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New 2015 Orchestral Shows for 'Distant Worlds' and 'A New World'


Distant Worlds
It's that time again, where the Music division over at Square Enix (or whoever the heck runs these things) sends out an announcement of a number of new live performances for the "Distant Worlds" and "A New World" concert series. Since our last update, I did in fact manage to grab tickets to the Boston show, but that's old news now. Check out instead the new ones for a show near you!

The first new show is an interesting one that I don't think they've ever done before: there will be a show during E3 in Los Angeles this year, June 17th at 8pm local time, and Hitoshi Sakimoto will be in attendance as well as conductor Arnie Roth and vocalist Susan Calloway. It's at the Nokia Theater, which apparently has a 2,200-seat capacity for concerts; if they open that all up, that's going to be one big show. Presale tickets go on sale today, and general purchases kick in on Monday.

In July, the series moves to Seattle for two shows at Benaroya Hall, the home of the Seattle Symphony. Those shows are on July 10th and 11th at 8pm, and tickets are already on sale. No guests have been announced for those shows save Arnie Roth, but there's still plenty of time.

Further down the road, August 1 sees the tour arrive in Pittsburgh, with the Mendelssohn Choir appearing. Tickets for that show go on sale this Monday, March 9. Even later, Rochester, New York gets their first ever Distant Worlds show on October 29th.

For those who like the smaller chamber orchestra format of A New World, there are some new shows in new locales for that series as well. In April, at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, there will be a show open to all ticketholders for the con on April 17th. On May 15th, the show will come to Milwaukee for the first time - this show promises a world premiere score, and the debut of arranger Eric Roth as conductor. The last new show announced is a return to the Anime Central con in Chicago; the tour stopped at the same event last year, and will return on May 17th for a show open to all con-goers with a badge for that day.

Last note on this topic is that there is a third Distant Worlds album out now! It's a thirteen-track album with music from seven different games and some tracks that span multiple games. It's available in both CD and downloadable forms, and is available from AmaCoN now.

Source: Distant Worlds, A New World, Distant Worlds III on AmaCoN
Posted in: North America

Square Enix PAX East Rundown


Square Enix
I just got an email from Squenix discussing their offerings at PAX East this year. The company does have a sizable footprint on the show floor, as well as the panels mentioned in our last podcast and more, but today's email detailed some new information regarding activities and events coming this weekend.

With Type-0 coming out in just a couple weeks, it makes sense that it will be playable now, and so it shall be. Folks who play the game on the show floor will also get a poster splitting between Ace and Noctis; the poster is similar or even identical to the ones that you might have seen in your local game store.

Additionally, the Final Fantasy XIV panel on Saturday will be livestreamed. Feel free to look through the crowd for yours truly. This panel, as a reminder, will be an overview of the upcoming Heavensward expansion and might talk further about the future of the MMO as well.

There's also going to be a Life Is Strange panel on Friday afternoon. If you've tried this game, you might be interested to know that the panel will discuss not just the development of the game, but also will release some new details about the second chapter in the episodic game. Unfortunately, this one I won't be able to make.

Finally, for Tomb Raider and cosplay fans, there's a chance to get a limited edition Rise of the Tomb Raider poster on the show floor. A cosplayer by the name of Jenn Croft, who has portrayed Lara Croft for a decade and a half, will be at the con and folks who get themselves all selfied up with her will get a chance at the poster. Square Enix will also be hosting a cosplay meetup Saturday afternoon; unfortunately, it looks like they're doing it at the exact same time as the Final Fantasy XV panel, so I will have to figure something out.

In case it's not clear from the rest of this post, I am still planning on being there for Saturday, March 7. I'll be spending a lot of time on the show floor, so if you or anyone you know will also be in attendance, reach out to me on the CoN Facebook or Twitter to find out where I can be found.
Posted in: North America

Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster Announced for Playstation 4


Final Fantasy X
Late last year, we noted that a leak on an online store made it appear that the high-definition remasters of the Final Fantasy X series might make it to PS4. Not only has this week proven that to be true, the games are coming to the West, and they're coming quite soon, May 12 to be exact. (For Europe and Australia, the date is the 15th.)

This new release will allow transfer of savegames from the previous releases on PS3 and PS Vita; additionally, it will contain all the features of the previous HD releases plus the additional option to switch from the remastered soundtracks back to the original PS2 versions. Preorders of the limited edition in North America, via the official store and "selected retailers," will also include a 2015 calendar with Amano illustrations from the X games. Preorders in Europe will receive a steelbook copy of Amano art.

The price is currently listed at 49.99 for the US and Eurozone, and 39.99 in the UK.

Source: Square Enix Official Store (NA), IGN
Posted in: North America

Square Enix News Tidbits: Recordkeeping and Heroes


Square Enix
Time to do a proper weekly Square Enix News Tidbits! Mostly for the same reason that we always do - because we run out of time to keep up during the week.

This week, we've got two new announcements for game releases coming West from Japan. First up is a mobile app called Final Fantasy Record Keeper that you might have noticed in the Final Fantasy magazine. Record Keeper appears to be a retelling of critical events from the Final Fantasy canon as evoked by a boy tasked with keeping the memories of those adventures alive, presumably in some sort of alternate universe. Characters from the series are rendered in SNES-era sprites and the player will control them in battle. The battles look similar to All the Bravest... so all we can do is hope that this app isn't quite so much a joke! Pre-registration for the app is available now from the official site.

The second announcement is from the Dragon Quest series. Dragon Quest Heroes for PlayStation 3 and 4 has just come out in Japan, and Squenix commemorated the release in a way by announcing it also for release in the West. DQ Heroes is a "Warriors" style game - think Hyrule or Dynasty - and is the first entry of the series on a Sony console in quite a while. Simultaneously, a load of free DLC was announced for the Japanese release, and one can safely assume that it will also make it over here. One of the DLC packs looks to include Zoma, from Dragon Quest III; I note that specifically because I always thought his giant eye-helmet was pretty creepy. At the moment, it appears that there will be no PS3 version of the game outside of Japan, merely PS4.

Finally, let's turn back to last week's biggest news, Final Fantasy XV. With the demo livestream done, the XV team has turned back to handing out small bits of news for the full game. In an interview this week, Hajime Tabata noted that the demo coming out next month will be roughly 5GB in total disk size; of course, that doesn't do much for explaining how much real content there will be, but it's worth noting that is only about a tenth of a double-layer Bluray's capacity. In the same interview, Tabata implied that there would be some shocking moments in the plot and some brutal scenes, and it's worth noting that Tabata also worked on Crisis Core, so he's probably not bluffing.

In another, separate interview, Tabata discussed some of the other differences between the demo and the full game. The equipment selections, for weapons, armor and accessories alike, will be a small subset of the full game's functionality in terms of equipping and customization. While the (famous) cars and the (heretofore unknown) trains will not be in the demo, both methods of transport will be available in the full game in different contexts. Chocobos will also appear, of course. Additionally, the new content came with a video with some new scenes, notably exploration and battle inside a claustrophobic cave. A second new video emulates the feel of a nature documentary and shows more landscapes and creatures. Tabata also noted that the team is still refining the demo and will be continuing to do so.

More random news is cropping up today, though, so we might be able to throw some more good stuff at you in the near future. Or we might get lazy. It's Friday.

Source: Final Fantasy Record Keeper, Square Enix Europe, Siliconera
Posted in: North America

Square Enix comes to PAX East 2015


Square Enix
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
Posted in: North America

Episode Duscae to Debut on Stream; Final Type-0 Trailer Released


Final Fantasy XV
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
Posted in: North America

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