If you want your news more timely, don't forget that you can always submit it yourself! No, seriously, please.
This is a Tokyo Game Show wrap-up, and it was a little special this year because as we've talked about before, this is the 25th Anniversary of Final Fantasy. Because of that, this year's showing at TGS was as much about history as the future. In fact, there really wasn't anything shocking for the future that came out of TGS this year.
For instance, Squenix showed what all is in the 25th Anniversary Ultimate box, which we've discussed a bit before. They also showed a new dual-wield light-gun arcade game called Gunslinger Stratos, which has some pretty convincing looking guns aside from having analog sticks and buttons on both.
Also during TGS, the company released the first trailer for the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix coming out next year in Japan. The subtitles are unofficial and are not indicative of a pending Western release, of which none has been announced as yet.
More visually, check out this art gallery celebrating the 25th Anniversary from the booth at TGS. There is some ridiculously awesome work on display from a big chunk of the series - what I wouldn't do to have some of those folks posting here! Also visually, from PAX Prime, Squenix just published a recap video from their sidecar event showing what we all missed out on, with gameplay stations, some toys, and what generally looks like a press conference. Maybe it's just that it's been cut down to a minute-long video, but it looked a little underwhelming to me.
Finally, there've been two releases of note since my last delayed tidbits: Final Fantasy III for PSP came out in North America, and Demon's Score, an original iOS rhythm title, was released worldwide (an Android version is coming soon).
So, if these tidbits are too slow for you, please do feel free to help us out a bit. We credit our contributors and give awards to those who do it often enough, which is obviously the next best thing to getting paid.
Source: Siliconera, Kingdom Hearts Insider, Square Enix North America
While not affiliated with Distant Worlds, the Zellerbach Hall in Berkley, California will be hosting a special, one-night-only concert of symphonic music from Final Fantasy XI on 22 September 2012. Conductor Arnie Roth will take a bit a time away from his Distant Worlds duties to conduct the specially-formed, seventy-member orchestra, and Naoshi Mizuta and Kumi Tanioka (two of the composers for FFXI) will also be in attendance.
Tickets are on sale now, and start at $50, ranging all the way up to $150 for VIP access to the guests and special photo opportunities. Anyone who attends will also get an in-game code to get a special item within Final Fantasy XI, the "Maestro's Baton."
Source: Zellerbach Hall
As we've reported before, 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy games dating back to the original release in Japan in 1987. The Distant Worlds concert tour is marking the occasion with "official" dates for a commemorative concert, and this week they announced the only North American date for this special show: 7 December, in Chicago.
This show will have a specially designed program, with new videos and even a small museum of sorts in the lobby for all ticketholders. There's only one show, with no matinee or follow-up performance (at least, not yet!), so if you're interested, get in line for the 26 June presale to make sure you get your tickets!
Source: Distant Worlds
E3's gone away for another year, and as Squenix were largely cut out of the biggest, most-televised events this year, it's time to roll up the news for all of you Square Enix fans visiting CoN. The company showed a large number of games in their booth, as usual, with a great many slated to come out quite soon. Hitman, Tomb Raider, and Sleeping Dogs (you know, the "Dogs" game that falls right behind Watch Dogs and Nintendogs in terms of name recognition) appeared in the booth, as well as soon-to-be-released Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance and Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy.
Quantum Conundrum made a big splash, with its release date just a couple weeks away. I think this game was under a lot of peoples' radars, even though the game came from Kim Swift, one of the minds behind the original Portal; the puzzle play reminds me quite a bit of Portal, though the art aesthetic is a bit more Team Fortress, if you're extending the Valve analogy. With its large number of platforms and puzzle-based gaming, it really looks like it could be a mainstream hit - indeed, I've seen coverage of it not only in the gaming media but also already in more pop-culture media such as Entertainment Weekly. Check out the newest trailer, released just before E3, to get a better feel for what's going on and exactly how you might be jumping from dimension to dimension to clear a level.
Speaking of trailers, Squenix cut a new one for Theatrhythm for E3 as well. If you want to watch, make sure to view it full-screen to understand a little bit more about how the gameplay works, as it's really hard to see at the standard size. Then, enjoy the music, as it clearly remains the biggest draw for the title, but also check out more footage of all the different types of game play that make up the game, some of which I had yet to see at much length. There's also a good interview with the game's project manager, which sheds some light on the way the game was designed and where it fits in to the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary theme.
In fact, just check out all of the Square Enix content from E3. There are a ton more interviews there with Squenix personnel about their upcoming games, and I haven't even had time to watch them all myself. While you're there, you can even sign up to win a moogle-and-magenta PS3 or Xbox 360. Maybe you can check out the special cakes Squenix had at their invite-only E3 event.
Square Enix also wasted no time with more news from Japan even as E3 wound down. andriasang has reported in just the last few days, such as a new Transformers-esque racing and battle arcade game that will also be ported to 3DS, a teaser for a new Final Fantasy III release on PSP, and a third demo for Bravely Default Flying Fairy, introducing the battle and job systems.
Finally, surprise! There's another Distant Worlds concert this summer! A couple weeks ago, Dallas was added to this year's slate of shows. The show is this week, but tickets are still available, possibly including VIP tickets that get you in to meet guest vocalist Susan Calloway and Squenix composer Masashi Hamauzu. Free up your Friday night, Texans.
Source: Square Enix Blog, andriasang
Nintendo last night had their second major press conference of E3, this time focusing solely on upcoming games for the Nintendo 3DS. I'd expected something a little faster-moving, showing a huge number of games, but Nintendo took a slower, more methodical approach, instead going into significant detail on a smaller selection of games that are coming up very soon.
Most of the games there looked pretty good, speaking as someone who doesn't have a 3DS and doesn't follow it much. The fall-release Castlevania: Lords of Shadow sequel looked like it had polished camera work, and the vibrant Epic Mickey sidescrolling platformer also looked sharp, though the action seemed slow-paced in its demo. For RPG players, Nintendo showed the new Paper Mario, which uses as its conceit a collectable sticker book to control battle and other interactions with the world, and to me it looked like a pretty fun game.
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance came up next, and led with a trailer that really made it obvious that it would use a lot of the 3D capabilities of the system; some on-rails flying and coaster sequences look made specifically to have some pop-out features. The game will also support Street Pass, AR cards, and the Circle Pad Pro. The game will have quicktime attacks, as well as touchscreen input for "Reality Shift" attacks. The release date is still the end of July for North America, and a DLC demo will be available "soon."
One more game got an extended preview, Scribblenauts Unlimited, and then the conference shifted into a quick-cut video of other upcoming third-party games, including Lego Batman 2, a Transformers game licensed from the movies, a Rabbids game, and Squenix' own Heroes of Ruin, which also has a demo coming this summer.
The conference moved on to talk about the Nintendo e-store, and how it will connect to the new versions of Pokemon Black and White that are soon to be released, and then the whole thing wound up with more demo of New Super Mario Bros. 2, followed by the curtain falling. Not sure that this blew my mind, but it was nice to finally see one of the big three give more than a couple seconds to Square Enix. Seems a pretty far cry from just a few years ago, doesn't it?
Source: Nintendo E3 Portal
As mentioned several months ago, the team at Square Enix have been working on a new game engine to power their games of the next or next-next generation. Dubbed "Luminous," the engine purports real-time photorealistic rendering and even a developmental cost savings, making it potentially a competitor to the ubiquitous offerings from Epic, currently at work on the fourth generation of the Unreal engine.
At E3 this year, the engine appeared again, this time with the capability to show a "game" running within the engine. The game itself is not a real game, but instead a real-time tech demo, called "Agni's Philosophy;" however, assuming that this is legitimate in-engine work and not pre-rendered (it must be legit, or else Squenix will be branded utter charlatans), it looks simply amazing. The particle effects alone sell it, and the realistic facial animations, dynamic lighting, and the blazing fast focus-shift just look gorgeous.
Will it mean anything for games? No way to know yet. It's still a tech demo. I'm sure the hand-wringing has already begun, though.
Source: Kotaku, Agni's Philosophy Site