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News from Japan
Today's Nintendo Direct, while maybe a little short notice to fans, obviously had some time to build up industry steam; among the many wild announcements at this evening's Direct were details on four Square Enix games appearing on Switch in the very near future. A couple of the games had been previously announced, but a couple were pretty well out of left field. Here are the details:
- Actraiser: Renaissance, a detailed remaster of the really unique Super Nintendo game of the early 90's, was both announced and released today. It's got some really crisp and pretty visuals, a remastered soundtrack with new compositions, and some new content too, and it's out for Switch, PlayStation 4, Steam, Android and iOS already.
- Chocobo GP is a spiritual successor to the PlayStation Chocobo Racing game released over 20 years ago. From watching the trailer, it does look like a less polished version of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, frankly, but it could be pretty entertaining to race in some of the Final Fantasy-themed courses they might come up with, and it looks like the gameplay modes could add some diversity too. And it has Gilgamesh! It's coming for Switch sometime in 2022.
- Also coming in 2022, March 4 to be precise, is Triangle Strategy - it's no longer a "Project" but I guess a snappier name never really came to mind. Based on the demo from ages ago, this one could really be the successor to the original Final Fantasy Tactics that people have been waiting for, and not only that, Squenix have outlined some of the updates being made based on demo feedback and I think they're hitting the right ideas.
- Finally, an RPG from Yoko Taro that was first announced a couple weeks ago - Voice of Cards. Subtitled "The Isle Dragon Roars," this is a really unique looking game that plays as a combination of console and tabletop RPG, with the entire game laid out as playing cards and combat happening in a hybrid tabletop CCG/turn-based JRPG sort of format. The writing even appears to take some tone from the idea of a Dungeon Master providing exposition to a party at a D&D session. It's coming out at the end of October.
Source: Gematsu, IGN
Tokyo Game Show is back for 2021, in an all-digital format due to ongoing COVID concerns. Because of that, Square Enix are coming with what we might consider a slightly abbreviated lineup; it is of course possible that they don't feel ready to show more of Final Fantasy XVI, but I think it could be just as likely that an all-online exhibition doesn't have the spectacle they'd like for their flagship game, either. These are the games that the company is bringing to TGS for English-speaking audiences:
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Stranger of Paradise
- Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier
- Project Triangle Strategy (how does this game not have its final name yet?)
- Collection of SaGa
- Brave Exvius and War of the Visions
If you would prefer to watch the streams even without English support, the list of games at TGS will be larger. Dragon Quest X Offline and Online, Imperial SaGa Eclipse, Romancing SaGa ReUniverse, and Deep Insanity: Asylum (a new PC and mobile RPG) will appear in Japanese only in other streams. The full schedule including the Japanese-only video has been provided by Gematsu.
Source: Square Enix TGS, Gematsu
The releases of the Pixel Remaster versions of the first six Final Fantasy games continues on September 8 with Final Fantasy IV, Square Enix have just announced. As with all the remasters, the releases are for Steam, Android and iOS and will be simultaneous worldwide.
Those who would like to play via Steam can currently preorder Final Fantasy IV alone on a 20% discount and will also receive a three-track soundtrack and two wallpapers. You can also order the bundle and get all the games that have already unlocked, all the future games as they release, and similar OST and wallpaper bundles for all six games also at a discount. The single game package is currently $14.39, and the six-game bundle is $74.82.
Sorry, still no information about a potential Switch release, for those of you asking.
Yesterday, Square Enix announced a new iteration in the Bravely Default series: but it's iOS/Android and free-to-play with in-game transactions. Also, there was no release announced outside of Japan, but that might just be because it's early.
On the bright side, the game looks very nice visually, and the gameplay certainly tracks to what Bravely fans have gotten used to. Additionally, it appears that some key personnel from the development of Bravely Default and Bravely Second are involved, which seems like it might tie the game a little more closely to those games and not the later, and less-well-received Bravely Default II, which was released earlier this year.
There's no release date announced for Japan as yet, and again, no indication of a release outside Japan yet either.
Dragon Quest as a franchise turned 35 years old this week, and Square Enix went to town on bringing around new games. Gematsu has them all covered, so here is a quick list for Dragon Quest fans out there:
- A twelfth entry in the mainline series, subtitled "The Flames of Fate," was announced with no release date but plans for a simultaneous worldwide release. A trailer lives behind the click.
- Another new game, Dragon Quest Treasures, is a spinoff featuring characters from Dragon Quest XI as children, and is centered around treasure hunting. It, too, has a trailer past the link but not much other information to speak of.
- For the MMO Dragon Quest, DQX, there were two new updates this week. First, the next expansion for version 6 will arrive in Japan this fall; additionally, an "offline" version was also announced for 2022.
- Finally, an "HD-2D" remake of the third Dragon Quest game will be coming soon as well. Dragon Quest III was the final game for the NES, and the remake will combine pixel art and engine effects to re-render the game in a 3D environment. There’s no release date available for this game either, but there is (obviously?) a trailer too.
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.
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