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News from September 2010

Nintendo 3DS Gets Official Release Info


Nintendo 3DS
As of yesterday, the newest addition to Nintendo's DS handhelds was given an official Japanese release date and price; it will be available in Japan on February 26, 2011 in two stylin' colors: blue and black. Er, Aqua Blue and Cosmos Black. As for the price, the 3DS is set to sell for the Japanese equivalent of $300.

If that sounds steep to you, don't get too worried just yet: it's almost certainly due for a price cut when released in the US market (our own humble site founder has estimated a price of $250: don't make him wrong, Nintendo), which should be sometime in March 2011.

In case you've forgotten how this news pertains to CoN, there are several Square Enix titles in development for the 3DS. The original Kingdom Hearts game will be getting a 3D port-sorta. The Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises will also be making eventual appearances on the handheld, in addition to Chocobo Racing 3D.

Also, there's a little something called Kid Icarus: Uprising on the horizon that a few members may or may not be marginally interested in...

Source: Kotaku, IGN

Happy Belated Birthday, Death Penalty!


Caves of Narshe Site News
CoN member Death Penalty had a birthday last weekend, which we didn't get around to posting to the Greetings forum. We've all gotten a bit bad about that lately, haven't we? Of course, by now, you're probably wondering why that's any kind of CoN news. That's a good question, with a better answer: DP is, as of a few days ago, our newest staff member! He's part time right now, as he acclimates to his other new role, that of a college student, and we look forward to him getting started as both our new quizmaster and a copy editor for some upcoming projects we're working on.

Bottom line is this: DP's a pretty robust gamer, so you can expect some really good stuff coming up soon in our quizzes. With his help, we'll continue to beat on you and force you into poor scores for a long time to come, so be sure to congratulate DP on his new roles at CoN before you take next month's quizzes.

In other news, we gave a little bit of a bump for AmaCoN this week. If you use Firefox or Chrome, you can now add an AmaCoN search engine to your browser, and search for items any time you have your browser open. To use it, just visit AmaCoN. Once you're there, you can add the search to your browser by clicking the search engine icon near the earch box in the top right corner of Firefox, or, for either Firefox or Chrome, by clicking the link below the search box for your country. This is a bit of a clumsy process, I understand, but it should make things nice and easy for you, the shoppers, so give it a try and let me know if you have any problems!
Posted in: CoN Site News

Disgaea 4 Announced at Tokyo Game Show


Playstation 3
Announced early this morning at TGS, Disgaea 4 will be available for Japanese PS3 gamers on February 4th, 2011. The sprites and visuals are HD-quality (one of the major knocks against Disgaea 3 was its muddy visuals), tower attacks are crazier than ever, and D4 looks to further expand the SRPG insanity of Nippon Ichi's signature series to new heights. The game will also boast unrevealed "network features" that could be anything from leaderboards to versus or co-op multiplayer. No specifics on the network features were disclosed at the presentation.

The main character's a vampire named Valbadose, who's trying to overthrow his Netherworld's Overlord. Other characters shown at the end of the trailer are a man with a wolf's tail, a teenage girl and young boy wearing Prinny hats, and Axel from Disgaea 2. The presence of the vampire and wolf-boy have led some fans to suggest that Disgaea 4 could contain a parody of the Twilight film series in some way (God help us).

Expect more information to come from Nippon Ichi as the game nears its Japanese release date of February 4th, 2011.

Source: Disgaea 4 trailer (YouTube)

Final Fantasy Tactics for iOS Delayed


Final Fantasy Tactics
Got an iPhone? Love Final Fantasy Tactics? As we reported back during E3, Square Enix is bringing FFT and Secret of Mana to the iPhone (and, presumably at some point, the iPad).

Well, the announced release date for the game, 15 September, has now come and gone, and word has come today that the game has obviously been delayed, and no new release date has been announced as yet.

Frankly, I forgot this was coming out, because I still haven't finished my PSP game. I don't really need it for my iPhone. Hope it's not to disappointing for any of you wanting it, though, particularly if you were waiting for it on the iPad.

Source: Gizmodo

Square Enix News Tidbits: Tokyo Game Shobits


Tokyo Game Show
In addition to the pre-TGS news we shared the other day, Square Enix has been releasing more info over the course of the week in preparation for the weekend's open-to-the-public exhibits. The bottom line for all of this is that Square Enix is showing some major love to PSP at this Tokyo Game Show, and that smugglers inside the show are bringing out some video that people have been waiting a very long time to see.

On Wednesday, some early screenshots from the Tactics Ogre remake for PSP showed up on andriasang. They're nothing really unexpected, but they do look great, pretty much exactly as fans should expect them to look. However, yesterday out of TGS came a blowout of screens and information for upcoming PSP releases, including the announcement of the Japan-only Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and a few more screens from The 3rd Birthday. Additionally, more info was released for [duodecim], the new Dissidia game. First, there will be small product-code tie-ins between [duodecim] and the two aforementioned games, which will allow Lightning to dress up as Aya Brea, and Cloud to change from his Final Fantasy VII look to his Kingdom Hearts costume. It's doubtful that these codes will make the leap to the West, though, as the Final Mix game won't even be released here. [duodecim] also showed a control chart at TGS, for players wanting to try the beta in the booth. andriasang reports that the controls are pretty similar to that of the original. Something new, though, is that Lightning will be bringing her Paradigm Shifts to the Dissidia series - no word yet as to whether other characters might get a similar additional battle system.

Moving away from the PSP somewhat, there's good news for people who still want to see Final Fantasy Versus and Agito XIII. A YouTube user at the show was able to record video from the Squenix booth for both games, and while Square Enix successfully got them yanked from YouTube already, the cat is in fact out of the bag and Kotaku has the videos hosted currently. They may not last up there, either, though, so check them out quick, unless you just want to wait for the non-shakycam official releases that are sure to be forthcoming. Versus shows off some running and jumping, and a battle against a pretty awesome looking Behemoth; Agito shows the more standard cutscenes and battle system that one would expect from the JRPG line. Both are quite short. If you do want to wait for the official discussion of these games straight from Squenix, though, you won't be waiting all that long - it appears that the company will have a conference to display the entire Fabula Nova Crystallis series on 11 January, 2011.

With the press days of TGS now over, I suspect that the news from TGS is all but over as well. However, if you hear anything over the weekend, let us know!

Source: andriasang, Kotaku

Final Fantasy XIV: I've Got Good News and Bad News


Final Fantasy XIV
With Final Fantasy XIV in open beta for quite a while now, there's a lot of information on the game out there. Since it's set to release for PC on September 30, I figure a bit of a review of what we know so far is in order.

Final Fantasy XIV looks like it has a several interesting tweaks within the game that set it apart from the standard MMO. First, there's the flexibility of the class system. A player can apparently switch their class by simply switching their equipment: thus, a player can switch at will between a spellcaster, a physical attacker and something boring, like a botanist. It also appears that, once you've reached a certain level of mastery, your character will be able to use one class' abilities while being actually equipped as a different class. (I.e. a physical attacker who is capable of casting a spell or two. Or whatever it is that botanists do.) Regardless, this seems to at least answer R51's confusion with that whole tailor-class business.

Quests are built towards specific classes, so that a player can select quests based on what pertains to their character. It also looks like the difficulty of enemies can vary quite a bit depending on location.

Aside from what we already know about weekly leveling limits, Square Enix has put in additional checks to prevent players from going level-crazy. According to this fellow over at IGN, there are several aspects of the game (such as a relatively limited number of solo quests) that encourage/force the player to enter into multiplayer pursuits or explore additional areas of the game.

The game also appears to be shooting towards a high level of realism, especially in the less battle-oriented classes. There is an economy of sorts within the game, and players can not only harvest natural resources of a wide variety but fashion them into, uh, stuff as well.

The reviewer at IGN speaks highly of the combat system in FFXIV. Powerful moves require TP (tech points?) while magic requires MP (duh). There is also a stamina bar, which gradually drains when executing standard attacks. Upon leveling up, the player is able to assign points to all the standard categories (attack power, magic power, defense, magic defense, etc.).

The game isn't without its flaws, of course. Apparently, there is a bit of redundancy involved in the non-combat classes (which is probably to be expected). This reviewer also is a bit frustrated with the teleporting system (teleporting requires a large number of Anima points, which also regenerate slowly), as well as having to manually reassign the character's abilities after switching classes.

The biggest problem that I saw, however, was the issue of hardware. Like R51 mentioned earlier, you're going to want to have a pretty decent machine if you want to be running FFXIV at the ideal level. It isn't exactly clear how much the game is compromised by a less-than-perfect PC (even when run at lower graphics settings), but it sounds like there'll be a fair bit of lagging involved.

That said, Square Enix still has a bit of time to try to clear up some of this stuff before the game is released at the end of the month. Personally, I think that most of these smaller issues can be forgiven so long as they try to do something with the game's playability on less-than-jacked PCs.

All the information in this news post is based off of the below-linked IGN article (I haven't been in Beta, and nor have the staff to the best of my knowledge). If you're someone who has played the Beta firsthand, though, why not chirp in with anything interesting you've found and/or your opinions?

Source: IGN
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Sega Announces Phantasy Star Online 2


Tokyo Game Show
Information is scant at this point, but a live stream from Sega at TGS that was looping through trailers revealed an official sequel to the beloved 2000 Dreamcast original. According to secondhand source Segabits, the game is projected for a 2011 release date and is confirmed for at least the PC platform. A trailer was recorded and put on YouTube from the stream, but almost immediately was taken down due to a copyright claim by Sega. If anything, we can probably assume that this isn't some elaborate hoax. There will no doubt be more information following Sega's official announcement.

It may be interesting to see how a high-budget online Phantasy Star will end up playing in a post-World of Warcraft world. The MMO market is so huge right now that it's possible that Sega will strip some of the more unique elements of the series and structure their game more similarly to Blizzard's behemoth. I have a few fond memories of the original, even though I never took it online, so I'm really excited to hear more about how this game will play.

Source: Segabits, Sega's live TGS stream

EDIT: Segabits uploaded the trailer from Ustream onto their blip.tv account. Most of it is retrospective from the series with some gameplay footage from the upcoming Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity (what a great name), but the announcement is at the end of the trailer. You can watch it here (scroll down).

TGS is OTW This Week (TW)


Tokyo Game Show
The Tokyo Game Show snuck up on me - for some reason I remembered it being later in the year than this last year. Wiki tells me that this is indeed a week earlier than last year, but still, surprise surprise when I woke up this morning!

The actual show doesn't technically open until 16 September (and not to the public until the weekend, sorry to our zero readers comfortably close to Tokyo), but as is always the case, relevant news has started to come in already. andriasang brings us, first, the map of the Square Enix booth for this year's TGS. It's a good way to work out what the big games are going to be, according to the folks at Squenix; note that on the map, virtually all of the booths are the same size, with the biggest single block being dedicated to Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded, The 3rd Birthday, and the new Dissidia Duodenum [duodecim]. Also notable is that Versus XIII and Agito XIII won't be on their own in the booth at all, that Final Fantasy XIV has very small real estate, that Squenix is pushing Fallout: New Vegas (their first game in Japan labeled with the Japanese equivalent of Adults Only) as they publish for Bethesda in Japan, and the curious "Square Enix Online Manga" niche next to FFXIV. I don't remember hearing much about the last one, there, but apparently Squenix rolled out plans for e-distribution of manga in several locales this summer.

If you're one of the folks aching for the new Dissidia, the first screenshots are out featuring Kain and Lightning. Looks like Kain will be fighting on the side of Chaos and Lightning for Cosmos, assuming the factions remain the same in the sequel; the screenshots show Kain spearing Cecil and Lightning fighting against Garland - or, that's what Siliconera say, and it looks more or less like that is what is happening amid all the screen-filling nuttiness going on. [duodecim] isn't expected until 2011, but TGS will have a playable build.

The last news on right now for TGS is some more discussion of what is undoubtably the most important feature of The 3rd Birthday: you can turn the fanservice up to eleven by destroying Aya's clothes. Apparently Aya's so tough now that she doesn't even seem to mind fighting in her underwear - however, game director Hajime Tabata says that it isn't the point of the game, despite the fact that they've shown a lot of interest in the clothes coming off but pretty much zero interest in explaining how they might get rebuilt. Additionally, Tabata has asked players not to play the TGS demo specifically to see the clothes get ripped off, but then also gives hints on how they can most easily be torn off in the demo build. Way to stay classy, chief, and - by the way - also make the game look like it's going to completely suck if you're not buying it specifically to see skin on your PSP screen.

More as the week goes on, no doubt, from the Tokyo Game Show.

Source: Siliconera, andriasang, Square Enix North America

Square Enix News Tidbits: Everything Here is AAA


Dissida: Final Fantasy
Lots of stuff going on in the monolithic, despairing towers of Square Enix since the last tidbits. The biggest news of this week has been twofold - well, really only onefold unless you're in Japan.

First, as most of you already know but didn't submit to the news section, Dissidia: Final Fantasy is getting a sequel. It's going to come out next year, and it's apparently going to be called Dissidia: Duodecim, which I feel I must from now on reference as "Dissidia: Duodenum." Looks like Lightning and Kain are locked in as new entries, which is sure to please some people at least. For more discussion about this upcoming game, you can hit up the other, less news-posted thread.

Next, despite the Xbox 360 in a decided last place in this generation's console war in Japan, Squenix announced this week that they're porting Final Fantasy XIII to the console for the Japanese market. It's an "International" edition, and it's going to have an "easy" mode (because Westerners are stupid), and all the voice and sub work will be in English. Should be a pretty easy port, that said, hence the rumored release date of 16 December 2010. As one might possibly expect, a good number of Japanese gamers are up in arms about this turn of events.

Still on the topic of Final Fantasy XIII, you might remember that Motomu Toriyama implied at the Japanese launch of the game that downloadable content expansions could be in the cards, a first for a non-MMO entry in the Final Fantasy series. Nearly a year down the road, though, he's now backtracked, confirming that there once were plans for DLC, but now those plans have withered and died, like a summer blossom in mid-September (okay, so I took some poetic license there). I'm not sure how to feel about that. It seems that the single-player JRPG, as a genre, has survived for many good years without needing to bolt on extra content, and I'm not sure how dedicated the Square Enix teams are to adding new content while still keeping it relevant - were they to release DLC, I have a hunch that it would be primarily minigames. Or maybe Final Fantasy XIII Versus. Who knows?

Last week, Square Enix announced that their Japanese operation is pairing with an unannounced American developer for a new "AAA" game. For those not in the know, a AAA game is one of those that is also known as a "console seller," or a "killer app," one of those games that people fall all over themselves to buy and play. They've got big budgets and big expectations, and a lot of hype. This all sounds well and good, but the presentation announcing this was done as a Powerpoint presentation. Yeah, I know that's how most big games start, but doesn't it kind of melt your enthusiasm to know that the business folk are out there announcing how their goals include a "Metacritic score over 90," "intended for core gamers?"

In the not-news, I noticed the other day on Kotaku that Canadian popstress Lights cut her hair like Lightning. Yeah, nobody cares, but she's cute and so is her music. No sense not giving her a bit of play.

Oh, and speaking of not-news, I just yesterday finished up a hack to our beloved forums. You'll note that I've removed the IM client buttons from everyone's posts, so if you want to find someone's MSN, AIM, Y! Messenger, or... ICQ... you'll have to hop into their profile. However, you might also note that in their place I've installed a spot where you can put in your Facebook ID or vanity name, or your Twitter username, and those will now show up with each of your posts. I, naturally, have added links to both the CoN Facebook page and the CoN Twitter account for mine, because why on earth would you want to see what I myself actually have to say? Big thanks to Death Penalty for helping test this across all our forum skins, and for some quality feedback as well.

Source: SiliconEra, Kotaku

Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2014 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.