Articles tagged with square-enix


 
 
EGX 2017 Impressions:
Mostly Nintendo
Sep 21
Posted by Mark at 17:48

But also Dissidia and Dragonball!


Where last year's EGX was notable for two platform holders basically not showing up, this year's, today at least, feels as if it's the punters that have skipped the show.

This may be a quirk of the show feeling a bit bigger this year- it's probably not so much fewer people as fewer people per square foot, with what seems to be a lot of (very welcome) empty space between demo pods. The event marketing alleges that there's more games than ever before, but that has to be balanced by the appearance of so many games that are already out- Nintendo alone brought ARMS, Splatoon 2, Mario & Rabbids, Samus Returns, Sonic Mania (which also made a significant appearance at Sega's booth), Lego Worlds, and NBA 2K18- and that was just on their main booth. (As if to make up for lost time, Nintendo had three seperate booths this year- their main one, one for indies which we'll cover in the next few days, and a tournament booth in the eSports area)

The upshot of this is that for many games, there's not been a lot in the way of queueing- except for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, beset by technical issues relating to the game's 3-on-3 network play meaning that for a while at the start of the day nobody was getting to play while people scrabbled under tables fiddling with wires. A functioning single-player mode was eventually deployed. Gameplay centres around using high-powered, spectacular attacks rarely rather than small attacks more frequently, making it feel less like a teamplay beat-'em-up and more like Warriors but without the chaos which makes it make sense.

On the subject of Warriors, one of Nintendo's new games was the format's excursion into Fire Emblem- much like Hyrule Warriors before it there's not much to fault in the Warriors-ing, and this iteration brings the ability to switch between characters to the table. While only a pre-set group were playable today, players can not only cycle between the four characters at will, they can also be individually directed to specific areas of the map, using a grid in a nod to its turn-based strategy roots.

There are flaws in this process, at one point all four of my characters levelled up within very quick succession of one another taking me through the a full recreation of the Level Up ceremony from 3DS four times very quickly, but this is obviously an edge case. It's also a lot of fun to see your favourite characters from the 3DS games in Glorious High Definition, so we can probably overlook it for now.

There was also the opportunity to showcase the new side-game in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions- it's not a lot to write home about, as a crowd of what are traditionally enemies from the Mario series butt heads with another automatically with minimal input from the player. A nice add-on, but unexciting on its own.

Super Mario Odyssey was also present, but that appeared to be the same build Nintendo had already exhibited at Hyper Japan earlier this year- and since there's been big previews of that recently, we'll be stepping over it here.

What is probably one of the last examples of a big third-party 3DS game, Monster Hunter Stories was also available to play. Traditionally where Nintendo have presented specially curated demos of their console games at events like EGX, 3DS games presented tend to be final retail games and that appeared to be true here- which meant the game seemed a little directionless as you were effectively picking up someone else's save file and all the mistakes they made with it and it's hard to get a feel for it. It does, however, feel exactly how you'd expect a traditional JRPG version of Monster Hunter to be.

Floating about independently of publisher booths- or at least, those as obviously branded as the first-party booths was DragonBall FighterZ, which has pulled the clever trick of running its cutscenes at a lower frame-rate than the gameplay, imitating the framerate of the hand-drawn animation of the original TV show.
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May
11
Posted by James at 03:38
Last year's Hitman was Square Enix's first foray into producing a AAA episodic game, and it was positively received, both as a game and as a way to make a big budget third person stealth-action game work in a new episodic format.

But it appears that the game has underperformed - at least to Square Enix's lofty expectations. Just as the company revealed their greatest ever operating profit for the last financial year, they also announced today that Hitman's developer, IO Interactive, is up for grabs. The future of the Hitman IP, which Square Enix maintains ownership of, remains uncertain.

It's not the best start to Square's new focus on producing episodic content for larger games. Going episodic would bring in a return on financially risky projects sooner rather than later. Instead of spending five years and tens of millions crafting the next Final Fantasy while the dynamics of the market change around them, going episodic also enables them react to change faster.

It'd be difficult to accuse Square Enix and developer IO Interactive of doing episodic wrong with Hitman, given the quality of the game, the frequency of episodes and the responsiveness of the team to react to demands of the game's players. But it seems something didn't stack up financially with Hitman, and it's a shame that a game of its ilk couldn't exist in today's market, and an even greater shame that Square Enix won't give IO Interactive another shot.

Square Enix notes that it plans to double down on its most well-known IP. No pressure on Final Fantasy VII Remake, Square's next big budget episodic game, then...
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Jan
23
Posted by Ben at 14:53
We knew that I Am Setsuna was heading for the Switch but there was some vagaries as to exactly when. Well, Square Enix have announced that I Am Setsuna will be ready for the Nintendo Switch's launch, on the 3rd of March

I Am Setsuna, somewhat surprisingly isn't getting a retail release. You could see it finding a bit of traction if it was one of the handful of games lining up on shelves next to the Nintendo Switch, but I guess if you're an rpg releasing on the same day as Zelda, you might want to hedge your bets a bit
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Sep
25
2016
Posted by Mark at 19:11
There's been an amount made about the state of the event at this year's EGX- and while I'll be trying to focus on the games played, there are a few things that can't be avoided.

First, and the one which created the most noise was Sony's handling of Horizon: Zero Dawn- only available to play in a closed-off area, the 30-minute demo meant that formal queuing was abandoned early on in favour of booking sessions, all of which were filled up by 11AM each day- completely shutting out anyone who didn't have an Early Access ticket to the event.

Sony are not the first people to underestimate the demand to see a title at such a show, but questions have to be asked as to why so few consoles were made available considering the length of the demo, more so when the games immediately next to it on Sony's booth were Overwatch and Uncharted 4- both well-marketed games that have been out for some time, the former of which had its own dedicated booth.

The other two platform holders were also conspicuous by their absences- Microsoft's presence being limited to showing Gears of War 4 in a corner of the 18+ area and Forza Horizon 3 making an appearance on the Twitch booth, and Nintendo not showing up at all.

Microsoft's decision not to showcase the XBox One S and let Sony hog the limelight with PS4 Pro seems like an own-goal, but at least one of their flagship series made an appearance, to an extent doing what Nintendo did at E3 with Breath Of The Wild.

The next Zelda game, like its developer, didn't make an appearance at EGX, beyond a glancing mention in the show magazine (this year just an advert for Amazon rather than telling you anything about the games being exhibited), not even in a closed-off Horizonbox or as a developer session.

Nintendo not being present is almost inexplicable, especially when you consider that in the much less-attended Hyper Japan earlier in the year, Nintendo had a not insignificant showing, including integrating BotW's UK premiere into its stage show and creating a Pokémon showcase, capitalising on the back of the then-new Pokémon Go.

Despite what that event's name would suggest, Nintendo's showing there wasn't entirely niche titles with little appeal outside the otaku market, so it probably wouldn't have been too difficult to simply pick up that show and drop it into EGX, maybe adding a bit of Super Mario Run if they really had to.

Mainly appealing to otakudom still probably wouldn't have hurt, if Square-Enix' booth was anything to go by, showcasing World Of Final Fantasy- one of three FF games exhibited (four if Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 counts), a dungeon crawler whose gimmick seems to be that the characters can transform into cute chibis at will, a mechanic which seems to exist solely to sell Nendoroid figures.

More interesting was the adjacent Dragon Quest Builders, the Minecraftalike that Ben has already posted the trailer of.

(And if you were waiting, this marks the first appearance of a game I actually played)

The notion of Minecraft with story and objectives appears interesting, and advanced platformer-y tasks could be seen played on Sony's stage, although the playable demo didn't seem to last long enough to reach that point. The move to third-person, despite certain control changes to accommodate, makes placing blocks slightly harder than it could be, which is likely to cause frustration.

The rest of Squeenix' booth was made up of Rise Of The Tomb Raider and Hitman, promoting their PS4 re-release and latest episodes respectively.

Possibly as a factor of the absence of Microsoft and Nintendo, aside from the usual iterative titles (This year's CoD, FIFA, WWE, Pro Evo and Battlefield) the only other meaningful showing- save for Sega settling nicely into its strategy niche, and Sniper Elite 4 helping Rebellion continue to punch above its weight- from a AAA developer was Bethesda, showcasing Dishonored 2.

The level shown in the demo featured a mansion whose rooms could shift into different configurations at the pull of a lever- meaning in order to complete the level's two objectives (saving a colleague from the first game and taking down this game's antagonist) the player has to creep around the crawlspaces under the floors- a little like a Victoriana latter half of Portal.

The enemies shown, rather than the humans which made up the previous game, were all robots, which added an extra element of strategy to combat. Decapitation causes them to attack anything that makes a noise, meaning they can be used by the player to take down other enemies.

Sniper Elite 4, incidentally, was pretty much Sniper Elite 3, but bigger. Which is absolutely fine by me.

That feels like a nice cut-off point, tomorrow I'll recap the better indie and smaller games of the show.
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Aug
02
2016
Posted by Ben at 11:59
You may remember a moment during Deus Ex Human Revolution that left you feeling screwed. Like you'd been tricked by the game... or maybe you don't, maybe that never happened to you in your play through, but it did to a lot of people, and it did happen in the game world.

Thousands of people were injured by augmented humans losing control in what's now dubbed the "Aug Incident", and as such there's now a clamp down and resentment of augmented humans.

We've picked a few images from Square Enix's press release, where the development team behind Deus Ex Mankind Divided have imagined what the world will look like in the year 2029. I think Berlin, and oddly Blackpool (as though that sort of money would be spent on Blackpool) are probably the pick for showing off the heightened security in Deus Ex Mankind Divided's world.

Although I'd say London was the most believable, maybe not within the next 13 years, but I could see London looking like that within 100 years

GALLERY:
Full gallery (5)
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Jul
27
2016
Posted by Ben at 13:31
Well, technically a 'digital series' rather than a TV series per se, but such is the way we consume content now it's splitting hairs. Maybe with that preamble I'm burying the lead a bit, Life is Strange is getting a serialised show

Life is Strange might seem a bit of a strange pick for a video game to adapt in to a show, it's narrative driven and episodic already. However, when you think back to the likes of Twin Peaks, America Gothic, Eerie Indiana, and even Netflix's recent Stranger Things, you can see how it would work. It's the tone, setting and characters that would appeal, the story doesn't need to be exactly the same.

Anyway, much like the Detective Pokemon movie that Legendary have also announced, until it's out there's no guarantee it's ever actually going to get made, but if it does I could see it having some success
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Jul
20
2016
Posted by Ben at 14:22
Not a bad way to try what is a very good game if you're still unsure about it. Square Enix are releasing Life is Strange: episode 1 - Chrysalis for free, on PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, 360, and Mac

Granted it is, of course, a marketing move, they'll lose nothing from doing this but may drum up some extra sales next time the rest of the game is reduced, but still, I'd urge you to try it as it's a really good narrative game.

There's a new trailer below, and Life is Strange: episode 1 - Chrysalis will be free 'indefinitely'

Show/hide video

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Jun
29
2016
Posted by Ben at 02:09
I was going to make some brexit joke but honestly I'm still too depressed about the whole thing.

Anyway, Square Enix have announced that the Playstation Vita version of Adventures of Mana is out right now on PSN

The Vita version of Adventures of Mana is available for £10.49. However, to celebrate the release, Square Enix have put the ios and Android versions of Adventures of Mana and Secret of Mana on sale for a limited time; priced £7.99 and £2.99 respectively
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Jun
14
2016
Posted by Ben at 16:47
Nier is very much on my pile of shame. I started it, definitely going to play through it, then stopped after my first day. Way too early to form an opinion, but people's reactions to Nier have always fascinated me, the fans of the game are captivated by it, and so while I might never, realistically, get around to finishing the original Nier, I am very interested in NieR: Automata

Not least because Platinum Games are working on NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata doesn't look quite as morose as the original game, which might be Platinum's influence. There's a trailer below where you can see the combat is looking fairly decent, and NieR: Automata will be released in early 2017

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Jun
13
2016
Posted by Ben at 16:30
This is pretty cool. IO Interactive and Square Enix have announced that the episodic Hitman game that's recently seen its 3rd episode released, is getting a bonus episode for the summer

The summer bonus mission is not part of Hitman's story, and features 2 locations. The Icon is a sci-fi blockbuster movie set, so something you don't see often in a game. A House Built on Sand is a bit more traditional, a busy Marrakesh market, which you can imagine the possibilities of straight away, particularly the bonus missions with other targets (assuming there will be some bonus missions)

The Hitman Summer Bonus Episode: The Icon & A House Built on Sand will be available in July
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