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Crowdfunding and Pre-E3: CoNcast Episode Seven

For this edition of the CoNcast, the group takes EvilEye under our guidance to talk about the newest big thing in the production side of video games: Crowdfunding. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are making the early stages of game development more social, direct, and to an extent, even democratized. For some games, it's great, and for for others it's just another buzzword, and we're talking about it on the CoNcast right now - we even hypothesize what might happen if Square Enix decided to give crowdfunding a try; spoiler alert, the answer is generally "a gaming apocalypse."

Since E3 is more or less underway right now, we also take a few minutes to talk about to what we're looking forward out of the show this year. Another spoiler - the cynics that make up your favorite podcasting crew are a bit "meh" on the whole thing.

Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes

Square Enix Tidbits: BABY BEHEMOTHS and Other News

General Final Fantasy
First off, some sentimental news: the Playstation 2 has finally come to the end of its sales lifespan in Japan. The system will still be available in many regions worldwide, however. If you're reading this in Brazil, for instance, the PS2 was only first made available to you in 2009. Desculpa.

Speaking of the PS2, Square Enix's long-running MMO native to that system, Final Fantasy XI, will be getting yet another expansion on March 26th to the tune of $29.99. The expansion, however, will only be available to westerners on PC and Xbox. If you're interested in taking this opportunity to first start playing Square Enix's MMO that worked the first time, a bundle edition of the original game and the other four expansions will be made available as well.

Next up, super important news from FFXIV: A Realm Reborn: THERE ARE BABY BEHEMOTHS. If you're wondering why this is such fantastic news, it's only because you haven't yet clicked on the first source below. Seriously. Cutest things ever.

In more serious news concerning FFXIV: A Realm Reborn, Square Enix has released a timetable for beta testing and debugging. Beta will begin in February with the PC version only, with PS3 beta being added in later. The plan is divided into four phases, each of which involves an increased number of available worlds and accessible features. Each phase will last somewhere around three weeks, followed by a 1-2 week session of debugging. Take my word for it, it's a rather detailed plan.

Square Enix is preparing to introduce a new bonus for those in the Japanese Square Enix Members program: a browser-based game in which Members avatars fight against various enemies from the Final Fantasy series. As said, it appears to be Japan-only, but there's always the chance that we'll see it over here if it's successful.

Finally, some Lightning Returns: FFXIII news. Lightning has been and fought for a lot of things over the course of her trilogy. In a recent Famitsu interview, Lightning's final role was revealed: liberator. If that sounds a bit odd, given that she spent her first title overthrowing a couple gods and rejecting 'divine' missions, you aren't alone. Now, though, she's working for a good god, Bhunivelze, and her goal is not to destroy the world as a sacrifice but to save as many as possible from the impending destruction of the world (the thirteen days thing we've reported on previously), liberating them to a new world.

Source: Siliconera, Siliconera, Siliconera

IGN Posts Top 100 RPGs of All Time (This Year!)

Ah, top x lists. Defined solely to create arguments and page views among a site's readership, because nobody has ever agreed with such a list completely, ever. IGN knows this, as do we all, and right here I'm going to throw them some more page views out of the goodness of my own heart.

Well, not really. I'd have a hard time caring about this, given how generally without merit I find most of these lists, but this one is tailor-made for CoN: three of the games we cover are in the top five, and not one of them is Final Fantasy VII.

Don't worry, Final Fantasy VII is on there! While Square Enix claimed over a quarter of the spots on the overall list, the games we cover came in as follows:
  • Final Fantasy VI: 1st
  • Chrono Trigger: 2nd
  • Final Fantasy IV: 5th
  • Final Fantasy VII: 11th
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: 14th
  • Final Fantasy I: 73rd
The only game of ours that didn't get included was Final Fantasy V.

Enjoy arguing the list here, at least until they release a new list. Have fun - it's miserable to navigate.

Source: IGN

Square Enix News Tidbits: Post-E3 Rollup

E3 Expo
E3's gone away for another year, and as Squenix were largely cut out of the biggest, most-televised events this year, it's time to roll up the news for all of you Square Enix fans visiting CoN. The company showed a large number of games in their booth, as usual, with a great many slated to come out quite soon. Hitman, Tomb Raider, and Sleeping Dogs (you know, the "Dogs" game that falls right behind Watch Dogs and Nintendogs in terms of name recognition) appeared in the booth, as well as soon-to-be-released Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance and Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy.

Quantum Conundrum made a big splash, with its release date just a couple weeks away. I think this game was under a lot of peoples' radars, even though the game came from Kim Swift, one of the minds behind the original Portal; the puzzle play reminds me quite a bit of Portal, though the art aesthetic is a bit more Team Fortress, if you're extending the Valve analogy. With its large number of platforms and puzzle-based gaming, it really looks like it could be a mainstream hit - indeed, I've seen coverage of it not only in the gaming media but also already in more pop-culture media such as Entertainment Weekly. Check out the newest trailer, released just before E3, to get a better feel for what's going on and exactly how you might be jumping from dimension to dimension to clear a level.

Speaking of trailers, Squenix cut a new one for Theatrhythm for E3 as well. If you want to watch, make sure to view it full-screen to understand a little bit more about how the gameplay works, as it's really hard to see at the standard size. Then, enjoy the music, as it clearly remains the biggest draw for the title, but also check out more footage of all the different types of game play that make up the game, some of which I had yet to see at much length. There's also a good interview with the game's project manager, which sheds some light on the way the game was designed and where it fits in to the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary theme.

In fact, just check out all of the Square Enix content from E3. There are a ton more interviews there with Squenix personnel about their upcoming games, and I haven't even had time to watch them all myself. While you're there, you can even sign up to win a moogle-and-magenta PS3 or Xbox 360. Maybe you can check out the special cakes Squenix had at their invite-only E3 event.

Square Enix also wasted no time with more news from Japan even as E3 wound down. andriasang has reported in just the last few days, such as a new Transformers-esque racing and battle arcade game that will also be ported to 3DS, a teaser for a new Final Fantasy III release on PSP, and a third demo for Bravely Default Flying Fairy, introducing the battle and job systems.

Finally, surprise! There's another Distant Worlds concert this summer! A couple weeks ago, Dallas was added to this year's slate of shows. The show is this week, but tickets are still available, possibly including VIP tickets that get you in to meet guest vocalist Susan Calloway and Squenix composer Masashi Hamauzu. Free up your Friday night, Texans.

Source: Square Enix Blog, andriasang

Kingdom Hearts 3D Featured at Nintendo 3DS Show

E3 Expo
Nintendo last night had their second major press conference of E3, this time focusing solely on upcoming games for the Nintendo 3DS. I'd expected something a little faster-moving, showing a huge number of games, but Nintendo took a slower, more methodical approach, instead going into significant detail on a smaller selection of games that are coming up very soon.

Most of the games there looked pretty good, speaking as someone who doesn't have a 3DS and doesn't follow it much. The fall-release Castlevania: Lords of Shadow sequel looked like it had polished camera work, and the vibrant Epic Mickey sidescrolling platformer also looked sharp, though the action seemed slow-paced in its demo. For RPG players, Nintendo showed the new Paper Mario, which uses as its conceit a collectable sticker book to control battle and other interactions with the world, and to me it looked like a pretty fun game.

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance came up next, and led with a trailer that really made it obvious that it would use a lot of the 3D capabilities of the system; some on-rails flying and coaster sequences look made specifically to have some pop-out features. The game will also support Street Pass, AR cards, and the Circle Pad Pro. The game will have quicktime attacks, as well as touchscreen input for "Reality Shift" attacks. The release date is still the end of July for North America, and a DLC demo will be available "soon."

One more game got an extended preview, Scribblenauts Unlimited, and then the conference shifted into a quick-cut video of other upcoming third-party games, including Lego Batman 2, a Transformers game licensed from the movies, a Rabbids game, and Squenix' own Heroes of Ruin, which also has a demo coming this summer.

The conference moved on to talk about the Nintendo e-store, and how it will connect to the new versions of Pokemon Black and White that are soon to be released, and then the whole thing wound up with more demo of New Super Mario Bros. 2, followed by the curtain falling. Not sure that this blew my mind, but it was nice to finally see one of the big three give more than a couple seconds to Square Enix. Seems a pretty far cry from just a few years ago, doesn't it?

Source: Nintendo E3 Portal

Nintendo at E3 2012: WiiU Buy It?

E3 Expo
Nintendo had a typically strong opening to their press conference at E3 this year, relying again on the charisma of Miyamoto and a more clever opening than the other two. After that, though, was it really all that entertaining? The company showed a lot of new games coming for the WiiU console, a great many of them launch titles, but if you were expecting something with the energy and buzz of the pre-Wii-launch E3, it just wasn't going to happen.

If you thought the Wii was gimmicky, you'll certainly feel the same about the WiiU. If you thought the Wii was aimed more at families and especially children, you'll probably have the same reaction again. If you have thought that Nintendo just wasn't pushing the third parties enough, you might well be right again, even though Ubisoft showed up (again!) with nine games in development for the new console.

If you're into the product that Nintendo has been putting out for most of the last decade, you probably liked what you saw. The games looked casual- and family-friendly, and the gimmick of the WiiU controller looked like it was going to get used in some pretty interesting ways. Bottom line, though, if you weren't already mostly sold on the idea of the WiiU, I don't think today's conference was going to do anything to push you over the edge. And if you wanted to see 3DS stuff, such as Square Enix' forthcoming games? That has to wait until tomorrow, when Nintendo has planned a standalone conference to speak solely about the 3DS. Dream Drop Distance did managed to sneak in a 15-second clip into today's show, but it was hardly packed with information.

That does it for the big three this year. I can't pick a winner, all three felt a bit lacking in energy to me. Any thoughts?

Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2017 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.