News from December 2012
Square Enix deployed their now-pretty-typical "hey, we released a new game" video yesterday to announce the worldwide release of Final Fantasy IV for iOS (yours for the low price of $16.99 US!).
The video is pretty standard fare, nothing particularly exciting if you've see the Nintendo DS version before; however, what has people talking is the last few seconds. If you watch to the end, you'll see a bit of crowing about a "Final Fantasy mobile revolution" and the Final Fantasy V logo. This appears to confirm that at least Final Fantasy V is coming to iOS sometime in the future, and the text below saying "and more..." would seem to imply that V is not the end. Final Fantasy VI would be the obvious "more" there, but could there be others?
Not only that, what might we see out of these? Will these be ports of SNES? Game Boy Advance? Could it even be a 3D treatment of each game, which has long been rumored but never executed? And, if it's the 3D option, will we see them also on the Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita? That would certainly be fairly revolutionary; oh, if only we knew. As of right now, we need to consider this tentative news, but it seems pretty clear that iOS users will at least be seeing Final Fantasy V sooner rather than later.
Source: Operation Rainfall
We can't even call this an FF anniversary post, seeing as this trailer was released early by accident. Luckily, it can still be found in a fan-uploaded version on the link posted below, among others.
The trailer opens up with Lightning in her new get-up, news of which we posted just two days ago, and with a brief monologue concerning the 'holy city,' which, as seems to be the case with all RPG holy cities, has spots of darkness.
Then, after "The Final Journey of Lightning" flashes on the screen a couple times, the trailer gets happy again! There's a fair bit of gameplay footage, showing a battle menu that has once again been tweaked but maintains much of the elements of its two predecessors. The audio is a slight remix of the battle theme from the original FFXIII. Wait, am I- getting nostalgic?
At the very end, we hear this game's application of the number 13: it is the number of days remaining to the world. Clocks are displayed formidably throughout the trailer as well. Both aspects are in keeping with the emphasis on time, as we first reported back in September.
Since Josh overheated from all that newsposting this morning (he's an old man now, he tires easily!), I'm here to pick up with the barrage of news!
First up on the docket is the sad news: Square Enix is laying off a few employees from their office in LA. This shouldn't surprise anyone, given the financial reports we've heard, but the company insists that the layoffs will not impact the release of any games currently in development.
We've all probably been wondering: what's up with all these mobile releases all of a sudden? I certainly am, having had to write up a dozen of them in the past month. The answer? Profitability, unsurprisingly. I'll let Yoichi Wada speak for himself: "In HD games, we usually have a mixture of profitable and unprofitable titles, generating profit as a whole. As for our Social Gaming & Others [division], we only have very few titles that are unprofitable." Accordingly, Wada remarked that the company would increase its presence in the mobile/social gaming market. He was quick to reassure, however, that this would in no way compromise the company's interests in console gaming.
Next is a fun 'favorite character' quiz from the official SE Japanese fan forum. Everyone loves quizzes, yeah? In a surprise finish, Zack Fair (FFVII) came out on top, followed by Cloud Strife (FFVII). While this shouldn't surprise anyone, top ten finishers represented a fair number of games: Zidane from FFIX, Tidus from FFX, Squall from FFVIII, Bartz from FFV (what?), and Kain from FFIV rounded out the top seven. A character from the most recent FF title (FFXIII-2), Noel, came in at 11th, with Noctis, from the yet-unreleased FF Versus XIII, coming in at 19th.
Speaking of Versus XIII, we may soon find ourselves calling the title by a new name. The hint comes from the game's Japanese Amazon page, where it is now listed as "tentative name." We've seen FFXIII Agito take on a new name, and given that the FFXIII project seems to be wrapping up with the third installment in Lightning's story, this potential rebranding seems like a good idea. Will Versus XIII become the next main installment in the FF series? Who knows!
Finally, Japan's Jump magazine has provided us with the first images of Lightning's new getup for Lightning Returns: FFXIII. That's about all, but I'll be darned if she doesn't look more attractive with each title. Due for release sometime in 2013.
Check out Josh's newspost commemorating the anniversary, well-articulate as ever, from earlier today; to all facebook and twitter followers, be sure to check out the CoN homepage for the several other anniversary-related newsposts from the past few days!
Source: Joystiq, Just Use a Phoenix Down, Siliconera, Gamechup, SGCafe
Game Art HQ, a site which I've recently started visiting, has just published a fanart tribute to the original Final Fantasy in honor of the game's 25th anniversary (and, of course, by extension the series). The tribute gives a little bit of history and description to the original game - as loyal CoN readers, you need neither - and, naturally, fifteen solid pieces of fanart by various artists from all aspects of the classic game with more to come.
GBK, the content manager of Game Art HQ, said that he was stunned by the number of submissions he received from artists on deviantArt for a game of this age, and how dedicated the artists were to producing fitting tributes. The success of the project has him planning for more tributes to the Final Fantasy series next year and even into 2014.
As you celebrate Final Fantasy today and going forward, with the 25th anniversary in mind, take a few minutes to check out this art. Obviously, we'd love to share some of this fanart with our visitors in our own galleries, so give Game Art HQ and its artists as much love as you can manage!
Source: Game Art HQ, Game Art HQ on dA
Posted in: Final Fantasy I
This is a day that truly sneaked up on me, even though in the back of my mind I knew it was coming and have for months. It might be a sign of the times, or at least a sign of my times, but I couldn't let it go unmarked here or anywhere else that I frequent: on this day, twenty-five years ago, Final Fantasy (back then, it didn't even need a Roman numeral) was released in Japan. Well, technically, that day likely came about yesterday for you if you're reading this, due to time zones and such. But still! 18th December!
I personally played that game almost from the day it was released Stateside. I'd seen all sorts of hubbub for the game in the months leading up to its American release in 1990, mostly from Nintendo Power magazine - of course, back then, that magazine and its ilk were the only ways to find out about such things. It had already captured my imagination, causing me to create my own ideas of what the weapons might look like, and even writing proto-fanfiction, and by the time I was able to get my hands on it the hype it had created in my own ten-year-old mind was massive.
And the game lived up to it.
It felt different from the only other JRPG I'd seen before it, Dragon Warrior (Quest). The party system, the more animated battles, and the sheer accessibility of the game relative to Dragon Warrior felt like a sea change in gaming, and it was one I was crazy for. While I didn't actually complete Final Fantasy for a great many years after first playing it, it triggered a fandom in me that led to me playing and/or owning every American-released game in the series within days of its release all the way through Final Fantasy IX.
That's a good part of my story with regards to the original Final Fantasy, now turning twenty-five. From a wider angle, though, there's more to it. This game not only essentially introduced an entire gaming company to the West, it also saved that same company, should you believe Hironobu Sakaguchi. That company went on to produce dozens and dozens of games, games that made a splash on generation after generation of gaming consoles and the gamers who owned them, and that was before they merged with another JRPG titan, Enix.
This game was and is huge. It didn't sell the most, and none of the many incarnations of the first game will ever win any beauty awards. It did, however, pave the way for just about every JRPG that came after it, and created a killer app for a lot of hardware manufacturers; how many people must have bought a SNES for Final Fantasy VI, VI or Chrono Trigger? How many people bought a PlayStation when they saw the gorgeous TV advertisements for Final Fantasy VII or in one of the dozens of entertainment magazines carrying them?
This game created Final Fantasy. This game jumpstarted the JRPG in the West. This game did a lot of things right and still moves units, all the way up to the PSP and iOS releases. But most importantly to me, it made it possible for all of us to be here right now, though we didn't cover it here until 2004. What legacy could be better than that?
Join us in celebrating Final Fantasy today. Share this news or your own thoughts both here and to your social networks (if you're on Twitter, use our hashtag, #FinalFantasy25, on Facebook, tag us!). It's okay to be excited about this. A good chunk of your lineage as a gamer came from this day twenty-five years ago, even if you weren't here to see it.
As part of the celebration for the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary, Square Enix brought in a wide array of artists to create an album celebrating the music of the series up to now. This is not exactly new news, though I believe we missed it in tidbits around the time that it was announced in October. The album was released last week, though, and to promote it a bit more, Square Enix Music posted this medley video to YouTube earlier this week, with samples of a large number of the tracks.
There's a lot of variety on show in this video, and it really makes for some fresh takes on some of the Final Fantasy music that we've heard for many, many years. It's piqued my interest, so I took some time to try to find some English-language shops that sell the double disc; while AmaCoN looked a bit pricey, I found that another of our shop affiliates, Play Asia, has the set for $35.00 including free shipping. If the video makes you want this for Christmas or... New Year's (?), hit that link right away.
Source: Square Enix YouTube, Destructoid
Posted in: Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Square-Enix News, News from Japan
In what is turning out to be a great month for mobile Final Fantasy gamers, Square Enix has announced that the recent FFIV 3D remake, previously available only on the Nintendo DS, will be released for all iOS devices on December 20th with an expected price tag of $17.99. The title has been confirmed for Android devices as well, though the release date is left unspecified as sometime next year.
Apparently, in anticipation of the upcoming release, SE is cutting back the prices of their other mobile offerings a bit, so you may want to check out your app store before then.
Just as week after Airborne Brigade was announced for North America, mobile gamers have more to look forward to: Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, that game you still can't spell, has been made available for iOS worldwide.
The game will be free to play, though it looks like a lot of the content is to be obtained by paid download. No word on whether it'll appear for Android, though it's certainly possible given that Airborne Brigade will be appearing on that platform as well.
"We won't make a mistake like FFXIV again - if we did, it would be like at the level of destroying the company."
That's the buzz quote coming from a Kotaku interview last week with A Realm Reborn: FFXIV producer Naoki Yoshida. The revised version, first announced last summer and officially shut down until re-release a month ago, has been a headache since its inception. We've all heard lately how much of a blunder Square Enix's recent MMO attempt turned out to be, and we all knew Yoshida certainly has his hands full, but this admittance - coming from a big player int he company - shows the company as in deeper trouble than any of the comments preceding it.
On a more hopeful note, Yoshida speaks of his efforts to turn around FFXIV with competency and no hesitance towards calling out past mistakes, particularly the company's failure to survey and emulate the contemporary MMO landscape. By failing to do this the first time around, Yoshida says the team behind FFXIV failed to create anything more than an out-of-date rehashing of FFXI. He also says that under his watch - unlike last time, when a half-finished project was rushed into release - the game won't be released until it is completely ready, so as to ensure its success.
Who knows, Yoshida might just pull off a resurrection; he's confident enough, and Square Enix certainly has high hopes pinned on the guy. Because, you know, nobody wants to destroy the company.