Well, that was a disappointment. Square Enix held its E3 showcase earlier today and it was, to put it mildly, underwhelming. If you were hoping for more information about Final Fantasy VII Remake, or the mysterious Avengers Project, sorry -- neither made the cut this year. A number of smaller releases were absent too, including Dragon Quest Builders 2, The World Ends With You: Final Remix, and Left Alive, a new apocalyptic shooter directed by Armored Core producer Toshifumi Nabeshima.
So what did we get instead? A lot of games that were presented at Microsoft's E3 press conference. The stealthy gameplay from Shadow of the Tomb Raider was interesting, but lacked impact after the cinematic trailer that was shown yesterday. Just Cause 4 was the same -- a competent trailer, but one that fans had basically seen during the Xbox showcase. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a new game in the Life is Strange universe, and the Xbox version of Nier: Automata were also announced yesterday, stripping today's presentations of any real excitement.
For the most part, the show was one giant retread.
Kingdom Hearts 3 should have been the show's home run. But again, Square Enix decided to show a slightly modified trailer from the Xbox press conference. It's great that Ratatouille will appear in the game (the film's hero, Remy, appears to be a summon) and seeing Axel at the end made my heart flutter. For most people, though, it was a huge letdown. Admittedly, there was a huge Kingdom Hearts event last month, but couldn't the publisher have summoned some new information for today's event? The reveal of a new world, or an early look at its Big Hero 6 locale?
Square Enix did have some new games to show. We heard about Babylon's Fall, a new title from Bayonetta developer PlatinumGames. The announcement trailer showed little, though, beyond a brief history lesson of the world. There was also The Quiet Man, a game that blends live-action cinematography with "realistic CG and pulse-pounding action gameplay." Again, though, the trailer lacked excitement. The final announcement was a collaboration between Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix's revitalized MMORPG, and Capcom's Monster Hunter: World. It was a fine reveal, but not enough to put the average E3 attendee on the edge of their seat.
Save for a new Dragon Quest XI trailer, that was about it. The entire press conference took about 30 minutes and by the end I was wondering why Square Enix had bothered at all. A sense of obligation? That's not an excuse. If the company had little to show this year, that's fine — it should have skipped its own press conference and sprinkled the trailers it had throughout the Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo press conferences. Replaying old, or slightly modified teasers is a sure-fire way to bore, or worse irritate your audience. Create something meaningful, or don't bother at all. Otherwise you'll look feeble in comparison to the other press conferences.