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News from April 2006

Wii are the Revolution


Wii
The official name of Nintendo's latest video game console has finally been announced. After months of speculation and some hope that they might just stick with "Revolution", the new third generation console will be...

Wii.

No, that's not a typo. It's pronounced like "we", and, to quote R51, "I wish it were on nintendo.co.jp so I could hope they wouldn't give it a stupid name for the US." It's unique, it's easy to remember, it's...spelled with two i's.

The flash is pretty good, though.

Source: Nintendo

Final Fantasy III DS: A Smorgusbord of Scans


Square Enix
Square-Enix, kindly throwing fans who are keenly awaiting the Nintendo DS remake of Final Fantasy III yet another bone, have unleashed a veritable miscellany of screenshots and concept art, as well as battle info and interviews (albeit in Japanese) packaged altogether in the humble form of brand new, piping hot scans. Among the screens featured are cinematic and gameplay stills which appear to push the handheld's graphical capabilities to the utmost limit, feasibly suggesting that the elongated amount of the title's time in development has been proficiently spent. But as such, future launch dates remain unconfirmed.

On a related note, additional information and content can now be viewed at the newly accessible Final Fantasy III DS official website.
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Square-Enix Announces E3 2006 Games Lineup


E3 Expo
Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2006 takes place in Los Angeles roughly two weeks from now. E3 is essentially a medium through which the world's largest video game companies can parade their upcoming releases and current projects, and is generally regarded as the biggest video games convention/exposition in the world. Square-Enix recently announced their lineup of games confirmed to be present at their booth on the show floor. And the games are... (thanks to rpgfan.com for the list)

The list format is [Game, system, release date (playable or unconfirmed playabiliy)]

Dawn of Mana (Seiken Densetsu IV), PlayStation 2, TBA
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, PlayStation 2, Summer 2006 (playable)
Final Fantasy XII, PlayStation 2, Fall 2006 (playable)
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria, PlayStation 2, Fall 2006 (playable)
Valkyrie Profile Lenneth, PlayStation Portable, TBA 2006 (playable)
Final Fantasy XI Treasures of Aht Urhgan, PlayStation 2/PC/Xbox 360, Currently Available (playable)
Final Fantasy V Advance and Final Fantasy VI Advance, GameBoy Advance, TBA 2006
Children of Mana (Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana), DS, TBA 2006 (playable)
Final Fantasy III, DS, TBA 2006 (playable)
Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, cellphones, TBA (playable)
Final Fantasy I, cellphones, TBA (playable)

So that's what we'll be seeing in two weeks. This seems to be an especially exciting E3 for fans of Valkyrie Profile, the Seiken Densetsu series, and oldschool Final Fantasy games (which includes all of us). Let the hype begin.

Source: RPGFan

Playstation 2 Receives a Price Drop


Playstation 2
Sony has announced that the retail price of the PS2 will drop from $149.99 to $129.99, only weeks after they adjusted the price of their PSP handheld and around a year and a half after the release of the PS2's slim model.

The PS2 is still the undisputed market leader in console sales, having sold more than double the amount of XBoxes and Gamecubes combined to date. Also, despite the upcoming release of the PS3, Sony will continue producing PS2 games well into the holiday season later this year. This is a stark contrast to Microsoft's strategy, which essentially abandoned the XBox immediately after the release of the XBox 360; Microsoft even raised the recommended price of the XBox by manditorily packaging new XBox units with Forza Motorsport after the release of the 360.

What this tells us is that Sony hasn't given up on their money machine just yet. It would appear that Sony is trying to gradually slow the production of new PS2 games to an eventual stop some time after the PS3's launch (rather than take Microsoft's more abrupt approach), and decreasing the price of the PS2 in order to increase sales enough to maintain the PS2's status as a valuable cash cow. We can only wait and see how the PS2's story ends, but right now it seems liike it is going to stubbornly cling to life for awhile longer.

Source: Joystiq

Ubisoft Drops StarForce


In news that pleased pretty much everyone planning to buy Heroes of Might and Magic V, game publisher Ubisoft has made the decision to drop StarForce from all upcoming releases.

StarForce, a security program intended to protect game software from piracy, has been widely criticized for the security risks it poses to a system on which it installs. Since StarForce installs automatically with no notice to the user and since there is no clear procedure for removing it from a machine, the problems caused by the program are difficult to diagnose and repair. Among other things, the software can lead to optical drive slow-down and eventual malfunction.

Sources:
ExtremeTech

Boycott Starforce

Wait...you mean there's a company out there that's more interested in not alienating all of its consumers than in squeezing a few piddling cents more out of a product with copy protection that doesn't work anyway?

With the growing trend in companies aggressively defending their intellectual property with means that may be inconvenient or even harmful to consumers, this is definitely a step in the right direction. I'm already at a point where I refuse to purchase copy-protected CDs (sorry, Rachael Yamagata) because of the hassle involved. Computer software that contains the moral equivalent of malware (albeit under a different guise) completely takes the cake. Without this change, I wouldn't be purchasing HoMM5 at all. Hopefully, other companies will follow suit and realize that harassing consumers this way is going to hurt their business far more than piracy ever could.

Xenosaga Episode III Aimed for Fall Release


Square Enix
Namco Bandai has finally announced production of the long-awaited third chapter of their Xenosaga franchise, entitled Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra (or Thus spoke Zarathustra), undoubtedly appeasing fervent fans worldwide. This final PlayStation 2 installment to the epic RPG series is currently due out in Japan the 6th of July; the game is then expected to hit North American shores at some point this coming fall.

The latest story, set a full year after the events of Episode II, finds Shion joined within the ranks of a secret organization called Scientia following her resignation from Vector Industries - a move instigated by her disclosure of their connection to the Gnosis. In addition, an updated battle system, further diversity in character customization, one massive minigame, and a handy, informative database feature aptly deemed the "Xeno Bible", among other draws, are sure to assemble a prodigious, memorable conclusion to the multipart, futuristic tale fans certainly won't want to miss.

For more info including an assortment of screenshots, head on over to Namco Bandai's official website.

Source: IGN
Posted in: Square-Enix News

PSP's UMD Support Dwindling


PSP
Early last year, Sony's movie format known as UMD (universal media disc), a variant of the standard form of digital media, was still largely viewed by North Americans as a gimmick enabled via the PlayStation Portable with few supporters. But soon after Sony themselves transfered their own films to the small discs, movie studios began believing it financially foolish not to do the same. The UMD format was their ticket to ride the speculated success of the PSP, thus the handheld was launched with a wide array of movies within its media library.

But the present tells an alternate and unforseen story. Contrary to the hopes of the studios involved, sales of UMD copies have been slowing to a crawl. "It's awful. Sales are near zilch," said a high-ranking executive of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. "It's another Sony bomb..." As such, Universal Studios has recently opted to cease releasing versions of their films in the seemingly unfavorable format as a response to the slouching business. Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment, another studio that's chosen to currently halt UMD production, states they will continue with the format if and when doing so again proves to be a lucrative move.

It's even been rumored that Wal-Mart retailers may soon refuse to stock UMDs.

Not all is lost, however. Although a vindication attributing to the format's lapse in appeal has not been pinpointed, the president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Benjamin Feingold, does recognize a few of the glaring issues behind the nosedive in sales. All the same, he persists as a strong supporter of UMD movies. "I think a lot of people are ripping content and sticking it onto the device rather than purchasing," Feingold said. Additionally, eye strain resulting from viewing films on the handheld's small screen for hours on end could pose as a sales-deteriorating threat.

Source: GAF

Advent Children Makes Los Angeles Debut


Final Fantasy VII
This past Monday marked the arrival of an eager, video game enthused audience packed within the walls of the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California. The occasion, to the surprise of few, was the long-awaited North American premiere of the entirely CGI-constructed DVD movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, to be precise. An engaging event both for fans who'd already seen the Japanese version and those who hadn't alike.

Although the dubbed film won't be in stores until the 25th of this month, a one and only theatrical screening of the sequel to the hit RPG was taken in by an enormous 800 person crowd. Among those gathered at the scene were several big hands in the movie's development including the group of English voice actors, scenario writer Kazushige Nojima, co-directors Takeshi Nozue and Tetsuya Nomura, and producer Shinji Hashimoto.

In addition to the movie itself, the well received game trailers of the now available Kingdom Hearts II and the unspecific yet soon-to-be released Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII were shown preceding the feature presentation.

GAF's detailed overview of the screening

The Elder Scrolls IV to Gain New Content


If you're one of the virtual boatload of PC or Xbox 360 gamers currently, or soon to be, engulfed by the world of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion then you've probably already heard of the various downloads being offered by Bethesda Softworks to enhance your experience, such as the controversially priced horse armor and a selection of themes. But wait! As recently stated by a Bethesda representative, and relayed to GameSpot News, that's far from all the developers have in store for fans. Some brand new features, including additional locations and powers, should be available to the public (that's you) within the following weeks.

The first of which will be a venue intended for players to treat as their own turf: The Wizard's Tower. Here you'll be given a choice of many useful tasks to perform, among which are growing herbs, summoning atronachs, and conjuring spells; all your pad will likely be missing is your own pet wizard. It's unknown at the time whether or not the Wizard's Tower will be accessible as a questing reward or simply obtained as new property.

Another inclusion will be a quest involving a Dwarven Orrery in much need of repair. Since the Orrery is capable of revealing the movements of the moon and other celestial bodies, special powers related to the lunar cycles will be granted to you upon completion of the quest. Lycanthropy, a power hinted at by both the lunar aspect of the quest as well as the werewolves present in The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon expansion, is a result possibility.

Both forms of new content will materialize as parts of the ordinary map - rather than as expansions - by residing in the existing sections of the world once added.

According to Bethesda, the company plans to monitor what types of content fans prefer the most in order to determine the nature of future downloadable extras. "It certainly may be the case that some plug-ins will appeal to some folks and not others, but we hope we'll be able to provide a good variety so that there's something for everyone... and hopefully more than one something for everyone."

The price of the upcoming downloads is set at $1.99 (US) for the PC versions; the Xbox 360 variants' price has yet to be confirmed.

Source: GameSpot
Posted in: RPG News
(4 Comments – Last by .vivi)
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Out with the Old for the CoN


Caves of Narshe Site News
NOTE: This was our 2006 April Fool. I think we got a few of you! -Tiddles

After several days of discussion with staff, Caves of Narshe webmaster Rangers51 has officially decided to take the next step in the CoN's evolution. After witnessing fewer hits on the main site, decreased participation levels in the forums, and generally lower morale among staff and members ever since the debut of the Final Fantasy VII section on February 13, 2005, R51and staff agree that sometimes the best course of action can be to admit a mistake.

The decision to eliminate Final Fantasy VII content from the CoN was not an easy one for R51 to make. Echoing the sentiments of the staff who worked on the section, R51 states, "I really loved the FF7 content we made, I thought it was the best on the web. But in the long run it just wasn't bringing in the kind of clientele we were looking for to sustain the site."

Even though this is certainly a step backwards in terms of site content, the CoN is bound to take a few steps forward almost immediately with the addition of a brand-new section to replace old content and hopefully generate new interest in the CoN. While the Final Fantasy VII section took a very, very long time to build, we've really worked hard as a group to finish up an all-new section and have it almost ready; look for it to launch sometime in the next week or so. If R51 has availability while he moves, it may even go up sooner. We know that our work will ultimately lead the CoN in a direction that staff and members alike have always hoped to see it go in.

------

It will be sad to see all the hard work of the creators of the FF7 section come to naught, but I, for one, am excited about the new direction the site will be taking. Hopefully, this change will begin to diminish the influx of FF7 fanboys and instead attract fans of the next game to grace the CoN's pages!
Posted in: CoN Site News

Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2017 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.