The E3 schedule is starting to fill up! We’re less than two months away now from one of gaming’s biggest events, and despite the absence of Sony (for the first time ever) and Electronic Arts, it should still be a busy week packed full of announcements. Nintendo, Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Bethesda are all holding conferences, and the always-amusing Digital Devolver showcase is returning as well.
The latest company to confirm an E3 press event is Square Enix. The popular Japanese developer/publisher/RPG factory will hold their show on June 10th at 6:00 PM Pacific / 9:00 PM Eastern. Square Enix is promising “an exciting lineup of titles,” but no other details have been given at this time. The event will be livestreamed, so you can tune in and enjoy no matter where you live.
Last summer, Square Enix launched Octopath Traveler exclusively on Nintendo Switch, and the old-school RPG topped the sales charts and received critical acclaim. Square’s new hit has stayed exclusive to Nintendo’s hybrid console thus far, but that will soon change. The game was recently rated for a PC release in Korea, and today someone at Square apparently jumped the gun and leaked the official announcement.
As reported by Gematsu, the official Square Enix website published a blog post for a PC release for Octopath Traveler, then quickly deleted it. The post indicated that the RPG will hit Steam and the Square Enix store on June 7th. It also contained a brief overview of the game’s characters and features, although there wasn’t anything new.
Square Enix has grown quite confident in the selling power of games on Nintendo Switch, and the division that developed Octopath Traveleris focused primarily on that console, but after nearly a year of exclusivity, it seems they’re looking to bring it to a new audience. Square is also working on a mobile prequel to Octopath Traveler, so expanding the brand is clearly a priority.
Earlier today, Square Enix surprised fans by announcing that Octopath Traveler is getting a mobile prequel. Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent is getting an early demo next week and will launch in full later this year. So what does this mean for the future of the franchise on Nintendo Switch? Players have a tendency to fear the worst when a game moves to mobile, but there’s no reason to be upset in this case.
Despite being exclusive to Switch, Octopath Traveler has sold over 1.5 million copies, making it quite the success story. As such, Square Enix has no plans to abandon consoles. Following the announcement of the mobile game, the official Twitter account for Octopath Traveler confirmed this with a message to fans.
“Everyone waiting for a new game on console, we’re sorry, but production will take a little while longer, so in the meantime, we hope you can enjoy [the smartphone game]!”
This division of Square Enix is now focused almost exclusively on Switch. They’ve got multiple games in the works and ambitions of releasing one per year. It’s unclear whether or not this mobile game counts as their “one game” for 2019. It’s also possible we could still see another Bravely game in 2019, but Square Enix is not confirming that.
Following the strong reception for the Bravely series, Square Enix’s new traditional RPG division began work on Switch exclusive Octopath Traveler. The game would launch to solid reviews and quickly topped the charts, boosting Switch sales in the process. Square Enix teased that new games were on the way for both the Bravely and Octopath franchises, and today we got our first look at one of them.
Out of the blue, Square Enix just dropped a trailer for a new Octopath game on mobile devices. Titled “Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent,” this upcoming adventure on Android and iOS is a prequel to the original game. Once again there will be eight stories to explore (with more content planned after launch) and the game will apparently remain a single-player experience. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect, courtesy of the game’s official Japanese website:
HD-2D for smartphones – 3D CG screen effects added to pixelized graphics create a magical world on smartphones.
Eight-character party command-based battles – Form a party of up to eight characters to fight in evolved command-based battles. Smooth gameplay with swipe controls.
Choice of story between three reigning champions – The setting is the Orsterra continent. The protagonist is a “Chosen One” who will fight against a great evil that has achieved fortune, power, and fame.
Field commands – Take various actions towards characters on the field. Try out all sorts of things, such as “Listen” for information, “Steal” an item, “Hire” an ally, and more.
Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent launches later this year. Pre-registration is already available on the website. Players can also register for a chance to participate in an early demo that kicks off on March 12th. It’s unclear when the full launch will be. So far there’s been no word on a localization date for territories outside Japan.
When it comes to video game music, it’s easy to argue that Final Fantasy tunes rank among the best of the best. The series’ composers have always found ways to expertly craft a song to evoke a wide range of feelings, whether it be an exciting battle theme or a melancholy opera. But as great as this music is in-game, there’s nothing like hearing it live. For over a decade, the Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy concert series has masterfully brought your favorite Final Fantasy songs to life. And this September, they could be coming to a town near you.
For the first time in two years, Distant Worlds is stopping in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, September 7th, at 8:00 PM local time. While Distant Worlds has a massive repertoire of songs to pick from, this concert will focus on celebrating Final Fantasy‘s jump to 3D with a tribute to Final Fantasy VII. The performance will take you on an emotional ride with songs like “Opening — Bombing Mission,” “Aerith’s Theme,” and of course, “One-Winged Angel.” What Final Fantasy concert would be complete without what is arguably its most well-known song, after all?
Distant Worlds isn’t just a simple concert, however; it’s more of a fan experience. As the orchestra plays, game clips are projected on a screen above them, giving a visual representation of the songs. Fans cosplay as their favorite characters. And if you’re interested in seeing some of the brilliant performers and composers behind the music, Distant Worlds is a good place to do so. The Phoenix concert has no shortage of special guests. First is RIKKI, an original vocalist for Final Fantasy X, who will be performing the romantic theme, “Suteki da ne” along with the orchestra. Final Fantasy XIV vocalist Susan Calloway will also be making an appearance, performing the game’s main theme, “Answers.”
If Phoenix is a little far from you, maybe Chicago works a bit better. One week later, on Saturday, September 14th, Distant Worlds returns once again to the Windy City, putting on two performances at 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM local time, respectively. These concerts are largely the same as the one in Phoenix, with the addition of a third special guest. Final Fantasy XV composer Yoko Shimomura will be in attendance, and to honor this occasion, Distant Worlds will be adding “Apocalypsis Noctis” to the lineup.
For more information on Distant Worlds, as well as for other tour dates, you can check out their website. Information specifically about the Phoenix or Chicago concerts, including how to purchase tickets, can be found here for Phoenix or here for Chicago. For the super fans out there, there’s even a limited number of VIP tickets available which gets you access to a special meet-and-greet with conductor Arnie Roth and the performance’s special guests, where you can get autographs and a photo.
I went to a Distant Worlds concert a few years ago, and I can’t speak highly enough of the talented musicians and hard-working staff who help create such a magical experience. If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy music, you owe it to yourself to attend one of these concerts at some point in your life.
This giveaway will end no sooner than 11:59 PM Eastern on Tuesday, March 12th. So what are you waiting for? Gather your party, saddle up your Chocobos, and join Distant Worlds for a few hours of Final Fantasy magic (no mage needed). Who knows? Maybe you’ll catch me at one as well!
It took a long wait, but Kingdom Hearts III finally launched in January, and millions of fans have been enjoying the next chapter in Sora’s journey. If you thought Square Enix was done hyping up their latest adventure, you’d be wrong. Over a month after launch, Square Enix just released a new trailer, but it’s not just another gameplay and story trailer. Instead, they’ve opted to make a stop motion video featuring toy versions of the game’s characters.
Fans waited well over a decade to get their hands on Kingdom Hearts III, and the highly anticipated action-RPG finally launched on January 29th. Strong early sales suggest that many fans are finding it worth the wait, and if you’re one of them, you’ll be happy to know that more content is on the way! Director Tetsuya Nomura has hinted at DLC in the past, and in a recent interview, he confirmed that it’s in the works.
Speaking with Dengeki Online, Nomura revealed that Kingdom Hearts III is outselling expectations. Square Enix is looking to capitalize on this with paid DLC, and Nomura says he’s working so hard on it he’s been losing sleep. Hopefully, he and his team can find time to balance their work and personal lives rather than suffering to rush new content to market.
Nomura also confirmed that the more challenging Critical Mode is on its way. Rather than just cranking up enemy damage output, Nomura says his team is making many changes to make it “fun like only Critical mode can be.” The changes are extensive enough that the team has had to spend time debugging the new mode. It’s unclear whether Critical Mode will be a free update or included as part of the paid DLC.
Fans have waited so long for Kingdom Hearts III. The last main entry in the series, Kingdom Hearts II, released 13 years ago so there was a ton of hype being built around the newest game. For over a decade, Square Enix focused on meaningless side games and rereleases as we patiently waited for the true sequel to one of the greatest games of our childhood.
But there are some glaring issues with what I just said, right? There have actually been six major Kingdom Hearts titles since 2006, all of which include major story details that are relevant to the overall story of Kingdom Hearts III and future games in the series. The most recent addition to the main story only released two years ago.
Despite Square’s best effort, a lot of the “spinoff” Kingdom Hearts games did end up getting ignored by a large portion of Kingdom Hearts III players. Because of this, there are a ton of people that are blasting the game for not staying true to the franchise or for simply coming up short of expectations.
Okay, so a minority of players that haven’t kept up over the years are feeling left behind. Surely the people that followed along love the game, right? Unfortunately, the reception has been mixed. A good portion of diehard Kingdom Hearts fans have all brought up a similar feeling of disappointment after the game released.
So is the game just bad? I don’t think so. Kingdom Hearts III released to critical acclaim like almost every other entry in the series. As a fan of the series, I had a fantastic time.
So what is it about this one that didn’t sit so well with other people? Well, even those that have been with the series for every game have waited seven years for a full-sized Kingdom Hearts experience. With that kind of a wait time, some people are bound to set high expectations.
I think everyone had their own idea of what Kingdom Hearts III would be. Because of this and the long development cycle, a lot of hype was built up around everyone’s hopes rather than what we were being shown and told. I think that’s a horrible mistake to make as a community.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve undoubtedly seen that I’m upset with the Kingdom Hearts community, especially when it comes to people complaining about elements of the series that have basically become staples by this point. Things like awkward dialogue and the unimportance of Disney stories are valid complaints to have about Kingdom Hearts, but it’s insane to imply the other games handled it any better.
At that point, one thing became clear: Kingdom Hearts II is beloved by many gamers who have spent the last decade turning it inside out. For many, it’s their favorite game ever and I think these people were hoping to find a similar feeling with Kingdom Hearts III. It’s great to want that, but I don’t think we should expect that as fans.
Kingdom Hearts has been evolving as a series since 2006. Many new gameplay systems and story elements have been introduced since then, so I think it’s a little unrealistic to want Kingdom Hearts III to return to something that feels like you’re stepping right back into the last decade.
Let’s think of an alternate scenario for a moment. What if Kingdom Hearts III was nearly identical to Kingdom Hearts II? The game would have opened with 0.2, make you spend about one hour in each Disney world, send you to an original world where Final Fantasy characters interacted with you as five hours of exposition get dumped on you, spend another half hour in Disney world with some filler to get you to the proper level for the final fight, and then the game would have dumped the last five hours of plot on you.
Let’s say this game has snappier combat, dual wielding keyblades, and you can fight Sephiroth as an extra boss. What would people say about it? Would you enjoy it more? This game works pretty much exactly like Kingdom Hearts II but with all the worlds and story of III. Honestly, I think it would have been hated just as much.
You might think that’s crazy because that’s what everyone wanted, right? I don’t think that would go over well. Do you all remember what everyone said about The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess when it came out? People loved it. The game is very similar to Ocarina of Time but pumps everything up to 11.
But how is Twilight Princess remembered now? It’s not a bad game, but it’s often referred to as a clone of Ocarina of Time. It’s criticized for playing it safe and sticking to an old formula. Which game is remembered more fondly? I would argue Ocarina of Time is favored over Twilight Princess despite the latter doing most of the same things but arguably better.
So just like Twilight Princess shouldn’t have tried to chase after Ocarina of Time‘s nostalgia, I’m glad Kingdom Hearts III didn’t just rehash the same elements of Kingdom Hearts II. Does that mean it will be remembered more? That’s yet to be seen and it’s honestly hard to tell.
But if we keep using the Zelda analogy, I think I may have a theory. After the release of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, fans were waiting patiently for an amazing, realistic Zelda game for the Nintendo GameCube. We all know what came next.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was released to positive critical reception, but the fans were not having any of it. The visual style was too different, and the game was just way too different than Ocarina. Now let’s think about how Wind Waker holds up to Twilight Princess in 2019. I would argue more fans like Wind Waker now.
Again, I’m not sure how Kingdom Hearts III will be viewed in ten years. But I hope my explanations and analogies helped you see that overhyping a game can be dangerous. If you expect too much of one thing and get a surprise like Wind Waker, you’ll just end up having a bad time. If you ask too much for the same, you’ll get an underwhelming experience that feels like more of the same, much like Twilight Princess.
So when the next Kingdom Hearts is inevitably announced, don’t expect it to be like any of the other games before it. That way you can look at it as its own thing. It’s much better to be excited or disappointed about a game for what it is rather than what it is not.
The NPD Group has just released its latest monthly report, highlighting hardware and software sales number in the United States. Unsurprisingly, the long-awaited launch of Kingdom Hearts III proved to be immensely successful, as Square Enix’s action RPG beat out Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 remake for the top software spot.
Both of these highly anticipated titles outperformed their predecessors considerably. Kingdom Hearts III generated 2.5 times as much revenue in its first month as Kingdom Hearts II, while the Resident Evil 2 remake generated 2.8 times that of the original game. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe also followed this trend, outpacing the Wii U version of the game by 30%.
Despite the fact that the top two games of the month aren’t available on Nintendo Switch, the hybrid console still took the top spot for hardware sale, both in terms of units sold and dollars generated. Switch was the only console to perform better this January than in 2018.
Final Fantasy fans have a lot to look forward to this year, as Square Enix is bringing some of its older titles to modern consoles. Nintendo likes to drop games just after Nintendo Directs, and today is no exception. Final Fantasy IX is launching later today! And for those of you waiting on Final Fantasy VII, you won’t have to wait too much longer, as it’s launching on March 26th.
Fans have been waiting well over a decade for Kingdom Hearts III, and their patience was finally rewarded on January 29th. The long-awaited action RPG debuted to solid reviews, and early sales numbers from Japan projected it to be a smash hit. Now that it’s had a full week on the global market, Square Enix has crunched the numbers, revealing that Kingdom Hearts III has already hit a major milestone.
Square Enix reports that the game has officially shipped 5 million copies. That number includes digital sales and physical games shipped to retail. This makes it the fastest-selling Kingdom Hearts game ever at launch and gives it a strong chance to go on to become the most successful game in the franchise.
According to MCV UK’s calculations, Kingdom Hearts III‘s launch sales beat out Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue by 363% and beat out the last main entry, Kingdom Hearts II, by 157% percent. In short… Square Enix has a massive success on their hands.
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Over FIVE million copies of #KingdomHearts III have been shipped worldwide!
We'd like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who's joined the journey so far, and we hope you're loving every minute of it! pic.twitter.com/0BGQ2l194H
Square Enix Business Division 11 has revived the classic JRPG formula for games like Bravely Default, Bravely Second, and Octopath Traveler, and they’re just getting started! The talented team is now focused almost exclusively on Switch, and they’ve got multiple games in the works and ambitions of releasing one per year.
As the year draws to a close, some of the Octopath/Bravely developers took some time to teased exciting reveals planned for next year and beyond. Tomoyo Asano hinted at something different from what we’ve seen in the past, while Masashi Takahashi indicated that Octopath and Bravely both have new entries in the works.
“In 2019 we’ll have a challenge that is different from what we’ve had up to now with Octopath Traveler and the Bravely series. I’ll do my best! Business Division 11 is moving forward with the development of several games. Each one will surely please you guys! It will still be a little while until we can share information, but please look forward to it.” — Tomoyo Asano
“We received support from so many people in 2018, and we were able to release a brand-new title, Octopath Traveler. I’ll keep working on console games in 2019, too! First, we’ll properly reflect on ourselves before heading into the next season of preparations. I’ll do my utmost best to make games you can look forward to— from the Octopath series, the Bravely series, a new series, and more.” — Masashi Takahashi
It sounds like Square’s RPG team has their hands full with lots of exciting projects. It’s unclear when these projects are expected to launch (or be revealed for that matter), but the team is targeting a game per year, so it’s possible we’ll see one of them in 2019. Fans also believe that Square Enix was teasing a new Bravely game in an August tweet, so that seems like the most likely candidate for a 2019 launch.
Dragon Quest XI finally made its way outside of Japan earlier this year, but development on the Nintendo Switch version of the game started later than other platforms. As such, it’s been a bit of a wait for Nintendo fans, but developer Square Enix recently released a new trailer with the promise of a 2019 launch. Additionally, the trailer shows off the game’s Japanese voice acting, which is a first for the series.
With the release of Kingdom Hearts III finally just a month away, developer Square Enix is cranking up the hype! We were promised three new promotional videos for the month of December, and Square Enix is not disappointing. Last week, they shared the game’s opening movie trailer, and today (one day ahead of schedule, for some reason) they’ve released a four-minute-long “Final Battle” trailer.
Before 2016, Niantic was a small startup at Google with little name recognition and a modestly successful game called Ingress. That all changed when Niantic teamed up with The Pokémon Company to create Pokémon GO, catapulting the company to unparalleled success in the mobile space.
It’s been over two years since then, and Pokémon GO is still one of the most profitable mobile games in the world. As such, Niantic’s value has reached impressive new heights. According to The Wall Street Journal, Niantic has begun the process of raising another $200 million in investments from venture capitalists, driving the company’s market cap to a staggering $3.9 billion.
So how does that compare to other companies? As pointed out by Kantan Games CEO and analyst Dr. Serkan Toto, this puts Niantic above prominent third-party publishers like Capcom ($2.08 billion), Square Enix ($3.327 billion), and Sega ($3.8 billion), despite the fact that they have much richer libraries stretching back for decades. For a young mobile developer, that’s a pretty incredible statistic.
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Pokemon Go company Niantic is said to be raising $200 million on a $3.9 billion valuation now.
Fans have been waiting for Kingdom Hearts III for well over a decade, and in just over a month that wait will finally be over. When it launches, you’ll have the ability to play Kingdom Hearts III in style, if you’ve got the cash for a new PlayStation 4 Pro, that is. That’s right, Square Enix’s beloved crossover RPG is getting its own limited edition console.
This 1TB console comes with “a special design that features iconic Kingdom Hearts elements,” a matching DualShock 4 controller, a physical copy of the game, and access to PlayStation 4 exclusive digital content. It will launch alongside the game on January 25, 2019 with a price tag of $399 in the United States and $499.99 CAD in Canada.
It’s been nearly 13 years since Kingdom Hearts II debuted on PlayStation 2, and its successor is finally nearing its release. We’ve still got a little over a month until Kingdom Hearts III drops, but Square Enix is keeping the hype strong with three new promotional videos in December. The first one just launched, and it features the game’s opening cinematic along with a new theme song (from Hikaru Utada and Skrillex) called Face My Fears.
It’s been an excruciating wait for longtime fans of Kingdom Hearts, but Square Enix has finally finished development on the third main series entry in the franchise. It’s now set to launch on January 29th. With just two months left to go, you might think there’s little left to show off, but Square Enix still has plenty of hype-raising teasers planned, and December is going to be a big month.
According to the game’s official Japanese Twitter account, three new trailers will drop in December. The first is coming on December 10th and is described as a new video. The second launches on December 18th and will be the final official trailer. The third video will drop on December 21st, and it’s a 30-second commercial that will also be shown in theaters. The game itself makes its debut on January 25th in Japan and January 29th globally.
Kingdom Hearts III has been in development for what feels like an eternity, and internal and external delays have pushed its release date back, but there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. The highly-anticipated crossover game is set for release next January, and there will be no further delays as director Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed that development is complete. This news was accompanied by an extensive new trailer that shows off the game’s numerous worlds.
Click below to watch!
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I'm proud to unveil an extended version of the trailer that's been playing in NA cinemas. And guess what? We've wrapped up development of #KingdomHearts III! If you haven't had the chance yet, now would be a good time to prep by playing 1.5+2.5 & 2.8. See you next month! – Nomura pic.twitter.com/NvZYBut3WI
You’ve heard of the famed RPG series Final Fantasy (over and over again), but now get ready for the cheap, K-Mart knock-off: Last Idea. Except there’s one bizarre detail. If this familiar-sounding game is real and in development, it’s not being made by a copycat, but by Final Fantasy developer Square Enix themselves.
Square Enix recently filed a trademark for “Last Idea” related to video games. Around the same time that the trademark became publicly available, a Twitter account with the handle LASTIDEA_RPG surfaced in Japan. It currently has no tweets, and it is not yet confirmed that Square Enix owns the account, but the timing and nature of it make it seem likely.
If the Twitter account indeed belongs to Square Enix, they may be preparing for an announcement sometime in the near future. Although with Square Enix… who honestly knows. Let’s hope they’re ready for the barrage of jokes that they’re sure to endure based on the silly naming choice. And to think some people thought they were all out of ideas…