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News from July 2012

The Caves of Narshe at Fifteen

Caves of Narshe Site News
Another year, another birthday message (last year not withstanding, during which time I was far too preoccupied with the impending presence of my flesh-and-blood baby to actually write much for this baby I've had fifteen years now). That's right, scorekeepers at home, this birthday is our fifteenth, and you might have noticed we've given the site - and we hope you - a present in the form of a shiny new revision. We've taken the liberty of generously forcing all of you to see it, though all of our classic skins are still available for you to switch back if you don't think the new skin, called "Skyglade," is the fanciest thing we've ever done. If you want to switch back, though, you can; the way to do it on the site is on our style selector, and the way for the forums is in your control panel. And, if you're not seeing it on the site but think you should be, try to reset your CoN skin selection entirely.

Skyglade represents years (on-and-off) of design work on the part of Tiddles and myself to make sure we could bring you something that freshens things up without losing the qualities people enjoyed most in Persona (fanart in particular, which you'll have seen before if you're a forum regular, designed especially for this theme by Rujuken). Not only that, you'll notice that all our themes are carrying a special anniversary version of our logo. As I've said before, the Caves of Narshe is a hobby run by professionals, so if you want to know more about why Skyglade is the best thing we've ever done for the site and its users (like it or not!) check out our freshly-updated CoNHistory.

Fifteen years is a long time. I've said this before, but it's worth repeating: over that kind of time, a lot of things change for all of us. It's made it mostly impossible to churn out content at the
rate we once could, which makes all the more proud of our accomplishments so far this year. It's among our greatest sources of pride that we can still be here presenting you this site, a site which we're still excited to improve. A site which we hope, and indeed know, is still useful and relevant to players of the old games, and can continue to be over time. We owe a great debt to every single human, animal and robot who has helped us along the way, including Climhazzard, from the patient staff who've tirelessly trawled through game data, to the fanfic writers and fanartists, to every single forum poster and chatter who's stopped by and chatted with us along the way.

I've mentioned before that our fifteen-year mark predates just about every Final Fantasy site that still exists, but thinking of fifteen years made me wonder what other sites on which CoN has seniority. Here's a few: Livejournal. Myspace. Facebook. Twitter. Flickr. Photobucket. Microsoft. (At least Microsoft was almost as ugly back then as CoN.) CoN is even older than Wikipedia! Anyway, listing those is certainly just a conceit - we'd never be considered to be in the ballpark of any of those sites, but it's worth noting that you don't just start a site and keep it going that long unless you have at least some of the dedication required to build a sustainable project from the ground up, and we do have that in common with those web Illuminati.

The sites in that list, even the ones spiraling into oblivion, are an interesting part of CoN's evolution, particularly as it relates to our slowing community growth. We know that we can never supplant Facebook or Twitter. We know that the way we operate the informational sections of our site is no longer trendy in the face of crowdsourced content. We're cool with it, because we're not looking to be everything to everyone. We are looking to remain the best source of gameplay information for the games we cover, and we are looking to keep you reading this interested in talking to all your fellow CoN members. Of course, we want you all to stay involved, and we'll do everything we can to help. We know that we're a niche, and we're thrilled that you choose to spend some of your attention and time with us - we know firsthand that the supply of both is finite and more and more splintered every year. So, if you don't have the time to come here and post or chat the way you used to, that's alright. We understand. Try to do us a favor, though - if you're on your social network of choice, why not share or retweet our posts and content? The more people we expose to CoN, the better off we are as a community. If you don't think your friends will care, then you're hanging out with the wrong folks online and need to spend more time here, anyway. Of course.

Some things don't change. We're here, and so far in 2012 we've done a pretty bang-up job of new content. Our Final Fantasy V Advance project was a bit of a shambles in 2011, but we stepped up and really got it done in 2012. Skyglade was two completely separate projects for years before now, and it's just in the last few months that we got together and really made it happen. There's still life in this site, and that means there's still something for you to contribute. Among Square Enix fans, you guys are pretty much the best of the best, and that's why we're here. We want to hear from you, and we want to continue to create the content that creates more of you. You can say what you will about the state of Square Enix and the Final Fantasy franchise, and you should. But what CoN has is the kind of Final Fantasy that gamers everywhere should experience, and that's why we're all here. We want to continue to be the best portal on the internet to evangelize some of the finest games yet made, and the best way to do that is for all of us to be here and continue to do what we've done for one, two, five, or even fifteen years.

Insert "Challenge Accepted" meme here. Except, please, totally don't. You know that we don't roll that way. But take today to get back in touch with us - we've got small tokens of appreciation for those who do!
Posted in: CoN Site News

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance: A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy XIV
A Realm Reborn may be the subtitle to the completely re-done version of Final Fantasy XIV, but looking at the new logo you'd be more inclined to think it was the other way around. It's an apt name for what is now being revealed as a complete overhaul of a game which was criticized in just about every way imaginable when it first came out last year.

The branding is just the beginning of what's new about this incarnation of the game. Originally referred to as Version 2.0, A Realm Reborn isn't just an update of the existing FFXIV (though Square Enix has also been busy working in that regard as well); the game has been entirely rebuilt from the ground up with an intended winter release. While it certainly reflects a willingness on Square Enix's part to listen to their fans and admit their mistakes, it remains as yet unclear what and how much will be different.

Naoki Yoshida, producer and director of the project, went on to add in a press release that "this new title not only becomes a symbol of a completely new Final Fantasy XIV, but also marks the beginning of a new stage as the latest title in the Final Fantasy series." Now, I'm not sure whether Yoshida's original comments were this foggy or if ambiguity was added in the process of translation, but depending on how you read it the second half of this statement could be either an exercise in redundancy or - a bit frighteningly given the absolute mess surrounding SE's most recent foray into online gaming - a comment on the direction of future titles in the Final Fantasy series.

Source: Kotaku
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Concerning FF Versus XIII: Disregard That Last

General Final Fantasy
Remember how our most recent news post reported that FF Versus XIII development had been canceled? Well, um, turns out... that isn't the case.

In a recent Twitter post, Yoichi Wada himself not only denied such claims as 'false rumors' but also added that he had recently returned from one of the team's regularly scheduled meetings. So, it looks like the development of FF Versus XIII is still as alive (and slow) as ever.

While these comments don't necessarily validate or contradict any of the FFXV rumors mentioned in the previous CoN newspost, Wada's comments regarding a city from Versus XIII discussed at the aforementioned meeting seem to point towards some of the FFXV speculations holding true for FF Versus XIII.

Posted in: Square-Enix News

Square Enix News Tidbits: Futuristic Final Fantasy

General Final Fantasy
The rumored future of Final Fantasy games features in this edition of the Squenix Tidbits, and not all of it is awesome. Of course, most people would probably say that is of zero surprise, but, that's how it is.

Let's get the bad news out of the way: Kotaku reports today that Final Fantasy Versus XIII is finally dead; while the reporting is mostly conjecture at this point, it's pretty reasonable conjecture given the utter lack of visible progress on offer from Squenix. The real question, beyond the simple matter of the game dying, is when it died. Has the company been pouring resources into the development until very recently, or was it quitely shelved a long time ago? The answer to that question might determine what resources are available for other games, which is important due to the widespread notion that the flagship series is worth next to nothing these days. Perhaps having more people available could help.

The next rumor is that Final Fantasy XV is going to be an open world game, in the style of Final Fantasy XII. On top of that, the Squenix source quoted indicates that the game's already been in some level of production for four years, with full development kicking off in January 2010, will have a combat system that calls back to both Final Fantasy XII and Vagrant Story, and will have cities that not only really exist but are populated by crowds of people, not just a few "important" townsfolk. Along with these points, it's also rumored that the game will be released for every platform available in the release generation. Given that the game hasn't even been unveiled officially yet, it would stand to reason that this would include the next offerings from Microsoft and Sony, as well as possibly even the WiiU.

The Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary event is coming up at the end of August, running from 31 August to 2 September. The first day will be for the press and some selected members of the Japanese Square Enix Members site, with the last two days open to the public. While this will obviously have massive amounts of Final Fantasy nostalgia, given the nature of the event, the company is looking to show the future of the franchise at the same time, with events to discuss more of the next aspect of the Final Fantasy XIII series, more information about Final Fantasy XIV 2.0, and a live recording of a Square Enix podcast dedicated to the future of the Final Fantasy series. With this event and the Tokyo Game Show both on the radar, a lot of questions about what's next for Final Fantasy might become resolved very soon.

Source: Kotaku, Gameranx, andriasang

Third Time's a Charm?

General Final Fantasy
Did you play FFXIII-2? Did you download Lightning's extra content? Did you feel a bit of a let-down at the conclusion of either, or, more tactfully, "a feeling of mystery and hope"? If you answered yes to these three questions, then you are unlike myself. But you are not alone! In a recent interview with Famitsu, FFXIII and FFXIII-2 director Motomu Toriyama agreed that FFXIII-2 leaves some loose ends, and he promised that we would be shown the meaning of this sometime in the not-so-distant future.

Could this mean more downloadable content? Could it mean a third installment in the FFXIII ? We couldn't possibly comment (though Kotaku certainly isn't above jumping to conclusions), but 'trilogy' certainly does have a lovely ring to it. Of course, there's also the possibility that these unanswered questions could somehow tie in to FF Versus XIII. Remember that game?

Toriyama also commented on fan complaints concerning the concept of having downloadable content in the first place, responding that including such material in the game proper would cause development times to go up. Not the most satisfying reply, but an accurate one I suppose.

In the same interview, Toriyama also admitted that FFX HD, unlike the mystery of FFXIII-2's ending, will not be made clear anytime soon, saying that "there is a lot to look into."

When asked about the Luminous engine, Toriyama explained that, while still in development, teams at Square Enix have begun planning for its use in the next generation of games. With the next generation not all that far off, this could very well be the reason why we've seen a bit of a dearth of new titles or information from the Japanese giant.

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

It's Official: Final Fantasy VII to PC

Final Fantasy VII
The site leak from a couple weeks back was confirmed today as Square Enix officially announced the existence of the Final Fantasy VII re-release on PC via its official site and social media.

The site is either really poorly optimized or is getting absolutely hammered right now (probably a bit of both, in fact), so you might not be able to reach it. It's pretty general information, and most of it is stuff that was reported before from the leak. One thing certainly worth noting is that the site says the game will be available exclusively from the Square Enix store, which would imply that the achievements and cloud saving features will be unique to this game and will not use technology like Steamworks. Additionally, the exclusivity might mean that a Steam (or Origin, if you're a masochist) release may not be in the cards at all.

Will it still be worth the rumored twelve-dollar entry fee without Steam? I'm no longer sure it is for me, but I'll have to see how it looks and runs, first. That information isn't yet available, nor is any kind of real release date.

Source: Final Fantasy VII PC

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.