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News from April 2007

Square-Enix Waiting on the Virtual Console

According to Square-Enix representative Shinji Hashimoto, Square-Enix doesn't have that much incentive to release any games on the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console at present. From

"We feel that the Japanese game market still requires [physical] media. Also, FF and Dragon Quest are played by a wide range of users, from children to adults, so there are limitations when you consider the problems that we would have with billing systems."

Bottom line, if consumers are paying up to 30 USD for remakes of older Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games, why should Square-Enix put them on the VC for a quarter of that? That's what Squenix is thinking, and that statement might unfortunately be evidence that our favorite Japanese developer isn't going to have any downloadable content on the Wii anytime soon.

Source: 1UP
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Sony CEO Stepping Down

And the rest of the world wonders if one man could possibly have been responsible for all of the mistakes Sony's been making in the past year.

Ken Kutaragi, chairman and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. and the man who brought us the original Playstation,will formally announce his retirement in June at the annual shareholder's meeting. He will retain an honorary title of chairman of SCEI as well as an advisory role to some of the other higher-ups.

Source: Gamers Reports via Elessar, GameSpot

Unfortunately, with Sony slowly strangling their video game market share, it's hard to view this as a successful leader leaving in triumph. It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes the new management of SCEI decides to undertake.

Dragon Quest IX Keeping it Turn-Based

Dragon Quest
Despite rumors to the contrary following its announcement last year, Dragon Quest IX: Protectors of the Starry Sky will not be featuring an action-oriented battle system and will stick to the tried-and-true turn-based system that has been a feature of every game in the Dragon Quest main series.

However, there are still a few adjustments being made to the DQ formula. Enemies will now be visible in the open field and running into an enemy will trigger a battle, not unlike the battle systems from Chrono Trigger (which had several traditional Dragon Quest staff on its team). Battles will be in full 3D in the same vein as the PS2's Dragon Quest VIII, and DQ IX will also support multiplayer co-op at any stage of the game using the DS's wireless multiplayer capabilities. Also, for the first time in the series, the main character's appearance will be fully customizable by the player - everything from a character's weight to facial features is player-controlled.

Dragon Quest IX is shaping up to be quite different from many of its predecessors, but it is being made by virtually the exact same team that created Dragon Quest VIII - the studios of Yuji Horii, Akira Toriyama, and Koichi Sugiyama, as well as the independent developer Level-5. Dragon Quest IX is scheduled for a 2007 release in Japan.

Source: 1UP
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Starcraft 2 Unveiled on May 19th (not a joke)

On May 19th, 2007, in Seoul, Korea, Blizzard will launch the third iteration of its own special expo, the World Wide Invitational. There, Blizzard Korea officials will officially unveil the long-awaited sequel to Blizzard's legendary RTS. The announcement was made earlier today, and Korean message boards are going crazy.

Here's a translation of the announcement:

“StarCraft 2 will be revealed for the first time to the world at Blizzard's World Wide Invitational (WWI) on May 19th.

On the 25th, according to the game developers, it has been confirmed that Blizzard Entertainment Korea (aka Blizzard Korea) will present VODs and game content at the WWI that is starting on May 19th. Also, StarCraft 2's main developers will also attend to answer some questions.

It has been confirmed that StarCraft 2 is being developed in 3D, a new race has been added and existing units' characteristics will have many changes. Additional details will only be revealed to certain parts of WWI.

Blizzard has invited over 100 international media and has prepared both Seoul Olympic Gymnastics Stadium and Fencing Stadium for this event -- the biggest area ever for a short-term game event.

StarCraft 2's announcement preparation is proceeding with secrecy, and only the core group at Blizzard Korea knows the specific details and situation. As they have done in the past, Blizzard is not planning to reveal or release any details for the "best surprise announcement".

However, trustworthy information is being leaked from previous Blizzard employees, and through an acquaintance of ex-Blizzard North employees, StarCraft 2's development and its announcement at the WWI has been confirmed.

Last February 28th, Blizzard president, Mike Morhaime, has hinted that "At the WWI in May, there will be a surprise announcement" for the announcement of a sequel, Blizzard Korea has confirmed, on the 25th, an unrevealed sequel's announcement.

Blizzard Korea's Park Young-Mok director said "There is not content available for answer for the sequel. The sequel will be released at the WWI on the 19th. Please confirm it at the site on the 19th" and denied the confirmation on if StarCraft 2 is indeed the sequel that is to be announced on the 19th.

MBC Game's Lee Sang-Ho head said "Frankly, it's half anticipation and half worry. If SC2 is released in a form that is compatible with e-sports broadcast, there will be many new gamers and the entire industry will develop. However if it comes out in a form that is not easy to broadcast, like WarCraft 3, StarCraft fans will focus on the sequel while the original league will suffer a decline", expressing a cautious mindset.

OnGameNet's StarCraft commentator Um Jae-Kyung said "Blizzard has probably already grasped the difference between this nation's gamers and foreign gamers' difference in inclination through WarCraft 3. So I'm hoping for a more balanced structure, a structure with e-sports in mind. However, I believe that the e-sports league will continue to focus on StarCraft and a new league focusing on StarCraft 2 will form, the industry growing bigger as a result. As a gamer, I'm really looking forward to it.

Blizzard's WWI is on its third year and will take place from May 19th to 20th at the Seoul Olympic Gymnastics Stadium and Weight Lifting Stadium (translator's note: I thought it was fencing? o.O). Many e-sports games as well as events such as WarCraft 3 ladder season 5 Asia region preliminaries, for the first time, a World of Warcraft Arena Tournament Off-line Regional Finals will take place.”

South Korea regularly holds video game tournaments and broadcasts them as true sporting events, hence all of the e-sports references in the quoted text. As a gamer who definitely had a "StarCraft phase" several years ago, I am surprised and excited by this news. Starcraft 2 is on the horizon, and we'll learn more on May 19th.

It's Official: Virtual Console gets the Neo-Geo

The president of SNK Playmore USA recently announced that the North American Wii Virtual Console will start to receive Neo-Geo games very soon, at an average of "around two a month." SNES VC games cost 800 Wii points ($8 US), and Neo-Geo games will cost "a little above the SNES point."

SNK has been a popular video game company for well over a decade, getting their start by developing video games exclusively for arcades and eventually creating a home version of their arcade hardware with the SNK Neo-Geo. They have created several popular series over the years, including King of Fighters, Metal Slug, Samurai Shodown, and many more. As Neo-Geo systems are outrageously rare and expensive, this is an excellent opportunity for the both enthusiastic and curious fan who wish to enjoy Neo-Geo games through legal means without spending a great deal of money.

IGN interview with SNK president

Germ Warfare on Nintendo's Horizon

Nintendo DS
Nintendo has announced a new title this week, Kurikin Nano Island Story for the Nintendo DS. This game will be another step in the creature capture genre Nintendo has created, only this time you won't be capturing lovable monsters, you'll be scooping up bacteria.

You play the game as a young inhabitant of Nano Island home to one hundred different types of bacteria. As the game progresses you'll be exploring the island, and be able to both capture and train new types of bacteria. The game's story mode is mission based, and will be 24 chapters long. Of course, to succeed in your missions you're going to have to engage in some germ warfare. That's right, you'll be fighting other teams of bacteria.

In battles players will control an army of germs that first appear as a single pixel on the DS's touch screen. You'll be able to instruct your troops by circling part of the group and then drawing a line, instructing them to go there. You'll also be able to disperse the group you've circled by blowing into the DS microphone. When your germs engage the enemy in combat the top screen will show a zoomed in view, allowing you a nice view of the germ combat. Bacteria of course, will divide and multiply the entire time, keeping your troops with a steady stream of combatants.

Each battle will feature a different requirement from winning, going from things like simply wiping out the enemy, to having the most remaining bacteria.

Kurikin Nano Island Story will release May 24 in Japan, a US launch date has not yet been announced, and it is unknown whether the game will make it here.

Source: RPGamer

Final Fantasy I and II Confirmed for This Summer

Final Fantasy I
Good news for those gamers who haven't grabbed one of the FF1/FF2 remakes yet and who own a PSP: Final Fantasy I and II are heading your way this summer.

Originally announced only for Japan, the remastered versions of the first two games in our favourite series will mark the twentieth anniversary of Final Fantasy. The original Final Fantasy will appear on 26 June 2007, followed shortly by Final Fantasy II on 24 July. Both games will go for $29.99.

Source: Gamespot

Honestly, I have a hard time getting excited over this. You can already buy these games together on the original Playstation for far less than the combined price of $60, and can't you rip PS1 games onto memory sticks if you just have to make them portable?

I just don't see the appeal. Square is releasing two of the weaker games in the series separately at an expensive price for a handheld no one can afford to own. Why bother?

Yet Another Cameo in FF Tactics PSP

Final Fantasy Tactics
According to Famitsu, the main character from Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (the DS sequel to FF Tactics Advance) is going to make an appeareance in the PSP remake of Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics: Shisho Sensou. This new character, Russo (or possibly Luso or something similar, depending on how it's localized in English), encounters and takes on Ramza while he's on the way to rescuing Alma; it isn't clear exactly where in the game this takes place.

This marks the second character from a recent FF game announced to have a supporting role in the FF Tactics remake, after Balthier from FF XII was announced as playable a few months ago. Is Square-Enix taking this cross-promotion a bit too far, or do we want even more? Depends on the person, I guess.


Lord of the Rings MMORPG News

There's been a Lord of the Rings MMORPG in the works for a long while now, and the game will be releasing to the public soon. In honor of this the game creators have announced a MASSIVE open beta event, offering one million slots to the beta. It's a first come first serve sort of deal, but it's open to anyone. (I imagine you need to be 18, though, honestly) This, world tour as they're calling it begins in about three days.

If you're a fan of Lord of the Rings, or are just curious about the new kid on the MMORPG block, you should check this out.

Lord of the Rings World Tour site

Just go to the site and follow the instructions and you'll be ready to go.

The full game will launch April 24th and will allow you to experience Middle Earth in all its glory. The game will feature classic characters from the novel as NPCs, such as Gandalf, Gimli, Aragorn, and Frodo. The game seems to be set during the events of the Lord of the Rings novels, even, and as such you'll be able to fight against the forces of Sauron and perhaps help the Fellowship rid Middle Earth of his scourge. In addition you'll be able to create one of four races (Human, Dwarf, Elf, or Hobbit) with customizable features, and then choose one of seven classes (Champion, Guardian, Captain, Burglar, Hunter, Minstrel, Lore-Master)

This game really possesses a lot of potential, but whether it lives up to it is yet to be seen. So if you're curious, like me, why not sign up for the World Tour? Do it quick though, spots are definitely going fast.
Posted in: RPG News

Long-Awaited PSP Price Drop

It still isn't $40 and bundled with Final Fantasy Tactics, but gamers critical of Sony's expensive handheld can now confirm what they've been saying all along: the PlayStation Portable was just too expensive.

Originally sold as a $249.99 "Value Pack" bundle, the PSP received it's first price drop when the package was cut down to the $199.99 "Core Pack" containing only the PSP, a battery, and an AC adapter. This move was criticized by those who noted that the price of the handheld itself remained virtually the same, as a memory stick still needed to be purchased in order to use most of its functions.

Finally, Sony seems to have realized what the rest of the world has always known: if they want the PSP to compete with the $129.99 Nintendo DS and it's massive developer support, they were going to have to do something about the price. Effective immediately, the PSP Core Pack will retail for $169.99, but, this time, without a hit to features or accessories.

Industry analysts have greeted this news happily, generally affirming what seemed like common sense to the rest of us... Things sell better when people can afford them.

Source: GameSpot

I've toyed with the idea of getting a used PSP somewhere along the line, but now I'm wondering if this will dry up the supply even more. Currently, a PSP trades in at Game Stop/EB Games for something in the neighborhood of $40, and we just don't see very many people who wouldn't rather just keep the darn thing. Since the new price is now less than Game Stop's preowned price, the trade-in value is going to have to dip even lower... You'd have to be an idiot to put up with it when eBay is right there.

New Information on Crisis Core

Final Fantasy VII
Square-Enix's official website for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII recently updated, giving us a great deal of new information. The game takes places seven years before Final Fantasy VII, when Shinra is gaining influence in the world by controlling the planet's supply of Mako energy. Sephiroth, Zack, and a third SOLDIER named Angeal Hewley are dispatched to Wutai in order to investigate the mysterious disappearance of another SOLDIER unit and also to resolve the military situation taking place there. Many other characters from Final Fantasy VII, including Cloud, Tifa, and Aeris, are confirmed to be in the game, but their role in the plot is unclear as of yet.

So that's all. Crisis Core does not have a confirmed release date, but is slated to be released in Japan later this year.

Crisis Core's official website

"Final Fantasy Forever" Collection Coming to PS3

General Final Fantasy
"Final Fantasy Forever", a compilation of all twelve games in the Final Fantasy series, will be hitting the PS3 along with Final Fantasy XIII sometime in the third quarter of 2008.

The six-disc collection will retail for $149.99 and include a 120 page art booklet with character designs and extra information about each game in the series. Each game will be released in its original form (though Americans will finally be receiving Final Fantasy X International) with no translation changes or graphics updates.

Source: GameSpot
Posted in: Square-Enix News

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©1997–2018 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.