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News from Europe

Final Fantasy III for iOS Coming Fast


Apple
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.

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: News from Europe

Square Enix News Tidbits: A Time Sink Approaches!


Square Enix
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!
Posted in: News from Europe

Square Enix News Tidbits: Here Comes Everybody


After another brief dry spell in good Square Enix news, we're back with the Friday Tidbits again. I feel pretty confident that we're only a couple weeks away from a new blast of delicious news, though, as E3 is nearly upon us; the official conference starts on June 14, which is problematic given that this is also the first full week of the World Cup. Jerks. In this issue, we have news about how Squenix is a very healthy company, new info about the Western release of Birth By Sleep, some screenshots from the Final Fantasy XIV alpha release, a Squenix world record, some news not news about Final Fantasy Versus XIII (which still exists!), and a few other scattered release dates.

First off, if you might have been worried about Square Enix staying afloat with the mixed reviews of their in-house games, well, don't be. At the rate they're going, they'll have money to produce Final Fantasies up through XCVI, at least. Their top five games of their last fiscal year all sold over a million copies each for their year ending in April 2010, with three of them selling over three million apiece worldwide. That's not a low number of games, kids, and only one of them was not a Squenix IP.

Birth By Sleep, the newest Kingdom Hearts game is still coming, and now it's dated. It's coming September 7 (September 10 in Europe), and it is going to pack some high profile voice work, including Leonard Nimoy and Mark Hamill. If those two names don't pique your interest, how about James Woods? At the very least, that should appeal to hardcore Family Guy fans, right? If you're a KH fan without a PSP, Sony's even going to give you a $200 silver PSP bundle with the game, a nice big Memory Stick, and an unnamed movie. And it's not a PSP Go, so there's nothing to lose!

Everyone who got into the Final Fantasy XIV alpha is under a non-disclosure agreement. That means you're probably not going to get much info unless you know someone who really, really trusts you - however, Square Enix themselves released some screenshots this week. Might not be the most interesting information to come out about the game, but it's what you're going to get probably until at least E3.

Finally, you might have heard that our buddy Yoichi Wada stick his foot into it a bit this week, saying that the PlayStation 3-exclusive Final Fantasy Versus XIII might be on the table for a multiplatform release. Of course, since then, there's been some (probably Sony-suggested) spin that the initial statement doesn't necessarily mean anything at all. Since there's no release date for the game yet, it's hard to say right now one way or another. I doubt anything will come from it at E3, but Tokyo Game Show is a possibility.

Wrapping up, enjoy a couple more release dates. Siliconera has some release info you might have missed: the Japanese megahit Dragon Quest IX will be in North America on July 11th, with DLC to follow; The Four Heroes of Light, meanwhile, has been rated in Australia which means an English-language release is pending, and will almost certainly be popping up in Europe and North America sooner rather than later.

Source: Kotaku, SiliconEra, AndriaSang
Posted in: News from Europe

It's Happening Again - Mark XIII


Square Enix
It's happening Again.

OK guys, it's time for a long run. Partly because, as you may have noticed, Final Fantasy XIII is being released in but a few weeks. 18 days, in fact. Are you ready with your pre-order from AmaCoN? Let's start with the non-XIII related stuff first. Starting from the start.

As we know, Final Fantasy I and II are being released for the XIIIth time, the platform in this case being the iPhone. There's still no release date, other than a "available soon", however, there is a "Gameplay Video" of the two. They do indeed seem to be based on the PSP version, at least graphically, but we don't know whether it will include all of the bonus dungeons present. My guess? Probably.
Nothing on III-VI, but despite the wishes of a certain someone, it seems that fans of Final Fantasy VII are still confused about the response to a possible remake on the PS3. Well, let me spell things out clearly for everyone. Some day, it may happen. Some day, there may be work done on a remake. It will, however, be from the ground up, a project that will take a long time, especially with the capabilities of the PS3.

In the meantime, there's a remake on the DS. Totally. Confirmed.*

Skipping three more games to XI, there were rumours floating about the intersphere that their MOMGRP would be coming to a close this year. This, not unlike some baked goods, is a lie. Why is this a lie? I shall tell you why. Number one: FFXI is still the most popular PROMMG in Japan, and Square-Enix like this because they have an ego. Number two: That's terror. Number three: Hmm, what's that reason that many fans of Final Fantasy never played XI?... Oh, that's right, the monthly subscription fee. Yep, the prime reason they won't, or can't shut down FFXI (for now, anyway), is because they literally can't afford to. Well, I'm sure the avid players have no problem with that.

Passing over x/0 games now, to the Last Story. Hironobu Sakaguchi's new game has sparked interested in at least one Final Fantasy community, but what of his fellow Final Fantasy developers? Their paraphrased response was: "Why contain it?.........................It's cool!" Apparently seeing a release in Japan this year, Western players can probably expect it in 2011, provided there are no delays, that is. It's still early days.

*footbigmike closes last tab on non-FFXIII news, and opens up his folder of XIII links.

Late last week, Square-Enix released some comparison screenshots for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of Final Fantasy XIII. The observant few of us in the audience may have noticed some peculiarities with the screenshots. You COULD say that they're exactly the same. Indeed, you could, and a few days later, so could Square-Enix. Turns out that they were, in fact, not real. Well, they ARE screenshots, but not the ones you were looking for. They were located a couple of days further on, and released to everyone. Now, I'm no expert at comparing between PS3 and Eggbox, but what we have here is pretty....pretty.

In more and yet just as uncertain Final Fantasy XIII news, one of the next games in the Fabula Nova Crystalis Project (In English: Final Fantasy XIII Compilation), Versus XIII, is still a long way from release. Originally planned for an unveiling at this year's E3... well, yeah, it's not happening. And don't even ask about Agito. Meanwhile, Tetsuya Nomura is sticking to his goal of getting out one Kingdom Hearts game per year. Are they all good titles? You tell me. (Seriously.)

Last week, I pointed out the use of the DLC icon on the back of the Xbox 360 version's game case. It's lying. Not only is there not and DLC planned, but despite all the content cuts that were announced pre-release, which many people presumed would become, Square-Enix see Final Fantasy XIII as a full game, and no cut content will make it into DLC. Now, this doesn't mean that there will be no DLC in the future, some day it may happen. Some- wait, déjà vu. Square-Enix also responded to some.... unfavourable Western reviews of Final Fantasy XIII - a somewhat bitter response, some would say. It definitely sparked a response in one forum of certain interest. Are they right? Well, once more of us play the game, we can retort with more strength.

Other than Final Fantasy XIII itself, how else can Square-Enix make money out of the game? Why, figurines and bundles, of course. Sets of Squenix characters from Final Fantasy XIII, Kingdom Hearts, and even Chrono Trigger, have been figurine-ized. Are they awesome? Hell yeah. Are they for sale? Not a clue. They were found at the Square-Enix booth at the Toy Fair, so it's possible. As for the bundles, Europe are getting two! One, pretty much the same as the US version mentioned last week, and two, an Elite with FFXIII. No engravings, no insignias. Just a plain old eggbox elite. Not my pick, but hey, if it's cheaper, maybe. Not that we know if it is, yet.

Finally, a few publicity related items. Del_S's favourite singer, Leona Lewis, has been featured in an advertisement for Final Fantasy XIII. According to her, the game is good. She's in two separate ads for the game. In one, she's playing the Eggbox version, and in the other, the PS3 version. Again, no huge discernable difference, but then againk, it is filmed from the TV screen, and not a direct feed. (Leona Lewis Let's Play Final Fantasy XIII?) And as for the NBA Allstars sponsor, Square-Enix ran an ad for Final Fantasy XIII, though there did not seem to be any allusion to a PS3 copy. Interesting.

And that's it. It's time for this writer to wait for a few hours until Beta 4 of Goldeneye: Source comes out. Wanna play with us? Come to chat.

Source: Square Enix News, Kotaku
Posted in: News from Europe

Square Enix News Tidbits: Beating the Horse


Square Enix
This just in: there is still no Final Fantasy VII remake on the books. Let's please move on. Of course, it remains Square Enix' own fault that these rumors persist and that fanfolk continue to press the issue, but, please. Let's start a Facebook group or something to tell them it's okay to not remake this game.

Proselytizing aside for the time being, we'll move on to the week's Final Fantasy XIII news. For one, you may have forgotten that at one time, it was going to be a PlayStation 2 release. I'm guessing that were that the case, it probably wouldn't have been on the original Xbox, but one could theorize! Anyway, the point of this now is that Yoshinori Kitase explains that the gear switching from PS2 to PlayStation 3 cost the team a year and a half of the game's epic development window. As an aside to that, he also explained why they decided to rile up half the fanbase by including Leona Lewis. Finally, this week we got confirmation that the Xbox 360 version would in fact be coming on three discs, which might not be fantastic, but it's still better than it could have been.

Quiet on the non Final Fantasy XIII front this week, with just a couple small things to note. First, Final Fantasy VIII is out on the PlayStation Network in the United Kingdom and European Union now. While I don't really share Kotaku writer Plunkett's fervor for it, if you haven't played it yet, it's probably worth doing at least once. And, finally for this week, if you remember footbigmike's tidbits last week, you'll know about the release of the Nintendo DS remake of Dragon Quest VI. That game sold like a wildfire burns - out of the first million or so copies shipped, ninety percent are already in the hands of gamers. And people wonder why they keep doing remakes?

Source: 1up, VG247, Kotaku
Posted in: News from Europe

Square Enix News Tidbits and Green Slimetinis


Square Enix
Last week was another pretty quiet one, so I've lumped everything into another two week span. Plus, last Friday I was working madly on some other CoN development that I'll roll out eventually. Every tidbits, I start with the excuses. It's fun.

Let's kick it off with the best reason ever to go to Japan: a Dragon Quest-themed bar in Tokyo, opening next week. I would love to see if they have Slime-themed adult beverages. Please tell me there will be Slime-themed adult beverages. Perhaps a Green Slimetini.

From a different perspective in Square Enix corporate life, it's recently come to light that Yoichi Wada isn't pleased with the Japanese game retail industry and its xenophobia. Of course, some level of xenophobia in Japan is hardly anything new, so why should Square Enix care? Well, it's because now they're in charge of publishing games like Modern Warfare 2 in Japan. Now it all makes sense.

It shouldn't come as any surprise that Kingdom Hearts is massive in Japan, speaking of the gaming motherland. It's Disney! It's Square Enix! The buying queue will be massive! And, it was for Birth by Sleep; the newest edition of the Kingdom Hearts series, for PSP, came out last week in Japan and promptly sold almost half a million discs, blowing every other game out of the water in terms of that week's sales. Will it have lifetime sales better than the game it replaced at the top of the charts, New Super Mario Bros. Wii? Probably not, but it's still pretty impressive.

So, with all that non-Final Fantasy stuff out of the way, I'm sure you guys who aren't already miserable from thinking about Final Fantasy XIII want to hear more, right? Bam: here it is. First, here's the first new trailer with the Leona Lewis track and English voice acting, first linked to us by BlitzSage in the delicious knot of rage that is our thread discussing Leona Lewis' involvement in the Western game. Still want more after that? Well, Square Enix this week (for some reason) put some PlayStation 3s and Xbox 360s on a bus in California and drove it around so players could get an early look at parts of the North American game. No word yet when or if the content on the bus will be distributed over Xbox Live or PlayStation Home for other users, but the bus tour ends tomorrow. 1up says the game seems to run just as nicely on the lowly 360 as it does the PS3, though this isn't exactly a side-by-side comparison. Honestly, though, did anyone think that Square Enix would botch the cross-platform nature of this game? It's been a lightning rod (yay puns!) ever since it was announced, and the experience on 360 is simply something that Squenix can't afford to screw up. Also, according to Kotaku by way of Japanese Final Fantasy site FF Reunion, Final Fantasy XIII could have been a lot longer. They cut so much out, in fact, that the scraps on the floor could have been reassembled to create another full game, according to art director Isamu Kamikokuryou. I've wondered aloud already: maybe that's how they plan on creating the seemingly-off-the-radar FFXIII Versus, eh?

If you're still up for this game, though, don't forget that it comes out in about seven and a half weeks. And we know this is true, because now we know it's gone Gold - for those not familiar with shipping software, that's just the industry term for "the game is done, yo." This even includes the lip-syncing as seen in the aforementioned trailer, which, as you no doubt all know, has sometimes been a bit wonky for Square Enix games. So, whether you're still excited or not, this is still looking like a big deal, and it's getting ever closer. Enjoy, whatever your perspective.

Source: Kotaku, GamePro, 1up
Posted in: News from Europe

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