RPGs: Lords of the Fallen versus Final Fantasy 15 versus Project Beast
Another particularly interesting face-off, especially as one of the really strong contenders is still shrouded in mystery. Lords of the Fallen is the dark horse here – producer Tomasz Gop has done a lot of talking about it, but as yet we’ve not actually seen it walk the walk to any extent. It seems to have a lot of really interesting ideas, and is inspired both by Gop’s past project, The Witcher, and by games like Dark Souls. RPG fans are always talking about taking the best bits from their favourite games and making the ultimate RPG, and that seems to be what Gop’s doing. Could be a masterpiece, or it could be Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning all over again – plenty of sound, not enough fury.
Facing off against this unknown quantity we have Final Fantasy 15. At this point, if the erstwhile Final Fantasy Versus 13 isn’t a return to form for the franchise then Square Enix will probably put the core series on hold for several years. The publisher is attempting to pivot away from big, hubris-charged projects to more open, rapid development, but this one’s been in the works for years and hasn’t benefited from that attitude change.
That said, there’s evidence it’s been rebooted at least once, and Tetsuya Nomura seems to have some genuinely interesting ideas about evolving RPGs while drawing on that dark, partly sci-fi aesthetic that made Final Fantasy 7 so memorable. We have high hopes that it’ll meet expectations in its showing, and let’s face it – Final Fantasy still has more pull than a fireman with a Lamborghini filled with kittens.
The battle is not yet won, however: with a heavy, deliberate step, From Software stalks towards us out of the shadows ringside. Between the flashing lights we catch only the vaguest suggestion of its face – a PS4 exclusive? A successor to Demon’s Souls? The first true next-gen game from a developer that has gone from a marginal player to one of the most influential and important studios in Japan? We don’t know. And yet – we feel its opponents tremble.
Verdict: The audience is so invigorated by the sparring that it bursts into the ring and swamps the competitors mid-match, tearing them apart with bare hands and teeth in a Bacchanalian frenzy of lust and acquisitiveness. The judges try to add up points scored so far but are also carried away by the rising red mist of excitement.
Regardless of which company or game wins E3 2014, it’s pretty obvious by now who the victor will be: gamers. This is one of the juciest line-ups we’ve ever seen. What are you placing your money on?