Looking ahead to next year, there is so much potential for video game greatness in 2018. But among all the major publishers and developers, one company in particular is in a position to have an unbelievably great 2018 in terms of quality and hype… that is, if said company doesn’t drop the ball. That company is Square Enix, an organization that has been the epicenter of great praise and tons of drama throughout the tail end of 2016 to now.
For starters, Square Enix has some major software already lined up for release in 2018. So far, it has announced Kingdom Hearts III, Final Fantasy: Dissidia NT and even Dragon Quest XI for next year. That’s already a pretty big haul, considering the relatively quick window between Dragon Quest XI releasing in Japan and getting localized and Kingdom Hearts III finally coming after over a decade. Dissidia is icing on the cake, really.
The problem here of course is Square Enix doesn’t exactly have the best reputation when it comes to announcing release dates. All you need to do is point to Final Fantasy XV which, while an excellent game, essentially took a decade to be released. Other drama in recent years includes the bizarre, but ultimately redemptive story of Final Fantasy XIV, everything that happened up to, during and after the latest Hitman game and what may or may not be a dumpster fire with “Final Fantasy VII Remake” scrawled on the side of it.
But if those three games, again, two of them being new core franchise entries, land on target, that’s huge. And it’s not all Square Enix could have up its sleeves. The company also has several projects that have yet to be formally announced or assigned dates, but already have some presence out in the wild with people begging for the information drip-feed. Square Enix’s partnership with Marvel Games has two games on the rack, both unnamed projects based on the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy properties. Those games will be huge, especially considering Crystal Dynamics is at the helm. Also coming is the third Tomb Raider game and whatever the heck Project Octopath Traveler will eventually be.
While those games won’t all come out in 2018, some of them might. Even if they don’t, Square Enix is still a champion of exciting announcements at trade shows. Bringing any one of these out at the next E3 or perhaps the next PlayStation Experience will be an automatic ticket to the video games hype train. People have talked about Final Fantasy XV for as long as they have known it existed. People have talked about Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy VII Remake even before they were formally announced. Dragon Quest XI had a reasonable development cycle, so as exciting as that is, it’s more of a normal-feeling deal. But regardless, these are games that are so big they always matter, even when fans are frustrated from waiting for them.
2018 is going to be big. Nintendo, Ubisoft, and Bandai Namco are all ready to ship tons of exciting new games in the next year, to name a few standouts. But Square Enix feels like it’s in a distinct position; it has the most to deliver and the most to prove at the same time. With several major, core sequels to some of its biggest properties, a massive remake and even more announcements to come, this may very well be Square Enix’s game to lose. I’m excited to see what happens.