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Final Symphony: Shows Scheduled for Symphonic Orchestras


Final Symphony
Apparently, there is a non-Distant Worlds Final Fantasy symphony tour that has been around a few years, but I don't recall having heard about it until just the other day. It's called Final Symphony and differs significantly from Distant Worlds; while the latter features arrangements that are largely orchestral takes on the original pieces, Final Symphony combines themes from a few select games into acts of a symphony, with each movement attempting to express a portion of a game's world through a new interpretation of its music.

Being a symphony, each show plays the same music, with no minor setlist deviations as one might find at a Distant Worlds show, and the bulk of the show comes in three acts, first from Final Fantasy VI, then Final Fantasy X, and closing with Final Fantasy VII. There are four shows currently scheduled:
  • San Diego, July 21
  • Baltimore, July 23
  • San Francisco, July 27
  • Auckland, October 21
There's also a variation on the theme, called Symphonic Fantasies, which has a more wide-ranging Square Enix bent. In four parts, this symphony arranges music from the Kingdom Hearts, Mana, Chrono, and Final Fantasy series. The only currently scheduled show for this series is in London, on October 6.

On top of this, there's a second iteration on Final Symphony, with music from Final Fantasy XIII, IX, VIII, and V - amazing as that sounds to me, though, there are no currently scheduled performances.

Final Symphony is available for digital download from Amazon.

Final Fantasy XV Release Date Leaked?


Final Fantasy XV
So, the information started coming out even before the event tonight. Planned leaks? That's no fun... but it does let me potentially sleep earlier!

In a video that's since been taken down, GameSpot reports a release date of Friday, September 30. No indication if that is for a simultaneous worldwide release, or Japan only; Friday is typically a Japanese and European release date, so if we're looking for something worldwide, it will be a shift from the typical American day. This is unconfirmed until tonight, anyway - Square Enix is almost certainly behind GameSpot's video takedown, which could mean either that it was wrong or that it was too right.

There are also two Chinese ads for the game that came to light today. The first one appears to hint at the new demo coming tonight, featuring a young Noctis in "a tale untold in-game," in which Noctis appears to be either very small, or the world has grown very large. Carbuncle's in there, too, and early reports are indicating that Carbuncle will be a bonus for users who finish the final demo and later get the full game.

The second advert, embedded here, uses Amano's art and digital modeling and animation to create a trippy, gorgeous impressionistic perspective on the new game. It's even got a neat Arabic-numeral version of "15" at the end that I haven't seen before.
Confirmation of this release date and other details will still be coming tonight!

Source: Polygon

Mobile Announcements, Mobile Releases


We last had a big update of Square Enix mobile games last month, and true to form, there's more information coming out now - in one case a new game and in the other a new release.

First with the new game, there's new info in Famitsu this week detailing the new mobile title "Mevius Final Fantasy." It's billed as being related to Final Fantasy games, but not a remake. This game has a bit more firepower behind it than many mobile games, though, with Yoshinori Kitase at the helm and several staff members who have worked on older games in the series. It'll be out in Spring for iOS and Android, at least in Japan.

Already out as of last week is a remake, but it's not from the Final Fantasy series. It's a release of Dragon Quest III, with a polished-up graphics and interface similar to that of the first two Dragon Quest mobile remakes. This leaves only Dragon Quest IV of the Famicom originals not to show up on iOS and Android, so one might think we'll see that crop up in the next year.


Source: Siliconera, Official Dragon Quest III

New iOS Game is "Final Fantasy: All the Bravest"


Apple
Contrary to what we (and many others) proposed yesterday, the new iOS release isn't Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, or a bundle release of both; it is, as laszlow mentioned after the original post, "All the Bravest."

What does that mean, "All the Bravest?" Well, it pretty much does what it says on the tin. This game is all-combat, all-the-time, with you controlling ten or more characters - I think I count twenty in one of the screenshots - at once by tapping them when their ATB gauge is full. The combat will progress through "stages" in which you battle various monsters followed by a boss. It looks to be pretty low-strategy, as well. There's no indication that you pick attacks per character (which, admittedly, would get pretty frustrating, pretty fast with that many folks in the battle party), merely that you tap them when they're ready and tap multiple characters in succession to create attack chains. The base set of characters appear to be generics, with jobs culled from the history of the Final Fantasy series. There are twenty of these, some of which are unlockable through play.

I think this game has a few things against it, personally. First, with most of the sprites being recycled from other games, odds are there's going to be no coherent art direction in the battles, and it's going to look like a third-grader's collage project - I mean, just look at the title screen. Second, and this won't surprise anyone, but much of the content, including 35 premium characters, are available via in-app purchase, and not for the initial buy, which is expected to be about three US dollars. Finally, if there's really not much more to it than "tap things when you're prompted," it seems like this is a mashup of Theatrhythm and Airborne Brigade, two other recent iOS offerings from Squenix, which doesn't seem terribly innovative when you think about it.

The game's out in New Zealand now, given the magic of world time. Since New Zealand has about nine people, none of whom I know to be CoN members, we might have to wait a little bit to see if my first impressions are indeed accurate.

Sources: Kotaku, Official All the Bravest Site

Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Fanzine


Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary
The festivities surrounding the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy didn't stop just with the official Squenix push. Along with the tributes and news posted at sites like ours, and the thousands of tweets and Facebook posts congratulating the company, one consortium came together to go a little further. The fansites Nova Crystallis, RPGSite, and UFF got together to create a massive fanzine with retrospectives, interviews, and lots of imagery to celebrate the event, and the results came out very nicely indeed.

Beyond retrospectives of the games and some of the ancillary Final Fantasy materials, there are profiles of many of the biggest Square names over the years, feature articles, opinion pieces, and even a few interviews. The magazine came out to nearly 130 pages, and is available in a variety of formats so that everyone can enjoy it. It's a really impressive piece of work and everyone involved should be commended for it. Hey, I'm not even going to be (too) bitter about the fact that we didn't get invited to be a part of it - it's really worth it that these folks stepped forward to do something so cool.

The full PDF is a shade over 40MB - there's no reason not to check it out.

Source: Nova Crystallis

Square Enix News Tidbits: Maybe Tokyo Game Show


E3 Expo
I know you're here at the Caves of Narshe because you play RPGs, specifically Square Enix RPGs, specifically Final Fantasy games. Well, if you've not been following E3 this week, I've got news for you: there's precious little of that to be had here today. With E3 wrapped, here's what Square Enix hit heavy.

The biggest coverage to come out of the conference had everything to do with Eidos. The Tomb Raider reboot, which really did look very nice, got a lot of press (including a long-form controlled demo early in Microsoft's keynote). That game is still scheduled to come out next year, but the progress so far looked pretty impressive for a game that far out. Later in E3, the Hitman series took center stage, with a big crowd for the debut trailer. Absolution, the new title, is also due out in 2012. Deus Ex was also everywhere - a third title that a couple years ago would have been part of Eidos' booth, but fortuitously has fallen under Square Enix' umbrella due to smart corporate buyouts.

For the core RPG/Final Fantasy output of E3 2011, you really can't look much further than Final Fantasy XIII-2. We reported earlier in the week that a new, longer trailer debuted during E3, and while I admit that I haven't watched it (as I'm afraid of spoilers, since I still have yet to beat the first one!), it seems to have at least generated buzz, though of course it's not universally positive. One thing that surprised me, though, is that the game was actually playable at E3, as evidenced by these videos posted by Kotaku earlier in the week. RPGSite managed to get an interview with the director and producer of the game, as well, during the tumult of E3.

There was no news about Type-0 or the new Kingdom Hearts that I've seen come from E3, which is very disappointing. I can't speak for whether they simply had no presence at E3, or if the presence they did have was merely news old enough that it wasn't worth reporting, but there was almost certainly nothing new at all to appear. However, the official Type-0 site updated as E3 was closing, with some new screenshots and character reveals, so all is not lost there.

In other happy news emerging from E3, Square Enix announced a big, round number from the Final Fantasy series, and you have to admit it's impressive: the Final Fantasy series as a whole has now shipped over one hundred million copies worldwide. That's more than four million copies of the games every single year - maybe that's not a huge feat given the many remakes over the years, but you have to think back to the eighties and early nineties, when there just weren't that many from which to choose. The company, wisely, didn't talk about whether that includes just the core numbered series or also sideline series like Tactics, the Final Fantasy VII Compilation, or games that were called "Final Fantasy" in some regions but not others.

Even knowing that milestone, you'd be forgiven for being generally disappointed in Square Enix at E3 this year. I would have expected a stronger showing myself, if I'm perfectly honest. But, if you're unhappy with the company's performance, you're not the only one. Even at least one Square Enix executive shares concern over the company's core game franchises, going so far as to call the lack of Japanese output from the company at E3 "humiliating." Is there a way to bounce back from this? Koji Taguchi, the aforementioned executive, is clearly worried about it. Got any advice for him that doesn't start and end with "remake Final Fantasy VII?"

That does it for E3 this year, as far as CoN is concerned. Hope you enjoyed our recaps and editorials, and we'll be back with more of the same when it's time for the Tokyo Game Show in a couple months, where one hopes Squenix will be back with more gusto. If I missed anything good, make sure to respond and set me straight!

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©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.