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Sony sells all of its shares in Square Enix

Square Enix
Weíre making a slight change from our usual game-focussed news postings today to give you a brief nugget about Sony and Square Enix finances. Wall Street Journal, eat your heart out:

Sony has announced that it has sold all of its 9.52 million shares in Square Enix to SMBC Nikko Securities, in a deal reportedly worth •15.3 billion. Thatís approximately $150 million, or £89 million. Sony has not given a reason for the sale; but itís reasonable to assume that this has been done as part of Sonyís current financially-motivated reforms, which also include plans to sell off the VAIO computing arm and restructure its TV division. Sony hasnít been faring well recently, financially speaking, and the boost this deal will give to its fiscal report will probably please its shareholders.

Thereís no indication as yet that this will have any impact on Square Enixís output or the release platforms of its games. Sonyís previous 8.25% stake didnít prevent games such as Final Fantasy XIII being released on rival platforms, so itís unlikely that PlayStation platforms will be losing out now either.

Source: Eurogamer, Forbes

Just Barely New News: Square Enix News Tidbits

Square Enix
Leading off, Final Fantasy XIV beta phase 2 is now live for PlayStation 4 gamers. Folks who participate in the beta can carry over their characters when the official release happens this week - I would have given you more notice but I just now realized that I never actually posted this news I drafted five days ago!

If you preorder the game via the Square Enix store, and despite my delay in posting, there's still time, you'll get a screenprinted fabric poster, early access to the post-beta launch, and two items: a Cait Sith Doll minion, and a Moogle cap for your character (complete with head-pom!).

Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD Remasters were released last week in the West. Check out this huge wall-o-art that the company displayed in Gallery Nucleus and put up for auction for charity for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan; all told, the auction raised well over fifteen thousand dollars.

Here are some pre-packaged tidbits to wrap up this midweek edition, too, courtesy of Famitsu via siliconera. Fairly interesting stuff, as well; for one, Squenix took pains to deny that there was a third game in the Final Fantasy X universe in the works. This is the first I'd even heard of that rumor - anyone else? It seems odd that such a rumor could remain under the radar that well but still solicit a denial from the company. A third Dissidia game is on the wishlist of that series' director, Mitsunori Takahashi, and producer Shinji Hashimoto explained that the upcoming releases of Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix were moving along as desired. Apparently there are more nuggets coming that Famitsu are not making public until the new issue hits the newsstands, so there could be more updates and details soon.

Source: Twitter, siliconera

The Canon of Characters: The CoNcast Episode 23

Well, in reality, the show this episode is about the main characters of Final Fantasy, not all the characters. However, the alliteration of the title above was just too good to pass up.

A series like Final Fantasy - 25 years old, with twenty-plus games bearing the name - is sure to have an extremely diverse set of characters. Or, is it sure after all? Perhaps the series uses the same archetypes over and over again with slightly different twists. The CoNcast team spends 45 minutes dissecting the lead characters of the series and distilling them to work out the similarities and differences, as well as just the good from the bad.

This one's a little shorter than most, but we packed a lot into it. If you haven't heard a CoNcast before but have been thinking about trying one out, check this episode for a quick hit!

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

Final Fantasy VI Turns Twenty

Final Fantasy VI
That's right, friends. The game that inspired our site, Final Fantasy VI, turned twenty today, with its original Japanese Super Famicom release on April 2, 1994. Since that time, the game's been released in Japan, North America, and Europe repeatedly for systems like the SNES, PlayStation, and mobile phones.

I know that I've got fond memories of playing this game after school every day until the first time I beat it, and then replaying it again immediately after getting the Nintendo Power Player's Guide for Christmas that year. I've got a lot more fond memories since starting up CoN - hey, I've even talked about how awesome the game is on the CoNcast! To celebrate this great anniversary, what fond memories do you have?

Source: Kotaku
Posted in: Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy IV is Awesome: The CoNcast Ep. 22

For CoNniversary last year, we not only released a new Final Fantasy VI walkthrough section, we also recorded a CoNcast about how awesome Final Fantasy VI is. Because it is easy to say how awesome the games we cover are (it's circular reasoning - they're awesome because we cover them and we cover them because they're awesome), we decided to pick up that mantle for this episode and start to turn it into a miniseries. At least for the time being, we're following the order in which the games were added to CoN, and that means that today's episode is all about Final Fantasy IV.

Lasz and Stiltz joined me to record some words describing this phenomenon. We talk about the ATB system, the deliciously melodramatic plot, the fantastic soundtrack, and the fact that it's been released for approximately seven thousand gaming platforms. Hopefully, spending some time listening to us will remind you that FF4 is fantastic and you'll seek out a new playthrough (and/or buy a new copy through AmaCoN!).

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

Square Enix News Tidbits: Tapping Tunes Again

Square Enix
The sequel to 2012's Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, subtitled "Curtain Call," is set for release this year for the Nintendo 3DS (April 24 in Japan, in fact). The information about the game is flowing freely now, though, as one would expect from an iteration on a music game. Most of the new content for the game comes in the form of the tracks available, and earlier this week Square Enix announced a big chunk of the tracklist from the first seven games of the series. There are some big names in there, from "Matoya's Cave" to "Golbez, Clad in Darkness" to "Clash on the Big Bridge" to "Dancing Mad" to "J-E-N-O-V-A" (and that's not even ten percent of the track list already announced).

The new version of the game also contains a new mode, "Versus," which takes the core gameplay and applies it to a head-to-head competition in which players compete for best score and also build up debuffs to throw at the other side as handicaps. The other gametype added to Theatrhythm for iOS, "Quest Medley," mode returns as well with some enhancements; on top of that, new characters will be present (some from Type-0), and better sorting and favoriting mechanisms will apply to the growing tracklist. The game's even getting a Crystarium!

The 2.2 patch for Final Fantasy XIV is planned for release on March 27, and as befitting a patch, it will be adding a fair amount of new content. New battles will be added in the patch with Leviathan and Gilgamesh, as well as adding new Beast Tribes and towns. This patch should come in advance of the PlayStation 4 release of the game, which, if bought in the Collector's Edition, will include a Fat Chocobo mount. Look at that goofy thing!

To wrap up with Squenix merch news, check out these goodies. The Play Arts division, responsible for all of the action figures and similar toys produced by the company, is rolling out a lot of new figures at various price points. At the high end, in the plus-$100 range, you can find massive Bahamut, Hero of Light, and Dragoon figures. The Hero of Light and Dragoon figures look a lot like the original Amano arts that were used in the logos for Final Fantasy I and IV respectively, so it's possible that this line could grow to include other similar figures in the theme. Perhaps we could have a Magitek Knight? Please?

The Static Arts line is known for less expensive figures; coming soon to that line are a series of figures modeled after the Monster Octopus design language. The first three of these figures, Cloud, Sephiroth and Tifa, are available now for pre-order. They're pretty reasonably priced, at $30 for five-inch-tall figures - okay, that doesn't seem reasonable, but compared to other collectible figures of similar size, they're not bad.

In the long tradition of Piano Collections albums, which have been released for lots of games in the series, there will also soon be a Piano Opera collection for Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX. Piano Operas are single-disc, multi-game albums with a selection of piano arrangements for each game; while the first six games (divided by platform) got albums back in 2012, 2014 will be the release date for the new compilation.

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