One of the most well-known publishers and creators in the world, Square Enix has created a number of well-known franchises. Over the years, massive fan bases have grown for Dragon Quest, Star Ocean, and Kingdom Hearts, with each iteration expanding in size and breadth. Although these JRPGs have been successful, Square Enix is best known for its Final Fantasy series, which is undoubtedly one of the most well-known franchises in the entire video game business. By the end of 2023, Square Enix might be having its most prosperous year ever thanks to the possible release of two massive new Final Fantasy games as well as the critical acclaim of two other games.
2023 is still in its early stages, but Square Enix has wasted no time in starting things going. Following the release of Forspoken by Luminous Productions, a sizable open-world action role-playing game with mixed reviews, Square then released Theatrhythm Final Bar Line in February, a rhythm game with Final Fantasy-themed characters and soundtrack. In addition, the highly regarded HD- 2D JRPG Octopath Traveler 2, which features conventional turn-based action, was released. Both fans and critics have given both titles high marks.
Despite being perhaps a little unusual, the Theatrhythm series has amassed a cult following over the years, and the most recent installment is without a doubt its most popular. Final Bar Line currently has an 87.5 Metacritic rating and includes additional Final Fantasy series characters and songs in addition to music from other Square Enix games that can be bought as DLC. When Octopath Traveler was published in 2018, it proved to be a triumphant return to the genre’s traditional JRPG roots, and the follow-up has been able to uphold the high standards set by its predecessor. The 2D style is beautifully complemented by the rich, HD visuals, and the turn-based fights are intuitive to play but adequately nuanced to add strategic layers when necessary.
Despite the popularity of both of these games, Square Enix’s two upcoming Final Fantasy games are unquestionably the most eagerly awaited titles at the moment. The next mainline entry in the series, Final Fantasy 16, is slated for release on the PlayStation 5 in June. This will mark the longest gap between installments in the series’ 36-year existence. In a bold move that runs the risk of alienating some of the series’ more steadfast JRPG fans, a return to a more conventional high-fantasy setting has been combined with a change toward a more action-oriented combat system. Despite this, the game’s developers are optimistic that it will win over new fans and effectively introduce the series to them.
The highly anticipated follow-up to 2020’s Final Fantasy 7 Remake, a remake of the 1997 PlayStation 1 classic that many regard as the best JRPG of all time, has been given a preliminary release date of Winter 2023. The story of Final Fantasy 7 was only partially covered by the remake, so Rebirth and its follow-up have a lot of territory to make up in terms of narrative. The game will begin where the Remake left off, with Cloud and his companions leaving Midgar and setting out to find Sephiroth. It is expected to include many more recognizable, beloved settings and figures, including Wutai, Gold Saucer, and Cid.
Fans would do well to bear in mind that there is a possibility that Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth may not be released until 2024 due to the size and scope of the FF7 Remake project. Since FF16, which is scheduled for release in June, will be the focus of much of the developer’s current promotion, Rebirth information is likely to be scarce until late summer. However, regardless of whether Rebirth debuts this year or not, 2023 will undoubtedly rank among Square Enix’s most significant years if Final Fantasy 16 is well accepted.