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News from Japan

Studio Istolia Dead in the Water?


Square Enix
It's been over two years since Square Enix announced the setup of Studio Istolia, headed by Hideo Baba, and Project Prelude Rune. It's been three-quarters of a year since we last heard anything significant in terms of news from the studio, too. Since then, Hideo Baba left Square Enix entirely, as it appears that I missed last month. That's usually not a good sign for a studio that has yet to produce a game, and it appears that is true here, too.

As of yesterday, all social media accounts for Studio Istolia were closed down, and as much evidence of the original trailers as Squenix could was purged from the internet. Apparently the Studio Istolia website had been redirecting users back to the main Square Enix site since around the time Baba left the studio and the company. Square Enix have yet to comment officially on this change, but the logical conclusion is that the studio and game are both now dead.

Update: Square Enix have confirmed that the studio has been shuttered.

Source: Siliconera, GamesIndustry
Posted in: News from Japan
(1 Comments – Last by Glenn Magus Harvey)
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Final Fantasy VII Remake Trailer Debuts


Final Fantasy VII
I mentioned in a thread at the forums yesterday that Square Enix staff seemed pretty excited about today's State of Play presentation by Sony. Turns out they had good reason to be, as part of that presentation was a debut trailer with cutscenes and battle gameplay from the FF7 remake that has long been in the works!

It's just a minute long, and it mainly focuses upon the very early stages of the game that introduce us to AVALANCHE in the Reactor raid. We also get a glimpse of Aerith and Cloud's first interaction, though, and at the very end a little tiny bit of Sephiroth himself. It's still hard to tell whether the battles are going to go into an all-action mode, or whether they are just a very, very fancy variant of ATB, but what you can see already looks very pretty indeed.
Source: Siliconera
Posted in: News from Japan
(4 Comments – Last by Narratorway)
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New Mana Trademarks Filed in Japan


Square Enix
We haven't heard much about the Seiken Densetsu games since the recent remake of Seiken Densetsu 2, known in the west as Secret of Mana, was released a little over a year ago. Before that, it was nearly two years ago that the collection of the first three games in the series was released for Switch, only in Japan. However, it seems like there might be life in the series again as Square Enix Japan have now filed for trademarks in Japan for "Collection of Mana" and "Secret of Mana," which is a little bit odd given that the "Mana" names were never actually used in Japan until now.

"Collection of Mana" specifically seems to echo the Japanese name for the Switch release, "Seiken Densetsu Collection." Could that mean that an official release in English of Seiken Densetsu 3 might finally be on the cards? Or are Square Enix merely looking to protect their IP more globally? We don't yet know, of course, and Square Enix are certainly not yet saying. Given that other Mana-series trademarks have recently been filed in North America and Europe, it could go either way.

Source: Gematsu
Posted in: News from Japan
(2 Comments – Last by seraphimdreamer777)
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Square Enix Dip into Dragon Quest History for New Movie


Dragon Quest
This is unexpected and kind of neat; Square Enix announced today a new CG-animated feature-length movie from the Dragon Quest universe, title "Dragon Quest: Your Story." The movie will be based upon Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, a game first released on the Super Famicom over 25 years ago. Yuji Horii, creator of the Dragon Quest franchise, will be a consulting supervisor on the movie's production. It will be released on August 2 in Japan, but no indications yet of subtitled or dubbed releases outside of Japan.

Source: Gematsu
Posted in: News from Japan
(0 Comments)
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Actually Coming Soon: A DIFFERENT Final Fantasy Card Game


Square Enix
We reported yesterday that Square Enix had registered trademarks for a Final Fantasy digital card game, and we thought that maybe it would be an online version of the physical card game that was released a couple years back. It appears now that it's not - but don't blame EvilEye, as much as you might like to.

Announced today in Japan, the actual product appears to be a different card game entirely with more RPG elements but still a reliance upon the thirty years of Final Fantasy IP. The announcement website is only in Japanese, and Google Translate does not have a good time with it, but upon comparing the field of play in screenshots with my own physical cards, it definitely seems like a different game.

The game must be releasing very soon, at least in Japan, as applications are being accepted now for a closed beta to be run between the 18th and 25th of this month. It will be available for Windows, iOS, and Android.

Source: Gematsu
Posted in: News from Japan
(0 Comments)
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Big Shakeups at Square Enix' Luminous Productions


Square Enix
I'm behind in posting this news, of course, but it worked out for the best because just today the consequences of the original news came to light. Last month, long-time Square Enix bigshot (and, most recently, head of the Luminous Productions studio) Hajime Tabata announced that he was leaving the company, after nearly fifteen years working on Square Enix projects. Today, Square Enix announced that Takesi Aramaki will be the new head of Luminous. Aramaki was the programming lead for Final Fantasy XV.

Simultaneous to Tabata's announcement, Square Enix confirmed that all planned Final Fantasy XV DLC after Episode Ardyn was cancelled; the three episodes that took the axe were likely the most eagerly-awaited, being for Lunafreya, Aranea, and Noctis. Episode Ardyn will continue development and be released in early 2019.

Meanwhile, Luminous Productions appears to have shifted gears before the cancellations were announced, with a LinkedIn post by the graphics director of Final Fantasy XV implying that he is currently working on a "New AAA Title for PS5." That post has been edited to remove that reference now, but we might look back on this as the first inkling that the Final Fantasy series will continue.

As for Tabata, he was apparently waiting for the announcement of Aramaki as new Luminous head to announce his own new initiative: today he posted to Facebook that he is starting his own company called JP Games, with the company's official launch planned for January of 2019. Naturally, no further information is available.

One hopes that this does not indicate a real mess over at the Squenix mothership, but this level of transition does seem at least a little ominous.

Source: Siliconera, Gematsu
Posted in: News from Japan
(3 Comments – Last by Rangers51)
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Caves of Narshe Version 6
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