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I think we all knew that Final Fantasy XVI would appear on the next generation of consoles, sure, but was it really expected to debut today at Sony's PlayStation event? Well, it did, in the form of a four-minute trailer with what appears to be a pretty significant amount of footage. What we know so far is that the game will be a console exclusive for PlayStation 5, but will also have a Windows release, and that it will be a single-player game with action combat that immediately seems to be an extension of the Final Fantasy XV combat system. We also know that the footage shown was all in-engine for both combat and cutscenes, but it is very clearly in an early stage. We also know that Naoki Yoshida will be on the masthead as producer and that Hiroshi Takai will assume the mantle of Director; both have extensive experience within the company, particularly recently in Final Fantasy XIV. The game is being developed by Squenix' fantastically-named "Creative Business Unit III" group, which is... something else we know, I guess. Finally, we know that the trailer is footage captured from a PC, attempting to emulate the new PS5 experience.
The trailer, subtitled "Awakening," focuses on three main characters. The first we see is an unruly-haired warrior with a tattoo or brand on his cheek; he appears to be a soldier off to war in which both sides wield summoned monsters, here called "Icons." It seems that he is on the side who summon Titan, as he is told that his target is Shiva, who we see fighting against the "bloody mountain" early on. The second is a younger man who serves as a squire toward the third, a boy named Joshua (which, hey, good choice, guys). The younger squire appears to be the main character, as he is the only one shown in the combat sequences, and his role is to guard the child, who is the son of nobility. The "Awakening" takes place as young Joshua experiences a shock and apparently transforms into something highly unexpected. Another battle of icons takes shape, and also forms the basis for the game's logo - a Phoenix and Ifrit in conflict.
That's a quick and as spoiler-free as I can make it recap, written up after watching just a couple times. So, here, have some more general ideas and speculation. First, the two warriors, older and younger, look pretty similar. I could see them being somehow related and on separate sides of a growing conflict, or, if Squenix want to get really twisty, possibly even the same man in some sort of time loop situation. I could also give credence to a theory that in this universe, the summoned Icons are superpowers that can be bestowed upon warriors by their factions' crystals, or are even inborn powers that are unlocked over time. I also think that Square has probably elected to not play a number of cards yet with this unveiling, as the combat scenes show only one character and no battle UI at all; after the combat systems of XV and FF7R, it seems very unlikely to me that there would be only one playable character in battle on this new platform.
And finally, that puppy needs to be a companion for the whole game or I may not buy it.
Watch the video below, and click through to learn more. Square Enix have said that this will be the only information we get on the game until 2021, so enjoy it.
Have you ever gone to Distant Worlds and thought, "okay, this is pretty awesome, but what if they did it just for Final Fantasy VII? And used the new arrangements from the Remake?" Well, okay, they kinda did that last year, sure. But that one-off is now a real thing, and we have the first dozen-plus dates for it for 2020 and 2021. This concert series is going to include the new Remake arrangements, as well as the new theme song that debuted last week. It will also have visuals from the new game, and will be directed by Arnie Roth; this, of course, might mean that Distant Worlds will be back-burnered for a while, but worse things have happened, surely.
No tickets are on sale until a couple weeks from now, but here are the known show dates:
- June 14: Los Angeles
- July 4: Singapore
- July 9 and 10: San Francisco
- August 22: Fort Worth, Texas
- September 11: Atlanta
- September 25: Phoenix, Arizona
- October 3: New York City
- October 24: Chicago
- October 30: London
- November 7 and 8: Bangkok
- December 13: Paris
- December 19: Barcelona
- January 8 and 9, 2021: Denver
- January 13, 2021: Nashville
- January 31, 2021: Boston
- February 12 and 13, 2021: Tokyo
Source: Final Fantasy VII Remake Concerts Official Site
It's easy to fall behind this time of year, as we're all getting ready to move into 2020. But Square Enix is not taking a break, and starting with The Game Awards last week, the team has been rolling out more apertifs for the game releasing in March of next year. Below, see the newest trailer; it focuses on Cloud and his development from mercenary to hero. It's got a little bit more combat and also some good snippets from Barret's (literal) elevator pitch to Cloud in the prologue and Tifa and Cloud's reunion at 7th Heaven.
Gematsu also reported earlier this week on Squenix' publication of a lot of new images, including a couple iconic scenes, and some newly-written character descriptions. The first explanations of Aerith's abilities in-battle are detailed here, too, as well as a first look at stills of Shiva, the Train Graveyard and Shin-Ra Headquarters.
Squenix also set up some good marketing for us recently, with a load of wallpapers and avatars of Tifa, Cloud, and Barret, with Aerith apparently coming soon. Those can be grabbed from the offical site. Also on social media, there's a brief teaser of Cloud on the FF7R Twitter feed. They're showing a little more of the soundtrack with each video, too, which is pretty great. All in all, a nice little gift for fans awaiting the game's release in March.
Last time I posted about Final Fantasy concerts, the released dates for the A New World series stopped in early January, in Kansas City. Now, though, this chamber ensemble has a half-dozen more shows lined up to treat fans in early 2020:
- Chicago, January 18
- Berkeley, CA, January 31
- San Diego, two shows on February 1
- Nashville, February 8
- Ann Arbor, Michigan, March 13
Source: A New World
Sure, it's 25 years later. But rejoice, Mana fans, as Seiken Densetsu 3 is finally, officially coming to the West. Times two, in fact. If you love the original Seiken Densetsu games, you can pick up Collection of Mana, a compilation we've talked about previously at CoN that will contain the first three games in the series. Those games are known here as Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, and of course, Seiken Densetsu 3 as it was never previously localized - it's now to be known as Trials of Mana. The first game originated on the Game Boy, and the second two on the Super Famicom. Collection of Mana is available today for Switch via the eShop, priced at $39.99. Physical copies will be released on August 27.
If you want to maximize your Trials of Mana time, though, there's also going to be a full 3D remake next year. It's been announced for PlayStation 4 and Switch already; odds are that Windows and Xbox One versions will follow soon. It appears to take its cues from the recent Secret of Mana 3D remake, and the intro trailer makes it look pretty slick.
Given that Square Enix are taking the novel tack of releasing both the original version and a new one, it seems unlikely that they will be able to mess this up. How exciting!
Source: IGN, Polygon, Gematsu
Square Enix just wrapped up their E3 presentation without major surprises, though a lot of what they had looked pretty solid. The team went bold by leading their show with Final Fantasy VII Remake, hot on the heels of the release date announcement and trailer we posted earlier today. Tonight, they had a lot more detail worth checking out, of course.
First up, some information about what to expect; the game has "two blu-rays of content" available, with the first disc apparently being all about Midgar. This was essentially the first bit of information of the presentation, and it bookended nicely with the announcement that preorders are now open and there are multiple special editions to be had, which is naturally completely unsurprising given the profile of this game and Squenix' normal business practices. Both of these things seem to be a bit odd given the previous news that the game would be episodic; if they have backed down from that now, the March 2020 release date seems very ambitious.
We could glean some detail of the battle system from the first trailer, but tonight's presentation walked through much more detail and left me with the impression that the game was going to play a lot like Lightning Returns (since most of you haven't played that, I consider that a good thing) with some mix of Crisis Core and Final Fantasy XV involved too. There is an ATB system, but it seems to be an ATB twist on Lightning Returns' charge meter, with abilities requiring at least one unit on the ATB meter to be full before they can be used. The ATB system appears to be used for magical attacks and item usage, and combined with the Limit gauge, used to access Limit Breaks as well. The ATB mode also runs in bullet time, to allow easier access to desired commands. The ATB fills as melee attacks, using the Square button, are successfully executed, with combos increasing the bar more.
Also like the Final Fantasy XIII series, a Stagger mode will be present to cripple enemies. Like those earlier games, it looks like depending on the enemy Stagger can be built up by combo attacks or weak point attacks. The party will remain at maximum three, with two characters run by the game while players control the third. However, Squenix promised to be able to switch between active party in battle with a single button press. Speaking of buttons, attacks can also be mapped to buttons for quick access, as in other recent Final Fantasy games.
The character reveals are what drove the crowd crazy tonight, though. We saw a bit of Aerith in last night's video, but in this longer one she shows up a bit more, including in battle. Tifa's character design was finally revealed as well, and we see her with Marlene, conversing with Cloud in Seventh Heaven, and also in battle. We even got a little Sephiroth towards the end, which appears to be in a flashback to Nibelheim.
Square have made the game available for playing on the show floor, though they did not make any mention of what parts of the game would be playable. I assume until we hear otherwise that it's the game's opening mission on the reactor. If you missed it earlier, they're selling March 3, 2020 as the release date, which still seems pretty ambitious to me if they are going to pack the entire game with as much as they have in the first mission.Here are some other games that showed up in the presentation tonight, which ran for about an hour and fifteen minutes.
- A longform trailer for Life is Strange 2's upcoming content
- Crystal Chronicles Remaster with online multiplayer for PS4, Switch, iOS, and Google Play; the video implied that cross-platform play might be an option. It's coming in December
- The Last Remnant Remaster, releasing tonight for Switch
- A new, long trailer for Dragon Quest Builders 2, releasing on July 12 with a PlayStation 4 demo on June 27
- A Fall release window for Dragon Quest XI S
- A couple upcoming Square Enix Collective games, including one called Circuit Superstars that looks like a modern, multiplayer version of RC Pro-Am
- A short trailer for Re+Mind, the first Kingdom Hearts III DLC
- A new trailer for the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion, "Shadowbringers," releasing on July 2
- A trailer for Dying Light 2, which made great use of an old Metric song
- An announcement for Western releases of Romancing SaGa 3 and SaGa Scarlet Grace
- An introduction to the next game in the Brave Exvius universe, called War of the Visions, which appears to be a turn- and grid-based tactical strategy game with five different warring factions
The other linchpin for Square Enix this year was obviously going to be Avengers, given how many times they've reminded us of the game on social media over the last week, and that's how they wrapped up the show. Frankly, it looks amazing. The entire video they showed claimed to be in-engine, and the transitions between non-interactive and interactive parts of the game were beyond seamless. The scale of the environments, illustrated by the setting of the Golden Gate Bridge for much of the trailer, were spectacular as well. It's also an original Avengers story, according to Marvel Gaming, outside the comic and cinematic universes.
The game is going to release on May 15 of 2020, and it appears that the playable heroes will start with Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man. According to their very own version of a post-credits scene, it looks like Hank Pym is on deck for the future as well. Crystal Dynamics say that there will be no loot boxes, play to win, or even costs associated with downloading new missions or heroes as they're made available as DLC. It's coming for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia, and it's another game playable on the show floor.
All that said, Square Enix look like they are going to be thin on the ground for really big titles in 2019, but the first half of 2020 is going to ship a lot of games for the juggernaut.
Source: Square Enix Twitch
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