Never call Square-Enix predictable. In the years since Final Fantasy XIV bombed so hard that it caused the company to lose $150 million, the company has streamlined its game business. Big budget games have largely been left to its subsidiary Eidos (Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, Deus Ex: Human Revolution), while Square’s internal studios in Japan have focused on mobile and social games bearing the Final Fantasy name. With the exception of Final Fantasy XIII and its sequel, Square has only released a single Japanese-made game in the past four years. Yet here’s Drakengard 3, a sequel to a little known series of Square-Enix published action RPGs on the PlayStation 2. What’s more, it’s a PlayStation 3 exclusive.
Announced this week in Japan’s Famitsu magazine, Drakengard 3 (or Drag-on Dragoon 3 as it’s called in Japan) will be out this year for PlayStation 3. Like its predecessors on PlayStation 2, Drakengard 3 will be an action role-playing game, with players engaging in large-scale melee fights on the ground as well as taking to the air on a dragon and fighting in the sky.
Based on that description, the games sound pretty typical. The original Drakengard games were deeply strange, though. Developed by the now defunct independent studio Cavia on behalf of Square, the game’s were unusually macabre, dealing in medieval drama with enough torrid sex and violence to make it seem like a David Lynch-directed version of Game of Thrones. Drakengard 3 sounds peculiar in its own right, starring a one-armed girl with a flower growing out of her right eye in a world where humans are at war with a race who performs magic through singing.
The original developer Cavia actually disbanded after they completed work on Nier for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2010 – the aforementioned single Japanese game published by Square for consoles since 2009 besides Final Fantasy XIII. Drakengard 3 will be developed largely by Access Games, the same team behind cult horror classic Deadly Premonition. The key creators from Cavia, including director Taro Yoko, composer Keiichi Okabe, character designer Kimihiko Fujisaka, and producer Takamasa Shiba are spearheading the game.