The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is notable within the gaming community as the celebration of all celebrations, the pinnacle of shock, awe, and utter anticipation for the entire year. Tightlipped industry bigwigs spill it all in glorious fashion while diehard onlookers sit eyes glued on their television screens or computer monitors. E3 is truly a spectacle for both spectators and attendees, industry exhibitors and corporate innovators. Yet gaming publishers and developers bear the brunt of the attention, with opinionated critics and media personnel quick to cast the stone of disapproval. Companies like Square Enix will not be on the epic fail list however, their stellar showing of fan favorites and series newcomers had enough gusto to satiate their enormous fan base while enticing newcomers to their camp at E3 2013.
Capitalizing on the sheer electricity of the next generation console announcements, Square supplemented the charge with their own long-anticipated reveals. Initiating rousing applause, Square entered the Sony press conference with a slew of crowd-pleasers, most notably Kingdom Hearts 3. More than seven years since the release of its trilogy predecessor Kingdom Hearts 2, the brief teaser trailer for the next-gen installment made it clear that Square Enix had not forgotten our pleas. The intermediate titles within the franchise while entertaining and purposeful from a narrative point of view, left the fans wanting more. The announcement of KH3 rekindled those bubbly sentiments of admiration, but now, with a silent guarantee that the game is actually in production.
Not to be outdone by the Disney RPG fusion, Final Fantasy XV made an appearance with a brand new title and impressive gameplay showcase. Hidden in secrecy since May of 2006, many within the gaming community began to doubt that the action RPG would even make it to store shelves. Capitalizing on the thematic allure of surprise, Square Enix countered their fans’ premises of uncertainty with sheer gaming glory. Not only is Final Fantasy XV officially on its way to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it’s coming in the style and trimmings that we simply expect from Square Enix; fluid graphics, ambitious combat moves, and radically stylish character designs.
Adding to the most established franchises, Lightning’s Return: Final Fantasy XIII-3, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Thief 4, and new IP Murdered: Soul Suspect, filled Square’s show flow lineup with an assortment of playable demos and hands-off theater viewings. Lightning’s Return showcased a newly designed battle system boasting a balanced blend of old and new, Final Fantasy XIV showed off its optimized control scheme for the console in an epic 8-player team battle against the fire beast Ifrit, Thief 4 highlighted the stealthier side of Square’s repertoire with shadowy sleuthing and silent takedowns, while Murdered : Soul Suspect introduced mystery and detective work into the selection with supernatural aesthetics and unique gameplay mechanics.
Paired with the inclusion of HD remakes and remastered editions, newbies to the world of Square Enix as well as seasoned veterans have a multitude of goodies to talk about within Square’s upcoming releases. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut represent three opportunities for gamers re-experience a favorite series, or to discover the game for the first time in fully-fledged high definition graphics.
As a long time supporter of Square Enix, but also a ravenous critic of their recent exploits, I was pleasantly surprised by the assortment of titles, announcements, and opportunities to test the goods at E3 2013. We can only hope that games currently in development live up to their thrilling debuts and are able to captivate the players upon release as they did during their E3 reveals. Propelled by fan service, the bar was set atop a mountain of giddy anticipation, one that Square Enix will hopefully bring to fruition over the next coming months and years.