It’s no secret that the fan expectations were high going into Square Enix’s press conference for E3 2018. Despite the company’s shockingly bad track record when it comes to actually releasing the games they’ve announced, there was a lot they could’ve shown this year. Final Fantasy VII Remake was the big one that fans were hoping to see, more Kingdom Hearts III footage would’ve been nice, and the new Avengers game was another one we would’ve liked to hear more about.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get any of that.
Instead, the Square Enix conference was pretty much just full of stuff we’ve already seen enough of. Kicking things off with Shadow of the Tomb Raider is nice, but again, we already know what to expect from this game. Lara will employ stealth guerilla tactics in the jungle to take down her foes, there will be puzzles, and she’ll “become the Tomb Raider” good and proper this time. Okay, great. Again, we already know what we’re getting from these Tomb Raider games, and we want to see more of the games we don’t know anything or much about.
The conference continued with lackluster showings of Final Fantasy XIV and the Monster Hunter crossover, along with brief teaser trailers for two new games: Babylon’s Fall and The Quiet Man. Babylon’s Fall looks interesting, and having Platinum Games onboard for a new project certainly is exciting, but we didn’t really get anything substantial about the game itself. Instead, it was just a slideshow of neat concept art and character designs. Square Enix and Platinum did release a similar concept art trailer three years ago for NieR: Automata, but that game was a sequel to a known and beloved cult classic, so the developers could pretty much get away with just the mere mention of the fact that the game existed. Babylon’s Fall doesn’t bring that same level of hype, and the reveal fell a bit flat in the end. Similarly, Final Fantasy XIV’s presence in the conference was equally disappointing because there wasn’t any new content announced for it, and no indication that the next expansion was in the works.
Arguably the biggest highlights of the conference were the new Dragon Quest XI trailer (though there’s still no update on the Switch version) and Just Cause 4, which looks great, but was also already revealed at the Microsoft conference. However, when we think Square Enix, we’re thinking of lengthy and epic JRPGs and unique Japanese games that will wow us. We know the company’s working on them, but we didn’t get to see much of it at all this year.
Their Kingdom Hearts III ‘showing’ was pretty much just a rerun of the same trailer we saw at Microsoft’s conference, which is extremely baffling, especially when you consider the fact that we got to see brand new footage of the pirate ship battles in a new trailer at Sony’s conference later on. We had no news regarding Left Alive, the new Front Mission game featuring Yoji Shinkawa’s stunning art design. No word on The World Ends With You’s port. No news about the Avengers game. And most importantly, not even an update on Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is easily the most hotly anticipated game since its initial announcement back in 2015.
Overall, it was a very disappointing showing from Square Enix this year. There was so much potential for the exciting stuff they could’ve shown us, but it looks like the company’s keeping their cards pretty close to the chest this time around. The last time Square Enix had a press conference at E3 (which was back in 2015, by the way), they had at least one surprise announcement in the form of NieR: Automata. Coming back this year for another press conference suggested that they would have some exciting things to talk about, but unfortunately, that just didn’t happen, and it’s hard not to feel let down and disappointed.