Rating the Conferences: Square-Enix
If Sony hadn't taken it, these guys would've gotten the best in show. Easy.
Sometime last year, I did this enormous post on NeoGAF talking about all the games we could see during that E3. I did a ton of research for that, and during that time I realized how easy it would be for Square to do their own conference if they wanted to.
Well, lo and behold here we are a year later and Square has popped up with the strongest conference from a non-console developer. (They topped Nintendo too, but I’ll get to that in a second.) Square’s probably the most well-rounded developer making video games right now. No other developer could’ve offered you as many big budget titles from so many different genres and settings.
Barely two weeks ago, I was calling Square the equivalent of a significant other that’s a jerk—they ignore you for weeks, refuse to do anything around the house, but then just when you’re almost out the door they show up with roses explaining how they want to have dinner at the place you had your first date. I think my opinion’s changed a bit. Now I think they’re more like a best friend who keeps playing practical jokes on you for cheap laughs but always has your back when it actually counts. Maybe that’s a bit of a lengthy metaphor, but let’s think for a moment about the way they rolled out Kingdom Hearts 3. They bring up Kingdom Hearts…then show off a mobile game. Then they specifically bring up KH3…then do a developer interview. Then they bring it up again…only to point out a dude cosplaying as a KH character, before finally unveiling gameplay. I don't think there's another developer quite as skilled at trolling as these guys.
Just about everything here was a heavy-hitter. There were a handful of mobile games, to be sure. But we also got the new Hitman, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Just Cause 3, Kingdom Hearts 3, and Star Ocean 5. And yeah, we’d seen Final Fantasy VII: Remake the night before, but how mad can you honestly be about that? If I were Sony I would’ve nabbed that to show off too. The only thing I’m even slightly annoyed about is how they couldn’t be bothered to get another CG trailer to show off. It might be too soon for gameplay, but you could’ve at least given us that.
Even my opinion on World of Final Fantasy changed. Knowing we were getting “real” FF titles, I was open to the idea of playing through a cutesy version of this franchise while I wait on VII and the VI remake that’s probably happening but hasn’t been confirmed yet.
And oh man, does Star Ocean look beautiful. One of my favorite PS1 franchises beside Suikoden and Lunar, I was ecstatic when they revealed I’d finally get a fifth incarnation of this title, and so far it looks to be living up to expectations. Seamless battles look great and the larger cast seem like they work together well.
The only drawback this show had were some minor pacing issues when going from game to game. But considering it’s their first conference in like ten years or so, I’ll give that a pass. Hopefully they’ll be back next year with a better idea of how to handle a conference and another look at all their major games, as somehow I think they’ll have just as much to show off then.