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News from June 2006

A Hearty Helping of Screens

Final Fantasy XIII
It's been a rather sluggish period for RPG news as of late, but fortunately enough plenty of the latest, juicy media regarding three highly anticipated Final Fantasy titles has been unveiled for the eye candy-craving populace:

First up is a generous portion of cinematic and gameplay shots featuring the blade-and-bullet-wielding heroine of Final Fantasy XIII, mainly engaged in a battle similar to - if not directly from - the trailer. Following close behind are several screens á la Tetsuya Nomura's RPG, bound for the PlayStation 3 like its counterpart, of which few details are currently known - Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The prominent figure in each screen is a black-clad, dark haired man of questionable significance.

Finally, a copious batch of Final Fantasy III DS media has revealed the ever approaching remake - gearing up for its North American launch this September - in its nigh full glory. Among these recent shots are additional battle screens, in-game scenes, and job artwork including that of the Viking, Ranger, Monk, and Geomancer classes.
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Bandai Namco Dishes Out More Tales

In an announcement promised last week, Bandai Namco has revealed four "new" Tales games presently in the making:

The first is a remake of the series' first installment, Tales of Phantasia. Despite having already been remade for Japanese PlayStations in 1998, and graphically upgraded for a Game Boy Advance release in North America earlier this year, Bandai Namco has opted to carry the title on over to the PlayStation Portable. This time, notably, the game will feature complete voiceovers.

Another is Tales of Destiny, slated to be remade for the PlayStation 2 while featuring 3D environments and highly detailed, 2-dimensional sprites. Brand new scenes and voices are to be added as well.

The final remake is a PSP version of Tales of Destiny 2. Originally a PS2 title available only in Japan, very little is likely to be altered in the way of graphics and sound.

Lastly, a new game entitled Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology also has its sights set upon the PSP. Soon to be the fourth in the previously GBA-exclusive Tales of the World sub-series in Japan, and the first to appear in 3D, Radiant Mythology will play much differently than the standard Tales games. Among the title's unique qualities is the player's ability to create his or her own main character by choosing from assorted facial features. Furthermore, a band of familiar characters from Tales games past - a Tales of the World trademark - shall serve as party members.

Tales of Phantasia is scheduled to launch in Japan on September 7th, while Tales of Destiny and Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology are due out sometime this winter. Tales of Destiny 2, on the other hand, won't be available until next year.

There has yet to be any confirmation on possible North American or European releases.

Sources: GAF
Posted in: RPG News

Missing Europe-Bound DS Lites Confirmed Stolen

Nintendo DS
In a somewhat embarrassing and very costly twist of fate for Nintendo, a shipping container carrying a multitude of DS Lite systems as well as a large assortment of games worth a combined total of over $2.3 million (US) - rumored to have gone missing last week during its delivery to the UK - was publicly confirmed earlier today by GamesIndustry, on behalf of Nintendo, as stolen.

Having begun its trip from China, the metal crate turned up missing in Hong Kong after a brief journey rather shy of its European destination. As such, Hong Kong's police unit is willing to provide a several thousand dollar reward to anyone with helpful information regarding the retrieval of the handhelds.

Nintendo, meanwhile, has worked hastily to replace the stolen game units prior to their release date in Europe on June 23rd: "Nintendo is making every effort to ensure that there [are] enough product[s] available in the UK to meet market demand at launch." And heavy that demand may surely be; after all, the remodeled DS has thus far garnered enormous support all over Japan and throughout the US, where 135,000 systems flew off the shelves within just the first two days.

Super Paper Mario

Perhaps it was merely overlooked, but regardless a third Paper Mario title has been announced. In this new game you'll play as Mario, of course. But joining your playable characters will be both Peach and Bowser, though their parts seem unconfirmed, it seems possible that they might actually be playable in battle and normal gameplay, rather than just the bit parts they had in previous Paper Mario titles.

The game is slated for release sometime in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Source: IGN

Wealth of New Crisis Core and FF XIII Info

Square Enix
One of Square-Enix's head honchos presented a ton of new delicious tidbits of news in a recent interview with the Japanese gaming site Dengeki Online, primarily concerning the upcoming PS3 games Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII as well as Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII for the PSP.

First of all, Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII were both originally slated for the PS2, but eventually production was moved to the next generation of consoles because Tetsuya Nomura, who was Versus' project director, was still working on Kingdom Hearts II at the start of production. We know that the three games in the FF XIII project (the two previously mentioned as well as Agito for mobile phones) will share the same universe but other than that we have only speculation. Anyhow, here's some big news: FF Versus XIII is going to have an intense action battle system, but the "real" FF XIII is going back to the ATB, with an extra emphasis on speed and chain comboes. The girl from the trailers is the game's main character, but she'll also have allies in battle (surprise, surprise...). Also worth noting, both FF XIII and Versus XIII will have classic Amano logos, but FF XIII's background will be white and Versus' will be black.

Nomura is really set on making FF Versus XIII different from the classical FF tradition, so his team is combining members of the FF VII and VIII teams for visuals and his Kingdom Hearts team for the game's engine and interface (FF XIII is being worked on primarily by the FF X / FF X-2 team) to create a classic FF feel with a new action-oriented battle system. Nomura also emphasized the fact that the word Versus also has two meanings: the English definition of identifying two or more opponents and the Latin definition of changing directions.

And now, here's some interesting news for FF VII fans. The PSP game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII will be centered around four characters: Zack, Aeris, and two male characters yet to be identified. The game will implement voice acting, a materia creation system, and the abilities of Shinra's SOLDIER members. Unfortunately, Nomura refused to give out any more details.

Source: RPGFan

Dragon Quest DS Rumored

Dragon Quest
Though unconfirmed, reports of a Dragon Quest title for the Nintendo DS are exciting the Nintendo community. The game, a part of the Dragon Quest Monsters series, is due to be released in Japan some time in 2006, leaving only a few months before more extensive details have to be released.

Titled Dragon Quest Monsters Joker, the game will use the DS WiFi capabilities to allow players to enter their monsters in the Joker GP tournament against other players. Akira Toriyama returns as lead character designer.

Source: IGN
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Final Fantasy Vocals DVD Slated for June Release

Square Enix
Square-Enix has divulged yet another arranged collection of music based on its best-selling franchise that will soon find itself on the market, only this time in DVD format. The Voices: Music from Final Fantasy Premium Orchestra Concert DVD is to be available in two editions: A one-disc version retailing at around ¥3,800 ($28.68 US), and a two-disc first print limited edition set at ¥4,800 (or $33.93 US). The DVD will arrive in Japanese stores on the 21st of this month.

Recorded from the concert of the same name - featuring the Prima Vista Philharmonic Orchestra and held at the Pacifico Yokohama this past February - The Voices, as its title implies, presents the Final Fantasy series' highly notable vocal themes performed by Izumi Masuda, RIKKI, Emiko Shiratori, The Black Mages, and more. Among the selections included are "Melodies of Life" (IX), "Distant Worlds" (XI), and "Suteki Da Ne" ("Isn't It Wonderful?" - X).

It's unknown, although doubtful, if either edition will eventually go for sale outside Japan.

Source: RPGFan
Posted in: Square-Enix News

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