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The Game Awards: A Few Wins, More Good News


Square Enix
Geoff Keighley's "The Game Awards" took place again last evening, and ran probably an hour too long. I know I was certainly tired of it by the end. Square Enix, should they put much stock in these awards, would have likely left disappointed; the company won only for "Most Anticipated Game" and "Best Score and Music," leaving several other awards on the table. This is not necessarily a surprise, given that in most categories, Squenix games were up against some juggernauts of the year.

On the bright side for Squenix fans, though, there were some big announcements. We'll go in chronological order from last night's event: first, the announcement of the first all-new Mana game in a decade and a half, Visions of Mana. It's immediately gorgeous despite clearly being early in development, with a rich color palette and wide scope. The Mana Tree looks amazing as well. There aren't many details yet, but some of the battles show combat with a single character, the lead named Val, and other battles show classic Mana action with a multi-character party. The release date was not pegged beyond "2024," and the game will release for Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X and S, and Steam.



The second reveal for the night was a new trailer for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, with the debut of the game's theme song. There's a lot to unpack here, and I mean a lot. And if you're looking to avoid spoilers entirely, well, you're probably best served not being on the internet right now, but I'll try not to go into too much detail. Right away, though, we get a clip with Zack and Biggs that reinforces the timeline schisms that have been predicted since the ending sequences of both Remake and Intermission. Rapid-fire after that, we get to hear Bugenhagen, Vincent, and Cid all speak, as well as some Cait Sith brogue. There are new summons, and even our first ever look at Dyne. Marlene crops up in Zack's timeline, with ComaCloud in the background, making predictions about Aerith's fate! And then, we cut to Aerith on stage, in a dress reminiscent of Celes' opera dress, singing the new theme song, with a lot more clips that show just about the entire cast as well as some pretty surprising implications.

The song is called "No Promises to Keep," and it was composed by Nobuo Uematsu and is performed in-game by Loren Allred. It's a lovely tune and feels more upbeat than the theme from Remake; it kind of gives me the feel of the classic theme songs from the PSX era.



The trailer above only shows a bit of the song; live at the show, they performed more with the live orchestra and Loren Allred. The official Game Awards channel published the performance, so you can now watch it here too:

The final reveal for the evening in terms of Square Enix games was pretty widely predicted; the company announced two DLC packages for Final Fantasy XVI. The first, "Echoes of the Fallen," is a side story that appears to take place canonically just before the events of the endgame. It looks to be set mostly in a giant Fallen ruin and will add quite a bit to the lore of Valisthea from before the fall. The second one appears to be completely separate and might not take place in Valisthea at all, so it's interesting to think how that might get set up. Called "The Rising Tide," It will include at the very least two classic Final Fantasy elements not in the original game - Tonberries and Leviathan. "Echoes" was released just after the awards completed last night at a standalone cost of $9.99 US, and "Rising Tide" will be released next Spring. Both can be purchased now for $24.99 US, and I will probably be doing exactly that later today. Since these DLCs are for an M-rated game, there's no point in me embedding it here, so you can watch that one on YouTube.

Posted in: North America

Final Fantasy Concerts Remaining in 2023


Distant Worlds
I've been remiss for quite a while at keeping everyone up on Distant Worlds (and A New World) dates. However, for the former, the Final Fantasy 35th Anniversary Program has continued apace, and there are eleven future dates coming up across the US, Canada, and Brazil:
  • Los Angeles, August 13, 2023
  • Cleveland, Ohio, September 9
  • So Paulo, September 28
  • Rio de Janeiro, October 1

  • Austin, Texas, November 10
  • Montreal, December 3
  • Seattle, January 20, 2024
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, February 3
  • Washington, DC, March 2
  • Hartford, Connecticut, March 23
  • San Francisco, May 31 and June 1
The smaller chamber orchestra for A New World currently has only three shows through the rest of 2023:
  • Boston, September 29
  • Cincinnati, October 1
  • San Diego, December 8
All shows for both series are available for ticket purchase or preorder right now.

Source: Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds, A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy
Posted in: North America

New Dump of Final Fantasy XVI Visuals and Info


Final Fantasy XVI
An embargo on media previews of Final Fantasy XVI was lifted today, leading to a deluge of new info about the game coming this summer. Gematsu, for their part, released a number of new videos from their time playing the game, over forty minutes' worth split over five distinct videos on YouTube. They are mostly centered around the same portion of the game, it would appear, to avoid being too spoilery, but those who want to know absolutely nothing about the game should probably avoid watching too terribly much. I'm not including videos in this post for that reason, too.

Without going too terribly much into those spoilers myself, I can say that the videos show off a lot of combat in various modes, including solo and party combat in both normal encounters, boss encounters, and an Eikon battle. The boss-level encounters showed off a number of quick-time events within battle, certainly more than I expected. Personally, I felt vibes of both Final Fantasy XIII and XV in the combat sequences.

There are some pieces that show where the devs are working towards that M-rating with the ESRB, as well; I caught a bit more bloody violence than we're used to in a Final Fantasy game during the Eikon battle, and I'm pretty sure I caught an f-bomb in one of the boss battles, though I admit I watched the videos at 1.5x speed due to a general lack of time this morning.

Gematsu also published a transcript of a roundtable with the executive team for Final Fantasy XVI, conducted earlier in February in conjunction with RPG Fan and Den of Geek. The interview touches a lot on bringing the "constant" elements of a Final Fantasy game into this new version that steps further into the action genre than any Final Fantasy before it. The entire interview is quite long and covers a number of other topics, too, including the design of boss and Eikon battles to mash-up genres and some questions about how the game looks pretty grimdark overall so far.

The media tour continues, too - Square Enix announced today that there will be another panel discussion about XVI at PAX East at the end of March (there will be a panel for XIV there, too). Final Fantasy XVI is still scheduled for a June 2023 release.

Source: Gematsu, Square Enix on Facebook
Posted in: North America
(3 Comments – Last by Kane)
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New Final Fantasy Piano Concert Series in March


General Final Fantasy
I did a quick search of the site to see if we'd covered this yet, and I haven't seen anyone mention it. It looks like this series started in Europe and Asia and I missed hearing about it then, but now there are 22 dates for this new Piano Concert series already announced for the Western Hemisphere:
  • San Francisco, March 3
  • Los Angeles, March 4
  • Las Vegas, March 5
  • Phoenix, March 6
  • Dallas, March 8
  • Houston, March 9
  • Miami, March 11
  • Tampa, March 12
  • Atlanta, March 13
  • Washington, D.C., March 14
  • Philadelphia, March 15
  • New York, March 17
  • Boston, March 18
  • Montreal, March 19
  • Toronto, March 20
  • Detroit, March 21
  • Chicago, March 22
  • Cincinatti, March 24
  • Kansas City, March 25
  • Minneapolis, March 26
  • Denver, March 27
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 30/31
As is my personal luck, no shows within a few hundred miles of me but I will miss one of the shows by only two days with some travel I already had planned.

Tickets for all shows are already on sale; here's a trailer for the concert series that the promoter published recently as well.


Source: Crystalline Resonance Site
Posted in: North America

Triangle Strategy Releases on Steam October 13


Steam
First released in March for Switch, tactical JRPG and Final Fantasy Tactics spiritual successor Triangle Strategy was announced on Tuesday for a Steam release next month. It's currently 10% off for preorders on the Steam store, with three versions available for purchase - standard, digital deluxe, and digital deluxe plus a copy of Various Daylife. The digital deluxe version includes a short digital version of the official art book, the hardcopy of which I recently acquired myself but haven't had time to open and share at all yet.

Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any demo version listed on Steam just yet. I have to admit that until I was able to play the first three chapters in the Switch demo, I hadn't been fully sold on the game, so I wish that it would be available to PC players as well to try out. As it stands, though, I personally think this is the best game Square Enix have released in years, and I'm personally on my fifth playthrough of it currently. So all in all, I'm thrilled that it's likely to find a larger audience with this upcoming PC release.

Source: Triangle Strategy on Steam
Posted in: North America

Square Enix Show Big at First 2022 Nintendo Direct


Nintendo
Nintendo did their first Direct presentation of the year on Thursday evening, and Square Enix were a big part of it, with no fewer than six games/series being shown, starting with two that are coming in just a few weeks. Triangle Strategy is first up, with the game's release coming in just a few weeks on March 4. There's now a new demo that includes the first three chapters, and will allow savedata to carry over to the full release for those who try it out.

Chocobo GP is releasing just after Triangle Strategy, on March 10, and Nintendo opened preorders as part of Nintendo Direct. Nintendo talked a little bit about the first "season" of the game, describing the multiplayer rewards that players can earn by competing in the game's featured 64-player bracketed tournaments. The description is a little hard for me to follow, but it looks like you can start with the Lite version of the game and still collect rewards, and also can pay real money for additional rewards opportunities. That part doesn't sound as great.

There were rumors of a Chrono Cross remaster pretty recently, and this Direct made it official, with a release of Chrono Cross coming to Switch on April 7. It looks to track somewhat to some other remasters, with Final Fantasy IX coming immediately to mind for me, as the new version will have some enhanced graphics (but not all) and enhanced music, and some built-in trainers for users who would like a boost through the game. The "Radical Dreamers" text-based adventure will also be included, in its first official release outside of Japan.

Additionally, the first two Front Mission games are coming to Switch in the near future; the first will release sometime this summer, while the second has no release window as yet. The first game wasn't released in the United States until a Nintendo DS version, and the second has never come to the West officially until now. And speaking of, now for the first time, LIVE A LIVE will also be exiting Japan, releasing worldwide for Switch on July 22. And, finally, if you haven't ended up with Kingdom Hearts yet, the online-required Cloud version of Kingdom Hearts: Integrum Masterpiece also released during Nintendo Direct, offering all the games in a single purchase streamed online.

And as one final aside, the delayed release of Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster got its new release date: it will now be out on February 23. Thanks to Folklore for that reminder!

Source: Gematsu, IGN
Posted in: North America

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©1997–2024 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.