The schedule for panel discussions at PAX East 2015 was recently announced, and a couple of them this year are of particular interest to CoN readers. On Saturday at lunchtime, Naoki Yoshida, producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV, will spend an hour discussing the first expansion pack to A Realm Reborn, titled "Heavensward." As described on the official site:
"Join FINAL FANTASY XIV Producer/Director Naoki Yoshida as he takes the stage to discuss details on the first expansion - Heavensward. Also, Yoshida has a habit of announcing things he shouldn't, so you won't want to miss this! (We'll keep the PR team distracted so they won't interfere.)"
Later in the day, a second panel will feature Square Enix personnel, this time "Behind the Game Designs of Final Fantasy XV." The two lead game designers of the upcoming flagship title will discuss the process of designing the latest game in the core Final Fantasy series; again, from the official PAX site:
"Join two of FINAL FANTASY XV's lead game designers, Wan Hazmer and Prasert Prasertvithyakarn, as they share their experiences working on one of the most anticipated games of all time. Hazmer and Prasertvithyakarn are attending PAX EAST from SQUARE ENIX's Tokyo Studios where they work in tandem to bring FINAL FANTASY XV to life. Fans will also be in for a treat with additional information revealed on the upcoming title, FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 HD!"
Of particular interest to readers here, by the way: yours truly will be in attendance that day, and I plan to visit both these panels as well as the Square Enix booth, where I plan to collect both photos and experiences around Squenix games (to share with you) and hopefully swag (which I won't). If you have requests of things to look for, or just want to see a bit of the show floor, let me know.
Source: PAX East Schedule
Later this week, Square Enix Japan will be running a live stream to present real, live gameplay from the Final Fantasy XV demo, which will be released next month with Type-0. Game director Hajime Tabata will host the stream, which is said to show both gameplay and the "systems" comprising XV, which likely means the combat style and user interfaces both inside and outside of combat.
The demo will begin at 6am Eastern time on Friday, February 20, and will be shown on the streaming services NicoNico and YouTube Live. There's no indication as to whether the stream will be geoblocked, so if you're an early riser or a night owl, it'll be worth seeking out in a few days.
On a similar note, Square Enix also released the "release trailer" for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD last night. The trailer remains in Japanese, but the company is quick to point out that the release version will allow the gamer to switch between languages. I would presume this trailer to be the last we'll see, as the game now releases in exactly one month and counting in the United States - the Japanese and European releases come a few days later.
Source: Siliconera, Square Enix Youtube
The new king (aka director) of the core Final Fantasy franchise, Hajime Tabata, is showing up everywhere right now. As the face of the series going forward, including being the director of the next two big releases, Tabata is now the man as far as such things are concerned, and as such he's making some media rounds.
Last week, Tabata spoke to Kotaku's Jason Schreier about Type-0 HD; among the tidbits of information uncovered is the implication that the game is progressing well towards release, with the bulk of the current work being dedicated towards refining parts of the original game to be more playable and in refining the content seen previously. Even more interesting, it appears that with the help of automatic and human translators, Tabata might actually be reading what the English-language gamers are saying about is games on the internet. Does that mean he's found us? No. Probably not. Just in case, though: hi!
Schreier also pushed to get a little bit of Final Fantasy XV information on the table; while cagey, Tabata was willing to speak to trying to maintain the March date of the XV demo, and also the timeline of the switch from the Versus to the XV name. There's even a little more detail that is new - the demo for XV, when it lands, is not likely to be part of the actual game's storyline, or might be a remix of a couple disconnected sections of the final game.
That's a lot of information, of course, and it's only a snippet of the full interview. But, if it's still not enough, and you're a Redditor, you're in luck; Tabata also has planned for Friday an "Ask Me Anything" about Type-0 HD on the IamA subreddit. It kicks off at 1pm Eastern time on Friday, but Tabata's people have warned that there will be no questions about Final Fantasy XV involved.
Let us know if you're going to participate in the AMA so we can keep an eye out, otherwise watch this space for future Type-0 and XV news coming up very soon in what is certain to be a busy few months for those two properties!
Source: GameInformer, Kotaku
As is their way, the Distant Worlds team releases a massive burst of concert information about once a quarter. Now is that time. It makes for a long news post. Now is that time as well!
Our last post talked about the upcoming shows in Toronto and New Jersey - I didn't realize until now, though, that the first of the New Jersey set of shows will actually be the centennial show for the traveling performance. That might make those tickets a bit more precious.
The new announcement for Distant Worlds this time around is to fill the gap between the New Jersey shows and the previously-announced pair of St. Louis concerts. I'm excited about this one because it's April 24 in Boston, the current (approximate) headquarters of CoN. Tickets go on sale on December 3, and I'm really hoping to snag some.
Also from our last post, we noted that A New World, the chamber music series, was wrapping up its season in Europe. What was then the final show for 2014 is still next week in Paris. But now, they've booked a new date for December 12 in Houston at Rice University. They'll also start 2015 with two February shows in St. Paul, Minnesota and one at the University of Michigan. It seems like it's potentially easier to arrange the chamber style of A New World than it is a full orchestra like Distant Worlds, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot more dates showing up in our next update.
Good luck to those going for tickets! Don't take mine.
Source: Distant Worlds, A New World
A while back, a wise newsposter said that the Final Fantasy III PC release could be a precursor to Final Fantasy IV. That handsome fellow was right, as the game showed up on Steam yesterday at the same $16 price point of FF3.
Not only that, there was another surprise today, when Final Fantasy XIII showed up as well at the same price point but on sale for 10% off as of this writing. Say what you will about Final Fantasy XIII (and so will I - I got sucked in after about ten hours and absolutely adore it), but the Steam version is as of right now the top selling game on Steam, and it doesn't even release for another two and a half weeks.
2014 could be the start of a very good run for Final Fantasy fans who are also PC gamers, as the two XIII sequels are also confirmed to arrive by early next year. Type-0 HD is even coming to Steam next March!
The timing of these releases and announcements is clearly tied to Tokyo Game Show, and there is a lot more news from Squenix this week. These two games are on sale right now and that puts them to the top of the queue, though, so keep an eye out for another recap in this space soon.
Active readers of CoN news (and of course, Distant Worlds fans) will already know that there's one more show coming in North America in 2014: Toronto, December 6. That show will be conducted by Arnie Roth, and will feature regular contributor Susan Calloway as a vocalist. Uematsu will be in attendance as well.
With the upcoming list getting thin, it's about time for some new shows to get announced for 2015, and that list is here! On January 31, the team will do two shows in New Jersey, at the Performing Arts Center in Newark. There will be a matinee and an evening show on the same day, and VIP tickets are available that include meet and greet packages. Not only will these shows include Roth, Uematsu and Calloway, they will also feature the first North American performances by Rikki, the original vocalist for Suteki Da Ne from Final Fantasy X. Tickets are on sale now.
In May of 2015, the series returns to St. Louis, Missouri for shows on the 15th and 16th. Uematsu won't be there, but Roth and Calloway will be performing and the composer for Final Fantasy XI, Naoshi Mizuta will be in attendance for the first time. The program will be changed up somewhat, bringing back the Final Fantasy VI character medley first performed for the 20th Anniversary show and two new arrangements from Lightning Returns and Final Fantasy VII. In addition, each show will have two other new additions to the program; the first will add in new Final Fantasy X and XIV music, and the second will add in Eyes on Me and Melodies of Life. These tickets are also on sale now.
The spinoff series from Distant Worlds, covered in our last post, has wrapped up its live performances in America for now, and has just two more upcoming - one in London on Halloween, and one in Paris on November 30th (tickets available now). However, a recording from a previous London performance is coming soon for purchase. It's described as "over sixty minutes of music and a virtually all-new repertoire" performed by a much smaller chamber orchestra. It seems like a digital performance is already available to buy from Bandcamp for a minimum $9.99 purchase, but there's no indication as to what will be different about the new release or whether it will be available only digitally or also on physical media.
Source: Distant Worlds, A New World