News from August 2009
With Gamescom underway off in the wilderness of Europe (read: Germany), it shouldn't be a big surprise that there's some Square Enix tidbits coming out. We've been following the stories all week and are rolling them up right here for those of you who might have missed them. I like these roundups, personally; you can catch up on a lot of little things without cluttering our news section with tons of little posts, you know? However, you don't care about my philosophy, so here we go into the hard data:
Final Fantasy XIII
As has been the standard for this game, things are leaking out just a bit at a time. This week brings yet more character names for this upcoming release, as well as new screenshots of HorseOdin. Both names apply to more "rivals" for Lightning; no big surprise that the protagonist of a Final Fantasy game has a lot of folks that don't like her, right? The new male rival is named "Yaag," apparently; the female is, in a surprising turn towards normalcy, apparently called "Jill." You can see Odin in the same magazine scan that shows Jill—it remains to be seen whether they'll actually call the horse form of the summon Sleipnir, or ignore that part of the mythology altogether. Thanks to Yelanates for throwing the Yaag story our way.
As a final note for thirteen, The Escapist tells us that the dev team for the 360 version is aiming to get the game to us on three DVDs. Brings back memories of the Playstation era, does it not? This information is not concrete yet, as the development is not far enough along to be considered final, but Yoshinori Kitase says that three is the goal. He also says that the way things are looking, the number of discs might be the only noticable difference between the two console versions, so that's pretty good news for those of us who don't rock the Playstation 3. Now, if only Squenix would reneg on their exclusivity deal for XIII Versus...
Final Fantasy XIV
Kotaku brings us a series of Final Fantasy XIV video clips this week, by way of GameTrailers. It's mostly demo stuff, but hey, tech demos are cool. There's a demo displaying how each race runs through a variety of facial and body expressions, an archer getting pummeled by some fairly large chickens (with some low-fidelity battle music in the background that still sounds good), and a couple other attractive but not particularly inspiring gameplay videos.
As Square Enix try again with an action-oriented genre, it appears they're going a bit more towards God of War and Dante's Inferno with "mature" content, say Kotaku. The newly-debuted-at-Gamescom character Kaine appears to have a bit of a potty mouth and a fairly-standard-for-Squenix-women risque costume. Combine somewhat-inappropriate clothing with a foul mouth, and what do you get? Well, maybe something kinda hot, but just as likely something that might look like they're trying too hard to, as put by Nier's producer, expand beyond the existing Square Enix image. We'll see in 2010 when the game drops.
Source: Kotaku, FF Insider, The Escapist
Earlier today Kaz Hirai confirmed the upcoming release of the long-suspected new, slimmer model of the PlayStation 3 arriving soon in stores worldwide. The new model contains a 120GB hard drive, maintains all the features supported in the 80 and 160 GB versions, and is approximately 30% smaller and 35% lighter than the current models. The slender new version also has a new, modified PS3 logo etched on the side, and comes standard with the new PS3 firmware v3.0.
Sony also confirmed that the $299 price drop will apply to all PS3s, namely the 80 GB and 160 GB units still on the market. There are also rumors of a second slim PS3 with 200 or 250 GB of storage space, but these are only rumors at the moment.
The new Sony PlayStation 3 will be available worldwide during the first week of September, at $299 in the United States and 299 euros in most of Europe.
Sources (with pictures) courtesy of Kotaku:
Bonus information with pictures
Ever though that Square-Enix were not so open to innovation? Ever thought they liked to repeat the same admittedly successful formulas? Ever thought they seemed unwilling to let a new idea join the stable?
Well, you're not alone: Tri-Ace, who you may remember as developers of such RPG's as the Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile series, have decided to plump with Sega as publishers for their latest offering, Resonance of Fate (AKA End of Eternity in Japan, an apparent reference to Isaac Asimov) rather than Square-Enix. According to RoF/EoE director Takayuki Suguro, "SEGA has a more open attitude towards accepting new RPG ideas than Square Enix," and thus they've decided that the publishers of their new game will be the owners of everyone's favourite small annoying blue creature with spiky hair rather than the prudish and stuffy owners of everyone's favourite small annoying blond creature with spiky hair, at least for EoE/RoF.
End of Eternity/Resonance of Fate is an RPG set for release on XBox 360 and PS3 in late 2009 in Japan as EoE and 2010 in North America and Europe as RoF, with mankind near extinction due to environmental collapse (again), and from the look of it a copious amount of bullets.
With Final Fantasy XIV looming very slowly towards us like a slightly sped up glacier, some new screenshots have been released. And like a glacier, they're very pretty.
The screenshots showcase a handful of the new environments for the MMO-inclined to grind and grief in, as well as showing off the fashion models of the races which as previously noted, have been renamed from FF XI, and are now the Not-Humes (Hyur), the Not-Mithra (Miqo'te), the Not-Tarutaru (Lalafell), the Not-Galkan (Roegadyn), and the Not-Elvaan (Elezen).
These screens add very little to what is already known about the game except to assist the Eorzea tourist board in selling their region to tourists, presumably Americans, Europeans and Japanese with the ability to pay a monthly fee and not, say, an invading Imperial army with flamethrowers.
For those who were not previously interested in this game or MMORPG's in general, the screens of the glacier are unlikely to interest you, but for those wanting their next dose of monthly fee MMO, Square-Enix ought to have you salivating. Personally, I think they should liven up this glacier with a polar bear or two. Or telling us more about the people with the flamethrowers.
Source: FF Insider
New or old?
Admittedly, not a whole lot to see, but it's a start! Oh, and they're revamping all the race names again. So, what was Human and then Hume, is now Hyuran. So, based on this formula, Final Fantasy XXVII online will have so many vowels in the name of the human race it'll be pronouncable only by those who have no tongue.
Sarcasm aside, i'm sure these announcements are very important to fans of Final Fantasy XI. And they can tell us just how different things seem so far. As a pure observer of both, they look pretty similar. I'm personally more interested in XIII - it seems prettier. And cheaper. And single player.
As posted earlier today by bigfootmike, Square-Enix has a new countdown clock up on their Japanese site.
While the mystery will be revealed in approximately five days, the internet may have some clues. Members of the Neogaf forums believe this countdown to be related to Lord of Vermillion, a popular arcade game that Square-Enix operates in Japan. While the game is over a year old and no home version or port looks likely, Square-Enix did register Lord of Arcana with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.
Anything at this point is speculation, but the art styles of the game and the teaser site do look similar, and the URL for the countdown does not mention anything Final Fantasy-related. Time will tell, but it doesn't look like this is news will mean much to non-Japanese gamers.
Source: Neogaf Forums, Siliconera, Lord of Vermillion Site