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News from February 2013

Final Fantasy XIV Benchmark and New Videos

A Realm Reborn
With the beta kicking off, Square Enix released new content yesterday with regards to A Realm Reborn in the form of two new in-game videos and the application benchmark tool.

The videos are both in-game (for the beta, of course). One details a "tour" of several of the game's areas on both Windows and PlayStation 3, in which the environments all look lovely and the battles and events dynamic. Not sure if it's the video or the engine, but the PS3 scenes look to be a bit less fluid and more jittery. I'd assume that the PS3 version hasn't been quite as optimized as Windows as yet.

The second video is a developer's commentary (in Japanese, with some subtitles) in which the use of a gamepad to play is described. Since PS3 and PC users will all coexist in-game, it's important that the use of a gamepad to play the game is as functional and easy as with keyboard and mouse. To that end, it appears that the PS3 (and who knows, maybe 4?) gamepad will have at least three full sets of functionality available to the d-pad and face buttons, toggled on and off by tapping the left and right triggers. The default sets will also be customizable.

In case you've never done a benchmark before, Final Fantasy XIV's is specifically meant to see how your PC would do trying to run the game. Essentially, it tests your system to see its performance and to suggest to you if you need an upgrade of any kind before trying and/or buying the game. It's a 470MB file, so it's not necessarily something you do on a whim.

Of course, I did it on a whim. What they show in the benchmark looks absolutely fantastic. The second scene, which starts with a group of chocobo riders running through windmills, was particularly good looking. And my new PC scored "fairly high" at 1920x1200 with maximum settings and even higher when I dropped one level to high settings , so I would think that a gaming PC build in the last couple years with a less-than-HD video output would do just fine. Heck, it even kind of makes me wish I had the time to try to get into the beta.

Source: IGN

PlayStation 4 is Coming. So is Final Fantasy.

Square Enix
Yep, Sony had another worst kept secret. In New York tonight, the company put on a show to announce the advent of the PlayStation 4. The company spent a lot of time early on talking through the specs of the new system, which, while they did a good job of presenting, seemed like they weren't nearly as unique as they wanted the crowd to believe.

There were plenty of developers there showing off some new games, though the tropes all felt familiar. There was a driving game that looked lovely. There was a FPS - being Sony, it was a Killzone game. There's an Infamous game.

There was some interesting stuff. Johnathan Blow was there, he of Braid fame, talking about his next game appearing on the PS4. Blizzard showed up to announce Diablo III for the new console (as well as for PS3). Bungie showed up to tell everyone that Destiny will be on PS4 too, which is a nice slap to Microsoft.

Yeah, though, I intentionally buried the lede. What did Square Enix do, right? Well, not that much. They showed the Agni's Philosophy demo, looked the same as before. However, this time they said it was running on PS4 hardware. Was it always? We don't know. Also, Final Fantasy brand director Shinji Hashimoto appeared to say: "yes, there's a Final Fantasy game coming for PS4" and that it will show at E3. Zero other details. Sorry!

The PlayStation 4 will arrive for Holiday 2013.

PS Vita Receives Price Drop; FF X HD Still Exists

Square Enix
At a press conference a few hours ago, Sony announced that both the WiFi and 3G versions of the PlayStation Vita will receive price drops down to 19,980 yen. This is a price reduction of 5,000 and 10,000 yen respectively, bringing the Vita's Japanese price down to approximately $214 US or 138 GBP. It is unknown if this change will be carried over to other territories as of yet.

At the same press conference, Sony and Square-Enix showed off the Vita version of Final Fantasy X, apologizing for the long delay between announcements. The last we heard of this HD re-release was in summer of 2012 in what amounted to yet another "please wait." Square-Enix was unprepared to provide a release date, but claimed that it would be coming shortly and to "wait for that."

So... Square-Enix told us nothing about this anticipated port, except that they're working on it and to wait some more. Gee, thanks.

Source: Kotaku, Kotaku again
Posted in: News from Japan

War of the Lions Coming to Android

Final Fantasy Tactics
For the large number of users who haven't caved in front of the Apple iOS megalith, it is disappointing to have a mobile platform that doesn't have many Square Enix games. (I wouldn't know, I'm already far too invested in the Apple appconomy.)

Squenix are now taking at least one step to rectify that - Final Fantasy Tactics is being refreshed and released for Android. So far, this is just for Japan, but there's no reason to expect that it won't be localized.

This Android release is very similar to the Apple release, with touchscreen controls for selecting options, and multitouch gestures to navigate the battlefields. The gestures are disconcerting at first if you are used to the console and PSP versions, but they work pretty well once you adapt. The Android version will even leapfrog the iOS port with crisper graphics and a higher framerate, though those features will be released to iOS as well sometime in the future.

Final Fantasy Tactics is becoming one of the more-ported games in the series now, and it's with good reason. If you haven't played this game before and have an Android device, it's definitely worth grabbing as soon as it's available.

Source: Siliconera

PlayStation Network Final Fantasy Sale

Starting today, the North American PSN store has a series of Final Fantasy games half off. Which games, you might ask? Well, a bucket of them. You can get a version of every numbered Final Fantasy game up through IX (not including III, which never has had a Sony release). Most of the games are the PS One versions, including Origins, Anthology, and the three released originally for the first PlayStation. Final Fantasy IV's PSP version is included, as is Tactics: War of the Lions. Rounding out the set are three games from the Dissidia series.

This sale is 50% off the top and will be running for two weeks. The game selection is a little different than the European-region sale that we, uh, forgot to post about until right now. That sale's over, though. Sorry about that.

Source: US PlayStation Blog
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