During a financial results briefing in May, Square Enix stealth-announced that a new Just Cause game is on the way. The briefing document (opens in new tab) addresses Square Enix's $300 million sale of several overseas studios (opens in new tab) and IP (surfaced on resetera (opens in new tab)), including the Deus Ex and Tomb Raider series, and outlines what the publisher's intentions are in the future:
"[The transaction's] primary purpose was a reorientation of our portfolio," writes Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda. "We especially revisited our studio and title portfolios from the perspective of stepping up our offering of online titles that we develop for the North American and the European market. We want to focus on creating new titles that align with our strategy, including ones that leverage new IP. The JUST CAUSE franchise will remain our IP, and we are at work developing a new title in the franchise."
So that's pretty clear-cut, though fans of explosively yolo-ing through paradise will be concerned about the game being placed in the context of online titles. The series hasn't had an online mode before, though there are mods enabling such functionality. It doesn't seem like an obvious fit—until you start thinking about the wild success of GTA Online, another third-person open-world game, or the success of the battle royale genre.
All of which is just my speculation: the new Just Cause may well be a singleplayer game like all the previous ones. Heck, it could even be a mobile title. But Avalanche Studios, developer of the series (as well as the likes of Mad Max and Rage 2) is currently at work on a multiplayer open world game called Contraband: a "co-op smuggler’s paradise set in the fictional world of 1970s Bayan." It is not confirmed that Avalanche is developing this new entry.
Somewhat more positively, Matsuda also addressed the impression that Square Enix was intending to use the money from its sale of these studios to invest further in blockchain and NFT nonsense. Not so, apparently:
"Rather than using the proceeds from the divestiture in new investment domains such as NFT and blockchain, we intend to use them primarily to fund our efforts to foster solid IP and to enhance our development capabilities in our core Digital Entertainment segment."
Making good games, in other words. Hey I thought Eidos Montreal was pretty hot, but that's life. The sale of those studios was unexpected, but generally life is pretty rosy for Square Enix: last year it made $394 million profit (opens in new tab) even if, whatever Matsuda's saying, it does keep banging on about the blockchain (opens in new tab) way too much. So prepare for the Rico NFTs in 3, 2, 1...