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News from August 2011

Final Fantasy XIII-2: Like Last Time, But Better

General Final Fantasy
There has been a short burst of information regarding Final Fantasy XIII-2 in the last week or two, so let's get to it!

First off, there's a version of a previous trailer released this past week with commentary from the game's director, Motomu Toriyama, and producer, Kitase Yoshinori. (Check out the trailer in the second link below.) The duo gave a couple additional hints as well. As already mentioned, Lightning is somehow connected to an afterlife-type world. We now know that Lightning will indeed be playable, and it was also suggested that it is possible to warp into this other world from the living one with Serah and Noel. The staff continues to insist at every opportunity that this sequel will be much darker than the last Final Fantasy sequel (the infamous FFX-2) and even the original FFXIII. New screens provided at the same time reveal a handful of new (and, if I might add, beautiful) landscapes, as well as the image of a destroyed city identified as the once-successful Paddra, the ruins of which are being investigated by various authorities. It would seem that this occurrence is important in the early portion of the game.

This set of news followed on the heels of an interview with Toriyama. The first question in this interview, as one might predict, concerned how the team planned on addressing complaints from the original game. Toriyama replied that the team took their predecessor's criticism very seriously and were working to respond accordingly. He continued to say that the game would not be a completely open map, but that it would "certainly not be linear."

Toriyama explained that the game would feature a mesh of random encounters and visible enemies, which is intended to provide a more realistic atmosphere. Sometimes the player will be able to plan ahead for encounters, but at other times a split-second warning is all the opportunity you'll get. He also explained the thought behind the addition of cinematic action events in battle. When asked if monster hunting would make an appearance in FFXIII-2, Toriyama replied not only that there would be plenty of monster hunting but that it would be accessible from the very start of the game, allowing the player to experience hunting parallel to the main story.

The final question of the interview was one that I found to be particularly interesting. Toriyama was asked what it was that made him and others in the company want to make a sequel. Toriyama denied the suggestion that the sequel was built around the supposedly large amounts of material that was cut from the original FFXIII, saying that none of this material was actually used in the development of FFXIII-2. Rather, Toriyama professed that it was an interest in further delving into the characters of the original game that motivated the team to create another game centered on the world of FFXIII.

I think it's pretty clear that Square Enix is trying to get some additional details on FFXIII-2 out in the air to build interest leading into the upcoming Tokyo Game Show, which should, given the rather-soon Japanese release date, have a lot to say on the topic.

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

Word to Your Moogle. I Mean, Wow.

Final Fantasy XIII-2
To support the pending launch of Final Fantasy XIII-2, Square Enix started a promotion called - I'm not joking here - "Word to Your Moogle" at Comic-Con in San Diego. It's a game that was played by people in attendance at the con, in which players received buttons from Squenix with letters on them, and then had to team up with other visitors to form words either from a list at the Squenix booth or from a Final Fantasy game, and travel back to the booth to earn prizes.

The prizes include a "Word to Your Moogle" t-shirt - guaranteed to get you the attention of your desired gender while out clubbing, a Squenix online store gift certificate, a signed copy of XIII-2 upon release, a bundle with the signed game, guide, and soundtrack, or even a custom-designed PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.

Like I say, this kicked off at Comic-Con. However, it's still going on. If you're going to PAX Prime this month, up in Washington state, or Comic-Con in New York City next month, you too can participate in the same way.

So, all in all - actually a pretty great idea for a contest, but, really? "Word to Your Moogle?" My goodness.

Source: Word to Your Moogle

No more delays! FFT for iOS releases this week!

I can't speak for everyone that owns an idevice, but I have been anxiously awaiting the port of Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions for the iOS since I first heard about it.

Originally stated to be released sometime in September 2010, then delayed until May 2011, then again delayed until 'sometime from June to July', Square Enix have finally confirmed that Thursday, Aug. 4th they will be releasing the title, finally. Yes, that's 2011.

No tricks!

The iOS version will be released Thursday for iPhone 4G and 3GS (but not 3G, as they claim it was too slow on said product), and iPod Touch. iPad users will have to hang on for just a brief while longer as they've slated release for it to be sometime next month.

Though they've done little to update graphics-wise, it will support some nice, clean retina display looks, faster load times than the PSP version, all at the cost of dropping the multiplayer function from the game. A slight shame, but I doubt anyone will be crying too much over that factor.

Come Thursday, Aug. 4th, it'll be available in the App Store for 1800 yen/$15.99 US/12.99. Woot!

Even though that's a big price for an app, it'll be worth it for such a title, and furthermore, as we've seen with their past port releases, you can likely expect a price drop on their other titles, so keep an eye out for that as well!

Source: SQUARE ENIX DLG@Facebook, RPGFan

Diablo III Controversy

Diablo III has been on many a gamer's horizon, a potentially quality sequel from a trusted and favourite developer. Today brings a twist in the story. Some fan reactions include 'I'm defecting to Guild Wars 2', 'I'll never trust Blizzard again', and 'boycott Diablo III!'. It might seem like someone at Blizzard personally ran over a family pet, but that's actually not what happened. So what's the news?

Three things have been revealed. The game cannot be played offline, there will be no modding available, and arguably most controversial of all it will be possible to buy and sell items for real money in the auction houses.

Blizzard seem to be modernising their game to fit into the current generation of piracy and cheating. No doubt for some RPG players it's a little galling to see another classic single-player series (although admittedly co-op as well) succumb to online exclusivity. Blizzard's reputation as a supporter of fan-made content in their other series, most recently in StarCraft II, makes the modding ban surprising. However it's the new auction features that have caused the biggest stir. Players will have kitty where they can buy and sell between themselves with real money. When players cash out at the end of a hard day's grinding and farming Blizzard will take a small cut. Click here for more information and screenshots. Blizzard emphasise that they intent to cover their costs, not make a profit from these microtransactions. Assuming that boycott doesn't get off the ground, and knowing Blizzard's track record of success, it might just well pay off. Due to the imbalances of a player-based auction house it might be worth tacking on another 6 months of playtesting to any estimated release date just to be safe.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Posted in: RPG News

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