Front Mission Evolves on 360/PS3/PC, Nier revealed

E3 2009: Double Helix-developed revamp of tactical mech franchise leads Square Enix's Western push; Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games get release windows.

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While a full slate of Final Fantasy games will no doubt dominate the Square Enix booth at next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo, the publisher today made clear that its ambitions stretch far beyond the flagship role-playing franchise. Continuing its emphasis on working with developers from all over the world, Square Enix today announced a slate of E3 games expanding beyond its traditional comfort zone.

ED-209's older, meaner brother.
ED-209's older, meaner brother.

First on the list is Front Mission Evolved for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, the title Square Enix teased earlier this month. Developed by Irvine, California-based Double Helix Games (Silent Hill: Homecoming, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), Front Mission Evolved brings the turn-based tactical strategy series into uncharted territory as an "action-packed third-person shooter" with online multiplayer action as well as a single-player campaign mode. Despite those significant changes to the formula, the series' distinctive mechanized war machines (pictured) will return.

Front Mission Evolved isn't the only action-centric title in Square Enix's lineup. The publisher also enlisted Cavia, developer of Bullet Witch and Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, to create the action adventure Nier for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Nier tells the story of a determined father trying to find a cure for a world-threatening plague called the Black Scrawl virus. At the moment, Nier is relatively far from release, with Square Enix pegging a 2010 launch window.

The publisher will also feature a pair of Western-developed real-time strategy games at its booth, with Supreme Commander 2 from Redmond, Washington-based Gas Powered Games and Order of War from London-based studio Wargaming.net. Developed for the PC and Xbox 360, Supreme Commander 2 will build on the large-scale sci-fi action of the original, while the PC exclusive Order of War will allow players to relive--or reshape--a decisive series of World War II battles from 1944.

Back on familiar ground, Square Enix will also be showcasing a handful of titles from its core franchises. Final Fantasy XIII for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will command the lion's share of attention, but the publisher will also be showing Dissidia Final Fantasy for the PSP, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers for the Wii, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Dark Lord for WiiWare.

Two more listings from the publisher narrowed down release dates for anticipated titles. The first episode of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years will arrive on the North American WiiWare service as E3 kicks off June 1, while the DS debut Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days will arrive this fall.

For more from the show, check out GameSpot's complete coverage of E3 2009.

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