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Life is Strange: Release and Reviews

Square Enix
Life is Strange, an episodic game published by Square Enix and developed by Dontnod Entertainment that we announced last summer, released its first episode yesterday. Subtitled "Chrysalis," it can be gotten digitally on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Steam for $4.99. The game will ultimately consist of five episodes: the second of these is expected in March, while release dates remain TBA for the third, fourth, and final episodes.

Life is Strange has received generally positive though critiquing reviews thus far. Polygon gives the game an 8/10, with reviewers praising its artistry, its originality, and its world while criticizing some of the dialogue and mishandled moments of seriousness. PCWorld's reviewer agreed on both counts, saying that while much of the game's dialogue is successful it can occasionally turn "cringe-worthy" and that the schoolkids setting isn't quite integrated with the intended gravity of the game's plot. Both reviews, however, conclude by emphasizing how attractive and compelling the game's environment is. Game Informer was even more optimistic, praising the its realism as well as its decision-making engine, and asserting that the episode successfully engages the player's interest.

Are you playing Life is Strange? Are you thinking about grabbing it? Let us know!

Source: Polygon, PCWorld, Game Informer
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Square Enix' Glorious PC Future: The CoNcast Episode 28

We've covered it in CoN news for quite some time, but Square Enix has been making inroads for quite a while in the Windows space both as a developer and as a massive company who own lots of smaller fish also publishing for PC gamers.

For a long time, the company treated the PC as a bit of a wasteland, at least in terms of the flagship Final Fantasy franchise, with no games released for Windows for many years; now, though, the company is experiencing a renaissance on the platform with the two rereleases of Final Fantasy VII followed closely on by iOS 3D ports and the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy.

So, in this installment, the CoNcast team hits the highs and the lows of Square Enix gaming on the Windows platform as well as what might be coming in the near future. Get your Steam wishlists ready for the Final Fantasy games we'll talk about today!

Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes, This Episode
Posted in: CoNcasts

More Time with Tabata and Type-0

General Final Fantasy
It seems like only the day before the day before yesterday we remarked at Hajime Tabata making the media rounds to promote Final Fantasy Type-0 (and, ever-so-slightly, Final Fantasy XV), and already there's more to report.

Square Enix has released a video comparing the graphics of the original Type-0, released in Japan in 2011, with the HD version we all will see in just a couple months. You can watch the video here: it's quite an impressive upgrade across the board, from character models to environments and from menus to battle movement.

You'll notice in the video that the audio playing is the famous Final Fantasy theme. This observation leads to the next news of the hour, an interview with Siliconera in which Tabata discussed the difference between a Final Fantasy game and a Final Fantasy Type game. As we've already reported, Type-0 is currently set to be the first game in a new series of Final Fantasy Type games, owing to the huge popularity of Type-0 in Japan and the company's increasing confidence in the game's director. In speaking of Type-0, Tabata emphasized the different atmosphere and implications of teenage protagonists, as opposed to Final Fantasy XV's adult cast.

Tabata says it is hard to pin down exactly what makes a Final Fantasy game, but that despite the vagueness of the concept fans and developers who have spent a lot of time with the series are able to sense whether someone has the "Final Fantasy DNA" to lead a project. Tabata has certainly proved himself to the latter group; we will see if he can convince the former as well.

Tabata also stressed the need to do new things in both series while still maintaining a continuity of spirit between titles. He understands the Type series as being to some degree defined by its ability to try out more new things and push boundries than the main series. With FFXV, Tabata says, the balance between old and new hovers around 50-50; he continues to say that "a Type series game is 80-20. Final Fantasy Type-0 is actually 70-30." The confidence of these comments indicates that long-run plans for the Type series not only exist but are being carried out. It has yet to be determined how Tabata himself will be allocated in the future, given his present investment in both series.

Type-0 HD is set for mid-March release dates world-wide.

Source: Square Enix Youtube, Siliconera
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Theatrhythm Tracklist, Kingdom Hearts 3 Talk

Monster Octopus Terra
A new Theatrhythm DLC tracklist has dropped today in North America. It includes:
-- Liberi Fatali, Final Fantasy VIII (BMS)
-- Final Confrontation, Romancing SaGa 3 (BMS)
-- World Revolution, Chrono Trigger (BMS)
-- Wind Scene, Chrono Trigger (FMS)
-- Twister, The World Ends With You (BMS)
-- Calling, The World Ends With You (FMS)
Those who were upset at the lack of Chrono Trigger tracks should take heart at these additional offerings; the popularity of which would no doubt lead to more. As usual, each track will cost $.99. The next DLC is expected about a month from now, on February 19.

Kotaku spoke with Tai Yasue about Kingdom Hearts 3, which he is co-directing. Yasue said that much of the team that worked on Kingdom Hearts 2.5 - the HD remaster/"remix" released to western audiences this past December - have been also working on Kingdom Hearts 3, and that the former served as a "learning experience" for making the third installment in the series. Yasue also touched on the constraints of working with well-known and well-regulated Disney properties, saying that these posed difficulties but that nonetheless forced the team to think in creative new ways. These comments constitute some of the few hints on KH3's development since its initial announcement (our most recent news on the title can be found here and here), so hopefully they will turn out to be the prologue to more substantial information.

Source: Siliconera, Kotaku
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Square Enix Trots Out the New Guy

General Final Fantasy
The new king (aka director) of the core Final Fantasy franchise, Hajime Tabata, is showing up everywhere right now. As the face of the series going forward, including being the director of the next two big releases, Tabata is now the man as far as such things are concerned, and as such he's making some media rounds.

Last week, Tabata spoke to Kotaku's Jason Schreier about Type-0 HD; among the tidbits of information uncovered is the implication that the game is progressing well towards release, with the bulk of the current work being dedicated towards refining parts of the original game to be more playable and in refining the content seen previously. Even more interesting, it appears that with the help of automatic and human translators, Tabata might actually be reading what the English-language gamers are saying about is games on the internet. Does that mean he's found us? No. Probably not. Just in case, though: hi!

Schreier also pushed to get a little bit of Final Fantasy XV information on the table; while cagey, Tabata was willing to speak to trying to maintain the March date of the XV demo, and also the timeline of the switch from the Versus to the XV name. There's even a little more detail that is new - the demo for XV, when it lands, is not likely to be part of the actual game's storyline, or might be a remix of a couple disconnected sections of the final game.

That's a lot of information, of course, and it's only a snippet of the full interview. But, if it's still not enough, and you're a Redditor, you're in luck; Tabata also has planned for Friday an "Ask Me Anything" about Type-0 HD on the IamA subreddit. It kicks off at 1pm Eastern time on Friday, but Tabata's people have warned that there will be no questions about Final Fantasy XV involved.

Let us know if you're going to participate in the AMA so we can keep an eye out, otherwise watch this space for future Type-0 and XV news coming up very soon in what is certain to be a busy few months for those two properties!

Source: GameInformer, Kotaku

Nintendo Leaves Brazil

Nintendo announced yesterday that it will no longer distribute games or consoles in Brazil. The company cited the massive tariffs that other companies, including Sony, have previously complained of. The cost of a Wii U in Brazil is the equivalent of some 700 US dollars. This made it the least expensive of the three home consoles, but it has been vastly out-sold by the Xbox One.

CoN is posting this as news, of course, because of its relation to the company near (if not dear) to our hearts. A number of Square Enix titles are available exclusively on Nintendo, particularly for the DS - including some of the company's most well received titles of late, like Bravely Default. These, along with the Marios and Links of the world, will be unavailable to Brazilian fans at least for the immediate future.

Source: Polygon, Kotaku

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All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.