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Welcome to the Caves of Narshe, a site providing detailed guides, information, fanart and fanfiction related to Square's classic Final Fantasy games (and let's not forget, Chrono Trigger too!). We hope you enjoy your visit.

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Final Fantasy Series gets Japanese Magazine

General Final Fantasy
Well, that's pretty much the gist of it, I guess. It's not an unknown phenomenon for game franchises to have periodicals in their names, produced by their publishers; apparently Persona has already gotten the same treatment.

The first all-Final Fantasy, all-the-time magazine will be out sometime in December in Japan and will be dated as "Winter 2014," implying that it will be a quarterly magazine if published on a schedule; it's possible that it will instead be a "whenever we feel like it" sort of thing from Squenix as well.

The real question is, will these magazines have any news that isn't covered by Famitsu or its brethren well in advance? The first issue purports to have info on Type-0 HD, G-Bike, and the new mobile games, so we shall see.

Source: Siliconera

Distant Worlds Update for Fall 2014

Distant Worlds
As is their way, the Distant Worlds team releases a massive burst of concert information about once a quarter. Now is that time. It makes for a long news post. Now is that time as well!

Our last post talked about the upcoming shows in Toronto and New Jersey - I didn't realize until now, though, that the first of the New Jersey set of shows will actually be the centennial show for the traveling performance. That might make those tickets a bit more precious.

The new announcement for Distant Worlds this time around is to fill the gap between the New Jersey shows and the previously-announced pair of St. Louis concerts. I'm excited about this one because it's April 24 in Boston, the current (approximate) headquarters of CoN. Tickets go on sale on December 3, and I'm really hoping to snag some.

Also from our last post, we noted that A New World, the chamber music series, was wrapping up its season in Europe. What was then the final show for 2014 is still next week in Paris. But now, they've booked a new date for December 12 in Houston at Rice University. They'll also start 2015 with two February shows in St. Paul, Minnesota and one at the University of Michigan. It seems like it's potentially easier to arrange the chamber style of A New World than it is a full orchestra like Distant Worlds, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot more dates showing up in our next update.

Good luck to those going for tickets! Don't take mine.

Source: Distant Worlds, A New World

More Final Fantasy Mobile Apps for 2015

Square Enix

There's been a surprising amount of console and PC news from Square Enix as of late, from PC re-releases of games to new platforms and release windows for newer games. You might have even thought that the previous deluge of mobile games was going to slow down a bit, but if so, today's news proves you naive!

At a minimum for next calendar year, there will be two Final Fantasy-branded games, as well as what looks to be a helper app, available for iOS and Android. All three titles will be free to play with a microtransaction layer, though it remains to be seen what portions will be behind a paywall.

Crystal of Time looks to be the more traditional-style Final Fantasy game at the moment, with what appears to be a modified ATB battle setup that looks like it has a gesture-based wheel to select commands, which could be quite cool. As you might surmise from the name, time travel plays a major role. The art style is different from what we've seen recently for Square Enix' mobile games, but looks good to me so far.

Brave Exvius is a different take, a combination between Squenix and a Japanese mobile game developer called Alim. There appears to be less information about this game, but based on the early screenshots, my concern is that it might be a bit like a gussied-up All the Bravest, given the large number of party members, the presence of classic Final Fantasy protagonists fighting at once, and the vertical orientation of the gameplay. Hopefully future information will allay those fears.

The helper app looks to be a portal from which people can keep tabs on Squenix' new products and marketing events, as well as a storefront with digital content available for download. One special feature already announced is a Triple Triad game, though there's no indication if this is an in-app purchase, has online components, or anything beyond the name.

While the titles only appear in Japanese at the moment, the mobile strategy for Squenix clearly defines worldwide releases in multiple languages on similar timelines whenever possible. We can assume that Western releases will also be in 2015.

Source: Kotaku

Final Fantasy XV in 1080p

Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV is obviously going to be a high-res game. We're fully in the current generation now and there's no possible excuse otherwise. However, we hadn't seen it as such, and that's a shame.

Not now, though - last week, Square Enix released a 1080p version of what we'd previously seen, and if you liked the direction it was going before you should really love it now. Of course, this video's on the web, and therefore the resolution you really get is going to be a function of your internet and viewing device capabilities, but it does look pretty impressive maxed out and fullscreened on my machine.

It looks to me like the framerate could still use a bit of work, and while the main features such as characters, backgrounds, vehicles, and monsters look phenomenal, some of the smaller assets like grasses still have some refinement to go. Even unfinished, this is probably worth checking out to see what all those years have been doing!

Source: GameSpot

Sparkly Square Enix Merchandise

Square Enix
Do you have more money than you know what to do with? Are you one of those lucky Square Enix fans with a significant other who is also a lucky Square Enix fan? The holidays are coming up, and to reinforce that fact, Squenix is updating their merchandise line with a boatload of pretty-pricey swag to wear on your person.

This might sound like I'm mocking, and to a small extent I suppose I am, but the jewelry and baubles worn by Final Fantasy characters has always been something that interested me, particularly in the cases where it illustrated something about the character's personality. Somewhere I even have a cheap knockoff of Griever that I got back in college, and if I had the disposable income for such a thing I might be tempted to partake in these new official designs as well.

Anyway, the interesting stuff is the merch and the prices, right? A lot of the silver pieces have yet to be released, but there are some cool ones. For $190, you can pick up a pendant that echoes the cog design of Cloud's gauntlets. For only $120, you can get a silver Cactuar or a silhouette of a Monster Octopus-style Chocobo. If you're more into the newer games, you can also get a L'Cie emblem or Serah's engagement pendant. And, since Square Enix have merchandising deals with other IPs, you can even spend a cool three hundred bucks to get yourself a Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman pendant, or even more for Raiden's emblem from Metal Gear Rising.

There's quite a bit more that I didn't mention, including a Shinra tie clip that I would totally wear if someone bought it for me (and if I ever had to wear neckties). If you're interested or just curious like I was, check out the link below.

Source: Square Enix Products | Jewelry
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Majora's Mask Confirmed for Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS
Satisfying the desires of many Nintendo gamers, a re-release of Nintendo 64's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was confirmed as an upcoming title on the 3DS. There aren't many details around the re-release as of yet, but when Ocarina of Time was re-released in the same vein, it featured improved graphics, bug fixes, and a new, more difficult gameplay mode. Perhaps we can expect the same from Majora's Mask?

I personally am thrilled about the news. I'm hoping that it doesn't get upgraded to the upcoming "New" 3DS, because it'd be great to have this available on the system I currently own. I never got around to playing Majora's Mask back when I owned an N64, instead pretty much stopping at Ocarina - I'd love to be able to play a game that I've heard is really good. What does everybody think of this news?

Source: Gamespot

For the Birds: The CoNcast Episode 26

Man, it's been a long time since we did a CoNcast. It can be hard to get folks together when there's so much going - work, gaming, laziness...

Well, anyway, here's a new one. We went the weird angle again, and Tiddles and I decided to blow a day and a CoNcast on Twitch-streaming a big chunk of the preeminent dating sim video game featuring birds, Hatoful Boyfriend.

Not familiar with this gem of a game? What, are you nuts? Bird-brained?! Well, here: learn more about why this is so appealing.

Also, check out this collection of weirdo stuff and try to trace all the ways we're able to struggle to connect other games and media to this incredibly odd experience. And, if not being able to see it yourself doesn't do the job for you, watch the extended experience on Twitch. Or, well, watch it when we figure out how to resurrect the thing since I forgot to store it.

We are on a roll around here.

Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes, This Episode
Posted in: CoNcasts

FFXV News Review: A Tale of Two Directors

Final Fantasy XV
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... actually, that's about right. There's been a lot of FFXV news about in the last week or so, and some of it quite big;now that the dust has cleared, here's where we stand.

The biggest change is that Tetsuya Nomura has been replaced by Hajime Tabata as head director. This came as a surprise to just about everyone, even the folks over at Famitsu. The two had been co-directors since 2012, but the project had been Nomura's baby since the beginning; Tabata was only added to begin with in order to keep the company's PS4 projects (he was and continues to lead work on Type-0) on the same page.

Depending on which source you believe, this change varies greatly in significance. For Kotaku, Tabata is 'the man who saved FFXV,' but though the change was indeed sudden and unexpected, the real story is probably less drastic (but also thereby less click-bait-y). Nomura has always been more on the design and outline side of things (we are told he will now be able to focus primarily on Kingdom Hearts III, as well as a couple projects in early development), so his replacement may just be a case of playing to personal strengths. All the same, Nomura has been silent on the change, and it would be very difficult to not see a Hand of Judgment in his reassignment.

Tabata assured Famitsu that, while the product that will ultimately emerge as FFXV is different from the project conceived of as FF Versus XIII even as recently as 2012, there is a continuity of vision between Nomura's work and his own. While character design and combat type are prominent examples, another key continuity is that of overall plot vision. The earliest trailers for FF Versus XIII quoted Shakespeare and promised a 'fantasy based on reality'; Tabata told Siliconera that he has become interested in engineering a historical feel in his work with Type-0 and FFXV, something which he hopes to approach more explicitly in future projects.

A demo for FFXV, featuring the subtitle Episode Duscae, will be included in the release of Type-0 HD, which will be available next year on March 17th in the US and March 20th in Europe. The specifics are still vague, but the demo is reported to contain about four hours of exploration, and Tabata has made it clear that he is working hard to ensure that it will please. There has been no hint regarding the release of the full title.

The game, Tabata said in an interview with 4Gamer, is around 55% completed. This is admittedly a disappointment: yes, development had to be restarted from scratch when the decision was made to switch to PS4, but that was some three years ago. He is acutely aware, as several interviews show, of the high stakes - not only for producing a flagship, console Final Fantasy title but for one that has already had so much time and money invested in it.

Part of the new direction that Tabata's director-ship has indicated is that he wants this game to feel 'casual.' This will be evident both in the party dynamic - the protagonist's car will be a mainstay and he hopes to create the feel of a 'road movie' - as well as the combat engine, which Tabata hopes to streamline. These aspects, he believes, will make the game approachable despite its size, as well as appealing to the aging demographic (THAT'S YOU JOSH) that originally played Final Fantasy games.

There's a bit of heat, as one might expect, coming from the Kotaku Justice Pulpit and directed at the fact that the main playable characters will all be male. While this fits with what we've seen in trailers from the very beginning, it is a bit unusual given the series' strong history of female protagonists (and with mostly realistic clothing / breast sizes, at that). It is the hope of this writer that, unless informed of some malign intent on the part of Square Enix, we can just infer that the team is looking to create a specific vibe in this game rather than initiating a project to finally rid the world of all women.

But hey, if you disagree, let the world know thine fury via comment!

Source: Siliconera, Kotaku, Siliconera
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Square Enix Go Mad for Steam

A while back, a wise newsposter said that the Final Fantasy III PC release could be a precursor to Final Fantasy IV. That handsome fellow was right, as the game showed up on Steam yesterday at the same $16 price point of FF3.

Not only that, there was another surprise today, when Final Fantasy XIII showed up as well at the same price point but on sale for 10% off as of this writing. Say what you will about Final Fantasy XIII (and so will I - I got sucked in after about ten hours and absolutely adore it), but the Steam version is as of right now the top selling game on Steam, and it doesn't even release for another two and a half weeks.

2014 could be the start of a very good run for Final Fantasy fans who are also PC gamers, as the two XIII sequels are also confirmed to arrive by early next year. Type-0 HD is even coming to Steam next March!

The timing of these releases and announcements is clearly tied to Tokyo Game Show, and there is a lot more news from Squenix this week. These two games are on sale right now and that puts them to the top of the queue, though, so keep an eye out for another recap in this space soon.

Source: Kotaku

Distant Worlds Updates for Fall 2014

Distant Worlds
Active readers of CoN news (and of course, Distant Worlds fans) will already know that there's one more show coming in North America in 2014: Toronto, December 6. That show will be conducted by Arnie Roth, and will feature regular contributor Susan Calloway as a vocalist. Uematsu will be in attendance as well.

With the upcoming list getting thin, it's about time for some new shows to get announced for 2015, and that list is here! On January 31, the team will do two shows in New Jersey, at the Performing Arts Center in Newark. There will be a matinee and an evening show on the same day, and VIP tickets are available that include meet and greet packages. Not only will these shows include Roth, Uematsu and Calloway, they will also feature the first North American performances by Rikki, the original vocalist for Suteki Da Ne from Final Fantasy X. Tickets are on sale now.

In May of 2015, the series returns to St. Louis, Missouri for shows on the 15th and 16th. Uematsu won't be there, but Roth and Calloway will be performing and the composer for Final Fantasy XI, Naoshi Mizuta will be in attendance for the first time. The program will be changed up somewhat, bringing back the Final Fantasy VI character medley first performed for the 20th Anniversary show and two new arrangements from Lightning Returns and Final Fantasy VII. In addition, each show will have two other new additions to the program; the first will add in new Final Fantasy X and XIV music, and the second will add in Eyes on Me and Melodies of Life. These tickets are also on sale now.

The spinoff series from Distant Worlds, covered in our last post, has wrapped up its live performances in America for now, and has just two more upcoming - one in London on Halloween, and one in Paris on November 30th (tickets available now). However, a recording from a previous London performance is coming soon for purchase. It's described as "over sixty minutes of music and a virtually all-new repertoire" performed by a much smaller chamber orchestra. It seems like a digital performance is already available to buy from Bandcamp for a minimum $9.99 purchase, but there's no indication as to what will be different about the new release or whether it will be available only digitally or also on physical media.

Source: Distant Worlds, A New World

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Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2014 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.