E3 is right around the corner, and it is clear that Nintendo plan on owning the event this year. Everyone is eagerly waiting for the reveal of the Switch Pro, JRPG enthusiasts are waiting with bated breath for the probable reveal of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Metroid fans are currently ransacking their back lawn in search of a four leaf clover, and Zelda fans are waiting for the potential reveal of other projects tied to the Zelda 35th anniversary. The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess are near certainties, while people are also somewhat hopeful for HD ports of the Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask remakes that were developed for the 3DS. There is also the question of whether we will finally be given a substantial glimpse at Breath of the Wild 2, though one should not bet their house on it. Expect to see a lot of games announced, and also expect to hear the phrase ‘plays better on Switch Pro’ featured heavily. One potential surprise of Nintendo’s time at E3 might be the announcement of a Virtual Console program – not that it will be called that.
If anyone was looking for iron clad proof that Nintendo’s well hath well and truly runneth dry with respect to the games they are willing and able to release on their $20 per year Nintendo Online service, then this week’s announcement was it! The royalty payments that Nintendo offers third party publishers through Nintendo Online clearly are not sufficient to entice the companies who own the biggest third party classics on the NES and SNES. Moreover, the money being generated by Nintendo Online no longer even seems sufficient to entice Nintendo to release their own games, if this week’s announcement is any indication. They could have given us Earthbound, but instead we got Magical Drop! It is obvious that Nintendo Online is not making the best use of Nintendo’s back-catalogue, and Nintendo may have plans to rectify this.
Throughout the months of April and May there has been persistent rumours that something similar to Virtual Console is coming to Switch, and people will be able to purchase games separately, or subscribe to a ‘Game Pass’-style service which provides access to everything. Allegedly, this will include games from the N64, GameCube, and Wii, because Nintendo want to make use of the emulators they developed for Mario 3D Allstars in order to bring games to the Switch that they are not willing to give away for “””free””” with Nintendo online. The primary architect of the rumour appears to be an individual who has previously leaked certain details about the Switch Pro and prior Nintendo Direct presentations. Needless to say, this story should be taken with a huge pile of salt. This author will be delighted if he can finally get Wave Race 64 on the Switch though.
Square Enix Quadruples Down on Failure!
Yikes. Square Enix really knows how to throw good money after bad! Sony had better be paying them a truckload of money, because otherwise it makes zero sense for them to court ailing Playstation this single-mindedly. A Playstation insider who predicted Final Fantasy XVI’s Playstation exclusivity, along with predicting most of the reveals for Sony’s first PS5 showcase, is now saying that another major Final Fantasy title will probably be announced at E3 as a Playstation exclusive! For anyone not counting, if one views Final Fantasy VII Remake as a single entity, then this would be their fourth major PS5 exclusive – or fifth if you count PS5 inheriting Final Fantasy XIV from the PS4. Final Fantasy XVI, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Forspoken (previously Project Athia), and now this unannounced mystery game.
I believe you can expect at least one more major FF announcement in addition to updates on the currently announced stuff (XVI/Endwalker/VIIR).
It should be a good E3 season for Square overall.
I don’t know their exact E3 schedule, but I’m guessing based on knowledge of what games they have in development, how far in they are, and their target release dates. So take it with a grain of salt.
I believe we’re getting two major SE reveals this June: A PS5 exclusive FF title, and a cross-gen Eidos title.
So it is a major Final Fantasy game, and it is to be announced shortly, probably at E3. That rules out the possibility that it is a numbered mainline title, as Final Fantasy XVII will not be announced until Final Fantasy XVI is released. That only leaves the possibility of it being a gaiden title, or the possibility that it is a spin-off or remake of a previous numbered entry.
More mundane possibilities might include the possibility that it is World of Final Fantasy II or a version of Final Fantasy XV that has been updated with the PS5 graphical feature set (Forspoken is already running on Final Fantasy XV‘s Luminous Engine). That said, it is very unlikely that anyone would pay for the exclusivity of an enhanced re-release of Final Fantasy XV. More exotically, it could be Verum Rex Verses XIII or the long rumoured Final Fantasy X-3 – the one where Tidus gets his head blown off by a blitzball.
Whatever the case, it is completely insane that Square Enix have put so many of their eggs into Sony’s basket, especially now that Nintendo has a complete lock on the JRPG market. What is even going on with Square Enix and Sony? Is Sony in the process of buying them out? Is Sony the reason that Square Enix now has an ‘ethics department’? It is very confusing to see Square Enix retreating away from multi-platform releases.
The Other Penny Drops – a Retraction
Just last week this author questioned the wisdom of Square Enix selling a $70 PS5 disc of Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade, which deliberately stripped out any of the actual Intergrade content from the disc. Players would instead have to enter a DLC code, thereby preventing Intergrade from being bought and sold on the second hand market. One thought this was a pretty big oversight on the part of Square Enix, who have previously boldly claimed that owners of the PS4 disc of the game will be able to upgrade to Intergrade for free. Why would anyone buy the PS5 disc when the PS4 disc provided more comprehensive access to Intergrade? Well, it turns out that there is nothing at all wrong with Square Enix’s release plans, because the free upgrade to Intergrade is not an upgrade to Intergrade at all! The free upgrade is just an upgrade to the basic bitch standard release of Final Fantasy VII Remake on the PS5. It has been widely reported this week that owners of the PS4 disc will have to pay $20 in order to actually upgrade the game to Intergrade!
No idea whether, following the initial announcement of Intergrade, Square Enix decided to take back with their left had what they gave with their right; or whether the actual status of this offer was always evident in the fine print of their offer. To be perfectly honest, this author never looked too deeply into the Intergrade offer simply because the prospect of playing Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS5 is a privilege that one would pay $20 just to avoid. Regardless, even if one did want to play Final Fantasy VII Remake again, it is not like any of us actually could (unless we paid $1,500 for the console on Ebay). But, yeah, at any rate there is nothing wrong with Square Enix’s release plans on PS5, because Final Fantasy VII Intergrade will be an equally bad purchase whether one uses the PS4 discs or the PS5 ones.