News from Europe
After the many years of success enjoyed by the Distant Worlds concert tour, playing orchestral arrangements of Final Fantasy music worldwide, Square Enix has paired with concert promoter La Fee Sauvage to offer a similar show with the music of Kingdom Hearts.
The general setup is that of Distant Worlds, featuring a 70-plus piece orchestra that is local to the venue performing songs from the game series. One might assume that there won't be as much variety available as for Distant Worlds, but the Kingdom Hearts series does itself span eight distinct games now, not including remixes, remakes, and re-imaginings. I've never played a KH game myself, but I did do some sampling of the soundtracks for this post and I think it's safe to say that fans will no doubt find some very lovely music performed on stage. As a note, the Kingdom Hearts series features music composed by Yoko Shimomura, one of gaming's most prolific composers and the composer for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV.
The World Tour won't begin until next year, and is currently scheduled to appear in seven cities worldwide: Tokyo, Paris, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Los Angeles, and New York. The European shows all take place in March of 2017; the American shows are in June.
News really dries up when Death Penalty and I go a-travelin', does it not? Fear not, as I'm back now and he will be soon as well; however, don't forget that all of you out there are free to write news that we're missing!
The annual Gamescom conference was in Cologne, Germany last week, and as loyal readers will know, Hajime Tabata explained back in June that there would be no new Final Fantasy XV news until then. Storing things up for a couple months led to a news blowout on this hotly-anticipated game, as follows.
The biggest thing, of course, is the new trailer. Square Enix love their trailers, and with trailers like this who can blame them?
This trailer is a flashback to fifteen years before the intended timeline of the game, with emotional scenes between young Noctis and his father, King Regis.
Gamescom was also the location and time of the most recent Active Time Report, and it and the discussions around it formed the core of new Final Fantasy XV information for the summer. Among the sights, sounds, and tidbits released:
- Ambushing monsters, in this case a marlboro
- Pending polish to game visuals and battle system
- Pending launch of English/Japanese Final Fantasy XV forums
- Next Active Time Reports at PAX Prime and Tokyo Game Show
- Flight coming to the game, and likely not passive airship flight
- New screenshots of dungeons, towns, and other scenery
A girl who had previously briefly appeared in media released by the Nova Crystallis team, Lunafreya, was also confirmed at Gamescom to be Noctis' betrothed, an arranged royal marriage to ensure peace with Tenebrae. At the start of Final Fantasy XV, she and the king are presumed dead, but come on - we all know that's not gonna happen.
And, to bury the lede as I so love to do, not only did the team confirm the game will not slip to 2017, they also confirmed simultaneous worldwide release. How about that?
At the Japan Expo that just wrapped in Paris - no, this isn't mistyped - Dragon Quest maestro Yuji Horii spoke with the assembled press. Among more mundane matters, Horii intimated that the recent 3DS remakes of Dragon Quest VII and VIII would be released "in French," a move that apparently caused his translator some consternation at the time.
This was clearly something that Horii simply wanted to leak for fun; there's no release date, no other particulars, and so on. However, this is good news for all Dragon Quest fans outside of Japan. Someone like Yuji Horii wouldn't make this comment if it weren't true, and if there is bound to be a French localization, there's zero chance that other languages are not on the table, especially English.
Did you know Final Fantasy XI was still a thing? I don't think I'd thought about it since the last time I posted news about it, back in 2012. That's unfair, though, because the game is well over a decade old but still has a core of diehard players; it's just that none of us are included in that list!
Anyway, Square Enix had a Final Fantasy XI event today, in which the very definition of what Final Fantasy XI is changed somewhat. Most importantly, the final additional scenario to the game was announced; called "Rhapsodies of Vana'diel," the scenario will come in three parts and are intended to incorporate aspects of the game's history into new battles and loot in an effort to create a feeling of closure to the adventure. These three pieces will be free to all players.
The three pieces of "Rhapsodies" will be released in May, August, and November 2015. In March 2016, the game will be shut down for Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 players, which seems like it might be well due. This will leave only the PC version as an active platform. Sometime before the March shutoff, as well, the game managers are planning a final gameplay event called "The Goddess' Gala," which promises fun content for both active and lapsed players.
While the ancient platforms are being eliminated, though, a new platform is being announced; Final Fantasy XI mobile is in the works now for smartphones and tablets worldwide. The game will carry the XI name, and has optimizations intended to make the game more playable via touch; however, it is not yet clear if it will interact with the existing platform or will exist solely on its own servers and will be multiplayer only with other mobile players.
Also announced today, for release in Japan later this year, is a mobile game set in the universe and leveraging the characters of Final Fantasy XI. The game is called Final Fantasy Grandmasters, and while it will have ad hoc multiplayer, it's not to MMO scale and the gameplay based on screenshots looks like a hybrid between MMO combat and more standard Final Fantasy line-up-and-sword-them fighting. It's aiming for beta sometime in April, but again, there's no release planned outside of Japan.
Late last year, we noted that a leak on an online store made it appear that the high-definition remasters of the Final Fantasy X series might make it to PS4. Not only has this week proven that to be true, the games are coming to the West, and they're coming quite soon, May 12 to be exact. (For Europe and Australia, the date is the 15th.)
This new release will allow transfer of savegames from the previous releases on PS3 and PS Vita; additionally, it will contain all the features of the previous HD releases plus the additional option to switch from the remastered soundtracks back to the original PS2 versions. Preorders of the limited edition in North America, via the official store and "selected retailers," will also include a 2015 calendar with Amano illustrations from the X games. Preorders in Europe will receive a steelbook copy of Amano art.
The price is currently listed at 49.99 for the US and Eurozone, and 39.99 in the UK.
Source: Square Enix Official Store (NA), IGN
Time to do a proper weekly Square Enix News Tidbits! Mostly for the same reason that we always do - because we run out of time to keep up during the week.
This week, we've got two new announcements for game releases coming West from Japan. First up is a mobile app called Final Fantasy Record Keeper that you might have noticed in the Final Fantasy magazine. Record Keeper appears to be a retelling of critical events from the Final Fantasy canon as evoked by a boy tasked with keeping the memories of those adventures alive, presumably in some sort of alternate universe. Characters from the series are rendered in SNES-era sprites and the player will control them in battle. The battles look similar to All the Bravest... so all we can do is hope that this app isn't quite so much a joke! Pre-registration for the app is available now from the official site.
The second announcement is from the Dragon Quest series. Dragon Quest Heroes for PlayStation 3 and 4 has just come out in Japan, and Squenix commemorated the release in a way by announcing it also for release in the West. DQ Heroes is a "Warriors" style game - think Hyrule or Dynasty - and is the first entry of the series on a Sony console in quite a while. Simultaneously, a load of free DLC was announced for the Japanese release, and one can safely assume that it will also make it over here. One of the DLC packs looks to include Zoma, from Dragon Quest III; I note that specifically because I always thought his giant eye-helmet was pretty creepy. At the moment, it appears that there will be no PS3 version of the game outside of Japan, merely PS4.
Finally, let's turn back to last week's biggest news, Final Fantasy XV. With the demo livestream done, the XV team has turned back to handing out small bits of news for the full game. In an interview this week, Hajime Tabata noted that the demo coming out next month will be roughly 5GB in total disk size; of course, that doesn't do much for explaining how much real content there will be, but it's worth noting that is only about a tenth of a double-layer Bluray's capacity. In the same interview, Tabata implied that there would be some shocking moments in the plot and some brutal scenes, and it's worth noting that Tabata also worked on Crisis Core, so he's probably not bluffing.
In another, separate interview, Tabata discussed some of the other differences between the demo and the full game. The equipment selections, for weapons, armor and accessories alike, will be a small subset of the full game's functionality in terms of equipping and customization. While the (famous) cars and the (heretofore unknown) trains will not be in the demo, both methods of transport will be available in the full game in different contexts. Chocobos will also appear, of course. Additionally, the new content came with a video with some new scenes, notably exploration and battle inside a claustrophobic cave. A second new video emulates the feel of a nature documentary and shows more landscapes and creatures. Tabata also noted that the team is still refining the demo and will be continuing to do so.
More random news is cropping up today, though, so we might be able to throw some more good stuff at you in the near future. Or we might get lazy. It's Friday.
Source: Final Fantasy Record Keeper, Square Enix Europe, Siliconera