Apparently, there is a non-Distant Worlds Final Fantasy symphony tour that has been around a few years, but I don't recall having heard about it until just the other day. It's called Final Symphony and differs significantly from Distant Worlds; while the latter features arrangements that are largely orchestral takes on the original pieces, Final Symphony combines themes from a few select games into acts of a symphony, with each movement attempting to express a portion of a game's world through a new interpretation of its music.
Being a symphony, each show plays the same music, with no minor setlist deviations as one might find at a Distant Worlds show, and the bulk of the show comes in three acts, first from Final Fantasy VI, then Final Fantasy X, and closing with Final Fantasy VII. There are four shows currently scheduled:
- San Diego, July 21
- Baltimore, July 23
- San Francisco, July 27
- Auckland, October 21
On top of this, there's a second iteration on Final Symphony, with music from Final Fantasy XIII, IX, VIII, and V - amazing as that sounds to me, though, there are no currently scheduled performances.
Final Symphony is available for digital download from Amazon.
Late last night, following all of the daytime Pre-E3 stuff, Square Enix put out their Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report for the conference.The lead story within is the Trials of Titan demo for E3; while we posted to social media yesterday that it appeared at the Microsoft press conference, we have yet to cover it here. The Trials of Titan is a new demo of the XV combat engine, in which Noctis and company are required to fight off the massive creature in order to prove their worth to him and allow them to summon him going forward. This is a take on what will appear in the final game, but not exactly the same as what will show up on disc in September; the demo will be playable at E3 on the show floor. For those of us not going to California, Square Enix Presents will stream more gameplay of the demo later this week.
There's also a new trailer for XV that will be playing on the show floor. It's got a lot of focus on huge monsters and summons, with Titan, Leviathan, Ramuh, Malboro, and Behemoth all appearing; a fair number of vehicles appear as well, with the aircar, Chocobos, and a train all rumbling through. It's soundtracked by Afrojack, if that's your thing. You'll note that the music is still Final Fantasy - it's a custom house mix of tracks that will actually be in the game.
Following that trailer is... a trailer. It's a new trailer for Kingsglaive, all in Japanese, no subtitles. So, it's exceedingly pretty with some great new visuals of war scenes - Cerberus specifically looks incredibly impressive - but there's not much more that I personally can say about how this movie is shaping up.
If you watched the initial episode of the Final Fantasy XV anime, "Brotherhood," you'll be pleased to note that the second episode will be out today. The new episode will feature a young, chubby Prompto and how he meets Noctis. Luna and Ignis will also appear, along with some cute animals.
There's more Final Fantasy XV to be streamed on Twitch and YouTube this week. Today at 3pm Eastern, there will be an hour-long "Final Fantasy XV E3 Kickoff" show. Tomorrow from 1pm to 2pm Eastern, another Active Time Report and then from 5:30 to 6:30 a playthrough of the Titan demo. Finally, on Thursday the 16th, from 7pm to 8pm Eastern, Hajime Tabata will answer the "Top XV Questions for FFXV."
Finally, outside of the ATR at Sony's E3 event, Sony announced Final Fantasy XV content for PlayStation VR. Called "VR Experience," you get to play through some battles in VR as Prompto, who is also wearing a VR headset through the entire thing, making for a rather strange meta experience. The trailer was rather short, so it's not yet clear how much content there will be, whether it's all combat, or anything else.
Source: Square Enix Japan YouTube Channel, Siliconera
It's that time again - about three months since our last Final Fantasy concert update, so a new group of shows has just been announced.
Last time around, the news for Distant Worlds, the older, larger brother among the concert series, was thin: just one new date, July 23 in Houston. There are four more shows to speak of now, from September to January of next year. Dallas will get two shows on September 2 and 3, with Susan Calloway in the concert hall to provide vocals. A week later, on September 10, the series will arrive in Phoenix, again with Calloway in tow. It appears that Final Fantasy VII's "Cosmo Canyon" will appear in both setlists, which is something I'm not familiar with having happened before.
The last new show will not be until January 28 (at least until they start backfilling some of the gaps, which they often do). That show will be in Newark, New Jersey, and will have Nobuo Uematsu in the crowd.
As I've mentioned before, we're going to see more and more concerts in the A New World concert series, as it's a little easier to put on a show that requires a smaller set of players and a smaller venue. Beyond the shows already announced, there are now five more coming:
- Madison, Wisconsin: September 16
- Ann Arbor, Michigan: October 28
- Grand Rapids, Michigan: October 29
- Indianapolis, Indiana: November 18
- Quebec City, Quebec
Source: Distant Worlds, A New World
E3 is next week, y'all. It seems to me that some of the luster has fallen off of E3 in general over the last few years, but it's still a major event, and as such our favorite game company has been doing a lot to get new information in front of us in preparation for what they'll have on the show floor. We mentioned earlier this week one big pre-3 announcement, of course; since then, there have been a number more.
The biggest one, because it's the flagship, is the next Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report. It's called "Day Zero Edition," as it is happening the day before E3 officially begins - June 13th in the evening - likely too late for my old bones, so I'll try to catch everyone up the following morning. I'm really not sure what they might have to talk about in this ATR, given the massive scope of the Uncovered event from March, so I assume it will essentially be a preview of what will be on the show floor.
Another big game coming soon for Squenix is the bridge between the past Kingdom Hearts games and the future Kingdom Hearts III: Kingdom Hearts II.8. For that game, there's a new trailer that rolls up new cinematic footage from all of the included remasters, as well as more from the brand new content in 0.2 Birth By Sleep.
If you like things to be way super cuter than even Disney characters, though, you're looking for World of Final Fantasy, the new sideline Final Fantasy game with chibi characters from across the series. There's another new trailer for that game, with lots of cutscenes and what also appears to be some combat video (albeit, without any sort of UI). Watch the trailer to see interactions with Celes, Edgar, Tidus, Yuna, Lightning, Cloud, Squall, Vivi, and even many more. There's a release date, as well, and it's world-wide: October 25, 2016.
Dragon Quest Builders is coming to E3, as well, as it was announced for a Western release last week. It will also be coming this October, and also got a new trailer just like everything else. There's no actual English in it besides the end cap, but there's no dialogue in it at all so you're really not missing much!
If you're looking to see what's going to be on the show floor, you're in luck because Square Enix Presents will be livestreaming from the show again this year, on both Twitch and YouTube. In my opinion, I've found most of what they've shown in the past to be heavy on fluff and light on breaking news, but they will be showing a lot of games from all of their series. There will be content from all the games already mentioned in this post, as well as Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Star Ocean, Setsuna, Brave Exvius, and just way too many more to mention.
As always, CoN chat will be talking about E3 live... probably. So feel free to stop in during next week even if you're not a regular!
Source: Gematsu, Siliconera, Square Enix Blog
In this week's news out of left field, Square Enix announced over the weekend that Final Fantasy XII is getting a full remaster for Playstation 4, to be released next year. In the vein of Final Fantasy X, this new remaster, subtitled "The Zodiac Age," will be based on the previous Japan re-release "International Zodiac Job System," which changed the original License Board system into one divided by the signs of the zodiac. As befitting a remaster, the game contains a large number of improvements, including:
- High-resolution upgrades for the world, characters, and UI
- High-resolution upgrades for movie cutscenes
- 7.1 channel surround sound
- Voiceovers in English and Japanese
- Remastered soundtrack
- Decreased load times
- Autosave settings
In somewhat unsurprising news, the smartphone Square Enix RPG Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius was announced yesterday for a global release. The game has been downloaded six million times already in Japan since its release last October. Brave Exvius is a story-driven, turn-based title that follows two knights, Rain and Lasswell, and their young companion Fina on a very-Final-Fantasy quest to bring light back to the crystals of their world. The game supports parties of up to six, with slots available to guest characters pulled from other Final Fantasy games, such as Vivi and Terra.
The game is sprite-based for battle and exploration, while cutscenes and summon animations appear to be pre-rendered. The battles appear to be fast-paced, but not to the chaotic and frankly pointless level of All the Bravest, which alleviates some of my previous concern for the title.
There's no release date set for the worldwide release, but a playable version of the game in English will be at E3 next month. Six languages will be available at launch. Players can pre-register now to get bonuses and in-game items, with registration available at the game's official worldwide site.