- Oct 17, 2015
- Seattle, WA
Over the past three weeks, we've had a flurry of gaming news out of Paris Games Week and various financial briefings from major publishers. Square Enix has been among the companies making headlines. Fans are in anticipation of multiple projects at the publisher, including Final Fantasy 7 and Kingdom Hearts 3. Let's go over every major news story.
Square Enix reports strong sales numbers across the board, growing profits significantly year-on-year and making for a very successful performance in the market. Titles including NieR: Automata, Dragon Quest XI, and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age are among those contributing to Square's glowing financial reports.
Square Enix and Nintendo Switch
As the games media has covered over the past many months, publishers have been impressed with the Switch's success and are developing plans to support the fledgling console far into its future. We now have similar recognition from Square Enix at their recent financial results briefing. They note the Switch's sales momentum, and describe Switch as an opportunity to create middle-range games. They also said they would be "aggressively" pursuing development for the console, and would not rule out any current or future IPs for Switch releases.
As reported extensively in September during Gamescom, Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata hinted at a possible Switch port of FFXV. Since then, he has stated that there are "no plans at this current time" for FFXV on Switch, but did say that the company is exploring possibilities, and that a Switch port using Unreal Engine 4 may be possible. In regards to Unreal Engine 4, Tabata mentioned that the Switch handled UE4 well. Unreal Engine 4 is being used for both Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Kingdom Hearts 3. For hopeful fans, don't rule out the possibility of a port yet -- Square Enix made similar remarks regarding a PC port of FFXV back when the game launched, and fans will now be receiving a PC port a little more than a year later. We could see a similar situation with the Switch.
Clearly, Square Enix is committed to supporting the Switch in a large capacity. The caliber of games the system will receive is yet unknown -- will we receive the likes of Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Kingdom Hearts 3? Or will Square's Switch efforts be in the vein of Octopath Traveler and Lost Sphear, with smaller mid-tier releases? Only time (and an E3 or two) will tell.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Update
Final Fantasy 7 is one of the most popular titles in the storied JRPG franchise. Since Final Fantasy 7 Remake was revealed back at E3 2015, fans the world over have been anxiously awaiting any drop of news regarding the development or release date of the remake. Over the past two years, we have seen middling news reports, multiple delays, and signs that the game could potentially be going into development hell. The last official news we've received as to the remake's release date is the following slide presented during a previous Square Enix financial briefing and a statement from Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda saying: "We plan to launch [these games] sequentially over the next three years or so."
Recently, however, there have been hints from industry sources that Square Enix will have an Final Fantasy 7-related announcement later this year, likely at the PlayStation Experience event in December. Interestingly enough, some online retailers have begun listing release dates on the game's pre-order page. Play Asia listed the remake's release date as December 2017, later changing it to "to be announced." GameSeek had an even more specific date of June 15th, 2018. Base, a UK retailer, listed December 30th, 2017 on their site. Given the lack of official information, it is likely that the December release date listings are a placeholder, however, GameSeek's June 15th listing is slightly more intriguing. With luck, we'll hear more about this project from the horse's mouth itself sometime soon.
Leaked Sequel to The World Ends With You, Exclusive to Switch
Making the rounds right now is a Reddit post full of leaks related to Capcom, Bandai Namco, Square Enix, and Nintendo. Part of that post includes mention of a follow-up to 2005's acclaimed The World Ends With You on Nintendo DS, reportedly coming exclusively to Nintendo Switch. The World Ends With You was lauded for its art style, unique gameplay, and strong soundtrack, and was developed by the team behind the Kingdom Hearts series. Since its original launch on DS, it has been ported to iOS and Android. Characters from The World Ends With You appeared in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Other than that, this game was mostly a one-hit wonder, making the prospect of a direct sequel quite intriguing. As with all leaks, do take this with a grain of salt.
E3 2018 Plans
Square Enix provided a quick teaser for their E3 2018 plans, describing their upcoming titles as "sharp," "powerful," and "well made." They did, however, mention that their lineup is unchanged from previous reports and that no big games are planned from now through March 2018. It also seems like the highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts 3 might miss next year's E3. Kingdom Hearts 3 was given a 2018 release window last July, but has yet to receive a concrete release date. Given that the game is slated for next year (although, it has had multiple delays in the past), it would seem odd for it to miss E3. Again, only time will tell what Square Enix's plans are.
Xbox One X Enhancements
Square Enix will be supporting Microsoft's powerful new Xbox One X console through a series of 4K patches for their current games.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is first, offering three visual modes in its 4K patch, including a native 4K option and a high frame rate option. The patch will feature HDR support, spatial audio support via Dolby Atmos, and enhanced eye candy. In addition, Xbox One X owners who have bought the season pass will receive all the content in the "20 Year Celebration" edition of the game.
Two other Square Enix titles have Xbox One X patches: Final Fantasy XV and Life is Strange: Beyond the Storm. Xbox One X owners can download the 4K patch for FFXV now, while Life is Strange: Beyond the Storm will come at a later date. Both Rise of the Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy XV have seen substantial graphical boosts on the Xbox One X over the base Xbox One, living up to the Xbox One X's adage of being the "most powerful console ever."
Thank You For Reading!
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