For all of gaming history, as technology has evolved, so has the capability to do things graphically in video games. The notion of virtually every game being a set of screens with sprites pasted on is long past, and is now mainly the domain of indie games. In the mainstream, we've reached the point where games can be nearly photorealistic, or they can go a very different route. Shall the twain ever meet? Is one objectively better than another? What games benefit from what kind of art direction?
This week's CoNcast features Death Penalty, Tiddles, Neal, and laszlow talking about these issues and more, and also why Pokemon should be more like Tamagotchi. And you don't have to listen to me for the whole thing, so, wins all around.
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes
Thanks to a great topic by MetroidMorphBall, we've got another podcast for you today. In his topic, MMB asks, "Are the best Squenix games coming out on handhelds?" As we all know, Squenix have thrown a lot of resources over the last few years into getting games in front of gamers on the go, whether it's on phones or tablets or a handheld gaming console, or whether it's a new IP or a port or a full-on remake. That gives us a lot to talk about, naturally, due to the number of permutations at play. Perhaps some folks like the old games on new platforms; perhaps someone prefers the brand new IPs on Nintendo and Sony handhelds; maybe there's someone out there who just doesn't like console games (or handhelds!) at all.
It's time to listen to the CoNcast to find out. And, of course, to learn more about Cookie Clicker, the game that never leaves Tiddles unsatisfied.
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes, Original CoN Topic
Another few weeks, another tidbits. This seems like another good time to remind folks that we would love to have someone willing to write news for us, since all of us are clearly way too busy. Or just bad at this. This time around, we've got a ton of news that came out of the Tokyo Game Show this year. Unsurprisingly, there was quite a bit going on for Square Enix at what is still considered their "home" trade show. Further introductions provide no value with this much news.
Let's start off with 3D remakes, because many people have been aching for 3D versions of their favorite Final Fantasy games since III and IV got them a few years back. Good news on that front - as long as your favorite game is the Final Fantasy IV sequel "The After Years." The initially-episodic sequel that was released also in the Complete Collection of Final Fantasy IV on PSP is now getting a redux for iOS and Android in the vein of its big brother. It's already been confirmed that the West will get the game as well, as is almost always the case for Squenix' iOS and Android games. While I'm sure this will cause some gnashing of teeth among fans, it seems like a pretty easy call for the company to make, given that the engine and art assets that already exist should make this port pretty easy.
Next up comes the Bravely Default franchise, made a franchise by the announcement of a sequel. The confusingly-named upgrade of the original, subtitled "For the Sequel," is true to its word by adding in some enhancements that will also be part of the simultaneously-in-development sequel. According to the most recent news, these enhancements will also form the basis for the version of Bravely Default that Europe and North America will get. It's starting to look like the sequel will be less Default than the original, also, given that Squenix have also trademarked in Japan the names "Bravely Second" and "Bravely Third." Of course, it's way too early to predict anything about those games, but this news does give a gentle nudge to a theory that Squenix are preparing a pretty big new franchise for handheld domination.
Speaking of big new franchises, let's not forget that the Final Fantasy XIII series is soon to come to an end with Lightning Returns. Because it's just what they do with this game, Squenix had yet another new trailer at TGS. It makes one wonder if their endgame is simply to have the entire game released as a series of trailers that fans would then need to recut into the correct order to understand the plot. Speaking of things that they've done with Lightning Returns, here are three separate notes all about more costumes in the game (in these cases, a Final Fantasy XIV Miqo'te catgirl, Yuna, and Aeris respectively). Lightning Returns is still scheduled to be released in Japan next month and in the West in February 2014 - plenty of time to shove more costumes in.
And on the subject of Final Fantasy XIV, it seems like A Realm Reborn is really starting to make up for the bad taste the original created. Say what you will about their launch-window server issues (for what it's worth, I can forgive them), but it really seems like the new version has been pretty well received as both a quality MMO and a solid Final Fantasy game, which certainly differentiates it from the bulk of its competitors. Enhancements are already being discussed for future updates, such as customizable housing, PvP arenas, and even the plan to allow gamers to transition from their Playstation 3 games to Playstation 4.
Briefly, on the subject of MMOs, did you remember that Enix has one for Dragon Quest? Nah, of course you didn't. It's still not out in the West anyway. However, if and when it does come this direction, you might be able to play it on the go - a version for iOS and Android will be out this winter in Japan. Apparently, this version of the game will have the same content as the full game, simply optimized for mobile hardware. That should allow players to take their game off their console and then continue it on the train; wonder if XIV could pull that off?
Last thing: the Final Fantasy X/X-2 remaster is still coming. On the official Playstation blog, that is confirmed directly, in case you'd forgotten. There's also, yes, another trailer, and a bit of talk about the art book that preorder customers will get.
That's a lot of tidbits, and I didn't quite cover everything I wanted to. Sorry about that, but I'll see if I can't get a more specific post up to cover the rest soon. Hint: it's Type-0 related!
Source: siliconera, Final Fantasy Network, Kotaku
While we fall behind on news, we keep up on CoNcasts, so that's something. Wait... no, we're a week late on this episode of the CoNcast too, aren't we? Well, isn't that fabulous.
This is lucky episode thirteen, and as luck would have it, we couldn't manage to get a full set of four this week. What's going on in the world? Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! Carrying on, though, Tiddles, lasz and I took it upon ourselves to put out a good show talking about some of the big hardware news that has come out recently, as well as the upcoming Tokyo Game Show. We cover the updated Playstation 4 release date in Japan, the announcement of the Vita TV, and the interestingly-shaped Nintendo 2DS, some of the big games we expect to see out of TGS, and we throw in a lot of silliness about fast food and other random topics.
To wrap up both this news post about the podcast and the recording itself, we announce the opening of the CoNcast mailbag. If you've got something to harass us about specific to the CoNcast, such as an argument against something we said, a topic you want us to cover, or a plea to join us on an upcoming episode, the mailbag is the place to do it. You can yell at us via email using email@example.com; of course, we'll be happy to take your feedback through any of our other points of contact as well, but the email address will be the most direct and noticeable way to make your opinion heard.
If you're feeling lucky yourself, download it now. If you're feeling less than lucky, that's probably all the more reason to hit that link.
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes
In this episode, we're talking about sequels. It seems like every game is guaranteed a sequel these days, and some of them are warranted, and some are not. Of course, which ones are which are a matter for debate, so Neal, lasz, DP, and I spend some time talking about games that need more sequels, and games that instead need to be put on the shelf.
We even talk about Final Fantasy and Square Enix a bit, but, spoiler alert: nobody actually says that Final Fantasy should be a series that dies with a whimper. Why not? You'll have to listen.
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes
The Square Enix news tidbits have been on hi-ya-toos for way, way too long. It's hard to get back on that wagon, so it's a fine time to remind the readers that we'll gladly solicit news from any of you out there. We generally ask that you be marginally literate, but we're flexible.
So, what have we missed recently? Well, plenty of Squenix news, of course, but really, not that much. As we all know, the times between E3 and Tokyo Game Show can be a bit quiet for the company, and the biggest releases coming up in the near future for the Japanese giant aren't quite yet here. That said, let's spend some time on those releases now, starting with A Realm Reborn. The Final Fantasy XIV reboot will be released for PC and PlayStation 3 in just a couple days, now; in fact, those with early access to the release should be getting it in a matter of hours.
To keep the appetite up for the game, Squenix have been showing quite a bit of video. A couple days back, a video premiered showing off more than a half-dozen high-level dungeons in different environments, complete with some requisite big evil like dragons, Marlboros, and Tonberries. Everyone's favorite, Magitek Armor, even makes an appearance towards the end. More recently (today, in fact!), another video came out, this time giving the glamour treatment to Primals, the name given to high-level bosses in the game. These, too, look pretty brutal - an enormous behemoth at the beginning might be the least impressive beast shown.
The next big (brand-new) release for the company once XIV is out the door is, of course, Lightning Returns. This game has had what seems like dozens of small parcels of data revealed over the time since its announcement; this week, another trailer came out, featuring a lot of combat, a fair chunk of Sazh, and a pretty blunt question: who will you save, and who will you sacrifice? Much further back in history, the company also made public that Vanille would appear in the game, under the protection of a religious faction in control of one of the game's four unique continents. The same article revealing Vanille also mentions a bit about shopping in the game, and how one will be able to buy real battle equipment but also fashion accessories for Lightning in the game's stores.
In news that will be potentially extra-interesting to those who enjoyed our Seiken Densetsu 3 podcast, Squenix have registered for trademarks on "Rise of Mana" in both Europe and Japan. The Mana series has obviously been one of the most extensive for Square in the last twenty years, behind only Final Fantasy, so it's no big surprise that something else would be showing up in that series; however, given that there's no other information, and the company's recent track record with their use of legacy IPs, this could well be a social game.
So, we can't really cover everything, of course, not when we sit on news for a month before posting it. So, let's wrap up with some fun merch news! Since everyone loved All the Bravest, of course, they'd probably want some keychains, right? Maybe a set of twenty-nine? No joke, some of those would be pretty great to have, but you can only buy the whole set at once, and the retail price comes out to about a hundred and ten dollars American. So... let me know how they turn out when you get yours. And, since I can't let Slime-related merchandise slip past me, despite not having played a Dragon Quest game in, like, twenty-five years, let's wrap with that. Here's a USB-based controller that looks like a fat DualShock 2 with a bunch of Slimes on it. It's currently only for Japan, and is listing at $40 equivalent, which is a bit steep. But, it's USB, so there are no importing issues if you simply must have it; however, if you want a wired controller for your PC, you really can't do any better than the one you can already get for an Xbox 360.
Let's call that a day for these tidbits. I know you all, you stopped reading paragraphs ago, right? If not, we'll try to keep up on the news a little better going forward!
Source: Siliconera, CVG, Nintendo Enthusiast