Bringing A Series Back to Life: Final Fantasy E3 Blow out!

E3 2013 has come and gone as it always does every year. But fear not! Leading us on into the video game scene once again and getting us excited for new and upcoming next-gen consoles and games. This is Sephy Angel here from Square Enix’s side to bring you everything Final Fantasy. This year is a great year to be a Final Fantasy fan it seems with all these announcements. Here we’re going to take a look at what all was said in developer interviews “For the Fifteenth coming.”

 

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First up! Final Fantasy XV. Don’t remember it? Well some may not but I sure do. In E3 of 2006, I was still in high school when I saw the infamous reveal trailer of Final Fantasy Versus XIII; it was to be apart of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final fantasy XIII saga when announced. Because at the same time, Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy Agito XIII made their debut trailers as well. But during lack of connection to the original XIII vision, Versus became XV about 2 years ago, the same time Agito XIII received its name change to Type-0 because of lack of connectivity. Thousands of fans worldwide were most likely screaming in joy or foaming at the mouth (like me) from finally seeing an update on a title that grasped our attention more then the original XIII saga with its dark contrasts in story, setting, bringing back the profound instances of blood animations like in Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. After the initial Sony press conference last Monday night, on a giant theatre like screen next to the Square Enix booth; a loop of video would play; with Final Fantasy XV playing its reveal trailer every 10 minutes. Causing various people to stop what they were doing and look on in wonderment, tilting their head in wonder. For those JRPG fans who knew exactly what it was playing when the protagonists’ name ‘Noctis’ was uttered, they knew instantly that he had come back after missing 2 E3 appearances in a row. With this, the game would reach new light after being re-branded as XV, starring as a main flagship title for the next-gen console.

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In an interview with Tetsuya Nomura revealed his reasons as to why this ‘Fantasy based on reality’, looked so modern.

“I don’t like the extreme cases of tech or magic, Esays Nomura. “If I choose, I choose a modern setting  Ebut that’s not a good setting for a game. So if you look at FFXV it starts in a very modern world similar to Shinjuku (in downtown Tokyo), but when the story starts, you go to the medieval world  Ebut the weapons they are using are high tech-weapons; that kind of combo is what I like. Elt;/p>

His intake on what is fantasy and what is reality is what set barriers for Final Fantasy apart and meld them together. Nomura says he “can’t be emotionally involved if the game starts in an imaginary fantasy world.” So he wants to start off in a modern world, and branch out from there. But what really drives his imagination so far? He likes character designs a lot so when he’s given a task to come up with character designs, he first imagines what they would look like with a weapon on their back or sheathed and their ‘silhouette’ comes into mind. In the past he would flip through magazines for details; now he looks through web pages of his favorite brands.

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“Sometimes I wish we had the easiness Western FPS [games] have, to make everyone bald. We’re a company that’s known for unique hairstyles, but in a way we’re running out of ideas. E-Nomura

7 years this game has been in production and from E3 2013 and out, they promise more XV updates as time rolls on. Nomura also touché son how this FF game will be more of an action based RPG rather than turn events. Everything in the gameplay trailer he revealed during his interview was all in real-time and you will have to cooperate with your other 2 party members. Noctis’ gravity defying abilities are also revealed to be teleportation due to the crystals’ power. From bad tasting soup in the morning to cocky, ‘not so cool’ protagonist, Nomura has a different kind of light set up for the prince of Lucis Kingdom for his personality with a flavor of idiosyncrasies. “He’s actually quite the weirdo” -Nomura. Even at one point when the film adaption of “Les Miserables” premiered, he was so moved by the direction of the film; he was dead set on the next day storming into Square Enix HQ and turning Versus XIII into a musical. That’s right a musical. He even confessed video games aren’t his forte, and often on long nights likes to divulge in several movies to watch, also gathering great inspiration from the director of “The Great Gatsby”.

But for now, Final Fantasy XV is slated for release on the PlayStation 4 AND Xbox One in the near future. Onto the next Final Fantasy!

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The original 1.0 version of Final Fantasy XIV which released in September 2010, was a massive blow to Square Enix….in the failure kind of way. it had done…so bad that it was necessary to all players by SE’s CEO at the time, Yoichi Wada, to give a formal apology expressing his sorrow on releasing a half-baked game.

That was 2010. And even now XIV still receives a lot of criticism and hate amongst the Final Fantasy and MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) community for those who were looking forward to a Final Fantasy type online game, even from veterans from the World of Warcraft community who were FF fans. It was supposed to be a significant upgrade from the first FF online game, Final Fantasy XI which debuted on PS2 and now still plays on Steam and Xbox 360 since the client servers they used die on PS2. XI still receives expansion packs; most of the people that played XIV 1.0 were players of XI online and were excited for another online FF. But after that disaster, they begrudgingly went back to the XI servers. That is until in late 2011 Square Enix announced a 2.0 upgrade. Fans were reluctant to give this 2.0 version a try after the sour taste of 1.0 still lingering in their mouth. After several appearances at other gaming cons, XIV 2.0 was starting to gather back it’s fan following with promising upgrades and reiterations of key combat. E3 2012 last year, they released a full on  CGI 5 minute trailer entitled “End of An Era” signaling the end of the fictional game setting in XIV. Afterwards several gameplay videos were released of the new super fast combat system and Limit Breaks, quickly garnering attention. And after a few more months, the previously unreleased 3 minute part of the trailer, entitled “A Realm Reborn” was added to the 5 minute trailer. Making it known the game would continue on after a 5 year period of time traveling in a reborn Eorzea. Beta’s for the games upcoming release on August 27th have been splintered out and you were lucky enough to get a beta code to become a tester, then you got in to test the game! I was one of those few lucky people to receive that email, but alas, I downloaded the beta far too slowly and have to wait until this weekend to try and play it. But so far…reviews are good! Beta testers on the forums are cheering for this games release now instead of 2 months later. I’m sure I’ll get to play it sometime before this test phase is over since I’ve FINALLY downloaded all of it.

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NovaCrystallis sat down with the producer/director of XIV, Naoki Yoshida for a little talk after E3 signings and on-floor shenanigans like participating in the Ifrit fight challenge on the E3 floor.

So far, only main event storylines will be fully voice-acted. Having the Summoner class branch off into 2 more classes such as Arcanist and Scholar. We can expect more jobs to branch off from other classes later into the release. If you’re a Legacy character previously from the 1.0 version of XIV, don’t expect the migration to be instant. It might take a while and when progressing through story mode dungeons, you will be level-synched; everyone will be on the same level to enter a dungeon and take it’s key item. Once said event is over, your levels will go back to what they once were. Some areas will not be accessible upon launch, as expected. Later patches and add-ons will add to the world of Eorzea.

As for a free trial period? That most likely will not be implemented upon launch, but later on, perhaps 6 months at best. But the upcoming open beta phase 4 after phase 3 is done will facilitate this ‘free trial’ phase.

For now, fans are getting their fires re-kindled for this MMORPG once again with the starting success of this beta underway. It is only open on weekends right now but alas, I will be at a convention this weekend and cannot play.

I have my Collector’s edition of this game pre-ordered and really look forward to it’s release! Yoshida went on to say after the conference he’s going to his hotel room and booting up his laptop. and check and see that everyone makes this all go well.

I’ve never experienced an MMORPG before, even less on my PS3! But I’ve had enough of online talk for now, onto the next Final Fantasy!

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10 years old, still my favorite Final Fantasy. Back in E3 2011 at the Sony press conference; Square Enix announced an HD Remaster of Final Fantasy X, for PS3 and the upcoming PlayStation Vita that would come out the following year. And since that press conference…no other news of the highly anticipated Remaster surfaced again, leaving many X lovers in the dark and the project abandoned.

I need not tell you when earlier this year, news picked back up and the first scans of what the HD Remaster vs. the PS2 1080p treatment were revealed. Surprisingly, it was a high graphical update from what we previously thought. They didn’t just smooth over and patch areas here and there, but took the character models, monster models, environment models, and from the ground up re-textured them. Sad to say they could not get the English voice actors back for a re-dubbing of the entire game, but that would have taken entirely too long for fans only to get upset at the wealth of Remaster news in the past few months.

Not just graphical upgrades to an already classic game have been made, but the addition of new content from some years ago will finally touch western territory.

Final Fantasy X will be its ‘International’ version from Japan. When it came out, all voice acting was still kept in English but controls stayed in Japanese. The addition of the Dark Aeon quests, HP/MP/DMG break limit armor and weapons was revealed meaning you could go well over the high topping total of 9999 and very much have your HP at 50,000 or deal damage akin to over 100,000. Final fantasy X-2 International+Last Mission was a different deal though. You have the Creature Create system, enabling you to capture fiends and use them in your own party. Even the main X and X-2 cast were up for grabs to capture and make your own. Oh look! A wild Wakka appears! Let’s capture it and then use it in out party. Simple as that. The Last Missions’ dungeon was entirely in Japanese language and text, which infuriated the few people who got a JP PS2 to play X-2. it is the official last mission 2 months after the ending of X-2’s good ending….or depending how you finished the game. Kitase talked about there would be a scene in the game they actually did have to round up a couple of the VA’s to voice over. Which scene, he left for speculation. My bet’s on the Last Mission dungeon story.

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On the left, PS2 1080p HD, the right, PS3 HD Remaster…pretty big difference huh? It IS a full re-render, lay over of higher quality textures and colors to make this look like as much of a Remaster as possible Square Enix took HD Remaster to a different level than what any other developer did for their HD collections. Going far and beyond to make this as polished and close as possible to the original with all they had.

Toriyama touched on how well if this HD Remaster did, it would ‘pave the way’ for future Remasters…..Final Fantasy XII could be next in line if X|X-2 HD do well.

I’ve had my share of nostalgia moments with this game from beginning to end. The script writer for this game could have been acclaimed for an Oscar, Toriyama said. Anything less than that would have been unacceptable

As of now, current release dates for the PS3 and Vita versions are unknown but coming soon. However, the PS3 version is now pre-orderable and has a street date release of September 10th, ironically the same day Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix releases. That date may be subject to change or the final product after waiting 2 1/2 years.

Just one more to go people! And you’ll find this one surprising.

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3rd time’s the charm, right? Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is the 3rd and classified final entry in the XIII series, ending the ‘Lightning’ saga once and for all. Kitase also stated that this would ‘tie up loose ends even in XIII and XIII-2.’

All XIII games in the series has been fleshed out by fans and among a barrier of people who like it and people who abhor it. With the recent output of XIII-2 at the beginning of 2012, expected sales fell more than the company calculated for, though some fans were happy with this installments. Since XIII when it first released was in 2010, the thought of DLC was a longshot away. But with XIII-2, they planned on fully implementing different DLC’s and outfits, story scenarios, and weapons.

This story in its final game, is rather different. Gone are the ATB turn based style system is now gone, so are the Paradigm-shifting tactics you would use in battle…replaced with a system that looks the same with mechanics visually while being completely different. It doesn’t feel very ‘Final Fantasy’, yet what better way to get accustomed to a more action-RPG style starting with Lightning Returns before running it fully on FFXV like an appetizer?

They are clearly trying to stress to fans that this XIII entry is something different and new. So what’s changed? First off, no more party members to save you from peril; you control Lightning and Lightning alone on this journey to save Nova Chrysallia before the doomsday clock strikes the 13th day in-game. You heard right; you have 13 days left to save the world, and all time will be flowing throughout the entire game in a 24-hour time period. Switching between morning, evening, and night cycles. You’re new ‘ATB’ is called schema, a sort of silly word for style, reminding some of you of the olden days of Final Fantasy X-2’s dressphere change. So changing ‘schema’ will be as simple as using the L1 or R1 or RB and LB buttons. Changing will be on the fly and using each schema’s role will be vital to winning. At first, there were only speculated to be around 20 different schema for Lightning in the game, with E3 over, he’s up the tally to almost over 80 varieties of outfits. Which each can be tailored to your liking by colored and placing different pieces together.

Of course when first start playing the game, there will be a mandatory battle tutorial as in all FF’s, but soon after, you can access any one of the 4 main continents of Nova Chrysallia as you wish. Just be careful of the 24-hour clock going on constantly. If there is a certain event that is happening at night at a certain location and it’s currently day time, you must choose how to spend your own time and be there when that event commences. Whether you’re there or not, it will commence with or without you and you may have just missed your chance at a story opportunity or an NPC event.

This world is supposed to be huge in comparison to XIII-2 and the free-roaming time that we were actually allowed in Gran Pulse in XIII. With dozens to do, NPC’s to take quests from and living breathing world all on it’s own, it sounds like it’s shaping up to redeem itself for it’s final entry on this gen’s consoles.

I’ll skip spoiler details here and just say, it is 500 years later after the ending of XIII-2 and Lightning has awoken once again to a strange and foreign world on the brink of ending in about 13 days tops. Doing certain missions and events will sometimes ‘add’ or ‘decrease’ time from the countdown clock, so be careful shortening the end of humanity. Under a new god and tasked by Bhunivelze, she is given the ‘Savior’ outfit and is this worlds’ ‘Liberator’. Saving those souls from the end of days into the new world. We’re not very clear yet on what and who all will be making reappearances except for Snow, Noel, and Hope. But the majority of the plot needs some more work for us to believe we’re going save the world in 13 days. The only other thing we know is….Lightning is the bad guy in the eyes of everyone in this game. Seen as the bringer of days end, old friends are now turning against her and her fight to save the world a 3rd and final time.

Well, I’ve spared all the time I could in the world with you to bring you the Final Fantasy side of E3 and more. Tiring as it was watching every single live stream possible. Let’s hope this year continues, and the next, to be a Final Fan-tastic year for Final Fantasy and Square Enix hopeful!

 

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