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News from Japan

Tokyo Game Show 2015 Lineup from Square Enix

Tokyo Game Show
Square Enix: Japanese game company. Therefore, it stands to reason that the Tokyo Game Show is a fantastic place to see their biggest upcoming lineup. Siliconera has translated the official list of TGS appearances and categorized them for all of us; here are some highlights, but head over there if you're interested in the (quite extensive) full list.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
  • Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Dragon Quest X
  • Dragon Quest Builders
  • Imperial SaGa
There will be a number of streams put on as well, starting at 9:30pm Eastern time on September 18th and 19th (mid-morning the next day in Tokyo in both cases). No word regarding whether there will be subtitles for those of us clamoring for English news.

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: News from Japan

Catching Up on Final Fantasy XV, Summer 2015 Edition

Final Fantasy XV
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:
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?

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: News from Japan

Load up on Dragon Quest Spinoffs Here

Dragon Quest
The Dragon Quest series rivals the flagship Final Fantasy for remakes, sequels, and spinoffs - hey, just see the last news I posted - and this week Square Enix announced a new one and published the first screenshots of another.

First, for Android and iOS, a new free-to-play RPG called "Dragon Quest of the Stars." There's not much for it save a new site in Japanese, but Siliconera reports that the game will feature the classic Dragon Quest behind-the-party combat view with generic buildable characters around star-shaped maps out in the universe. The game will be released yet this year in Japan, but no word about other locales as yet.

Also coming soon is Square Enix' take on the up-and-coming genre of "open world building games with licensed characters." We might have expected that to show up in the Final Fantasy universe, but not this time! Dragon Quest Builders puts the player in the world of the original Dragon Quest, with a big mallet and a charter to rebuild the kingdom. If it sounds like Minecraft, it looks it as well, as shown in these first-ever screenshots. You're not just building a world, though, you're also building safety for all of the citizens around you and also directly protecting them by fighting off creatures from the Dragon Quest universe. This game is intended for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Vita, with no announced release date and no indication of release outside Japan.

Source: Siliconera, Polygon
Posted in: News from Japan

Active Time Report 6.0: Episode Duscae 2.0, Type-0 to PC

Final Fantasy XV
The newest Square Enix Active Time Report was early this morning, and it was blessedly subtitled in English. The bulk of the report was, naturally, Final Fantasy XV, but some other things popped in as well. As in the past, Hajime Tabata and Akio Ofuji presented for a bit over an hour.

A good portion of the discussion today was seeming aimed at explaining to us as gamers what it means that the game is now truly Final Fantasy XV and not Versus, and it came across with a mildly apologetic tone and lots of reconciliation along the lines of statements like, "we tried very hard to keep everything from Versus with as little modification as possible."

Basically, Square Enix have come to a point where the game has changed significantly from what was previously known about Versus while maintaining enough to reasonably keep the game under the Fabula Nova Crystallis umbrella. Some things that they specifically called out were the loss of the previous female lead, Stella, to be replaced with the new female lead, Luna - more on that in a second. Additionally, the timeline of the events that start the game have changed, with Insomnia (Noctis' city) coming under attack from Niflheim after Noctis has left on his journey, and not as the catalyst for so doing.

Back to the female factor, it was clear that Tabata wanted to express a reaction to the oft-joked-about male-heavy look of the media released up until now and within Episode Duscae. The time spent on discussing Luna, as well as an un-named "dark-haired woman" and a "female dragoon" was clearly meant to show that there is more gender balance in the final game, but no real details emerged today to back that up.

In terms of technology, the pair brought up the Luminous Engine that was debuted a couple years back in the tech demo known as Agni's Philosophy; it's relevant now because the newest version, Luminous Engine 1.5, is a part of Ebony, the overall Final Fantasy XV engine. As such, they showed a new video showing Luminous Engine at work in Episode Duscae - the video was originally intended as an industry demo and recruiting tool, so it did contain some visuals that have not been public until now as well as some interviews with Square Enix personnel discussing the benefits of having access to Luminous. The video focused on very impressive particle and lighting effects, especially with regards to lighting of semi-opaque textures like human skin and the finish of a car. It also discussed (and showed via the use of wireframe overlays) the ways in which environmental influences like landscape and battle impact change the way that creatures and humans move in the world, and how it should avoid things like clipping or unrealistic limb movements. There was also a brief view of a city, Lestallum, that will be in the Final Fantasy XV world but had not yet been publicly discussed.

Also debuting in this ATR was a new tech demo called WITCH Chapter 0 [cry]. Yes. That is its name, and it is amazing. It's a demo leveraging Microsoft's new DirectX 12, coming with Windows 10; it was certainly used as a reminder that Square Enix are jumping on that boat early. The demo did look like a step up even from what we are seeing in Final Fantasy XV in terms of graphical capability. Real-time rendering of a day's sunlight in time-lapse over cliffs was a standout feature, as well as the realistic movement of feathers and dangly jewelry on what one assumes is the witch of the title. Even more impressive, though, was the "cry" aforementioned - the subtle changes to the character's skin and eyes as tears welled up and dried looked exceptionally realistic.

A few more tidbits of data were scattered about; one was a day out of date, confirming the release of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for Windows. Additionally came confirmation that there would be no further new XV information until Gamescom (skipping E3), and no further Active Time Reports until after Gamescom as well. Finally, the team announced that Episode Duscae 2.0 would be released on June 9 with new scenarios to play through and refinements to the combat system.

Tabata exclaimed at one point in the middle, "Trust us!" So, do you?

Source: Square Enix Youtube, Gamespot
Posted in: News from Japan

Episode Duscae 2.0 Coming in June

Final Fantasy XV
Type-0 owners: your voices have been heard! Well, okay, it's nothing to do with Type-0, but obviously some folks out there bought the game just for the demo of... okay, never mind, this never really clicked as a lede.

Seriously, though, there's a new version of Episode Duscae coming out in a few weeks. It looks to be an iterative update to the original, with tweaks based on feedback from the first release. There's no current update that describes any new content being added in, but it wouldn't be surprising to see some minor things pop in.

Keep an eye out on your own PS4 and let us know when you see it!

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: News from Japan

Nomura + Steampunk + Mobile = Rampage Land Rankers

Square Enix Japan recently announced a new IP called Rampage Land Rankers, a dungeon crawler/RPG for smartphones coming out next month. It's an amalgamation of a variety of artistic and gameplay styles, thrown into a big blender; for instance, the character design is being done by Tetsuya Nomura in a very steampunk-y style, but the in-game models look as if they're rendered in the style of Final Fantasy III and IV 3D. The battles, meanwhile, look like a blend between turn-based JRPG fighting and card battling, and the dungeons claim to be procedurally generated for a randomized experience for each run.

It also seems as if you will use different characters in each dungeon, up to ten through the course of any particular dungeon. Other characters will be summoned via the use of items, but it's not clear as if these characters can also participate in normal play.

The game will also have a co-op multiplayer of some stripe, as well as item trading with friends on other devices. Again, the game will be out in May 2015 for Android and iOS in Japan, with no other releases announced at this time.

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: News from Japan

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