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CoN Site News
No pomp, no circumstance this CoNniversary, sorry. We've been a machine of late, and that carries over to this year's birthday message. Of a one-track mind, that is to say, and that track has been directed at taking the oldest game content on the site and making it fantastic. The results of such labors, again years in the making, are visible now: the Final Fantasy VI section of the Caves of Narshe is now cooking at a far higher temperature than ever before.
This section was actually, in the end, kind of a blast to do. It was painfully hard to keep going at times, but I think that everyone who worked on this as hard or even harder than I did would probably agree that doing this work rekindled our love for a game that deserves all the love it gets. We got so excited, in fact, that we even got the original CoNcast crew together to do a quick-hit recording today to talk just a little bit about how great FF6 is, and I am guessing that the next episode might well cover more of the same. Today's episode will get its own newspost later in the day so you can download it, don't worry!
As is obvious, Final Fantasy VI was the first game we ever covered. While we updated the content considerably during the creation of CoN5 over a decade ago, this new release marks the pinnacle of our coverage for what is, for better or worse, our flagship game. Djibriel, yet again, supplied the bulk of the content from his fantastic walkthrough, while Death Penalty, EvilEye and a multitude of others worked with me to make that content uniquely CoN's. And it is that, to be sure; the quality of the content has improved in a way that's barely measurable (in the good direction!), while the technology driving it remains the standard that other Final Fantasy sites still have not managed to match after all these years. We've continued to improve the technology running the game coverage sections, and we have spun out nearly a dozen miniguides for FF6 that extend our coverage well beyond a simple walkthrough and equipment pages.
Indeed, after all these years. This is the site's sixteenth birthday, and as it now can legally drive in some locales, it continues to trundle along like the lorry it is. Note: I'm using that metaphor so I can ignore the fact that the site could consent to... other things in many places at this same age. Anyway, at least in terms of the vibrancy of the site itself, I feel as if things are a bit resurgent. In the past two years, we've revamped two huge sections of the site; not only that, you'll of course remember this time last year when we finally released the fantastic Skyglade to make the site faster and more fashion-forward. While the community aspect of the site remains difficult to maintain through the splintering and segmenting of Final Fantasy and Square Enix fans as a whole (note my thoughts in the first CoNcast for more on that), I maintain that our core community is of the highest quality, and while we don't attract the most new users of anyone, we certainly continue to attract many of the brightest and most clever, due largely to our passion and commitment to the cause. Thanks to you all, this day and every one before and after.
So what's next? Well, hopefully we can get back to posting news more frequently as we won't be in crunch time for FF6. We've got some new updates to the site planned for the next year or so, and I'll be working hard in the near future to improve the user experience behind the scenes by way of fixing a variety of minor bugs in the site and also improving the CoN development webserver to (hopefully) make future work smoother.
Okay, so perhaps this counts for some pomp and circumstance. I'm flowery when I write, I just can't help it. Enjoy your CoNniversary with us!
Next week, game speedrunning collective TheSpeedGamers are kicking off a week-long marathon of speeding through tons of games bearing the Final Fantasy name, from Final Fantasy I all the way through XIII-2, and some sideline games as well. For this event, the group are collecting donations for ACT Today!, an autism treatment and support charity. Thanks to their most excellent choice of choosing to run games of which we cover many, we here at CoN are all on board to help them reach their fundraising goal.
Starting on 24 June, the group will begin running through the Final Fantasy games, and the runs will continue day and night through 1 July. During that time, you can watch the stream and even send in donations direct from the CoN homepage as we work with them to hit their $15,000 fundraising goal. In fact, we've already gotten the ball rolling by sending in a pre-marathon donation from the CoN staff!
The schedule will be coming soon, so you can look out for your favorite game in the series to crop up. It appears that the very first game to be played will be Final Fantasy VIII starting at 6pm American Central time, with other games filling in after based on gamer availability. In the meantime, start thinking about what sorts of donations you might be able to chip in, because every little bit helps and TSG have been great to work with (and because hey, it's never a bad idea to show what a great, if small, community CoN is!).
After several months of waiting for our IRC host to get it all set up for us, and then another few weeks of getting it set up, we're proud to announce that our new webchat is online and ready to go. We put it up a while back and have had positive feedback, and with a few tweaks we now have it ready for everyone to enjoy by hanging out with us.
This new chat's pretty great. It looks good, it works well, and it doesn't require the Java that our old one did. Hear that? No Java! It will work on all sorts of devices and works even if the standard IRC ports are blocked for you - not that we advocate chatting when you shouldn't!
Give it a try and chat with us.
With photos! I was only able to spend about six or seven hours there yesterday, but I had a blast and met some good people and some great Final Fantasy (and other) cosplayers while I was at the exhibition hall. Being there certainly gave me some good new things to talk about in the next CoNcast (and if you have questions about what I saw, post them here! We're going to be recording a CoNcast later today and I can answer them then or any time).
While some of the interesting stuff for Squenix came out before I could go, I did manage to find some time to check out the FFX HD trailer a bit, and while I didn't come up with any photos of it, it looked solid. I would say it is definitely approaching the level of visual quality that Final Fantasy XIII managed, at least in the cutscenes they showed on the 40" HDTVs they had scattered in the booth. If you're one of the folks who enjoyed Final Fantasy X a decade ago, you should be excited for this, I do believe.
In any event, a good time was had by all. You can see the photos to learn more! Be sure to give props to the cosplayers I talked to, either here or on Facebook, so that they know their hard work is appreciated by the rest of us!
Sometimes, the news coming from Squenix Tower might sound a bit like a broken record - if, indeed, that old phrase still holds any meaning to a great number of our readers. It really does seem sometimes that the company can only pump out news on a couple things at a time, and you just know that those things aren't always going to be things about which you necessarily want to know. But that's why tidbits exist!
It seems like the biggest news of the week is an intentional early leak from this weekend's PAX East; a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 was released early and will be shown in the Square Enix booth in Boston this weekend. (As a reminder, I'll be there on Sunday if anyone wants any particular information that doesn't come out before then.) The game includes Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, and all of the cutscenes from 358/2 Days. It's just shy of three minutes long, and looks... nicely HD, I suppose. Never gotten around to playing any of those games, so I haven't the slightest clue what's going on! The Remix release will be released for PlayStation 3, sometime this fall in North America.
We mentioned the other day that Final Fantasy V for iOS is a go, coming out next week in Japan (a simultaneous worldwide release isn't out of the question but hasn't been confirmed beyond doubt, as far as I've seen). To celebrate that, though, no matter where Final Fantasy V releases, Square Enix are discounting every other Final Fantasy game on the iOS app store worldwide. The deals are pretty solid - the first two games are dropping to $3.99, while Final Fantasy III is down to $8.99 and $9.99 for iPhone and iPad respectively. The all-devices Final Fantasy IV app will be $10.99 for the duration of the sale. If you're an Android gamer, by the way, Joystiq is saying that an Android release in Japan is coming too.
Final Fantasy XIV is thundering towards release, as well. This week's update from producer Naoki Yoshida explains that the Phase 2 beta will start up in early April, and will enable gamepad support as well as making other bugfixes and changes flagged in previous betas. Over 100,000 gamers are already in, and the new beta phase will add even more to provide more feedback and better stress testing of the XIV server farms. I've got my application in, but, of course, I can't say anything if I get accepted regardless!
We're planning to record another episode of the new CoNcast next week. Stay tuned for that!
Source: Siliconera, AppAddict, Joystiq
Well behind the curve, as we do, we're releasing today the first ever Caves of Narshe Podcast called - of course - the CoNcast. We'd been kicking around the idea of a podcast for a long time off and on, and when laszlow suggested it to me again a couple weeks back, it all started to click. At that point, we started having some larger discussions around the format and the participants, and within a matter of a few days we had an outline set up. A few days later, and we had recording done. A few days after that, and we're at now. Publishing our first CoNcast.
I'm calling this the first CoNcast. I'm hoping it's not the last. We're going to see what kind of feedback we get and go from there. We're aiming to create something here that is very much like CoN, particularly CoNchat - it's about Final Fantasy, but it's not about Final Fantasy. It's about the kind of stuff that Final Fantasy fans like, whether it's the canon series, or other games, or gaming, or music that reminds you of gaming, or... stuff. So... you like... stuff?
This episode's a bit long, I'll admit. We start off with Tiddles and me, and a bit of an explanation as to who we are and why we're doing this podcast now, and not, say, five years ago (and not five years hence, for what it's worth!). If you're not particularly interested in that, no worries. You can skip ahead to about fourteen minutes and get into the main topics of this episode, which loop in also Death Penalty and laszlow and include a discussion of fansites and their future, and also some discussion of PAX East, which is coming up this weekend and for which I'll be in attendance on the last day. That's going to be our overall goal, though I'm sure we'll deviate repeatedly - we want to talk about a topic that is of interest to our overall base, and we want to talk about something that's current-ish. There will also be some mockery, and some snide comments, and some abuse of Squenix and also some defense of Squenix, and maybe not exactly where you expect it.
We're going to look to try a second episode next week and if there's interest, put them out every two weeks or so. We'd love to get feedback and suggestions of new topics to cover, too. Once we get a few episodes under our belt, we'll have a feed available so that you can be easily notified of new episodes. We really had fun putting this together, so we hope you like it too so we can keep trying them!
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