News from December 2009
When you think of an RPG that's been released many a time, you might well think of Lunar: The Silver Star Story. Originally released in 1993 for the Sega CD, this game was re-configured and re-released for the Saturn, the PlayStation, Windows, and even the Game Boy Advance over the last fifteen-plus years; now, in 2010, yet another version will be dropping for the PSP.
XSEED, the developer producing Silver Star Harmony (as this version will be known), is calling it "definitive." That seems a bit of a high claim for a game that's already seen so many versions, but if you are a Lunar fan and want to find out, you've got two options. The standard version will set you back thirty bucks, and will give you just the game; the limited edition is just ten dollars more but throws in a newly-compiled soundtrack CD and a package of thirteen collector cards with the "Girls of Lunar."
Forenote: In keeping tradition of updates every Friday, I would like to point out that it is, in fact, always Friday. But right now, it's Friday in England. So this still counts.
13 - Unlucky for some? Let's hope not Square-Enix. Final Fantasy XIII is now out in Japanland. Over the past week, everywhere has gone nuts. Sure, it isn't out in the West... yet. But even so, we don't have much to go on other than Famitsu's 39/40. My mathematical skills tell me that that means good.
A Final Fantasy XIII branded PS3 Slim is out in Japan, and will also be seeing a release in Korea, despite the fact that I want one. It's white, pink, slim, big (HDD-wise) and is coupled with matching controller and a copy of Final Fantasy XIII. Retailing at the US equivalent of $450 U.S, is it worth it? Even if not, you can bet it'll be worth a bunch to collectors soon enough. For those who already DO have a Playstation 3, you can look forward to Final Fantasy XIII characters and monsters in your Playstation Home! And they're absolutely free.... in Japan.... until January 14th. If we're lucky, we might be able to get to PAY for them eventually!
Square-Enix, always the money grabber, is also releasing the game's soundtrack in two versions. The standard, and the special editions. What's the difference? One disc, about $15 and a pretty box. The normal version is about $45, no prizes for whoever figures out how much the special is priced. But is it worth it without Nobuo Uematsu? Find out for yourself at the Final Fantasy XIII website, where samples of the game's soundtrack are available to all.
In addition, a lot more copies of Final Fantasy XIII were shipped than intended. Almost double, in fact. Square-Enix are definitely confident about this title. Do they have good reason to be? I guess we'll find out in the next few weeks. Or you could hide in a cave until the Western release. This news poster might actually try to get hold of a copy at release date (March 9th)! Try, and fail, because the Xbox version is still pending. Gragh.
Right. Almost at the end here, but something has come up that ISN'T Final Fantasy XIII related. (My aim in this post was to say Final Fantasy XIII 13 times. Did I succeed?) Final Fantasy VIII is now available to all on the Playstation Network for $10.... Oh joy....
When's Final Fantasy IX up?
Source: Ko, ta, ku
I'm a few hours later than usual in the Square Enix news tidbits this Friday; I got a bit distracted with designing some new elements for your beloved (?) Caves of Narshe. It's okay, though, because the news is a bit short this week. I'll just shoot through it on my way to my next meeting!
Final Fantasy XIII is under a week away now in Japan (ignore what I said last week, my math skills failed!). With that, one can assume that the news about the game will soon start to die down; for now, though, let's talk about Famitsu (spoilers in the link, be warned!). The Final Fantasy XIII cynics will be pleased to note that Famitsu did not give the game a perfect score; it scored only a mere thirty-nine. However, some would argue that Famitsu's scoring isn't what it used to be—four games this year have already gotten the perfect forty (Bayonetta, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Monster Hunter 3, and Dragon Quest IX). The only Final Fantasy game to ever score a forty, by the way, was Final Fantasy XII.
Yoshitaka Amano is still a Final Fantasy fan, though, Famitsu notwithstanding; the artist responsible for concept art for more than half the games in the main series has now contributed new art with his interpretation of the characters of Final Fantasy XIII. Beyond the game's logo, this is Amano's only involvement with the game; the characters are exactly what you would expect, with broad features, very pale skin (not you, Sazh), and a very sketchy nature.
Finally, there's a new commercial out in Japan for Thirteen. There's some new footage, not yet seen anywhere, in this ad; I'm not sure that I can recognize it myself after the torrents of Final Fantasy XIII promo media in the last few months, but the sources swear it's there. Maybe you can watch it and then tell me.
Finally, for those of you out there who still think a career in the gaming industry is all you could ever want from life, Square Enix is hiring. There's one job in Los Angeles for a job that's way too senior for anyone who's likely to read CoN; otherwise, plan on a trip to London to be a localization tester. You'll also have to speak English and one or more of the following: French, Italian, German and/or Spanish. Also, the pay seems pretty abysmal to me, but maybe that's just because I'm so rich and famous myself. I must say that I'm a bit surprised to see hiring so soon after the European division had significant layoffs. The timing seems awkward, and it begs the question as to whether more of the laid-off jobs could have been saved. Some of the folks laid off might just feel the same way.
The holidays are coming up, starting right now, in fact, if you celebrate Chanukkah. I'll be taking a couple days off myself to be with my family, so feel free to send me tidbits and save me some time!
Source: Kotaku, Final Fantasy XIII-Net, Siliconera
I got in my email a few minutes ago a pretty big list of updates and news with regards to Distant Worlds, the massively successful symphonic tour of music from Final Fantasy. Not only are there new shows being announced, there's a new CD release coming next year too.
Coming up this weekend, in Chicago, there's a pretty spectacular show planned; the Chicago Pops will be playing the first public performance of music from Final Fantasy XIV, for one; not only that, Uematsu himself will be there (as he will be for "many other DWFF Premieres," apparently). Oh, and he won't just be in the audience. He'll be playing with the "Chicago Mages," which I can only assume is essentially a Black Mages-style rock band made up of local performers. This show is Saturday night, 12 December, and as of the time I received the email, there were still tickets left.
Coming up, also, will be the first South Korean show, in Seoul, coming up on 6 and 7 February; then, over the summer, the tour will go back to Stockholm, then to San Francisco, San Diego, and back to Chicago again, with more dates and cities coming soon.
Finally, FFDW will have a second CD release next year, in June, just before the Stockholm show. No word on the tracklist for the new CD, just word that it is in fact new and will be performed at all the summer shows. I'll be sure to provide you with a nice AmaCoN link when the time comes!
Source: Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds Official Site
There are a lot of people out there who see the original Deus Ex as one of the finest games ever made, with its roll-your-own hybrid of first person shooter, role playing, and stealth attributes wrapped around a fantastic dystopian story. The love for this game continues even now, almost a decade and a mediocre sequel later; for that reason, many have been both hopeful and fearful of the third entry, should it ever arrive.
Now, you may be wondering, why does this have anything to do with our beloved Square Enix and its massive echelon of games? Well, the Deus Ex series belongs to Eidos. And Eidos belongs to Square Enix. And, in the nature of business as we know it, they're always looking for synergy across business units. So, here you go: pre-rendered cutscenes for Deus Ex 3 will be rendered by the folks at Square Enix Tokyo, the very same who have produced cinematics for your favorite SE RPGs over the years. Will it be the "A" team, the folks who just finished cranking out work for Final Fantasy XIII? Might it be some "B" team, the types who created the much less attractive FMVs from the Playstation re-releases many a year ago? Does Deus Ex even need these scenes? Don't forget that many of the cutscenes in the previous games change based on player decisions, so this might require a change to the core play mechanics.
What do you think of these events? Do we need more games with Square Enix-style cinemas? Will the design philosophies of the two offices clash? We might yet find out next year.
Posted in: Square-Enix News
Massive amount of Square Enix news tidbits this week, since I took a couple unplanned weeks off, there. Sorry about that, I know that all of you out there are dying to not comment on these posts.
As usual, most of the small news items you might have missed have to do with Final Fantasy XIII. You know, it's coming out in Japan next week and all. With regard specifically to the Japanese version, you might have missed the reveal of this game's Cid, with the surname of Raines. He's meant to be a general in one of the military factions in the plot; however, as is usual, he doesn't seem to have much traditional military look to him. You'll see him somewhere along the line in a game that is fifty-plus hours long, according to director Motumu Toriyama. And, as you may have noticed along the way, the official box art for the US and European versions of FFXIII was first published this week, too. To me, personally, it seems a bit too minimalist, but if you still had any doubts about seeing it for the Xbox 360, well, rest assured that this is not a fake.
With all that real game-type news out of the way, check out some of the goofy hype machine that's still working in support of the new flagship release. If you're in Japan, you can get the chance to smell like Lightning (the character, obviously, not the meteorological event). It's peachy! It's rosey! It's musky! It's over eighty bucks! Probably tough to import, too, as it's no doubt a flammable liquid. Over here, though, your goodies are a little less pricey and a little more useless. Thanks to all the people who tweeted about Final Fantasy XIII on Xbox (you're welcome - ugh), anyone who registers for it on Xbox.com will get, sometime this month, a free baby Chocobo for their Xbox Live avatar. Certainly cheaper than the pets you can buy; I'm sure it will go well with my University of Illinois hoodie just fine, though.
Now, let's move on, shall we? Despite the fact that Squenix is laying off again, in Europe, there are still new releases in other series coming soon. An unofficial Twitter announcment implies that Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep will in fact make it out of Japan, notwithstanding any rumbles to the contrary. Not only that, you'll also get to interact with Zack of the Final Fantasy VII universe. Does that get a fangirl squee out of anyone? Yeah, didn't really think so. Finally, on the Enix side of the house, note that a western release of Dragon Quest IX has just gotten a little closer to reality, now that the game's name has been trademarked in several languages for the European Union. Leave a slot in your DS for 2010 for a cooperative, customizable JRPG, it seems.
Again, apologies for missing a couple weeks. It probably will happen again pretty soon, given the holidays coming up, so if you feel like filling my shoes, go for it!
Source: Kotaku, SiliconEra, Go Nintendo
Posted in: Square-Enix News, RPG News, Gaming Industry News, News from Japan, News from Europe, North America