Back in 2013, Kingdom Hearts III was first announced to the world. Six years later in 2019, it will finally release.
At E3 2015, Square Enix shocked the world with the announcement of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Three years later, there is no word of a release date, and we've seen little of the game since.
As you would expect, Square Enix has received criticism for how it has handled the announcements of both of these games, specifically how it announced both so early. For Kingdom Heart fans, they can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, but Final Fantasy VII's release seems no closer than it did three years ago.
So the question is, why? Why did Square Enix reveal both of these highly anticipated games so early? Well, the reasoning is multi-layered, but at the core, it's because the company wanted to avoid leaks.
According to Tetsuya Nomura -- the director on both projects -- announcing massive games with this type of anticipation is, as you would expect, is very complicated. Further, there's a lot of pressure from external factors.
“Deciding when to announce your game to the public is always difficult,” said Nomura while speaking to Italian magazine Multiplayer (translation via KH Insider). “I understand why some companies wait as long as possible, and I definitely think it’s a good thing for them. But in our case, we receive pressure from the fans even when we do not announce anything. They’re always asking us ‘are you working on this?’ or ‘why don’t you make a sequel for that?’. Even after the announcement, the situation does not change, because then they’ll move onto asking us ‘when will it release?’ or ‘when will you show a new trailer?'"
The director continued:
“People are waiting for new information regardless of whether the game has been announced or not. It’s great when we manage to keep it secret for as long as possible, but these days, a lot of important projects become victims of rumors and leaks. Honestly, I prefer that we officially reveal our games instead of seeing a leak or a rumor circulating online. Especially when part of the development is outsourced to other companies, there is always the risk that people outside the in-house team will spread information and images online. It is even worse when, during the development, a fake rumor sprouts that people start to believe, and it becomes necessary to decide whether to answer and deny.”
All of that said, Nomura admits that he and co. announced things too early, especially with the Final Fantasy VII remake, but according to the director, it was either reveal or have it be leaked.
“The same thing happened with the remake of Final Fantasy VII," said Nomura. "I am well aware of the fact that we announced it too early, but even in the industry, word was beginning to spread that we were working on the game, so we just decided not to keep it a secret and officially reveal it.”1comments
It appears the combination of the industry's leaky nature and pressure from fans to reveal what it is doing, is what ultimately drove Square Enix's decision to come out early with both projects.
And we perhaps saw this echoed by Bethesda announcing Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI earlier this month at E3. Like Square Enix, Bethesda is constantly questioned about what its internal studio is doing, and there's always a wave of inquires about the next Elder Scrolls. It seems Bethesda took the Square Enix approach, and I wouldn't be surprised if others do as well going forward.