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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)
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
According to the Nintendo Direct streamed conference a few hours ago, Square-Enix's 3DS RPG Bravely Default is hitting North American shores on February 7th, 2014. Both a standard and a special edition of the game will be released. Europe and Australia were confirmed to received Bravely Default a few weeks ago, and that version is landing in early December.
The European, Australian, and North American releases will simply be called Bravely Default, without a subtitle. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy was first released in Japan in October 2012, and it's receiving an expanded re-released titled Bravely Default: For the Sequel in December 2013. All of the English-language versions of Bravely Default are localized editions of For the Sequel.
So that's good news. Other than Final Fantasy Type-0, Bravely Default probably had the loudest calls for English localization of any recent Square-Enix game. Now we know when we can try out the vaguely Final Fantasy-esque turn-based combat and job system of Bravely Default. Either December or February.
At a press conference a few hours ago, Sony announced that both the WiFi and 3G versions of the PlayStation Vita will receive price drops down to 19,980 yen. This is a price reduction of 5,000 and 10,000 yen respectively, bringing the Vita's Japanese price down to approximately $214 US or 138 GBP. It is unknown if this change will be carried over to other territories as of yet.
At the same press conference, Sony and Square-Enix showed off the Vita version of Final Fantasy X, apologizing for the long delay between announcements. The last we heard of this HD re-release was in summer of 2012 in what amounted to yet another "please wait." Square-Enix was unprepared to provide a release date, but claimed that it would be coming shortly and to "wait for that."
So... Square-Enix told us nothing about this anticipated port, except that they're working on it and to wait some more. Gee, thanks.
Source: Kotaku, Kotaku again
Posted in: News from Japan
Square-Enix's Seiken Densetsu or "Mana" series has hit hard times recently, with the unsuccessful dungeon crawler Children of Mana, real-time strategy RPG Heroes of Mana, and Havok physics-running Dawn of Mana. Yesterday evening series creator Koichi Ishii announced two upcoming titles in the storied series: Song of Mana for mobile devices and Shepherd of Mana for the PS3.
Song of Mana is a multiplayer rhythm game in which characters from earlier Mana games must save the Mana tree by occupying Mana Fields surrounding the Mana Tree in a circle, always numbering one fewer than the number of players; the players stand in a circle just outside of that. Tunes from throughout the Mana series are played - while the music is playing, the players in the circle walk in unison around the fields. When the music suddenly stops, everyone must race to enter one of the Mana Fields. The player who is left without a Field is eliminated from the game, and one Field is also removed to ensure that there will always be one fewer Field than there are players. The music resumes and the cycle repeats until there is only one player left in the game, who is the winner. The winner saves the world - winning a game of Song of Mana sends in-game currency and experience points to the characters in Shepherd of Mana.
Shepherd of Mana looks to be a big-budget extravaganza. Players design their own hero or heroine ("the Savior") and choose from a selection of job classes (Fighter and Mage are the only two revealed thus far) to determine their available weapons, skills, and spells. The player-character encounters a colorful cast of potential teammates throughout the adventure, and the characters he or she recruits and the decisions the Savior makes shapes Shepherd of Mana's plot, including endgame villains and the ending. All we know of the plot thus far is that the Mana spirits are being captured by a mysterious force known as The Sleepers and indoctrinated into performing acts of evil. The Savior and his or her allies must track down the spirits running amok and purify them with a Cane of Mana fashioned from a branch of the Mana Tree in order to harness their power and defeat the Sleepers.
Song of Mana and Shepherd of Mana will be released for iOS devices and the PS3 respectively in autumn of 2013. For heaven's sake, let's hope these turn out better than Dawn of Mana, which we all know was awful, bordering on sacrilege.
Source: Press release
Following multiple claims denying any release for Xenoblade Chronicles in the United States or Cananda, Nintendo backed off from that stance when a release date for the fan-favorite Wii RPG infiltrated the internet - April 3rd, 2012. This leak was followed by an acknowledgement from Nintendo in the form of several pieces of Xenoblade Chronicles concept art on Nintendo of America's Facebook page.
This is wonderful news to Wii-owning RPG fans. Xenoblade Chronicles is developed by Monolith Soft, makers of the Xenosaga and Baten Kaitos games for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. The company was founded in 1999 by former Square staff that had previously worked on Xenogears and Chrono Cross, among other titles. Xenoblade Chronicles has received rave reviews from critics, with a MetaCritic score of 92/100 and a GameRankings index of 93.82%. RPG Fans in the Americas have been petitioning-slash-clamoring for an official English-language release in North America for over a year now, with no dice until yesterday's leak.
We still have six months before this comes out, but it's a very positive announcement that many gamers have been hoping for. [pretend that this space includes a conclusive, funny, thought-provoking statement and not laszlow drawing a blank from all the painkillers]
Source: GameSpot, concept art gallery from GiantBomb
Posted in: RPG News
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