Square Enix had a tough act to follow after amazing conferences by Microsoft and Bethesda. Although the Microsoft conference did showcase some of what Square had on offer, we eagerly awaited the more in-depth look of known games but we also braced for a couple of surprises, sadly we were mostly left wanting.
Well, first Square Enix decided to have no actual conference with live speakers, instead opting for a trailer after trailer approach with some developer commentary mixed in for certain games. This was immediately disappointing to see as it showcases a lack of communication and a one-sided approach to the consumer. Whereas the publishers so far used the opportunity to not only showcase their games, but also talk about the future of their franchises and studios. Live speakers also add to the dramatic and hype effect that the less known games in the Square Enix line-up sure could use. The lack of thereof could be due to the already mentioned fact that the showcase lacked real surprises or any sort of "wow!" moments. Out of 10 games, only 2 were previously unrevealed and featured very short teaser trailers that gave only a slight indication of what they were about.
The obvious star of the show, Shadow of the Tomb Raider had the longest showcase with both a cutscene that has Lara put in yet another unsurvivable scenario and a "becoming one with the jungle" gameplay segment that made Lara look like Dutch from Predator crossed with Sam Fisher. It promises the completion of a story arc that has Lara finally becoming the titular Tomb Raider. Besides that, Just Cause 4, Kingdom Hearts 3 and Dragon Quest XI also got an extended trailer treatment that showcased their heavy hitter status and rightfully so. These 4 games have the benefit of their franchises being well established and popular. They are the ones that literally sell themselves as the hype train left the station long before the E3.
Mid-tier games with significantly less hype were the already shown Awesome adventures of Captain Spirit set in the Life is Strange universe, the Xbox release of Nier: Automata, Octopath Traveler and new content for Final Fantasy XIV in the form of Under the Moonlight patch. Only new games shown here were Babylon's Fall by Platinum games in what was a series of static images and a short cinematic trailer of two figures, clad in armor fighting for 3 seconds. The general tone was very Dark Souls-like but it remains to be seen what kind of game it exactly is. Other than that, the Quiet Man was a new game shown that featured a trailer that was a mix of live action and gameplay with a silent protagonist fighting some gang members.
In conclusion, Square Enix mostly relied on well-known franchises and this showcase was a definition of "playing it safe". It was very disappointing to not see the anything of the new Hitman, Final Fantasy VII or the highly anticipated Avengers project and their absence soured the event a bit. The event might pale in comparison to the format of previous conferences but it was solid nonetheless. C