Square Enix came out swinging at E3 2019 and there was a huge swath of announcements and ports. But what were the major takeaways from one of the best shows of the year? Well, these 10 are certainly right up there with what you need to know about Square’s excellent showing.
1) Final Fantasy VII Remake
It is no surprise that Square Enix opened with the Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Before they presented the game, the lead producer came out and made a bold claim – that there is enough content for two blu-ray disks and that it will not disappoint the fans. Then they began showing gameplay and there was a lot to show, starting with the real time action RPG combat. Cloud moves around at a fast pace, swings at the press of a button, blocks, and dodges, with a style that looked very close to recent Final Fantasy’s with a twist – after an ability bar fills up and Cloud can enter tactical mode where the game pauses and you can choose between different abilities, use spells, and heal. Different party members have different attacks and abilities in their tactical mode. Shortcuts can be set on the abilities as well for those who don’t want the action to slow down.
It looks like lessons were learned from designing Final Fantasy XV’s combat and they applied those to this game. While it looks similar, it still seems different enough to be unique. In fact, it looked fantastic, buttery smooth, and shockingly well polished. The recreated Midgard is gorgeous and well textured, with excellent lighting.
They finally ended by showing off fan favorites Tifa and Sephiroth, which caused the crowd to go absolutely wild. I am very pleasantly surprised how good the game looks, considering how long its been stuck in development.
2) Ports, Remasters and Special Editions
Throughout the show, Square Enix showed a huge amount of exciting announcements with some of their older games, enhancing them and moving them to new platforms.
It started with a remaster of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles for mobile devices, Nintendo Switch and the Playstation 4. Following that, Square announced that Octopath Traveler, the well received JRPG originally exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, is coming out on Steam. Then they showed off some gameplay from The Last Remnant:Remastered, the cult JRPG from the Xbox 360, that is coming to all consoles.
Further still in the show they announced that two popular games from the Romancing SaGa series are being ported to western audiences – Romancing SaGa 3 and SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions.
And finally they announced that a Final Fantasy 8 port is coming to all major consoles, much to the delight of the audience.
3) Dragon Quest Builders 2 Looks More of the Same – But That’s Okay
Square also had Dragon Quest Builders 2 in attendance with the trailer showing off the cute and chibi world. The creative JRPG is essentially a mix of Dragonquest and Minecraft, and they highlighted each aspect of the game from building structures and collecting materials to the fighting and companions.
I can’t say that it looked too different, there were clearly enhancements and updates to the original but for the most part, if you liked the first one, this is for you. And it was the humorous trailer that made me want to return to the adorable world of crafting and adventuring.
4) Two New Games from the “Square Enix Collective”
Circuit Superstars was revealed, this being the newest byproduct from the “Square Enix Collective”, Square’s indie publishing division. It looks like a fun arcade-ish top down racer, and the short amount of gameplay that was shown was intriguing.
From the same publishing team they showed “Battalion 1944”, a WW2 shooter which looked like a throwback to classic “Call of Duty” multiplayer. It’s nice to see Square’s commitment to continuously publishing more independent projects. Many excellent projects have come out of the “collective” and these two look like they’ll come with the same quaility.
5) Dying Light 2 Still Looks Great
Dying Light 2 – the next game in the fan favorite parkouring zombie killing experience – had a new trailer at Squares E3 2019 conference, focusing on some more traversal and combat from the game.
From the short amount shown, both the parkour and fighting looks sleek and an improvement on that of the first game. It also revealed the main character, Aiden, a tough looking guy in a metal mask. He monologues about connection and fighting on; it was thoroughly dramatic, giving off the vibe that there is a serious story going on.
If Dying Light 2 can improve on what made the first game great while adding more I can imagine this being a great success.
6) Final Fantasy XIV’s 4th Expansion – “Shadowbringers”
Final Fantasy XIV’s fourth expansion will be that of Shadowbringers.
Naoki Yoshida, the game’s director, came out and claimed the new addition has enough content that it is comparable to a new single player RPG, including two new jobs – gunbreaker and dancer – and a couple of new races in the Hrothgar and the Viera.
The trailer shown for it was undeniably epic even if I didn’t understand any of it. It looked like a trailer for an anime movie even though it was all gameplay shown and hopefully they can keep up the same level of quality that the team has had with all the previous expansions.
The new update to the popular MMORPG is releasing July 2nd.
7) Tactics like Final Fantasy on Mobile
Square announced War of The Visions which is the next major mobile FF game after Brave Exvious.
It is set in the same world of Lapis and follows the conflict of six different leaders and countries. They all seem to have different values and goals; one is a religious state, another all about the military, and another seeks to maintain peace.
Gameplay looks like a phone version of Final Fantasy Tactics, which seems like it would transfer great to touch screen. To me this sounds incredibly addictive and something that I have wanted for a long time.
8) People Can Fly’s next game Outriders was revealed
Described as a “Dark Modern Shooter” with a “Strong Story and Powerful Gunplay”, it features one to three players playing in drop in/out co-op and is set in some gritty and serious sci-fi setting.
The trailer showed three intense soldiers wandering through various environments, ending on them fighting some sort of giant alien creature. It was all a cinematic trailer so it’s hard to get a good grasp on what the game is like, but if it’s anything close to their previous projects then this could be really great.
9) The next game from Tokyo RPG Factory was revealed
Oninaki is the next game from the Tokyo RPG Factory, the team behind the nostalgia inducing role playing experiences like I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear.
It seems to be breaking their similar framework, and instead of being a turn based experience this is the teams’ first foray into action RPG combat. However it is still obviously heavily inspired by JRPGs of yesteryear, just like all of their previous projects.
The game is releasing on Steam, Nintendo Switch, and PS4 on August 22nd 2019.
10) Crystal Dynamics Marvel’s Avengers Project
To close out the show Crystal Dynamics came out and revealed more gameplay and information about Marvel’s Avengers – the game that everyone wanted to see.
They started with an amazing trailer showing off an attack on San Francisco and the Helicarrier, and as the trailer went on it showed highlights of each of the unique Avengers fighting against enemies. Iron Man uses blasters while he zips around, Thor swings and throws his hammer at enemies, Captain America smashes thugs with his shield and fists, Black Widow flips and dodges, and Hulk smashes – you know, just like Hulk does.
In a surprising turn though at the end of the trailer, they end up losing, cutting to an argument between Bruce Banner and Tony Stark about the ethics of the Avengers. It’s clear that Crystal Dynamics want to tell their own story with this game and they want to build a universe, with them revealing that the story and new heroes will actually be continually added to via new content updates as the years go on, telling some massive Marvel tale.
The whole experience can be played alone or you can join up with three friends to stop evildoers. It’s looking like Marvel’s Avengers is shaping up to be the video game equivalent of the Marvel cinematic universe. Time will tell if Crystal Dynamics can pull that off, but early signs are great.
What do you think of the Square Enix show at E3 2019? Did it blow the likes of Ubisoft, Bethesda and even Microsoft themselves away? What did they forget to include? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.