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News from Japan
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!
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.
Square Enix has announced Seiken Densetsu Collection, releasing a trailer video. The game is expected to retail for 4,800 yen and will contain three games: the original Seiken Densetsu, known in the west as Final Fantasy Adventure or Adventures of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 2, released here as Secret of Mana, and Seiken Densetsu 3, never released in the west. The trailer indicates that the three games will be ports of their original releases.
The game's Japan release date is set for June 1. It is unclear if there will be a boxed retail version at this time, or just a digital download. Additionally, it is unknown whether Switch owners in the west will ever have access to the collection; Seiken Densetsu 3 has no official English localization, which may hurt its chances.
Source: Gamespot, Polygon
Announced yesterday, Square Enix has created a new games studio in Tokyo called "Studio Istolia." This new studio, interestingly named with an English word and a Greek one, will be run by Hideo Baba, recently known as a producer in the long-running "Tales" series of RPGs. The new studio was announced as a bit of a footnote to the announcement of a new project called "Project Prelude Rune," which will be the first project produced by Baba in the new studio.
Prelude Rune is described as being a new IP for Square Enix, and will be an RPG "unfolding across a vast land teeming with life." This will not be the final title for the game or games produced under this banner. Obviously, as a brand-new studio, not many details about the long-term timeline of the project are available, and many are not likely to be forthcoming soon as the studio has listed staff openings numbering at least fifteen.
A final note, their logo looks like a cross between the Final Fantasy XV Carbuncle and a moogle. So perhaps this new apple is falling not so far from the tree.
Source: Gematsu, Studio Istolia
The Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary opening ceremony wrapped up a few hours ago, with a number of games receiving notice. A large number of the reveals are release dates and/or patch content for upcoming games:
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, the remake of XII for PlayStation 4, will be out July 11 in the West and July 13 in Japan.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia will be out in Japan on February 1 for iOS and Android. There will be a further livestream about this game later today.
- World of Final Fantasy will get Balthier as free summon DLC at the same time as Patch 1.03, which is not yet confirmed for release.
- A series of Final Fantasy XV DLCs have been scheduled. First, on February 21, the "Booster Pack" will be released, containing a Magitek Exosuit to give you a once-a-day window of invincibility for 30 minutes (and also make you a better fisherman). On March 28, there will be a story where Gladiolus is the playable character, not Noctis. Same for Prompto, though his DLC is sometime in June.
As mentioned in CoN news earlier, Square-Enix's new partnership with Marvel is confirmed and will clearly be this huge, big-budgeted Juggernaut™ with multiple collaborative releases expected over the next several years. Marvel's stories and characters in a Square-Enix graphics engine? The possibilities are endless! What's not to love?
Well for one, this could potentially be responsible for a possible setback in the schedules of one or several big titles Square-Enix slated to release over the coming years. FF7 is already rumored to be pushed back, possibly into 2018. According to express.co.uk (source below), game director Tetsuya Nomura indicated that they have a full schedule for the year including a priority on Kingdom Hearts 3 over all else, and that the FF7 Remake delay is highly likely. While they did not explicitly state that the Marvel collaboration had any connection, more details (and hopefully the release date!) should be coming when the director attends the Monaco Anime Game International Conference (MAGIC) on February 18th.
If true, does this make you feel any less thrilled about the FF7 Remake? We know what happens when this company begins to delay games...!
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