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News from Europe
The original Final Fantasy XIV crashed and burned, and was shut down a couple months back. Even before that, though, the reboot of the Final Fantasy XIV universe, subtitled "A Realm Reborn," was announced and put into alpha. The buzz around the new version is pretty positive so far, with the proposed changes and media released to the public all being met with reactions that I would categorize as "generally pleased."
That uptick in user opinion hit its first peak yesterday, as the XIV team at Squenix released an extended Realm Reborn trailer. This trailer is not completely new, but it must be said, it is one of the most visually impressive CG scenes I've seen Squenix ever do. I spent a lot of time watching it and wishing that it was actually a scene from a Final Fantasy Tactics sequel, given the varied job classes and armored chocobos on display throughout. Having that sort of FFT feel even makes me want to try it out a bit, and I've never had any interest in an MMO at all.
Perhaps I could try it out a bit, in fact - as part of this information release yesterday, applications for the Western beta phase were also opened. As mentioned before, there will be four beta phases in all, with the first phase starting in Japan only sometime around the middle of February. The current deployment schedule allows for between seven and eighteen weeks across all four phases; the short end of that window seems really aggressive and pretty unrealistic to me, while eighteen weeks seems more managable and would result in an early-summer release. Only the final two phases will include gamers outside of Japan, and only the final phase will include PlayStation 3 gamers. The final phase will also allow characters created to be imported into the released game.
If you're interested in having a go at this, there are signup pages for both North America and Europe. Good luck to all those who apply!
Just how prevalent is downloadable content these days? Well, think back a few weeks. You might have heard that Bioware took heat on Mass Effect 3 for offering day-one DLC that wasn't available to everyone for free. Final Fantasy XIII-2 is taking a bit of heat for the same thing, of course, so it's really awesome intercorporate synergy that you will soon be able to download Mass Effect content into Final Fantasy XIII-2, namely armor worn by the crew of the Normandy. In a separate pack, you can also download Ultros and Typhon to fight and add to your monster pack. Ultros is a SYN, and Typhon is a COM, for those already excited by the prospect.
With regards to other Squenix games with DLC, check out the news this week that Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy now is confirmed to come to the West. That link discusses Europe specifically, but the release was also confirmed for North America on the Square Enix Facebook page.
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is coming out in Japan next Thursday, a release that has been anticipated since the Nintendo 3DS was announced. With the game all but out now, video from the Premiere Event to show the game and celebrate the tenth anniversary of the franchise showed up online. Additionally, an advertisement made from game footage and clips of the event has been on the air in Japan. andriasang has both on one convenient page for KH fans.
Finally, a new domain has been registered and a teaser video produced for a mystery new game, apparently to be released this Summer in Japan. Rumor has it that the game will be called Crystal Conquest, but no other details are available. Kotaku guesses that it will be a smartphone game, and that seems like a pretty reasonable guess.
Source: andriasang, Square Enix Members Europe, Kotaku
Yep, hot on the heels of the launch to the PlayStation Network, Chrono Trigger is now coming to iOS "next month." An exact release date is not yet known, since it has to go through the iTunes store; the price is still unconfirmed as well (though other releases have been at around the sixteen-dollar price point). Eurogamer also claims that a port for Android is on the way, as well.
The game's going to be released worldwide, and will be available in seven different languages. It is not yet clear from which version this port will be derived, so the presence of the Toriyama animated cutscenes or Nintendo DS bonus content is, as yet, unconfirmed.
Source: Eurogamer.net, Kotaku
While shaken as a nation, quite well battered as individuals, Japan and specifically Square Enix are not about to give up and walk away. Even in the midst of disaster, the company is sending news out worldwide for gamers, with more to come in the following weeks. Here's what is up right now for the gaming megalith.
The best-selling Dragon Quest game of all time, DQIX, managed to move 5.3 million units worldwide as of the end of December of last year; that's nearly ten percent of the sum of all Dragon Quest sales, which I suppose makes sense, given that there have been almost ten of them (some with a few re-releases, of course). It's the first game in the series to cross the 5 million mark, though, and one has to compare that with the massive 9.8 million number of Final Fantasy VII for a benchmark.
In other news from the Enix side of the house, it appears that the sequel to the game released as Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime in the west will be coming for the Nintendo 3DS. There's no annoucement for the US or Europe as yet, but it looks like it will be coming to Japan before the end of this year. It's going to have a lot of action at sea, a change of pace from the tank battles of the second game (the one we got here).
The demo for Duodecim is out in North America this week; hilariously, the demo for Europe was also announced - two days before the launch of the full game. Enjoy!
If you've been interested in Final Fantasy Type-0 since the last time we talked about it, we hope to have more news next week. According to andriasang, Famitsu will have a new preview in their issue next Thursday. If the translators get to work, we could have some new info in time for tidbits next week. Wouldn't that be lovely? I missed this somewhere along the way, but it looks like there might be a playing card theme to the names of many of the twelve main characters: Rem, Machina, Cinque, Seven, Trey, Eight, Nine, Jack, and Queen.
Finally for this week, if you're a Canadian looking for work, Squenix might have something for you next year. Eidos Montreal, home of the new Deus Ex, is still in play, but apparently the company is in talks with several provinces for a new studio in the Great White North. Way too early to know what games the company might be thinking for this new location.
Source: andriasang, Joystiq
It was just a couple weeks ago that we found out about Final Fantasy III for iOS devices. Well, okay, the CoN News Team missed it entirely, but member Aeris-Logan did not. For those who have missed it, the Final Fantasy III release for Apple hardware will be a port of the Nintendo DS version, altered obviously to allow the use of a single touch screen without control pad.
Things have been moving fast since then, though; not only is the game going to drop in March (and March is over one-third over already!), it's going to get a simultaneous worldwide release on iTunes in eight languages. In addition to the obvious Japanese and English, players who read French, Italian, German, Spanish, or two variants of Chinese will get a localized version as well - that's significant effort going into this release.
The final release date hasn't been announced, and iTunes does things on its own schedule anyway. Pricing isn't out yet either, but other similar Squenix games on the service sit at $8.99 in the United States, even older games. Expect that price or your local equivalent.
Final Fantasy XIV is coming. The closed beta is now winding down, and European and North American gamers will all be able to jump into the open beta sometime overnight between August 31 and September 1. That is, in fact, only five days and counting, so if you were bitter about folks that got into the closed beta but couldn't do much due to the limited hours and crashing, you need no longer be jealous. Also new is this brand new trailer, which is of course made of unfiltered pretty, but as befitting its upcoming open beta shows more gameplay than previous trailers (and breaks out lots of epic tunes to boot).
For those who have not been following, it appears that Final Fantasy XIV won't let you grind as if you're getting paid to do so rather than paying for the privilege. While, just like in Final Fantasy XI, you can change jobs fairly easily, you are going to be allotted only eight hours per week of full experience earning in each job, and only another seven hours per week of steadily-decreasing EXP. After fifteen hours in a job in a week, you will get no experience at all in that job. Naturally, this has caused an uproar among the hardcore MMO players, as their desire to play their game with every free waking minute might not be met by the new Final Fantasy. For me, though? It actually kind of makes me want to try the beta, and I've never said that about any MMO. The fewer hardcore players there are, the more I think I'd like it.
The launch date for PC is still tagged for the end of September worldwide, and for PlayStation 3 in March of 2011. No break yet on the impasse of bringing it to 360.
The Tokyo Game Show is now on the horizon since Gamescom is over, and it's time to start looking at what might crop up there for Square Enix. Mindjack will almost certainly be part of it, but it's hard to tell where the game is at, because some retailers are moving the North American release date out to January 2011. There could be a soccer title in the works, as Square Enix Europe has filed new trademarks for titles including "Manager," including "Championship Manager Legends." Dedicated soccer fans know that Championship Manager was once the premier soccer sim in the world, and that Eidos still holds that brand even though the original developers left to create the Football Manager games instead. Might only show at TGS if you can manage a J-League team, though. SaGa might appear, as Squenix have launched yet another of their famous teaser sites, this time with "SaGa" in the URL. I bet The 3rd Birthday will show up, too, as it's nearing release and getting lots of play over in Japan. And for Parasite Eve fans out there, andriasang reports that the success of The 3rd Birthday will dictate the future of the Parasite Eve franchise.
What probably won't be at TGS, though? Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Despite having seen more of it recently, Square Enix won't commit to launching the game anywhere in 2011. There might be some level of visibility at the show, but it probably won't be anything much more than we've seen previously. What could be taking so long, one must wonder - it's a single-platform game, after all. Perhaps Squenix are just spreading their employees too thin.
Final note for the day, and it's not Square but CoN. Over the years, I've prattled plenty about Alexa rankings, and how they mean nothing but are still fun when they show CoN climbing the ranks. Now, the folks at Nmap have created a side project around Alexa and site favicons (those little icons that show up next to the URL in your browser, or next to the bookmark you no doubt created for CoN long ago). The software they wrote grabbed the first 288,945 favicons starting at site number one, and then scaled them in size based on the site's popularity and inserted into a giant mosaic. Of course you have figured out by now that CoN is in that mosaic - search for it and you'll see! I will warn you, though, since naked ladies are a big part of how the internet works, you might find some icons in searching around that aren't safe for work. Search at your own risk!
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