Welcome to the Caves of Narshe
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.
Not really that much to report on this, I suppose. Final Fantasy XIV, released to Windows last year, is now available for beta on PlayStation 4. Unlike the betas for Windows, this beta is immediately open to everyone, and the client is on the PlayStation Store for immediate download.
The game is planned to exit beta and enter wide commercial release for PlayStation 4 on April 14 of this year.
Source: Final Fantasy XIV Official Marketing
While we might have bombed out of covering it on CoN news, you may have heard from some other, obviously mediocre site that there was a bit of controversy around the recent Western release of Bravely Default. In short, a few characters received slightly older canonical ages, and a couple female characters found their character models with more clothing for the US and Europe than they had in Japan. Naturally, the response to this news ran the gamut from those who found it pointless to those who seemed to have a much creepier viewpoint on the whole thing.
Naturally, this got us thinking, so I woke up the day after spending some time with an IV in my arm and grabbed Tiddles, Stiltzkin and Death Penalty to spend some time talking about this newest (minor) controversy and some of the history of censorship in Final Fantasy games, whether forced by Nintendo or willfully taken on by Squenix localization teams. Not only were some of the choices interesting, I'd wager there are some you hadn't even heard of, so it's worth a download right now!
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes
In a recent interview with Eurogamer, series producer Yoshinori Kitase has expressed interest in returning the core Final Fantasy series to the Windows platform. Beyond the MMOs, XI and XIV, a new game in the series has not been published to the Windows desktop OS since Final Fantasy VIII. It's clear, though, that the company maintains some interest in the platform with releases from other series like Deus Ex and Tomb Raider, not to mention the recent re-releases of Final Fantasy VII and VIII to Windows last year.
While no games from the Final Fantasy XIII series were released for the platform, Kitase reminds Eurogamer that the original XIII development took place in a Windows environment, so the notion of a release was not restricted by the development itself but instead Squenix' own market analysis and concerns about DRM. Kitase stops well short of promising a release of Final Fantasy XV via Steam, but it's clear from his words that the interest is there and that a release could easily be in the cards if the numbers look to work in the company's favor.
Square Enix has registered "Shinra Company" as a trademark specifically for use with video games. After all this time, and with no remake on the horizon, could we be looking at another spin off here? Could the trademark be used somehow for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3? Today's news correspondent, fatman, puts his weight (ha!) behind the former, as Square has seen some success with releasing Final Fantasy VII on Steam and PlayStation Network, and no doubt all the recent sales have been lucrative. The time might be right for another continuation of the universe to reach the new and revived players recently brought into the fold.
Source: CVG, siliconera
For more than a few years, the notion of making a game's world be open and available for exploration and plot advancement at the gamer's whim has grown into a hot genre. Games from Rockstar and Bioware have long been considered to be among the cream of the crop, but it seems like perhaps the JRPG and Square Enix specifically have been behind the curve a bit. This podcast explores the allure of the open-world game and investigates what Squenix might be willing or capable to do to capitalize on this market that they've left largely untapped.
With Tiddles and laszlow such fans of the aforementioned games, I sat down to spend some time with them to discuss these ideas for today's CoNcast, the 20th. Download and enjoy!
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes
Square Enix must have really wanted me to post some Tidbits this week. Some of the emails that went out to their mailing lists came to me five times! So, to oblige their largesse, most of our news will be coming straight outta the mouths of the company this week.
The next big Final Fantasy release is Lightning Returns, coming to the West in just about two weeks (or less!). With that, the demo became available this week for both Playstation 3 and Xbox 360; remember that a version of the game has not been announced for any new-gen platform as yet. The demo has a boss monster which, if defeated and shared to social media, will get the user a new costume, namely Siegfried.
My favorite Final Fantasy and Lightning Returns news of the week, though, is the proof that Square Enix can still put out an awesome-looking 16-bit experience. To get folks up to speed who may not have finished (or even experienced!) Fabula Nova Crystallis, they marketing brains at Squenix put out a fantastic video recapping the first two games of the trilogy. It's clever and it's adorable and if you have any love for Lightning's saga it's worth the time.
Additionally, if you're willing to make a trip to southern California in March, you've got a chance to visit Alhambra and see a Final Fantasy X and X-2 exhibit in an art gallery from the 15th to the 26th. If you can get there for the opening, you might even get an early copy of the games and get it signed by members of the original production team!
Finally, in non-Final Fantasy news, there're updates on the Tomb Raider and Bravely Default fronts. For Lara Croft, the "Definitive" version of the game came out for new Sony and Microsoft consoles. For Bravely Default, though, check out this nice long piece from Kotaku about the origins and the future of this new IP. There are two really interesting takeaways, in my opinion. First, the parallels between Bravely and the old-school Final Fantasies that so many gamers love, and how Bravely could become what Final Fantasy once was, but for handhelds. The other is producer Tomoya Asano's now-stated goal of making Bravely a yearly series. Obviously that won't ever happen, but how many of you would either pick up or dust off a 3DS for something like that?
Source: Square Enix, Kotaku
Square-Enix recently launched the Square-Enix Collective website (linked below), a partnership with IndieGogo to publish independently-developed games under the Square-Enix label with a crowdfunding model. Developers can create pages on Collective to pitch their games, fans can vote on which projects Square-Enix considers in the Collective forums, and after a successful approval from Squenix's nefarious secret panel* a project can begin the funding process just like a KickStarter or IndieGogo project.
What's notable about this new initiative from Square-Enix is that they're very keep on transparency and open to new ideas. Or at least it sounds that way. As Square-Enix president Yosuke Matsuda expressed last fall:
"We're no longer in an age where customers are left in the dark until a product is completed. We need to shift to a business model where we frequently interact with our customers for our products that are in-development and/or prior to being sold, have our customers understand games under development, and finally make sure we develop games that meet their expectations."
Square-Enix's faith in this relatively new business model could mean independent developers eventually working on a wide variety of intellectual properties. Square-Enix announced that the mostly-abandoned Eidos franchises of Fear Effect, Gex, and Anachronox are available for independent developers to work on via the Collective. What's next? Potentially anything in the Square-Enix catalog.
*There are no details on how the approval process works, and Squenix won't likely be sharing any.
Source: Square-Enix Collective, IGN (January 2014), Siliconera (October 2013)
It's been a while since we saw a full-on CoNcast, especially with a full crew of folks, especially with three of the original casters! To pick up for the new year, Death Penalty, laszlow, Stiltzkin and I got together on the line to talk about what this year will mean for gaming and for what we're looking in the next twelve months.
While there are no brand-new systems coming this year, there certainly are a lot of triple-A games on deck for all the consoles and handhelds, and given the diversity of the group, we spend some time talking about a lot of them. If you're looking for more opinions on upcoming Squenix games, or even Nintendo, you're in the right place. For other stuff, there's some of that too, I guess!
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes
Earlier today, Yasumi Matsuno, a former director and producer at Square, launched a KickStarter for a new title - Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians. Matsuno, whose catalog as a director and producer includes Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, and Final Fantasy XII, intends Unsung Story to be a return to his roots, making a turn-based strategy RPG set in a world rich with detail. Unsung Story's plot will consist of multiple episodes, each starring a different hero from the same war, spanning multiple generations of characters.
Matsuno is working in conjunction with the American studio PlayDek, which recently has worked on iOS and mobile versions of several popular card games and board games. In addition to the strategy RPG Unsung Story, PlayDek intends to release a companion digital card game set in the same world as Unsung Story. The KickStarter has a base goal of $600,000 US (which it will certainly reach, as it has over $150,000 in less than a day), but it has stretch goals reaching as high as $3.2 million. If certain stretch goals are met, then new talent will join Unsung Story's creative team (including Final Fantasy Tactics music composer Hitoshi Sakimoto) and the RPG will be ported to additional systems.
Currently, Unsung Story is planned to be released on iOS devices, Android devices, PCs, and Macs in the summer of 2015. If certain stretch goals are met, then Unsung Story will also appear on the PS Vita ($1.8 million stretch goal) and the 3DS ($2.8 million stretch goal). I know that many of you CoN members are indifferent towards KickStarter efforts, but come on. The creator of Final Fantasy Tactics wants to make another strategy RPG. I couldn't help myself.
Source: Unsung Story KickStarter page
Posted in: RPG News
For the new year, there are new tidbits. Of course, that's the same as it is on (many) Fridays, but it actually is a new year now. So... there?
Bravely Default is on the minds of a lot of Square Enix gamers these days, with the Western release growing closer at hand. That means it was probably a bad time for news to break that there was "censorship" happening in the Western art assets. It's a bit of an entertaining throwback to 25 years ago, but beyond that we can all only speculate as to the rationale behind the changes to the clothing on a couple female characters. I, for the record, am fine with it.
The Japanese convention Jump Festa was going on during the time of the last CoN tidbits; now that it's over, it's a good time to wrap up all the goodies that came out during its short run. Back to Bravely Default, a short new trailer for Bravely Second debuted at Jump Festa, but there was virtually nothing to it besides a few seconds of gameplay and some pretty neat concept art drawn in a sort of live-sketch way. Note that the main character for Bravely Second appears to be somewhat sensibly dressed, at least for a Squenix game!
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix also got a new trailer. I'm not sure what else to say about it, really. If you like Kingdom Hearts and particularly the HD 1.5 Remix, you'll be right at home here? We can go with that. As an aside, Kingdom Hearts III is being worked on simultaneously to HD 2.5 Remix, which is probably not thrilling news to the people anxiously waiting for a brand-new entry in the series.
In interesting but probably irrelevant in reality news, it looks like Square Enix has dipped its toes into on-demand streaming gaming by adding the newest PC version of Final Fantasy VII to streaming services in Japan. Debuting on Christmas, this release was simultaneous to two competing services, for approximately $15. It seems like RPGs would be a no-brainer for streaming gaming, especially old RPGs, as the only parts of those games that would tax an internet connection would be the FMVs. However, if you're one of the few people in the States who actually have an OnLive, I wouldn't get too excited.
We had the 25th Anniversary celebrations for Final Fantasy not long ago, and now it's time for the SaGa series to follow suit. That series has kind of fallen by the wayside from its heyday with the original Game Boy, but perhaps the anniversary is the time for a kickstart.
Finally, if you're an Xbox 360 gamer with Gold, you've got a few days left to get the first ever Square Enix game offered for free under that program. The game is Sleeping Dogs, which was received pretty well upon its release. It's available until the 15th, after which time it will be replaced by the Lara Croft sidestory, The Guardian of Light, making January a Squenixey kind of month on the 360; not a bad way to kick off the year.
Source: siliconera, Cheat Code Central, Xbox Official Site