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Final Fantasy VI
It's been a while since I did a Distant Worlds update - I suspect it's because I'm still a little bitter for not pulling the trigger and going myself last October! The concert series well known by Final Fantasy fans worldwide has some new information to share this month, though, and some of the news is sure to be particularly interesting to CoN readers.
There are three Distant Worlds concerts on the books for this year at the moment; for our South American readers, two dates in Chile are scheduled for May 31 and June 1 in Rancagua and Santiago respectively.
On August 24, a special performance will take place in Chicago, a favorite destination for the Distant Worlds crowd - not only will Arnie Roth and Nobuo Uematsu be in attendance, they will also be performing solos during the set, and the setlist will focus on Final Fantasy VI in honor of its 20th anniversary. Dancing Mad, the Opera, and a never-heard arrangement of character themes are confirmed to be part of the new setlist.
The final date for 2014 at the moment returns to Toronto, with a performance at the Sony Centre. Roth and Uematsu will attend this show as well, though they won't perform and the setlist apparently will be more typical than the FF6-centric one in Chicago a few months earlier.
The new spinoff of Distant Worlds will debut this weekend, though, also in Chicagoland. It's called A New World, and it will be performed in smaller venues and conventions with a thirteen-member ensemble. In all the performances scheduled so far, both Arnie Roth and Nobuo Uematsu will be in attendance and will perform as well, with Roth on violin and Uematsu on keyboard. The series starts this Friday at Anime Central in Rosemont, IL, with a 4pm show on the 16th and a 1pm matinee on the 17th. After that, the show moves to Omaha for two shows on this Sunday, the 18th of May, and a pair of Montreal shows in August. All arrangements will be new to suit the new ensemble, so even folks who have seen Distant Worlds will get to experience something new.
If you line up a visit to any of these shows, make sure to give us a report after!
Source: Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds, Final Fantasy: A New World
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?
Huge news came yesterday afternoon for anyone who spends any time on this website - Square Enix announced that Final Fantasy VI will be released on iOS and Android devices. You may have seen CoN user His Shadow's post in the forums yesterday, but alas, with old age comes slow movement. Or something like that!
What we've got here isn't a strict port, but it should be added that what we've got is no remake either. FFVI will be tweaked in several ways: its graphics, for instance, will be improved - though still 2D. The battle system will be altered a bit for the mobile platform in the spirit of previous FF mobile releases, like the recent FFV. Battle-experience will also be altered in order to require less grinding for the sake of being able to "enjoy the game for what it is." It is possible that this may be accompanied with a dialing back of the random encounter frequency, something everyone has been wanting forever, but there is no indication of this.
These changes, however small, are still generating some discussion. For instance, in the most recent CoNcast, SE took a bit of a hit for releasing games that aren't really sensitive to the nature of mobile gaming; do you think this difficulty altercation will broaden the game's mobile-friendliness or restrain it? I've also seen a few complaints regarding the sprites from earlier FF mobile releases - anyone familiar have anything to say about that?
The announcement concluded rather open-ended-ly, with the statement that "if this Legacy project works out well, we would like to one day be able to work with VII." Let's just take a concluding moment to appreciate how many qualifiers are packed into that statement.
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!
The CoNcast gang digresses immediately in this episode, becoming waylaid by the simple fact that one person is playing Skyrim and two more are playing Bioshock Infinite. Recovering a bit, I then elect to thoroughly entertain everyone by talking about the progress being made in the new Final Fantasy VI content. Finally, we each take a stab at the myriad circumstances that brought us to the Final Fantasy series and also to CoN, inspired by this recent forum topic.
This one was a tricky one to edit, let me tell you! We had to shave out almost 40% of the entire recording to get to a runtime that wouldn't induce tears in our listeners. However, it does give us a lot of fodder if we ever want to have an outtakes show, so there's that.
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes
For all the folks still hoping for a 3D remake of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI, in the vein of Final Fantasy IV DS, there's another bit of bad news now. Apparently, last week, a Square Enix Japan member asked Squenix' Shinji Hashimoto directly when we could expect to see those games announced, and the answer wasn't good.
To quote Siliconera's translation, Hashimoto responded: "As for FF5 and 6, there are technical problems; presently these are also undecided."
Now, of course, that doesn't mean never. In fact, as Siliconera reports, it probably means something more uplifting: in order for Squenix to know that there are technical problems, the odds are that they must have at least looked into the opportunity, and they might have even gotten so far as to try a few things in the FF4DS engine. Or, of course, it could mean that Hashimoto is blowing smoke and that answer is just a way of brushing off the question and the company has no interest in making the games. You can let your own gaming-related paranoia level be the judge.
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