News from Europe
The worldwide port of the Japanese arcade Dissidia has been officially announced for release in Square Enix' three main territories as of today. Japan, Europe, and North America will all see the game in January of 2018, with the former seeing the game on January 11 and the latter two getting it on January 30. As is typical for major Squenix releases these days, there will be several bundle tiers available for purchase.
While they vary somewhat from region to region, they fall into pretty standard categories. The Ultimate edition will be available only from Square Enix directly, and will include a Steelbook, an art book, a figurine, soundtrack, the Season Pass, et cetera. There will also be versions that have a randomzied Steelbook case, featuring one of three designs each with a different set of Dissidia fighters. The digital copies available will offer up a free alternate skin for Warrior of Light, a mini-soundtrack in digital format, and the Season Pass (in the higher tier of digital purchase). In Europe, the digital packages appear to contain a code to get Cloud's Nail Bat and a PS4 dashboard theme.
I'm still not in the closed beta. Anyone else get word that they got in?
Gematsu reports this morning that a closed beta for Dissidia NT, the home console version of the Japanese arcade entry to the fighting game series, will get a closed beta on PlayStation 4 for both North American and European users later this month. Specifically, noon Eastern on August 26 through noon again on September 4.
Featuring a limited lineup of fourteen characters - the lead characters of each game, generally - the beta will feature three-on-three battles in some selection of the game's battle arenas, and will also contain at least some of the final game's summon lineup.
This is going to be a closed beta, of course. Some folks should be receiving a code to get in already, it appears, though the criteria for getting one of the instant-in codes is naturally not public. There is a lottery to try to get a code, though, if you don't have one - all you need is a Square Enix account. I entered the lottery myself just a few minutes ago, and you can do the same at the links below.
In other news, it was also announced that Jecht, coming soon to the arcade version, will be part of the console release package on day one of next year's release.
Source: Gematsu, NA Beta Signup, EU Beta Signup
Square Enix announced today that they are "withdrawing" from IO Interactive, the gaming studio most recently working on the Hitman franchise, at the end of the conglomerate's current fiscal year on March 31, 2018. This withdrawal appears to be taking the place of a divestment from the developer, and not a winding down and closing of their studios in Denmark; however, should Square Enix and IO not find a new investor in that time, it seems more than possible that the studio would in fact need to close.
IO Interactive have been the sole developers of main-series Hitman games since the origin of the franchise. However, due to Eidos' purchase of IO and Square Enix' subsequent purchase of Eidos, the Hitman IP appears to belong to Square Enix at this time. It's not yet known what would occur with this IP in the case of a transfer of investment; my suspicions would be that it would be allowed to stay with IO if a new investor is found, or kept by Square Enix if one is not. Neither Square Enix nor IO Interactive have put forth any further details at this time.
Square Enix is expecting to take a single-time loss of roughly $43 million to divest from IO Interactive, which is obviously a very large number even for a company of their size. This appears to be an acceptable loss for the company, who commented that they are using the opportunity to "[focus] our resources and energies on key franchises and studios," which likely means reinvestment in Japanese studios and possibly Eidos Montreal? It's hard to tell where all they have active things ramping up these days.
Square Enix announced today that MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV will, as of now, be free for all trial accounts up until level 35. This lifting of restriction will apply to any trial account, whether it's created now or dates back to day one; even expired trials will be unlocked for players. This means, Gematsu reports, that characters left on expired accounts can be picked up right where left off, and all accounts can do all of the gameplay available to any other account at or below level 35, including various jobs, the first 10 levels of Deep Dungeon, Golden Saucer, and other unique features.
The trial can be downloaded from PlayStation stores in North America and Europe as before, or from the XIV website for PC gamers. The restriction has been lifted serverside, it would appear, so users who already have the game client should need only to start it up and download any lingering updates to pick the game up again.
A King's Tale, a Final Fantasy XV sidestory previously available only with certain preorders of the main game, is now available to everyone on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. And it's free! The game is a sort of prequel to Final Fantasy XV, and takes place as a bedtime story told by King Regis to a young Prince Noctis. Unlike the action RPG of the main title, this side game is a 2.5D, sprite-based sidescrolling beat-em-up with a Final Fantasy flair.
The game features King Regis as the main character, with access to battle assistance from his friends - like father, like son. He's got access to a variety of weapons, magic, and summons to fight against monsters from the Final Fantasy XV universe, expressed also as sprites.
Again, the game is available worldwide for download today, for free, with no purchase of the original game required. Enjoy!
The time has come. If you weren't the beneficiary of someone accidentally providing the game early, today is the day that Final Fantasy XV is on the shelves of your local retailer or arriving in your mailbox from your preorder. What a long, strange trip it's been, to quote someone with whom I share virtually no aspects of my life.
Because this game isn't your run of the mill release, the information hasn't stopped coming just because the game is playable by the public, no sir. There's a new trailer - yes, a trailer for a game that is out now - with a surprising soundtrack and a mysterious mobile phone call, among other impressive sights and sounds. Square Enix Japan also did one final Active Time Report overnight, which Siliconera provides to us with a nice set of English subtitles. It's full of weirdness that is better seen yourself, but suffice to say that Prompto has a blast at a special party for the game's release and that Yosuke Matsuda, Squenix CEO, pops in to say hello.
And how are the reviews? Solid. Of course, that won't matter to anyone who is convinced that there hasn't been an actual Final Fantasy game since the year 2000, but it is what it is, right?