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A New World Concert Lineup for Q1 2020


Monster Octopus Terra
Last time I posted about Final Fantasy concerts, the released dates for the A New World series stopped in early January, in Kansas City. Now, though, this chamber ensemble has a half-dozen more shows lined up to treat fans in early 2020:
  • Chicago, January 18
  • Berkeley, CA, January 31
  • San Diego, two shows on February 1
  • Nashville, February 8
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan, March 13
All shows, as typical for the New World series, will feature Benyamin Nuss on piano and direction by Eric Roth. Tickets for all of these shows are already on sale, so hopefully there's one near you.

Source: A New World

Turks Make a Mark at TGS 2019


There's a new trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake that was just released at Tokyo Game Show today, unveiling a number of new scenes and characters. Well, let's put "new" in quotes, I guess, since it's hard to be all that new when you're remaking a twenty-year-old game, right? Anyway, Gematsu brings us the new trailer in both English and Japanese, and in it you'll get some looks at Reno, Rude and Tseng, as well as President Shinra. Naturally, Aerith appears quite a bit as well, including in battle, and we get our first look at the Shiva summon and the Crazy Motorcycle Chase too.

Oh, yeah, and let's not forget about the Honeybee Inn, because, yeah... that's teased there too.

Stay tuned for an endcap of Cloud, Barret, and Tifa looking out over what has to be Cosmo Canyon. It's gorgeous.

Square Enix Bring a Lot to Tokyo Game Show 2019


Tokyo Game Show
Last week, Square Enix started up their microsite to present their TGS 2019 lineup, for the show starting September 12. There will be a huge number of games across all of the studios for which Square Enix develop firsthand or otherwise publish. The first two days, as usual, will be open to industry personnel only, with the last two days open to all ticketholders.

Four games will be playable: Final Fantasy VII Remake, Crystal Chronicles Remaster, Dragon Quest XI S, and as always, Final Fantasy XIV. All of those plus Avengers, Trials of Mana, Imperial SaGa Eclipse, Star Ocean: First Departure R, Dragon Quest X, Romancing SaGa 3, Tropico 6, Brave Exvius: War of the Visions, and Octopath Traveler mobile will appear in the TGS Mega Theatre as trailers and/or gameplay videos too. Ten games will appear as stage shows as well, and the company will be selling merch and music, though there's no indication of what new products might appear.

The stage shows on September 14 and 15 will be broadcast live on both YouTube and Niconico; the first day will start with Dragon Quest X and XI events, followed by Trials of Mana and Final Fantasy XIV. The second day will begin with a SaGa show, then Avengers, Crystal Chronicles, and Star Ocean. On the first day, Square Enix will also stream a couple in-studio shows featuring the Trading Card Game and an announcement of a new Square Enix board game. After that, there will be studio shows for Tropico 6 and Brave Exvius.

That's everything we know at the moment, but the exact details of what we'll see, particularly for Final Fantasy VII, will probably leak out during the industry days leading the show.

Source: Gematsu

Seiken Densetsu 3 is OFFICIAL


E3 Expo
Sure, it's 25 years later. But rejoice, Mana fans, as Seiken Densetsu 3 is finally, officially coming to the West. Times two, in fact. If you love the original Seiken Densetsu games, you can pick up Collection of Mana, a compilation we've talked about previously at CoN that will contain the first three games in the series. Those games are known here as Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, and of course, Seiken Densetsu 3 as it was never previously localized - it's now to be known as Trials of Mana. The first game originated on the Game Boy, and the second two on the Super Famicom. Collection of Mana is available today for Switch via the eShop, priced at $39.99. Physical copies will be released on August 27.

If you want to maximize your Trials of Mana time, though, there's also going to be a full 3D remake next year. It's been announced for PlayStation 4 and Switch already; odds are that Windows and Xbox One versions will follow soon. It appears to take its cues from the recent Secret of Mana 3D remake, and the intro trailer makes it look pretty slick.

Given that Square Enix are taking the novel tack of releasing both the original version and a new one, it seems unlikely that they will be able to mess this up. How exciting!



Source: IGN, Polygon, Gematsu

Square Enix Go Big (For Next Year) at E3


E3 Expo
Square Enix just wrapped up their E3 presentation without major surprises, though a lot of what they had looked pretty solid. The team went bold by leading their show with Final Fantasy VII Remake, hot on the heels of the release date announcement and trailer we posted earlier today. Tonight, they had a lot more detail worth checking out, of course.

First up, some information about what to expect; the game has "two blu-rays of content" available, with the first disc apparently being all about Midgar. This was essentially the first bit of information of the presentation, and it bookended nicely with the announcement that preorders are now open and there are multiple special editions to be had, which is naturally completely unsurprising given the profile of this game and Squenix' normal business practices. Both of these things seem to be a bit odd given the previous news that the game would be episodic; if they have backed down from that now, the March 2020 release date seems very ambitious.

We could glean some detail of the battle system from the first trailer, but tonight's presentation walked through much more detail and left me with the impression that the game was going to play a lot like Lightning Returns (since most of you haven't played that, I consider that a good thing) with some mix of Crisis Core and Final Fantasy XV involved too. There is an ATB system, but it seems to be an ATB twist on Lightning Returns' charge meter, with abilities requiring at least one unit on the ATB meter to be full before they can be used. The ATB system appears to be used for magical attacks and item usage, and combined with the Limit gauge, used to access Limit Breaks as well. The ATB mode also runs in bullet time, to allow easier access to desired commands. The ATB fills as melee attacks, using the Square button, are successfully executed, with combos increasing the bar more.

Also like the Final Fantasy XIII series, a Stagger mode will be present to cripple enemies. Like those earlier games, it looks like depending on the enemy Stagger can be built up by combo attacks or weak point attacks. The party will remain at maximum three, with two characters run by the game while players control the third. However, Squenix promised to be able to switch between active party in battle with a single button press. Speaking of buttons, attacks can also be mapped to buttons for quick access, as in other recent Final Fantasy games.

The character reveals are what drove the crowd crazy tonight, though. We saw a bit of Aerith in last night's video, but in this longer one she shows up a bit more, including in battle. Tifa's character design was finally revealed as well, and we see her with Marlene, conversing with Cloud in Seventh Heaven, and also in battle. We even got a little Sephiroth towards the end, which appears to be in a flashback to Nibelheim.

Square have made the game available for playing on the show floor, though they did not make any mention of what parts of the game would be playable. I assume until we hear otherwise that it's the game's opening mission on the reactor. If you missed it earlier, they're selling March 3, 2020 as the release date, which still seems pretty ambitious to me if they are going to pack the entire game with as much as they have in the first mission.
Here are some other games that showed up in the presentation tonight, which ran for about an hour and fifteen minutes.
  • A longform trailer for Life is Strange 2's upcoming content
  • Crystal Chronicles Remaster with online multiplayer for PS4, Switch, iOS, and Google Play; the video implied that cross-platform play might be an option. It's coming in December
  • The Last Remnant Remaster, releasing tonight for Switch
  • A new, long trailer for Dragon Quest Builders 2, releasing on July 12 with a PlayStation 4 demo on June 27
  • A Fall release window for Dragon Quest XI S
  • A couple upcoming Square Enix Collective games, including one called Circuit Superstars that looks like a modern, multiplayer version of RC Pro-Am
  • A short trailer for Re+Mind, the first Kingdom Hearts III DLC
  • A new trailer for the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion, "Shadowbringers," releasing on July 2
  • A trailer for Dying Light 2, which made great use of an old Metric song
  • An announcement for Western releases of Romancing SaGa 3 and SaGa Scarlet Grace
  • An introduction to the next game in the Brave Exvius universe, called War of the Visions, which appears to be a turn- and grid-based tactical strategy game with five different warring factions
The presentation ended with one surprise (that had been leaked a little earlier today, if you were paying attention): a new remaster of Final Fantasy VIII. Honestly, though, it wasn't much of a showing; there was no announcement of a release date and apparently absolutely no content from the actual new version of the game. Everything I saw looked to be straight from the original PSX release, in 4:3 aspect ratio and all.

The other linchpin for Square Enix this year was obviously going to be Avengers, given how many times they've reminded us of the game on social media over the last week, and that's how they wrapped up the show. Frankly, it looks amazing. The entire video they showed claimed to be in-engine, and the transitions between non-interactive and interactive parts of the game were beyond seamless. The scale of the environments, illustrated by the setting of the Golden Gate Bridge for much of the trailer, were spectacular as well. It's also an original Avengers story, according to Marvel Gaming, outside the comic and cinematic universes.

The game is going to release on May 15 of 2020, and it appears that the playable heroes will start with Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man. According to their very own version of a post-credits scene, it looks like Hank Pym is on deck for the future as well. Crystal Dynamics say that there will be no loot boxes, play to win, or even costs associated with downloading new missions or heroes as they're made available as DLC. It's coming for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia, and it's another game playable on the show floor.

All that said, Square Enix look like they are going to be thin on the ground for really big titles in 2019, but the first half of 2020 is going to ship a lot of games for the juggernaut.

Source: Square Enix Twitch

Final Fantasy VII Remake Release Date Announced


Final Fantasy VII
They must be further along than they are letting on, or they are being fairly optimistic: Square Enix announed last night at the Final Fantasy VII Reunion Concert that the long-awaited remake is due to release on March 3 of next year.

Most of the new trailer that accompanied the announcement was still from the game's prologue, but it does seem to indicate more clearly that the battle system looks to be closer to Final Fantasy XV than a modified ATB system. The new trailer is also bookended by a brief shot of Shin-ra and Aerith dropping her flowers in terror. In the middle there appears to be a first glance at Cloud using a Limit Break!

Squenix say that we can expect more details tonight at their pre-E3 showcase. I'm an old man but I can probably stay awake for that.


Source: Square Enix Facebook

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