News from Europe
With surprisingly little pomp and circumstance today, Square Enix announced the release dates for the Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD remasters. In a blog post earlier today, the company announced the standard Tuesday/Friday launch window of March 18 and 21, 2014, for the game in the US and Europe respectively. Also, "participating retailers" are willing to, for a limited time, upgrade all pre-orders of the Playstation 3 version of the game to the Limited Edition, which includes an artbook built into the packaging.
Some users are questioning why there will be no Playstation 4 release, since the original plan was to release these games in 2013. The company has not spoken to this question, though one would think that the PS4's version of Playstation Network would make a digital distribution possible sometime in the future.
Source: Square Enix Members Blog
The Square Enix news tidbits have been on hi-ya-toos for way, way too long. It's hard to get back on that wagon, so it's a fine time to remind the readers that we'll gladly solicit news from any of you out there. We generally ask that you be marginally literate, but we're flexible.
So, what have we missed recently? Well, plenty of Squenix news, of course, but really, not that much. As we all know, the times between E3 and Tokyo Game Show can be a bit quiet for the company, and the biggest releases coming up in the near future for the Japanese giant aren't quite yet here. That said, let's spend some time on those releases now, starting with A Realm Reborn. The Final Fantasy XIV reboot will be released for PC and PlayStation 3 in just a couple days, now; in fact, those with early access to the release should be getting it in a matter of hours.
To keep the appetite up for the game, Squenix have been showing quite a bit of video. A couple days back, a video premiered showing off more than a half-dozen high-level dungeons in different environments, complete with some requisite big evil like dragons, Marlboros, and Tonberries. Everyone's favorite, Magitek Armor, even makes an appearance towards the end. More recently (today, in fact!), another video came out, this time giving the glamour treatment to Primals, the name given to high-level bosses in the game. These, too, look pretty brutal - an enormous behemoth at the beginning might be the least impressive beast shown.
The next big (brand-new) release for the company once XIV is out the door is, of course, Lightning Returns. This game has had what seems like dozens of small parcels of data revealed over the time since its announcement; this week, another trailer came out, featuring a lot of combat, a fair chunk of Sazh, and a pretty blunt question: who will you save, and who will you sacrifice? Much further back in history, the company also made public that Vanille would appear in the game, under the protection of a religious faction in control of one of the game's four unique continents. The same article revealing Vanille also mentions a bit about shopping in the game, and how one will be able to buy real battle equipment but also fashion accessories for Lightning in the game's stores.
In news that will be potentially extra-interesting to those who enjoyed our Seiken Densetsu 3 podcast, Squenix have registered for trademarks on "Rise of Mana" in both Europe and Japan. The Mana series has obviously been one of the most extensive for Square in the last twenty years, behind only Final Fantasy, so it's no big surprise that something else would be showing up in that series; however, given that there's no other information, and the company's recent track record with their use of legacy IPs, this could well be a social game.
So, we can't really cover everything, of course, not when we sit on news for a month before posting it. So, let's wrap up with some fun merch news! Since everyone loved All the Bravest, of course, they'd probably want some keychains, right? Maybe a set of twenty-nine? No joke, some of those would be pretty great to have, but you can only buy the whole set at once, and the retail price comes out to about a hundred and ten dollars American. So... let me know how they turn out when you get yours. And, since I can't let Slime-related merchandise slip past me, despite not having played a Dragon Quest game in, like, twenty-five years, let's wrap with that. Here's a USB-based controller that looks like a fat DualShock 2 with a bunch of Slimes on it. It's currently only for Japan, and is listing at $40 equivalent, which is a bit steep. But, it's USB, so there are no importing issues if you simply must have it; however, if you want a wired controller for your PC, you really can't do any better than the one you can already get for an Xbox 360.
Let's call that a day for these tidbits. I know you all, you stopped reading paragraphs ago, right? If not, we'll try to keep up on the news a little better going forward!
Source: Siliconera, CVG, Nintendo Enthusiast
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