SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS

8 and ½ tactics to help you conquer the free trial for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN!

Take control of Jack and his band of warriors and master the Chaos Shrine with these tips and tricks for our free trial of the game on PS5!
By Edward Price

The introduction of STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN doesn’t just represent a bold new approach to the series but something of a challenge, too. This action RPG is unlike anything in the FINAL FANTASY world before it, and those expecting to just stroll through the Chaos Shrine may find themselves surprised.

For those who can’t wait for 2022, the STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN TRIAL VERSION is available on PS5 until June 24, 2021 7:59 pm PT / 3:59pm BST, and we’ve got plenty of helpful tips to help you see it through to the end.

If you’ve yet to try it out, it’s available at the following link:

1. Make your defence as strong as your offence

A key skill all fighters should possess is knowing when to block and when to evade, and this holds true for Jack, too. Not every situation will warrant evasion, and it’s not an infinite action either, meaning that trying to roll out of the way could sometimes leave you open to a follow-up attack or surrounded.

The solution is to keep your guard up and be prepared to block. The virtue of the day is patience; and rather than brute-forcing your way through every encounter, there’s merit in choosing your moments and knowing when to absorb attacks.

It’s always better to take a small bit of damage now than take a lot through a failed dodge, or because you’ve missed your attack and left Jack wide open.

2. Distinctions of Defence

It’s not just about knowing when to block, but also how you choose to do so.

In STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN there are two distinct methods of defence, and knowing when it’s best to defend and when to employ your soul shield will make all the difference in combat.

Your standard block will help you absorb attacks, but the soul shield mechanic can be used to stun your opponent, damaging the opponent’s break gauge. If you quickly attack in this moment you can land a powerful counter-blow, and render your foes deceased.

If you work your soul shield ability into your repartee, you will strike back even harder, and learning when to employ this manoeuvre can help you turn the tide against the onslaught of foes in the Chaos Shrine. We’ll explain more in the next tip.

3. Absorb the onslaught with soul shield, then strike back harder

Although you’ll come across a menagerie of enemies throughout the Trial Version, not all of them fall the same. Some of them have special abilities, which when unleashed can make short work of Jack and his team. While some of these moves can be defended against, you can also turn your defence into offence with the soul shield, learn from your foes, and let them hand you the keys to their own destruction.

When you use soul shield on selected enemy attacks, these abilities can be temporarily absorbed, allowing you to strike back with a vengeance. For example, swiping moves from Goblins allows you to toss stones at a distance, distracting or beckoning foes towards you.

Likewise, Bombs can spew flames at you, but those who’ve been taught the adage of fighting fire with fire will know that throwing it back towards your explosive foe can be deadly, and allow you to control their detonation.

Just make sure you do that at a safe distance, lest you find yourself back at a rest point.

4. Learn the ropes of your new role

Throughout the trial, Jack will have access to the three distinct job roles - swordsman, mage, and lancer, allowing him to switch between spells, greatswords, and lances with ease. With enough levels put into each job, these roles can eventually be upgraded to warrior, black mage, and dragoon. These give you the opportunity to fight close up, at a distance, or with power at a premium above all else.

However, these jobs have more subtleties going on than you may have first realised. Black mages, for example, have six different spells in their repertoire when you start out, and not all of them necessarily need to be used on your enemies (we’ll come back to that later).

As you progress throughout the Chaos Shrine you may find that your regular spells could do with a little extra ‘oomph’ to dispatch your foes. That’s possible with a little levelling up and some build-up of the special gauge. If you have two or more sections of the bar filled up, then holding down your attack button will allow you to charge your magic from Fire to Fira, and eventually all the way to the ‘aga’ level.

Black mages aren’t the only one with hidden depths - when Jack is a warrior and decked out with his mighty greatsword he can let loose a series of special attacks if the player moves the left stick in different directions mid-combo. These special combos could get you out of a tight spot in the Shrine, so it’s worth learning them early.

We’d tell you the secret behind dragoon too, but it’s always good to have a little mystery.

5. Dress for the job you want

As you explore the Chaos Shrine, you’ll find plenty of equipment and attire to deck Jack out with. Some of these will also come with additional and randomised stat-changing properties or set bonuses, meaning that there’s plenty of reason to take the occasional rest and try on your latest spoils.

What you may not know, however, is that you can equip Jack with different clothes for each job role. As a mage, you can optimise your outfit to be more resistant to magic, while your role as a lancer can have you decked out to maximise your strength, and your Swordsman wardrobe can put defence above all to help you get stuck in with your greatsword? It’s all possible.

Even better, you can quick-change your role at the press of a button, allowing you to swap out your loadouts in the heat of battle and deal destruction in all occasions.

6. Become a master of your environment

As you explore the Chaos Shrine, you may find more than a few obstacles blocking your path… and we don’t just mean the myriad of monsters roaming its hallowed halls. If a path seems inaccessible, or a Bomb has spewed fire on the battlefield, help is at hand from your own menagerie of spells.

Once Jack learns the mage job role, you’ll soon discover that spells aren’t just useful against enemies, but against the Shrine itself. For example, if you break down the pillars that lie in your path, you can do considerable damage to the break gauges of enemies that are caught up in its collapse, and even break several foes at once. Meanwhile, fire can be hosed down with a well-placed water spell, allowing you to make your way through perilous flames unscorched and even score some critical damage if any Bombs happen to be floating in the way.

Speaking of Bombs, you didn’t hear it from us, but there may be one hidden in the heights of a certain hall that’s crawling with wolves. Would certainly be a shame if Jack were to, say, knock it down into the pack below and make the ensuing fight easier. There could be plenty of other tricks to add to your arsenal if you take the time to explore to become a master of this domain.

7. Good luck against the boss, you’re going to need it

No, really. This boss is the business. His stagger gauge replenishes quickly, he has two health bars, and if you can’t land your attacks effectively, his can easily take a massive chunk out of yours.

This fight is not for the faint-hearted, and trying to brute-force your way through it will leave you meeting with defeat.

Seriously, good luck.


…1/2.

Okay, fine. If you can roll behind the boss then attacking his back will give you some well-needed critical hits. Watch out for when he employs his Flamebringer move, as he’ll need to stop and charge it up for a few seconds - vital time to duck, dodge, dip, dive, and stab him in the back.

Use your soul shield to absorb their attacks and unleash counters, avoid charging moves, and don’t try to force a full combo if you don’t want to be punished.

You’ve got this. Probably.

8. When the going gets tough, the tough change difficulty

It’s okay, really. The STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN TRIAL VERSION comes with adjustable difficulty settings, allowing you to tone it down if you’re unable to surpass the boss, find the fights overwhelming, or even if you want to make yourself feel more powerful as you cut through swathes of monsters. If the forces of the Chaos Shrine are too much, enemies can also be defeated more easily if you raise your job levels and invest your hard-earned experience into learning new skills.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who relishes a challenge, you can raise the bar to give yourself an even tougher time. Just keep in mind that pride comes before a fall (of difficulty), and could mean the difference between being the architect of Chaos’ destruction or your own.


STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN – the Famitsu interview

Creative Producer Tetsuya Nomura, Producer Jin Fujiwara, and Director Daisuke Inoue talk about the dark, brutal world of the game, the connections to FINAL FANTASY I and more!
By Square Enix Team
STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN made quite a splash when it was revealed during the SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS Summer Showcase. The new game is unlike any in the series before it - dark, brutal and challenging, it presents a bold new vision for FINAL FANTASY.

The Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu recently conducted a very interesting interview with the game’s Creative Producer Tetsuya Nomura, Producer Jin Fujiwara, and Director Daisuke Inoue about the new title, and the many exciting questions it’s raised for fans.

A translated version is below - we hope you enjoy it!


Jack and his allies are the absolute opposite of the “Warriors of Light”!? The secrets behind the designs and names of the characters.

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Interviewer: Firstly, let me start by asking about the title of the game, STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN. What kind of meaning is there behind the title? The incongruity between the dark world and the title of “Paradise” creates a very strong impression.

Nomura: The game uses FINAL FANTASY I as a motif, so the setting is also based on FINAL FANTASY I.

In FINAL FANTASY I, at the end of the game you find out who the Warriors of Light, the protagonists, really are and where they came from. Jack and his allies are also “strangers”. Who are Jack and his allies? Are they the Warriors of Light? These questions lie at the heart of the story, and this idea of “strangers” is central to the plot.

One meaning of Paradise is “the land of the saved”. The title represents the strangers – Jack and his allies – gathering in this land of Paradise.

Inoue: Strangers of Paradise means exactly what it says that these strangers are in the land of Paradise. At the same time, it could mean “people who shouldn’t be in Paradise” - I think it is a title that represents the story of the game perfectly.


Interviewer: Strangers…people who shouldn’t be in…you must be talking about the protagonist, Jack, and his allies? I suppose they do feel like they’re somewhat out of place in that dark fantasy world. To start from a more basic question, we hear the words Chaos, the Chaos Shrine and the Warriors of Light cropping up in the trailer, so am I right that there’s obviously some connection to the world of the original FINAL FANTASY I?

Nomura: That’s right. It’s a new story that uses FINAL FANTASY I as a motif, rather than being directly connected or an equivalent. The trial version covers the Chaos Shrine, which you’ll visit towards the beginning of the game – which is similar to the progression in FINAL FANTASY I as well.

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Interviewer: Speaking of FINAL FANTASY I, the premise was that Garland - defeated by the Warriors of Light - uses the Chaos Shrine as a base to travel back in time over and over, giving rise to conflict again and again. Is this connected to the fact that Jack and his allies have such a modern look about them?

Nomura: Yes, people probably imagine characters that look like the emblematic Warrior of Light when they think of FINAL FANTASY I, but as you say, if you’re familiar with the premise of FINAL FANTASY I, you might be able to pick up some clues from the designs of Jack and the others.

The initial outfits for Jack and his allies are nothing more than a hint to show that they’re not of that world. They don’t represent anything about their character. Like other games where you can change your equipment, this is simply their plain state. Perhaps.


Interviewer: I see - since this game has elements of the hack-n-slash genre (games where you defeat monsters in dungeons, gain exp and find equipment to strengthen your character), and you’ll be able to change outfit, it’s nothing more than the starting equipment.

Nomura: Additionally, one of our concepts was to create something that looked completely different to what people might picture when they think of the Warriors of Light fighting Garland in FINAL FANTASY I. Jack and his allies have the mission to defeat Chaos, but we needed them to be characters that people would think of as totally separate to the Warriors of Light.


Interviewer: In other words, you didn’t want to make them look like heroes?

Nomura: That’s right. The reasoning behind Jack’s appearance is purely related to the story. Likewise, there’s meaning behind all of their names. But that would be a spoiler, so I’ll save that for another time.


Interviewer: Their names too!? I thought they seemed rather too conventional for a FINAL FANTASY game with you working on it, Mr. Nomura (laugh).

Nomura: Jack, Ash and Jed have the same meaning hidden in their names.


Additional allies to Jed and Ash

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Interviewer: The sharper among us may have realized, but there were four Warriors of Light. Which means, as well as Jed and Ash…

Nomura: There will be more.


Interviewer: Really?!

Inoue: However, during combat, you’ll fight with a party of three members, so you’ll be swapping people around for battle.


Interviewer: The key art showing Jack is a bloody image, and it’s a dark style that we haven’t seen in previous FINAL FANTASY games.

Nomura: It’s the initial teaser, so we really wanted to make an impact.

Unlike other games in the FINAL FANTASY series, it has quite a high rating (17+ in Japan), so it’s a rather severe kind of atmosphere. We used the representative color of FINAL FANTASY, white, as a base. On top of that, we worked in the red coloring that stands out in the game itself, from red crystals and spraying blood.

The game is the story of an angry man, so we’ve represented those dark, blackened emotions as well.


Interviewer: On the throne (?) of the Chaos Shrine, there’s someone who says he will “become Chaos” but…he’s not Garland!?

Nomura: That would be a spoiler, so you’ll have to play the full game when it comes out and find out for yourself.


The key to making a challenging action game with the soul of FINAL FANTASY - without making it overly punishing

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Interviewer: Next, I’d like to ask a little more about the combat. The challenging action battles feel like they fit the dark world, but which do you start with when creating a new FINAL FANTASY game – the story or the gameplay?

Fujiwara: A while ago, Mr. Nomura had given me the concept of a game where you fight your way through different areas, and that came together with this gritty story of an angry man that he’d been working on.

Inoue: Another consideration was that we wanted to undertake a new challenge together with Team NINJA from KOEI TECMO GAMES, who we’d worked together with on the arcade version of Dissidia FINAL FANTASY. Team NINJA specialize in action games, so we decided to make use of their expertise, which led to us settle on the genre of action RPG.

Nomura: Personally, what I was envisioning was a FINAL FANTASY game that wouldn’t specifically use the FINAL FANTASY name, under a completely new title, “Stranger of Paradise”, that would feature action gameplay focused on fighting your way through dungeons. The current game is a result of Mr. Fujiwara and Mr. Inoue refining it further, but I’m glad that traces of that original concept still remain.


Interviewer: In other words, it’s a game that places a lot of emphasis on beating dungeons? With Team NINJA working on it, I imagine you’ll have both the best parts from Nioh and the unique character of FINAL FANTASY. What parts of FINAL FANTASY were you certain that you had to include?

Inoue: Although we’ve included some surprising developments in the story, we really wanted to ensure the pacing of the game was appropriate for an action game as well as having a solid story befitting an RPG. That balance is something we feel very strongly about.


Interviewer: A lot of challenging action games can be relatively lacking in storytelling, but the main scenario is written by Kazushige Nojima, so will we be seeing the kind of depth we’d expect from a RPG, and from a FINAL FANTASY game?

Inoue: Absolutely, I think the story has plenty of depth.


Interviewer: The FINAL FANTASY series mostly consists of RPGs, and so I imagine some fans of the series might struggle with action games. What kind of difficulty level are you aiming for with this game?

Inoue: If we made it an especially punishing game, then only the players who actively seek out that kind of game would play it.

One of our aims in combining FINAL FANTASY with this kind of challenging action genre was to make these kinds of games more accessible. We want to make it a game where players can get a taste of how rewarding challenging action games can be, so our ultimate aim is to develop it as “challenging” rather than “punishing”.

Of course, we’re also hoping it will be a good opportunity for fans of action games to experience FINAL FANTASY as well.

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Interviewer: Could you give some specific examples of what you’re keeping in mind to make it challenging but not punishing?

Inoue: The penalty for dying (the penalty when the player can no longer fight) is quite lenient, and, with a lot of experimentation from the development team at Team NINJA, we’ve balanced the actions like evasion, guarding and the soul shield to be relatively easy to perform successfully.

In terms of difficulty settings, we’ve implemented a CASUAL mode as part of EASY mode. For people who aren’t familiar with action games, I would recommend playing with these settings initially, and trying to increase the difficulty as you become more familiar with the game. We’ll continue to adjust the difficulty settings using the feedback from the trial version, so I’d really love to hear everyone’s opinions.


Interviewer: When I played the trial version, I struggled in the last battle against the one who is “to become Chaos,” but when I realized how to defeat him and managed to put that into practice, I really felt a sense of satisfaction and exhilaration.

Fujiwara: That’s one of the best parts of the game, and where Team NINJA’s experience with action games really shines through.


Interviewer: It’s not too easy and can seem difficult at first, but I feel like it’ll become even more enjoyable as you understand how to defeat the enemies and can reliably put it into practice. It’s incredibly well balanced in that regard. I really appreciated how I could take advantage of openings my allies created for me with their attacks as well.

Inoue: Actually, some people in the development team were of the opinion that it would be better to have Jack fighting by himself, but we decided that since it’s a FINAL FANTASY game, having a party would be best. That’s how it ended up with the current style of going on these adventures with your allies.


Interviewer: Will you be able to give commands to your allies, or customize their growth?

Inoue: I think that’s something we’ll investigate on the basis of the feedback we get from the trial version. At the very least, the plan is to be able to customize their growth and equipment.

Each of your allies will have certain jobs that they excel at – if you imagine that Jed might be suited to being a thief, while Ash might be suited to being a monk. We’re envisaging different kind of playstyle, for example, where you could get your teammates to act as a target while you attack with magic.


Interviewer: In the trial version, Jack can equip a great sword, mace, and spear, which each have an associated job. How many other types of weapon will appear in the game?

Inoue: There will be eight weapon types in total. The weapon types that don’t appear in the trial version are the one-handed sword, axe, knuckles, daggers, and katana.


Interviewer: Is the mace the only weapon that can use magic?

Inoue: Not at all, other weapons like the one-handed sword can use magic as well. If you picture the knight and red mage jobs, that might give you an idea.

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Interviewer: The ability to switch between two battle sets (a combination of job and equipment) seems like an important characteristic of the game. How did you come up with this system?

Inoue: Part of the fun in hack-n-slash games is getting to frequently upgrade your equipment, so we added the system of switching between battle sets to correspond to this. I hope people can experiment with this new kind of FINAL FANTASY action through their strategies and experiences – for example, surveying the enemy formation and surroundings, considering your own position, and then deciding how to best use the abilities of the two different jobs


Interviewer: How many types of equipment are there in the game?

Inoue: I thought you might ask that so I counted them, but…let’s just say there are a lot (laughs).

Nomura: That’s your answer, even after you counted them? (laughs) The outfit designs come to me to be checked, and there are quite a lot.


Interviewer: Can you change your allies’ equipment?

Inoue: You can - there’s some strong equipment that Jack can’t use, which I think you’ll want to give to your allies. Each character has certain restrictions on what they can equip.

Nomura: In the trial version, you can only change Jack’s equipment. The teaser trailer and the trial version cover the same scope, so in the cutscenes, only Jack is in his default initial costume. Which means that you’ll be able to share equipment with your allies in the full game.


Interviewer: It’s nice to be able to see the characters wearing a piece of equipment that you worked hard to get. Can Jack equip every weapon type?

Inoue: That’s right, Jack can use all the jobs and equipment.


2022 Release

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Interviewer: The powerful music in the trial version really creates an impression. Who is in charge of the music?

Fujiwara: The main composer is Naoshi Mizuta, who composed for FINAL FANTASY XI and FINAL FANTASY XIII-2. Hidenori Iwasaki (FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES, among others) and Ryo Yamazaki (WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY, among others) are contributing to the soundtrack as well.


Interviewer: What kind of instructions did you give for the music?

Nomura: For the song in the trailer, I asked them to challenge themselves to create something unlike anything they’d done before. I asked them to create something with a tempo that shifts between intense and poignant.

Inoue: The background music for the game as a whole was created with input from myself on the overall feel.


Interviewer: During the boss fight in the trial version, the refrain from the battle music of FINAL FANTASY I really stood out to me.

Inoue: I asked the team to not just use the refrain, but to adjust the melody to suit the game.


Interviewer: Mr. Fujiwara and Mr. Inoue, you work as Producer and Director on the mobile game, DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY OPERA OMNIA as well. I imagine that you must be considering having Jack and the others make an appearance?

Fujiwara: Mr. Inoue and I are still heavily involved with the operations of OPERA OMNIA, so I hope that one day we’ll be able to have Jack make an appearance.

Nomura: How strange to make a FINAL FANTASY game yourself, and then have that character make an appearance (laughs).

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Interviewer: (laughs) Release is planned for 2022, but do you have a message for the fans?

Inoue: It’s a game trying something a little bit different, so I fully expect to receive a wide range of feedback. I’m sure that everyone’s thoughts on the trial version will help us to dramatically improve the quality of the final game, so please do give us your feedback. I’ll do my best all the way through to release!

Fujiwara: We ran into an unexpected issue on the first day that the trial version was released, and I’m really sorry for making you all wait. The story is only touched on very briefly in the trial version, but once it unfolds, it’s a very impactful story that will really hit you emotionally. Please look forward to the game and keep an eye out for further news.

Nomura: For now, we’re only revealing information from the trial version, but the trial version only covers the very beginning of the game. In the full game, there will be even more characters, the game will be a lot broader, and I think the story is quite compelling. It might be a bit confusing to see these characters come out of nowhere, completely unlike anything you were expecting, but I hope you’ll keep an eye on upcoming information.

Speaking of the trial version, since there was a period of time where it was unplayable due to issues on the day it was released, we’ve extended the period that it will be available by another two days. It will now be available until 14:59 (UTC), June 26, 2021. If you have the setup to play it, we would really appreciate it if you could give it a go and let us know any feedback that you might have. All the staff are working our hardest - so we hope you’ll continue to look out for the game.


Interview by Weekly Famitsu.

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is under development and equipment, job roles and functions referenced in this interview may be subject to change.

The STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN Trial is available to download and play now on PS5 (trial period ends June 26, 2021, 7:59 pm PDT / 3:59 pm BST)!

Follow the team on social media:

7 things to know about BABYLON’S FALL

We’re deep diving into some key info with the developers to help you start your journey as a Sentinel.
By Clément Ruggeri

Greetings, Sentinels!

We’ve just reintroduced BABYLON’S FALL to the world in our latest SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS, and we couldn’t be happier! There’s a lot of info to uncover about the game, so to help you understand it all, we’ve prepared an extensive developer interview!

It’s packed with information and we strongly recommend giving it a watch. Here are just seven things the devs talk about:


1. Made by PlatinumGames

First and foremost, BABYLON’S FALL is developed by none other than the masters of action games, PlatinumGames! Following our 2017 cooperation for NieR:Automata, we’re back again to bring you the best of action RPGs! This time, the game is directed by Kenji Saito (PlatinumGames) and produced by Yosuke Saito and Junichi Ehara (Square Enix)!

As you explore the Tower of Babylon and climb ever higher, you’ll face many powerful foes and gigantic bosses that you’ll have to defeat in pure PlatinumGames fashion, i.e., elegant, fast-paced, non-stop combat action!

2. Multiplayer Action

The biggest difference to previous PlatinumGames titles is that BABYLON’S FALL is a multiplayer online game!

That’s right - you’ll be able to team up with three other players to form a party of up to four Sentinels to tackle the tower’s various challenges together! Explore the tower levels as you follow the story, vanquish your enemies, collect rewards, gather materials, and craft stronger equipment for your next visit.

Cooperation will be key.

3. Gideon Coffin

The central item in BABYLON’S FALL is called the Gideon Coffin. This device, attached to the back of your character, will be a big component of the story and will allow you to perform various actions in or outside of combat, such as (REDACTED) or (REDACTED). Sorry, have to keep some for later. ;)

However, know that thanks to the Gideon Coffin, you will be able to equip two additional weapons to your loadout. Since you can already equip two – one per hand, that’s a total of four weapons! With these weapon sets, you’ll be able to create all sorts of crazy combos!

4. Weapons Galore

What weapons can you equip, you ask? It’s entirely up to you!

You can choose between five different types: swords, bows, hammers, staffs and shields. For instance, if you want to become a well-balanced “sorcerer-knight” you can equip two swords and two staffs – and if you’d better be safe than sorry, then feel free to swap a sword out for a shield.

But if your style is more like a brutal, unstoppable powerhouse, then you can choose to equip four hammers! Your choice – we won’t judge.

5. High Fantasy World

BABYLON’S FALL’s world is what we call high fantasy, filled with beautifully crafted armors and weapons, sophisticated outfits, realistic characters, and medieval-inspired decors. The graphical style, inspired by European oil paintings, puts everything together for a polished and exquisite finish.

As for the musical style, called “medieval sound” by the PlatinumGames staff, it brings a heavy and solemn orchestral touch that perfectly brings to life the unique atmosphere of BABYLON’S FALL - a tale of both hope, and despair.

6. Community Oriented

As a live service game, BABYBLON’S FALL will gather a community of Sentinels from around the globe. One of the most important aspects of the game will be how we build it with you, the players!

There is already A LOT of content planned to be delivered in the near and distant future, but as development progresses, we’re sure to receive some requests for this or that – and picking up on these and doing things together with you will be a big focus for us!

7. Updates Aplenty

As mentioned above, a lot of post-launch content is already planned, and while version 1.0 of the game will have more than enough for you to enjoy, there is so much more to come! New areas to adventure, time-limited seasonal events, ranking challenges… you name it! There is also (REDACTED) and (REDACTED), for example. He, he.


That’s it for now! This was just a first look at BABYLON’S FALL, but stay tuned as we reveal more info about the game soon. In the meantime, you can register for the Closed Beta!

To stay up to date with the latest news about the game, make sure you follow BABYLON’S FALL on social media:

Life is Strange: True Colors - how powers work in gameplay

Christopher Sica, Game Designer for Life is Strange: True Colors takes you through some of the ways you’ll be able to use Alex Chen’s psychic power of Empathy.
By Christopher Sica

Hi everyone - this is Christopher Sica, Game Designer at Deck Nine.

Life is Strange: True Colors stars main character Alex Chen, a gifted individual with the unique psychic power of Empathy. This power allows her to connect with individuals around the town of Haven Springs, learning about who these characters are, the struggles they face, and the backgrounds that shaped the dynamic characters we interact with throughout the game.

From a gameplay perspective, the development team wanted a fun gameplay mechanic that supports our strong narrative and allows players to use the Empathy power in unique ways to learn more about Haven Springs, the characters surrounding Alex, and ultimately Alex herself.

Gameplay Mechanics

Alex’s power can be used in a few ways throughout the game:

Environmental Power Moments

Life is Strange: True Colors allows players to use the Empathy power in “environmental power moments” that are frequently found in the open spaces and the town of Haven Springs. Here, the power can be used in different ways to advance gameplay and deepen the player’s engagement with the narrative.

Here are just a few examples:

Characters will be hiding secrets, and not telling Alex everything they know directly up front. For example, if a character is afraid in the moment and does not want Alex to know how they are truly feeling, they will only give her a shallow response.

Alex can use her psychic power of Empathy to gain more information from these characters, delving into how they truly feel, and using this unspoken information to help characters trust Alex and connect with her.


Many of the townsfolk on the streets of Haven Springs will have storylines that you can follow across the chapters in the game. You can, for example, chart the story of a young couple as they try to figure out their relationship.

These storylines are completely optional. If Alex wants to skip these interactions, she can, but they bring additional color to those willing to explore further, and allow Alex to connect deeper with the town of Haven Springs – and its uncertain future.


Other characters will offer additional insight into the current situations in the game. These moments give Alex background on what is happening around town, and allows her to better understand the people of Haven Springs and connect with the struggles, triumphs, and experiences they are going through.


Pressing and holding the power button allows Alex to see nearby “emotion auras” on NPCs. The emotional auras on these NPCs are subtle, and Alex can only see them once she actively looks for them. Alex can walk up to the NPCs to interact and trigger an emotional insight. Alex will respond to each of these insight interactions with her thoughts, observations, and how she is feeling in these moments.

Story-Vital Power Moments

Life is Strange: True Colors also features “story-vital power moments” where Alex will explore the emotions of the primary characters in our story in depth. These characters have an emotional aura around them where the aura is so strong that Alex can always see it.

Alex absorbs a character’s emotional aura by connecting with the character, to truly feel their emotional state. At this point, Alex is transported into the unique emotional world that this character is feeling, the emotions of the other character coloring and transforming Alex’s perception of the world around her.

The player then explores this new emotional environment, looking for “emotional insights”. These emotional insights lead to hidden secrets about the character and give the player more information on the emotions that the character is going through. Alex can then use the secrets she learns from these insights to interact with the character and help them.

Visual Design

The development team worked hard on the visual design for the psychic power of Empathy to help players understand and feel immersed with Alex’s power.

Characters will shimmer with different colors of emotional auras, to help Alex identify which emotion they are feeling.

Blue auras symbolize Sadness; Purple auras symbolize Fear; Red auras symbolize Anger; Gold auras symbolize Joy. Each emotion has a unique UI icon, animation, and VFX to connect the visual design with the emotion. Characters where Alex can use her Empathy power will also feature unique “hotspot UI” with an animating circle dot next to their name to help indicate this is a special power interaction.

Emotional auras also feature different intensity levels depending on how strong of an emotion the character is feeling. Alex will come across various emotional intensity levels throughout the game - be prepared for surprises in store as the intensity of these emotions increases!


So that’s a brief explanation of how Alex’s powers work in gameplay, and some of the ways you’ll be able to use it to discover the secrets of Haven Springs.

You’ll be able to try it for yourselves in just a few months, when Life is Strange: True Colors releases for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC on September 10, 2021.

We’ll have much more to share about the game in the coming months, so make sure you follow the team on social media for updates:

How we reimagined Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy for the new game

Bruno Gauthier-Leblanc, Art Director on the game, talks about how the team created a fresh look for the misfit team of heroes
By Bruno Gauthier-Leblanc

Hey everyone! I’m Bruno Gauthier-Leblanc, Art Director on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. With this game, we were very fortunate to have the creative freedom to reimagine the Guardians and come up with our own version of this group of misfits that is both unique and recognizable.

While we took inspiration from their legacy, including the comics, it was also very important for us that their designs help tell their story and where they come from in our universe.


Star-Lord

It’s pretty obvious that Peter sort of got stuck in the 1980s, when he was abducted as a teenager. So, his attire is rooted in the fashion of that era - but with a sci-fi twist!

As some of us on the team are children of the 1980s ourselves, we had a blast designing his character: the exaggerated hairstyle, the studs on his leather jacket, the pins that harken back to things like his favorite video game…

Every little detail tells the story of this kid who had to grow up the hard way and held onto cherished memories. One of them being the Star-Lord patch on his back, which is from his favorite rock band.


Gamora

She is the deadliest woman in the galaxy. We wanted her outfit to reflect her past as an assassin, as well as how swift and lethal she is. This is why we chose the full tactical body armor for her.

The armored sections of the suit are designed with sharp edges to emphasize this further. Everything about her style is sharp and practical: her hairstyle, her sword, down to the blades on her knuckles and boots. Do not mess with her - you’ve been warned.


Drax

Drax was an interesting one as his design is also deeply linked to his backstory, but in a way that is less apparent at first glance.

The markings on his body are actually not just tattoos: in our lore, they tell about all the important events he went through, for example, his love for his family and the battles he fought to honor and avenge them.

Drax has been through a lot, and his markings are a testament to his resilience.


Rocket and Groot

These two characters go way back; they are best friends and inseparable. As such, their fighting style and consequently their visual designs were developed to complement each other.

For Groot, and specifically his bark, we drew inspiration from the look of armor plating from Japanese mech designs. For Rocket, it was all about his passion for gadgets and weapons (he does love explosives) - which is best illustrated by his transforming backpack and his tinkering goggle.

Their gear echoes their dynamic and how integral they are to one another: for instance, Groot wears a harness created by Rocket so he can climb up and fire away at enemies, and Rocket sports a bead shaped like a mini-Groot in his goatee.

So, what are some of your favorite details from our take on the Guardians? Hit us up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let us know!

SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS Summer 2021 at E3 - here’s everything we showed

We recap all the announcements, from the world premiere of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to a bold new vision for FINAL FANTASY in STRANGER OF PARADISE: FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN…
By Duncan Heaney
Square Enix Presents Summary

E3 is traditionally a time for big announcements and boy, did we deliver this year!

Our SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS Summer 2021 showcase was jam-packed with new announcements, exciting updates and deep dives into some of the most exciting titles coming this year and beyond.

Let’s go over what we showed, starting with a World Premiere from Eidos Montréal that was out of this world...

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Square Enix Presents Summary

The show started on a rockin’ note, with the announcement of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy!

This bold new game is a narrative-driven, single-player, third-person action-adventure game that puts you in the jet boots of Peter Quill / Star-Lord himself. With the unpredictable Guardians of the Galaxy at your side, you’ll bounce from one explosive situation to another, with the very fate of the universe in the balance. Don’t worry though - they got this. Probably.

Filled with iconic Marvel characters, some brand new faces, and a killer soundtrack featuring artists like Iron Maiden, KISS, New Kids On The Block, Rick Astley and more, the game makes its way to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC this October!

To find out more, check out our full introduction to this fresh take on the Guardians of the Galaxy:


FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series

Square Enix Presents Summary

The first six FINAL FANTASY games are returning as the ultimate 2D remasters!

The FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series includes FINAL FANTASY I through FINAL FANTASY VI and will release individually for Steam and mobile platforms.

We’ll have more to share on these games in the future, so keep your eyes on the Square Enix Blog and FINAL FANTASY social channels to learn more!

Legend of Mana

Square Enix Presents Summary

One of the greatest games in the Mana series returns later this month!

Legend of Mana is a remastered version of the fourth game in the series, and features enhanced visuals, an incredible soundtrack by the legendary Yoko Shimomura, and the ‘Ring Ring Land’ mini-game, which will be playable in the West for the first time!

The new trailer shown at SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS gave fans a tantalizing look at the brand new opening movie. You won’t have long to wait to experience it – and the rest of this magical RPG - for yourselves. Legend of Mana releases for Switch, PS4 and Steam on June 24!


Marvel’s Avengers

Square Enix Presents Summary

Prepare to defend Wakanda in August 2021!

Ulysses Klaue has made his way to Wakanda, intent on stealing Vibranium for his own selfish needs. Black Panther brings the Avengers and his fellow Wakandans, like Shuri and Okoye, together to defend his home from the incoming threat. We also showed off a brand-new type of enemy: Crawlers!

Before the War for Wakanda Expansion comes the Cosmic Cube Event, which has two main parts: Beating the Odds and the Cosmic Threat Event.

In Beating the Odds, you’ll face off against Monica, the Scientist Supreme, who is strengthened by the immense power of the true form of Project Omega: the Cosmic Cube. The fight against Monica is unlike any we’ve created before, and she has several dangerous tricks hiding up her sleeve.

The Cosmic Threat Event will commence on June 24 and end on July 8 and feature new missions that will have you scouring the world in different Threat Sectors all the while being imbued with Cosmic energy that packs quite the mean punch.

To find out more, and to make sure you stay up to date on the latest news and updates about the game, make sure you follow Marvel’s Avengers on social media:


Hitman Sniper: The Shadows

Square Enix Presents Summary

Square Enix Montreal is excited to reveal Hitman Sniper: The Shadows.

Originally announced back in SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS Spring 2021 under the working title Project Hitman Sniper Assassin, the new title introduces a wholly original story set in the Hitman Universe.

The game focuses on events following the disappearance of Agent 47 and the story of The Shadows, a group of highly skilled assassins - Soji, Kiya, Kolzak, Knight, and Stone - within the hidden world of assassination. When a new criminal network threatens global stability, Diana Burnwood and the International Contract Agency (ICA) activate Initiative 426, aka The Shadows, to eliminate this threat.

Creating an original story has given the team an opportunity to deliver a fresh take on the Hitman Universe. The playable Shadows are early in their careers, and very different from one another in both personality and style. There’s a lot of potential for players to help these characters grow and develop their own creative assassination strategies.

You’ll be able to experience it all later in 2021, when Hitman Sniper: The Shadows releases for iOS and Android.


NieR Reincarnation

Square Enix Presents Summary

Pre-registration is now available for NieR Re[in]carnation!

This Action Command RPG comes from an all-star team, including creative director YOKO TARO, composer Keiichi Okabe from MONACA and producer Yosuke Saito. The game tells the story of a girl who awakens in a mysterious place known as The Cage.

Guided by a creature who calls herself Mama, the girl sets off on a journey through The Cage to reclaim what she has lost and atone for her sins.

To pre-register for the game, head over to the App Store and Google Play Store now!


WAR OF THE VISIONS FFBE x FINAL FANTASY Collaboration

Square Enix Presents Summary

Once again, the Warrior of Light returns to Ardra in WAR OF THE VISIONS FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS during the FINAL FANTASY I Collaboration Event!

From June 16 until July 13, 2021, players have a chance to summon the limited time UR unit as well as enjoy a login bonus to earn up to 3,000 Visiore and many other rewards.

There are even more bonuses during the first week too! Players can get a once a day UR unit, guaranteed free 10x Summon and get up to 70 free Summons until June 22, 2021!

In honor of the big event, we’re also giving you a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab A7… and find out which FINAL FANTASY I job is best for you. Simply head over to the FINAL FANTASY Job Quiz to take part:


FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS celebrates its 5th Anniversary!

Square Enix Presents Summary

Let’s take a moment to say Happy Anniversary to FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS!

FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS is celebrating 5 years of mobile RPG adventures and more than 45 million downloads worldwide with a special countdown campaign, starting on June 17!

During the countdown, players can get a FREE Pre-Anniversary 10+1 Summon with guaranteed4star or above units including one guaranteed 5 star or Neo Vision unit. In addition, every player will get the free Global Original FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS unit Elena (5 stars) upon login for a limited time.


FINAL FANTASY VII THE FIRST SOLDIER

Square Enix Presents Summary

In FINAL FANTASY VII THE FIRST SOLDIER, players will participate in an intense battle royale, where they must fight to be the last SOLDIER standing.

To triumph on the battlefield, players have access to both ranged and melee weapons, as well as magic and more. They can also to choose between various styles, such as Warrior, Sorcerer or Ranger, each of which boasts unique special abilities.

In addition to other SOLDIER candidates, players must also contend with ferocious monsters who inhabit the outskirts of the city. By defeating them, players will gain experience points needed to level up and unlock new abilities. Classic FINAL FANTASY elements abound in the game, such as rideable chocobos, powerful espers to summon, including Ifrit, and of course materia, which enables players to cast devastating spells.

FINAL FANTASY VII THE FIRST SOLDIER will launch for iOS and Android in 2021. Those of you looking to prove yourselves as prime SOLDIER candidates can pre-register for the game here through the Google Play Store.


BABYLON’S FALL

Square Enix Presents Summary

Next up, we got our best look yet at BABYLON’S FALL!

Developed in partnership with PlatinumGames, the game casts you and your friends as sentinels - powerful warriors who must ascend - and survive a deadly tower.

It features a unique brushwork art style that gives the visuals the look of a medieval oil pointing, thrilling combat, the ability to play both solo and in co-op… oh, and did we mention you can quad-wield weapons?

Plus there’s additional game modes and content coming post launch too!

The game’s in development for PS5, PS4 and PC (Steam). To find out more, including details about how to sign up for the beta, check out or full announcement blog:


Life is Strange Remastered

Square Enix Presents Summary

Life is Strange and Life Strange: Before the Storm are coming back better than ever in the Life is Strange Remastered Collection. During SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS, we showed some examples of the work that’s been done to these classic games.

You can see the games in action in the trailer above - you’ll notice the greatly enhanced visuals, and improved facial animation that now uses mocap technology.

The Life is Strange Remastered Collection will be available as part of the Life is Strange True Colors Ultimate Edition on September 10, and also released as a stand-alone edition on September 30!


Life is Strange: True Colors

Square Enix Presents Summary

Speaking of Life is Strange: True Colors, the show also gave fans their best look yet at this next full instalment of the Life is Strange series.

For those who missed our reveal back in March, Life is Strange: True Colors follows Alex Chen, a young woman who has a supernatural ability to experience, absorb, and influence the emotions of others - which she sees as colored auras.

When her brother dies under suspicious circumstances, Alex must call on these long-supressed powers to find the truth and uncover the dark secrets of the town of Haven Springs.

SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS at E3 showed fans how these powers can affect the world and its inhabitants, and delivered more insight into the game’s narrative, visuals and gameplay.

We showed how Alex is able to use her powers to influence those around her, and the risks of doing so. Her psychic power of Empathy affects every interaction in the game and is fully under the player’s control. It’s a vital tool for both exploration and decision-making.

Of course, every decision you make has consequences…

Life is Strange: True Colors launches for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC Steam and Google Stadia on September 10, 2021, and is available to preorder now:


STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Square Enix Presents Summary

Now that’s how you end an E3 show!

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is a brand new title made in collaboration with Team NINJA from KOEI TECMO games. This is the talented team behind Ninja Gaiden and the Nioh series, and they’re bringing their own style of challenging gameplay and vision to the FINAL FANTASY series.

The game’s an action RPG that takes you through a dark fantasy world full of iconic FINAL FANTASY monsters. It releases for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC in 2022. Read our announcement blog to learn more:

Alternatively, why not take a closer look yourselves? The STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN TRIAL VERSION is out today on PS5 (trial period ends June 24, 2021, 7:59 pm PDT / 3:59 pm BST).


What a show, huh?

Whether it’s the exciting adventures of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the rich choice and consequence of Life is Strange: True Colors, or the brutal action of STRANGER OF PARADISE: FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN, there’s a lot to be excited about in 2021 and beyond.

To stay up to date with news and updates about all these amazing games and more, make sure you follow Square Enix on social media:

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN developer comments

Developers including Tetsuya Nomura and Kazushige Nojima talk about their vision for the new action RPG… and why it’s a very different FINAL FANTASY.
By Duncan Heaney

During SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS at E3, we revealed STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN.

Developed by an all-star team in collaboration with Team NINJA from KOEI TECMO GAMES, it presents a very different vision for the series - trust us, you’ve never played a FINAL FANTASY game like this before.

But rather than us tell you about it, we thought we’d let the creators themselves do the honors.

Tetsuya Nomura – Creative Producer

The initial concept for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN came up around the time following the release of DISSIDIA 012duodecim FINAL FANTASY. I was thinking to myself about making my next game into one that featured action elements in which locations are conquered, rather than the kind with battles against characters.

Some time passed without anything coming of it, but separately I was also thinking to myself about another plan for a new series of FINAL FANTASY titles revolving around "the story of an angry man". Even more time passed, at which point I received a request for a new plan, so I combined these two ideas to come up with this.

While it is FINAL FANTASY, it feels different—but there's no doubt that the blood of FINAL FANTASY runs through its veins.

We've undertaken the challenge of finding this difficult middle ground for this mature and stylish title. We need a little time until we're able to complete it, and while the battle system is a bloody one, it does link to the story, so I hope you'll use this opportunity to give it a try.

Kazushige Nojima – Story and Scenario

"It's not a hope or a dream. It's like a hunger. A thirst."

When I wrote this line, I felt like the story had been brought to life.

What drives them to want to defeat Chaos as much as they do?

What, then, are their hopes and dreams?

It was in this moment that what used to be fragments and pieces of story came together in a powerful way.

The story that I wrote - in what seemed like a single breath after penning that line - is STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN. I think it turned out to be quite a memorable story that accompanies a game which prominently features brutal imagery.

Please enjoy!

Jin Fujiwara – Producer (SQUARE ENIX)

True to its label as “a bold new vision," this title is full of new undertakings that draw a clear distinction between it and previous FINAL FANTASY series titles. I can't divulge too many details at this stage, but we prepared a glimpse of these ambitions within the trial version, including the title's direction and overall image, so please enjoy.

I believe that the feedback we receive from all of you around the world is very important as we improve upon the title even further. Please send us your thoughts through the trial version survey or through social media.

I'm already looking forward to the day I'll be able to play this title with you.

Daisuke Inoue – Director (SQUARE ENIX)

This is a title that has been developed with the goal of bringing something new to sit alongside the many FINAL FANTASY titles in the series. I think it could be considered a side story in terms of how it is positioned.

There may be some people who were disappointed that this announcement was not a new, numbered title in the series, but this game contains ambitions within that even a mainline title may not have been able to achieve.

Grounded and challenging action created by Team NINJA, our protagonist, sprayed with blood as he literally rips apart, throws, and pulverizing his enemies.

The way he looks is almost as if-

Well, we have prepared this trial version with hopes of having players experience this new flavor that the title brings with it, even if just a little bit. As we are still in development, I think there may be some areas that are not perfect and may be that way for a while to come, but I hope you'll enjoy this trial version regardless.

Additionally, please let us know your thoughts on the game, whether it be positives or negatives that you noticed - we will make great use of this feedback as we continue development.

Fumihiko Yasuda – Head of Team NINJA, Producer (KOEI TECMO GAMES)

Playing FINAL FANTASY IV 30 years ago is what made me aspire towards a career in the gaming industry, so I always hoped that someday I could be involved in the FINAL FANTASY series.

When Team NINJA was working on DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY, I was in charge of a different section, which meant that every night I filled my pillow with tears. I'm truly happy to be involved with a new FINAL FANTASY, and a title connected to its ORIGIN at that.

Using the feedback that the players provide after playing the trial version, all of us at Team NINJA will work to make this a title that meets the expectations of not only action game fans, but also FINAL FANTASY series fans around the world!

Hiroya Usuda – Director (KOEI TECMO GAMES)

I grew up playing FINAL FANTASY since I was very young, so it is a great honor to have the opportunity to be involved with this title. Furthermore, I'm truly excited that Team NINJA is able to deliver the first full-on action game in the FINAL FANTASY series to the world.

In this trial version, we've made specific demo-oriented adjustments so that players of all styles will be able to enjoy it—we have incorporated elements such as multiple jobs and weapon types, adjustable difficulty levels, and great replayability. Please let us know your thoughts and feedback once you have given it a try!

Nobumichi Kumabe – Director (KOEI TECMO GAMES)

I’m glad we were able to announce this new FINAL FANTASY game—an action game in which Jack, a Warrior of Light(?), lays waste to monsters while being bathed in the spray of their blood. I'm a huge fan of the FINAL FANTASY series myself, so I'm going to work hard towards release so that this blood-stained Jack can become a hero!

This is a title developed with the characteristic Team NINJA level of difficulty in mind, but once you start getting the hang of it, you'll be able to defeat enemies in an exhilarating and satisfying way. I hope you will replay the trial version many times and try out the various weapons and abilities available.

The difficulty level can be changed as well, so one recommendation I have is to start playing on an easier difficulty and gradually raise it higher for a challenge!


STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN launches for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC in 2022.

You can download and play a trial version on PS5 today (trial period ends June 26, 2021, 7:59 pm PDT / 3:59 pm BST)!

Introducing STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN… and the trial version available now!

Find out about the upcoming action RPG from Team NINJA and how you can play the trial version for yourselves on PS5!
By Duncan Heaney

UPDATE: Both the STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN Trial Version and survey period have been extended.

You now have until June 26, 2021 to defeat Chaos, and until July 2, 2021 to send us your feedback.


Every new FINAL FANTASY game is exciting, but this one is set to be something truly special… and very different. Allow us to introduce STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN.

Revealed during E3 2021 at our SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS livestream, the new action RPG presents a bold new vision for the FINAL FANTASY series on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC in 2022.

What’s more, there’s a trial version available on PS5 for free today, so you can experience it for yourselves. Read on and we’ll tell you how.

What is STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN?

First though, let’s talk the game itself. STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is a brand new original game, developed in collaboration with Team NINJA from KOEI TECMO GAMES.

That’s the team behind NINJA GAIDEN and the incredible Nioh series too. They’re masters of the dark and visceral action RPG, and they’re bringing all of their brutal experience to the FINAL FANTASY series.

You take the role of Jack who, along with allies Ash and Jed, sets off on a quest to defeat Chaos. Burning with resolve, and with memories of their struggle deep in their hearts, are they the foretold Warriors of Light?

Your journey will take you into a dark and challenging fantasy world, filled with iconic monsters from the FINAL FANTASY series. Fortunately, Jack isn’t exactly defenseless - he can use powerful spells and abilities from a range of jobs, including warrior, dragoon and black mage.

How do I play the STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN TRIAL VERSION?

If you really want to get a sense of how the game plays, you can experience it for yourself. The trial version is available today on PS5.

This sample of the game takes you and Jack into the Chaos Shrine, where you’ll be able to explore, battle some horrifying monsters, and try out some of the different jobs available.

Once you’ve given it a go, why not share your thoughts? Those who try the game are invited to take part in a survey to provide feedback to the development team. Your thoughts can help shape the outcome of the game, so make sure you participate. You can access the survey from the menu screen of the trial version.

Now here’s all the small print and legal stuff, so buckle up. The TRIAL VERSION is available for free on PS5 beginning June 13, 2021 and until June 26, 2021 7:59 pm PT / 3:59pm BST. Once that period is over, the demo will no longer be able to be played.

You must also have an active internet connection and a PSN account to play it, and save data can not be carried over to the full version of the game.

When is STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN releasing?

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN will release in 2022 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC.

We’ll have more information to share about this exciting game in the future, so follow the team on social media to see the latest updates:

Just one decision in Life is Strange: True Colors

Alex Chen will have to make lots of emotionally-complex decisions in Life is Strange: True Colors. Read on as Narrative Director Jonathan Zimmerman takes you through just one…
By Jonathan Zimmerman

Hi, this is Jonathan Zimmerman, Narrative Director for Life is Strange: True Colors.

The Life is Strange series is all about making decisions, and in Life is Strange: True Colors, we’ll present some of the most difficult and emotionally-complex choices yet.

The many residents of Haven Springs are fascinating and fully-rounded figures, each with their own strengths, desires and flaws. Using Alex Chen’s psychic power of Empathy, you won’t just get to know these people by what they say and do, but also by what they feel.

You’ll need to consider on this information when making decisions in the game, as many have lasting consequences that will shape the story and its characters dramatically. To give you a sense of what I mean, I thought I’d walk you through a choice from early in the game, and look at some of the outcomes that can result from it.

The decision

This decision focuses on three characters: Mac Loudon, Gabe Chen, and Riley Lethe.

Mac Loudon is the hot-headed, jealous boyfriend of Riley. Gabe Chen is the amiable bartender and transplant to Haven Springs. Gabe has become something of a confidant for Riley for a decision about her future that she hasn’t even shared with her boyfriend Mac.

This infuriates the hotheaded Mac, who has grown convinced that Riley is cheating on him with Gabe. These are all key pieces of information for the player to gather as Alex, as she moves through the Black Lantern and Haven Springs.

What’s more, a bruising encounter between Mac and Gabe acts as an unfortunate welcome for Alex on her first day in town, and neither she nor Mac are at all sure what to make of each other in its wake.

All of this tension remains unresolved as Alex begins her first shift as server at The Black Lantern, and runs into Mac, still licking his wounds in the back room. If they wish, the player can choose to use Alex’s power to empathically connect to Mac.

Through her power, Alex can feel Mac’s genuine love for Riley, his regret for the encounter with Gabe, and his fear that Riley is slipping away - and may even break up with him. Mustering the few scraps of humility of which he is capable, Mac makes a heartfelt plea to Alex. He begs her not to tell Riley how aggressive he was with Gabe.

Choice and consequence

Sure enough, Riley arrives on a warpath, laying into Mac and telling him that, unless he can give her a good explanation, they’re finished. Mac spins up a version that makes him and Gabe equally culpable - which is when Riley spots Alex. “Oh god, were you there too?” she asks, prompting Alex to choose how best to respond.

If Alex felt Mac’s true emotions, she may choose to let him off the hook, giving him the chance to save his relationship and hopefully do better in the future. Going forward, Alex could see Mac and Riley’s relationship blossom in unexpected ways, and may even be able to tap Mac for crucial information about Gabe’s death.

Alternatively, Alex may also choose to disregard Mac’s hidden emotions, or avoid engaging with them all together. Instead, she will call out Mac’s bull and tell Riley the truth, unvarnished and ugly. As a result, Mac and Riley’s relationship will be forever altered and Mac’s animosity toward Alex will grow ever stronger.

Neither decision is right and neither decision is wrong - it’s up to you to decide what the best course of action is. Either way, this is a choice made very early on in the game that has lasting consequences throughout. Mac and Riley’s status affects not just their relationship with each other and with Alex, but with the rest of Haven Springs’ expansive supporting cast.


That’s just one decision out of many you’ll have to make in Life is Strange: True Colors… but I’ll avoid saying more because I want you to discover them - and their outcomes - for yourselves.

Life is Strange: True Colors releases for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC on September 10, 2021. It’s available for pre-order now, and if you choose the Ultimate Edition, you’ll also get the Life is Strange Remastered Collection included!

We’re excited to show you more about the game in the future, so make sure you follow Life is Strange on social media for updates:

BABYLON’S FALL: What did we reveal at SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS?

Find out about this stylish game from the action masters at PlatinumGames, including the co-op combat, beautiful brushwork art style and more. Plus find out how to sign up for the beta!
By Duncan Heaney

The SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS showcase at E3 was packed with amazing announcements, and one of the most exciting - and eye-catching - of all had to be this: the closest look at BABYLON’S FALL yet!

Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this co-op action extravaganza.

What is BABYLON’S FALL?

BABYLON’S FALL is a new game developed in partnership with PlatinumGames - the action masters behind games like NieR:Automata.

You’ll take the role of a Sentinel - part of a group of powerful warriors. With a group of other players, you’ll enter the titanic Tower of Babylon in search of a great legacy that sleeps within.

The first thing you’ll probably notice when you look at the trailer and screenshots is the game’s distinctive brushwork art style. It gives this uniquely compelling world the appearance of a medieval oil painting, and the game a unique personality that matches the action.

And what action it is! PlatinumGames are renowned as one of the best in the biz at this kind of thing, and BABYLON’S FALL shows exactly why. Just take a look at some of the stuff in the trailer!

Is BABYLON’S FALL multiplayer?

Yes, BABYLON’S FALL is a co-op game with a party of up to four players. What’s more, playing with a team gives you all kinds of options in combat, letting you combine your different weapons and abilities to conquer the many challenges of the tower.

Will there be a BABYLON’S FALL beta?

If you’re interested in trying BABYLON’S FALL before release, you can sign up to take part in the closed beta.

This test will be held over three phases, with different tests being carried out during each, and more platforms added as they progress. The results of the tests, as well as your valuable feedback, will be used to improve the quality of BABYLON’S FALL upon release.

If you’re interested in applying for the beta, you can sign up for access and more information at www.babylonsfall.com/beta/. Please note that a SQUARE ENIX account and internet access will be required if you want to take part.

What platforms will BABYLON’S FALL be available on?

BABYLON’S FALL is in development for PS5, PS4 and STEAM.


Looks pretty amazing, right? We’ll have more to share on BABYLON’S FALL in the future, so make sure you follow the team on social media to get the big news first!

FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series coming to Steam and mobile

FINAL FANTASY I through FINAL FANTASY VI return soon as the ultimate 2D remasters. Here’s what you need to know.
By Duncan Heaney

We’re excited to announce that the original FINAL FANTASY games are coming to Steam and mobile platforms as the ultimate 2D pixel remasters.

The FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series will comprise FINAL FANTASY I through FINAL FANTASY VI, with each game releasing individually. For long-term fans that will be hugely exciting news - a chance to revisit some of their most beloved RPGs of all time in a way that perfectly captures the spirit of those original game.

But if anything, we’re even more excited for new fans who’ll get to experience them for the very first time. These games are true masterpieces, and the FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series will offer the best way to play them yet!

Let’s take a closer look at the games that are coming as part of the series.

FINAL FANTASY

This is the ironically named game that started it all. You take control of the Warriors of Light, off on a journey to defeat four fiends and restore peace to the world.

So many of the elements of the series that we’ve come to know and love make their debut right here in this very first entry: a massive world full of mystery, some iconic monster designs and that incredible music.


FINAL FANTASY II

The second game in the series introduces a new world, new characters and something that would become a trademark of the series: innovation.

The story focuses on the conflict between the hostile Empire of Palamecia and the rebel resistance. A small group of heroes is all that stands between the world and ruin.

FINAL FANTASY II demonstrates the developers’ willingness to push their boundaries and try new things. For example, rather than sticking to the predictable, the game features a proficiency system in which characters skill with weapons and abilities increase the more they used them.

Fun fact: this is the FINAL FANTASY game that introduced the world to chocobos! Now that’s a legacy.


FINAL FANTASY III

When darkness falls and the land is robbed of light, four young heroes are chosen by the crystals to head off an exciting journey across a vast and hostile land.

This critically-acclaimed entry in the series innovated with a flexible job system, which lets characters change their roles in combat at any time. Many of the most famous elements of FINAL FANTASY started here too - for example, it was the first to introduce summons, including series mainstays Bahamut and Shiva!


FINAL FANTASY IV

FINAL FANTASY IV delivers one of the richest and most powerful stories in the series. It’s filled with characters and scenarios that fans continue to love to this day.

It focuses on the dark knight Cecil, who finds himself stripped of his position and rank when he questions his king’s increasingly troubling orders. When he’s sent on a simple delivery mission with his friend Kain, the shocking events that follow send him and a group of allies on an incredible journey of betrayal, love and redemption.

This is the first game to feature the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, which combines turn-based and real-time elements to create fast-paced and strategic combat.


FINAL FANTASY V

The world of FINAL FANTASY V is on the verge of destruction because the elemental crystals that bring life and prosperity to the lands have lost their power.

The only hope lies in four heroes: Bartz, Princess Lenna of Castle Tycoon, pirate Faris and the mysterious Galuf. Driven together by fate, they set off on a quest that to save the planet itself.

As well as refining the ATB system, FINAL FANTASY V expands your strategic options massively through a greatly expanded job system, which let you customize your characters with 22 different jobs.


FINAL FANTASY VI

FINAL FANTASY VI is a game that’s beloved by fans and critics alike.

That’s partly thanks to its incredible setting and story. It’s set in a land where magic has disappeared, and humanity has instead turned to iron, gunpowder, steam and other technology.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that magic is mostly gone - a young woman enslaved by the evil Empire still has the power. When she encounters a powerful ancient being called an Esper, she sets off a chain of events that will have epic and terrible consequences.


We hope you’re excited to experience these classic games in the FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series.

We’ll have more to share about the first release in the future, so make sure you follow the FINAL FANTASY team on social media to stay up to date with the news:

Get ready to rock with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Senior Creative Director Jean-François Dugas lays out Eidos Montréal’s vision for the Guardians. Buckle up - it’s going to be a wild ride!
By Jean-François Dugas

We’ve just announced our new game Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy! Wow, it feels so great so write this. Even if technically, as I’m writing, it’ll be a couple days before it’s actually announced, hahah!

I’m Jean-François Dugas, Senior Creative Director at Eidos-Montréal. Buckle up, we’re taking you for a wild ride on October 26, in an original Guardians of the Galaxy universe.

When we set out to create a Guardians game, we asked ourselves: how can we deliver the best Guardians adventure possible? We quickly knew we wanted to make a single-player, story-driven, third-person action-adventure game (that’s a mouthful). And it became clear to us that the best way to deliver on a Guardians experience was to put the player inside the group.

It felt like a natural fit to put players in the boots of Star-Lord. He’s always at the heart of the group and in the center of the action, getting to interact with characters that have such strong personalities and calling the shots for them in and out of combat… Or at least trying to!

In our universe, Star-Lord started the Guardians to sell their services as heroes-for-hire, and convinced Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot to join him along the way. The promise of adventure and profit was exactly what they were looking for. They even have a business card to prove it!!

At the beginning of our game, they trigger a chain reaction of catastrophic events, which will eventually put the fate of the universe at stake. Obviously, preventing intergalactic annihilation was never part of the plan. But they (and you) got this. Probably.

Working closely with the team at Marvel Games, we took a deep dive into 50 years of Guardians of the Galaxy history - from comics to movies, animated series and more - in order to create a fresh and unique take on this band of misfits. This also gave us the opportunity to pick and choose cosmic Marvel characters that were the best fit for the story we wanted to tell. There’s gonna be some familiar names, some you probably don’t know, as well as some surprises… We can’t wait for you to meet them.

So, what does this all mean in terms of gameplay?

Equipped with Star-Lord’s jet boots and Element Blasters, as well as the unique abilities of each Guardian, you will be facing a variety of enemies across the galaxy. You are the (so-called) leader of this group of outlaws, and the decisions you make throughout the story will have repercussions: some light-hearted, some more unexpected, and can affect how certain sequences play out.

With Rocket, Groot, Gamora and Drax always around you, you can expect a lot of laughs and touching moments - our writing team had tons of fun. But in true Guardians spirit, we also wanted to capture what it’s like for a ragtag group of misfits to become family. Making those personalities collide, fight and come together… there’s going to be some real drama as well.

But even when the odds are stacked against them, the Guardians never back down.

Oh, and I have to mention our killer soundtrack. Whether you're hanging with the gang in the Milano or fighting opponents, you’ll get opportunities to (re)discover some 1980's classics - which are some of Star-Lord’s favorites.

We got Iron Maiden, KISS, New Kids On The Block, Rick Astley and more. But it doesn’t stop there and we’ll have more to say about the music in our game soon!

No matter what platform you play on, we’ve got you covered: our game will simultaneously release on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles and on PC including GeForce NOW, Steam and Epic Games Store.

All of this on October 26, 2021. Check out our official website to pre-order our game and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

Preview some upcoming Square Enix mobile games

There are a lot of great games on the way, designed specifically for mobile devices. From Just Cause: Mobile to a couple of brand new FINAL FANTASY VII games, we take a look at what’s on the way.
By Duncan Heaney

If you watched the recent SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS, you’ll know we have many exciting mobile games on the way in 2021 and beyond.

From a bold new take on Space Invaders, to exciting games within the FINAL FANTASY VII universe, we’re working on titles that will amaze, entertain and delight - no matter where you play them.

Let’s take a look:


Just Cause: Mobile

Gaming’s most explosive action shooter is parachuting its way onto mobile with a brand new action shooter set in the Just Cause universe.

Titled (appropriately enough) Just Cause: Mobile, the game casts you as an operative of the Firebrand - a special division within the Agency tasked with taking down a new mercenary group called Darkwater. Working alone or with friends, you’ll investigate leads, take on missions and gain allies a bid to dismantle this looming threat.

Just Cause: Mobile features four action packed game modes that you can play on the go. Firstly, there’s an all new story starring your own customisable agent… as well as some familiar faces from previous Just Cause games (cough Rico Rodriguez cough).

If playing with friends is more your style, you can dive into co-op missions as a four player squad...

...or go head to head in Triple Threat multiplayer with up to 30 players!

Just Cause: Mobile comes to iOS and Android in 2021! For new and updates, be sure to follow the Just Cause: Mobile social channels:


Project Hitman Sniper Assassins (working title)

You don’t need us to tell you how good Hitman Sniper is. If you do, then you must not have played it, and you should go and do something about that.

Our talented team at Square Enix Montréal recently announced the next game fom the makers of the acclaimed Hitman Sniper - currently in development under the working title Project Hitman Sniper Assassins.

So how do you improve on what was already considered the definitive mobile sniping experience? Well, the team has doubled down on what fans loved about the Hitman Sniper series, creating an experience that gives you even more freedom on how to approach contracts around the world.

The game features a wholly original story, with new playable characters and is set for release in 2021, on iOS and Android.

We’ll have more information in the coming months. But that’s fine, because the key to being a good Hitman Sniper is…

…patience.


Space Invaders

The Space Invaders series has a legacy of innovation. The original game transformed the gaming industry forever, offering a brand new gaming experience that won legions of fans and influenced the games and developers who came after. It’s become iconic for a reason.

That spirit of innovation lives on in a new Space Invaders project, being developed by Square Enix Montreal in collaboration with TAITO. The new mobile game takes the series in a brand new direction, utilizing proprietary Augmented Reality (AR) technology and am awesome modern art style to present a game that’s like nothing else you’ve played before.

It’s an ambitious game from a talented team who have an unrequited love for all things Space Invaders, so keep it on your radar.

It’ll release for iOS and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play. We’ll have more to show you in the future, but for now you can visit the official website to get news and updates, and sign up for future playtests.


FINAL FANTASY VII: THE FIRST SOLDIER

We recently unveiled two new mobile games set in the FINAL FANTASY VII universe.

The first to arrive is FINAL FANTASY VII: THE FIRST SOLDIER. Set in Midgar 30 years before the events of FINAL FANTASY VII, players will compete to see who’s the ultimate SOLDIER.

You’ll have to rely on both magic and abilities to triumph in a game that’s fast-paced, visually beautiful, and overflowing with that unique FINAL FANTASY VII style.

The game will be free to play with in-app purchases, and is expected to release in 2021 .


FINAL FANTASY VII EVER CRISIS

Due for release in 2022, FINAL FANTASY VII EVER CRISIS lets you experience the entire FINAL FANTASY VII timeline in a whole new way.

And when we say the entire timeline, we mean that literally. Structured into chapters, the game lets you play through the events of the original game, and the whole Compilation of FINAL FANTASY VII - from BEFORE CRISIS and CRISIS CORE through to DIRGE OF CERBERUS.

Not only that, the game also features new story elements from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE story and scenario writer, Kazushige Nojima!

We’ll have more to share about FINAL FANTASY VII EVER CRISIS and FINAL FANTASY VII THE FIRST SOLDIER in the future, so make sure to follow the team on social media for the latest updates:

Assembling Marvel’s Avengers: Clint Barton / Hawkeye

The creators of Marvel’s Avengers reveal how they created the game’s version of Hawkeye, the importance boomerang arrows and the joys of finally getting Lucky (into the game).
By Duncan Heaney

Clint Barton has arrived in Marvel’s Avengers… and he’s not alone.

The original Hawkeye is on a mission to stave off a nightmarish future, and he’s joined by his trusty canine companion… and older self?

We recently sat down with Narrative Designer Noah Hughes, and Lead Combat Designer Vince Napoli to learn about how they created this version (or versions) of the iconic character, and the challenges they faced along the way.

But first, let’s start with one of the most common questions from fans:

Where’s Hawkeye been?

“It was pretty challenging to choose the line-up of heroes to include in the game at launch,” explains Noah Hughes. “There are so many great Marvel characters to choose from, and there was no way to fit them all into the core campaign.

“Throughout development, we had a list of which Avengers we wanted to include, and Hawkeye was constantly at or near the top of that list.”

As the team built its wider plans for Marvel’s Avengers, they realised that Hawkeye could play an important role in expanding the scope and story of the game once the original campaign was complete.

Hughes says: “We had plans for where the story would go after the Reassembled campaign - things like the disappearance of Nick Fury, collaborating and trying to restore SHIELD, for example. Hawkeye played into those storylines really naturally - and you’re starting to see some of that play out now in Future Imperfect.”

Defining Clint Barton

One of the reasons Hawkeye would fit so seamlessly into the next chapter in the Marvel’s Avengers story was because of the characterization the team wanted to go with. Crystal Dynamics looked at the character’s long history in the comics, but a couple of stories stood out as a particular influences.

“We looked at Matt Fraction and David Aja’s My Life as a Weapon for Clint’s general characterization,” says Hughes. This legendary run really dug into Clint’s strengths, his vulnerabilities and his relationship with Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye, and many of these elements are similarly explored in Marvel’s Avengers.

“Like in the comics, Hawkeye has a hearing aid, and uses ASL (American Sign Language). That was a side of the character that really resonated with the team, and we were really excited to be able to explore it in the game.

As the game’s post-launch story took shape, other books became important influences for the team.

Hughes explains: “We created this scenario where the Scientist Supreme was dabbling in temporal technology, and having this current and future timelines in play at the same time, was a great way to set up our overall arc beyond the campaign.

“Having Clint as one of the characters who exists in this future made perfect sense narratively - and has precedence in the comics. We looked at the Old Man Hawkeye storyline for direct inspiration on this portrayal."

Designing Clint Barton

Hawkeye’s appearance in Marvel’s Avengers was similarly guided by the comics, though as with all the Avengers, the team was eager to put a unique spin on it.

“If you look at the My Life as a Weapon comics, you’ll immediately see that some of our outfits for Hawkeye are directly inspired by Matt Fraction and David Aja’s designs,” says Hughes. “At the same time, we tried to apply our own lens to it.”

The team created thumbnails that played with some different visual approaches for the character. The goal was to find which resonated with the team.

Vince Napoli explains: “We look for the designs that feel like the character, not just a person wearing that character’s outfit.

“It's very hard to put your finger on what goes makes one design work over others, but something that I always admire about our concept artists is how they always tease out the personality of the character through their physical and outfit design.”

In the story of the game, Clint wears a comics-inspired outfit, with shaved head, and it was a look that the team took to immediately.

Hughes explains: “It’s not what he looks like when you first meet him, but when we were playing with different facets of the character, having him bald with his iconic outfit really stood out for us.

“We like to use the visual design of the characters to express the arc that the character goes through, and this look, while unconventional, really shows the progression of his story.”

Of course, in Marvel’s Avengers, players are able to choose their own outfits, and the team had a lot of fun creating different looks for the archer.

Hughes says: “One thing I’m particularly excited about is that we took inspiration from comic outfits from the past, but do them in a way that felt right at home with our versions of the characters, where we emphasise real world materials and things like logical attachments between pieces.”

A distinct Clint

While the character’s look was being finalized, the team was also working hard to determine how Hawkeye should play.

Because of the story that they wanted to tell, they were faced with the situation where they were developing two different Hawkeyes at the same time: Clint and Kate Bishop - and Kate came out first. The team had many discussions about how make each character feel completely distinct… and also similar.

“We went back and forth over how to best portray the characters in combat,” says Napoli. “From a narrative standpoint, if someone is teaching someone, like Clint has taught Kate, you’d expect some similarities in their styles. But from a gameplay perspective, you want both to feel different to control.

“We thought about it and realised that each character would have taken those styles and made it their own - and that meant that would feel quite different.

“For example, both characters use a sword, but in very distinct ways. Kate is a fencer, doing stabs and quick on her feet. In contrast, Clint leans into his own natural strength and personality to create that Ronin-esque motif - more of a samurai style.

“So we leverage each character’s differences - physical and personality - to create very different-feeling combat styles.

Laying strong foundations

With the differences between characters clearly defined, the team got to work building the character’s move set.

Napoli says: “We always start with the most basic bread and butter combo. We hash it out, and critique it, nit-picking all the things that don’t work and iterating on them to find the right feel.

“That combo works as a test case of the hero’s characteristics - how he moves, how he swings a sword. It essentially defines the rules for that character and we can extrapolate the rest of his moves from there.”

All a-quiver

With such a long and storied career in the comics, there were no shortage of ideas over what Clint could do in combat. However, Napoli and the team were particularly eager to address his archery skills.

“One of the first things we got from Marvel was this long list of arrows that he’d used in the comics - everything from silly putty arrows to goo arrows. They basically said here’s everything he’s ever used - feel free to use any of them.”

“It was clear to everyone on the team that Clint needed to be the master of arrows, and whatever was in his arsenal was about making sure he had the right tool for the job at any given time.”

The team were given free rein to create the quiver they wanted for Clint, but there were some arrows that both they and the Marvel team were keen to include.

“The guys at Marvel were excited about the boomerang arrow,” recalls Napoli. “It’s something that feels iconic to the character, so we all wanted to make sure that was included in some way.”

The team picked through Clint’s impressive history of weapons, choosing the weaponry that fit their version of the character, and supported the combat of the game. Clint’s final archery skill set is quite diverse, with grappling arrows, rocket arrows, homing arrows, pulsar arrows and - of course - boomerang arrows to name but a few.

Finalizing Hawkeye

The team worked hard to create a fun and authentic Hawkeye, constantly iterating the character to make him feel good to use.

“Feedback is essential during the process,” says Napoli. “Everyone at Crystal Dynamics is a gamer, and all their insight is invaluable in helping us build each hero. For example, I don’t think people know this, but there are a lot of people at the very, very top of the company who are avid players of the game, and regularly share their thoughts with us.

“It’s important to get these perspectives from outside the combat team because it helps you get a sense of when something’s clicking or not.

“It was particularly important with Hawkeye, because we were building Clint and Kate at the same time. It was important to get that feedback on whether moves were too similar between characters, or in some cases too different to be believable.”

Getting Lucky

Of course, it’s not just Clint that joins the Avengers in Future Imperfect. He’s accompanied by another beloved character - and he’s a very good boy.

Lucky is Clint’s dog, and adding a canine companion into the game wasn’t something that came easily. Even so, it’s something that the team was passionate about doing.

“It was challenging, but where there’s a will there’s a way,” laughs Napoli. “Lucky has been the unofficial icon of our game engine since I started working here - pretty much from the beginning of development.

“Throughout the project, we were thinking: if we do anything, we’re going to get Lucky in the game. He might even have been decided before Hawkeye was!”

Final thoughts

Now that Clint and Lucky are out, and players are exploring their many facets, the team are proud of how he turned out.

“I’m pleased that he plays so differently to Kate,” says Napoli. “It would have been easy to turn out a clone, with similar moves, but we went above and beyond to look at every single aspect so that he is custom and different.

“He’s an incredibly diverse character to play too - the sheer depth of his toolbox gives players so many different ways to approach each scenario.”

Hughes adds: “What’s interesting to me is being able to see a glimpse of Hawkeye’s arc in our world. Having both a modern and a future version of the character means you get to see a longer stretch of this timeline than you normally would for one of our heroes.

“Plus there’s the added bonus of them getting to interact together - it’s fun to see that.”

Hawkeye is available now in Marvel’s Avengers. As with all characters and story expansions, he's free to download for anyone who’s purchased the game.

The game’s available now on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Steam and Stadia.

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, make sure you follow the team on social media:

10 Unforgettable Moments from the Tomb Raider Trilogy

In light of Tomb Raider’s 25th anniversary, we celebrate some of the most memorable moments in the reboot trilogy and explain what makes them so special.
By Neha Nair

Warning: spoilers ahead! If you haven’t played through the reboot games yet, some pivotal moments from the story are revealed in this blog, so you may want to look away for now.


The Tomb Raider franchise has come a long way these past 25 years. From the early games at Core Design to the recent Crystal Dynamics’ adventures, Lara has been all over the globe and saved humanity a few times to boot.

We look ahead to the series’ future with ambition and some big goals. In a video addressed to the community earlier this year, members of the development team talked about the goal of unifying Core Design and Crystal Dynamics timelines, which has many fans excited.

But as well as looking forward, we should also take some time to celebrate the past. During the recent SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS event, we revealed the Tomb Raider: Definitive Survivor Trilogy, a new compilation that features Lara’s complete origin trilogy, along with all their DLC.

It’s a great opportunity for new players to experience these games - and a perfect excuse for the rest of us to revisit them. Here are 10 of the memorable scenes across all three games.


10. Fighting a bear 1v1 in Rise of the Tomb Raider

The Tomb Raider reboot games all about Lara Croft being forged into a survivor and ultimately the Tomb Raider - and what speaks to survival more than an encounter with a wild bear in the Geothermal Valley?

This isn’t the only formidable foe that Lara faces on her journey, but it’s anything but forgettable. It’s also a nice throwback to the terrifying bear Lara encountered in the caves of Peru in the original Tomb Raider!


9. Lara looks to the horizon after escaping a collapsing cave in Tomb Raider (2013)

This moment is the start of it all for Lara. The opening of Tomb Raider (2013) makes you feel like you’re fighting for your life - your ship is wrecked, you’ve lost contact with your crewmates, and now you have to navigate your way through unknown territory.


8. “Not everything is about you.” - Shadow of the Tomb Raider

This scene was such a breakthrough performance from voice actors Earl Baylon and Camilla Luddington.

One of the things fans love about Lara’s friendship with Jonah is how real it is. In both Rise and Shadow, Jonah helps keep Lara grounded as she’s faced with a challenges that make her lose sight of what’s more important.


7. “You don’t know how far I’ve come” - Rise of the Tomb Raider

After facing a chilling revelation about her late father’s partner Ana, Lara meets Jacob in the jails of a Trinity base.

While it’s obvious Jacob knows his way around the premises, Lara makes it clear she isn’t feeling very trusting after what she had just witnessed.

After being degraded by Ana and told that she didn’t know what she was doing, this line was a key moment in showing Lara’s character development and confidence.


6. Lara climbs the Radio Tower in Tomb Raider (2013) to make an SOS call

Climbing the Radio Tower itself left players with breathtaking views and a thrilling feeling, definitely a highlight moment from the game.

After making her way through a series of obstacles and guards, Lara reaches the top of the Radio Tower and sends out a distress signal out help. While she wasn’t sure she could make it to the top, she mustered her courage and did just that - it was a first look at Lara growing into her strength.


5. Lara finds the Crimson Fire to reignite the sun as Ix Chel and Chak Chel in Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Screenshot by DxrkNinja from Reddit


Throughout her quest to stop Trinity from acquiring key artifacts like the dagger of Chak Chel, Lara learned more about the importance of the Crimson Fire in order to stop Dominguez from performing the Cleansing.

But it wasn’t until Lara adorned the mask that Crimson Fire knew, Ix Chel was standing before her.


4. Helicopter Leap - Tomb Raider (2013)

Another epic moment in the first game in the trilogy. While escaping the Solarii Fortress, flames start to spread and Lara is panicked. As she yells out “Roth, where are you?!” he appears in a helicopter, encouraging Lara to jump aboard.

While she initially falls from the building crumbling below her, she makes her way up a ramp and takes a big leap of faith to make it safely onto the chopper.


3. Using the Atlas to discover the location of Kitezh in Rise of the Tomb Raider

After hunting for the Divine Source for so long, Lara, Jacob, and Jonah get together to view the Atlas artifact. This cutscene was beautiful, as the artifact ended up being an ancient map and visual blueprint meant to lead the way to the hidden ruins of Kitezh.

The golden mural was a sight to see, and the vast map showed Lara’s journey was far from over.


2. Lara busting out the dual pistols to Mathias

At the end of the Tomb Raider (2013), the only thing standing between Lara and saving Sam from the Ascension ritual is Mathias.

In an epic conclusion to your encounter with Mathias, Lara draws two pistols and shoots Mathias until he falls off a cliff. This moment was a nice nod to the original Tomb Raider games - sometimes you just need two pistols to get the job done!


1. Lara ascending out of the blazing waters in Shadow of the Tomb Raider

This should be no surprise! From breaking point to almost a rebirth, we see Lara fight through all the heavy thoughts and inhibitions that have bee. holding her down.

Desperately crawling past Trinity’s mercenaries in her search for Jonah, Lara finds herself at a place where enough is enough.


While there are many unforgettable moments in the Tomb Raider trilogy games, those are just a few highlights. We know you may have your own - so why not share your moments with us on social media:

SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS: Here’s everything we showed

From the world premiere of Life is Strange: True Colors to the reveal of Forspoken, here’s everything we revealed at SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS SPRING 2021!
By Duncan Heaney
Square Enix Presents logo

The inaugural SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS was packed with awe-inspiring games, from the drama of Life is Strange: True Colors to the forbidding beauty of Forspoken.

But as the stage clears, there’s still time for one last encore - here’s a recap of everything we showed:


Life is Strange: True Colors

SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS featured the World Premiere of Life is Strange: True Colors.

This latest entry in the award-winning series is developed by Deck Nine Games - the accomplished team behind Life is Strange: Before the Storm - and focuses on a brand new protagonist: Alex Chen.

Square Enix Presents logo

Alex has the psychic power of Empathy - a supernatural ability that allows her to experience, absorb and manipulate the powers of others, and see them as colored auras. She’s spent years suppressing this ‘curse’, but when her brother dies unexpectedly, Alex embraces her powers once and for all.

As Alex, you’ll explore the town of Haven Springs, and use your volatile abilities to uncover the dark secrets hidden within.

The game features full performance capture, and an incredible soundtrack with new tracks by mxmtoon and Novo Amor, licensed songs including Radiohead, Phoebe Bridgers, Gabrielle Aplin, and much more.

Life is Strange: True Colors releases in September, and is available to preorder now:


Life is Strange Remastered Collection

As if True Colors wasn’t exciting enough, there was even more Life is Strange news at SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS.

Square Enix Presents logo

The Life is Strange Remastered Collection will be available in September as part of the Life is Strange: True Colors Ultimate Edition. It will also be available standalone later on this year.

The collection features both Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, each enhanced with improved visuals and animation.


Forspoken

Square Enix Presents logo

SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS featured a spectacular surprise with Forspoken: a brand new game from the talented team at Luminous Productions.

Originally unveiled last year as PROJECT ATHIA, today’s show introduced the game’s setting, teased gameplay and put the spotlight on the main character: Frey.

An ordinary woman, Frey is thrust into the fantastical and dangerous land of Athia, where she is forced to harness new magical abilities to survive.

Forspoken is being developed for PS5 and PC, and is set for release in 2022. For more information, check out our full rundown:


Marvel’s Avengers

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It’s a big day for Marvel’s Avengers.

Firstly, Marvel’s Avengers – Operation: Hawkeye - Future Imperfect is now available in-game, and it introduces an all-new playable hero to the game’s roster: Clint Barton’s Hawkeye. The archer’s quiver is packed full of tools that make him a force to be reckoned with, from grapple arrows to his iconic boomerang arrows.

As players progress into the Wastelands, the new Operation will also introduce a deadly villain, Maestro - and he’s a threat unlike anything the Avengers have faced so far.

The update features a new biome to explore, and awesome new features, including the ability to customize HARM rooms, and replay campaign missions. As with all content updates, Future Imperfect is free to download and play for anyone who has purchased the game.

That’s not the only exciting Marvel’s Avengers news though - today is also the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S editions. Featuring all the content released for the game so far, the next-gen console versions feature improved visuals, with 4K and 60FPS support, faster load times and more.

Square Enix Presents logo

Anyone with a copy of the game can upgrade to the new version for free (within the same console family), and save files can be easily transferred over.

Please note that the free upgrade is available only from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, or from Xbox One to Xbox Series X|S. Upgrade from PlayStation 4 disc version requires a PlayStation 5 console with a disc drive. Upgrade from Xbox One disc version requires Xbox Series X console.

Find out more on the official Marvel’s Avengers website.

Square Enix Presents logo

Finally, the Marvel’s Avengers segment of SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS concluded with a tantalizing look at the next big event, featuring a very familiar location to fans. The War for Wakanda is coming!


Outriders

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By now many of you will have boots on the ground in the Outriders demo. You’ll have blasted beasties, pulverized platoons and taken your first steps to becoming an Altered demi-god of the battlefield… but trust us, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS gave you another look at the game, ahead of its release on April 1, with new footage that gives you the 101 on this exhilarating RPG-shooter.


Tomb Raider

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Tomb Raider, and we’re celebrating the milestone all throughout 2021!

You may have already heard us announce a new Tomb Raider anime series in collaboration with Netflix and Legendary Television, and we’re working with talented teams on crossovers for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and War of the Visions Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.

Square Enix Presents logo

Not only that, but we’re excited to announce that a Tomb Raider cookbook is coming from Insight Editions. This will allow fans to bring recipes from Lara Croft’s globe-trotting adventures into their own homes! But don’t worry - unlike Lara, we don’t expect you to forage and hunt for the ingredients yourself.

Yet to experience the three most recent Tomb Raider games - or just want a reason to revisit them? We (also announced a new digital bundle - the Tomb Raider: Definitive Survivor Trilogy.

This new collection contains three full games, including all their DLC: Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration and Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition. Over the course of these remarkable adventures, you’ll follow Lara as she grows from a young, inexperienced survivor to a capable, confident Tomb Raider.

Finally, some Fortnite news! You may have seen the inimitable Ms Croft arrive in the game, but that’s not the end of the collaboration! Croft Manor is coming to Fortnite Creative as a playable adventure on March 23!

Alliance Studios has been hard at work on the hub and we can’t wait for you to play it next week. Check out Fortnite Creative and Fortnite.com on March 23 to learn more.


BALAN WONDERWORLD

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We got one more look at the all-singing, all-dancing BALAN WONDERWORLD ahead of its launch on March 26 (that’s next week!).

The colorful platformer sends two young heroes, Leo and Emma, into whimsical and wacky world, on a quest to help the denizens overcome the negativity that plagues them.

The new trailer offered a tantalizing glimpse of the costumes and abilities that Leo and Emma will be able to utilise on their quest, and some of the dangerous bosses that stand in their way.

You’ll experience it all from next week, when BALAN WONDERWORLD releases on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch and Steam.


Just Cause: Mobile

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Surfing on missiles? Parachuting into an enemy base… while it explodes? Grapples, guns and motorized mayhem? Yep, it’s Just Cause alright.

Just Cause: Mobile puts the incendiary action of the Just Cause series in the palm of your hand. You’ll create your own agent and join the ranks of the Firebrand - a special division within the Agency. Your mission: stop a new mercenary group known as Darkwater.

To aid your investigation into this looming threat, you’ll have to track down new allies to assist you - including a certain Mr Rico Rodriguez. You may have heard of him.

Also you’ll blow lots of stuff up, but that probably goes without saying.

The game is playable in both single player and multiplayer, and features fast-paced top-down gameplay, with all the grappling, gliding and shooting you’d expect.

It’s due out in 2021, so follow Just Cause on social media to stay up to date with the latest news.


Hitman Sniper Assassins

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Here’s another exciting announcement for mobile: Square Enix Montréal has been working on a brand new Hitman Sniper mobile game: Hitman Sniper Assassins (working title).

Developed by the makers of the acclaimed Hitman Sniper®, and the studio behind Lara Croft GO®, Hitman GO® and Deus Ex GO®, the new game features a wholly original story, with new playable assassins and exciting new gameplay features.

The game’s set for release in 2021 for iOS and Android, and we’ll have more to share in the future.


Space Invaders

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Arguably the most iconic series in all of gaming is making a return! Square Enix Montréal and TAITO are collaborating on an exciting new vision for the series on mobile.

The new game takes Space Invaders in an innovative new direction, through its proprietary AR technology and modern art style.

We’ll have more to share in the future, so to stay up to date with news and information about the game, or sign up for the playtest, head over to the official website now:


TOUHOU Spell Bubble

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New content is coming for the spell-binding rhythm puzzler, TOUHOU Spell Bubble on Nintendo Switch!

Sanae is organizing the Spell Bubble Tournament, but the demands of the sponsors are driving everyone up the wall. Will they be able to pull the tournament together?

You’ll be able to find out on March 25, when Side Story Pack Sanae Arc launches on Switch!


Bubble Bobble 4 Friends

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Bub and Bob’s latest adventure is coming to Steam, along with the recent ‘The Baron is Back’ update!

Bubble Bobble 4 Friends EXTENDS the classic series gameplay with 200 stages, new power ups, up to 4 player local co-op and more. You can even play the original arcade version of Bubble Bobble!

The Steam page is open for wishlisting today:


Darius Cozmic Revelation

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This collection features two incredible shoot ‘em ups - G-Darius HD, and Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX+.

G-Darius HD updates the classic game with high definition visuals, a new beginner’s mode and the addition of the rebalanced, previously arcade-exclusive G-Darius Ver.2. That means the collection contains four versions of the game: G-Darius and G-Darius HD, as well as standard and HD versions of Ver.2.

The game releases in late 2021 for PS4 and Switch.


Well, that was quite the show, huh? See ya next time!

Introducing Forspoken

Formerly known as PROJECT ATHIA, here’s everything you need to know about the new game from Luminous Productions, coming for PS5 and PC.
By Duncan Heaney
Forspoken screenshot

Meet Frey Holland.

This seemingly ordinary woman is the lead character in Forspoken - a brand new adventure from the talented team at Luminous Productions.

Forspoken screenshot

Thrust into the dangerous land of Athia, the young hero must learn to harness magical abilities to survive. She’ll face many fearsome foes and overcome treacherous trials on a journey unlike any other.

But what exactly is Forspoken, and what can you expect from this exciting project?

Forspoken screenshot
Forspoken screenshot

What is Forspoken?

We originally introduced the game last year, as working title PROJECT ATHIA. During SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS, we pulled back the curtain further, revealing the world, character and its actual name: Forspoken.

The game’s a narrative-driven adventure, and it’s developed by Luminous Productions. The studio’s philosophy is to create gameplay experiences that combine the latest technology with unbridled creativity - and that’s a pretty accurate way to describe their new game.

Forspoken has been designed specifically for the PlayStation 5, taking advantage of the new console’s power and features to create a game that feels like a true next-gen experience.

Forspoken screenshot

What is Forspoken about?

In Forspoken, you’ll play the role of Frey, as she enters Athia for the first time. This new land is stunningly beautiful, but also cruel and deadly. You can get a glimpse of the dangers she’ll face in the new trailer:

Forspoken screenshot

Frey is brilliantly brought to life by the actor, Ella Balinska and she had this to say.

“As the first video game I’ve worked on, it’s remarkable to see the incredible world and story of Forspoken come together, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy,” said Balinska.

“Frey as a character is real, she’s raw, she’s a girl who lost her way - both figuratively and literally - and is a character I immediately connected with, as I feel many people around the world will too when they set off on this adventure.”

Forspoken screenshot

When can you set off on this adventure?

Forspoken is set to release in 2022 for PS5 and PC. For more information, bookmark the official website:

We’ll have more to share about this breathtaking game in the future, so to stay up to date with news and information about the game, follow the team on social media:

5 things you’ll get to do in Life is Strange: True Colors

You may have seen the World Premiere of Life is Strange: True Colors, but what can you expect to do in the game? Here are 5 things to get excited about.
By Erin "Yuka" Bower

Today, as part of SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS, the next major game in the award-winning Life is Strange series was revealed.

Featuring a brand-new cast, power, and story, it offers the perfect starting point for anyone new to the series, without any need to have played previous games. If you missed the show, here are 5 quick facts to get you up to speed.


1. You'll play as Alex Chen

In Life is Strange: True Colors, you’ll play as Alex Chen. At the age of 21, she travels to Haven Springs for a chance to reunite with her estranged brother.

Alex is sharp and witty, but initially keeps her distance from others, in the hopes of hiding her ‘curse’…


2. You'll wield the psychic power of Empathy

Alex has long suppressed her ‘curse’: the supernatural ability to experience, absorb and manipulate the strong emotions of others, which she sees as blazing, colored auras.

However, Alex must embrace her volatile power to solve the mystery that haunts Haven Springs.


3. You’ll solve a dark mystery

When Alex’s brother dies in a tragic so-called accident, Alex senses there’s a larger story behind what happened to him, and she sets out to discover the truth.

Only Alex – using her psychic power of empathy – can uncover what really happened. In doing so, she’ll uncover the dark secrets buried by the small town of Haven Springs.


4. You’ll find friendship – or possibly romance

Alex will need to build trust with the townsfolk to understand what happened to her brother. She’ll also meet two new friends who will support her through the investigation: Ryan, a kind-hearted, dorky park ranger, and Steph, a local radio DJ and LARP enthusiast.

Whether these friendships spark something more, is entirely up to you.


5. You'll choose your own path

Life is Strange games are all about making tough decisions, which impact your story and Alex’s future. Now, with a new level of freedom for the series, you can roam the streets, stores, and hidden spaces of Haven Springs, solving puzzles and helping the local townsfolk with your power.

You can also decide Alex’s style, with up to 24 outfits in your wardrobe to choose from – making your playthrough completely personal to you.

In the end, it will be down to your choices that will help Alex decide whether she can make this remote Colorado town somewhere she can finally call home.


Does this sound like your kind of game? If so, you should check out the trailer now:

Life is Strange: True Colors arrives on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Steam on September 10. Unlike previous titles, it’s releasing all at once, so you can either binge-play it or use the chapter breaks to take an emotional breather now and then.

The game’s available to preorder now, with some great bonuses, including exclusive outfits, and the Deluxe Edition bonus story ‘Wavelengths’.

What’s more, if you preorder the Life is Strange: True Colors Ultimate Edition, you’ll get the Life is Strange: Remastered Collection included. This new bundle features the original Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, both remastered with improved visuals and animation.

Finally, to stay up to date with news and information about Life is Strange: True Colors, make sure to follow the team on social media: