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News from June 2010

Square Enix News Tidbits: Socially Networked

With E3 dead and gone, there was a little bit of slowdown in Square Enix news. We'll be back to things trickling through until Tokyo Game Show, I'm sure, in which we'll probably get fresh deluges of news about Final Fantasy Versus XIII and XIV Online. For now, though, the trickle is on.

First news is that Xbox 360 might not get a hold of the new Online entry. The director of XIV, Hiromichi Tanaka, is saying that the game won't be on 360 because Xbox Live is too closed of a system. It appears that the "business scheme" Microsoft puts forth just doesn't do what Square Enix wants for the game, as put forth by Yoichi Wada in a separate interview. Eggboxers shouldn't give up hope, though, I don't think - it's not as if Final Fantasy XI didn't make the port eventually, and we don't know what might be in the cards for the future.

On the Versus front, the first new media since last year's TGS came out this week, with a bit of detail behind it. The screens are scans from Famitsu, and have an interesting look to them, with one in particular showing a player character outside of a somewhat "modern" gas station, with "modern" here representing something like 1950s America. The rest of the details came from Nomura, and aren't exactly groundbreaking - there are some destructible environments, and a large open world, and enemies will by and large be visible before combat but some will sneak up. Given what I see in the screenshots and the descriptions above, it actually sounds a bit like a more sandboxy Parasite Eve so far. No complaints here if that's the case.

What might be the most interesting thing of the week, at least for the Square Enix Naysayers Club, is that Wada has also said this week in Forbes magazine that all future Square Enix games will have a level of multiplayer or social networking capability. I understand, I understand - this could go really badly. It could result in all Squenix games being driven by microtransactions, as seems to be the growing trend in social gaming. It could even result in games where you have to harass your friends on Facebook in order to progress. Or, it could be something cool. Maybe it shares selected progress items or achievements to your Twitter or Facebook wall. Maybe it opens up some true multiplayer as in the beloved SNES entries from the Mana series. The only thing we do know so far is that this new business plan is meant to impact all games, up to and including the core Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts franchises.

Until next time, I'll be sharing all my gaming exploits with you until Square makes it automatic!

Source: Eurogamer, Final Fantasy XIII Net, Kotaku

Square Enix' E3 2010 Game News

E3 Expo
As noted with our coverage of Nintendo's conference yesterday, there's about to be a pretty significant influx of games from Square Enix to the big N. Of course Dragon Quest IX is on the way to the DS already, as well as Kingdom Hearts Re:coded and The 4 Heroes of Light. Not only that, Nintendo announced yesterday that Squenix would be working on titles in no fewer than four franchises for the new 3DS: Chocobo Racing, Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest, and Final Fantasy. Kingdom Hearts is already being shown at E3 in the Squenix booth, but not much news coming from it as yet beyond that it is an all-new title, not just an old game remastered for 3D.

What else could come up at E3 from SE? Well, now we know a bit more. The company has announced two ports to Apple devices: a port of War of the Lions, the PSP remake of Final Fantasy Tactics, and also a port of the SNES classic Secret of Mana. There's not much more to know about these two games right now - both videos are nothing more than trailers superimposed onto an iPhone screen, and the only date given is "2010." There's a trailer for The 3rd Birthday as well, the successor to the Parasite Eve games of the PlayStation, in which Aya appears to pick up the ability to take over the bodies of some NPCs as she fights in an over-the-shoulder shooter fashion. That game will be on PSP in Japan later this year.

Something I had yet to see anything about is another 2010 release, "Necromachina," coming for the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network as a downloadable title. It looks to be a four-player co-op sidescrolling brawler, and if the trailer is a good representation of the overall game, it looks to be pretty hyperactive as well.

Finally, if you haven't seen the trailer for Final Fantasy XIV yet, or even if you have, you owe it to yourself to check out the source link below for the high-definition version. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and there's a nice big chunk of classic Crystal theme in there too. Of course, these aren't all the games that the giant Square Enix now have their hands in, but they're the most relevant. Check out their E3 site below for more, and we'll keep you updated if they sneak any surprises or further information out the rest of E3.

Source: Square Enix E3 2010, Square Enix YouTube Channel

Sony at E3: Deploying Surprise in 3...2...

E3 Expo
I don't even know where to start this. There were some interesting bits and pieces here and there, but in almost two hours, there were very few things that caught the attention of #narshe. A few of the things that did were general fails on Sony's part - for example, ranting about exclusives and then showing Medal of Honor and talking about Metal Gear Solid: Rising, also out on PC and Xbox 360 respectively. Anyway.

What seemed like most of the conference was demonstrations of the Playstation Move, and the Playstation 3 in 3D. The videos of the latter were a little lost on everyone who wasn't there. You know, because my monitor isn't 3D, and I don't have those super-cool sunglasses. Hopefully this will be rectified next year where a select few of the staffers here at CoN will be getting invites to E3... we wish. The Playstation Move was a bit more visible, and although it did have some good footage, I didn't see much in the way of brand-new innovations.

There was little in the way of Square-Enix news, unfortunately. Obviously, they had a trailer for Final Fantasy XIV, but pretty much no information was released other than "ooooh, pretty". A short shot of a Kingdom Hearts game was also shown, for the PSP I believe, but nothing was given on that, either. The surprise announcement was easily the most exciting part, and that was Portal 2 to be released on PS3, with a short trailer. I want this so much, though my want will have nothing to do with the PS3. PC all the way, baby.

Other things that stood out include LittleBigPlanet 2, a virtual Sony E3 Booth on Playstation Home for you to explore, an-OH GOD WHY ARE THERE CREEPY CLOWNS GET THEM AWAY FROM ME NO I HATE YOU AAAAAA-

Quote of the conference goes to Kevin Butler for:
"If you have an awesome girlfriend, and someone else gets an awesome girlfriend, who wins? EVERYBODY."

Nintendo at E3 2010: We Love Pit

E3 Expo
CoN Twitter has asked for #welovepit to become a trending topic. Start by retweeting us!

Nintendo put on one heckuva show today. It honestly blew Microsoft's out of the water, in my opinion, and it even gave some real CoN news to post. The games looked solid - there was no Wii Music to be found this year. They led with the new Zelda, which looked pretty solid, despite some significant technological problems in the live demo with Miyamoto. Mario's new sports game had dodgeball in it, therefore it wins by default. The not-exactly-news Wiimake of Goldeneye starring Daniel Craig looked like everything it should be. Epic Mickey was one of the best looking games I have seen ever for the Wii, but the new Donkey Kong Country and Kirby, each with their unique styles, give Mickey a run on style alone.

And did you see the 3DS? Did you? Kid Icarus launch title. Remember, kids, #welovepit. It's got a larger upper screen than the DS, an analog nub, variable levels of 3D for titles that support it, and even a stereoscopic camera on the shell that will let you take stereoscopic 3D photos to view on the 3D screen.

But more than that, there's some Square Enix news tied in: Square Enix is one of the twenty third-party developers who are already working on 3DS titles, and Nintendo showed a Kingdom Hearts logo on screen during the presentation. We have no other details as yet - will it be a remixed version of an existing KH game? A brand new game in the continuum? Maybe Squenix will dribble out some details this week.

Wasn't the only RPG news that Nintendo covered, though, and from a CoN perspective, that alone blows away anything Microsoft had to offer. Dragon Quest IX is coming in 26 days, and while Reggie Fils-Aime didn't throw out any real information that we didn't already know, but to see the release get as much love as it did was impressive on Nintendo's part for a Squenix fan. The other RPG that got good face time was the Golden Sun sequel, also on DS. There was a good, solid minute of staged gameplay video on hand there.

Quote of the session, since I can't use one of my own, has to go to Gabe, who said "I hope [the G4 anchors] ask Reggie why there's not Mother 3 in America." Good question, no? It should be noted that Gabe also continued with a string of profanity about Reggie that we shouldn't reprint here.

And here's a tweet from the CoN Twitter to wrap up, why not?

Microsoft at E3 2010: Feel Free to Skip

E3 Expo
Yeah, there was a lot of stuff at the Microsoft E3 press conference that will appeal to a LOT of people. I know this. Gears 3, Halo: Reach, Metal Gear, Crytek's new game... those are going to move a lot of copies. More power to all of you who want those games. For the core CoN audience, though, well, there wasn't all that much. The things I saw that were closest to RPGs were Fable III and possibly the Star Wars Kinect game if they include some good Knights of the Old Republic bits in there. (Don't forget, it was announced last night that Kinect is the real name for Natal.)

Other than that, though, not much for the Square-Enix fan to get excited over, I don't think. I think the best we could have hoped for was that Final Fantasy Versus XIII would break exclusivity the way that Final Fantasy XIII did, but there was no hide nor hair of Squenix anywhere to be seen. Not shocking, but still disappointing, no?

So, that said, feel free to discuss your favorite and least favorite bits of that conference. I'll circle back with mine in a moment since that's hardly front page news.

Nearly forgot, the best CoN user quote from this press conference has to go to Olly from chat. I had to clean it up a bit, because after all, it was from chat, but here's the paraphrase: "It's only a matter of time before there's an achievement for fondling yourself on Kinect for five or more people." Kudos, Olly, I guess.
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CoN Covers E3 2010

E3 Expo
As you've no doubt seen me mention for the past couple weeks, it's E3 time next week. The big show starts on Monday, 14 June, with some preliminary exhibitions and stuff, little one-off things and parties, in the days before. Last year, we talked about big chunks of the show by covering Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft at E3 2009 in our General Gaming forum. This year, though, I'd like to do things a bit differently, and that's where audience participation will come in.

We're still going to cover the big hitters, just like always, probably with our news posts at the end of each day. I know of a lot of you can't get the news right away live, though, and hate waiting for the end of the day. Because of that, we want to share cool stuff with you throughout the day. I know I'll be watching most of the events as they unfold, as will some of your fellow members either in chat, on Facebook or on Twitter. So, let's try something different. If you see something cool that you want to talk about right away, post it on one of those media. You can find us on chat, as always, at, where we'll probably be discussing things in a pretty freeform manner. Additionally, you can share your thoughts with us in real time on Facebook, by putting @Caves of Narshe in your status updates (if you're a fan) or posting on our wall, or you can do the same at Twitter by including @cavesofnarshe in your tweets. And, of course, you can always comment on our news threads as we post them, just like you have forever.

We know that some folks like to post at the forums, some like to chat, some like to tweet, or some combination of the aforementioned, et cetera. So this year, we're going to get our analysis of E3 not just from our own watching, but from yours. We'll include the best comments from all media into our news posts each day, and everyone can debate them at the forums as much as they like. If you're interested in commenting live with us, stop into chat, follow us on Twitter, or +Like the CoN fan page on Facebook now and get ready for the hot gaming news next week.

Caves of Narshe World Cup App Open

Caves of Narshe Site News
Short version: Come play at the CoN World Cup App.

Most of you have probably heard me blathering about the World Cup application in the forums, chat, or on Facebook for weeks. It's finally done and finally ready to start taking predictions, so it's time to get started!

I know the majority of readers out there are Americans, and therefore, you probably think that the only correct response is to hate soccer and anyone who calls it "football." This is why the rest of the world hates us. The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world, and you're going to see a lot of us going crazy for it in the next month, starting next Friday, June 11 (but especially June 12; be there). That said, it's worth playing our game here at CoN so you can experience soccer, even a little bit, and it's easy.

Here's how it works, in a nutshell: you sign up, choose who you think will win the whole tournament, and then for every game played in the Cup (there are 64 total), you pick the scores of both teams, who wins, and who will score first. You get points based on how many of your picks you get right. "But I don't know these teams, and I definitely don't know the players," you say, in a whiny voice. "That's okay," I reply, "because we're willing to help you!" For this tournament, we're providing a random pick generator, so even if you know nothing but still want to play, you can click a button and the system will make a guess for you. I'm not going to guarantee that it will be a great guess, but you can play without knowing the first thing about soccer if you want.

To play, all you have to do is come to the CoN World Cup App, pick the overall champion, and then start making picks for individual matches. You can pick all of the first 48 right now, if you want, or pick them all individually. The remaining sixteen will become available as the teams are determined. Once you do that, you can sit back and watch each match to see how you did.

There is at least one prize in the offing, to be determined, and the top three players at the end all get forum awards to show off too. There will also be a thread to discuss the matches and brag about correct predictions, so you can remember to get your predictions in on time. And if you're still not convinced, here are a bunch of links to help you make your picks!

The FIFA Homepage
BBC Sport's World Cup Homepage
Wikipedia's World Cup 2010 Page
ESPN's World Cup Homepage
The last FIFA World Rankings before the WC
Oddsmakers' Odds

Square Enix News Tidbits: Vote FFVII in 2050

Square Enix
In 2050, I'll be seventy years old. At the rate I'm going, far too arthritic to even pick up a gamepad, let alone play Final Fantasy VII with it. Certainly too old to use PlayStation Move, I'm sure. However, that's the latest on the ongoing not-really-news saga of a FF7 remake; Wada-san claimed that it would take at least ten times longer in development as Final Fantasy XIII. That's probably a joke. But it certainly is another indicator that it just isn't going to happen.

Not-news aside, it's another fairly quiet week leading up to E3, and, more importantly, the World Cup. (Seriously, the WC is only every four years. You get E3 every summer.) The biggest news is probably that a large number of Final Fantasy XI accounts were compromised recently. Not a good time, either, since Squenix will no doubt be looking to convert a great many of their current user base to Final Fantasy XIV later this year.

For those looking for Final Fantasy XIII Versus, SiliconEra reports that it's in the queue behind new localizations (like the just-released Korean version) of Final Fantasy XIII and the release of Final Fantasy XIV. It appears that since Final Fantasy XIV is due out in 2010, Versus will be sometime in 2011 now. Does anyone else find it odd that the spinoff will come out after the sequel?

The DLC news of the week is around the new WiiWare game, "Kumanage," dropping in Japan next week. It's two games in one, a puzzle game and a active-battle game, both using the Wiimote for core gameplay mechanics. It is also filed under the category "cute," which I know will shock the readership, with it being a WiiWare game and all. No word yet on exactly when it might come across the ocean, but it has been rated already by both the US and the European ratings commissions, so something later this summer is not entirely unlikely.

Finally, the unneeded accessory of the week award goes to this external speaker and DS stand, shaped like a Slime. I'm all for big Slimes - let's be honest, the Slime is probably the most iconic monster design in RPGs. This just seems like a huge, useless pain in the butt, though, does it not?

Source: Kotaku, SiliconEra, AndriaSang

Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2019 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.