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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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Day Zero Active Time Report for Final Fantasy XV


Final Fantasy XV
Late last night, following all of the daytime Pre-E3 stuff, Square Enix put out their Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report for the conference.
The lead story within is the Trials of Titan demo for E3; while we posted to social media yesterday that it appeared at the Microsoft press conference, we have yet to cover it here. The Trials of Titan is a new demo of the XV combat engine, in which Noctis and company are required to fight off the massive creature in order to prove their worth to him and allow them to summon him going forward. This is a take on what will appear in the final game, but not exactly the same as what will show up on disc in September; the demo will be playable at E3 on the show floor. For those of us not going to California, Square Enix Presents will stream more gameplay of the demo later this week.

There's also a new trailer for XV that will be playing on the show floor. It's got a lot of focus on huge monsters and summons, with Titan, Leviathan, Ramuh, Malboro, and Behemoth all appearing; a fair number of vehicles appear as well, with the aircar, Chocobos, and a train all rumbling through. It's soundtracked by Afrojack, if that's your thing. You'll note that the music is still Final Fantasy - it's a custom house mix of tracks that will actually be in the game.

Following that trailer is... a trailer. It's a new trailer for Kingsglaive, all in Japanese, no subtitles. So, it's exceedingly pretty with some great new visuals of war scenes - Cerberus specifically looks incredibly impressive - but there's not much more that I personally can say about how this movie is shaping up.

If you watched the initial episode of the Final Fantasy XV anime, "Brotherhood," you'll be pleased to note that the second episode will be out today. The new episode will feature a young, chubby Prompto and how he meets Noctis. Luna and Ignis will also appear, along with some cute animals.

There's more Final Fantasy XV to be streamed on Twitch and YouTube this week. Today at 3pm Eastern, there will be an hour-long "Final Fantasy XV E3 Kickoff" show. Tomorrow from 1pm to 2pm Eastern, another Active Time Report and then from 5:30 to 6:30 a playthrough of the Titan demo. Finally, on Thursday the 16th, from 7pm to 8pm Eastern, Hajime Tabata will answer the "Top XV Questions for FFXV."

Finally, outside of the ATR at Sony's E3 event, Sony announced Final Fantasy XV content for PlayStation VR. Called "VR Experience," you get to play through some battles in VR as Prompto, who is also wearing a VR headset through the entire thing, making for a rather strange meta experience. The trailer was rather short, so it's not yet clear how much content there will be, whether it's all combat, or anything else.

Source: Square Enix Japan YouTube Channel, Siliconera

The Pre-Summer Final Fantasy Concert Update


Distant Worlds
It's that time again - about three months since our last Final Fantasy concert update, so a new group of shows has just been announced.

Last time around, the news for Distant Worlds, the older, larger brother among the concert series, was thin: just one new date, July 23 in Houston. There are four more shows to speak of now, from September to January of next year. Dallas will get two shows on September 2 and 3, with Susan Calloway in the concert hall to provide vocals. A week later, on September 10, the series will arrive in Phoenix, again with Calloway in tow. It appears that Final Fantasy VII's "Cosmo Canyon" will appear in both setlists, which is something I'm not familiar with having happened before.

The last new show will not be until January 28 (at least until they start backfilling some of the gaps, which they often do). That show will be in Newark, New Jersey, and will have Nobuo Uematsu in the crowd.

As I've mentioned before, we're going to see more and more concerts in the A New World concert series, as it's a little easier to put on a show that requires a smaller set of players and a smaller venue. Beyond the shows already announced, there are now five more coming:
  • Madison, Wisconsin: September 16
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan: October 28
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan: October 29
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: November 18
  • Quebec City, Quebec
For all of the above shows, tickets are on sale currently only for those previously announced and for Phoenix.

Source: Distant Worlds, A New World

Square Enix Readies for E3 2016


E3 Expo
E3 is next week, y'all. It seems to me that some of the luster has fallen off of E3 in general over the last few years, but it's still a major event, and as such our favorite game company has been doing a lot to get new information in front of us in preparation for what they'll have on the show floor. We mentioned earlier this week one big pre-3 announcement, of course; since then, there have been a number more.

The biggest one, because it's the flagship, is the next Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report. It's called "Day Zero Edition," as it is happening the day before E3 officially begins - June 13th in the evening - likely too late for my old bones, so I'll try to catch everyone up the following morning. I'm really not sure what they might have to talk about in this ATR, given the massive scope of the Uncovered event from March, so I assume it will essentially be a preview of what will be on the show floor.

Another big game coming soon for Squenix is the bridge between the past Kingdom Hearts games and the future Kingdom Hearts III: Kingdom Hearts II.8. For that game, there's a new trailer that rolls up new cinematic footage from all of the included remasters, as well as more from the brand new content in 0.2 Birth By Sleep.

If you like things to be way super cuter than even Disney characters, though, you're looking for World of Final Fantasy, the new sideline Final Fantasy game with chibi characters from across the series. There's another new trailer for that game, with lots of cutscenes and what also appears to be some combat video (albeit, without any sort of UI). Watch the trailer to see interactions with Celes, Edgar, Tidus, Yuna, Lightning, Cloud, Squall, Vivi, and even many more. There's a release date, as well, and it's world-wide: October 25, 2016.

Dragon Quest Builders is coming to E3, as well, as it was announced for a Western release last week. It will also be coming this October, and also got a new trailer just like everything else. There's no actual English in it besides the end cap, but there's no dialogue in it at all so you're really not missing much!

If you're looking to see what's going to be on the show floor, you're in luck because Square Enix Presents will be livestreaming from the show again this year, on both Twitch and YouTube. In my opinion, I've found most of what they've shown in the past to be heavy on fluff and light on breaking news, but they will be showing a lot of games from all of their series. There will be content from all the games already mentioned in this post, as well as Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Star Ocean, Setsuna, Brave Exvius, and just way too many more to mention.

As always, CoN chat will be talking about E3 live... probably. So feel free to stop in during next week even if you're not a regular!

Source: Gematsu, Siliconera, Square Enix Blog

Final Fantasy XII Remaster Coming to E3


E3 Expo
In this week's news out of left field, Square Enix announced over the weekend that Final Fantasy XII is getting a full remaster for Playstation 4, to be released next year. In the vein of Final Fantasy X, this new remaster, subtitled "The Zodiac Age," will be based on the previous Japan re-release "International Zodiac Job System," which changed the original License Board system into one divided by the signs of the zodiac. As befitting a remaster, the game contains a large number of improvements, including:
  • High-resolution upgrades for the world, characters, and UI
  • High-resolution upgrades for movie cutscenes
  • 7.1 channel surround sound
  • Voiceovers in English and Japanese
  • Remastered soundtrack
  • Decreased load times
  • Autosave settings
Despite having been just announced, the game will be playable at E3 next week. Click through to Gematsu to see a gallery of screenshots, which look very, very good, especially in battle. So far, the game has been announced just for PS4, but I would be rather surprised if a Windows release did not follow fairly close behind.

Source: Gematsu

Brave Exvius Goes Global


General Final Fantasy
In somewhat unsurprising news, the smartphone Square Enix RPG Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius was announced yesterday for a global release. The game has been downloaded six million times already in Japan since its release last October. Brave Exvius is a story-driven, turn-based title that follows two knights, Rain and Lasswell, and their young companion Fina on a very-Final-Fantasy quest to bring light back to the crystals of their world. The game supports parties of up to six, with slots available to guest characters pulled from other Final Fantasy games, such as Vivi and Terra.

The game is sprite-based for battle and exploration, while cutscenes and summon animations appear to be pre-rendered. The battles appear to be fast-paced, but not to the chaotic and frankly pointless level of All the Bravest, which alleviates some of my previous concern for the title.

There's no release date set for the worldwide release, but a playable version of the game in English will be at E3 next month. Six languages will be available at launch. Players can pre-register now to get bonuses and in-game items, with registration available at the game's official worldwide site.


Source: GameSpot

Nippon Ichi Extends Steam Presence with Phantom Brave


Steam
Here's some non-Square Enix news that you folks are likely to appreciate: Nippon Ichi Software, sires of the well-regarded Disgaea series of tactical isometric RPGs (among other games), announced today that Phantom Brave about to be ported to Steam for Windows. Phantom Brave is a more under-the-radar title from NIS, though it's generally very well-regarded, with reviews of 8.6/10 and 9/10 from IGN and Eurogamer respectively. It's been released in the West before, first for PlayStation 2, then later for the original Wii, and finally for the PSP, with enhanced and expanded content each time. The Windows version will roll up all of the content into a new package to be released in July, specifically on the 25th.

It's worth noting while this post is going, by the way, that Phantom Brave will be the second PC port released here by NIS. It looks as if the first Disgaea (Afternoon of Darkness) is already here, which is something I completely missed. The version of Disgaea released to PC included upgraded graphics and Steamworks integration and is currently selling for $19.99, so one can expect the same from Phantom Brave this summer.

Source: Gematsu, Steam

Final Fantasy X / X-2 Coming to Steam May 12


Final Fantasy X
Square Enix announced today that the recent high-definition remasters of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 will be coming to Steam this Thursday, May 12 as a package -- their first (official) PC release.

Like Final Fantasy 9, which was released on Steam last month, these ports will include a all international version content, no-encounter mode, an increased speed option, and an auto-save feature. It is not clear whether the audio drama Final Fantasy X ~Will~, released with the original FFX/X-2 HD package, will be included (but, like, it's on youtube anyhow).

This leaves only the first two games and Final Fantasy XII as the main series title without PC ports.

(A previous version of this post erroneously listed the games yet to be ported to Windows.)

Source: Square Enix Official Twitter, Steam
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Kingdom Hearts Follows Distant Worlds


Kingdom Hearts
After the many years of success enjoyed by the Distant Worlds concert tour, playing orchestral arrangements of Final Fantasy music worldwide, Square Enix has paired with concert promoter La Fee Sauvage to offer a similar show with the music of Kingdom Hearts.

The general setup is that of Distant Worlds, featuring a 70-plus piece orchestra that is local to the venue performing songs from the game series. One might assume that there won't be as much variety available as for Distant Worlds, but the Kingdom Hearts series does itself span eight distinct games now, not including remixes, remakes, and re-imaginings. I've never played a KH game myself, but I did do some sampling of the soundtracks for this post and I think it's safe to say that fans will no doubt find some very lovely music performed on stage. As a note, the Kingdom Hearts series features music composed by Yoko Shimomura, one of gaming's most prolific composers and the composer for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV.

The World Tour won't begin until next year, and is currently scheduled to appear in seven cities worldwide: Tokyo, Paris, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Los Angeles, and New York. The European shows all take place in March of 2017; the American shows are in June.

Square Enix News Tidbits: Many, Many Videos to Watch


Square Enix
The latest Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report was yesterday at an insanely-early hour, so I (and likely all of you) missed it. It looks like we didn't miss that much, really, as there were no new earth-shattering pieces of news around the game, but mainly updates on things that we had seen before. For instance, the team expressed how the sideline video content in the anime or movie isn't strictly necessary to understand the game; the Justice Monsters V app will be out for Android next week, iOS in June, and Windows 10 sometime in the summer; the game will have a New Game + mode; and the next ATR will take place at E3. Also, if you wanted the very expensive ultimate edition, it sounds like Squenix are aiming to put together another ten thousand copies worldwide.

Valkyrie Anatomia is getting some more press as its release nears. The game got a new trailer last week and this week both. The first one is very much a teaser, with nothing more than extremely dramatic narration and music. The newer one actually shows some art and even the briefest glimpse at a battle scene.

Somehow I missed that there's a Theatrhythm game in the works for arcades in Japan, a second game to follow the handheld-to-arcade flow of Dissidia. The game is far enough along to be location-tested in a half-dozen locations, and to prepare users the company produced a tutorial video. This is a niche game if there ever was one: rhythm, Square Enix, arcade, arcade with intense custom controllers to emulate touch, multi-console co-op, yeah, we're probably never going to see this over here. Looks pretty, though, and the co-op scene at 2:50 in the video is intense.

Speaking of Dissidia in arcades, the next update to that game brings Garland in as the first villain to this big-screen version. If you ever thought he didn't look malicious enough in any of the iterations of Final Fantasy I, you can put that thought to rest; he's a heavy-type character here and is a seriously hulking brute. And since I missed it a while back, Ramza's in there now too. He's in his squire gear and carries a light fencing sword. And he has a nose.

Back to mobile games, where last week Square teased "Project: Rising" for Android and iOS. Turns out that the game is called "Samurai Rising," and is an action RPG; it looks to be a mashup of a lot of different things from the Squenix canon, with art style in-game reminiscent of the 3DS Final Fantasies, character artwork that could have come from Bravely Default, and an overhead action combat model that could be from a Mana game.

Let's wrap up these tidbits with "I am Setsuna". I mentioned before that the game would be playable at PAX East, which starts today (and, by the way, appears to be an utter mess; my friends were reporting lines of fifteen minutes just to cross the street to get to the convention hall earlier today). Today's news details the basic plot and a release date of July 19th for both PlayStation 4 and Windows/Steam. This game looks to be gorgeous and the fact that it's now coming for Windows makes me quite happy.

Source: Gematsu, Siliconera, Polygon

Caves of Narshe Sucks on My Phone!


Caves of Narshe Site News
Word. I access CoN on my phone as much or more than anyone. It's pretty shoddy. Or, well, it was, because by the time you read this, it will have gotten a whole lot better. If you visit CoN from your phone now, you're going to see a version of Skyglade that has been polished significantly for your enjoyment on your handheld device. We've reduced the number of images that you'll have to download, which your data plan will appreciate. We've also reorganized the navigation behind the popular "hamburger" button so that you can have more screen real estate for the content you're reading front-and-center. And, for everyone, we've implemented "lazy loading" on image-heavy pages so that you won't be forced to download pictures until you are ready for them. Your CoN browsing on any device will be quicker and lighter than before.

We're considering this to be beta. It's not like us to release content to you that we ourselves call beta, but in this case we feel confident in the quality of what we have already done and want you to be able to use it even though it doesn't cover every case. You might notice that some pages will require scrolling from left to right on phones in portrait mode, so rotating your phone to landscape might be beneficial. This is especially true of the forums. Some pages will remain generally difficult to use on mobile, but we will do our best in the future to continue to update them. If you come across any problems that you simply can't accept, we welcome your feedback in the forums, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

If you like what we've done here, please add CoN to your home screen so you can have quick access to our guides and community no matter where you're playing!
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.