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News from July 2009

A Bundle of Square-Enix News For You!


Square Enix
Well, what have we here. A number of assorted snippets from this week, some interesting, some annoying, and some just silly. Let's looking!

Number One
Final Fantasy Anedote Release Date
The Anecdote will be released in Japan on October 29th, so it will reach international shores in 2010. If we're lucky.

Number II
0807
Remember how countdown clocks were used for Final Fantasy Anecdote, and everyone groaned because it's the most boring way to announce a new game? Square Enix are NOT LEARNING! We have about VI days and XXII hours before we know what this, so be sure to throw a brick or II through their official building's windows before that time.

Number Three
Final Fantasy XIII Screenshots
And there are many of them. They look cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.

Number Four
Star Ocean 3 != PS3?
Star Ocean 3 being listed as a PS3 game temporarily was confirmed as a database error. All seventeen PS3 owners that play Star Ocean can hang their heads in disappointment.

Well, that's all, folks. Isn't there more important event today you should be reading about?

Source: Kotaku

Edit: Josh can take his news system and put it where the sun don't shine.
Posted in: Square-Enix News

CoNniversary the Twelfth: 2009


Caves of Narshe Site News
The site's twelve now. As many of you know, this means that the Caves of Narshe is certainly what the media folks call a "tween," and I believe it; just the other day, Climmy threw a temper tantrum when I wouldn't buy him a Jonas Brothers poster.

He then proceeded to murder a bystander. The analogy only goes so far.

All that aside, the site is indeed twelve - however, to my eye, she's got the lustre of a site only half her age, and the vitality to boot. It's been a pretty shiny year for CoN, even though some might have wondered last year how many more good years we had under our belts. We might have even wondered it ourselves, and as such, we made the second half of 2008 the catalyst for change and carried that through to now. In terms of development, I think we turned the last year of the site into a pretty significant one, with the launch of the big new Chrono Trigger section. We'd thought about covering Chrono Trigger almost from the very day that we put Final Fantasy IV on the site, and as the stars aligned with the impressive DS port, we took the leap. The result was CoN progress like we hadn't seen in years, with a large group all coming together and really banging it out (in this case, "it" being the first major collection of data for the SNES/PSX and DS versions all in one spot). Not only did we do that, we also put together a new wallpaper section, giving some love to a section of the site that hadn't been loved in over a year and a half. It's the only place to find wallpapers designed with the CoN user in mind, and there are over two hundred wallpapers there among all sizes and designs. Not content with those two big projects, we even rolled out a new way to publish gaming news to you folks, including better ways to organize and browse and even a way to get you guys more involved by submitting your own.

You should think this was enough, right? Wrong, sucka. Got even a little bit more, going up today. First, we're broadening the avatar gallery with a wider array from our newest game, Chrono Trigger and a huge selection of pins from Square's big 2008 hit, The World Ends With You. For those of you who have a thing for CoN History, like we do, we also decided to put together, well, pretty much every page from every previous version of CoN and put it back online. It's goofy, sure, but no more goofy than the quality of the code on most of it, which I've managed to largely leave unadulterated. The CoN History page has links to all four previous design iterations just waiting for you. Please, visit and mock the skills I had back in the time of the ancients.

Finally, and I think this is the big one (hence it being last, and in friggin' bold, duh), is the return of a feature that people loved many a year ago: the CoN quiz is now back on the road and ready to abuse you, with a twist. Now the questions aren't just from our covered games - those only make up the first tier, called "Local" since the questions are, y'know, local to the site. We've got two new tiers of questions, "Regional" and "Global," which are pulled from the entire Square Enix canon and all of gaming, resepectively. So, if you think you know your stuff, there are quizzes open right now. Get started. And, hey, since we like giving away AmaCoN money, here's the new CoNtest for the rest of this year: whoever ends this calendar year (as of 23:59:59 GMT on 31 December 2009) on top of the Top Scorers page for all quizzes (with at least ten quizzes taken) will take home $25 in AmaCoN dollars or their local equivalent. Also, let me take this time to personally thank all the folks who participated in the closed beta for this new project over the last couple weeks; we made some significant improvements that everyone will appreciate, and we'll look to do more of that in the near future.

So, there we go, we have another year's worth of work in place. And it's surely enough to convince everyone that we, unlike most everyone else out there, have yet to give up the ghost. So we'll go into our lucky thirteenth year, knowing that the experience of the previous twelve years will keep us going with new projects and new ways to keep the site going and useful to you guys. We, of course, have a few things planned already to make things better. However, we have also come to learn that you also know what you want, and we're always willing to hear what those things are (even if we don't ever actually, you know, do them). So here's a thread perfect for you to tell us what you liked and disliked this year, and also to tell us what you want to see next year to keep you here and happy. As usual, while we certainly love CoN, it's a lot less lovable if the people who really make it fun, you folks, stop coming. So, I'll wrap up this year by saying that you should keep posting good threads, and keep submitting new content to the site, and that should the mood strike you this summer or any time hence, to come visit us in chat (which has been a bit quiet lately, which makes me quite bored at work), and throw some commentary our way about most anything.

And, speaking of work, well, I'm quite busy today trying to get through the most difficult of my office work so that I have time to put some more effort into CoN yet today. Cheerio, friends, and I hope to see you checking in quite soon to celebrate another great year of CoN with us!
Posted in: CoN Site News

Final Fantasy XIII: Odin is a Horse and Other News


Final Fantasy XIII
At the San Diego Comic-Con, a model of a large horse was unveiled by Square Enix as Sleipner: Odin's armour-clad, red-eyed mount. Odin himself will be in Final Fantasy XIII, but not atop his trusty steed of old. Rather, he will transform into it for Lightening et al to ride, much like Shiva changing into a motorbike.

According to certain sources, familiar summons Ifrit, Carbuncle and Siren have been revealed in non-public trailers of Final Fantasy XIII. What could they possibly transform into? Siren the dolphin? Ifrit the bull? I, personally, would be thrilled to see Carbuncle the helicopter.

Aside from this, there have been more screenshots made available for our collective criticism to feed on. Most notably, we see Hope's dual boomerangs and Vanille's fishing hooks in action. The battles do indeed seem very similar to those of Final Fantasy X-2, with individual positions changing and a more fluid succession of actions than the typical Active Time Battle. Interestingly, we can also see what looks like Bravery and Faith from Final Fantasy XII returning on the character's status in the battle alongside old favourites such as Protect. Overall it still looks like The Bouncer, but with more to do in battle.

Final Fantasy XIII is currently due for a Japanese release in the fourth quarter of 2009, and the second quarter of 2010 for all other regions.

Source: FF-XIII.net, Destructoid (screenshots), Destructoid (Odin)
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Eidos Interactive Becomes Square Enix Europe


Square Enix
For those of us who do not yet know, Eidos has been acquired by Square Enix in a bid to involve itself more in western markets. Eidos, based in south London, is responsible for the iconic Tomb Raider series as well as more recent titles such as Age of Conan and the upcoming Arkham Asylum. The reported price of acquisition was £84 million.

It was announced earlier this month that the name 'Eidos Interactive', which was believed to remain the name of the newly acquired company, will be changed to 'Square Enix Europe'. The merging will change more than just the name of one company. Larry Sparks, current vice-president of Eidos, will be in charge of Square Enix's Japanese catalogue of titles. It appears that Square Enix is entrusting many of the current employees of Eidos with its future development in the west.

This lends credence to the claim that the assimilation of Eidos into Square-Enix will provide faster release dates in North America and Europe, and also that more previously-exclusive Japanese titles will be brought to the fans in other countries. Direct leadership and investment in the west are certainly how Square-Enix could go about accomnplishing this. Maybe we will finally see a Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System, which is currently limited to the international boundary of Japan and South Korea. Or maybe that is setting expectations a little too high.

Source: Play.tm
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Dissidia Demo on PSN


Dissida: Final Fantasy
It looks like there's a demo for DISSIDIA: Final Fantasy on the Playstation Network. It can be downloaded onto PS3s as well as PSPs, but only runs on PSP.

This looks like a good idea for people who haven't decided whether or not to buy it yet, as well as a fun little teaser for those who have it pre-ordered.

DISSIDIA: Final Fantasy comes out in the USA on 25 August, 2009.

EDIT: Thank you to user Ruin's Fate for telling us that the characters usable in the demo are Onion Knight, Cecil, Terra, Cloud, and Sephiroth.

Source: Final Fantasy Union, PR News
Posted in: Square-Enix News

SaGa II Info and New DSi


Square Enix
Earlier this year, Final Fantasy Legend II, also known as SaGa II, was announced as being the next in a series of remakes on the Nintendo DS. What with the upcoming 20th anniversary of the series, Square Enix decided to put the SaGa names all over a shiny new DSi. All of the names. Unfortunately no word on a Stateside release, but the official SaGa II site is up, running, and pretty. If anyone who speaks Japanese can point out where it says "This is our game, and it will never ever be released internationally, HA!", please let the rest of us know.

OFFICIAL SITE

Source: Kotaku

CoN Radio Interview with Starmen.net


Caves of Narshe Site News
We're at it again, this time on the interwebradiomachine. Longtime CoN member Kame, who also produces a radio show for Starmen.net, interviewed Tiddles and me together last Friday night. I'm suave and clever, and Tiddles is quite British, and we spent some time together talking about the history, present and future of the Caves of Narshe, as well as our thoughts on the Final Fantasy series in general.

If you like your audio with a side of masochism (for you), the broadcast is going out live starting at 11pm Eastern tonight at http://icecast.fobby.net/radiopsibk.ogg.m3u. If you can't make the show tonight, we'll be mirroring the interview ourselves as soon as we get our hands on the file. Hope you enjoy it, and if so, make sure to thank the good folks over at Starmen and especially Kame for being willing to put up with us for that amount of time.

Update: The audio is available from the CoN YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=E8929AEF57787900

Source: Starmen.net
Posted in: CoN Site News

New Final Fantasy XIII Character Announced


Final Fantasy XIII
Jump Magazine (from Japan) released information about a new character in Final Fantasy XIII. According to Final Fantasy Union, his name is Hope Estheim; he uses a boomerang as a weapon and has a history with Snow.

Details remain sketchy at this time, though as with all such new information about new Square Enix games, we should see more coming in quite short order.

Source: Final Fantasy Union
Posted in: Square-Enix News

My Life as a Darklord En Route To Europe


General Final Fantasy
Well strike me down, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord will be released in Europe this Friday, with a North American release still pending. This latest Wii Ware instalment of the elusive Final Fantasy brand will be available for 1000 Wii Points, equal to £7 or $10. Further downloadable content is also on the horizon. Japanese players already have access to a selection of spells and stage packs available from 100 to 500 points. Despite the lack of a North American release date, it's likely to be soon.

My Life as a Darklord follows closely with the Final Fantasy formula of having very little to do with its predecessor of the same name. If you were hoping for a game similar to My Life as a King you may be sorely disappointed, and a bit silly. The gameplay focuses on castle defence: as the daughter of a Darklord, and arguably the sister of Zorn and Thorn, it is your job to use your evil minions and traps to keep the forces of good from reaching the top of the tower and destroying your crystal. It might be worth mentioning that you have a Tonberry lieutenant with a pink ribbon on its head to help you.

It remains to be seen whether this will be a hit or not. Castle defence is certainly a fine concept; it will never get old as long as real-time strategy is an existing genre. What will make or break the gameplay is balancing, something that castle defence modders slave over and Square Enix failed to achieve in My Life as a King. To its credit, the character and monster detail has a certain charm that hasn't been seen since Final Fantasy IX. Regardless of how successful this becomes, it's great to see Square Enix trying their luck with another genre. Maybe My Life as a... is to be a series of experimentation.

Source: Siliconera, Square Enix
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Myst Coming To PSP


PSP
From July 16th this year, PSP owners in the U.S. will have access to another old classic in the form of Cyan Worlds' Myst. The Playstation Network will add this to the likes of Bionic Commando and Final Fantasy VII in their catalogue of games. No word as yet about a European release, but that doesn't exactly come as a surprise.

Initially released in 1993, Myst took the PC gaming crowd by storm with its complex puzzles and labyrinthine plotline. Old boy and newbie alike will be able to enjoy this extravaganza of storytelling with improved visuals to make the most of the PSP's hardware. Needless to say, it looks beautiful. In addition, this release will include the New Rime Age which was withheld from the 1993 release. Aside from these changes, the PSP Myst will be unaltered from the much-loved original.

Source: Gamers Daily News

100,000 Gamers v. Square Enix in Californian Court


Square Enix
One particularly ambitious San Francisco resident has taken Square Enix to court for breach of competition law, false advertising, and unjust enrichment. The class action sets forth the complaint that Square Enix are not clear about the fees and penalties in their MMORPG Final Fantasy XI. The class is none other than the 100,000 gamers on the Final Fantasy XI database. 'All persons who purchased or played the online games four years prior to the filling of this lawsuit to the present' to be precise.

Over $5,000,000, exclusive of interest or legal costs, is sought to be given back to the gamers. If they pull this one off, players will be told of their compensation either by email or on the Final Fantasy XI website. One source believes that Californian courts can be inclined to produce verdicts leaning more towards consumer protection. Don't let me get your hopes up too much.

See below for the complaints against Square Enix, taken directly from the lawsuit:

This case narrowly focuses on Defendants' deceptive advertising, unfair practices, and fraudulent concealment to conceal certain critical information about their online games. The deceptive advertising, unfair and undisclosed business practises, and concealment concern, among others:
i. Licensing of the online games software disguised as a sale;
ii. Monthly fees ("fees") to play the online games;
iii. Penalties for the late payment of the fees;
iv. Interest charges for late payment of the fees;
v. Charges while the online game account is suspended;
vi. Termination of the right to use online games for late payment of the fees;
vii. User restrictions and conditions related to the online games;
viii. Termination of game data for late payment of the fees.


What stands out the most from this complaint is the predominantly negative reception from the gaming community and press. Either they do not understand that this is a conjoined lawsuit, and the complainer merely represents the class, or that this is typical blind support of Square Enix who, ironically, are actually sitting on the opposite side of the table from all players of Final Fantasy XI. Why don't we raise the plaintiff, Esther Leong, on our shoulders and say: "yes we don't want to pay interest and penalties for late payment of gaming fees, this is a fantasy RPG not a credit card."

Source: GamePolitics, Plaintiff v. Square Enix (via GamePolitics), Law of the Game
Posted in: Square-Enix News

New CoN News Feature and Contest


Caves of Narshe Site News
It appears that writing web code as my everyday job, instead of just managing people who write web code as their everyday jobs, kind of speeds up the CoN development process a bit, too. This is evidenced by the new feature we're rolling out today - the brand-new CoN news section. I'm not going to lie to you, there are a lot of parts of this news section where the enhancements might not be completely obvious to you visitors and members, but that's okay. There's also a lot of stuff that's obvious and useful, too!

First, let's say that you're particularly interested in news we've posted related to Final Fantasy VII or its spinoffs. Well, great, because now all the Final Fantasy VII news is neatly categorized into its own section, and you'll quickly be able to grab all of that and peruse it without having to also see me chatter on about the site. (Of course, if you love seeing me chatter about the site, you can do that too because all of the major types of news we post are also categorized.) Also to help out in quickly finding the news you want, the majority of our news posts also now carry post icons to give you a visual clue as to the main focus of the news. Of course, that's not the only way you can filter. If you've been out to see without internet for the last couple months, you might want to check out all the news we posted from June 2009 in order to catch up, which as you can see from the link is now totally possible. Hey, if you're really interested enough, you can even check all the way back to June 2002, the very first month of modern news at CoN, and every month in between. Hey, we even break it down by author, so if you just have the burning desire to news-stalk laszlow, we're going to give you the option.

Another neat feature we're giving you now is the ability to read news articles and associated commentary by your fellow members without having to go all the way to the forums, should you wish. Not only that, you can even add your own comments right there, too. As an example, check out this very news article that you're reading now. You can view this for every single news article we've posted in the last seven years, and if there are just too many comments, we'll link you right into the forums to view them all and post just like you used to.

Now, here's the biggest kicker as it relates to you guys. This system now enables you non-staffers out there to submit news to us, too. We know that there have been times where you guys have found news and we've been frustrated because you beat us to it; sometimes this results in threads being duplicated in the news forum, people not knowing where or how to post, and things like that. It doesn't have to happen any more, because we're giving you control to write up news just like we do it and submit it for our approval. If we approve it, your own username will show up on the site homepage and in the news forum just like ours, and we'll even track the number of user submissions we get from you guys and display it on every news article you have on the site. It's like postcount, but better! Even if what you post doesn't quite meet our editorial standards, though, we might be able to clean it up a bit for you, and if so you'll be credited right in the post, too.

So, that brings me to my new contest here. We want you guys to share news you find with us, and we're looking to help you get motivated to do it. So, for the next three months or so, we're going to keep special track of what you post and what we approve from your postings. At the end of September, we'll check to see who outside of staff has posted the most approved news items, and if it's greater than five, that person's going to grab up a $25 (or the equivalent in pounds sterling, Euro, or Canadian dollars) in an AmaCoN gift card. If we get more than ten people who post five or more stories, we'll give out another $10 to one of you chosen at random, too. And, hey - if you show up and rock our... socks... with the quality of your news posting, there might be an opening on our permanent news staff for you as well.

You might be wondering, "how best to get my news approved?" It's not too hard. Make sure you write with good grammar and spelling, make sure you post news that's really relevant to our audience (obviously, we focus on Square Enix news, RPG news, and news that impacts big portions of the console RPG audience like important corporate news), and make sure you cover lots of details in your post. Preview your post before posting it. Make sure your sources are accurate, and for bonus points, throw a little bit of your own personal opinion in there too. Follow that formula consistently and you'll be on the way to that gift card in no time.

Let us know if you have questions, we're looking forward to getting your submissions!
Posted in: CoN Site News

More Final Fantasy IV: After Years Content


Final Fantasy IV
Yesterday, on 6 July, the next three "Stories" in the After Years canon were released to the WiiWare store at a cost of three hundred Wii points apiece. The new stories belong to Edge, Palom, and Yang; however, details around each story are still sketchy in nature.

So, that being said, who among you has gotten these stories downloaded and can fill in the rest of us with regards to what's going down? If you plan to get them, you had best get started as the next batch will be out in under a month's time. After that, there's just the final large chapter coming in September and then this Final Fantasy IV spinoff will be fully in the books.

Source: Wikipedia: FFIV: The After Years
Posted in: Final Fantasy IV

Asteroids Movie in the Works


Asteroids, the 1979 arcade and Atari 2600 classic, is receiving an adaptation on the big screen. Universal allegedly won out over three other film studios for the film rights to Asteroids, and the project will be written by Matthew Lopez and produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura (a co-producer of Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen).

Now, a screen adaptation of Asteroids is particularly intriguing, since the game is completely devoid of storyline, dialog, or even visuals beyond black and white lines and curves. Check out some Asteroids gameplay here: thanks, YouTube! Universal also has film rights to the classic board games Candy Land and Battleship, which are similarly lacking in narrative.

So what will come of this? No director has been named and the screenwriting process has only just begun, so we know next to nothing about the project thus far.

Source: Gamespot, The Hollywood Reporter

Dissidia: European Release and Goodies


Dissida: Final Fantasy
It's only 2 months until Dissidia: Final Fantasy is released in Europe, so put September 4th in your calendar. Also, only for us glorious Europeans (at least, those who own the PSP), a limited edition will be available with all sorts of extras, which include a unique packaging, a book of the game's artwork, the strategy guide, an OST, and more. Standard copy is £25, and supposedly the limited edition is the same price, but we've yet to see an official difference in pre-order anywhere.

In addition, for anyone who still hasn't a clue what Dissidia is or is about (and where have you been?), the official site is now open.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy

Source: RPGamer
Posted in: News from Europe

A Final Fantasy Anecdote


General Final Fantasy
The identity of the game in the countdown clock some of you are still hypothesising about has already been announced. Some of you just can't read, so to make it easy, i'll post it in big letters on the main page, to see if that helps.

We don't have much info yet (unless you can read Japanese), but it is not FFI or FFV, so stop with the guessing games.

Source: Kotaku
Source: 5 Days Ago

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.