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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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Presenting: The Second Annual Square Bowl!

Square Enix
Are you worried that you won't get enough video games during the Super Bowl weekend? Is the Super Bowl not enough of a "game" for you?

Don't worry, because you're in luck! Starting at 7:00 pm PST this Friday, game developers Teddy Dief (Hyper Light Drifter) and Adriel Wallick (Train Jam) are hosting the second Square Bowl a 48-hour event to benefit the Able Gamers charity.

Last year they did Final Fantasy VII, and they are following up with Final Fantasy VIII. The two indie game developers will be joined throughout their 48-hour playthrough by other game developers.

From the looks of it, watching the stream will be free, but there will be a donate button under the video and chat. You can find the stream in the following link.

The AbleGamers Foundation is a charitable organization "that aims to improve the overall quality of life for those with disabilities through the power of video games." They do this by outreach to gamers with disabilities, "consultation for AAA and indie developers, free of charge, to assist in making each game as accessible as possible," and by providing grants for "assistive technology" in order to give gamers with disabilities access to technology and equipment to make their playing easier.

Now, what will it be like? Fun? Informative? ... (Boring?) I'm not sure. I was unaware of the first Square Bowl, so I can't tell you what this one will be like. But it's for a good cause, so tune in.

You can find more information on Teddy Dief and Adriel Wallick from the same website where you can reach the stream above.

Source: Game Informer, The AbleGamers, Square Bowl
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report 7.0

Final Fantasy XV
A lot of new Final Fantasy XV information was revealed in Active Time Report 7.0 last weekend, and I missed it all due to moving. In case you missed it too, read on and watch the ATR at your leisure.

The main focus of ATR7 is that the game is now 80% complete and that they consider development to be close to the final build, meaning there will likely be no further updates until after they consider the game to have gone gold.

There are a lot of mechanics and minor updates wrapped up in the beginning, almost like a visual changelog. There are a couple things I hadn't seen anything of yet, such as the snare combat mechanic and the fluid dynamics of characters in deep water, that looked pretty great. Also... frogs! Additionally, the overall updates show that the camera and UI have been drastically changed since the original demo, improving the overall battle mechanics.

This update showed more of Niflheim and its role and personnel, introducing in particular a dragoon officer named Aranea Highwind - it's worth noting that she has a pretty cool take on some classic Kain Highwind-style armor. The story frames Niflheim as a controlling, mechanically oriented kingdom expanding over Lucis, in a manner that echoes a bit of the plot setup for Final Fantasy VI.

A huge gameplay mechanic introduced this time around has been nicknamed "Final Fantasy Solid" in some circles; a stealth mechanic in which Noctis and crew infiltrate and take down Niflheim bases from within appears to be a significant part of the plot this time around. Destructible and otherwise interactive environments play a role in these takedowns as well, both in terms of destroying and commandeering Niflheim equipment.

With regards to magic, the typical magic system has been modified in XV to be more focused on a few elementals and "ring" magic, which is available only later in the game. The elemental spells have improved efficacy in certain environments, and have the ability to use the environments to spread to wider ranges and therefore envelop more targets.

Coming up next: the Uncovered event. This is the big one, and it's happening in Los Angeles (and free tickets are available, Californian readers!). In this event, the final demo will be announced, the 2016 release date for the final game will be announced, as well as price and "other details."

If that's not enough for XV for you, Gematsu collected a gallery of screenshots to check out too.

Source: Siliconera, Gematsu, Game Informer

Star Ocean and Dragon Quest January Updates

Dragon Quest
The Star Ocean and Dragon Quest franchises both have updates coming soon in the form of new games; as both enter 2016, January's been a good month for updates on the progress them all. This week in particular had a new livestream broadcast for Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, and with it came new gameplay footage and discussion of gameplay tweaks, a new trailer to introduce more background on Fidel, the main protagonist, and new screenshots and background information on how the game's skillsets will work.

In the Dragon Quest universe, there's always a lot more going on. The Dragon Quest franchise turns thirty years old this year, and as such, there's a new website for the franchise in Japan. A demo for Builders, the Minecraft-esque building RPG set in the Dragon Quest universe, will be out next week in Japan for Playstation 4 and Vita. The 3DS game Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 (name just rolls off the tongue, by the by) will be coming out on March 24 in Japan, but the company is also aiming for a demo to come out a few weeks earlier. Another sideline franchise in the DQ universe, Heroes, will see its sequel released for all three living Sony platforms right on the 30th anniversary in Japan. That date is May 27th of this year.

Finally, the biggest game in the franchise, Dragon Quest XI, was announced as having a release date sometime during the anniversary year. That means that it won't be out before the start of the anniversary year, and possibly not out until next May 27th, should they hit the window at all. This news was met with great disdain by the anniversary event's followers, who expected something more concrete.

Source: Siliconera, Gematsu

Two Battle Modes Announced for Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV
There hasn't been a ton of Final Fantasy XV news lately, but what has been coming out has been small and positive.

Last week, Director Hajime Tabata took to Famitsu to announce that the 2016 release date for the game would be announced at an event in March, and that the team was shifting into the debugging phase.

Just yesterday, a few of the game's developers participated in a Q&A on the game's official forums. They once again emphasized the visit-ability of the game's cities, and discussed the warp ability, which will constitute a significant part of combat -- particularly against large-scale and aerial enemies. The main takeaway from this Q&A, however, was the announcement that FFXV will have two different battle modes, one that is more "action-oriented" and another that is more "relaxed." It's hard to tell exactly what this means -- is this a distinction between fast-paced as opposed to strategic, or is it a distinction between hard vs. easy? -- but we'll have to wait (perhaps for the March event?) to learn more.

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Final Fantasy IX Coming to Windows: Not a Remake

We're behind on news again, but I didn't want to miss the chance to reuse a headline: Final Fantasy IX, the Final Fantasy packed to the gills with homage and protagonists resembling monkeys, is headed to both Windows and mobile in 2016. This version is going to be similar to the PC and mobile release of Final Fantasy VII insomuch as it is the original PlayStation release with control tweaks added for touch devices and some ease-of-play functions like autosave and optional random encounters. There's no official release window set forth as yet, and very little media.

This release of IX differs from that of VII, though, given that there is an announcement at all; the Final Fantasy VII release on iOS came as a surprise, so there's no way to extrapolate any further details regarding a potential release window based on what we know now.

Source: Famitsu

Final Fantasy VI Coming to Windows: Not a Remake

Final Fantasy VI
It's not 3D, and it's definitely not the direction of Final Fantasy VII Remake, but that wonderfully polarizing mobile release of Final Fantasy VI is now coming to Steam. Of course, we all pretty much knew that was coming - any idiot could have told you that.

What to expect from this? The same thing that we got with Final Fantasy V, naturally; a version of the game with the new, wispy-sprite art style and generic font, configured to run under Windows and with the general layer of Steaminess like achievements, trading cards, and Steam Cloud. The game releases on December 16 and does not have a published price yet, though Final Fantasy V released at $15.99 a few months back.

Source: Kotaku
Posted in: Final Fantasy VI

More Details on Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII
The Final Fantasy VII Remake broke the internet on Saturday, as well as blew through a large number of my monthly allotment of texts on my phone. Because of the highly-predictable hype, Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura did a fast-follow interview with Dengeki Online and Famitsu to discuss all of the things that have been warmly- and not-so-warmly-acknowledged by fans.

Here are some highlights (or lowlights, depending on your point of view):
  • The title will in fact contain the word "Remake." Because nobody would know otherwise, right?
  • Dev is being managed in-house but with some actual development work being done by third parties.
  • All of the character models are new.
  • The most recent video is virtually all in-engine.
  • You can control multiple party members in battle, or just one, with up to three party members available just as in the original game.
  • The battles do have an ATB gauge, but it's not like in the original game. How exactly it differs is not clear, but it appears that it is still tied to Limit Breaks.
  • You can still put Cloud in a dress.
  • There will be new locations to explore, possibly incorporating some areas fleshed out in Compilation games.
  • Yes, the remake will be episodic.
That last point seems to be causing a lot of contention in the community, but for my money, I don't see a reason to not give it a wait and see. Given the expectations around this game, it seems to me that doing it episodically will give the developers at least a chance to maximize the quality of the game, and in theory it will give us as gamers a chance to bail on it with a lower cost if for some reason it's truly awful.

This seems like a good time to remind everyone of the podcast we did on these and other subjects around the remake, right?

Source: Gematsu

Footage From Final Fantasy VII Remake Released

Final Fantasy VII
Sony's PlayStation Experience Keynote presentation was today and didn't disappoint, revealing gameplay footage of Square-Enix's upcoming remake of Final Fantasy VII for the first time. The trailer focuses on the early game in Midgar, revealing in-game footage of Cloud, Barret, Biggs, Jessie, and Wedge through cinematics.

As the trailer continues, though, there is footage of how the battle system is likely to work. It appears to be more of an action-oriented combat system where the player controls one of the party members at a time, leaving the AI to control the others. Very interestingly, the player was shown controlling Barret in battle instead of leaving only Cloud as an option. Rather than a full menu system, there is now a menu where the player chooses what action they're currently taking. "Summon" and "Magic" were selections, though they went tantalizingly unused. Cloud's "Braver" and Barret's "Big Shot" limits seemed to be used, as well as an unknown dash attack. The battle area appeared very large but it was uncertain whether the player enters a separate area for battle or if combat takes place in the same environment where the player walks around and interacts with the environment.

The footage looked incredibly fun, if somewhat unpolished. The voices didn't match up with the mouths of the characters, which is probably just a factor of getting a trailer out before doing the final localization, acting, or voice matching. But we've finally got some actual game footage of a game some of us have been anticipating for decades, and if it's an accurate representation of what we'll get, we may actually have our long-awaited dreams come true.

Source: Kotaku, YouTube

Square Enix News for Jump Festa 2016

Square Enix
Shonen Jump, each December, puts on the Jump Festa expo for anime, manga and games. Japan, being fully futuristic as shown in most anime documentaries, naturally calls this year's iteration "Jump Festa 2016." This year, Square Enix will take the stage on December 19 and 20 for several presentations to be broadcast on YouTube. Here's the schedule, with all times listed as UTC and EST.

Day 1:
  • December 19, 1:30AM UTC / December 18, 8:30PM EST: Star Ocean: Integrity & Faithlessness Stage interview with voice talent
  • December 19, 3:30AM UTC / December 18, 10:30PM EST: Dragon Quest Builders Stage interview with the producers
  • December 19, 5:30AM UTC / 12:30AM EST: Dragon Quest of the Stars Stage interview with the producers
Day 2:
  • December 20, 4:00AM UTC / December 19, 11:00PM EST: Dragon Quest Monsters: Battle Scanner Stage introduction to a new Dragon Quest arcade game with the producers and voice talent
  • December 20, 5:20AM UTC / 12:20AM EST: World of Final Fantasy Stage interview with the director and voice talent
The full list of games to be represented off the stage at Jump Festa are as follows:
  • Dragon Quest Builders (Trailer, Playable Demo)
  • Dragon Quest Monsters: Battle Scanner (Trailer)
  • Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 (Trailer, Playable Demo)
  • Dragon Quest of the Stars (Stage Only)
  • Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius (Trailer)
  • The Sorrow of Sacrifice and Snow (Trailer)
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue (Trailer)
  • Star Ocean: Integrity & Faithlessness (Trailer)
  • World of Final Fantasy (Trailer)
In related news, it was also announced today that the release date for the new Star Ocean has been pushed back to March 31 in Japan from its original date of February 25 to "increase the game's quality." Looking back on previous news here at CoN, one might imagine that graphics quality might be on that list.

Source: Gematsu

The CoNvent Calendar Returns!

I've been utterly awful at keeping up with fanart this year - perhaps there's a volunteer opportunity for one of you readers out there - but thanks to a burst of energy, the CoNvent Calendar is returning for its second year! Every day from now until Christmas, we'll have a new fanart published to our calendar page. If you're a CoN member, you can visit each one and rate it; if you've rated all of the pieces by the end of the year, you'll get a limited-edition CoN award for your account! Start here, with the first day's art, from new CoN artist thirteenthangel.

To follow along, check the calendar page every day, watch the Fanart Commentary forum, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter! Happy Holidays!
Posted in: CoN Site News

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Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2016 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.