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News from December 2011

New Site Awards for Fanart Rating

Caves of Narshe Site News
I have felt for a while that not enough people go to the fanart galleries here on CoN to show their appreciation for the artists who have contributed here, some of them for going on a decade. I understand that a lot of folks don't feel comfortable leaving comments on art, especially if the folks in question are not artists themselves - as someone who once was in that position of discomfort, I know that it can be a tough barrier to hurdle.

I want all of us to feel like we have some interaction with the artists here, though, because we want to keep our fanart section going and bringing in as many new artists as we can to supplement those who have submitted dozens of pieces. Even if you can't speak to the composition or lighting or media of fanart, the artists still love it when you're willing to at least subjectively decide how you feel about art, both as a whole and on their individual works.

So, starting today, you can now show a little bit how much you care about CoN's artists by voting on fanart and being rewarded with site awards for doing so! We'll keep track of how many ratings you make, and your account will soon be able to show off just how much time you spend looking through our galleries.

A few things you will want to know: one, we've reset the tracking of ratings on all fanart, so yes, you can re-rate fanarts you've rated once before. Also, we don't track the number that you rated, only that you rated. If you really feel that something deserves a low grade, give it - nobody will ever be able to call you out for it. We want honesty in our comments and ratings, because that's what makes them valuable. Finally, you can only receive credit towards site awards by being logged in when you make your votes (by checking the "remember me" box when you log in). If the site doesn't thank you by name after you rate a fanart, you probably didn't get credit. Edit: If your name doesn't show up but you're definitely logged in, though, you did get credit, don't worry.

So, please, use some of your time over the holidays of the next couple weeks to show your appreciation for our artists. You can bling out your own profile a bit while doing so, and then everything's a bit shinier sitewide.
Posted in: CoN Site News

Oops! Square Enix Member Site Compromised

Square Enix
Well, it's not the PlayStation Network. It's definitely not Steam. However, the Square Enix Members site does share one thing in common with those two: it's an online gaming portal and community site that has had personal data compromised by external intrusion so far this year.

Note: You can ignore the more sensational headline in the link above if you're worried about financial information being compromised, if, say, you play Final Fantasy XI - no credit card information was stored on the hacked server, according to Squenix.

At this time, it's unknown how deep the intrusion went, and how many members might have been impacted, or how much data was accessed from those members. Squenix as yet aren't even confirming that data was definitely taken, but, come on, we kind of know how this goes by now. If there's evidence of an intrusion, it's safest to just assume that everything they had got boosted right out the back door.

Is anyone out there even a member of this site? I have been for a few years, but have found it of precious little use for me personally as yet.

Source: Kotaku
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Final Fantasy XIII-2: Famitsu and Home Stretch

Final Fantasy XIII-2
With only a couple days between now and the Japanese release of the sequel to FFXIII, I figured I should probably curb the studying and start doing some work around here.

Forgot what was happening? Feel free to check out this recap from IGN. After four hours of playing, the reviewer expressed satisfaction at the amount of exploration available, among other things, and concluded by saying basically the same thing people have been predicting for a while: "Final Fantasy XIII-2 has serious potential. It seems that the developers at Square Enix took consumer feedback seriously when designing this sequel." Of course, potential doesn't translate to anything concrete.

Until only a few days ago, that is, when Famitsu posted its review for FFXIII-2: a perfect 40. The reviewers echoed the praise expressed above (that the developers had taken feedback into account), approving of the time-traveling system, greater freedom, more sidequests and strategic gameplay. They did predict that players may be frustrated by being limited to only Noel and Serah.

What does a Famitsu score really mean anymore? There have been three perfect scores recently: Skyward Sword, Skyrim and now FFXIII-2. This makes FFXIII-2 only the 18th game to receive a perfect score (and it is certainly in good company), but it does seem that Famitsu is become slightly more lenient. For instance, the scores of previous FF titles:
FF1 35; FF2 35; FF3 36
FF4 36; FF5 34; FF6 37
FF7 38; FF8 37; FF9 38
FF10 39; FF10-2 34; FF11 38
FF12 40; FF13 39; FF13-2 40

The record certainly hints at a trend, but who knows if that means FFXIII-2 is unworthy of the score? The reviewers certainly had plenty of good things to say about it.

I predict the fanbase will be divided, as per always, but us stateside folk will have to wait until January 31st to see for ourselves.

Source: IGN, 1UP
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Xenoblade Chronicles Hits US and Canada in 2012

Following multiple claims denying any release for Xenoblade Chronicles in the United States or Cananda, Nintendo backed off from that stance when a release date for the fan-favorite Wii RPG infiltrated the internet - April 3rd, 2012. This leak was followed by an acknowledgement from Nintendo in the form of several pieces of Xenoblade Chronicles concept art on Nintendo of America's Facebook page.

This is wonderful news to Wii-owning RPG fans. Xenoblade Chronicles is developed by Monolith Soft, makers of the Xenosaga and Baten Kaitos games for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. The company was founded in 1999 by former Square staff that had previously worked on Xenogears and Chrono Cross, among other titles. Xenoblade Chronicles has received rave reviews from critics, with a MetaCritic score of 92/100 and a GameRankings index of 93.82%. RPG Fans in the Americas have been petitioning-slash-clamoring for an official English-language release in North America for over a year now, with no dice until yesterday's leak.

We still have six months before this comes out, but it's a very positive announcement that many gamers have been hoping for. [pretend that this space includes a conclusive, funny, thought-provoking statement and not laszlow drawing a blank from all the painkillers]

Source: GameSpot, concept art gallery from GiantBomb
Posted in: RPG News

Square Enix News Tidbits: Cocoon Showgirls

Square Enix
Final Fantasy XIII-2 inches ever closer, so it's no surprise that the week's news is primarily related to the sequel inbound. Kotaku posted not one, but two articles this week with nothing but new screenshots, and it seems that the hottest thing revealed within (no pun intended) is the new merchant, Chocolina, who dresses up like a chocobo on fire - if the chocobo wanted to show some skin. I'm hoping that getup is all faux chocobo, or else PETA will be on Squenix' case now that they're done with Mario.

The sequel also changes up the battle system a bit, as well as the excellent battle music, from its predecessor. It looks like the changes are subtle - to me, the battles in the video seemed a little faster-paced from what I've seen so far in Final Fantasy XIII, and the addition of quick-time events with chained combos from different party members looks good. It appears that you might be able to change the party leader during combat as well, which perhaps will also mean a change in the "hey, your leader's dead, no reason to keep fighting now game over hahahaha" aspect of the first game.

Also, for some reason, there will be DLC to allow Noel to dress up as Assassin's Creed's Ezio. This paragraph is short because, really, what else are you going to say about that?

An interview by Destructoid with Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama has been making the rounds since being published last week, and it seems to have caught a lot of people's attention for the fact that it seems to indicate the possibility of a Final Fantasy that is a first-person shooter. Naturally, this has a lot of people up in arms (again, no pun intended), but if the quote is correctly written, the interview really says nothing more than "anything could happen at any time." There could just as easily be a FPS Final Fantasy as there could be a cart racer set with Final Fantasy charact... okay, well, that's a bad example.

Last news of the week, breaking just today, is that there actually will be a new action-RPG IP coming from Square Enix in the near future, once they can finish all the hires they want to build the game out. The first image representing this game was released today, and it means very little. If you presented the image without content, I would have guessed Devil May Cry at first. Not sure what that means, to be honest, but, hey, there's a big white owl.

Source: Kotaku, Destructoid

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All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.