Square Enix went fishing for attention earlier this week with a mysterious “interactive experience” promotional campaign on Twitch. Two days ago leaks revealed that the game being teased was Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, a sequel follow-up to 2011’s acclaimed Human Revolution, which relaunched the dormant franchise with a prequel.
While the internet might have ruined the Deus Ex surprise, that apparently isn’t the only big reveal Square Enix has hidden up its sleeve. Only a day after the Deus Ex news, another, seemingly unrelated teaser website has popped up online. While there’s little concrete info that can be gleaned from the site at this point, Square Enix may be gearing up to reveal a new installment in another popular science fiction franchise.
The enigmatic teaser website appeared online today, so far featuring little more than a Twitter feed and the background image seen above. The hashtag #sqex_secret has since begun trending, with fans speculating about what this could all be leading up to. The most popular theory by far is Star Ocean 5.
The text displayed on the site is obviously intended to be filled in over time, revealing further letters, but it’s already three-quarters of the way to the word “star.” The background image could definitely be an expanse of water, or possibly an unidentified planetscape featuring various oceans and landmasses. As for the zeroes and ones in the second line, many on Twitter have pointed out that “0101” is binary for the number 5. It’s hardly definitive proof, but the evidence does add up in a logical way…at least so far.
The Star Ocean series launched way back in 1996, although the first game didn’t get an official release here in the States until a remake hit the PlayStation Portable in 2007. The most recent sequel was the 2009 PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 installment Star Ocean: The Last Hope. Fans have been hoping ever since that the JRPG series might eventually launch another sequel, and it looks like good news might finally be on the horizon.
There is another clue that adds fuel to the fire of speculation that Square Enix might be gearing up to announce Star Ocean 5. As reported by Gematsu, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda hinted last month that an as-yet-unannounced “JRPG for home game machines” was slated for sometime this fiscal year. That would mean a release date sometime before March 31, 2016, so the timing of this reveal would certainly make sense. That would then put Star Ocean 5 on track to get some time in the spotlight at E3 this summer.
With powerful next-gen consoles to play with and six years since the last installment hit, Star Ocean is primed for a return. One big question is where in the series’ timeline a theoretical sequel would fit. The Last Hope was actually a prequel set hundreds of years before the original installment, so a new Star Ocean could pick up in the gap between Last Hope and the first Star Ocean, or anywhere else in the franchise’s centuries-spanning timeline.
Of course, this could all be leading up to something else entirely. It will be interesting to see what other letters are added to that “SAR 0101” in the days to come, but in the meantime Star Ocean 5 seems a likely candidate.