Square Enix at E3 2018: What to Expect & Why (Updated)

square enix e3 2018

Square Enix

Square Enix’s 2015 E3 press conference was a bit of a mixed bag. Most of the biggest announcements of that year, namely the Final Fantasy VII remake and World of Final Fantasy, were already announced at Sony’s 2015 press conference. The only major highlight was the appearance of the director of the then untitled Nier: Automata Yoko Taro wearing a creepy mask modeled after his character Emil from the game.

Square Enix has taken a break from doing press conferences for 2016 and 2017, but this year they’re back with a brand new press conference on June 11 at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET). The official website doesn’t give a list of games they’re going to show off but we already have a pretty good idea of what coming.

Here’s everything we can expect from Square Enix E3 2018.

Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III‘s release window is slated for sometime within this year, so we can expect a release date reveal during Squeenix’s press conference along with a brand new trailer hopefully showing off some new worlds. According to Express, Target reportedly leaked a retail listing which put the game’s release date on November 1, but it has since then reverted back to the placeholder date of December 31.

We actually wrote a whole article dedicated to speculation on what Square Enix has in store for Kingdom Hearts III during E3 2018, so go read that here.

Update (May 11, 2018): Square Enix confirmed in its financial results report that Kingdom Hearts III is still coming out in 2018.

Update (May 18, 2018): The Kingdom Hearts Twitter shows that Wreck-It-Ralph from the Disney movie of the same name will be a summon in Kingdom Hearts III.

Update (June 10, 2018): A new trailer was shown off during Microsoft’s E3 2018 press conference, showing a new world based on Disney’s Frozen as well as new weapons, summons, and Gummi ship sections. We also got a definitive release date of January 29, 2019.

Update (June 11, 2018): The Square Enix E3 2018 presentation just played the same trailer at Microsoft’s presentation only with some added story cutscenes. We did get a glipse of what might be a cooking minigame with Remy the rat from Ratatouille and a carousel ride attack.

Later during Sony’s E3 2018 presentation they announced a new Pirates of the Caribbean world with naval combat. They also announced a limited edition PS4 Pro with Kingdom Hearts III iconography.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

final fantasy 7 remake

Square Enix

We can also expect more info on the remake of Final Fantasy VII. We already know that the game will feature more action-based combat similar to Final Fantasy XV and that it will release in separate episodes consisting of multiple, full-sized games.

However Square Enix has been quiet about the project since then. The latest update we know is that the publisher switched from collaborating with CyberConnect2 to developing the game on their own in-house, according to Polygon. However the game was mentioned as part of a massive leak on Walmart Canada’s video game listings, so the project still seems to be chugging along.

Update (May 14, 2018): Producer Yoshinori Kitase confirmed to Japanese media that the legendary Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu is working on the remake, as Siliconera reports. Kitase also confirmed that the remake will be a multi-game project, according to GameSpot.

Update (June 11, 2018): Square Enix made no mention of the Final Fantasy VII remake during their E3 2018 presentation. It wasn’t shown off at Sony’s E3 presentation either.

The Avengers Project

Marvel Entertainment announced in late January this year that Square Enix has signed a multi-title contract to produce games based on Marvel Comics IPs and as part of this they teased The Avengers Project. All we know is that it’s being developed by Tomb Raider developers Crystal Dynamics and that it will feature a completely original story and “a universe gamers can play in for years to come.”

They also promised more details sometime in 2018. So what better time to announce those details than during the biggest gaming news conference of the year? We can expect details on the original story as well as which heroes are playable.

Update (June 2, 2018): An anonymous 4chan user claims that The Avenger’s Project will allegedly be a reboot of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. That’s why the tagline of the first teaser was “reassemble” and why the original games were ported to current generation consoles. The game will supposedly follow the story of Captain America, Iron Man, and Scarlet Witch after a cataclysmic event broke the Avengers apart. There will reportedly be more playable characters than just those three and gameplay may resemble Uncharted and Infamous mixed together.

Update (June 11, 2018): Square Enix made no mention of The Avengers during their E3 2018 presentation. It wasn’t shown off at Sony’s E3 presentation either.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

We already know quite a bit about Shadow of the Tomb Raider thanks to the big reveal on April 27. The game has Lara Croft, played again by Camilla Luddington, racing to save the world from a Mayan apocalypse according to the official website. The game will also come to Xbox One, PS4, and PC all at the same time on September 14, 2018 instead of being a timed exclusive on Xbox One like the last game. You’ll also switch between hunting down enemies in a jungle to exploring puzzle-filled tombs and underwater caverns.

We also know that Croft won’t have her iconic dual pistols yet again according to VG247 and that the game will have a multiplayer component for an extended gameplay experience according to Screen Rant.

Square Enix will possibly go into more detail about the elusive multiplayer mode and may even show off a gameplay trailer of Croft in action since the game is so close to being released.

Update (June 10, 2018): A story trailer was shown off during Microsoft’s E3 2018 press conference.

Update (June 11, 2018): The Square Enix E3 2018 presentation shown off some new gameplay of Laura Croft inflicting feat on opponents to make them turn on one another and stealthily taking down opponents with camouflage and explosives. They also promised the biggest hub world in any Tomb Raider game and even deadlier tombs.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

dragon quest 11

Square Enix

The latest entry in the Dragon Quest series is fast approaching its September 4, 2018 release date so we won’t expect Square Enix to devote too much time to the game.

We may get another story trailer as well as more info on what kinds of side quests, mini-games, and new characters are on offer along any other features. Maybe we’ll even get a release date for the Nintendo Switch version, though we won’t be holding our breath.

We already know that the game will feature the dynamic camera system as seen in Dragon Quest IX along with a new camera system controlled by the player according to a trailer. We also know that the game will have us playing for over 100 hours according to the website.

Update (June 4, 2018): Square Enix Product Marketing Manager Neal Pabon told Shacknews that Dragon Quest XI will be very similar to other mainline games, especially Dragon Quest VIII which Pabon said performed especially well sales wise. He said that it took him 100 hours to get through the game, and that’s barely touching the side missions.” He also confirmed that a Nintendo Switch port is on the way.

Update (June 11, 2018): The Square Enix E3 2018 presentation gave another story trailer showing off some more of the cutscenes, characters, and spells. Looks like we’ll have English voice acting as well. They also announced a collector’s edition.

Dragon Quest Builders 2

A sequel to Dragon Quest Builders was announced back in August 2017 and recently we got new screenshots and news of a first-person mode along with story elements as reported by Siliconera. We’ve known since the announcement that Dragon Quest Builders 2 will have multiplayer with up to four players, underwater exploration, gliding, the ability to create waterfalls, and the ability to stack blocks three times higher than in the original game.

We’ll most likely get news about the game at this year’s E3 presentation along with a more specific release date. We’ll also get some updated gameplay footage and maybe even a story trailer.

Update (May 10, 2018): The game will give bonus content to players who have save data of the original Dragon Quest Builders, according to Gematsu. You’ll get the Legendary Builder’s Cap which will change your hairstyle to the protagonist from the original game and the Dragonlord’s Throne recipe will let you craft a throne that changes your appearance to that of the Dragonlord while sitting on it.

Update (June 11, 2018): Square Enix made no mention of Dragon Quest Builders 2 during their E3 2018 presentation. It wasn’t shown off at Sony’s E3 presentation either. Since the previous game was ported to Nintendo Switch, it’s possible that the sequel will be shown off at Nintendo’s E3 2018 Direct at 9 a.m. PT (12 p.m. ET).

Left Alive

Square Enix announced Left Alive during Sony Interactive Entertainment’s pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference in September 2017, according to Polygon. Not much is known about the game but we do know that it will be a “survival-action shooter” with mechs and that it has some all-star people on the development team. Metal Gear character designer Yoji Shinkawa, longtime Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto (Final Fantasy VIII, Kingdom Hearts, The World Ends With You, Final Fantasy XV, and more), and director Toshifumi Nabeshima (producer for FromSoftware’s Armored Core mech combat series) will all be involved with the project.

The game is due sometime in 2018 on the PS4 according to Polygon, so expect it to make an appearance at this year’s E3 press conference. We’ll probably get more details on gameplay and story.

Update (June 8, 2018): The game’s website is up and gives a few more details. The game’s story will involve three different protagonists and has multiple story paths. You will fight armed troops, armored vehicles and towering mechs. You can go into combat guns blazing or use stealth and traps. A crafting system is in place for creating consumable items.

Update (June 11, 2018): Square Enix made no mention of Left Alive during their E3 2018 presentation. It wasn’t shown off at Sony’s E3 presentation either.

Life Is Strange 2

life is strange 2

Square EnixLife Is Strange

After the release of DONTNOD Entertainment’s beloved curiosity Life Is Strange, fans have been anticipating a sequel with more teenage, time-travelling drama. The French developer announced in May 2017 that a second season had been in the works since they shipped the physical version of the original the year before.

Back in March when the final episode of the prequel Before the Storm released, the official Life Is Strange blog announced that people can look forward to the coming months where DONTNOD will present the new story and characters for the next game. So that means we can definitely expect a reveal trailer during Square Enix’s press conference at E3 this year.

Michel Koch, co-game director and art director for the game, told Polygon that a Life Is Strange sequel would feature a new cast. However that was back in 2015 when the original was still yet to release its last two episodes. Though we probably don’t have to wait long to find out if the sequel would feature the return of Max and Chloe or a new cast altogether.

Update (June 10, 2018): Microsoft announced a Life Is Strange spinoff title at their E3 2018 press conference. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit will be available to download for free on June 26, 2018, according to VentureBeat.

Update (June 11, 2018): The developers came onto the Square Enix E3 2018 presentation to talk more about The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, saying that it is connected to the upcoming Life Is Strange 2.

Reminders for Octopath Traveler and The World Ends With You: Final Remix

octopath traveller

Square Enix

Octopath Traveler will likely appear again during Nintendo’s E3 2018 presentation as the game is a Switch exclusive, but Square Enix could reveal more playable characters in addition to reminding people of its July 13, 2018 release date.

The same goes for The World Ends With You: Final Remix, another Switch exclusive. We may get a release date if we’re lucky but this will be more so the domain of Nintendo’s presentation.

Update (June 6, 2018): Tomoya Asano, division executive at Square, told Game Informer that Square Enix has created a development division exclusively for making Nintendo Switch games and that Octopath Traveler will be used to judge how much support to give the system in the future. He also confirmed that more large projects are heading to the Switch. Whether any of those projects will be shown off at this year’s E3 has yet to be seen.

Update (June 11, 2018): We got a reminder for Octopath Traveler as was to be expected from the Square Enix E3 2018 presentation.

New Game from People Can Fly

bulletstorm full clip edition

Gearbox PublishingBulletstorm: Full Clip Edition

People Can Fly, the Polish developer behind Painkiller, Bulletstorm, Fortnite, and many Gears of War entries, are working on their first original game since becoming independent from Epic Games in 2015. We first heard about the new project in June 2015 as GameSpot reported. Then we learned two years later that People Can Fly formed a partnership with Square Enix to make an original title, as Rock, Paper, Shotgun reported. According to the publication People Can Fly also posted new job listings for things like working with “scripted events and story moments” as well as AI, pointing to a single player or co-op game.

It’s not clear if the game People Can Fly are developing under the Square Enix partnership is the same one they announced in 2015. If it’s a different game entirely, then it would still be early in development so it’s not likely to make an appearance at Square Enix’s E3 conference this year. But if it’s the same game from 2015 then it would have been in development for quite a while now and would definitely make an appearance during the conference.

Update (May 15, 2018): People Can Fly confirmed that it is developing a new “AAA shooter” in partnership with Square Enix. The news comes with the developer’s announcement that they opened two new studios in the UK and Poland, and all three of their studios and 150 developers will work on the game.

Update (June 11, 2018): Square Enix made no mention of People Can Fly’s game during their E3 2018 presentation.

Project Prelude Rune

Project Prelude Rune is the debut project of Square Enix’s Studio Istolia which is run by former Tales producer Hideo Baba according to Kotaku. The project was announced back in February 2017 and the aim of the studio is to “provide unforgettable stories that will inspire players in their own lives, and bring new game experiences to everyone around the world,” according to Square Enix. The devs are still hiring for planners, programmers, designers, project managers, and more according to their official website.

Since the project is clearly very early in development, it’s not likely to make an appearance at this year’s E3. But given Square Enix’s penchant for announcing games far in advance of their releases, it is possible that they’ll mention the game. Even then the most we can expect is some concept art and vague descriptions of the game’s features.

Update (June 11, 2018): Square Enix made no mention of Project Prelude Rune during their E3 2018 presentation, as we expected.

Just Cause 4

just cause 4

Square EnixJust Cause 3

Just Cause 4 was also mentioned in that huge leak in Walmart Canada’s video game listings, but talk of the game has been around for far longer.

In October 2017, Avalanche Studios founder and Just Cause creator Christofer Sundberg tweeted a recruitment call for a game designer with experience with PvP and PvE gameplay for future games the development team has in store for release in 2020. As PCGamesN points out, this lines up pretty well with the development cycle between Just Cause 2 in 2010 and Just Cause 3 in 2015. However if this is the case then don’t expect a trailer at this year’s E3. Just Cause 2 was announced at E3 2009 before releasing in March 2010 and Just Cause 3 was formally announced in April 2015 before releasing in December of that year.

Sundberg also tweeted that the team was expanding its multiplayer division. A multiplayer component in Just Cause 4 would be great as it was sorely missed in Just Cause 3 so much so that fans modded it into the game.

Update (June 7, 2018): Just Cause 4 has been confirmed to be real via a pre-order ad that leaked on Steam, according to Polygon. The game has yet to be formally announced by Square Enix.

Update (June 10, 2018): A trailer was revealed during Microsoft’s E3 2018 press conference, announcing a release date of December 4, 2018.

Update (June 11, 2018): The Square Enix E3 2018 presentation gave out more info about the game. They confirmed that the game will take place in South America and that it will introduce extreme weather like lightning and sandstorms. Vehicles have been overhauled with new vehicles like bulldozers and micro tracks. The grapple has more customization and has more tethers and new booster rockets. Enemies will be more intelligent with each archetype employing different tactics. The Apex engine promises a bigger draw distance.

And that’s all we can expect from Squeenix during their presentation at E3 2018. We’re sure that we’ll have some surprises here and there but so far those are the most likely announcements we’ll see at the conference. But it already looks to be a lot more exciting than their last conference.

What do you think of our predictions? What games are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comment section below.

New Games & Other Things We Didn’t Predict

The Square Enix E3 2018 presentation also showed off the Under the Moonlight patch for Final Fantasy 14 Online along with Monster Hunter World crossover DLC coming in Summer 2018.

They also announced Babylon’s Fall by Platinum Games, creators of Bayonetta and Nier Automata. The game is coming 2019.

They also announced the mysterious The Quiet Man and will give out more info in August 2018. All we know is that it will come to PS4 and Steam sometime soon.

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