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News from September 2009

Star Ocean Producer Finished with Star Ocean


Yoshinori Yamagishi is a 20-year veteran of Enix and Square-Enix and a major collaborator with the development studio Tri-Ace - Yamagishi has been a producer on every Tri-Ace game since the first Star Ocean. It's safe to say that he is one of the major architects of the Star Ocean series, although he is not one of the three "ace" designers that inspired the company's name upon its founding. And as soon as the PS3 director's cut or "International" version of Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope is released, Mr. Yamagishi is going to distance himself from the series.

Star Ocean was originally conceived as a trilogy of games. Star Ocean: The Last Hope represented a new, different direction for the series. After the release of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time for the PS2, Tri-Ace began to branch out and create games not named Star Ocean or Valkyrie Profile, with the development of Radiata Stories and Infinite Undiscovery in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Tri-Ace is also currently working on an RPG called Resonance of Fate. According to his recent interview with a Japanese gaming site, Mr. Yamagishi wants to work on new Tri-Ace intellectual property like those three instead of more Star Ocean sequels.

Source: RPGFan
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Friday Tokyo Tidbits


Tokyo Game Show
The Tokyo Game Show provided us with plenty of news to roll up into a ball for this Friday's tidbits; unsurprisingly, it's heavily weighted towards the new games dropping in the very near future. Sony announced a special Final Fantasy XIII bundle for PlayStation 3; it appears to be a creamy white with a screen print of Lightning on the top in a rosy shade that fades to white. Of course, this is only going to happen in Japan, so if you're one of those nutter Otakus and really need this kit, better get in line with your favorite importer now.

Squenix also brought a new trailer for Final Fantasy XIV to TGS this year. It features some fairly clumsy text in English, some strikingly pretty cutscenes, and a lot of people who one would assume to be player characters milling about and doing things that player characters do. It's pretty much exactly what you would expect from a Final Fantasy trailer in Tokyo.

If you needed any further proof that Square is craving the Yenjamins, Yoichi Wada made more news this week when he noted that a new billing model, creating a revised revenue stream for game manufacturers, will be the next big gaming innovation. Sure, I guess if motion control is now on the table for all the big players, why would there be more technological or creative innovation coming up? Let's pour all of our resources into brainstorming the cash flow, eh, boys? I kid, a bit; while microtransactions and handling of digital distribution will be critical for the next decade of console gaming, it does seem a bit harsh to make that the priority, in my opinion.

Also, hot on the heels of Final Fantasy Tactics in the US, another PlayStation One-era Final Fantasy has launched for the Japanese PlayStation Network. For those of you who immediately hoped it involved a protagonist with a tail, sorry—it seems Square is going in order and giving the Japanese gamer Final Fantasy VIII first. There's been no announcement as to whether the game will eventually make it to any Western PSNs, but I would say that this release lays the groundwork for both that to happen sometime in 2010, as well as for Final Fantasy IX to follow soon after.

Finally, my favorite news tidbit of the week, detailing an unlikely partnership; Square-Enix is doing a puzzle RPG, a la Puzzle Quest. And, if you were going to do a puzzle game, and you had the resources of Square-Enix, with whom would you make this game? Yeah, that's right, PopCap. The creators of smash casual games for a decade now, most recently the tremendously successful Plants vs. Zombies, are bringing the mechanics of Bejeweled Twist to Square's Gyromancer, where they'll be connected to a good versus evil battle punctuated by spinning jewels on a board. Not only does this sound like a pretty clever idea in theory, it makes me smile because now the company I work for has something in common with the big daddy—connections with PopCap. It's almost like I have a direct line to Wada-san now, you see?

Source: Kotaku, IGN, Feed Your Console

New Final Fantasy Tactics Map System on CoN


Caves of Narshe Site News
If you've been playing Final Fantasy Tactics recently, I hope you've been using the CoN game coverage section to help you out. If you've been using the section especially recently, you might have even noticed our unannounced beta of battle maps in our walkthrough. We've been working on firming up the quality of the maps for quite a while, and expanding their functionality, and now we're rolling out not only the battle maps, but a full maps section with maps for every situation and every location in the game.

These maps can be rotated and elevated to show you every view you get during the game, and we're giving you a birds-eye view as well to help clarify some of the trickier angles. You can also use these maps to see all of the available Geomancy and found items, and even starting positions for your party and enemies. We even created a new way of showing you the world map, using Google Maps, that you can zoom and scroll around to better find your desired town, castle, or out-of-the-way locale.

Tell us what you think about this new feature; we're pretty excited about it and would love to branch it out to more games in our series over time if you guys think it's as cool as we do. Last, a thanks to a modder named Gomtuu who created the original version of the FFT map viewer that we were able to modify and script to enable us to get these high-quality images and present them to you in a way like you haven't seen before!
Posted in: CoN Site News

Yoichi Wada Predicts the Console Future


Tokyo Game Show
The Tokyo Game Show and Yoichi Wada
Begin to bring all of us news fodder
He rumors a new Wii
And shock, in HD!
Note now that this limerick's... okay, forget it. I don't have footbigmike's boundless energy for goofy.

Long story short, Yoichi Wada, president of Square-Enix, is using his press time pre-TGS to postulate on the next generation of consoles, implying that the motion-sensing applications of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 will have a small impact at best. Seems that Wada either doesn't think they can do it better than Nintendo, or that nobody will actually care, particularly when the next Wii comes out (for which, not coincidentally, Wada also has theories - mark your calendars for sometime in 2011 and buy a HDTV if you don't have one, says the Man). The gist is this—in a couple short years the console market could look very much like three identical entries in different colors.

Source: Joystiq

Final Fantasy XIII: Episode Zero


Final Fantasy XIII
So we're coming up to the middle of September,
And I know what you're thinking - it's hard to remember
All the stories of every Final Fantasy game so far
(Even when some of them are completely sub-par)

So I bring to you some enjoyable news
And now the information even your brain can't lose
For the end of this month brings a story to you
Which'll tell you what is what and who is who

Presenting Final Fantasy XIII: Episode Zero
Start praising me here - I'm like a true hero
"But what does this contain?" - from you I hear
A novelization of the story before the world premiere

"But what's the point - I want the game for that!"
Well, sure - but what about before the fact?
Didn't the War of the Magi leave many mysteries?
And all that stuff about Zack - come on, please.

The story takes place before the game begins,
And hopefully it'll be better than the one from Skins
You'll learn about the characters and why they are where they are
But as of yet we don't know whether from near or afar

And now we'll need some help from the Shiva Indis
Because here's the final drawback - you are gonna hate this
The novelization you're now excited about
Will only be in Japanese - let's hear you scream and shout.
________________________________________________________________________

Yeah, I know, i'm awesome.

Source: IGN, Final Fantasy XIII Official Site
Posted in: Square-Enix News
(3 Comments – Last by Neal)
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Capcom Creates New "Dream Team" for Upcoming RPG?


Tokyo Game Show
Here's a game that is probably worth following at the Tokyo Game Show next week, especially if you've grown a bit bored with what Square Enix has had to offer lately. Capcom has assembled a pretty solid group of names to build their new RPG, drawing one of the authors of Final Fantasy VII, the composer for Street Fighter II, Parasite Eve, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the character designer of Devil May Cry 4, the producer of Apollo Justice, and the developer of the Luminous Arc series of games. Not much else is known just yet besides the title and platform—"Last Ranker" and PSP, respectively—but the game will appear at TGS, for certain.

Source: Kotaku
Posted in: RPG News

Friday Tidbits: Lots of Release Dates


Square Enix
Here's the Friday tidbits. I really do like these weekly posts, but I also wouldn't mind seeing someone else do them, heh. It's mostly release dates this week, so hope you have your debit cards at the handy.

In case you missed it last week, the finale of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years popped out on WiiWare. Finish it up and feel free to share your closing thoughts in our thread.

On the PlayStation front, you'll note that the original Final Fantasy Tactics is now DLC in the PlayStation Network store in North America. For $9.99 you can download the original - however, if you're smart you already own the original, right? In any event, just so it's clear, this is not the War of the Lions remake, but instead the nearly-twelve-year-old PlayStation One game.

If you like your games to come on discs, though, there are a couple heading that way too. The Wii will get its new Crystal Chronicles game, The Crystal Bearers, on the day after Christmas, clearly to pick up on that day's typical shopping extravaganza. Finally, if you're a PlayStation 3-only gamer, you can have a shot at the previously-360-exclusive Star Ocean 4 as of February 9, 2010. This new version is "International," and will have a variety of selectable languages, a new menu system, and some new characters.

Finally, for a non-release date bit of news, don't forget that the Tokyo Game Show is starting up next week. Square Enix have already given out a bit of information as to what to expect, but for Dragon Quest fans, note that Dragon Quest VI is going to be remade for the Nintendo DS next year in Japan. Of lesser note is that Dragon Quest III is heading to cell phones in Japan; don't forget that The After Years started the same way, though, so you may see DQ3 on WiiWare someday too.

Source: Kotaku, Square Enix Members Blog, RPGamer
Posted in: Square-Enix News

This Week's Square Enix Tidbits


Square Enix
In what is becoming more and more characteristic for the industry as a whole and Square Enix in particular, we got this week another series of tidbits and new media for the next blockbuster releases from the megacorp. We covered only a bit of the Final Fantasy XIII Premiere Party around here, though it happened this week; in essence, it threw out a lot of stuff that the media weren't allowed to show per se, with a lot of little news attached. Beyond what laszlow posted on Tuesday, there was a new trailer, which while kept "secret" at the start, soon showed up on a Japanese morning show, at least in part. After the party, a little bit info came to light as well; Kotaku brings us a new series of screens, while GameSpot has some details of the Uematsu-penned theme song, as sung by newcomer Sayuri Sugawara.

More news from Nier this week, too, as it was renamed a bit to "Nier Gestalt." The reason? Well, it seems that Squenix is already planning to build this game into a franchise, with a teaser for "Nier Replicant" showing up in Famitsu a few days back. Few details to speak of from the new game, but rumor has it that Nier Gestalt might be going to 360 only and Replicant could do the same for PS3. Fragmenting the audience seems a move destined to make the game fail in the long run, but it's not like anyone really thinks Square Enix makes only smart decisions these days, right? In any event, Squenix are saying that these rumors have no bearing on the North American release - who knows what that means? Do we get only Gestalt for both platforms? Do we get both games for both platforms? Is there a magical Wii release coming? (Just kidding on that last one, I think.)

Source: Kotaku, GameSpot
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Final Fantasy XIII Receives Japanese Release Date


Final Fantasy XIII
Earlier today, Square-Enix threw a Final Fantasy XIII party, showing off new screens, information, and what have you about Final Fantasy XIII. There was some nifty news, like the announcement of another Final Fantasy-themed beverage ("elixir") and the revealing of a PS3+FFXIII bundle in Japan, but the real reveal was three numbers: 12.17.2009.

That's right, Final Fantasy XIII will be out in Japan on 17th December of this year. That number was accidently leaked by a few different sites over the weekend, but now it's definitely official. FF XIII will retail for 8800 yen, which works out to be about $95 USD or 57 GBP, usually a price reserved for special editions and bundles.

But who cares about those Japanese? When is it coming out in the United States, or Canada, or Europe? Spring 2010. Square-Enix refuses to give Westerners such precise numbers as they did the Japanese, but Square-Enix president Yoichi Wada claimed that FF XIII is aiming for an international release this spring. Details on the specific date are currently nonexistent, but supposedly upcoming. Keep your fingers crossed.

Source: Kotaku, More Kotaku, Guess who?
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription, and Nobuo Uematsu


Final Fantasy XIV
For a game that has barely surfaced, Final Fantasy XIV is generating quite a hype, and for good reason too. Similar to Final Fantasy X, the new game will feature its own religion. The depth of Yevon and its link to the central storyline is one of the more outstanding features of Final Fantasy X — perhaps we will see a similar degree of success in this next game. The style of the world will be a combination of medieval and sci-fi, so nothing special there then. Could it be the same battle between the old and the new, the church and progress? If the religion has no bearing on the plot then Square Enix may avoid igniting a potentially volatile topic.

Character growth will be linked to whichever weapon the character is wielding. There will be no experience and no levels; growth is apparently comparable to the job system of Final Fantasy V and, of course, Final Fantasy XI. Character customisation is always a plus, but not including character levels may be unwelcome to some in the die-hard RPG crowd.

The bad news for some of us is that our old adversary '30-day subscription' will be making a comeback. Against the growing trend of free-to-play, pay-to-upgrade multiplayer online games, Square Enix is stalwartly insisting on the same scheme as they used in Final Fantasy XI. A subscription system may not come as a surprise to many, but those of us who dislike this method may be somewhat put off.

On a much more positive note, Nobuo Uematsu will be composing the entire score for the first time since Final Fantasy IX. Rather than shoehorning his aging great pieces into the new games, he will now be composing a host of new tracks, many of the them likely to become favourites.

Final Fantasy XIV is due for a simultaneous global release in 2010 on PC and PS3, with an Xbox 360 release still pending.

Source: The Escapist (Experience), The Escapist (Subscription), Destructoid
Posted in: Square-Enix News

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.