News from October 2013
For all of gaming history, as technology has evolved, so has the capability to do things graphically in video games. The notion of virtually every game being a set of screens with sprites pasted on is long past, and is now mainly the domain of indie games. In the mainstream, we've reached the point where games can be nearly photorealistic, or they can go a very different route. Shall the twain ever meet? Is one objectively better than another? What games benefit from what kind of art direction?
This week's CoNcast features Death Penalty, Tiddles, Neal, and laszlow talking about these issues and more, and also why Pokemon should be more like Tamagotchi. And you don't have to listen to me for the whole thing, so, wins all around.
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes
Posted in: CoNcasts
Huge news came yesterday afternoon for anyone who spends any time on this website - Square Enix announced that Final Fantasy VI will be released on iOS and Android devices. You may have seen CoN user His Shadow's post in the forums yesterday, but alas, with old age comes slow movement. Or something like that!
What we've got here isn't a strict port, but it should be added that what we've got is no remake either. FFVI will be tweaked in several ways: its graphics, for instance, will be improved - though still 2D. The battle system will be altered a bit for the mobile platform in the spirit of previous FF mobile releases, like the recent FFV. Battle-experience will also be altered in order to require less grinding for the sake of being able to "enjoy the game for what it is." It is possible that this may be accompanied with a dialing back of the random encounter frequency, something everyone has been wanting forever, but there is no indication of this.
These changes, however small, are still generating some discussion. For instance, in the most recent CoNcast, SE took a bit of a hit for releasing games that aren't really sensitive to the nature of mobile gaming; do you think this difficulty altercation will broaden the game's mobile-friendliness or restrain it? I've also seen a few complaints regarding the sprites from earlier FF mobile releases - anyone familiar have anything to say about that?
The announcement concluded rather open-ended-ly, with the statement that "if this Legacy project works out well, we would like to one day be able to work with VII." Let's just take a concluding moment to appreciate how many qualifiers are packed into that statement.
Posted in: Final Fantasy VI
Thanks to a great topic by MetroidMorphBall, we've got another podcast for you today. In his topic, MMB asks, "Are the best Squenix games coming out on handhelds?" As we all know, Squenix have thrown a lot of resources over the last few years into getting games in front of gamers on the go, whether it's on phones or tablets or a handheld gaming console, or whether it's a new IP or a port or a full-on remake. That gives us a lot to talk about, naturally, due to the number of permutations at play. Perhaps some folks like the old games on new platforms; perhaps someone prefers the brand new IPs on Nintendo and Sony handhelds; maybe there's someone out there who just doesn't like console games (or handhelds!) at all.
It's time to listen to the CoNcast to find out. And, of course, to learn more about Cookie Clicker, the game that never leaves Tiddles unsatisfied.
Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes, Original CoN Topic
Posted in: CoNcasts
Another few weeks, another tidbits. This seems like another good time to remind folks that we would love to have someone willing to write news for us, since all of us are clearly way too busy. Or just bad at this. This time around, we've got a ton of news that came out of the Tokyo Game Show this year. Unsurprisingly, there was quite a bit going on for Square Enix at what is still considered their "home" trade show. Further introductions provide no value with this much news.
Let's start off with 3D remakes, because many people have been aching for 3D versions of their favorite Final Fantasy games since III and IV got them a few years back. Good news on that front - as long as your favorite game is the Final Fantasy IV sequel "The After Years." The initially-episodic sequel that was released also in the Complete Collection of Final Fantasy IV on PSP is now getting a redux for iOS and Android in the vein of its big brother. It's already been confirmed that the West will get the game as well, as is almost always the case for Squenix' iOS and Android games. While I'm sure this will cause some gnashing of teeth among fans, it seems like a pretty easy call for the company to make, given that the engine and art assets that already exist should make this port pretty easy.
Next up comes the Bravely Default franchise, made a franchise by the announcement of a sequel. The confusingly-named upgrade of the original, subtitled "For the Sequel," is true to its word by adding in some enhancements that will also be part of the simultaneously-in-development sequel. According to the most recent news, these enhancements will also form the basis for the version of Bravely Default that Europe and North America will get. It's starting to look like the sequel will be less Default than the original, also, given that Squenix have also trademarked in Japan the names "Bravely Second" and "Bravely Third." Of course, it's way too early to predict anything about those games, but this news does give a gentle nudge to a theory that Squenix are preparing a pretty big new franchise for handheld domination.
Speaking of big new franchises, let's not forget that the Final Fantasy XIII series is soon to come to an end with Lightning Returns. Because it's just what they do with this game, Squenix had yet another new trailer at TGS. It makes one wonder if their endgame is simply to have the entire game released as a series of trailers that fans would then need to recut into the correct order to understand the plot. Speaking of things that they've done with Lightning Returns, here are three separate notes all about more costumes in the game (in these cases, a Final Fantasy XIV Miqo'te catgirl, Yuna, and Aeris respectively). Lightning Returns is still scheduled to be released in Japan next month and in the West in February 2014 - plenty of time to shove more costumes in.
And on the subject of Final Fantasy XIV, it seems like A Realm Reborn is really starting to make up for the bad taste the original created. Say what you will about their launch-window server issues (for what it's worth, I can forgive them), but it really seems like the new version has been pretty well received as both a quality MMO and a solid Final Fantasy game, which certainly differentiates it from the bulk of its competitors. Enhancements are already being discussed for future updates, such as customizable housing, PvP arenas, and even the plan to allow gamers to transition from their Playstation 3 games to Playstation 4.
Briefly, on the subject of MMOs, did you remember that Enix has one for Dragon Quest? Nah, of course you didn't. It's still not out in the West anyway. However, if and when it does come this direction, you might be able to play it on the go - a version for iOS and Android will be out this winter in Japan. Apparently, this version of the game will have the same content as the full game, simply optimized for mobile hardware. That should allow players to take their game off their console and then continue it on the train; wonder if XIV could pull that off?
Last thing: the Final Fantasy X/X-2 remaster is still coming. On the official Playstation blog, that is confirmed directly, in case you'd forgotten. There's also, yes, another trailer, and a bit of talk about the art book that preorder customers will get.
That's a lot of tidbits, and I didn't quite cover everything I wanted to. Sorry about that, but I'll see if I can't get a more specific post up to cover the rest soon. Hint: it's Type-0 related!
Source: siliconera, Final Fantasy Network, Kotaku