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What’s Square-Enix’s big new secret? Here’s why it’s probably not Star Ocean 5

Today Square-Enix started teasing a new title on their official website, under a page ever-so-tantalisingly-named ‘secrets’.

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Square-Enix secrets

Today Square-Enix started teasing a new title on their official website, under a page ever-so-tantalisingly-named ‘secrets’.

Not content with this week’s incredibly popular announcement of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – which to be completely honest didn’t go according to plan when a Russian website spoiled the big surprise one day into the three-day reveal event – but if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Information on the new page is pretty sparse. Visitors are met with a zoomed-out view of an unspecified planet, and a few seemingly-random characters that don’t give much away. Other than sharing buttons for Twitter and Facebook – which when activated pops up a message stating “Square Enix New Project. NEXT 2015.04.13” – that’s really all we get. So while Square-Enix will be hoping that their latest cryptic reveal isn’t cracked so easily, there are those out there who believe they’re already figured it out.

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The text in the centre of the page reads:

    S          A    R
0    1           0            1

Which to some, seems blindingly obvious. Twitter, forums and comment sections are abuzz with Square-Enix fans confidently proclaiming it’s a reveal of Star Ocean 5. It makes sense; slip a ‘T‘ in the top line and you’ve got ‘Star‘, the planetscape below contains an ‘ocean‘ and ‘5‘ in binary is ‘0101‘. Case closed, many are saying. But something about this doesn’t quite add up…

Square-Enix secrets

When you highlight the header image, it doesn’t seem to quite fit that the first line says ‘Star‘. It’s off-centre, and there’s definitely room for more characters on the right-hand end of the line. As for the second line – that could very well be binary, or some other code – but the amount of extra space between the characters looks like it’s going to hold a bigger secret than the binary for ‘5‘.

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When you look at the source of the webpage it doesn’t give much away, but it does proudly proclaim in the centre under the meta tags within the head element that the operative keywords are “Square-Enix New Project” in English, and if you translate the adjacent Japanese characters they read “New Project” and “New Project Start Up”. So all signs point to something new, something exciting, and something very different from the grandfather of the J-RPG.

Not convinced? Need yet more proof that it’s not Star Ocean 5? Square-Enix have not yet registered the domain name ‘StarOcean5.com‘ or ‘StarOcean5Game.com‘ – cue internet trolls to rush out and purchase them for blackmail purposes – sorry Square-Enix!

We can’t tell you what Square-Enix’s new secret is going to turn out to be – sorry about that – but based on the evidence on hand, were pretty confident it’s not going to be Star Ocean 5.

Update, April 10 2015, 9.10pm GMT:

There’s an additional sub-domain under the main URL above, simply called ‘sp‘. What does ‘sp‘ stand for? We have no idea! It looks like it’s just a portrait-oriented version of the site, but it does change the orientation of the clue text somewhat, becoming:

Square-Enix secret 'sp' page

There’s still plenty of free space to the right of the ‘R’ which indicated the word is longer than four letters, but having the numbers re-arranged like that might mean something different – they might well be representing a date. Thanks to N4G user Bhuahahaha for spotting that interesting tidbit!

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Additionally, thanks to a rudimentary Tin Eye Reverse Image Search we’ve been able to establish that while it is definitely an ocean in the background, the planet in question is actually our own Earth! Take a look at the following image for a comparison, and keep an eye out for the West-African coastline in the Square-Enix image:

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Square-Enix's secret is the Atlantic Ocean!We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available!

Update, April 13 2015, 1pm GMT

There are more numbers on the page, and as we predicted, they’re beginning to spell out a date in 2015. There are more letters on the page too, and they do indeed spell out ‘STAR‘ but that still doesn’t mean we’re certain it’s a new Star Ocean title just yet. There still looks to be space for an extra character on the right-hand side, and it’s even more prominent when you look at the hidden ‘sp’ page:

Square Enix secret 'sp' page

It just doesn’t quite look right, does it? So if that top line isn’t complete, what could be in the final position? There aren’t that many five-letter words that begin ‘star‘ – in actual fact, there are only four of them – ‘stare‘, ‘stark‘, ‘stars‘, and ‘start‘. Following the Final Fantasy VII remake trolling from December 2014, who can really say they’re that confident that Square-Enix aren’t just teasing the ‘start‘ of something?

We’ll check back again tomorrow, as the next update is coming on April 14.

Update, April 14 2015, 9.45am GMT

We’ve received a bit of fan-boy-fueled hate mail in the Thumbsticks post box over the past few days. People have been asking us why we “hate Star Ocean” and why we “don’t want to see another Star Ocean game” – they’ve also been calling us some quite nasty names.

That’s not it at all. We actually rather like Star Ocean, and would be very pleased to see Star Ocean 5 released, but that wasn’t the point of this article. We simply didn’t think, based on the evidence at hand, that the ‘secret’ Square-Enix were teasing was actually going to be Star Ocean 5 at all, and do you know what? It looks like we might have been right:

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Square-Enix START

So check back tomorrow and we’ll see what Square-Enix are teasing the ‘start‘ of, and remember – we predicted yesterday that the page was going to spell ‘start‘ while everyone else was still convinced it was Star Ocean 5 – you heard it here first.

Update, April 15 2015, 11.45am GMT:

Well what do you know, it turned out to be Star Ocean 5 after all!

We were right about a couple of things along the way – we identified that the numbers were spelling out a date rather than the binary for ‘5’; and we realised Square-Enix weren’t in fact spelling out the word ‘Star‘ on their secret page, they were actually spelling out the word ‘start‘ – it just so happens that the thing they were teasing the ‘start’ of was actually the hype-train for Star Ocean 5. What’s that, a double-bluff? Triple? We’ve lost count in all the excitement.

In any case, we’re delighted that it did turn out to be Star Ocean 5 in the end. We’re also more than happy to hold our hands up and admit we were wrong on this one – sorry everybody – but hopefully you had as much fun as we did trying to figure out what Square-Enix were teasing on the way to the final reveal.

All we know thus far is it’s called Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithlessness and it’s coming to both PS3 and Ps4, but we’re still officially very excited.

Star Ocean 5 confirmed

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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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