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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.

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Latest News

Final Fantasy Concerts Add Lots of Shows Worldwide


Distant Worlds
We're winding down this year, so it's a good time for the folks behind Distant Worlds to add a lot of new shows for 2019. Good news if you're one of our international readers, as most of the new shows being added are outside of North America this time. I'm sure more here in the States and possibly Canada will be coming soon, and there's still one new domestic date that I hadn't seen before, but for now here's a big list of mostly European show additions.
  • Bangkok: December 1 and 2
  • Nashville: January 22, 2019
  • Hamburg: Valentine's Day! Adorable Date Night Opportunity!
  • Berlin: February 15
  • Dusseldorf: February 16
  • Geneva: March 22
  • Milan: March 23
  • Rome: March 24
The shows in Hamburg, Geneva, and Rome are new cities for the tour. In Bangkok, Yoko Shimomura is scheduled to attend (remember, Nobuo Uematsu is still recuperating his health). Tickets for all of these shows are on sale now!

A New World has added even more dates than Distant Worlds, in other far-flung locales, particularly in the South Pacific:
  • Christchurch, New Zealand: November 9
  • Auckland: November 10
  • Singapore: November 17
  • Sydney: November 23
  • Brisbane: November 24
  • Adelaide: November 27
  • Canberra: November 29
  • Melbourne: November 30
  • Perth: December 1
  • Los Angeles: February 23, 2019
    (with two shows on the date)
  • Atlanta: May 26
Tickets for all of these shows are on sale as well; the Atlanta show is included with registration for MomoCon.

Source: Distant Worlds, A New World

The Re-Releases Are Everywhere on Switch (and Everywhere Else)


Nintendo
Nintendo did a new Nintendo Direct late last night (America time, that is). And if you have a Switch and are a classic Square Enix fan, you are 100% in luck - there are now a ton of Final Fantasy games coming your way. First, five games from the late 90's/early 2000's: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, and Final Fantasy XII were all announced for 2019 releases on the Nintendo system. One would have to assume that for these games, they will be ports of the most recent Windows releases, and in the case of X/X-2, will be purchased as a single unit as they have been previously for PS4 and PC.

The cute and simple version of Final Fantasy XV, called Pocket Edition, was released on mobile in February of this year, and for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One just last Friday. The Switch version was likely also ready for that release day, but as Nintendo Direct was delayed a week due to hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean, the announcement lost a bit of momentum and fell behind the other consoles. It's priced at $29.99 on Switch, but currently you can get it for 40% off as a release celebration.

World of Final Fantasy is also coming to Switch, on November 6. The Switch edition will be called "Maxima," will add in a new feature called "Avatar Change" in which the player characters Reynn and Lann will be able to change their appearance to that of classic Final Fantasy characters when in their non-Jiant modes. Cloud, Lightning, Yuna, and Noctis all appeared in the short video snippet as Avatar Change options, though it's likely that many more will be available.

Finally for new news, a remaster of Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon was also announced for release sometime this winter. This game was originally released a decade ago for Wii, and the new version is subtitled "Every Buddy" because in the new release, every monster is available as a friend option (and because two people can play by splitting the Joy-Cons).

If you don't have a Switch, though, you won't be left out. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will be getting a number of these games as well. Microsoft gamers get the biggest lift, as most of the games were not previously available there: World of Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X/X-2 and Final Fantasy XII will all be arriving on the XBO; WoFF will arrive on November 6 just as for Switch, with the others coming next year. PlayStation 4 gamers will also get Every Buddy, and can upgrade their WoFF to Maxima with paid DLC. WoFF will also be coming to PC!

Source: Siliconera

A Few New Final Fantasy Music Shows


Distant Worlds
Distant Worlds and A New World have updated their schedules again, adding a few new events coming soon. For Distant Worlds, a show has been added in Miami on November 4 (a day after the Boca Raton show, for Floridians who couldn't make that date), as well as Nashville on January 22, 2019. This will be the first visit to either city in five years; Susan Calloway is confirmed for Miami but no major announcements for Nashville as yet. Both shows are on sale now.

A New World has added just one new date, at Zipper Hall in Los Angeles on February 23, 2019. Tickets for this event are also on sale now.

For folks looking to see or meet Nobuo Uematsu at their preferred show, some potentially unfortunate news; Kotaku reported yesterday that Uematsu has cancelled an upcoming performance in Japan for health reasons; our hopes are that he recovers soon!


Source: Distant Worlds, A New World, Kotaku

Square Enix Provide Pre-Tokyo Game Show News


Tokyo Game Show
Tokyo Game Show 2018 starts up on September 19, and being the hometown show for Square Enix headquarters, naturally there is bound to be a lot of news. There's nothing huge yet, of course, but some pieces of information have been released as an appetizer for the main event. Up first, an often-overlooked, ten-year-old Square Enix title: The Last Remnant. A couple weeks back, the PC version of the game was pulled from digital shelves, leaving some to wonder why; the answer came this week, with an announcement of a new remaster for PS4. The game will get the requisite remaster upscaling of graphics and changes to the game engine, and will contain all of the features added to the Windows version of the game after its console release. It's getting a global release on December 6, and will retail in the United States at $19.99, digital-only.

That's not the only remaster of a niche Squenix game announced this week, though; the original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was announced for a PS4 and Switch release in 2019. It's also going to be a worldwide release when it comes. The initial announcement trailer is thin on info, implying that the game won't necessarily be an immediate drop in 2019. The trailer also leads with a disclaimer about the game being in development, which makes sense as the visuals do look like they're probably going to get another pass at polish.

The game with more trailers than any other, though, has to be Kingdom Hearts III. I don't know how many I've linked to in one form or another over the last couple years. Tokyo Game Show is the last major show before the game is due to release in January, though, so naturally there's another new one; this time around, Square Enix have released a short version of what will appear at the actual show, featuring Baymax, Hiro, and the rest of Big Hero 6. The Baymax voice actor does a great job of sounding like the movie version... in Japanese.

The last little tidbit before TGS starts up is the first glimpse of anything in motion from Studio Istolia. We had them in the news just a couple weeks back, but they're clearly making progress as the first tease of the studio's first game, still temporarily titled "Project Prelude Rune," appeared in a pre-TGS video produced by Sony. The snippet runs for a minute, and mainly shows a character running through a fairly standard JRPG environment. It does look pretty nice, though, and appears to be in-engine video as the game is being developed in Unreal Engine 4.

That's it for the big news before TGS; stay tuned for more from the show next week, one hopes.

Source: Siliconera, Gematsu, Kotaku

Square Enix Partner with Tencent


Square Enix
Announced today, Square Enix is joining with Chinese conglomerate Tencent for a new "strategic alliance" for game development. It appears that the main thrust of this new alliance is the formation of a new joint venture company that will be used to develop new AAA tiles for both new IPs and also around the licensing of existing IPs. Square Enix Holdings' president, Yosuke Matsuda, was quoted as saying that the alliance will be a boost for diversifying content offerings and getting to a wider customer base.

For those unfamiliar with Tencent, they are a massive, publicly-traded conglomerate out of Shenzhen, China, with holdings in tons of tech-related industries. With regards to gaming, they are majority owners of Riot Games (League of Legends) and Supercell (Clash of Clans), and own stakes in Activision Blizzard, Epic, Ubisoft, Paradox, and several other smaller game companies.

There's a lot not said in the announcement, which is not surprising given the fact that it's a brand-new concept today. However, based on what we know right now, I think we can safely make a couple of assumptions. First, it doesn't seem like this will change too much in Square Enix' core business. Flagship franchises currently managed by the main Squenix offices will likely remain the same, since the new company is exactly that - new and separate. Second, this will likely impact Asian markets first, given the fact that the new partnership is between a Japanese and a Chinese company (no word yet on where the new company will be headquartered). Third, there's a pretty good chance that there might be some bizarre concepts using Final Fantasy characters and settings showing up in the future.

Source: Siliconera, Wikipedia

Original Phantasy Star Coming for Switch with Upgrades


Back in April, Sega (apparently, I clearly missed it) announced some re-releases of some very old games as digital downloads for Switch. Among them are the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, but more interestingly for RPG players, the first Phantasy Star game is coming too. It's a heavily-upgraded version for Switch, as well; the game is adding automapping for its dungeons, a bestiary, a full list of equipment from the game's menus, and a reduced-difficulty mode.

It's coming out in Japan next month and will be 925 yen, a little over eight dollars. The game's been announced for the West, too, but with no release date or confirmed price point (though you can probably expect about ten dollars). I never got to play any of the Phantasy Star series growing up, and I don't yet have a Switch, but this looks like a pretty nice package. Good for Sega for freshening things up!

Source: Kotaku, Sega Ages | Phantasy Star

Studio Istolia Looks for New Team in Tokyo


Square Enix
It seems like far more recently than February of 2017 that Square Enix announced the creation of their new development shop Studio Istolia, but the timestamps don't lie. We haven't heard much about the new studio or its first project, "Project Prelude Rune," in the intervening time, but this week there was finally an update to the company's official website.

The update consisted of a new piece of concept art, showing a village perched above a lake in a soft-focused, dreamlike forest setting, but also a number of job openings for their Tokyo office. The jobs are fairly typical for a game development project, including concept art, technical art, map designers, user interface designers, planners and programmers, but the list does imply that the company is not planning on shifting workers from other studios to this new one and is instead mainly aiming for outside hires.

There's still no news about what Prelude Rune might be in terms of a game genre, or when or on what platforms we might see it. But that's not surprising given that they are still clearly ramping up the team's headcount. More news is sure to follow, though I would have to assume that it won't be this calendar year.

Source: Gematsu

Final Fantasy XIV Smartphone Companion App Launches


A Realm Reborn
For gamers out there still enjoying Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix has just released a long-awaited companion app to streamline the gameplay experience. It's available free for both iOS and Android, and provides an app interface to a number of useful features, enough so that it's hard to pick out which might be the best. Players with active subscriptions can chat with other players from the app, organize event reminders and send invites to friends to help plan raids or general gameplay sessions, organize their inventory, and even buy and sell items in the open market and submit bug reports.

Of course, these features are useful mainly to active players, which is why an active subscription is required. However, if your subscription lapses, the app will keep your chat in storage for up to 30 days while you potentially reactivate. Very cool!

Source: Final Fantasy XIV Official Site

E3 2018 Post-Showcase Updates from Square Enix


E3 Expo
Since Square Enix' video presentation for E3 yesterday, the company has been doling out a bit more information about the games contained within. There are still no enormous revelations here, but they have been working to fill in some of the gaps from what appears to have been widely viewed as an underwhelming appearance for this year's E3.

Kingdom Hearts III remains Square's big splash for this E3, with more information coming out in seemingly every presentation. Square Enix released the trailer that was shown after the Kingdom Hearts concert last weekend was shown to the wider public, showing most of the scenes of the Microsoft trailer as well as the new Ratatouille scene and a bit more Mickey than we're used to. You can hit the Kingdom Hearts YouTube channel to watch the trailer, but if you've been keeping up so far this week there's really not much you haven't already seen. In Sony's presser, yet another new trailer appeared, this time featuring an extremely realistic Disney world, that of the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. The main characters of PotC all appear in cinematics, and there's a long sequence of battle gameplay from the Pirates world. There are also some longer clips from Hercules, Rapunzel, Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Frozen that were new in the trailer.


Sony also announced a Kingdom Hearts-themed limited-edition PlayStation 4 Pro, and an all-in-one SKU that will contain all of the HD remasters of previous KH games as well as Kingdom Hearts III. No price points were announced for either.

Also, heretofore-unknown game The Quiet Man got a little more detail after the screening of the trailer, as reported by Siliconera. The game will indeed be an action game that is intended to blend live action video with computer-generated graphics, and it's intended to be an intentionally short game, to be "completed in one sitting." This implies to me that they're planning to release it digitally-only, and that it might be a game intended to test the waters for future work. It also implies that the trailer might have actually been 100% in-game footage, with the live-action scene part of the actual game and not filmed just for the trailer.

Squenix also sent out an email blast last night with more information about the free download of The Adventures of Captain Spirit, coming on June 26. It explains that the central character in the episode is Chris, a ten-year-old with lots of imagination who wants nothing more than to be a superhero. The game appears to take place over a single Saturday in Chris' life, and involves something "extraordinary" happening to him. It can be preloaded on Xbox One now, and will be available for PS4 and Steam soon.

Square Enix Takes Just Thirty Minutes for E3


E3 Expo
Square Enix just wrapped their E3 presentation, a very quick half hour that I suspect will be a disappointment for most everyone. If you're looking for the quick hits, you can probably get by just by knowing that they didn't reveal much of anything that wasn't already known, and those things were not groundbreaking. If you were hoping for Final Fantasy VII, or something else brand new in the Final Fantasy universe, you're out of luck there. If you're like me, and were hoping for an announcement of the next game in the Deus Ex series, nothing there either.

We did get some new gameplay of the next Tomb Raider, coming out in September, as well as the intro movie. The gameplay looks like they've integrated in a little more nuance to the stealth aspects of the game, with parts of the takedowns looking a bit like Deus Ex to me. Lara's got a new "stalker" mode for stealth knife kills, too. It looks like they've improved the enemy group AI some to help them work more in teams and be more observant, too.

For Final Fantasy XIV, they showed a trailer for the next patch, 4.4. Titled "Under the Moonlight," it looks very Ivalice-y, which is probably a great thing. There's also the upcoming crossover event with Monster Hunter World, in which Final Fantasy costumes and monsters will become available in MHW.

Life Is Strange dev studio DONTNOD debuted a mini-episode in the Life Is Strange universe, called "The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit," featuring a tween boy playing as his favorite superhero. It's a game that takes place in the world of LIS, and the devs teased connections to Life Is Strange Season 2, but no direct lead-in to that story. It will be a free download for everyone on June 26.

Dragon Quest XI is getting a worldwide release on September 4 of this year, and there was a new trailer comprised of mostly cutscenes. There were some small gameplay bits, it appeared, with the protagonist equipping one and sometimes two pretty large swords. Also on September 4, Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius on mobile will have a second Dragon Quest crossover event to commemorate the release.

Next up was a game called Babylon's Fall, announced today from PlatinumGames, the developers of Nier: Automata. No details were announced other than platforms (PlayStation 4 and Steam) and a 2019 release date. One could guess from the trailer that the game will involve some sort of action-based sword-and-sorcery combat, but the teaser was short and fairly dark, and not incredibly heavy on detail. Speaking of Nier, if you missed the announcement with Microsoft yesterday, Automata is set to be released for Xbox One on June 26, two weeks from tomorrow. The XBO version will include all released DLC with the purchase package.

Just Cause 4, leaked just before E3, had some new video and an introduction from the developers explaining the new location and the addition of new features like extreme weather and further upgrades to the now-standard open world experience provided by Just Cause games. It will be out December 4 of this year.

The last new reveal of the half-hour show was The Quiet Man, for PlayStation 4 and PC. It's meant to come out in August, and again based on a very short teaser looks like it could be a third-person brawler. The teaser implies that the lead character might be deaf, which could be interesting if there's a good way to integrate that plot point into the gameplay.

Two very small things, barely worth noting because they were such known quantities by now; Octopath Traveler was again shown in trailer form, with no new information given, and Kingdom Hearts III was represented by the same trailer I posted earlier today.

Here's the full video if you're interested after all of that:

News Archive

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©1997–2018 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.