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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.
With the upcoming release of the Final Fantasy XII remake, subtitled "The Zodiac Age," coming this summer, it's not too much of a surprise that Square Enix are planning livestreams in the run-up to release. The first (and only scheduled, so far) of these streams is coming up on April 26, at 8pm local, which translates to 7am on the 26th for the American Eastern time zone.
The stream will be used to "introduce" the game, but will also include some of the Japanese voice cast for discussions, and some conversation about the development of the original game - as well as, surely, some of the development for the remake. The stream will be played live on Square Enix' YouTube and NicoNico Live channels. As it is a livestream, I doubt that there will be English subtitling done for us here, but if you're a big XII fan you might at least get to enjoy some new visuals from the game.
As an aside, the PlayStation demo kiosk at my local GameStop was running Zodiac Age as a demo when I was there last week. I didn't get to see much of what was going on with it, because my five-year-old decided that she needed to run the demo and not me, but at least it's out there for you folks to check out as you wish too!
Earlier today, Square Enix put on a launch event for Dragon Quest XI's release in Japan. The main point of the event was to announce the release date in Japan as July 29th of this year, but as normal for these kinds of events, Squenix also detailed the release packages available for preorder, including bonuses.
A couple pre-order bonuses are pieces of gear; one vest increases post-battle XP and the other increases post-battle Gold earnings. It's not clear from Siliconera's reporting if these are going to be both available to a single purchase, or a single version of the game, or anything like that. The more interesting bundle, though, is the cross-platform bundle. In a first for Square Enix, and possibly for any game I can think of on any platform, the company will offer a bundle that includes both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS versions of the games in a single package. Gamers who pick that set up for roughly $136 will get both games in the classic "hollowed-out-book-hiding-place" boxes, and a (faux) sword in a display case. For anyone who wants both platforms, this is actually a great deal, as the two separately will cost nearly the same. None of this includes anything for the Switch version, which will not be release-ready for the same release window.
Now, I'm burying the lede here, as I often do, but my favorite news around this event is that third-party hardware maker Hori is making a Dragon Quest-themed controller for PlayStation 4, too. It's a slime. And it looks completely uncomfortable to use, and generally ridiculous. And it has to have its own stand to sit in when you're not using it, because all of the controls are on the slime's butt. Do slimes have butts? Anyway, apparently they made a similar one (in both regular and metal variants) for the PlayStation 2, and they sold well enough for them to want to do it again, at the price of over $90. Wow.
Square Enix announced today that MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV will, as of now, be free for all trial accounts up until level 35. This lifting of restriction will apply to any trial account, whether it's created now or dates back to day one; even expired trials will be unlocked for players. This means, Gematsu reports, that characters left on expired accounts can be picked up right where left off, and all accounts can do all of the gameplay available to any other account at or below level 35, including various jobs, the first 10 levels of Deep Dungeon, Golden Saucer, and other unique features.
The trial can be downloaded from PlayStation stores in North America and Europe as before, or from the XIV website for PC gamers. The restriction has been lifted serverside, it would appear, so users who already have the game client should need only to start it up and download any lingering updates to pick the game up again.
Square Enix has announced Seiken Densetsu Collection, releasing a trailer video. The game is expected to retail for 4,800 yen and will contain three games: the original Seiken Densetsu, known in the west as Final Fantasy Adventure or Adventures of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 2, released here as Secret of Mana, and Seiken Densetsu 3, never released in the west. The trailer indicates that the three games will be ports of their original releases.
The game's Japan release date is set for June 1. It is unclear if there will be a boxed retail version at this time, or just a digital download. Additionally, it is unknown whether Switch owners in the west will ever have access to the collection; Seiken Densetsu 3 has no official English localization, which may hurt its chances.
Source: Gamespot, Polygon
Posted in: News from Japan
Special editions were announced as well, with the collector's edition containing a few trading cards, mini-busts of the Judge Magisters, and a steelbook with the game and soundtrack. A separate steelbook edition, with just the game, will also be available for the July 11 launch.
And, as a special surprise at the end, World of Final Fantasy popped up to show off Balthier as a new DLC character coming soon!
Hat tip for these snapshots and the video to our man on the ground in Boston. Hopefully we can see more later this weekend!
Are you itching for more Final Fantasy-related news coming straight from the company's head honchos? Or better yet, will you happen to be in Boston from March 10th-12th for PAX East? Then you are in luck! Square Enix has revealed their lineup and panel discussion details to whet your appetite and maybe answer a few questions you've wondered about.
No convention is complete without a showcase of playable games, and they are certainly bringing a handful for players to get their mitts on. Here is what they plan to show at their booth:
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – A Criminal Past DLC (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Dragon Quest Heroes II (PS4, PC)
- Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius (iOS, Android)
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4)
- Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward (PS4, PC, Mac)
- Final Fantasy XV – Episode Gladiolus DLC (PS4, XBO)
- Flame x Blaze (iOS, Android)
- I Am Setsuna (Switch)
- Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix (PS4)
- Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue (PS4)
- Kingdom Hearts: Unchained Chi (iOS, Android)
- NieR: Automata (PS4, PC)
- Ride 2 (PS4, XBO, PC)
If that's not enough, Square Enix will also hold one panel during each of the three days during PAX East to discuss their current & near-future launches. Here is what they have:
Friday, March 10th, 1:30-2:30pm
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Panel - Discussion on the upcoming game release on July 11th, 2017. Game director Takashi Katano and producer Hiroaki Kato to attend.
Saturday, March 11th, 12:00pm-1:00pm
Final Fantasy XIV Community Q&A Panel - Interested in following the latest content and possible changes? Director Naoki Yoshida is present to hear player questions & feedback.
Sunday, March 12th, 10:30am-11:30am
NieR: Automata x Final Fantasy XV Panel - The first half focuses on NieR: Automata and a discussion with director Yoko Taro, with the second half featuring a first look at FFXV's brand spanking new DLC, Episode Gladiolus, for fans who are looking for even more character development.
And with any good convention setup, there will be plenty of prizes, posters and fun game-related trinkets to entice you to stop by!
Posted in: Square-Enix News
As the sales keep rolling in and everyone breathes a sigh of relief that Final Fantasy XV is overall a fairly good game, director Hajime Tabata took some time at the Game Developer's Conference (GDC) to reflect on the famous decade-long development cycle that culminated in its November 2016 release.
During the conference, Tabata was noted as saying the bar was set high even before he took on the project in 2012. "If it didn't succeed, it would all be over. It meant approaching the project believing this was our last chance. If we don't do it this time, there won't be a next time."
Is this more of the typical motivational talk to set high standards and achieve them, no matter the cost? Possibly, but let's consider a few events, and what was going on in the Final Fantasy franchise in 2012 when Tabata came aboard:
- Square Enix doubled (and after 2012, tripled) down on Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels, which was met with mixed reviews and much criticism, cooling enthusiasm after the main title's release. It would seem the Fabula Nova Crystallis universe was not the overwhelming hit they expected.
- Final Fantasy XIV's original release was so troubled and unpopular that they killed it with spectacular fire, built a new game from the ground up, and maybe asked everyone to forget the original existed. It is worth noting that the new game is hugely successful and still doing well today, but it was certainly a monumental effort to scrap the original game and make a better one in its place.
- Well known by now, Final Fantasy XV is the final form of a game started in 2006 which was then Final Fantasy Versus XIII, also requiring an overhaul and recruitment of top talent for Tabata to meet expectations.
He sure seems more relieved than excited about its success. The franchise seems better positioned for its future than it was in 2012, with FFXIII in the books, the FFXIV remake successful, and FFXV having currently sold over 6 million copies worldwide.
Do you think the Final Fantasy franchise was ever in any danger? Or is it laughable to even think so, considering the worldwide brand recognition it has attained, and Square Enix' deep pockets to finance the huge cost of each game? After all, things like this exist.
Source: The Verge, Polygon
Posted in: Gaming Industry News
A King's Tale, a Final Fantasy XV sidestory previously available only with certain preorders of the main game, is now available to everyone on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. And it's free! The game is a sort of prequel to Final Fantasy XV, and takes place as a bedtime story told by King Regis to a young Prince Noctis. Unlike the action RPG of the main title, this side game is a 2.5D, sprite-based sidescrolling beat-em-up with a Final Fantasy flair.
The game features King Regis as the main character, with access to battle assistance from his friends - like father, like son. He's got access to a variety of weapons, magic, and summons to fight against monsters from the Final Fantasy XV universe, expressed also as sprites.
Again, the game is available worldwide for download today, for free, with no purchase of the original game required. Enjoy!
If you missed Star Ocean: Till the End of Time when it was first released on PlayStation 2, you missed one of the better games in the series, in fact the one often cited as best. While the newest edition was not reviewed as kindly, Till the End of Time stands up, and now PlayStation 4 gamers are going to have a chance to try it out.
The new release will be digital download only, and if you're expecting something akin to what Square Enix has done with recent Final Fantasy remakes, you might be a little disappointed. While Final Fantasy X and XII were heavily tuned for their newer releases, the Director's Cut of TtEoT will instead be upscaled through software, and the cutscenes have not been re-rendered into HD. The game clearly does look better in comparisons, but those expecting a sea change or increases in playable content will likely be disappointed.
As of now, there is no release date or purchase price available.
Announced yesterday, Square Enix has created a new games studio in Tokyo called "Studio Istolia." This new studio, interestingly named with an English word and a Greek one, will be run by Hideo Baba, recently known as a producer in the long-running "Tales" series of RPGs. The new studio was announced as a bit of a footnote to the announcement of a new project called "Project Prelude Rune," which will be the first project produced by Baba in the new studio.
Prelude Rune is described as being a new IP for Square Enix, and will be an RPG "unfolding across a vast land teeming with life." This will not be the final title for the game or games produced under this banner. Obviously, as a brand-new studio, not many details about the long-term timeline of the project are available, and many are not likely to be forthcoming soon as the studio has listed staff openings numbering at least fifteen.
A final note, their logo looks like a cross between the Final Fantasy XV Carbuncle and a moogle. So perhaps this new apple is falling not so far from the tree.
Source: Gematsu, Studio Istolia