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News from August 2014

A Big Week in Final Fantasy Explorers News

General Final Fantasy
We haven't talked about Final Fantasy Explorers since it was first introduced in June, and with a big batch of recently released interviews and clips we now know much more about what the game will be.

In case you've forgotten, Final Fantasy Explorers is an MMO monster hunting game (yes, think Monster Hunter) that features gameplay elements characteristic of the Final Fantasy series.

These include a recently-announced Trance system somewhat akin to that of Final Fantasy IX, a swath of famous weapons and armors from throughout the series (in fact, the game is reported to have over 500 pieces of equipment, which are created with raw materials obtained from battle), and major enemies and summons from the series who will serve as the marks players will hunt (Shiva and Ifrit have been featured in trailers, unsurprisingly, but less recent series mainstays have been confirmed as well, like Fenrir and Ramuh). Crystals are involved as well, as the things players are trying to obtain by defeating marks.

The most notable traditionally-FF element of the game is a combat system structured around jobs. Those announced so far include the Ranger, Paladin, Freelancer, Black Mage, Time Mage, Ninja, Knight, White Mage, and Monk. While developers have promised that the job structure and acquisition of abilities from other jobs won't be as rigid as in previous games, a recently announced aspect of combat, Resonance, will encourage players to use their job's abilities to work together in order to boost damage output, healing effectiveness, and other stats.

The biggest question right now is: will we see Final Fantasy Explorers in the west? A Japanese release date on the 3DS has been scheduled for December 18, but nothing has been said officially for other markets. While the name "Final Fantasy Explorers" has been trademarked in the US, Square Enix has been hesitant with exporting multiplayer titles designed for handheld devices, leaving it as yet uncertain whether European and North American audiences will get a chance to play it.

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

Square Enix Update: Prepare for Updation

Square Enix
First off, Square Enix is bringing the MMO Dragon Quest X to the 3DS in Japan in September, adding this incarnation to PC and Wii versions. As yet unreleased outside Japan, Nintendo has in the past said that the series is unmarketable to the West... sorry, DQ fans (if you're out there).

More relevantly, Square Enix has also recently announced partnering up with Dontnod Entertainment (who did Remember Me) on a new IP called Life is Strange, to be released digitally as episodic content. While set in the generally non-fantastic environment of an Oregon community, it involves a protagonist who has a new-found, distinctly fantastic ability to rewind time. Finding an old friend missing after her own period of absence, protagonist Max (female) teams up with Chloe (...also female) to get to the root of things. The official blog announcement says that one's actions in one episode will have far-reaching effects over those to follow, saying that sometimes-surprising consequences of actions will comprise a major part of the experience. It also promises that the title will be a completely new direction for the company.

In company news, Square Enix has announced a new press... system, Square Enix Presents Japan. I use 'system' instead of conference because it isn't exactly clear yet how it will function; with its first "episode" on August 25th, its second on August 28th, and additional episodes expected sometime after, it seems more like a semi-regular company update. Each program will involve staff from the title(s) in question and feature inside looks into their concept, development process, etc. According to the Square Enix blog announcement, the focus will be mostly on providing in-depth information rather than new announcements, but that both can be expected. The original post seems to suggest that coverage will also be made available to American audiences as well, though how is unclear.

The first of these will focus on Bravely Second, and is expected to reveal new information about that title as well as a sense of the Bravely series as a whole. The second will focus on Square Enix's Extreme Edges team, which publishes Western/violent games in Japan (like Kane & Lynch or Modern Warfare). Final Fantasy Explorers will be the subject of the third scheduled program - as well as our next newspost sometime tomorrow!
Posted in: Square-Enix News

Redefining Retro: The CoNcast Episode 25

I looked, once upon a time, and discovered that it had been weeks since we'd done a CoNcast. Then, I forgot about it. Later, I looked again to discover it had been three freaking months since we'd done a CoNcast, and that was just not acceptable.

So, here's episode twenty-five of the CoN podcast for you. This time around, our panel is reviewing the subjectivity of "retro" gaming, particularly as it relates to Final Fantasy. The idea of what makes a Final Fantasy game "retro" is something that can change based on your own experience or lack thereof with the series, and to address that, we talk not only about what makes particular games in the series retro to our minds, but also what we as gamers can do to communicate effectively about the series to those who have a different perspective.

Do you agree with our thoughts on what makes a Final Fantasy a retro game, or which games fall into that bucket? What other games give you the feel of a classic, retro FF? Draw your own conclusions by listening to the newest CoNcast now!

Source: The CoNcast Subscription Feed, The CoNcast on iTunes, This Episode
Posted in: CoNcasts

Dragon Quest IV Released for Mobile

Dragon Quest
Dragon Quest IV was the final game of the series to be released for the Famicom, back in 1990. Since then, it's been released in Japan on the Playstation, and in all territories again for the Nintendo DS, receiving the typical graphical and other enhancements along the way. The game's humble origins but number of remakes and ports would seem to make it a prime candidate for a new mobile release, and that's just what has just happened.

The game tracks closely to the most recent remake, and becomes the second Dragon Quest game released for mobile devices, after VIII. The game is listing in the States at $14.99 for both iOS and Android platforms.

Also, check out that website. So many images.

Source: Dragon Quest IV Official Site

Theatrythm Contest and FFXIV Free Trial

General Final Fantasy
As part of their larger Legacy of Music Campaign and as promotion for Theatrythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, which will be available for the 3DS starting September 16th (September 19th in Europe), Square Enix will be hosting a Legacy of Music Contest. The object of this contest is to produce an arrangement / performance of the series Main Theme (yes, this 'main' theme) using whichever musical instruments or not-instruments you so choose. The winner will receive a trip for two to a Distant Worlds concert, "AND MORE!" Check out the submission guidelines if you're interested, and if you win, don't forget who wrote the newspost that inspired you :D

In addition, Square Enix has announced a free 14-day trial for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. There are some limitations involved of course (you cannot exceed level 20, for instance), but for anyone who has wanted the chance to poke around A Realm Reborn, here's your chance. The only eligibility requirement is that you have not purchased the game before (or participated in Beta), but you can transfer a character created during the free trial to the full version of the game, should you decide to upgrade.

Posted in: Square-Enix News

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