're still pretty excited for Kingdom Hearts III. This game stars original protagonist Sora along with Donald Duck and Goofy of Disney fame, and pits them against the evil hordes of Heartless. The environments are huge and open, and Sora gains a new variety of special attacks, including ones based on Disneyland rides like the teacups and Thunder Mountain Railroad.
World of Final Fantasy
Gamers already got a peek at World of Final Fantasy at the Sony E3 2015 press conference, and Square Enix showed the same trailer again. However, this time it came with a bit of exciting commentary from a developer. World of Final Fantasy is a game for parents to share with their kids, and wants to be equally enchanting for both. Players can change their size in order to make "towers" by stacking enemies on top of themselves, or vice versa.
The newest Hitman game, simply called Hitman, is all about making choices. As professional assassin Agent 47, will you take out your dangerous, corrupt targets with finesse and secrecy or brute force and violence? Each huge stage lets you hunt down one target through combat, disguise or skullduggery, and Square Enix will challenge players to cooperate with limited-time challenges, like taking down elusive targets. The game comes out on December 8.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
The Star Ocean series is not the most consistent Japanese RPG franchise out there, but there's nothing else quite in its futuristic sci-fi/fantasy wheelhouse. The fifth installment, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, will feature real-time combat with a six-person party, a sci-fi story about space exploration and a 2016 release date. More information should surface between now and then.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
In the highly anticipated sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, returning protagonist Adam Jensen will continue to explore the conflict between natural humans and those who augment themselves with cyber-technology in the near future. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided casts Jensen as a double-agent investigating transhumanist terrorists. In his complex quest, he'll need all the weapons, special skills, social graces and technological enhancements he can get his hands on.
Described by Square Enix representatives as possessing a "delicate and somewhat wistful atmosphere," Project Setsuna is a brand-new RPG from a brand-new RPG company. Square Enix will work with new developer Tokyo RPG Factory to create a traditional Japanese role-playing game based on beautiful watercolor concept art and subdued, thoughtful music. We don't know much else about Project Setsuna right now, but more information should emerge over time.
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