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News from Europe
In somewhat unsurprising news, the smartphone Square Enix RPG Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius was announced yesterday for a global release. The game has been downloaded six million times already in Japan since its release last October. Brave Exvius is a story-driven, turn-based title that follows two knights, Rain and Lasswell, and their young companion Fina on a very-Final-Fantasy quest to bring light back to the crystals of their world. The game supports parties of up to six, with slots available to guest characters pulled from other Final Fantasy games, such as Vivi and Terra.
The game is sprite-based for battle and exploration, while cutscenes and summon animations appear to be pre-rendered. The battles appear to be fast-paced, but not to the chaotic and frankly pointless level of All the Bravest, which alleviates some of my previous concern for the title.
There's no release date set for the worldwide release, but a playable version of the game in English will be at E3 next month. Six languages will be available at launch. Players can pre-register now to get bonuses and in-game items, with registration available at the game's official worldwide site.
Here's some non-Square Enix news that you folks are likely to appreciate: Nippon Ichi Software, sires of the well-regarded Disgaea series of tactical isometric RPGs (among other games), announced today that Phantom Brave about to be ported to Steam for Windows. Phantom Brave is a more under-the-radar title from NIS, though it's generally very well-regarded, with reviews of 8.6/10 and 9/10 from IGN and Eurogamer respectively. It's been released in the West before, first for PlayStation 2, then later for the original Wii, and finally for the PSP, with enhanced and expanded content each time. The Windows version will roll up all of the content into a new package to be released in July, specifically on the 25th.
It's worth noting while this post is going, by the way, that Phantom Brave will be the second PC port released here by NIS. It looks as if the first Disgaea (Afternoon of Darkness) is already here, which is something I completely missed. The version of Disgaea released to PC included upgraded graphics and Steamworks integration and is currently selling for $19.99, so one can expect the same from Phantom Brave this summer.
Source: Gematsu, Steam
After the many years of success enjoyed by the Distant Worlds concert tour, playing orchestral arrangements of Final Fantasy music worldwide, Square Enix has paired with concert promoter La Fee Sauvage to offer a similar show with the music of Kingdom Hearts.
The general setup is that of Distant Worlds, featuring a 70-plus piece orchestra that is local to the venue performing songs from the game series. One might assume that there won't be as much variety available as for Distant Worlds, but the Kingdom Hearts series does itself span eight distinct games now, not including remixes, remakes, and re-imaginings. I've never played a KH game myself, but I did do some sampling of the soundtracks for this post and I think it's safe to say that fans will no doubt find some very lovely music performed on stage. As a note, the Kingdom Hearts series features music composed by Yoko Shimomura, one of gaming's most prolific composers and the composer for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV.
The World Tour won't begin until next year, and is currently scheduled to appear in seven cities worldwide: Tokyo, Paris, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Los Angeles, and New York. The European shows all take place in March of 2017; the American shows are in June.
News really dries up when Death Penalty and I go a-travelin', does it not? Fear not, as I'm back now and he will be soon as well; however, don't forget that all of you out there are free to write news that we're missing!
The annual Gamescom conference was in Cologne, Germany last week, and as loyal readers will know, Hajime Tabata explained back in June that there would be no new Final Fantasy XV news until then. Storing things up for a couple months led to a news blowout on this hotly-anticipated game, as follows.
The biggest thing, of course, is the new trailer. Square Enix love their trailers, and with trailers like this who can blame them?
This trailer is a flashback to fifteen years before the intended timeline of the game, with emotional scenes between young Noctis and his father, King Regis.
Gamescom was also the location and time of the most recent Active Time Report, and it and the discussions around it formed the core of new Final Fantasy XV information for the summer. Among the sights, sounds, and tidbits released:
- Ambushing monsters, in this case a marlboro
- Pending polish to game visuals and battle system
- Pending launch of English/Japanese Final Fantasy XV forums
- Next Active Time Reports at PAX Prime and Tokyo Game Show
- Flight coming to the game, and likely not passive airship flight
- New screenshots of dungeons, towns, and other scenery
A girl who had previously briefly appeared in media released by the Nova Crystallis team, Lunafreya, was also confirmed at Gamescom to be Noctis' betrothed, an arranged royal marriage to ensure peace with Tenebrae. At the start of Final Fantasy XV, she and the king are presumed dead, but come on - we all know that's not gonna happen.
And, to bury the lede as I so love to do, not only did the team confirm the game will not slip to 2017, they also confirmed simultaneous worldwide release. How about that?
At the Japan Expo that just wrapped in Paris - no, this isn't mistyped - Dragon Quest maestro Yuji Horii spoke with the assembled press. Among more mundane matters, Horii intimated that the recent 3DS remakes of Dragon Quest VII and VIII would be released "in French," a move that apparently caused his translator some consternation at the time.
This was clearly something that Horii simply wanted to leak for fun; there's no release date, no other particulars, and so on. However, this is good news for all Dragon Quest fans outside of Japan. Someone like Yuji Horii wouldn't make this comment if it weren't true, and if there is bound to be a French localization, there's zero chance that other languages are not on the table, especially English.
Did you know Final Fantasy XI was still a thing? I don't think I'd thought about it since the last time I posted news about it, back in 2012. That's unfair, though, because the game is well over a decade old but still has a core of diehard players; it's just that none of us are included in that list!
Anyway, Square Enix had a Final Fantasy XI event today, in which the very definition of what Final Fantasy XI is changed somewhat. Most importantly, the final additional scenario to the game was announced; called "Rhapsodies of Vana'diel," the scenario will come in three parts and are intended to incorporate aspects of the game's history into new battles and loot in an effort to create a feeling of closure to the adventure. These three pieces will be free to all players.
The three pieces of "Rhapsodies" will be released in May, August, and November 2015. In March 2016, the game will be shut down for Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 players, which seems like it might be well due. This will leave only the PC version as an active platform. Sometime before the March shutoff, as well, the game managers are planning a final gameplay event called "The Goddess' Gala," which promises fun content for both active and lapsed players.
While the ancient platforms are being eliminated, though, a new platform is being announced; Final Fantasy XI mobile is in the works now for smartphones and tablets worldwide. The game will carry the XI name, and has optimizations intended to make the game more playable via touch; however, it is not yet clear if it will interact with the existing platform or will exist solely on its own servers and will be multiplayer only with other mobile players.
Also announced today, for release in Japan later this year, is a mobile game set in the universe and leveraging the characters of Final Fantasy XI. The game is called Final Fantasy Grandmasters, and while it will have ad hoc multiplayer, it's not to MMO scale and the gameplay based on screenshots looks like a hybrid between MMO combat and more standard Final Fantasy line-up-and-sword-them fighting. It's aiming for beta sometime in April, but again, there's no release planned outside of Japan.
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