We’re getting close to E3 2016, the annual video games convention held in Los Angeles. That means we’re about to get a bunch of previews for games that will be coming out either this year or in 2017, and in that spirit I thought I’d dedicate this week to highlighting several of the games I’m personally looking forward to. Each day I’ll feature two games and a short description of what they are and why I’m interested in them.

Today’s two games come from the same publisher, Square Enix, and represent two of the most beloved series in all of gaming.

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV has been a long time coming. I first got excited for this game back when it was announced in 2006 under the name of Final Fantasy Versus XIII. In the years that followed I remained interested, but with so little news coming out it was relegated to the back of my mind. Then, in 2013, the game was re-revealed, branded now as Final Fantasy XV, and the hype train rose from the ashes like a phoenix. Even though I can’t claim to be a longtime fan of the Final Fantasy series, having only played two of them, I like what I’ve seen so far of Final Fantasy XV. It looks like it’s borrowing some of the open-world elements common to western role-playing games as well as learning from the criticism related to a few of the immediately preceding Final Fantasy titles. If the team making Final Fantasy XV can get the gameplay and story elements right, and pair it with their natural talent for creating fantastical worlds, then we might just have the game to return the Final Fantasy series to its former glory.

Kingdom Hearts 3

On paper, the Kingdom Hearts games sound like a joke. Combining the characters and worlds of Disney and Final Fantasy sounds weird at best, and disastrous at worst. And yet, the Kingdom Hearts games not only work, but indeed they excel. Following the journeys of several protagonists across different times and universes, Kingdom Hearts weaves together a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy narrative, even when it gets overly convoluted. I first fell in love with the series when I played Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 on the PlayStation 2, and although the other games came out on handheld systems, I watched playthroughs on Youtube to stay current with the series. Kingdom Hearts 3 will continue the story of Sora, the hero of Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, and I’m curious to see which Disney and Final Fantasy worlds return from previous games and which new ones get thrown into the mix. Since Disney now owns both Marvel and Lucasfilm, I would love to see Sora and his friends journey to worlds based on The Avengers and Star Wars.

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