News from September 2017
A wrap-up, at least in terms of Square Enix. That's plenty, because they did a lot this TGS (and in the times leading up to and coming out of it, too).
As Final Fantasy XV is still the biggest game in the Squenix stable, even as it nears a year from its release, there was plenty of XV news. First, of course, is the announcement of a Halloween release date for "Comrades," the multiplayer XV expansion set. Since I failed to mention it when it was first announced, Comrades will fill in some timeline that is not part of the main XV story by allowing players to play the role of a Kingsglaive soldier to undertake quests in the XV world; it's not yet clear as to whether the expansion will actually create any new canonical story elements, though there will also be some single-player content that might factor in. Nobuo Uematsu has even penned a new vocal theme for the expansion, his first work for the game. Note that reading more about this expansion is likely to spoil some XV for you if you've not finished it!
Still on the topic of XV, new for TGS was a new (and VERY spoilery!) trailer to announce the next phase of single-player XV universe content. Episode Ignis will be out in December, completing the DLC for the main party. A King's Knight mobile game, based on the game to which the guys often refer, is out now in Japan (which I personally hadn't heard about coming). A new update to allow more active hunts is coming very soon - and thank goodness for that - and a number of smash cuts advertising free updates to extend the story promise to fill in some more blanks as well. I've seen rumors that the first of this story expansion might center on Gentiana, but I can't seem to find confirmation of that at this very moment.
Tabata also mentioned just before TGS that while he was previously joking about bringing XV to Switch, he's not really joking any more. They have not figured out how to do it yet in a way that would please them, but they are in discussions about how to possibly make it happen. That could mean that only the Pocket Edition makes it, or they might figure out some magic way to get it to play on the somewhat-less-robust platform. Don't get your hopes up just yet.
Oh, yeah, and Noctis is coming to Dissidia NT. No big shock there, but at least we now have a character where the flying-dash move to get across the battle arena makes sense! If you played the beta of NT, by the way, you will probably be pleased to know that Squenix are revamping the UI before retail release. I personally thought the battle UI was awful in the beta; redoing it won't make it a game I particularly want to buy, but I do think it will improve it quite a bit. You can see the changes in the Noctis video linked above.
For those who have been tracking Lost Sphear, there's a demo out now in Japan for both PlayStation 4 and Switch. Siliconera has video of both so you can compare and contrast - you can even watch both at once at the link should you desire! It looks nice on both platforms, but that shouldn't be a shock because Tokyo RPG Factory games seem to be built not to max out systems' capabilities. The demo will contain a work-in-progress portion of the start of the game, and will allow players to continue with their progress once the full game is out. No information yet about the demo or full game outside of Japan.
The Secret of Mana remake has gone a bit quiet since its original reveal; while some people might be waiting and hoping for news that they might remaster it to be a bit higher-fidelity from the trailer that was announced before, but what you get for now is some new concept art and announcements of the Japanese voice cast.
In the mobile realm, the company debuted a four-versus-four arena battle game called Battle of Blades; the branding reminds me a little bit of a Bravely Default/Final Fantasy Tactics hybrid, but the art style in-game doesn't resemble either all that much. It's got a single player story mode, and also a multiplayer mode in which players can join eight-player matches and compete in the 4v4 battle mode to control various nodes on the arena map. It's due to come out in Japan for both iOS and Android before 2017 is out, but for some reason this one doesn't strike me as something that they're planning for worldwide release.
Outside of RPG-style games, the big reveal from TGS this year was a new IP called "Left Alive." This is a pretty interesting looking game from first blush; Gematsu reports that it will be a third-person shooter set in the world of Front Mission. It's not like this is new ground in gaming, but in this case the character design will be coming from the character designer of Metal Gear Solid, and the game's direction will come from a director of the Armored Core series. The trailer even starts with a look at a Christmas tree in an apartment building, which made me briefly and wistfully think of Parasite Eve. Left Alive has a 2018 release window for PS4 and PC right now, with no other information available.
Source: Siliconera, Gematsu
Last night, a European rating for Final Fantasy IX on PlayStation 4 appeared on the PEGI site, stoking rumors of the game getting a worldwide re-release. Today, at the pre-Tokyo Game Show PlayStation conference, those rumors were quickly confirmed, with the game being released worldwide today.
This release of the game is based upon the Windows/Steam version released last year, which is itself based on the earlier mobile port. That means you can expect higher-resolution FMV and models, as well as all the other upgrades in those previous releases. It also appears that you can expect to be locked into the game's original 4:3 aspect ratio.
Until the 26th, the game will be listed at $16.79, after which it will rise to its standard price of $20.99. Packaged with the download will be a Final Fantasy IX dashboard theme and eight themed PSN avatars. Possibly worth it if you're not a PC gamer, as it remains a great game; for me, I just kind of want the theme without buying the game again.
Posted in: Square-Enix News, News from Japan, News from Europe, North America, The World at Large, Final Fantasy IX
We hope you've had a chance to enjoy our Regalia Playlist Championship already -- and if not, get over there and check it out! For those of you (us!) in the greater New York City area who want even more FF music in your life, Distant Worlds has added a special one-night-only performance at Carnegie Hall, with Nobuo Uematsu in attendance. There will in fact be two performances, one at 2pm and another at 8pm, on January 13, 2018. The Distant Worlds site promises the concert will feature the ensembles' new arrangements of Opening ~ Bombing Mission (FFVII), The Oath (FFVIII), and Somnus (FFXV); there's no hinting yet whether the concert will feature any surprises. Tickets go on sale in just over a week, September 12 at 11am; my guess is they'll move fast, so best keep an eye out if you're interested!
Source: Distant Worlds Official Site
Posted in: North America
Way, way back, back in the day, a hundred years, it seems that way, CoN did the "Final Fantasy Music CoNtest." Really, though, we last did a smackdown here at CoN to pick the best Final Fantasy music seven years ago, and it was a smash. But, there have been several more games in the main Final Fantasy series since then, and we figure it's high time to take a shot at it again, especially in light of the series' 30th anniversary and CoN's 20th anniversary this year.
So, here's the setup: Noctis and friends from Final Fantasy XV have a pretty serious sound system in their car, the Regalia. So many musical options that there's no telling what to play next, so they're going to need some help figuring out what's best. And that's where we come in, by visiting https://regalia.cavesofnarshe.com/ (or on Facebook).
The Regalia PlaylistStarting now, and running through the end of September, everyone out there with a CoN account can pick fifteen songs from Final Fantasy to make up their own preferred playlist. You'll be able to pick from every single numbered entry in the series, including the MMOs, with a couple bonus games that CoN covers to boot (Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy Tactics, of course). At the end of September, we'll compile everyone's selections into a 64-song knockout tournament by which we'll determine the best songs from the last thirty years for Noctis to load up as he travels across Eos.
We can discuss the knockout when we get there, so let's dive a little more in to the nomination process starting now. As I mentioned, everyone with a CoN account can go to https://regalia.cavesofnarshe.com/ or the tab on our Facebook page to nominate fifteen songs. They're organized by game, and every one has a listen link so you can familiarize yourself with the song again if you can't quite remember it by name. You can click and drag or doubleclick to add a song to your list (or tap if you're on your tablet), and click or tap the trash can to remove it from the list. You can also click and drag to reorder your list as you make it, but once you submit with the green checkmark, you're locked in.
List the songs in your preferred order, because higher rankings are worth more when we do the seeding. The song you pick for the number one slot is worth 15 ranking points, and the song you choose at #15 is worth just one. Our tournament seedings will be based on the overall ranking points earned by every person's picks, so make sure you give the highest spots in your list to the songs you most badly want to see in the tournament.
Around October 1, we'll shut down the nomination process and take some time to rank all the songs that got nominated to come up with a final bracket of 64. After that, the voting will begin and you all will have the opportunity to vote your favorite nominees to the top. At the end of it all, we'll have a brand-spanking-new 2017 version of the best Final Fantasy song of all time. Or close enough.
The Regalia CoNtestOnce we have our 64 candidates based on your submissions, the contest starts! You'll have a couple weeks to look over the 64 top tracks, and pick what you think the top five will be. People who make those picks will be graded for accuracy once all of the votes have been tallied and we have our winner. We'll compare each person's guesses to the final results, and the top three most accurate players will win prizes:
- A signed set of illustrations from Final Fantasy VI through Final Fantasy X by Sarah Childs at Gyzra Ink
- A Gyzra Final Fantasy VI illustration plus a bottle of Wiz' Energizing Elixir from Jones Soda
- A Gyzra Final Fantasy VI illustration
If you've got any questions, let us know now so we can make sure your picks get in. You'll get the chance to start voting in the tournament and making your feelings known about each matchup starting in October, so let's get started! Also let us know if you see song names that are not accurate or awkward - there're over 1700 of them in there so odds are we messed some up along the way!