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News from March 2016

Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV Recap

Final Fantasy XV
One might think that yesterday's leaks might have slowed the roll of Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV, with what might be considered the most important piece of information, the release date, to be out and about already. Square Enix wasn't playing that game, though. There are a few minor spoilers here, so be warned.

The official show lasted just about an hour and a half last night, and by design contained fifteen "uncoverings," and a lot of new stuff teased. Not all of the announcements were specific to the game, so not all of them will necessarily be interesting to everyone. But here they are, bolded to show which were the company's official announcements. They tried to sell everyone on the fact that there were only fourteen to begin with, but who didn't see through that? The game is fifteen!

To lead off, Hironobu Sakaguchi, the originator of the series, took the stage to explain that he's been talking with Hajime Tabata and he believes that Tabata is going the right direction to make XV a real live Final Fantasy game in the spirit of what Sakaguchi created. You can take that information with any grain of salt you like, but Sakaguchi is certainly no longer obligated to say such things on a stage, so he either really believes it or he got paid a big chunk of money to be in Los Angeles last night.

After that, the first new trailer of the night rolled. It had a lot of information that would be shown again later, so it really was a teaser for the rest of the show. It had a lot of new footage, with cuts showing the party playing cards, playing what looked like a pinball game, Cindy unloading the party's broken-down car, the party riding chocobos, and even a new song, an orchestral and vocal version of the classic Ben E. King song "Stand By Me." Again, more details on that stuff later.

Yoshitaka Amano, sitting near the front of the auditiorium, got a shoutout just after, along with a secondary shoutout for Yoko Shimamura, composer for Final Fantasy XV. Amano greeted the auditorium, while Ms. Shimamura seemed a bit unprepared for the attention. Amano's introduction led into a video, the 2D/3D digital art project shown in the Chinese advert yesterday. Nobuo Uematsu popped up on video soon after to greet the crowd as well.

Continuing the music tip, the event turned back to the cover of "Stand By Me." It wasn't clear how important the song was to the game until they turned back to it; for me, the song sounded really familiar, and it was clear why at this point - the song is a new arrangement specific for Final Fantasy XV by Florence + the Machine.

The event then turned back to the game itself, with an extended video of new gameplay footage that showed the first footage of riding (and even drifting!) chocobos. There was also new footage of car travel, as well as the first announcement that Noctis' car has Final Fantasy Radio built right in, playing a selection of songs from previous games in the series. The video featured the world map theme from Final Fantasy I, as well as "Sunleth Waterscape" from Final Fantasy XIII. The final big reveal in this video was Titan, who was truly titanic, standing easily forty times taller than Noctis and is encountered in battle.

Following immediately was a failure of sound mixing, in which what appears to be the French translator stepping all over the main English soundtrack. Then, another new video, this time of environmental footage. This video cuts through a lot of environments: modern cities, rural outposts, ancient castles, caves, and so on. In each, some visual effect is displayed, like water motion in fountains or rivers, or cloud motion, or shadows and light levels changing from afternoon to sunset. Very, very pretty stuff.

Next up, they hit the main party, called (unfortunately) "the bros" by the event hosts. There wasn't much new information about the characters themselves, but at the end, all four changed from their well-known CGI forms to manga-style illustrations, which served as the lead-in for the next uncovering: a five-episode prologue anime, called "Brotherhood," the first episode of which was released simultaneously. I've never been much of an anime watcher, but I've seen the first episode and it seems decent enough and true to what else we've seen in the games. All five episodes will be released before the game.
The anime doesn't include all the characters, so the next scene showed King Regis and Luna Freya on screen to explain why. The reason was the next uncover, a feature-length CGI movie called "Kingsglaive." The movie is a sidestory to the plot of Final Fantasy XV, taking place roughly during the timeline of the game. The movie is not for cinematic release, and is largely intended for streaming, though through which platforms it's not yet known. A downloadable version will be available as well.

In the video is a special car, which I personally as a car design nerd immediately identified as an Audi R8 - well, okay, I thought it was an RS8 to start, but I was tricked because of the special design. That special design was created by Square Enix and will be created as a one-off, not-for-sale real car, not just in the movie. Square Enix are going all in on the movie, as the very next uncovering was for the voice talent in the movie: Lena Headey and Sean Bean of "Game of Thrones," and Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad" are all acting in the film, as Luna, Regis, and a new character named Nyx respectively. It was not announced if any of those roles would carry over to the same characters in-game for the English dub.

Moving on from that, which took a while because clearly Squenix are very proud of the new movie, the event cut back to the pinball-esque game shown in the first trailer. The game is called Justice Monsters Five, which on top of being a hilarious name, looks to be some sort of pinball/pachinko/action arcade hybrid game. Not only can you play it in-game, you'll also be able to play it on mobile even before Final Fantasy XV is released, for Android, iOS and even Windows Phone. I assume that means it will also be available on Windows 10 at some point, but that was not made at all clear.

The new demo took the stage next. Called Platinum Demo, it is, as rumored, a demo featuring a younger Noctis in some sort of dream or fantasy world. It has no real connection to the main plot, but uses the same combat system so that users can try out what has changed since the first demo. Carbuncle appears and is adorable, and will be available in the main game for people who finish Platinum Demo. It also serves as a tech demo for things like creatures and environment effects. The demo is available now for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

At this point, the hosts uncovered the two worldwide special editions and announced that preorders were starting soon (by now, they've begun, of course!). They showed two editions. First was the Deluxe Edition, which will come in a steelbook case with codes for bonus DLC (a new costume for Noctis, a new Masamune weapon, and a paint job for the party's Leviathan car) and a hard copy of Kingsglaive on Bluray. Also announced was the Ultimate Collector's Edition, which comes with even more DLC (in this case, all of the Deluxe DLC plus four "in game item packs" of some sort). Also in addition to the DLC, the Ultimate also includes everything from Deluxe plus a 192-page artbook, a second steelbook with a Bluray of the "Brotherhood" anime, a selection of music from the XV universe on CD, and a Play Arts Kai statue of Noctis. The Ultimate edition is limited to only thirty thousand copies worldwide for some insane reason, and both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions are already listed as being waitlisted, meaning that all copies have been claimed. If you want to get in on these, the Deluxe is $90 and the Ultimate (if you can survive the waitlist) is $270.

The pseudo-final uncovering was that of the release date. Tabata took the stage himself for this piece, and the screen briefly tried to trick the audience into thinking that the release was November 30 of this year. However, when the on-screen slot machine finally stopped, September 30 it was, as we all already knew.

Tabata stayed around for the mystery fifteenth uncovering, a second brand-new trailer. This one had English subtitles, and more brand-new footage. The big reveal here was hidden at the very end, and it was the long-rumored airship: it was part of the car all along! The Leviathan is a transformer, with wings and jet engines that pop out of the trunk, and then the whole thing takes off straight from the road. So... where do the guys keep their luggage and camping gear? Do they have a Bag of Holding?!

Bottom line, if you are open to this game or already hate it, you have to admit one thing: Squenix are going absolutely all-in on this thing. Of course, after ten years, do they have a choice? Watch the entire presentation below, or skip to the hour mark to see just what has been covered in this post.

Source: Uncovered |Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV Release Date Leaked?

Final Fantasy XV
So, the information started coming out even before the event tonight. Planned leaks? That's no fun... but it does let me potentially sleep earlier!

In a video that's since been taken down, GameSpot reports a release date of Friday, September 30. No indication if that is for a simultaneous worldwide release, or Japan only; Friday is typically a Japanese and European release date, so if we're looking for something worldwide, it will be a shift from the typical American day. This is unconfirmed until tonight, anyway - Square Enix is almost certainly behind GameSpot's video takedown, which could mean either that it was wrong or that it was too right.

There are also two Chinese ads for the game that came to light today. The first one appears to hint at the new demo coming tonight, featuring a young Noctis in "a tale untold in-game," in which Noctis appears to be either very small, or the world has grown very large. Carbuncle's in there, too, and early reports are indicating that Carbuncle will be a bonus for users who finish the final demo and later get the full game.

The second advert, embedded here, uses Amano's art and digital modeling and animation to create a trippy, gorgeous impressionistic perspective on the new game. It's even got a neat Arabic-numeral version of "15" at the end that I haven't seen before.
Confirmation of this release date and other details will still be coming tonight!

Source: Polygon

Final Fantasy XV Real Live Event March 30

Final Fantasy XV
We reported back in February that the next big Final Fantasy XV event was to be titled "Uncovered," and is a "real" live event to take place in Los Angeles. The day has nearly arrived now, so remember to tune in tomorrow on Twitch or YouTube at 10pm Eastern.

The group must have something big planned for this event; previously, we mentioned that they plan to announce the final demo, the release date, the price, and more. But there must be even more than that, because the XV team preempted themselves by doing another livestream just last week with Famitsu.

Siliconera reports some of the highlights:
  • Cactuars will return as their Cactuar-like selves. Hopefully Gigantuars too, says this writer.
  • The new event will have a new Japanese trailer, which is somewhat disappointing given that the event is happening in America.
  • The new demo will be shown at the event.
  • They estimate a straight run of the game, sans any bonus content or sidequests, to take roughly fifty hours.
  • The frame rate target is 30FPS through the whole game, which I also find a bit disappointing.
  • The game's running resolution will be revealed also at the event... which, how can this be a question? It's surely not going to run at 4k, and I would think it would be a huge embarrassment if it can't run at 1080p.

One final, very interesting note from the previous livestream is that Hironobu Sakaguchi reached out to Hajime Tabata to talk about the original XV demo and "had a whole lot to say." That could mean a lot of things, of course. Perhaps Sakaguchi loved it. Perhaps he didn't and had a lot to say about how to make it more true to his original slate of Final Fantasy games. Maybe Tabata took it to heart, and maybe he plans to ignore it. Tabata isn't saying, so we'll just have to wonder.

Also announced earlier: the game will, for the first time, have some language options for Central and South America, with "Latin American Spanish" and "Brazilian Portuguese" selections.

I'm not sure I'll be able to see the livestream myself tomorrow night, but rest assured that we'll do our best to recap it for you as soon as possible.

Source: Siliconera
(4 Comments – Last by Cefca)
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Distant Worlds/New World Winter 2016 Update

Distant Worlds
It's that time of the quarter again, where a new list of live Final Fantasy orchestral music shows up. There are some good venues cropping up this time around - while I haven't gone back to see all the shows that have ever been, some of these seem like brand-new locations for the concerts, which should help expose even more listeners to these great concerts.

There's just one new Distant Worlds show that's been announced, and it's for July 23rd in Houston. The show will be at Jones Hall, but as yet there are no special guests announced. Distant Worlds shows seem to have somewhat haphazard announcements, though, so don't be surprised if more show up between now and July. Tickets go on sale April 8th for Houston.

A New World seems to be blowing up this year, though - this latest update brings six new shows for 2016, starting just ten days from now! Tickets are on sale now for all six:
  • Overland Park, Kansas: March 11 (An old CoN headquarters, sad to be missing it!)
  • Boston, Massachusetts: May 6 (Ditto!)
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina: May 8
  • Brookville, New York: June 17
  • Hartford, Connecticut: June 19
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: September 17
Are any of these shows near you? Let us know if you plan to go!

Source: Distant Worlds, A New World

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