TIME e3 2015

One of the Best Games of All Time Is Getting a Remake

Not re-released. Not re-mastered. Remade from the ground up

Square Enix’s classic role-playing game Final Fantasy 7 is getting a remake for the current-generation PlayStation 4. Sony announced the game during its E3 2015 press conference June 15. Final Fantasy 7, originally released for the first Playstation, is widely considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and remains a critics’ pick.

In an announcement trailer, Square Enix named some of the staff working on the iteration of Final Fantasy 7, including Yoshinori Kitase, who is producing, and Tetsuya Nomura, who will direct. The game will come out on Playstation 4, though it may eventually come to other platforms as well.

Porting or upscaling old games and re-releasing them as “ultimate” or “high-definition” editions has become common practice in the games industry. Last year, Square Enix released a version of Final Fantasy 7 for Playstation 4 that was an upgraded port of the PC version.

This Final Fantasy appears to differ significantly as it is a “remake.” Fans of the Japanese series have longed wanted Square Enix to make such a move, ever since the firm showed a technology demonstration featuring characters from the game running on a PlayStation 3.

No release date was announced.

TIME e3 2015

Here’s Everything Sony Revealed During Its Blockbuster E3 Keynote

Sony outed three of the most anticipated games, maybe ever, at its E3 2015 showcase

Rounding out Monday’s barrage of E3 gaming pressers, Sony’s midyear celebration of all things PlayStation got off to a rousing start with one of the industry’s most anticipated—and repeatedly delayed—games on any system.

That’s right, The Last Guardian is still a thing, and as the show’s surprise opener, it was every bit as weird and gorgeous as I’m sure Sony intended, at once highlighting the dreamlike artfulness of creative lead Fumito Ueda’s peculiar mental-scape, as well as the game’s partner-focused environmental puzzles.

Over the course of the demo, a boy (controlled by you) and his giant sphinx-like companion worked their way through vast, precipitous, architectonically elegant backdrops. I guess that’s the thing that still stands out for me as much now as it did when I first saw the game in action years ago: the way the game manages to convey just how massive the creature is, capable of bridging a chasm, say, but with almost ungainly, lumbering movements.

As in The Last Guardian‘s predecessor, Ueda’s Shadow of the Colossus, you can cling to all aspects of the creature, tip to tail, clambering around its feathered bulk, and the connective tissue between ICO and Shadow of the Colossus was visible throughout. We have, in that sense, seen all of this before, but then we’ve seen so few games, indie or otherwise, that match Ueda’s gift for all but telepathically conveying sophisticated gameplay concepts using subtle and ingenious design cues.

MORE: Here’s Microsoft’s Crazy New Xbox Controller

“You don’t know how long I have waited to introduce The Last Guardian, with the first ever gameplay footage on PlayStation 4,” said Sony CEO Shuhei Yoshida at the demo’s close. And we finally have, if not a release date, at least a release window: Sony says we can expect The Last Guardian to hit PlayStation 4 sometime next year.

The rest of the show was a medley of unexpected and predictable revelations, the latter including a Black Ops 3 debut multiplayer trailer, a new Destiny expansion dubbed “The Taken King” where you battle some giant batwinged creature, an Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate callout to the game’s alternate female lead and a very pretty but ultimately kind of boring Uncharted 4 closer.

We saw a bit of gameplay from a new Guerrilla Games (the Killzone series) post-post-apocalyptic action-adventure titled Horizon: Zero Dawn, which with its cast of robo-dinosaurs and low-tech, archery-adept heroine had me thinking Transformers: Beast Wars meets Vikings. Square Enix teased its new long-in-development Hitman installment, followed by Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet, Tearaway) unveiling something unusually artsy (for a mainstream game, anyway) that it’s calling Dreams, which it pitched as “using the PS4 controller to collaboratively create moving paintings,” adding “Now you can literally create anything you can dream of, a game, a play, a performance, all from scratch.”

Firewatch, a game about a volunteer fire lookout officer circa the Yellowstone fires of 1988 that’s been turning heads for its singular visual style, got a surprise nod. And Sean Murray of developer Hello Games ran through a gameplay demo of No Man’s Sky, the literally infinite space exploration whatchamacallit Sony’s been hyping for two years. Though I’m sure the latter demo triggered skipped heartbeats, it did nothing to allay my growing fear that the whole affair is going to be this incredibly gorgeous, unfathomably sweeping, but in the end ultimate patina of a game that scratches away too soon (let the record state that I want nothing more than to be dead wrong about that).

But the show’s biggest two reveals were sandwiched unceremoniously in the middle: a bona fide Final Fantasy VII remake is coming, as is a Yu Suzuki-led Shenmue 3, assuming the latter clears its $2 million Kickstarter goal (which, by the time you read this, will probably have happened).

About Final Fantasy VII, we know next to nothing, save that the teaser trailer suggests a remake that’s more of a spiritual reimagining than the sort of tediously literal remake (of a now ancient combat system, and in hindsight often juvenile story) that I trust no one really wants.

As for Shenmue 3, which Suzuki says will be a sequel to the first two games and “the story you’ve been waiting for” if it achieves its funding goal, I have mixed feelings about the revelation venue. Is it kosher to launch your Kickstarter at one of the most watched video game conferences in the world? Visibility is paramount to any crowdfunding project. Say what you will about Sony’s unwillingness to fund the project outright, then think of all the other arguably as or more worthy game projects that’ll never have access to a platform as spectacular as the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena under Sony’s floodlit and meticulously choreographed spell.

TIME e3 2015

This Is Destiny‘s Next Huge Expansion

Looks intense

Destiny, the popular massively multiplayer online shooter for consoles, is getting another expansion. The expansion, called The Taken King, was unveiled during Sony’s E3 press conference on June 15. Developer Bungie said the title would be released Sept. 15.

Sony said the game had the most successful launch of the current generation of consoles. Nevertheless, Bungie’s sci-fi romp generated mixed reviews. At the time of its release, TIME games critic Matt Peckham wrote:

Whatever else you want to say about its hackneyed story or over-easy enemies or worshipful replication of Halo gameplay fundamentals, I keep coming back to play a little more.

TIME e3 2015

Here’s Microsoft’s Crazy New Xbox Controller

Looks great but it's pretty pricey

At its annual E3 press conference June 15, Microsoft unveiled a raft of new games and features for its Xbox One console. It also took the wraps a newly redesigned controller, dubbed the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.

The new design adds four bumper pads under the grips, hair-trigger locks for more precise control and an unusual textured rolling pad in place of a standard D-pad. Additionally, the new controller will feature hot-swappable parts depending on users’ preferences.

The new controller is expected to be released this fall and will cost $150.

TIME e3 2015

Here’s a Closer Look at Tom Clancy’s Gritty New Series

It's coming out in early 2016

The Division, the next big release under the Tom Clancy video game umbrella, is going to be released on March 8, 2016. The game’s publisher, Ubisoft, revealed the date at a press conference on June 15 during E3.

The massively multiplayer shooter will come out on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. The company also said it will host betas to iron out early kinks on all three platforms early next year.

Ubisoft showed off a trailer during the announcement (above) that demonstrated player-versus-player zones in the game. The so-called “the dark zone” is a contaminated area in the middle of Manhattan. In a twist, teammates can apparently double-cross one another.

TIME e3 2015

You Can Download These 9 Free Nintendo Games Right Now

Wii U
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Nintendo's Wii U console, above, and touch-pad controller sit on display during an interview with Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America Inc., in New York, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012.

A new way to celebrate E3

Nintendo has a gift for Wii U owners in honor of the E3 gaming conference this week: demos of nine new indie games for free.

Through the Nindies@Home program, Wii U owners with an eShop, Nintendo’s online game story, account can download these nine demos until June 22, Nintendo said on Monday. People who download the demos will then have the option of getting a 15% discount on the first month for the full-length games once they launch.

Here are the available demos:

  • Extreme Exorcism from Ripstone
  • forma.8 from Mixed Bag
  • Freedom Planet from GalaxyTrail
  • Lovely Planet from tinybuild and Qucktequila
  • Mutant Mudds Super Challenge from Renegade Kid
  • Rive from Two Tribes
  • Runbow from 13AM Games
  • Soul Axiom from Wales Interactive
  • Typoman from Headup Games and Brainseed Factory
TIME Video Games

See the Battle of Hoth Like Never Before in This Star Wars Battlefront Trailer

"Just one more pass"

Electronic Arts just released new gameplay footage for the second most-anticipated Star Wars thing of the year: Star Wars Battlefront.

The new trailer — taken from footage shot in a pre-alpha build on a PlayStation 4 — shows the Battle of Hoth from the side of both the Rebels and the Imperials. You get to see a variety of weapons, ships, cockpits and characters, including big two surprises at the very end.

The footage was shown to an audience during EA’s Monday E3 event.

Star Wars Battlefront is due out across platforms Nov. 17, almost exactly a month before the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on Dec. 18.

TIME Video Games

Watch the Mass Effect Andromeda E3 Announcement Trailer

A new Mass Effect game is finally coming

The hotly anticipated next entry in game developer BioWare’s Mass Effect series will drop in the holiday 2016 season, the company announced at an E3 2015 event Monday.

Aside from its title — Mass Effect Andromeda — we don’t know all too much about this upcoming game. BioWare said the footage above is from a “conceptual prototype,” so it’s pretty early days for the first Mass Effect game since 2012.

Check out the footage above for more on Mass Effect Andromeda.

TIME Video Games

Watch EA’s E3 2015 Event Live Right Here

We're about to see a bunch of new games

Electronic Arts is set to announce a bunch of new games at its E3 2015 event Monday at 4 p.m. ET.

You can expect plenty of EA’s sports titles, like the next in the Madden series, as well as new games like the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefield and probably another Need for Speed title. Unlike Microsoft’s Xbox event Monday morning, EA’s event will showcase games that’ll be available for multiple consoles and platforms.

You can watch EA’s E3 2015 event via the livestream above.

TIME Video Games

Watch the Heart-Pounding New Trailer for Gears of War 4

It could be a new direction for the franchise

Gears of War 4 is coming to Xbox One for the 2016 holiday season, Microsoft announced at its E3 2015 event Monday.

Microsoft treated the E3 crowd to a fairly lengthy demo of Gears of War 4, featuring a male and female character on the prowl for some kind of alien creature. Faced with some kind of electromagnetic tornado of imminent death, the pair duck into a castle for cover — only to find it covered in what appear to be alien egg sacs. Finally, there’s a guns-a-blazin’ shootout near the end.

Beyond these scant details, we still don’t know much about Gears of War 4 — or just “Gears 4″ for short. Check out the trailer for yourself above.

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