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News from Japan
Just before Christmas, Square Enix applied for three new trademarks in Japan, all related to Final Fantasy VII; the filings were made public on Monday of this week.
Two were for text use: "Ever Crisis" and "The First Soldier." It seems reasonable to believe that these two are both related to the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, given the use of the terms "Crisis" and "Soldier" in other ways related to FF7. The third is more explicit - it's a trademark application for the logo used by Shinra Electric Power Company. The two text trademarks were filed on December 17, and the visual on December 22.
There's no other information about how these marks might be used, as only the Shinra logo has been used in the past in its current form. The other marks could refer to remakes, remasters, or new games in the FF7 universe for any platform. They could even refer to upcoming books based in the same. They could even be for projects that never actually happen. We will just have to see what happens with them in the future.
The original The World Ends With You is one of the cult-ier games made by Square Enix in its recent history; released originally in 2007, the game has mainly been published for mobile devices only with the exception of the 2018 release on Nintendo Switch. That said, it did get its cult status largely by being a well-recieved and quality game (full disclosure, the game never really grabbed me on Nintendo DS so I might not be the best person to speak to that).
After a week or so of leadup, the announcement came today that after these many years, a sequel to the game is now in the works, and it's been announced for both PlayStation 4 and Switch with a Summer 2021 release date. Entitled "NEO: The World Ends With You," the announcement trailer reveals several new characters as well as some returns. The new game keeps the comic book art aesthetic from the original, but puts the gameplay into a 3D space that evokes to me a bit of Kingdom Hearts feel.
Expect more news in the near future, with the release date coming relatively soon.
I'm a bit late to the post here, sorry - Hurricane Zeta decided to take out CoN headquarters for about eighteen hours right as this news broke. Yesterday, Square Enix published the official Final Fantasy XVI website in eight languages - multiple variants of English notwithstanding - which really reinforces the scope of a modern flagship Final Fantasy release.
The site exposes a lot of backstory to fill in some obvious gaps from the original trailer. We learn that the setting of the new game is a land called Valisthea, and as we could predict from the trailer, the Eikons exist around the largest settlements in the land near their "Mothercrystals," huge mountains of crystal from which magical aether spawns. Those who can command the Eikons are called "Dominants," like young Joshua, and each nation treats their Dominant in their own traditional style. There are six major kingdoms outlined on the website which explain a bit more, and interestingly there are redactions in the text for a couple of them to hide either Eikon or Dominant names.
In terms of characters, we now know that the protagonist's name is Clive Rosfield, the older brother to Joshua. As one can tell from the trailer, Clive is a noble soldier of the nation of Rosaria; it is further explained that the attack by Ifrit shown in the trailer must take place fairly early in the game, as it appears to be the catalyst for a mission of revenge. We also learn that the girl from the trailer is named Jill, and she hails from another region of Valisthea and is an emissary helping to keep the peace between her people and Rosaria. Apparently, she is also 12 years old, which seems like maybe she has way too stressful of a role for her age.
Reading between the lines a bit, it would seem that the Ifrit that attacks Joshua and Clive could be either a wild Eikon or possibly one from another nation; the site explains that the tenuous peace among the countries of Valisthea might be at risk due to "the Blight," which opens up a number of opportunities for storytelling. Hopefully, the level of worldbuilding already evident in this website means that the game is far enough along that more info will be coming soon.
Source: Final Fantasy XVI | Square Enix
I think we all knew that Final Fantasy XVI would appear on the next generation of consoles, sure, but was it really expected to debut today at Sony's PlayStation event? Well, it did, in the form of a four-minute trailer with what appears to be a pretty significant amount of footage. What we know so far is that the game will be a console exclusive for PlayStation 5, but will also have a Windows release, and that it will be a single-player game with action combat that immediately seems to be an extension of the Final Fantasy XV combat system. We also know that the footage shown was all in-engine for both combat and cutscenes, but it is very clearly in an early stage. We also know that Naoki Yoshida will be on the masthead as producer and that Hiroshi Takai will assume the mantle of Director; both have extensive experience within the company, particularly recently in Final Fantasy XIV. The game is being developed by Squenix' fantastically-named "Creative Business Unit III" group, which is... something else we know, I guess. Finally, we know that the trailer is footage captured from a PC, attempting to emulate the new PS5 experience.
The trailer, subtitled "Awakening," focuses on three main characters. The first we see is an unruly-haired warrior with a tattoo or brand on his cheek; he appears to be a soldier off to war in which both sides wield summoned monsters, here called "Icons." It seems that he is on the side who summon Titan, as he is told that his target is Shiva, who we see fighting against the "bloody mountain" early on. The second is a younger man who serves as a squire toward the third, a boy named Joshua (which, hey, good choice, guys). The younger squire appears to be the main character, as he is the only one shown in the combat sequences, and his role is to guard the child, who is the son of nobility. The "Awakening" takes place as young Joshua experiences a shock and apparently transforms into something highly unexpected. Another battle of icons takes shape, and also forms the basis for the game's logo - a Phoenix and Ifrit in conflict.
That's a quick and as spoiler-free as I can make it recap, written up after watching just a couple times. So, here, have some more general ideas and speculation. First, the two warriors, older and younger, look pretty similar. I could see them being somehow related and on separate sides of a growing conflict, or, if Squenix want to get really twisty, possibly even the same man in some sort of time loop situation. I could also give credence to a theory that in this universe, the summoned Icons are superpowers that can be bestowed upon warriors by their factions' crystals, or are even inborn powers that are unlocked over time. I also think that Square has probably elected to not play a number of cards yet with this unveiling, as the combat scenes show only one character and no battle UI at all; after the combat systems of XV and FF7R, it seems very unlikely to me that there would be only one playable character in battle on this new platform.
And finally, that puppy needs to be a companion for the whole game or I may not buy it.
Watch the video below, and click through to learn more. Square Enix have said that this will be the only information we get on the game until 2021, so enjoy it.
Have you ever gone to Distant Worlds and thought, "okay, this is pretty awesome, but what if they did it just for Final Fantasy VII? And used the new arrangements from the Remake?" Well, okay, they kinda did that last year, sure. But that one-off is now a real thing, and we have the first dozen-plus dates for it for 2020 and 2021. This concert series is going to include the new Remake arrangements, as well as the new theme song that debuted last week. It will also have visuals from the new game, and will be directed by Arnie Roth; this, of course, might mean that Distant Worlds will be back-burnered for a while, but worse things have happened, surely.
No tickets are on sale until a couple weeks from now, but here are the known show dates:
- June 14: Los Angeles
- July 4: Singapore
- July 9 and 10: San Francisco
- August 22: Fort Worth, Texas
- September 11: Atlanta
- September 25: Phoenix, Arizona
- October 3: New York City
- October 24: Chicago
- October 30: London
- November 7 and 8: Bangkok
- December 13: Paris
- December 19: Barcelona
- January 8 and 9, 2021: Denver
- January 13, 2021: Nashville
- January 31, 2021: Boston
- February 12 and 13, 2021: Tokyo
Source: Final Fantasy VII Remake Concerts Official Site
It's easy to fall behind this time of year, as we're all getting ready to move into 2020. But Square Enix is not taking a break, and starting with The Game Awards last week, the team has been rolling out more apertifs for the game releasing in March of next year. Below, see the newest trailer; it focuses on Cloud and his development from mercenary to hero. It's got a little bit more combat and also some good snippets from Barret's (literal) elevator pitch to Cloud in the prologue and Tifa and Cloud's reunion at 7th Heaven.
Gematsu also reported earlier this week on Squenix' publication of a lot of new images, including a couple iconic scenes, and some newly-written character descriptions. The first explanations of Aerith's abilities in-battle are detailed here, too, as well as a first look at stills of Shiva, the Train Graveyard and Shin-Ra Headquarters.
Squenix also set up some good marketing for us recently, with a load of wallpapers and avatars of Tifa, Cloud, and Barret, with Aerith apparently coming soon. Those can be grabbed from the offical site. Also on social media, there's a brief teaser of Cloud on the FF7R Twitter feed. They're showing a little more of the soundtrack with each video, too, which is pretty great. All in all, a nice little gift for fans awaiting the game's release in March.
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