News from August 2006
Sony may have taken a hit in the handheld market with their overpriced and under-purchased UMDs, but they show no signs of giving up their attempt to turn the PSP into the ultimate multi-functional gaming device. Two new peripherals announced in Japan expand the PSP's potential uses for around $50 a pop. For 5000 and 6000 yen, respectively, Japanese gamers can be the proud owners of the Chotto Shot and GPS Receiver.
The Chotto Shot is a camera that will also ship with software for editing images and video and will go on sale November 2 in Japan. The GPS receiver will function as a GPS device, but its capabilities will also be incorporated into future PSP game releases. The GPS Receiver will be available December 7.
Both peripherals will have their debut starting September 22 at the Tokyo Game Show. So far, no release dates or prices for regions outside of Japan have been discussed.
Posted in: Gaming Industry News
With more and more previously existing role-playing games undergoing the portable treatment nowadays, it's not too astonishing to find Disgaea series developer Nippon Ichi Software making it's fervor to remake the PlayStation 2 strategy RPG, Makai Senki Disgaea (Disgaea: Hour of Darkness), for release on the PlayStation Portable crystal clear. The company has planned to launch the handheld RPG into the palms of Japanese gamers on the 30th of November - naturally, in two separate forms: A first print limited edition priced at around 6,800 yen (roughly $58.42 US), and the standard version available for 4,800 yen ($41.24 US). As is typical this early on, no scheduled domestic launch has yet been spoken of.
Apart from the sparsely decorated Makai Senki Disgaea Portable teaser site, very little in the way of enlightenment on the highly acclaimed title's PSP incarnation has been revealed. Fortunately, the game's fully functioning official website, as well as its included illustrative content, is expected to appear online August 30th.
Namco Bandai, in an interview examining the history and future of the Xenosaga RPG series, revealed that the third installment, due out near the end of the month, is intended to be a mixed bag incorporating the many requests of fans and the creator's own ideas, ultimately ensuing in what the company perceives as the perfect handling of the game's mechanics and storyline.
Like past installments, Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra is said to feature a large volume of cutscenes; noticably more than Episode II, but quite a bit less than the visually overloaded Episode I. According to Namco Bandai, this "middle ground" helps to produce the best pacing to balance the story and gameplay.
It's been additionally confirmed once again that Xenosaga Episode III indeed marks the end of main character Shion Uzuki's story arc, yet no word was given on whether the upcoming game will introduce a new one. Interestingly enough, although the company previously announced that the newest title may also be the final chapter of the series itself, very little was declared in regards to that prospect during the interview.
The Xenosaga series was at one time expected to last up to six installments, but because of lackluster sales of the first two games the length was shortened down to three. Fortunately, Namco Bandai currently appears to be on the side of fans by seemingly allowing the series one more shot at success - an outcome that should be determined by the overall sales of Episode III. As the company recently beamed, "if reactions are good - who knows!"
Aside from the main series, the company remains undecided on whether any of the three Japanese-exclusive titles - Xenosaga Freaks, Xenosaga: Pied Piper, and Xenosaga I & II DS - will ever make their way to the West. However, the company has divulged plans to put together an English rendering of a movie on the Japanese Xenosaga website as a means to further illustrate the events which took place during the single year between Episode II and Episode III.
Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra is set to launch in North America on August 29th.
Thanks to some short-lived and mildly frustrating work, we've gotten our third site up under the CoN domain. We've added a second site dedicated to the internal workings of our favorite games, this time from our happy staffer Djibriel. His old site was pretty ad-ridden, so it was the least we could do to get him set up with something a bit nicer.
So, have fun at the Collapse of Heaven and Earth: http://tenchinohoukai.cavesofnarshe.com/
Posted in: CoN Site News
Because we obviously haven't been spoiled nor teased well enough yet, the folks at Square-Enix have kindly dropped a new Final Fantasy III DS promotional movie - shown exclusively in Japanese retail stores until now - right onto us, and it hurts so good (be sure to click "MOVIE" after the intro).
Among the images and scenes depicted, the CG video offers us a short glimpse of the characters' physical alterations when in the guise of their different job classes, and although a very small portion of the video is dedicated to actual gameplay footage, the real bulk contains cutscenes and impressive FMV.
Secondly, for those looking forward to the next Dragon Quest/Warrior Monsters title, Square-Enix has additionally unloaded a rather generous helping of screens honoring the Nintendo DS's upcoming Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker.
Of the same league as Pokémon, the Dragon Quest/Warrior Monsters series allows players to fight with and against a variety of monsters that are reared like pets - a practice that, in the real world, would surely make one legally unfit to care for even a sea monkey. Joker, as previously announced, will be the very first of its type to feature online play, ultimately leading to creature swapping and GP tournaments (where players have their monsters battle other players') on a global scale.
So far, the separate release dates for Final Fantasy III DS have been delayed at least three times, making the current schedule set for August 24th in Japan, September in Europe, and November in North America. As for Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, no solid Japanese date has yet been established, and no word on a possible Western launch has been so much as mentioned.