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News from Japan

Mistwalker to Announce New Game


Mistwalker, the RPG company founded by Hironobu Sakaguchi after his departure from Square, has announced a livestream event to debut a new title. The event will be next Thursday, June 22, on NicoNico. It's set to be part of a previously-scheduled Famitsu stream, and it will include Sakaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu; beyond that, there have been no details leaked about the new game whatsoever.

The stream will go live at 8pm JST next Thursday, which means 7am that morning for American Eastern time.
Posted in: News from Japan

Dissidia Comes to Consoles with NT


Dissida: Final Fantasy
In the not-too-distant past, if you wanted to play the Dissidia Final Fantasy fighting game series, you'd be stuck on your PSP's small screen or saddled with a flight to Japan for the 2015 arcade version. In the not-too-distant future, though, your options are going to open up, as a port of the arcade version to PlayStation 4 was announced yesterday. Slated for the first half of 2018, the new release will be titled Dissidia Final Fantasy NT.

This version will contain over twenty playable characters, including Final Fantasy XV's Noctis; at current count, that would bring the playable characters to 23 with seven summons, though it's likely that both arcade and console version will get more between now and launch. Unlike previous iterations, there won't be a specific "story mode" to the game; however, Square Enix promise that the game does contain a story that will unfold in a fixed path through "event scenes" among the battles. The core game will use the same 3v3 battle system as the arcade version, but will also add in some new battle modes specific to the console release. It will also have the ongoing character and other updates that the arcade version has been known for, but the arcade version (again, in Japan only) will get any new updates first.

And it's going to be playable next week at E3!

Source: Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Official Site, Gematsu
Posted in: News from Japan

Square Enix Publish Financials for 2016-17 Fiscal Year


Square Enix
Maybe this is why Squenix are willing to part with their Hitman developer at significant cost. With the fiscal year just ended on March 31, today Square Enix published their numbers for the year that was, and it was a good one.

On the backs of some big releases you might have heard of, like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and I guess Final Fantasy XV, the company did pretty well last year. The company's top-line revenue was up over $360 million from the year before, while the bottom line was up by $45 million from the year before.

Revenue was up year-over-year again for mobile titles, continuing a trend going back to 2013. Arcade performance (in Japan, of course!) was fairly steady, and merchandise sales have now steadily risen to double what they were in 2013.

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: News from Japan

Square Enix Divests from Hitman Developer


Square Enix
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.

Source: Polygon
Posted in: News from Japan

Zodiac Age Livestream on April 26


Square Enix
With the upcoming release of the Final Fantasy XII remake, subtitled "The Zodiac Age," coming this summer, it's not too much of a surprise that Square Enix are planning livestreams in the run-up to release. The first (and only scheduled, so far) of these streams is coming up on April 26, at 8pm local, which translates to 7am on the 26th for the American Eastern time zone.

The stream will be used to "introduce" the game, but will also include some of the Japanese voice cast for discussions, and some conversation about the development of the original game - as well as, surely, some of the development for the remake. The stream will be played live on Square Enix' YouTube and NicoNico Live channels. As it is a livestream, I doubt that there will be English subtitling done for us here, but if you're a big XII fan you might at least get to enjoy some new visuals from the game.

As an aside, the PlayStation demo kiosk at my local GameStop was running Zodiac Age as a demo when I was there last week. I didn't get to see much of what was going on with it, because my five-year-old decided that she needed to run the demo and not me, but at least it's out there for you folks to check out as you wish too!

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: News from Japan

Dragon Quest XI Launch Event Provides a Square Enix First


Dragon Quest
Earlier today, Square Enix put on a launch event for Dragon Quest XI's release in Japan. The main point of the event was to announce the release date in Japan as July 29th of this year, but as normal for these kinds of events, Squenix also detailed the release packages available for preorder, including bonuses.

A couple pre-order bonuses are pieces of gear; one vest increases post-battle XP and the other increases post-battle Gold earnings. It's not clear from Siliconera's reporting if these are going to be both available to a single purchase, or a single version of the game, or anything like that. The more interesting bundle, though, is the cross-platform bundle. In a first for Square Enix, and possibly for any game I can think of on any platform, the company will offer a bundle that includes both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS versions of the games in a single package. Gamers who pick that set up for roughly $136 will get both games in the classic "hollowed-out-book-hiding-place" boxes, and a (faux) sword in a display case. For anyone who wants both platforms, this is actually a great deal, as the two separately will cost nearly the same. None of this includes anything for the Switch version, which will not be release-ready for the same release window.

Now, I'm burying the lede here, as I often do, but my favorite news around this event is that third-party hardware maker Hori is making a Dragon Quest-themed controller for PlayStation 4, too. It's a slime. And it looks completely uncomfortable to use, and generally ridiculous. And it has to have its own stand to sit in when you're not using it, because all of the controls are on the slime's butt. Do slimes have butts? Anyway, apparently they made a similar one (in both regular and metal variants) for the PlayStation 2, and they sold well enough for them to want to do it again, at the price of over $90. Wow.

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: News from Japan

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