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Gaming Industry News

Plans Detailed for Tokyo Game Show 2012

Tokyo Game Show
The Tokyo Game Show will be back yet again this year, with the dates recently set to be 20-23 September, 2012 in the Chiba prefecture. This year, the show will be adding two new "corners," sections of the show set off for specific platforms - in this case, for PC and Smartphone/Tablet gaming.

Additionally this year, the show's organizers, CESA, will be producing video of the show for online viewing. No other details are available at this time, but it's likely that these will include booth tours and possibly game demo video. It's also likely that these will be produced only in Japanese, so brush up now.

The show expects nearly two hundred thousand visitors over the four days, split between industry professionals and the general public.

Source: andriasang

The Hironobu Sakaguchi Digest: Winter 2012

Sakaguchi, busy as always, made the news twice recently with regards to his work with Mistwalker. The biggest news is that, now that it's been out for over a year in Japan and is coming out in Europe this week, is that The Last Story is getting a North American release this summer. The localization for North America is being done by XSeed, known for localization of other RPGs; no other details are known at this time. Now that both Xenoblade and The Last Story will be available worldwide, perhaps the Wii can - too late - become a go-to destination for RPG players?

Of course, to partner with that interesting news, Sakaguchi is also working on three non-RPG games for iOS. These will be his, and Mistwalker's, first foray into Apple's world, and it's clear that none of the games are necessarily meant to appeal to his core audience. The first game will be somehow surfing related, and he gave no details on the other two games at all other than to say that they were small and "palate cleansers" for him after the development of The Last Story. All that said, it seems like there's not much there to keep our attention, but if he surprises us with something interesting for iOS, we'll make sure to keep you updated.

Source: Kotaku, TUAW

Final Fantasy X Coming to PS3 and PS Vita in HD

Tokyo Game Show
OK, maybe it's not the remake fans were waiting for, but it's something, right? Square-Enix's 2001 megahit will receive a high-definition makeover and be available as a PS3 game and a PS Vita download. Final Fantasy X follows hot on the heels of several other PS2 games receiving HD remakes on the PS3, including God of War I and II, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, and the entire Sly Cooper Series.

This continues a trend of PS Vita games and PS3 games receiving near-identical ports. Multiplayer Vita games can play online against PS3 players and include many other connectivity features. Presumably, Final Fantasy X HD will have trophy support and scale up to 1080p, just like the other HD remakes mentioned above.

There is no release date yet for Final Fantasy X on the PS3 or PS Vita, but you can bet your memory card Caves of Narshe will report it as soon as it's made public.

Source: Kotaku

3DS Gets a Price Cut - With a Twist

Nintendo 3DS
Okay, so we're all aware that the Nintendo 3DS isn't doing as well as Nintendo would have liked. Even the die-hard fanboys have to reluctantly admit that the 3DS is not the badass system that anyone had hoped for. It's still definitely got potential, but that won't be enough. So, on August 12th, The 3DS will drop from $250 to $170. That's $80. Down to two-thirds of its orginial price-tag. That's pretty hefty, and what some might call "desparate". Your turn. But there's a PLOT TWIST.

For those who bought a Nintendo 3DS at original retail price at any time before the 12th, Nintendo are giving away some games on the virtual console. And by "some", I mean "twenty". For free. And I know what you're thinking, that all the games on the Virtual Console right now are for the Game Boy (and ONE Game Boy Colour game). And you'd be correct, at the current moment in time. But, the games being offered to the "Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors" are from the NES and GBA eras. 10 from each. The NES titles will be available starting from September 1st, before they are available to new 3DS owners. They will feature such titles as Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda.

As for the GBA titles, all we have for them are "before the end of 2011". However, the games offered here are Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong. You may have noticed that I only listed five games for each. These are the only titles that have been announced so far - and as of yet it is unclear whether we will have a choice of what games we download, or if its a set 10 that Nintendo will release. Oh, but there's ANOTHER plot twist. It's like Final Fantasy VIII in here, jeez. Wait, better not. Anyway, for those who plan on buying a cheaper 3DS later and buying the individual Virtual Console games: consider this. Nintendo have no plans to bring the GBA titles to the new 3DS users - only the "Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors".

As someone who's owned a 3DS pretty much since launch, this is only good news to me. Mario, Zelda, Metroid... Although I sincerely doubt how soon some of the release dates will be. I'd be willing to bet that they'll release one title a week, or something along those lines. One thing that Nintendo DID say, however:
"Once the paid versions of the games are released in Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost."
It's pretty much a win-win for current 3DS owners.

Source: Nintendo

Square Enix News Tidbits: Maybe Tokyo Game Show

E3 Expo
I know you're here at the Caves of Narshe because you play RPGs, specifically Square Enix RPGs, specifically Final Fantasy games. Well, if you've not been following E3 this week, I've got news for you: there's precious little of that to be had here today. With E3 wrapped, here's what Square Enix hit heavy.

The biggest coverage to come out of the conference had everything to do with Eidos. The Tomb Raider reboot, which really did look very nice, got a lot of press (including a long-form controlled demo early in Microsoft's keynote). That game is still scheduled to come out next year, but the progress so far looked pretty impressive for a game that far out. Later in E3, the Hitman series took center stage, with a big crowd for the debut trailer. Absolution, the new title, is also due out in 2012. Deus Ex was also everywhere - a third title that a couple years ago would have been part of Eidos' booth, but fortuitously has fallen under Square Enix' umbrella due to smart corporate buyouts.

For the core RPG/Final Fantasy output of E3 2011, you really can't look much further than Final Fantasy XIII-2. We reported earlier in the week that a new, longer trailer debuted during E3, and while I admit that I haven't watched it (as I'm afraid of spoilers, since I still have yet to beat the first one!), it seems to have at least generated buzz, though of course it's not universally positive. One thing that surprised me, though, is that the game was actually playable at E3, as evidenced by these videos posted by Kotaku earlier in the week. RPGSite managed to get an interview with the director and producer of the game, as well, during the tumult of E3.

There was no news about Type-0 or the new Kingdom Hearts that I've seen come from E3, which is very disappointing. I can't speak for whether they simply had no presence at E3, or if the presence they did have was merely news old enough that it wasn't worth reporting, but there was almost certainly nothing new at all to appear. However, the official Type-0 site updated as E3 was closing, with some new screenshots and character reveals, so all is not lost there.

In other happy news emerging from E3, Square Enix announced a big, round number from the Final Fantasy series, and you have to admit it's impressive: the Final Fantasy series as a whole has now shipped over one hundred million copies worldwide. That's more than four million copies of the games every single year - maybe that's not a huge feat given the many remakes over the years, but you have to think back to the eighties and early nineties, when there just weren't that many from which to choose. The company, wisely, didn't talk about whether that includes just the core numbered series or also sideline series like Tactics, the Final Fantasy VII Compilation, or games that were called "Final Fantasy" in some regions but not others.

Even knowing that milestone, you'd be forgiven for being generally disappointed in Square Enix at E3 this year. I would have expected a stronger showing myself, if I'm perfectly honest. But, if you're unhappy with the company's performance, you're not the only one. Even at least one Square Enix executive shares concern over the company's core game franchises, going so far as to call the lack of Japanese output from the company at E3 "humiliating." Is there a way to bounce back from this? Koji Taguchi, the aforementioned executive, is clearly worried about it. Got any advice for him that doesn't start and end with "remake Final Fantasy VII?"

That does it for E3 this year, as far as CoN is concerned. Hope you enjoyed our recaps and editorials, and we'll be back with more of the same when it's time for the Tokyo Game Show in a couple months, where one hopes Squenix will be back with more gusto. If I missed anything good, make sure to respond and set me straight!

Nintendo at E3 2011: Your Console? Our Controller.

E3 Expo
Nintendo was the main event on Tuesday, and based on announcements from earlier this year coupled with their performance in E3 conferences from previous years, expectations were high. Nintendo did not disappoint.

Right away, it was obvious that Nintendo was here to make a statement as we were introduced to the 25th anniversary of the Zelda series via a live orchestra. Shigeru Miyamoto and Bill Trinen talked about the many high points of the series as a whole, interacting occasionally with the orchestra to play some sound effects, then announced a few small things. First off, some port of Link's Awakening is coming to 3DS virtual console, and everyone can get a free copy of Four Swords. They also announced a concert tour of Zelda music, promised to come to "every region" of the world, so you can expect to travel to Papua New Guinea or Albania to hear orchestras perform your favorite songs from the series.

The Zelda bit was a bit underwhelming, with a lot of flair but not much substance, but the next segment - introduced by Satoru Iwata - was an instant remedy to a very un-Nintendo lackluster launch to the 3DS handheld system. We were treated to an incredibly impressive array of 3DS games promised to be out by this year's holiday season. We were shown a brief view of five key Nintendo titles to come out, and then Reggie Fils-Aime came out to show them in detail.

He began with the announcement of a new Mario Kart title. Though not a lot of details were given, it was promised to be tricked-out and clearly featured some hovering and flying elements along with some underwater racing. The karts seemed to transform a bit - nothing huge and out-of-character for the series - to accomodate the environments in which they were placed. The karts seemed a lot more customizable, as spoken about in CoNChat: "Bowser in a Mini Cooper." -R51

Following Mario Kart was probably the most impressive of the 3DS titles - Star Fox. The first push of the presentation showed gameplay from the outside - actually looking at the console as the game was played. They really pushed the fact that you can use the built-in accelerometer and gyroscopes to play Star Fox by turning the system itself instead of using the traditional controls if you wished. The screen images were small, but it appeared to be a pretty archetypal Star Fox game...until they got to the multiplayer piece. It looked like a pretty fantastic game that utilizes the cameras in a way to show player reactions to kills, whether the victim or the perpetrator. We don't yet know whether or not the multiplayer is WiFi enabled, but given that the original Mario Kart DS was enabled in that regard, gamers should expect that Nintendo would follow suit here. Anything less would be a disappointment and a mistake.

Smack dab in the middle of the 3DS announcements came a new Super Mario Bros game, SMB3D. Though Reggie seemed to be pretty excited about it, nothing that was shown in the trailer looked really innovative for the franchise. It looked very much like a Mario 64 universe, with improved graphics and some relics from the past thrown in, such as the raccoon suit from Super Mario Bros 3. Though it was one of the weaker titles shown, it simply wouldn't be a Nintendo console without a Mario platformer on just seems like it would've been much better suited as a launch title.

Next up came the continued revival of #welovepit in the form of Kid Icarus: Uprising. A heck of a lot of gameplay was shown for this, including a character who looked suspiciously like Jecht from Final Fantasy X. It was very action-packed, with some platforming sequences and some flying through the air. It also featured a nice-looking multiplayer mode that almost felt like Kid Icarus meets Dissidia from how the action appeared to work. Finally, there was an augmented reality card game along with the actual game, but not a whole lot details were given there. A nice and simple summary quote came in CoNChat: "I wasn't at all excited for this game but this looks good." - FallingHeart

Finally, an unexpected series came back to the forefront as Reggie announced Luigi's Mansion 2. Having never played the original game, I can't comment on whether or not this was vastly different from the original, but the gameplay looked fun with more mansion exploration, and Reggie promised that there would be multiple mansions to explore, which made me wonder if there were complaints with the length of the original game.

Following these five came a look at what some 3rd party developers were creating for the 3DS, including but not limited to Cave Story 3D, Pacman, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Eggman Badminton, and Tetris. There was also a less-than-exciting Pokemon 3D announcement that only seemed to be about the Pokedex. I described it as "like Pokemon but not fun".

Amazingly, Nintendo wasn't even at their most impressive following this pile of must-own 3DS titles. After months of speculation, the official announcement of Nintendo's next console arrived. It is called the WiiU, which was explained in a somewhat confusing manner about putting You back into the We so when We play the Wii, wii are incorporating You into the equation, so that You are never forgotten when We are playing Wii with U.

The first announcement with the WiiU came via the controller. It almost looks like an Amazon Kindle, with a 6.2" touchscreen placed right on the front of the controller itself, surrounded by two joysticks, a D-pad, and the regular buttons that you've come to expect from a Nintendo console. The controller is highly interactive with the system, as you can play entire games on that screen if the television isn't available. It was shown being used as a drawing tablet, being used as an Othello board, being used as a targeting scope to assassinate Miyamoto in some bizarre peeping tom game. The controller also had a camera and showed a couple of people using it to videochat.

More importantly, the touchscreen on the controller can act as a second screen for the video games themselves - similar to the touch-enabled bottom screen of a DS - if you have access to the actual screen. It is highly interactive with the original Wiimote as well, as we were shown a golf game in which your lie was shown on the new controller, you used the Wiimote as a club, and the television showed the course and your surroundings. They showed a potential Zelda game in which the touchscreen was the item-select menu so gameplay on the main screen would never have to be interrupted.

Even though the new controller is much different than the Wiimote, they are still going to incorporate most of the same hardware within the Wiimote to improve upon gameplay. For example, there was a game where you slide across the top of the touchscreen the fling shurikens, and one where you have to hold the new controller in a specific position to shield yourself from incoming arrows. Additionally, there was a pretty neat-looking game called Mii Chase where only one person has the new controller - giving them an advantage with an additional view - and everyone else is forced to control themselves with the Wiimote.

Once we were all introduced to the WiiU, Iwata came back out and dropped yet another bomb - a new Smash Bros game would be developed that would somehow be cross-platform between the 3DS and WiiU. Legitimately no details outside of this were given, but it was met with rousing applause at both the conference and within CoNChat.

Following Nintendo's own personal announcements came some testimonials from the heads of third-party developers talking about their own reactions to the WiiU and how they could possibly make use of it. The first third party game looked like some bizarre Lego Grand Theft Auto game, and it was followed by titles such as Darksiders 2, Tekken, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin's Creed, Ghost Recon, Ninja Gaiden, and Madden - many of which offer interesting changes for Nintendo as they are first-time appearances on their consoles and are much more violent than most offerings on the original Wii.

Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2016 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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