Sneak peek at new games, content

Danial Norjidi

As the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video game industry showcase returned this year in a virtual format, among those to feature was publisher Square Enix, who gave fans a look at some upcoming games and projects with a special presentation on June 13.

The Square Enix Presents Summer Showcase kicked off with a world premiere of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which is described as “a bold third-person narrative action-adventure game which combines original storytelling with electrifying single-player gameplay”.

Speaking at the showcase, Senior Producer at Eidos-Montreal Olivier Proulx said, “It’s our own fresh take on the Guardians and something that’s really unique to our game is that you get to be Peter Quill. As Star-Lord, you’re constantly in the middle of the action as you try to lead this band of misfits.”

According to a press statement, the Eidos-Montreal team is working closely with Marvel Entertainment to provide an original and authentic experience inspired by over 50 years of Guardians of the Galaxy lore. Influenced by the comics, this unique spin on the Guardians of the Galaxywill take players on a riotous journey across the stars as Peter Quill and the Guardians unintentionally become the galaxy’s first and last line of defence.

“Master Star-Lord’s dynamic combat style to obliterate foes with his Element Blasters and call on the unique abilities of each Guardian to defeat a wild variety of interplanetary enemies. Also, as self-proclaimed leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, players will engage in select player-choice driven dialogue and interactions between Quill and the Guardians that further strengthens the bonds within this dysfunctional family.”

“Finally, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy wouldn’t be complete without a killer soundtrack to rock out to while soaring through space in the Milano. The game is jam-packed with classic 1980s hits and kicking original tracks,” added the statement.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will release simultaneously on the PlayStation (PS) 5 and PS4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles, and on PC, as well as streaming via GeForce NOW on October 26, 2021.

Next to feature during the showcase was the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series. According to the Square Enix, “The six original Final Fantasy titles that inspired a generation of roleplaying game fans are coming to life once more in the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series.”

The Eidos-Montreal team is working closely with Marvel Entertainment to provide an original and authentic experience inspired by over 50 years of Guardians of the Galaxy lore. PHOTOS: SQUARE ENIX
A screenshot from Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin
A scene from Guardians of the Galaxy
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin will be available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC in 2022

“Fans and newcomers are invited to dive into six masterpieces that bridge the ages with unique tales of epic adventure.”

Square Enix said it will be releasing the titles individually, from Final Fantasy I through to Final Fantasy VI, for Steam and mobile platforms, with more information to be revealed at a later date.

The showcase continued with the airing of new footage for the opening cinematic for Legend of Mana, the remastered version of the fourth instalment in the classic Mana series of roleplaying games, set to release on Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PC on June 24.

Also featured during the presentation was a segment focussed on new content for Marvel’s Avengers, an action-adventure title with both single-player and co-operative gameplay that released on September 4, 2020.

Developer Crystal Dynamics shared some of the latest updates for the game, including a trailer for the Cosmic Cube event, in which players assemble a team for an epic battle in a challenging new mission to defeat the Scientist Supreme and save the future.

Also highlighted was Wasteland Patrol, in which players search the wasteland for clues to stop the coming apocalypse. It features an all-new patrol mode, randomised replayable boss fights, and exploration based rewards.

For the final part of the segment, the spotlight fell on the Marvel’s Avengers expansion, Black Panther -War for Wakanda, in which Black Panther must defend Wakanda from Klaw, who seeks to steal Vibranium for his own desires.

The showcase then continued with a look at some mobile games that will be available in the coming months, beginning with free-to-play game Hitman Sniper: The Shadows, which introduces a wholly original story set in the Hitman Universe.

According to Square Enix, the game focusses on events following the disappearance of Agent 47 and follows the story of The Shadows, a group of highly skilled snipers within the hidden world of assassination, where a new criminal network threatens global stability. Diana Burwood and the International Contract Agency (ICA) activate Initiative 426, aka The Shadows, to eliminate this threat.

The game is set to be released in 2021 on iOS and Android, with more updates to be revealed later this year.

Also shown was a brief look at NieR Re[in]carnation, the first mobile entry in the NieR series, as well as a trailer for the Final Fantasy I limited-time collaboration event in the already available mobile game War of the Visions Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, along with the announcement of the fifth anniversary countdown campaign in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.

The final mobile game to be highlighted was battle royale action title Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier, which will be available worldwide for iOS and Android this year.

Next up was Babylon’s Fall, which is being developed by Square Enix in partnership with renowned action specialists, Platinum Games Inc.

According to a statement, the epic world of Babylon’s Fall is coming to PS5, PS4 and Steam and features fluid co-op combat, powerful weapons and a unique, striking art style. The game can be played in parties up to four and will feature a range of post launch game modes at no additional cost.

“In Babylon’s Fall players become a group of warriors known as the sentinels, bonded with special equipment called Gideon Coffins, and throw themselves into an odyssey to overcome the titanic Tower of Babylon, within which sleeps a great legacy,” said Square Enix.

“In addition to weapons wielded in both hands, characters can use the power of their Gideon Coffin to equip two more, allowing for combinations of up to four weapons at once. The capabilities of different equipment will also bring endless variation to the strategy that can be employed. The game’s visuals are achieved using a newly developed ‘brushwork style’ to create a unique fantasy setting with a medieval oil painting aesthetic.”

It was shared that more details will be revealed throughout the year and player recruitment for closed beta testing is now open.

The presentation continued with a trailer for Life is Strange Remastered Collection, which contains remastered editions episodic adventure games Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, with a September 30 release date.

Also shown during the presentation was the latest entry in the series, Life is Strange: True Colors, which has a September 10 release date and introduces players to Alex Chen, “an all-new protagonist who will use her psychic power of empathy to solve a mystery that will make her question everyone and everything she’s come to know in the quaint small town of Haven Springs.”

To close out the showcase, a brand new title from Square Enix Japan was unveiled – Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin.

Made in collaboration with Team Ninja from Koei Tecmo Games, creators of the Ninja Gaiden and Nioh series, this new action roleplaying game is described as bringing a new vision to the Final Fantasy series.

According to a statement, the game centres on a character named Jack and his allies Ash and Jed as they throw open the gates to the Chaos Shrine. “Burning with the resolve to defeat Chaos, and with the memories of their struggle buried deep in their hearts, are they the foretold Warriors of Light?”

Announced during the presentation was the immediate availability of a trial version of the game from June 13 -24 on PS5. The trial version provides players the opportunity to explore this dark fantasy world as they battle an array of iconic monsters from the Final Fantasy series, using powerful spells and abilities from a sample of jobs including warrior, dragoon and black mage.

Creative Producer for Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin Tetsuya Nomura said, “While it is Final Fantasy, it feels different – but there’s no doubt that the blood of Final Fantasy runs through its veins.”

Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin will be available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC in 2022.