Last night’s Nintendo Direct was pretty good, wasn’t it? I didn’t get the new main series Fire Emblem game I was hoping for (soon, I still believe…), but we did get a second FE musou, Xenoblade, a Wii Sports successor, and more. If you’d told me a direct would skip the likes of Zelda, Metroid, and Bayonetta and still be completely satisfying, I’d have doubted you - but Nintendo works in mysterious ways, as ever. They nailed it.
One of the biggest contributors to the Direct was Square Enix, the Japanese RPG powerhouse that appears to be getting ever closer to Nintendo as the Switch continues to dominate Japan. Sure, their big-budget, triple-A games still go to PlayStation - but Square Enix seems to be putting more games on Switch or leading with Switch overall, flooding the machine with more modest-budget games and remakes of classics.
So, yeah - I’m excited for a whole new generation to play, completely misunderstand, and then hate Chrono Cross for being so unlike Chrono Trigger. I’m especially excited for Live A Live, a truly excellent SNES-era JRPG that never came West, and therefore has only been played by Japanese players and insufferable genre nerds like me. The SNES was a true golden age of Square’s output, and Live A Live is truly one of the best of the bunch, up there with Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger. So that’s a big deal.
But the most intriguing announcement of the direct - not just from Square Enix, but overall - came nestled in, and exclusive to, the Japanese Direct.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is actually coming West, but for whatever reason it wasn’t present in any direct outside of Japan. Since being revealed over there, the Western arms of Square Enix have released an English-dubbed trailer and confirmed it’ll be hitting Switch, Steam, and PlayStation over here, too - and I’m absolutely pumped at this news.
The Centennial Case is basically a live action full motion video game that asks the player to unravel mysteries across three different time periods, with the actors featured in the game each playing different characters in each of the time periods. The four murder cases will presumably link in some way, despite the fact they take place in very different times.
You’ll be tasked with muddling your way through the mysteries, solving puzzles and using deductive reasoning to figure out who’s behind each of the murders. Actors will act out branching scenes. It’s, y’know, an interactive TV show, basically.
I love an FMV game - even the truly cheesy and absurd like Contradiction: Spot the Liar - and so to see Square Enix throw its weight behind one of these is really thrilling. To see it localized even more so.
Therefore, I was excited anyway. But then I caught one of the names attached to the game: Koichiro Ito. If this is the same guy - which every website I’ve seen suggests it is - Ito is one of the writers responsible for 428: Shibuya Scramble, another live-action FMV game out of Japan that is, honestly, truly excellent. It’s got glowing reviews on Steam, and I only played it after a good friend of mine gave it a perfect review score.
Given the similarities between these two projects, it makes sense that it’s likely the same guy - and with him in the director’s chair, I’m positively vibrating with excitement to see how this game might built and improve on some of the ideas from Shibuya Scramble.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m excited for Xenoblade. For Fire Emblem. Massively, actually, for Nintendo Switch Sports - which I think a general disdain for the ‘waggle’ era has sold short and under-appreciated in the modern age. But, wow - this game is exciting. It’s the sort of thing Square Enix doesn’t really often make - and so I really hope this is as cool as the trailer makes it appear.
It’s out on May 12 for Switch, PS4, PS5, and PC.