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News from Japan
For all the folks still hoping for a 3D remake of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI, in the vein of Final Fantasy IV DS, there's another bit of bad news now. Apparently, last week, a Square Enix Japan member asked Squenix' Shinji Hashimoto directly when we could expect to see those games announced, and the answer wasn't good.
To quote Siliconera's translation, Hashimoto responded: "As for FF5 and 6, there are technical problems; presently these are also undecided."
Now, of course, that doesn't mean never. In fact, as Siliconera reports, it probably means something more uplifting: in order for Squenix to know that there are technical problems, the odds are that they must have at least looked into the opportunity, and they might have even gotten so far as to try a few things in the FF4DS engine. Or, of course, it could mean that Hashimoto is blowing smoke and that answer is just a way of brushing off the question and the company has no interest in making the games. You can let your own gaming-related paranoia level be the judge.
Slated for July 3, Square Enix are releasing in Japan a "remastered" version of the Final Fantasy IV Soundtrack. Later in the year, similar albums will be released for Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI. There's not much detail beyond that so far, which naturally leaves some questions. The first question might well be the tracklist - will these albums be a full OST, which would require a few CDs, or is it a single-CD "best of" compilation as some other albums have been in the past? Second, though, and possibly more important, is "what on earth does a remaster of a SNES soundtrack entail?"
Given that these albums are explicitly called remasters, and not anything like the piano collections or orchestral arrangements that have been done in the past, it would seem that these new albums will still be chiptunes as they were originally, but perhaps that the chips used to make the tunes will be of a more modern variety than twenty years ago, creating the opportunity for more realistic synthesized sounds.
If you want to find out, you'll need to import, most likely - Squenix are not currently speaking of any Western release for any of these albums.
A lot of people have been looking for news of the Final Fantasy X HD remake since it was first announced, and those details have been slow in coming. Now, we might know part of the reason why: it's not just X, but also Final Fantasy X-2 that will see the upgrade.
When released for PS3, both games will be on the same Blu-ray disc; for Vita, they'll be separate purchases on separate game cards. There's no pricing and no lockdown release date, though next week's Jump magazine confirms that a 2013 release in Japan is the target.
Both games will be based on the International Edition releases, which is extra grand for X-2 as that version was never released in the West before.
With the beta kicking off, Square Enix released new content yesterday with regards to A Realm Reborn in the form of two new in-game videos and the application benchmark tool.
The videos are both in-game (for the beta, of course). One details a "tour" of several of the game's areas on both Windows and PlayStation 3, in which the environments all look lovely and the battles and events dynamic. Not sure if it's the video or the engine, but the PS3 scenes look to be a bit less fluid and more jittery. I'd assume that the PS3 version hasn't been quite as optimized as Windows as yet.
The second video is a developer's commentary (in Japanese, with some subtitles) in which the use of a gamepad to play is described. Since PS3 and PC users will all coexist in-game, it's important that the use of a gamepad to play the game is as functional and easy as with keyboard and mouse. To that end, it appears that the PS3 (and who knows, maybe 4?) gamepad will have at least three full sets of functionality available to the d-pad and face buttons, toggled on and off by tapping the left and right triggers. The default sets will also be customizable.
In case you've never done a benchmark before, Final Fantasy XIV's is specifically meant to see how your PC would do trying to run the game. Essentially, it tests your system to see its performance and to suggest to you if you need an upgrade of any kind before trying and/or buying the game. It's a 470MB file, so it's not necessarily something you do on a whim.
Of course, I did it on a whim. What they show in the benchmark looks absolutely fantastic. The second scene, which starts with a group of chocobo riders running through windmills, was particularly good looking. And my new PC scored "fairly high" at 1920x1200 with maximum settings and even higher when I dropped one level to high settings , so I would think that a gaming PC build in the last couple years with a less-than-HD video output would do just fine. Heck, it even kind of makes me wish I had the time to try to get into the beta.
At a press conference a few hours ago, Sony announced that both the WiFi and 3G versions of the PlayStation Vita will receive price drops down to 19,980 yen. This is a price reduction of 5,000 and 10,000 yen respectively, bringing the Vita's Japanese price down to approximately $214 US or 138 GBP. It is unknown if this change will be carried over to other territories as of yet.
At the same press conference, Sony and Square-Enix showed off the Vita version of Final Fantasy X, apologizing for the long delay between announcements. The last we heard of this HD re-release was in summer of 2012 in what amounted to yet another "please wait." Square-Enix was unprepared to provide a release date, but claimed that it would be coming shortly and to "wait for that."
So... Square-Enix told us nothing about this anticipated port, except that they're working on it and to wait some more. Gee, thanks.
Source: Kotaku, Kotaku again
For the large number of users who haven't caved in front of the Apple iOS megalith, it is disappointing to have a mobile platform that doesn't have many Square Enix games. (I wouldn't know, I'm already far too invested in the Apple appconomy.)
Squenix are now taking at least one step to rectify that - Final Fantasy Tactics is being refreshed and released for Android. So far, this is just for Japan, but there's no reason to expect that it won't be localized.
This Android release is very similar to the Apple release, with touchscreen controls for selecting options, and multitouch gestures to navigate the battlefields. The gestures are disconcerting at first if you are used to the console and PSP versions, but they work pretty well once you adapt. The Android version will even leapfrog the iOS port with crisper graphics and a higher framerate, though those features will be released to iOS as well sometime in the future.
Final Fantasy Tactics is becoming one of the more-ported games in the series now, and it's with good reason. If you haven't played this game before and have an Android device, it's definitely worth grabbing as soon as it's available.
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