Shadow of the Tomb Raider
For the first time since 2015, Square Enix is holding its very own press conference at E3, as a Nintendo Direct-style of digital presentation. The company definitely has some surprises in store, on top of the big games we already know about one, one of which is Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The latest chapter in the story of Lara Croft was officially unveiled in April, and while we saw an initial CG trailer, we’ve yet to see any kind of gameplay outside of screenshots.
While details are still a little scarce, we know that Shadow of the Tomb Raider will take Lara on another world-hopping adventure including delving into Aztec ruins, all to stop a world-ending cataclysmic event. Crystal Dynamics has already said that Shadow will be a darker version of Lara than ever before, and Square Enix is sure to have some fresh footage and info in store during E3. Tomb Raider is one of Square Enix’s most successful series, so it’s bound to have a big presence at E3, especially with a September 14 release date.
The Avengers Project
Square Enix wowed the world last year in January when they announced The Avengers Project, a short teaser trailer revealing that the company had something ambitious in the pipeline for Marvel. It’s even more exciting that both Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal are attached to the project in some way, but since its announcement, we’ve yet to see or hear any details. Now the interesting thing to keep in mind is that The Avengers Project could easily be more than one game, especially considering two different studios were named.
Recent rumors even suggest that the project could be a complete reboot of the Ultimate Alliance series, as something called Avengers: Ultimate Alliance, pointing to the “reassemble” tagline at the end of the trailer as proof. The rumor also claims that the game will have connections to Insomniac’s upcoming Spider-Man game, finally pushing video games into the same kind of connected universe as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We have to take all of this with a grain of salt, of course, but it’s honestly surprising that Disney and Marvel haven’t already tried to capitalize on a shared gaming universe. With the release of Infinity War, Deadpool 2, and Ant-Man and the Wasp, Marvel is bigger than ever before. You can bet that Square Enix’s Avengers project will make a big appearance at this E3.
Life is Strange 2
The first Life Is Strange was a runaway cult hit in 2015, and it really helped put developer Dontnod on the map, who just recently released Vampyr. The narrative adventure told a gripping story of teenage drama mixed with supernatural phenomena, and it quickly became one of the most popular games of the year. With the release of Before the Storm we found out that another Life is Strange experience was in the works from Dontnod themselves, although absolutely no details were shared. However, in March a blog post by Dontnod helped give a little hint on when we might learn more, stating “We now look forward to the coming months, when Michel Koch and Raoul Barbet’s team at Dontnod returns to present the new story and characters of the next Life is Strange.”
The coming months certainly lines up with E3, and what better time to announced the new Life is Strange than at an E3 press conference? Dontnod has released Vampyr, Square Enix is stacking its fall lineup, and all the pieces seem to be in place. Now the question is, what are we in for?
Just Cause 4
Once again returning to recent rumors, the big Wal-Mart Canada “leak” that happened a few weeks back supposedly revealed multiple games being announced at E3. Rage 2 and Lego DC Villains were on the list, and both games have now been confirmed and revealed. Coincidentally, Just Cause 4 was on the list as well, and a new entry in the bombastic series would be just the thing to highlight Square Enix’s press conference.
It’s been three years since the release of Just Cause 3, enough time for a typical AAA development cycle, and the studio behind Just Cause, Avalanche Studios, has been busy of late. Avalanche is confirmed to be developing Rage 2, which actually runs on the Just Cause engine and not Id-tech. The developer also opened a new studio in Sweden last month, and was bought out by the huge media company Nordisk Film. All of this points to Avalanche gearing up for more work which, in turn, could lead to the announcement of a new Just Cause.
Dragon Quest XI and Builders 2
Dragon Quest has been a huge presence over the years for Square Enix, especially recently with Dragon Quest XI selling over 2 million copies in Japan in the first two days alone. Dragon Quest XI is finally making its way west this September, and it’s confirmed to be playable at E3, but there could be even more on the way from the series.
We’ll most likely get a good look at Dragon Quest Builders 2, the sequel to the popular Minecraft-like spin-off. While the game was announced last August we’ve yet to see any substantial details, especially in the west. Dragon Quest may not be anywhere near as popular in America as it is in Japan, but the series has seen increasing popularity and sales in recent years. Perhaps this could even lead to the localization of some other games, like say Theatrythm Dragon Quest. We can dream at least.
Project Octopath Traveler and New Switch Games
Square Enix is clearly putting support behind the Nintendo Switch, and Project Octopath Traveler, a Switch exclusive, is sure to appear at both company’s events. Recently, the developer behind Octopath teased that they have even more Switch games currently in development, asking fans to “wait a bit longer.” With the Switch’s momentum hitting critical mass, this E3 is the perfect time for Square Enix to throw its weight behind the system. In addition to Octopath, The World Ends With You: Final Remix, and Dragon Quest Builders 2, we could see even more games announced for Switch.
The system has yet to receive a Final Fantasy game, and there’s plenty of series that could make the jump to the Switch, from Bravely Default to Mana. No matter what, it’d be surprising if we don’t see at least one new Square Enix game announced for the handheld hybrid.
With everything else Square Enix has in development, it can be easy to forget about some of their announcements. Case in point, Left Alive, announced last year during TGS as a sort of pseudo-sequel in the Front Mission series. Outside of a brief teaser trailer we weren’t shown much, but what we did see looked surprisingly like Metal Gear Solid. To add to the comparisons, the game’s character designs are even being done by Yoji Shinkawa, the legendary artist behind the designs of Metal Gear.
It’s been months since we’ve gotten any details on Left Alive, and its high time that changed. It looks like a drastic change from previous Front Mission games, and Square Enix has a chance to capitalize on the stealth-action genre with a big release.
Kingdom Hearts III
It’s been a long wait, but Kingdom Hearts III is drawing closer and closer for fans. With the latest entry in the popular franchise still set for a 2018 release, you can bet it’ll be one of Square Enix’s big focuses this year, if not the main focus. The game’s director, Tetsuya Nomura, recently said that a release date announcement would be coming in early June, which just so happens to coincide with the timing of E3. Square Enix also recently confirmed that Kingdom Hearts III will be playable at its booth during E3.
We can expect a big new story trailer at the very least, and maybe even a new world or two. After all, we’re all still waiting for that Frozen world, right? A firm release date for Kingdom Hearts III is big news, and we expect that announcement will either open or end Square Enix’s press conference.
It just wouldn’t be a Square Enix event without a bit of Final Fantasy, and while the series may not be its primary focus this time around, it absolutely will make an appearance in some way. There’s a lot of possibilities here, first of which is some kind of trailer or new details on the Final Fantasy VII Remake, although it’s unlikely we’ll see any kind of release date. There’s also the DLC characters for Dissidia NT and the new DLC episodes in development for Final Fantasy XV, both of which could make an appearance.
Of course, it’s also very possible that we could see the announcement of a brand new Final Fantasy game at the show. Maybe something for Switch like we previously stated, or maybe the sequel hinted at with the ending of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. There are so many possibilities with Final Fantasy, but we’ll just have to wait and see what Square Enix has in store.
E3 2018 already looks like it has some big surprises for Square Enix fans, but there’s one more announcement that we think might slip into the show. 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Valkyrie Profile series, which is primarily developed by Tri-Ace. After releasing Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness and Star Ocean: Anamnesis in 2016, the studio has been quiet, bringing up the question of just what it’s been working on.
Earlier this year Square Enix ported the PSP remake of the first game, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth, to mobile in Japan. Last month an English version released on iOS and Android. Now this could, of course, just be Square Enix porting yet another classic to mobile devices, or it could be a sign of something more to come. The company likes to celebrate anniversaries and is no stranger to remakes with Final Fantasy IV, Dragon Quest VII, Adventure of Mana, Secret of Mana, and more all getting full-blown remakes. It’s possible we could see the same treatment given to Valkyrie Profile for its anniversary, or maybe Tri-Ace has been working on a brand new game. Bringing back a classic series would help make Square Enix’s lineup even more robust than it already is.