Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda has confirmed that the company is planning some major announcements at E3 2021.
In an interview with Nikkei (translation: DeepL, adjusted), Matsuda was asked about titles he was looking forward to in 2021. Along with discussing recent and upcoming releases (such as Outriders, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, and Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade)
“We’ll be announcing the rest of the lineup in the coming weeks,” Matsuda explained, “and we’re also planning to make an announcement at E3 in June, so please keep your eyes peeled!” Matsuda also discussed the effect the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic was having on Square Enix’ plans.
“In 2021, the effects of the coronavirus disease will still be felt, but we will proceed with development based on this situation. Vaccination is also progressing worldwide, and I don’t know whether it will be within 2021 or in 2022, but there will definitely be a way out when the various problems caused by the corona scare are resolved, and we will build our management based on that premise.”
Earlier in the interview, Matsuda stated the impact of the pandemic on Square Enix; business performance in 2020 was “limited;” though stated his belief it would affect titles in the middle of development more than those nearing full production. With Final Fantasy VII Remake for example, Matsuda admits they are “still reeling from the effects of this disaster” such as quality assurance being affected.
Matsuda also discussed how Square Enix was handling remote working (being positively received, but difficult to completely eliminate a sense of alienation and isolation), considering all game development to take place via the cloud once costs come down, and how overseas offices may not need to be situated in cities where office rent is high.
In addition, Matsuda stated his belief that cloud gaming would take off in five to six years, and that subscription based models may be the way to go. He also stated that the shift to digital games will be “irreversible.”
Matsuda also discussed foreign markets such as India and China; with the latter he admitted, while aware of its potential size, being a difficult market. He also stated Square Enix will continue efforts developing in emerging markets in the Middle East and South America.
Other upcoming Square Enix titles include NEO: The World Ends With You (July 27th on Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4); and more distant and yet undated titles such as Final Fantasy XIV’s Endwalker expansion, Project Triangle Strategy, Forspoken, Final Fantasy XVI, and Babylon’s Fall.
Square Enix also recently filed a trademark for Front Mission, meaning there may be a new game in the series being developed. Forever Entertainment also announced they have agreed to work on “several remakes” for Square Enix.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) previously announced the dates for the “reimagined, all-virtual” E3 2021 will take place from June 12th to June 15th. Early commitments along with Ubisoft include Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games, and Koch Media.