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The 6 biggest announcements from the Square Enix E3 2019 press conference

The Final Fantasy VII remake, Final Fantasy VIII, and plenty more remasters and re-releases. Oh, and something to do with the Avengers?

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biggest announcements square enix E3 2019 press conference

The Final Fantasy VII remake, Final Fantasy VIII, and plenty more remasters and re-releases. Oh, and something to do with the Avengers?

You could argue that Square Enix’s press conference was the easiest one: Just show people the Final Fantasy VII Remake. That’s it. That’s really all they had to do.

But they doubled down on the fan service with a bunch of remakes, remasters, and re-releases across various franchises and platforms, and are making your favourite Final Fantasy soundtracks much easier to listen to.

Also, the new Avengers game has quite the cast. It’s not quite Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, and Mark Ruffalo, but in video game circles? It’s a similar energy and gravitas.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

In a lovely touch, the Square Enix E3 2019 press conference kicked off with Final Fantasy VII’s loading screen. You know the one, the big Buster Sword stuck in the ground, and a white-gloved hand pointing at “New Game” or “Continue”. That “ploink” noise as you flick between the options? It’s like nectar for a jaded old sort.

Then the conference started proper, with a zoomed in look at Aerith’s face, as she kneels and prays. Stars. (They’re showing us the whole thing, the entire opening mission!) A wide pan of Midgar. A tracking shot of a train, zooming in as the train approaches its destination. (Oh my god, they’re doing the whole thing!) Cloud jumps off the train like an acrobatic, show-off knobhead. (Holy crap they’re showing us the whole thing!)

Then we cut back to the theatre for a chat with Yoshinori Kitase. Which is fine, obviously, because we very much want to hear what he has to say about the game.

But then, after a five-minute chat through how the combat works, – it’s a bit like Final Fantasy XV, with real-time basic attacks and charging gauges for magic and limit breaks – we then get to see the first boss battle against the Guard Scorpion. It’s almost as though they could have done the explanation of how combat worked while… actually walking through the opening bombing raid?

No matter. It looks lovely. And there’s Tifa, at long last, and a quick look at the G-bike escape sequence. If you’re not feeling better about the Final Fantasy VII Remake after tonight’s presentation, you’re probably never going to be convinced.

One other interesting point to note: The “episodic” nature of the Final Fantasy VII Remake appears to have changed. A bit. Kitase-san told us that “the story of Midgar” has become a standalone game in its own right, and there will be enough content for two Blu-ray discs. So we’re currently assuming that’s two discs, one for each episode, with the first episode as Midgar and the second as the open world bits. We’ll ask when we meet with Square Enix this week at E3 proper.

A whole lot of remasters and re-releases

Next, and over the course of the show, came a bunch of remasters and re-releases, including… deep breath now:

  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
  • The Last Remnant
  • Romancing SaGa 3
  • Dragon Quest XI (on Nintendo Switch)
  • Octopath Traveller (on Steam)

And probably some other stuff we missed. We were quite distracted by the Final Fantasy VII stuff.

The one remaster everybody wanted

Praise be! Someone found the code for Final Fantasy VIII in a bin somewhere, or hidden under someone’s bed, or behind a filing cabinet in Square Enix’s headquarters. No matter: the good news is that Final Fantasy VIII remastered will be coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in 2019.

We don’t have much else in the way of details yet, but with any luck, the game will largely be left untouched… with the exception of the fast-forward modes found in the other remasters (to speed up some of the game’s more tedious elements, like drawing magic from enemies, or watching umpteen hours of Guardian Force summon animations.)

The Square Enix Collective

After a nice little video detailing the history of the Square Enix Collective and its games over the last five years, we got a look at the next two games on its agenda: an expansion for Battalion 1944 called Eastern Front, and an adorable, nearly-top-down racing game called Circuit Superstars.

The Batallion 1944 update is out now, while Circuit Superstars is following in 2020. The former is more maps and content for the competitive shooter, but the latter is something we can really get on board with. It’s a sort of chunky, top-down racing game in the style of Micro Machines, but with cute little representations of real classic racing cars. We’ve seen a few gifs of this one floating around before the reveal and it looks sweet.

Square Enix Music on streaming services

In what was a charming little video presentation, a lady in a coffee shop is presented with a problem of yesteryear: Flipping through her music collection, the files on her phone, trying to decide what to listen to.

Meanwhile, in the background, an orchestra is constantly swapping instruments and sheet music trying to keep up with her swiping, pursing their lips to blow then having to change instrument just before the music kicks in.

We get two or three notes into a bit of (we think) the Final Fantasy V soundtrack, before our protagonist gets a message on her phone telling her the entire collection of Square Enix Music is now available on streaming services, including Spotify and Amazon’s equivalent service. She wants out of the shop, happy that she can listen to her favourite soundtracks more easily now.

The band, a bit dejected, are left behind. We really enjoyed this one. It took a simple, seemingly insignificant little announcement, and presented it in a lovely way. Plus, it’s about flipping time.

The Avengers Project

So, we come to the other big reveal of Square Enix’s E3 2019 presentation: The Avengers Project. We saw a short teaser for this back in 2017, then the project – helmed by Crystal Dynamics, with support from Eidos Montreal – went dark.

We saw a trailer, featuring Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, and The Incredible Hulk. It mirrored some of the action from the MCU – the Avengers have a bad day at the office, a city gets a bit destroyed, then suddenly they’re persona non grata – just like in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.

We also learn that the game is now called Marvel’s Avengers. And we meet the cast:

  • Nolan North – Tony Stark/Iron Man
  • Travis Willingham – Thor
  • Jeff Schine – Steve Rodgers/Captain America
  • Laura Bailey – Natasha Romanov/Black Widow
  • Troy Baker – Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk

But we don’t see any gameplay. The on-stage presentation is at great pains to tell us that there will be no loot boxes, and that additional content and characters will be added to the game free of charge after release, but we don’t see mechanically how it works.

Then we’re told Marvel’s Avengers features 4-player co-op, will be available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia, and launches May 15, 2020. Hopefully we’ll get to see how it plays in our appointment with Square Enix this week.

Other assorted musings

  • Wow, there were a lot of remakes, remasters, and re-releases, weren’t there?
  • Also, Dragon Quest Builders 2, which features 4-player online co-op, looks rather sweet.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3 is getting some DLC called Re-Mind. It seems to centre on a coat for some reason?
  • There was a trailer for Life is Strange 2, which seemed a little redundant as we’re already three episodes in.
  • And Final Fantasy XIV – same principle.
  • The developers of Bulletstorm are making a new game called Outriders. We also think they were expecting more than three people to “whoop!” when they asked: “Who likes Bulletstorm?”
  • Dying Light 2 was also there. It’s competing with Borderlands 3 and trying to take Kingdom Hearts 3’s crown for “appearing in the most press conferences in a single E3” but without Sony here, that record’s going to stand for another year.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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New PlayStation 4 releases: January 27-31, 2020

Kentucky Route Zero and Journey to the Savage Planet headline this week’s lineup of new PlayStation releases.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Kentucky Route Zero, Journey to the Savage Planet, and the return of a PSP classic are the highlights of this week’s new PlayStation 4, PS VR and PS Vita releases.

Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition is our PlayStation 4 pick of the week. The new edition encompasses all five acts – and the ‘interludes’ – of Cardboard Computer’s acclaimed adventure game. It’s an atmospheric subversion of a time-worn genre, and one to be savoured. Enjoy the journey.

Speaking of which, Typhoon Studio’s debut, Journey to the Savage Planet, is a promising science-fiction adventure with a comedic edge. If the likes of No Man’s Sky and The Outer Worlds are too daunting, this could be the perfect trip. And speaking of games by Obsidian, the studio’s 2018 RPG Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire makes its long-awaited PlayStation 4 bow.

PSP classic Patapon 2 also makes a welcome return, marching onto PS4 in a remaster that includes 4K support and a host of new minigames.

Other new releases include Coffee TalkIt Came From Space And Ate Our Brains and Code Shifter. An early 80s classic also gets an update in shape of Lode Runner Legacy.

Here’s the complete lineup of this week’s new PlayStation Store releases.

New PlayStation 4 releases – January 27-31, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

  • Balthazar’s Dream
  • Coffee Talk
  • Journey to the Savage Planet
  • Kamiko
  • Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
  • Pro Deer Hunting
  • Shadow the Ronin
  • Vigilante Ranger
  • Viking Days

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

  • Lode Runner Legacy
  • Music Racer
  • Paraiso Island
  • Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire
  • Top Run

Thursday, January 30, 2020

  • Arc of Alchemist
  • Arcade Archives Tecmo Bowl
  • Autobahn Police Simulator 2
  • Bookbound Brigade
  • Code Shifter
  • The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III
  • It Came From Space And Ate Our Brains
  • Mad Age & This Guy
  • Milo’s Quest (+ PS Vita)
  • Patapon 2 Remastered
  • Throw Anything
  • Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times

Friday, January 31, 2020

  • The Inner Friend
  • Heroland
  • Kwaidan
  • oOo: Ascension
  • Reknum
  • Saboteur!
  • Willy Jetman: Astromonkey’s Revenge

More gaming news from Thumbsticks

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Atari is now opening hotels, for some reason

The first “video game-themed Atari hotel” is set to break ground in Phoenix, AZ later this year.

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Atari Hotel
Atari

The first “video game-themed Atari hotel” is set to break ground in Phoenix, AZ later this year.

There’s very little of the modern Atari brand that links it to the original Atari of 1970s and 80s. The Atari of Warren Robinett and John Salwitz is long gone. The company has folded, re-branded, and folded again several times over the years. We believe that’s called “phoenixing” in business terms.

The modern Atari’s biggest claim to fame – and also perhaps its biggest problem – is the Atari VCS. It’s a new Atari console that, having been crowdfunded, has struggled to get to market. It looks the part, with a classic wooden chassis, but with high-profile departures, configuration changes and delays, it’s potentially turning into a millstone.

So what would any sane company do in that scenario? Why, they would pivot to building and operating hotels, of course!

No, really. We’re not kidding. We’ve received a press release that actually says “video game-themed Atari hotels” will be springing up in the US over the coming years.

“We are thrilled to partner with GSD Group and True North Studio to build the first-ever Atari branded hotels across the United States. Together we’ll build a space that will be much more than just a place to stay. Atari is an iconic global brand that resonates with people of all ages, countries, cultures and ethnic backgrounds and we cannot wait for our fans and their families to enjoy this new hotel concept.” – Fred Chesnais, CEO, Atari

It’s… well, it’s something, isn’t it? You can’t fault them for trying to do something different, something bold to change the company’s fortunes.

Good luck to them, we guess, but it’s hardly going to be Disneyworld.


Keep up to date with the latest video games news by following Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle NewsTwitter, and Flipboard.

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Save up to 80% in the Humble Lunar New Year sale

Save on a decent selection of PC Games in the 2020 Humble Lunar New Year Sale.

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Humble Lunar New Year Sale
Humble

Save on a decent selection of PC Games in the 2020 Humble Lunar New Year Sale.

The latest Humble Store sale marks the Lunar New Year (somehow) with a selection of discounts on some top PC games.

The sale highlight is a 67% price cut for Capcom’s excellent and terrifying remake of Resident Evil 2. It’s well worth playing before the April release of follow-up Resident Evil 3.

Players who prefer to explore huge open worlds could do much worse than taking a trip to ancient Greece in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or the American frontier in Red Dead Redemption 2. Retro gaming enthusiasts can get their thrills with both volumes of the Mega Man X Legacy Collection and The Disney Afternoon Collection.

Team Thumbsticks sale favourites include the beautiful remaster of Clover Studio’s epic Okami, and Ubisoft’s content-packed snowsports extravaganza, Steep. Visit the Humble Store for the full lineup of Lunar New Year savings. The sale ends on Friday, January 31 2020.

Humble Store Lunar New Year Sale Highlights

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – 60% off
  • Borderlands 3 – 35% off
  • Dead Rising 4 – 50% off
  • Devil May Cry 5 – 60% off
  • The Disney Afternoon Collection – 50% off
  • Dungeons 3 – 80% off
  • For Honor – 50% off
  • Mega Man X Legacy Collection (1 & 2) – 50% off
  • Monster Hunter World – 20% off
  • Okami HD – 50% off
  • Onimusha Warlords – 40% off
  • The Outer Worlds – 25% off
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – 20% off
  • Resident Evil 2 – 67% off
  • Steep – 75% off

Don’t forget that a percentage of every game purchase on the Humble Store goes to a range of worthwhile causes.

Visit our sales page for the latest Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 offers. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Twitter, and Flipboard.


We may receive a small commission for purchases made from online stores.

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The Resident Evil 3 Collector’s Edition is available to pre-order

Capcom has unveiled the Resident Evil 3 remake Collector’s Edition for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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Resident Evil 3 remake
Capcom

Capcom has announced a Collector’s Edition for the upcoming remake of Resident Evil 3 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

You’ll never guess what’s included with the Resident Evil 3 Collector’s Edition. What’s that you say? An art book? A soundtrack? And a figurine? Well, you might be on to something.

Capcom has unveiled a physical version of the game for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 that includes all the goodies you’d expect in a limited edition release. The pack includes a copy of the game with exclusive lenticular cover art, a Jill Valentine figure, a printed art book, a Raccoon City map poster, and a copy of the soundtrack. The soundtrack is included digitally in the US and on two CDs in other regions.

Resident Evil 3 Collector’s Edition

Resident Evil 3 is a ground-up remake of the 1999 survival horror favourite, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The game serves as a prequel and follow up, of sorts, to Resident Evil 2, which was itself remade and released to universal acclaim last year.

The game is the latest to be developed in Capcom’s RE Engine, which has already been put to spectacular use with Resident Evil 7, Resident Evil 2, and Devil May Cry 5. The game also includes Resident Evil Resistance, an asymmetrical 4 vs 1 online multiplayer game.

Resident Evil 3 will be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 3, 2020. Pre-orders of the Standard and Collector’s Edition include an exclusive costume pack that features the original design for Jill Valentine and hairstyle for Carlos Oliveira. The game is available from the usual retailers, including Amazon, GameBestBuy. and the Capcom Store.


Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for regular updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 games.

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The next Metro Exodus DLC arrives next month

4A Games have announced a release date for Sam’s Story, the second major content expansion for Metro Exodus.

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Metro Exodus - Sam’s Story DLC
4A Games

Deep Silver and 4A Games have announced a February release date for Sam’s Story, the second major content expansion for Metro Exodus.

Metro Exodus – a game that, for all its flaws, we rather enjoyed – is getting a second story expansion on February 11, 2020.

Titled Sam’s Story, the DLC follow the adventures of Spartan Ranger who, following the nuclear war, yearns to return home to the US and search for his father. Cue a perilous journey through crumbling ruins, a tsunami wrecked harbour, and rolling meadows full of beautiful daisies. Well, maybe not the last one.

The non-linear sandbox survival level also adds new characters, weapons, and mutant variants to enjoy.

Metro Exodus - Sam’s Story DLC

Sam’s Story is released on February 11, 2020, on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Stadia. It’s included as part of the Metro Exodus Expansion Pass along with The Two Colonels DLC that was released last summer.

For more on Metro Exodus, read our guides to pumping the Tikhar air rifle, charging the flashlight, and using the gas mask. And check out details of the franchise’s imminent arrival on Nintendo Switch.


Read about this week’s new PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch releases, and stay abreast with the latest video games news by following Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Support Thumbsticks

We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you like what we do and want to support free, quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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