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
Posted in: CoNcasts
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
Posted in: Square-Enix News
It's Christmas day, folks! The holiday season is so hectic that it took me two weeks to record and get this CoNcast ready for publication. Also because of the holidays, there weren't many folks around to talk, so Tiddles and I just decided to blow a couple hours playing mairocrat and chatting about the holidays. It's funny, in the end we didn't really talk too much about the goings-on on our respective Wiis, or at least we left that all on the cutting-room floor. What we did talk about a lot is the holiday season, be it this one or good memories of the past. And, of course, with it being CoN, there are a number of semi-entertaining digressions and a fair bit of oversentimentality about the site itself.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all. Hope you enjoy the CoNcast and we'll see you again in the new year!
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes
Posted in: CoNcasts
Welcome to the last tidbits of 2013! I say this because I know that I'll be far too lazy to write any next week, even though there's probably plenty of time to do so.
Jumping right in, it's the time of the year when digital distribution games go on sale. For instance, Square Enix are putting dozens of their iOS games on sale, including almost all of the Final Fantasy series, Secret of Mana, the World Ends with You, Chaos Rings, and others. Unfortunately, there are apparently no sales on DLC, so if you were looking for a reason to pump money into Theathrythm, you're out of luck. Also, the Steam version of Final Fantasy VII remains on sale for about forty-six hours past the time I post this. There are also tons of games for sale on the official Squenix store, both downloadable and physical, for almost all platforms.
In more specific gaming news, it was announced this week that despite being unmentioned before, the Playstation Vita versions of the Final Fantasy X and X-2 remasters will be released at the same time as the console versions, as confirmed by trailers on the official Square Enix Members YouTube channel. In addition, for PS3 players, there will be a collector's edition. No shock there, but as usual the CE looks pretty tempting. If you'll be in Japan with a loved one, you can even get a special couples' photo taken with a Final Fantasy X theme to have a melancholy poster keepsake. If you can't get enough of Final Fantasy X-2, your girl-power team will even appear in the Theatrhythm sequel for Nintendo 3DS, giving you versions of Yuna and Rikku from both X and X-2 from which to choose.
Close out the year with a bit more Lightning Returns, how about? There's a new, nearly-six-minute English-language trailer for the game out now, which is a weird cut of gameplay, dialogue, and voiceover describing the game itself. There are also more legendary Final Fantasy costumes on the way, including Aeris, Cloud, and X-2 Yuna. It looks like Lightning's shaping up pretty well for the West, though!
Happy holidays, CoN friends. We'll see you again in the new year.
Source: siliconera, TouchArcade, Square Enix Members Blog
For tidbits this time around, there are a bevy of updates for games old and new, so many that they can't even be listed off conveniently! Perhaps it's the holiday spirit taking over - anyway, let's start with the old.
The venerable Final Fantasy XI turned eleven years old last month (in Japan - the game didn't debut in North America for another eleven months after that). To celebrate, the folks still running that game for the die hard players put together some promotions for the "11th Vana'versary," including free re-activation until December 23rd for players that let their accounts lapse and some new features like a 25% increase in movement speed across the world and better teleportation. While I'm sure a lot of fans have moved on to XIV by now, it seems like it might be a fun bit of nostalgia to go back, at least for a little while.
Of course, for Square Enix, everything old is eventually new again, as evidenced by the glut of remakes and ports we've seen over the years. The latest, at least in Japan, is a smartphone remake of the original Dragon Quest game. To promote it, Squenix gave away a million copies in two days. Additionally, for the folks who have complained about Squenix' pricing models on smartphones, check this out - even the folks who are having to pay are only having to pony up about five bucks, far better than the Final Fantasy games that have appeared on iOS and Android. Of course, that awesomeness is offset pretty quickly by the fact that Dragon Quest VIII was also just released at $27.
In terms of recent releases, the recent remake of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years seems to be missing a bit of content; the challenge dungeons that made up a part of each episode's content were not included in the new release. Those dungeons are not part of the storyline of the game at all, so new players might not notice their absence. For another somewhat recent release, Final Fantasy XIV, Squenix announced that the game for Playstation 4 will release at the same time as it does in Japan, specifically for the PS4 Japan launch date.
A third recent/upcoming release, Lightning Returns, is out in Japan now (but not yet here, we're still waiting for next year). Now, while it might be assumed that CoN hates Final Fantasy XIII because only old games can ever be good, rest assured that I'd love to see this game succeed. However, early indications are that the game simply isn't selling as well as its predecessor in Japan. It's still possible that sales will pick up later, but the launch numbers don't compare favorably. That said, if you are looking to get this game when it comes out in the West, you'll want to watch this: on their official blog, Squenix released a "trailer" to show all the cool stuff in the collector's edition. A trailer for a special game package? I suppose at least it's different than a countdown, and more informative, too.
Finally, some new games! Jump Festa, the Japanese anime/manga/games expo, runs next weekend, and Square Enix have announced their lineup. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix and the Theatrhythm sequel will both be playable, as well as Final Fantasy X/X-2 remaster and Dragon Quest VIII mobile. Final Fantasy VI mobile will have a trailer, as will the Bravely Default sequel, which follows hot on the heels of that game (which CoN readers already knew about) being officially announced.
To wrap up, it recently came out that Akihiko Yoshida, a designer for Square Enix for almost twenty years, had left the company. In some places, there was much gnashing of teeth - "Look at all the long-time talent Squenix are losing! That company is useless and will soon be gone forever!" To the naysayers, though, Yoshida spoke with Famitsu this week to discuss the change, saying that the choice to leave was not because of the state of the company, but just that his career track within the company wasn't allowing him to design as much as he wanted. He's now a freelancer, and who's his first client? Well, it's Square Enix. I guess he's not hating their current direction.
There we go, there's another couple weeks of tidbits! Will there be more before I go on Christmas break? Who knows?! Just enjoy Father Christmog in the meantime.
Source: siliconera, PlayOnline, Square Enix Members Blog
As we mentioned last month, Square Enix announced a remake of the episodic Final Fantasy IV sequel, The After Years, for mobile. Last weekend, it arrived in 3D, for both iOS and Android, and it's available for $15.99 American. This 3D version marks the first time that the game has been released its entirety using the 3D engine developed for the Nintendo DS version of Final Fantasy IV.
The reviews on both the iOS and Android app stores are pretty positive, nudging just past four of five stars on each, but Kotaku savaged it. New engine and all, seems like maybe sixteen bucks could be a bit much for this. Anyone out there pick it up?
Source: Square Enix Members Blog, Kotaku