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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
Good news, everyone! Square-Enix wants to hear from you, following their launch of Final Fantasy XV! They have launched a survey on surveymonkey to gather and compile player feedback: you can take it here.
It starts off with some pretty basic questions to help them with marketing tools and see what systems you play on and where you get your news from (Why the hell isn't Caves of Narshe on there, right?!), with 30 questions in all. But it gets interesting at the end, where they ask questions like:
- Please tell us what you think of Final Fantasy XV.
- In one or two brief sentences, please tell us how you feel about Season Passes & DLC.
- If you ask one thing to the developers of FINAL FANTASY XV, what would it be?
So now is your chance to make your voice heard, in a place Square Enix may actually read! Now, if the comments were made public, I guarantee there would be some entertaining reads in there. While we're at it, feel free to add any additional comments here!
Many new shows were announced for the Distant Worlds concert tour back in December, but many more have joined the tour for the celebration of Final Fantasy's 30th anniversary. The expanded tour dates span 8 total days across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
- Sydney, Australia: July 1
- Chicago, Illinois: September 16
- London, England: November 4
- Lyon, France: November 18
- Toronto, Canada: December 2
- Osaka, Japan: December 8
- Tokyo, Japan: December 9-10
The larger list of tour dates intrigues me as a citizen of Chicago, so I'll be getting my tickets as soon as they go on sale tomorrow, 14 February. It was well worth my time the last time I attended and I can't wait to go back, especially since I now know that there should be abundant 3DS StreetPass opportunities. Anybody else going to get tickets for one of these shows, or one of the earlier-announced dates?
Source: Distant Worlds
Part of the Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary in Japan is an "Escape the Room" game with a Final Fantasy XIV theme. I never commented on it in a news post, I don't think, because I didn't expect such a niche part of the experience to ever make it over here... turns out I was wrong, and a game called "Trials of Bahamut" will be made available in at least eight American cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Houston, Orlando, Chicago, and New York. Specific locations and dates are not yet available, nor any information about other cities possibly being added to the mix.
I'm not sure if this is the same game as set up in Japan and just localized, or if it's a brand new experience, but it's really of no consequence unless you're planning to travel to do both, right? If you're not familiar with the rapidly-growing escape-game genre, it's pretty simple. The game in this case will be set up for six players to solve puzzles against a sixty-minute timer. Players will need to solve all the puzzles to "escape" within that window, or they lose the game; escapees then compete with other teams for the fastest escape time. This particular game is built around Bahamut's escape from a dungeon; teams that complete all the puzzles will defeat the King of Dragons before he is fully revived, and teams that fail will be, presumably, destroyed by the creature.
The game will be put on by Scrap Entertainment, known for standard Escape the Room games in the US as well as a new Legend of Zelda-themed game that has just opened in San Francisco and is planned for expansion.
Source: Polygon, Real Escape Game: Trials of Bahamut
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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