Welcome to the Caves of Narshe
Welcome to the Caves of Narshe, a site providing detailed guides, information, fanart and fanfiction related to Square's classic Final Fantasy games (and let's not forget, Chrono Trigger too!). We hope you enjoy your visit.
Bright and early this morning in the West, Konami dropped an announcement trailer for a remaster of the first two games in the Suikoden series. Originally released in the mid and late 1990s for the first PlayStation, the new remastered versions were announced with a vague "2023" release date. The two games will drop as a single bundle for PlayStation 4, XBox One, Switch, and Steam, but pricing information has yet to be released. At the very least, it should be considerably less than it would cost you to get an original copy of Suikoden II in this day and age! Check out the lovely visuals below.
Posted in: RPG News
First released in March for Switch, tactical JRPG and Final Fantasy Tactics spiritual successor Triangle Strategy was announced on Tuesday for a Steam release next month. It's currently 10% off for preorders on the Steam store, with three versions available for purchase - standard, digital deluxe, and digital deluxe plus a copy of Various Daylife. The digital deluxe version includes a short digital version of the official art book, the hardcopy of which I recently acquired myself but haven't had time to open and share at all yet.
Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any demo version listed on Steam just yet. I have to admit that until I was able to play the first three chapters in the Switch demo, I hadn't been fully sold on the game, so I wish that it would be available to PC players as well to try out. As it stands, though, I personally think this is the best game Square Enix have released in years, and I'm personally on my fifth playthrough of it currently. So all in all, I'm thrilled that it's likely to find a larger audience with this upcoming PC release.
Source: Triangle Strategy on Steam
Octopath Traveler II was just announced for Nintendo Switch at today's Nintendo Direct stream, with a release date of February 24, 2023. The game takes place in a realm called "Celestia" (pronounced more like "Sillestia?"), with the setting appearing to be more of an industrial revolution or steampunk versus the medieval-era Orsterra. It's not yet clear if the two games appear in different regions of the same world, but the more "modern" setting looks pretty fantastic in the HD2D engine. Obviously, the characters will be all-new as well, with a new set of eight intertwining stories that change based upon playing during day or night in the world. The new characters include a warrior, a dancer, a merchant, a scholar, a thief, a cleric, a hunter, and an apothecary.
Theatrhythm is now coming to Switch as well, with a boatload of new content. Called "Final Bar Line," the new game will come with 385 songs by default, categorized by game so that players can roll through an entire game more or less in storyline sequence. It will feature two-player local co-op, and up to four players online. It's not clear if the online play will be co-op or team-based, or fully competitive - the trailer in Direct called the online play "Battle."
The DLC for the new game will include songs from other Squenix games, with SaGa, Nier, Octopath, and Live A Live announced already. The stream explained that the DLC will offer up to 90 more songs. Additionally, preorders for the Season Pass will include a further 27 songs, though the details on what songs would be included in that set were thin; I think I caught that "Melodies of Life" would be one of them, but all that information came pretty thick and fast.
Among other new-ish games from Square Enix was an RPG called "Various Daylife" that is releasing later today. It was released for Apple Arcade a few years ago, but I honestly recall nothing about it. It looks pretty much like a mobile-first JRPG, and from what I'm reading quickly online about the original release, it plays like one too.
There were a few other bits of Squenix content in the Direct today, but honestly, nothing really unexpected or groundbreaking. You can see the whole Direct here now:
Posted in: Square-Enix News
I'll spare everyone a long-winded update given that I'm now a day late and still recovering from traveling with a summer cold: you may well have noticed that yesterday, July 31, marked the 25th anniversary of Caves of Narshe. It's plainly obvious that many of the strengths of this humble site that kept it going for so long have waned, but I know well how loved our core content remains, though perhaps its audience has dwindled over time.
As always, I want to thank everyone who reads this at any point for their support, either implied or expressed, over the years. I am still happy to keep the lights on around here because of it, and because I know that we provide things that you can't find easily elsewhere (and if you can, they probably stole them from us, the rogues). While I'm not cranking out the new fancy stuff very often these days, and when I am it might be a shade on the dry, techy side, you all should know that if you're reading this we remain of a community and I am thrilled to have my place in it with you all. Or at least most of you all. A lot of you are pretty weird, truth be told.
I have missed out on being able to provide a lot of pomp and circumstance for this big milestone, and I wish I'd done better, but I always hope for the best. I did design a new take on our logo, as I have for every big anniversary since the tenth. As I usually do, I will probably document the design process over at my own blog and will crosspost it here when I do. If you like the golden watercolor, I did manage to make it also into an image that will class up your computer, tablet or phone, so go check that out. If you would be interested in having a printed copy of your own, well, I didn't make any to give away this year but post here or come to our Discord server and make your interest known and I will see what I can do in the near future. Or, you know, just post at the site or join Discord and talk with us. We are still game, if you'll pardon the pun.
Oh, dear, I've gone long-winded again. Sorry.
Posted in: CoN Site News
Well, I think we all got what we wanted there, yes? Short and sweet as promised, today's stream clocked in at just under fifteen minutes long but included a bucket of Final Fantasy VII detail. The stream led a montage of clips from Remake and Intergrade, with the announcement of a release on Steam tomorrow, June 17, with Steam Deck compatibility. They followed with an introduction from Yoshinori Kitase, and a bit of merch.
The merch shown was not groundbreaking by and large, though I think it's the first time I've seen the jewelry they showed. A Compilation of Final Fantasy VII vinyl album looked new to me, too, and it's planned for release this August as well as a special CD album and streaming playlists.
Kitase followed up with a brief video of the upcoming third season of The First Soldier, the Final Fantasy VII battle royale mobile fighter. Like every seasonal game in the genre, there's new content coming. That was followed by a moderately long look at Ever Crisis, the mobile game that runs through the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII in a new way. It's kind of hard to describe what I think this game is going to be exactly, as it styles things a little differently in various clips, but it appears to be a Final Fantasy VII version of the Final Fantasy XV game released for Switch, where everything was a bit simplified and a lot more chibi to present the plot to a new audience. It's coming for a closed beta sometime in 2022 for both iOS and Android.
Kitase returned again to lead into the first truly big news of the stream, a remaster of Crisis Core. To me, you can obviously see it's not a full remake, as the graphical quality doesn't look like it got the full Final Fantasy VII Remake treatment; that said, it's hard to say how much of that might be due to the stream itself. We should see some stills very soon. Called "Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core Reunion," it's going from official announcement today, in June, to a targeted release in "this Winter" across all current consoles and Steam.
Then, finally, one more lead-in from Kitase to give us what I called last week: Final Fantasy VII is getting its next part in Winter 2023. It's now called "Rebirth," meaning that "Remake" has been retired as the name for solely the first part; and, as has been widely considered, it's the second part of a trilogy. The third part is as yet un-named (may I suggest "Resolution?") and of course has nothing resembling a release window, so for now we will have to content ourselves on part two. This new episode looks like it's going to go heavy into Cloud's mental troubles as depicted in the middle part of the original, with a lot of content that feels like misdirection in the voiceovers from Aerith, Cloud, and Tifa, subtitles asking "What is Fact and What is Fiction?," and very brief glimpses of Meteor and... well, you all know the scene. Of course, it's releasing only for PlayStation 5 at launch. Kitase, along with confirming the name and the trilogy, mentioned that the team is still "hard at work" on Rebirth.
And that was it - I have to say it's probably everything we wanted and expected from 15 quick minutes. I no longer lament the loss of E3. Here's the video if you missed it:
Posted in: Final Fantasy VII
Square Enix announced today that on June 16, next Thursday, they will do a brief livestream for "the latest information relating to the 25th Anniversary of Final Fantasy VII." Tetsuya Nomura made a statement that the stream will be only around ten minutes long but will contain lots of information. The broadcast will take place at 6pm Eastern time.
Of course, the information could just be more details on Final Fantasy VII mobile titles, but I've been privately speculating to friends and Discord since the new Final Fantasy XVI trailer that we should now expect news on Remake Part 2 essentially any time. I was targeting the Tokyo Game Show window, but now would be a fine time too...
Posted in: Final Fantasy VII
Sony's latest State of Play just ended, and the final showing was a new trailer for Final Fantasy XVI! Here it is:
The PlayStation Blog was also updated to include more information about the game, including the reveal of the main team working on the game:
Producer: Naoki Yoshida
Main Director: Hiroshi Takai
Creative Director & Original Screenplay: Kazutoyo Maehiro
Localization Director: Michael-Christopher Koji Fox
Art Director: Hiroshi Minagawa
Combat Director: Ryota Suzuki
Character Design: Kazuya Takahashi
Composer: Masayoshi Soken
Immediately after the State of Play ended, KupoCon (the Final Fantasy fan convention) announced a launch tour will be happening for the game. More details will come later, but the tour will be held in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, with a virtual option for those who cannot attend in person.
Source: PlayStation YouTube Channel, PlayStation Blog, KupoCon Official Site
Posted in: Square-Enix News
Square Enix is due to sell studios Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal to Embracer Group for an estimated $300 million USD. The deal still needs regulatory approval, but once given, should be finalized sometime between July and September of this year.
This sale will mean Square Enix will no longer own the properties of Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain, along with a back-catalogue of more than 50 games. Crystal Dynamics is already working on a new Tomb Raider game.
Square Enix has said that this deal was made so they could invest in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud.
In unrelated news, Square Enix registered several new trademarks recently. These trademarks include Fear Effect and Relic Strike. The former was a game released by Eidos in 2000 for the original PlayStation, so there is speculation the series is about to be revived.
Other recent trademarks filed include Valkyrie Profile and Lenneth, which might indicate those games are to make their way to PS Plus Premium subscription.
Source: The Verge, PCMag, MP1ST
Distant Worlds has just announced a new concert series for the 35th Anniversary of Final Fantasy. Entitled FINAL FANTASY 35th Anniversary Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY Coral, this series will feature a track list specially curated by Nobuo Uematsu. Little else is known at this stage, including what "Coral" represents, and so far no special guests have been announced. The dates for the series are as follows:
- Tokyo, Japan: 06 Aug 2022
- Tokyo, Japan: 07 Aug 2022
- Hyogo, Japan: 13 Aug 2022
- Hyogo, Japan: 14 Aug 2022
- Chicago, IL: 10 Sep 2022
- Pittsburgh, PA: 20 Sep 2022
- Los Angeles, CA: 24 Sep 2022
- London, UK: 01 Oct 2022
- London, UK: 02 Oct 2022
- Fort Worth, TX: 12 Nov 2022
- Boston, MA: 19 Nov 2022
- Bangkok, Thailand: 17 Dec 2022
- Bangkok, Thailand: 18 Dec 2022
- New York, NY: 07 Jan 2023
- New York, NY: 08 Jan 2023
- Nashville, TN: 25 Jan 2023
- Barcelona, Spain: 03 Feb 2023
- Paris, France: 25 Feb 2023
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 03 Mar 2023
- Orlando, FL: 10 Mar 2023
- Orlando, FL: 11 Mar 2023
Source: Distant Worlds Official Site
Posted in: The World at Large
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker continues to rack up the awards, taking three awards at SXSW this weekend.
The first award was for Excellence in Narrative: awarded to the game with the best storyline and dialogue. The other nominees in that category were:
- Deathloop — Arkane Lyon / Bethesda Softworks
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits — Ember Lab
- Lost in Random — Zoink Games / Electronic Arts
- Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — Eidos-Montréal / Square Enix
The second award was for Excellence in Original Score. It was Masayoshi Soken's celebratory tweet that alerted this reporter the awards were happening this weekend! Other nominees in this category were:
- The Artful Escape — Beethoven & Dinosaur / Annapurna Interactive
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits — Ember Lab
- The Medium — Bloober Team
- Wytchwood — Alientrap Games / Whitethorn Games
The final award was for Video Game of the Year. SXSW's description for this award states: awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and creates a distinct gaming experience across all platforms and genres. Other nominees in this category were:
- It Takes Two — Hazelight / Electronic Arts
- Psychonauts 2 — Double Fine Productions / Xbox Game Studios
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart — Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Resident Evil Village — Capcom
Congratulations to the Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker team for the well-deserved awards! For those readers who may be interested in starting their own journeys in Eorzea: the Final Fantasy XIV Free Trial is now active again and lets you play through all of A Realm Reborn and its first expansion, Heavensward.
Source: SXSW Official Site
Posted in: Gaming Industry News