Today’s Sony Press Conference was one of the sweetest treats to come out of E3 2013 so far, but RPG fans everywhere must have a toothache from all the delicious icing on that PlayStation cake. If you’re quiet, you can still hear the delighted squeals of Square Enix fans everywhere after the announcement that not only was Final Fantasy XV on the horizon, but Kingdom Hearts III was officially in development. Maybe the icing wasn’t thick on details, but rich in flavor and — you know what? I’m getting hungry and these cake metaphors are going nowhere. The point is the news was sweet.
First up, the Final Fantasy switcheroo. Those that still remember, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was a game in development alongside Final Fantasy XIII, dating all the way back to 2008. Originally it premiered as a strong departure from previous installments in the series, including darker tones and a more realistic, westernized feel to it. Details slowly stopped trickling in and many thought the title was cut entirely, but Square Enix has resurrected it with a new title, Final Fantasy XV, essentially transforming it from a spin-off to a full-on numbered entry in the Final Fantasy series. The trailer showed that this title was still indeed taking a more serious turn, making it feel like a throwback to earlier entires in the franchise, which had many adult themes, and combat focuses heavily on fast, reflex-driven action. Like always with Final Fantasy trailers, it’s all but impossible to gauge what is actually happening. Maybe it’s purposeful, maybe it’s a regional thing, but without a breakdown these trailers viewers will simply be bombarded with disconnected, uncontextualized dialogue, paired with pretty imagery and out of control action. But, hey, who says that’s a bad thing. The simple fact is that the series is clearly taking a dramatic turn away from the usual and that is already a success. <cue victory fanfare>
Shortly after, in one of the smartest moves in PlayStation marketing history, we were treated with the first glimpse of Kingdom Hearts III. While a full trailer would have been nice, it wasn’t necessary because the mere second that “in development” hit the screen, PlayStation 4s were sold. It’s a highly, highly anticipated sequel that has finally surfaced amongst a sea of spin-offs and prequels. Square Enix is releasing an HD remastered collection called Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, which includes Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Re: Chain of Memories, plus a cinematic retelling of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days here in America later this year, so the series is still fresh in gamers’ minds — this new announcement is libel to make a number of them explode.
We’re looking forward to getting a closer look on the showfloor this week, so stay tuned for more details on these games and others from Square Enix.
Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III are currently in development for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
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