E3: 'Thief' and 'Murdered: Soul Suspect' will take Square-Enix to the next console generation

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While a lot of excitement has happened over the E3 announcements of new "Final Fantasy" and "Kingdom Hearts" role-playing games coming to next generation consoles, Square-Enix has some other titles that are just as intriguing, if not more.

First, there's a reboot of the "Thief" series, which originally debuted in 1998. During a demonstration, developers played through a big chunk of a completed level. While it's still an early build of the game, the graphics were pretty impressive.

"Thief" puts the player in the role of, well, a thief. The game is set in a fictional world with a heavy Victorian influence and, though it's mostly played from the first-person perspective, seemingly shares a few similarities with the "Assassin's Creed" series.

When climbing walls the perspective shifts to third-person, which adds to the "Assassin's Creed"-like aesthetic. There's also a focus mode that helps the titular thief identify objects in his field of vision, similar to the "Assassin's Creed" "Eagle Vision" mode.

Still, "Thief" is definitely it's own game. The focus on doing everything in stealth makes for an entirely different feel than most first-person games. In fact, you get bonus points after missions for not killing or incapacitating anyone.

To get around without being discovered, there's all kinds of tricks. From special arrows that extinguish lights to simply picking up a bottle and tossing it across a room to put guard attention elsewhere.

Then there's the getaway. In the demo, the thief was running through buildings and streets of a town as it burned and crumbled into the ocean. The graphics on the burning cinders were very impressive and where being quiet was key in the beginning, doing what it takes to make it out alive is needed for the getaway.

Another game Square-Enix demonstrated at the convention was "Murdered: Soul Suspect." The player is put in the role of a detective investigating a murder, the twist being that he's trying to solve his own death.

You play a ghost detective who was brutally murdered as the game starts. While you can't talk to anyone or pick up items, you can possess people to see and hear through them and sometimes influence them.  It works well for eavesdropping.

The game is set in Salem, Mass. and as such there are quite a few paranormal elements. While you are a ghost, simply walking through the exterior of a building isn't possible. The developers explain that in Salem, the citizens have consecrated the buildings, so spirits can only move through open doors to enter.

Once inside though, you can walk through all the walls you want. As a spirit, you will encounter others who had died and also have to do battle with demons who want to eat your soul. All of this, while trying to figure out why you were killed.

This game is shown through a third-person perspective and, while you do have to battle demons, the emphasis seems to be on solving the mystery first and foremost. You put together clues, figure out the chain of events, and slowly memories start to come back as you piece together the final moments of your life.

Both games are scheduled for a 2014 release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PCs.

Photo/Video credit: Square-Enix
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