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News from May 2010

Tidbits: A Square-Enix Anecdote

Square Enix
We're approaching the end of May, now, and things are getting exciting, not least due to the looming E3. There has been a lot of interesting news this week.

OK, I can't keep this one until the end of this news because it's so exciting. We now have a release date for Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, which will be arriving on October 5th in the US. Included in that link is a summary of the game's features and development process. One thing to note is that the game draws more inspiration from the classic NES games than from any of the newer games. Oh, and for some reason, it will retail for $5 cheaper than other similar DS games. However, that has only been confirmed for the US so far. With information like this, how can anyone here NOT be excited for the release date? To keep you entertained until then, why not go and buy Final Fantasy IX on PSN? Wait, what's that? It's been released in Europe and not the US? AHA AHA AHA AHA AHA A-

Ahem. Regardless, when it is available for everyone, I heavily recommend buying it. If none of the newer installments are doing it for you, this one will. Pretty sure I said something similar last time there was news about this, but my point still stands.

Square-Enix have been pretty prolific on the iPod/iPhone/iPad recently, what with the seventeeth incarnations of Final Fantasy I and II, and the brand new Chaos Rings, which was held in high regard by its reviewers. With this stream of successes, it's only natural they'd start releasing more games on the system. And so, now I present to you, Chocobo Panic, for $3.99!! It's an exciting game that sees you catch Chocobos on your iPad! Yeah. Awesome. Well, if anything, this game gives me hope that Square-Enix are putting out all of their sub-par games prior to E3 so they can focus on the good stuff. Not that I have anything against Chocobo Panic.. I'm sure it' know... great.

Speaking of new games, it seems yet another new RPG is being developed, with Supreme Commander producer Dave Hoffman at the head. This announcement was made via his twitter, which irks me mainly because he didn't start the sentence with a capital letter. REGARDLESS, hopefully E3 will shed some light on this "latest and greatest RPG to come outta Square Enix". If nothing else, at least one person in the company will be irritated if the game doesn't have a decent storyline. Miwa Shoda, writer of Final Fantasy XII and Legend of Mana, believes that all RPGs need a compelling story to keep players interested. I think everyone here can agree. But I can't say the FFXII story did much for me, so maybe she could do some improvements of her own (and I mean that in the nicest way possible).

Well, it's time for me to climb back into my CoNwork cage. R51 lets me out to do news when he isn't here.

Source: 1Up, Kotaku, SiliconEra
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Square Enix News Tidbits: Here Comes Everybody

After another brief dry spell in good Square Enix news, we're back with the Friday Tidbits again. I feel pretty confident that we're only a couple weeks away from a new blast of delicious news, though, as E3 is nearly upon us; the official conference starts on June 14, which is problematic given that this is also the first full week of the World Cup. Jerks. In this issue, we have news about how Squenix is a very healthy company, new info about the Western release of Birth By Sleep, some screenshots from the Final Fantasy XIV alpha release, a Squenix world record, some news not news about Final Fantasy Versus XIII (which still exists!), and a few other scattered release dates.

First off, if you might have been worried about Square Enix staying afloat with the mixed reviews of their in-house games, well, don't be. At the rate they're going, they'll have money to produce Final Fantasies up through XCVI, at least. Their top five games of their last fiscal year all sold over a million copies each for their year ending in April 2010, with three of them selling over three million apiece worldwide. That's not a low number of games, kids, and only one of them was not a Squenix IP.

Birth By Sleep, the newest Kingdom Hearts game is still coming, and now it's dated. It's coming September 7 (September 10 in Europe), and it is going to pack some high profile voice work, including Leonard Nimoy and Mark Hamill. If those two names don't pique your interest, how about James Woods? At the very least, that should appeal to hardcore Family Guy fans, right? If you're a KH fan without a PSP, Sony's even going to give you a $200 silver PSP bundle with the game, a nice big Memory Stick, and an unnamed movie. And it's not a PSP Go, so there's nothing to lose!

Everyone who got into the Final Fantasy XIV alpha is under a non-disclosure agreement. That means you're probably not going to get much info unless you know someone who really, really trusts you - however, Square Enix themselves released some screenshots this week. Might not be the most interesting information to come out about the game, but it's what you're going to get probably until at least E3.

Finally, you might have heard that our buddy Yoichi Wada stick his foot into it a bit this week, saying that the PlayStation 3-exclusive Final Fantasy Versus XIII might be on the table for a multiplatform release. Of course, since then, there's been some (probably Sony-suggested) spin that the initial statement doesn't necessarily mean anything at all. Since there's no release date for the game yet, it's hard to say right now one way or another. I doubt anything will come from it at E3, but Tokyo Game Show is a possibility.

Wrapping up, enjoy a couple more release dates. Siliconera has some release info you might have missed: the Japanese megahit Dragon Quest IX will be in North America on July 11th, with DLC to follow; The Four Heroes of Light, meanwhile, has been rated in Australia which means an English-language release is pending, and will almost certainly be popping up in Europe and North America sooner rather than later.

Source: Kotaku, SiliconEra, AndriaSang

Square Enix News Tidbits: Touch to Continue

Square Enix
Square Enix released its latest iPhone OS game since our last tidbits, a new IP called Chaos Rings. The game was developed with some of the developers responsible for the Wild ARMs series; with such a pedigree, you would assume that the game would be pretty special. And, if the early reviews are right, well, it kind of is within the scope of iPhone games. So far, nearly seven hundred reviewers on iTunes give the game an average of 4.5/5, and sites like Kotaku have plenty of good things to say as well. Visually, this game looks easily on par with console games of, say, eight years ago, and that alone will set it apart from most of its brethren (though it also might require fairly new Apple hardware to play at full strength). It also is a bit pricey for a iPhone game, at $12.99, but that still makes it a lot cheaper than a new game for your Nintendo or Sony handheld.

Final Fantasy XIII is already getting re-published in portions of Asia. To sweeten the deal for late adopters, they're getting a Lightning-themed PlayStation 3 controller in their bundle. It's nothing groundbreaking, just a Dual Shock in the general style that you might have seen before. Seems like the screenprint would wear off pretty quickly with it being on the handle like that, doesn't it?

As you no doubt know by now, Square Enix has become as big a name in games publishing as they have in games development, particularly in Japan, where they have released Western games such as Modern Warfare 2 on behalf of their original publishers. The "controversy" of games like MW2 might have led directly to our next tidbit—the company is soon to create a new imprint for the games that might be a bit extreme for the company's image in Japan. Called "Square Enix Extreme Edges," the label will be used exclusively for games that get Japan's equivalent of the ESRB "Mature" rating label. There appear to be no immediate games that will get the label.

In sales news, while Western gamers appear to be a bit reticent towards Nier, there's no such issue in Japan. The Japan-only PS3 game starring Nier, called Replicant, started off its lifespan at the top of the Famitsu sales charts. The 360 game, Gestalt (the one we'll be getting in the West), started in 11th place for the week—not bad, being for a console that doesn't sell all that well over there. If you want to get your hands on the hot Replicant, try PlayAsia, through our new affiliate partnership: Buy Nier Replicant. We'll be working to add more items from PlayAsia to the site as we can. Having bought from there myself in the past, it's a pretty great place to get all sorts of imported gaming accouterments that you can't get from AmaCoN. Among those items might be these Kingdom Hearts figures, which were announced this week for release in August in Japan. They'll be hard to come by here, I'm sure, but if we can find them on PlayAsia for you, we'll definitely get you hooked up.

Finally for these long-winded tidbits, we return to the Dragon Quest bar. This time, for a giant, slime-shaped meat bun. You can not even think about saying that isn't cool.

Source: iTunes, SiliconEra, Kotaku

Final Fantasy V and VI DS Remakes Uncertain

General Final Fantasy
For those of us waiting for a FFV and FFVI DS remake, it appears that we might have to wait for some time. Long time Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto, executive producer of almost all Final Fantasy remakes and ports, stated on Twitter that due to "technical issues" Square is undecided at the moment on whether or not to go ahead with them.

The response was an answer to numerous fan questions regarding the release of certain Square video games. Hashimoto's reply to all of them was that they were "at present undecided," and that Final Fantasy V and VI in particular had technical difficulties.

Now, as to what technical difficulties, I can't be certain because the details are vague. It does seem very likely that we will have to wait quite some time for these already long-awaited ports.

Source: AndriaSang Gaming News from Japan

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