Square Enix has opened a new Japanese website and pre-registration for a new smartphone title called “Final Fantasy Tactics S”. This “social” game, something of a spinoff of the Ivalice Alliance, will feature designs originally created by Ryoma Ito. The game will also include races, jobs, and monsters featured in 2008′s Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift for the Nintendo DS.
Square Enix is partnering with mobage to bring the service to Japanese customers. According to Famitsu App, players will become a clan master charged with protecting the light of the crystal, and will square off against scores of monsters — there will be a social element of competition between your clan and others.
Currently, the game’s website lists support for iPhone and Android phones.
Follow the link here to view the website as well as the option to pre-register.
For the last year or so, Square Enix has announced several social titles for the existing brands — including titles like Bravely Default: Praying Brage and Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade. Other titles include Guardian Cross and Final Fantasy: All the Bravest, which feature a specific style of gaming that was popularized in Japan called “gashapon”. These games generally have design decisions that funnel a player’s attention towards micro-transactions to continue playing the game, as well as other design aesthetics.
Well according to Square Enix’s Takehiro Ando, who serves as an producer for the company’s mobile/social gaming division, this is going by the wayside. NeoGAF member Goli translates Ando’s post from the Famitsu App called Smartphone Game ★ Revolution:
“Anyway, today’s entry is called “Good bye, social games. In it he discusses how since the release of SE’s first social game, Knights of the Crystals, many other similar, or in some cases, identical games have appeared and taken over the mobile gaming platforms, which has led to basically everything being a reskinned version of other games, specially the ones that involve card collecting and gacha.
He admits SE is also guilty of this, since they have a lot of games that follow this pattern like Circle of Mana (which came out yesterday), Guardian Cross, Million Arthur, etc. While these kinds of “games” have drawn in a lot of new gamers, the old gamers, the ones used to console and handheld games, are being shunned, which is why this year they’re planning on not releasing social games and instead release high quality games that appeal to “hardcore” gamers.”
What does this mean for Final Fantasy fans? Well, there’s a lot one could draw from an appeal to the “hardcore audience”, but it may be reasonable to conclude that Square Enix is renewing its focus to strengthen its core Japanese brands. At the end of his message, Ando mentions towards the end of this year, Square Enix Japan will be releasing many high quality titles in succession that have been developed in-studio.
Currently, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is projected to release by summer and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is scheduled for this fall. It has led some to speculate that other titles that have yet to be announced our updated recently (Okay, I’ll just say the V-word: Versus) may be coming sooner than we think. But: to clarify — this could mean titles that are more akin to what we expect from consoles and handhelds; this isn’t indicative of a platform jump or just a focus on console AAA titles.
Do you appreciate this new approach from Square Enix or would you rather see more social titles in the future? What big new games do you foresee coming in the future from Square Enix Japan? Leave us a comment with your thoughts below!
I will try to keep this relatively short,and my aims are twofold here. One is to warn the viewers of this site not to make a purchase they will likely regret, and two is to generally get some word of mouth going to place pressure so that something like this does not happen again.
If you are a self respecting Final Fantasy fan, do not buy All The Bravest.
To start off with, the game initially has a lot going for it. Charming and in some cases absolutely gorgeous sprites, Final Fantasy music worthy of squeals, an ATB style battle system with humongous parties optimized for touch, and a localization effort that should be commended.
Everything seems fine on paper, and with so much Final Fantasy history crammed into one iOS title, one would expect to be simply overwhelmed by the bliss of nostalgia. However, that is not the case. Because underneath this shell of nostalgia is a game, if you can even call it that, devoid of any pleasure whatsoever.
There is no strategy, no customization, no player choice. None of the hallmarks of Final Fantasy are here. You simply go from one battle to the next (or backtrack to previous battles), wildly tapping or swiping at the screen until one side ultimately prevails.
And in a way, this is okay. Mediocre games exist, especially on mobile devices, but really on any platform. Games that are meant for casual play also exist, something easy to get into, something anyone can play. (But let’s keep in mind that even the cheapest and most popular of mobile games have some semblance of thought, action, or strategy to them that justified their popularity. Hell, one of the best most fully fledged iOS titles out there is indeed a Square Enix title, well loved and highly regarded by fan and critic alike.)
No, the problem is not that you are buying a title devoid of any meaningful game play in return for your dedication and nostalgic tendencies. The problem is that you are repeatedly being kicked in the balls while doing so. Over and over.
This is a money extraction app at its best. And let me make it clear, there is no problem with micro-transactions, and there is no problem with whatever ingenious payment models companies come up with for their entertainment applications. The issue here is how obnoxiously and without tact this game does it, essentially waving a middle finger at its most dedicated customers.
Let’s break it down shall we:
Initial Purchase – $3.99: For the final depth and quality of the game and the amount of money it will attempt to extract from you, the game should really be free to play, no excuses. You can find games orders of magnitudes better than this for free.
Characters – $.99 x 35 (Randomized purchases): I was initially enamored by this idea. Add characters from throughout Final Fantasy’s history to my party and have them simultaneously fight alongside each other in adorable art? Sign me up! I wanted my first purchase to be Seifer. Unfortunately, something that could have been such a fun little character shop is designed in a way to extract the maximum amount of cash. When you make a purchase from the character shop, you are randomly given a character. That’s right. Don’t get the character you want? Well, keep paying up!
Additional Worlds – $3.99 x 3: Once again, very neat in theory. Players can purchase additional worlds from other Final Fantasy titles (Midgar, Zanarkind, Archylite Steppe). And once again, I want to commend the excellent sprite work. But for what you are getting this should be a much cheaper purchase. And if the base product is not engaging in the first place, there really is no incentive to make further purchases.
Revive Items – $.99-$2.99: After you have been thoroughly swindled, the fun really begins. In the oft chance that you die (and you WILL die, if not by a random enemy then a boss encounter), the player is presented with three options. One is to go back and grind, which would actually be a viable option if doing so were even somewhat enjoyable. The other is to wait 3 minutes per character revive to continue playing. That is not simply three minutes total, which is kind of an odd game mechanic in and of itself, that is per character, meaning for a party of thirty will easily take over an hour. Why implement such a feature? Why, only to ask you to hand over more of your hard earned (and apparently easily relinquished) money. That’s right! You can revive your characters using Gold Hourglasses, which can only be purchased with real world money in convenient sets of 3, 8, or 20! Having fun?!
Look, I am a Final Fantasy fan through and through. I am A-okay with cheap ports if it means I can get Final Fantasy on every device. I have patiently waited an extra two years to be able to play Final Fantasy XIV on my PlayStation 3. Despite my loathing for everything and anything related to Lightning, I understand that a specific market (albeit shrinking) exists for those titles. And I still have high hopes for the future, even faith in Versus XIII.
But for a series and company whose fans already feel cheated, over-accommodating – and in the case of titles like Bravely Default and Final Fantasy Type-0 – ignored, releasing a lame cash in is a huge and truly perplexing mistake. With the game sitting at a Metacritic rating of 25% from critics and not even 10% from fans, its clear these types of moves damage the brand even further. And sometimes it is irrevocable.
For the love of god, do not reward this type of behavior. It is not just bad for Final Fantasy, it is bad for gaming in general.
Good news for those of you looking for more Final Fantasy on your iDevices! We now have the scoop on Final fantasy All the Bravest, a brand new Final Fantasy title that harkens back to the SNES era of the series.
This means the return of the ATB – or Active Time Battle – gauge, where the attack bar must fill up as time progresses to allow characters to execute a move. Personally, the ATB has been my favorite battle system for the series.
Other series staples include over 20 classes including the classic warrior, monk, and red mage, classic enemies such as the Cactaur and Behemoth, and over 30 songs previously featured in the series.
The game does not seem to be a full fledged Final Fantasy title, instead focusing on the battles themselves. Players will progress through stages by clearing battles, which also allow them to level up and get additional bonuses. Alongside this the game will also feature leaderboards and social features.
Most interestingly is the inclusion of an in game shop, which allows players to actually purchase new characters from throughout the Final Fantasy series, as well as additional stages to battle in (with Final Fantasy VII, X, and XIII to be confirmed in). I for one am looking forward to seeing the full character list!
Final Fantasy All the Bravest is already out on the New Zealand iOS App Store, so it should not be long before the rest of us can join the action. The game should retail for a modest price ($3.99), and is a very small 32 MB. Additional characters will cost 99 cents while extra worlds will net you another $3.99.
Tonight Square Enix launched a brand new website featuring a color scheme and sprites that seem to be taken directly from Final Fantasy VI. Recently Square Enix teased an iOS announcement for Final Fantasy V (and more) at the end of the Final Fantasy IV iOS launch trailer. Square Enix also registered All The Bravest which can be seen abbreviated in the website’s URL, which has led some to speculate that this may be related in the form of a compilation name like “Final Fantasy Anthology”. More information will hit the web on January 17th, or a bit earlier for us overseas fans.
Happy New Year from Final Fantasy Network! I hope you’re not too hungover this fine Tuesday morning, because we’re recappin’! 2012 was a pretty exciting year of Final Fantasy announcements, news, and releases, and so we’ve compiled some of the biggest news-makers that made our eyes widen, our heads shake, or bodies seize uncontrollably with one emotion and then another. …Ok, that last one was just me.
Just to be frank, I was going to write you all a nice long poem, but I couldn’t find a decent word to rhyme with Theatrhythm amidst my “New Years reverie”. You’re going to have to settle with a few sub-par limericks interspersed in the article. If you think you can do better (you can’t), leave a merry Final Fantasy limerick of your own in the comments section.
For those less inclined to poetic expression, let’s hear your thoughts on this year’s events and the year that’s to come. What are you most excited to see this year? What were some of your biggest disappointments of 2012? Feel free to check out the video playlist below featuring some of the video highlights of the year, too.
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 RELEASES
On January 31st, Final Fantasy XIII-2 released in North America for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A sequel to the original Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2 featured Lightning’s younger sister Serah Farron and time-travelling behemoth hunter Noel Kreiss. The game itself was built on feedback and concerns from players not entirely smitten with the first outing, resulting in a game that had less corridor-esque level design and encouraged more exploration.
Despite this, Final Fantasy XIII-2 wasn’t without controversy, as when players finally reached the end credits, they were greeted with a “To Be Continued…” message. At first, fans speculated that post-release scenario DLC would be the ending to this tale, but over the year as more DLC released, a full-on threequel became plausible. Lo and behold, at the end of a long summer, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was announced as the finale in the Lighting Saga trilogy.
A duo named Serah and Noel,
throughout time and space on a stroll,
met a bad guy named Caius
and a Yeul very pious.
They messed up the world as a toll.
THEATRHYTHM: FINAL FANTASY RELEASES
On July 3rd, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy landed on 3DS handhelds in North America, toting with it the vast repertoire of Final Fantasy music preserved as it originally appeared. The rhythm-based RPG let you select four heroes from the Final Fantasy franchse, designed by Monster Octopus, and level them up by completing various stages that put players back in classic Final Fantasy locales and cutscenes. Later this year, a mobile version of Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy released on iOS, with additional paid content.
10 YEARS OF FINAL FANTASY XI & SEEKERS OF ADOULIN ANNOUNCED
At the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Event in August, the 5th expansion for Final Fantasy XI was announced: Seekers of Adoulin. Launching in 2013, the expansion will send adventurers to the continent of Ulbuka where the great city of Adoulin awaits. In addition to brand new Player-vs-Environment content, two new jobs will join the roster — Geomancer and Rune Fencer. The expansion will be available for PC and Xbox 360 users, but if you are a PS2 subscriber, note that support will be limited to Japan. Final Fantasy XI director Akihiko Matsui unveiled some ambitious new projects for the MMO, including revisions to major gameplay systems based on player feedback as well as a hefty update to the game’s user interface.
Tetsuya Nomura’s rendition of Prishe, Shantotto, Kam’lanaut, and Eald’narche from Final Fantasy XI. (@bKvEBVAvUq)
15 YEARS OF FINAL FANTASY VII & PC VERSION RE-RELEASE
Previously published under Eidos back in the 90s, Final Fantasy VII is no stranger to the PC — well, if you’re not old and decrepit like most of us that remember it’s release. We first got a hint of the project back when Steam registry files uncovered a port of Final Fantasy VII and VIII’s original PC version, but things remained silent for upwards of a year. Square Enix updated the PC version with achievement support as well as cloud saving this year for release on it’s official e-Store.
Ten years have gone by for Eleven,
fifteen if you count our dear Seven.
Keep HD remakes at bay,
remember them this way.
Surely this is true F.F. heaven.
FINAL FANTASY XIV: THE END OF AN ERA & A REALM REBORN
It’s been a long, tough road for Final Fantasy XIV, and with Version 1.0 coming to an indefinite close, Square Enix decided to treat its remaining subscribers to an end-of-the-world party. While the final in-game event was mired with lag and disconnected players, it ultimately paid a fitting farewell to a game that had stumbled out of the gate and fell flat on its face. When all was said and done, Square Enix released the End of an Era trailer the night servers shut down, portraying the aftermath of the clash between the Eorzean Alliance and the forces of Garlemald as expertly as Square Enix Visual Works could muster.
Over the next several months, we learned more about Final Fantasy XIV’s encroaching rebirth under director Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida. With each system that brought Version 1.0 its failures being scrapped and built from the ground up, a new vision of the game has begun to emerge. Recently the alpha testing phase concluded, with beta scheduled to commence mid-February. According to the new road map, Final Fantasy XIV should release closer to summer — behind schedule, but director Yoshida assures fans that this time they want to take the time to deliver. They insist that this time they will provide an experience worthy of the franchise caliber.
Kazuya Takahashi illustrates the Wandering Minstrel (Yoshi-P) with his Final Fantasy XIV baby-monster friends.
Eorzea returns in Version Two,
where I’ll get back my slimy goobbue.
I miss my idlin’
In splendid Hydaelyn
But my desk chair will just have to do.
LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII ANNOUNCED
After Final Fantasy XIII-2′s cliffhanger ending and “To Be Continued…” message, many fans saw the writing on the wall — a third Final Fantasy XIII game was incoming. Officially announced as part of the Lightning Saga New Developments panel at the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Event, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will serve as the epilogue to the XIII trilogy with heroine Lightning at its forefront.
A markedly different approach than XIII-2, players will control only Lightning as she traverses the world of Novus Partus, a broken realm distorted by the flood of Chaos five hundred years prior. However, time is working against Lightning, as she has thirteen days before the end of the world to complete Bhunivelze’s mission: to guide the souls of humanity to a new world. Lightning’s journey will be a highly malleable one; with each play-through potentially yielding experience based on Lightning’s actions. Lightning herself is highly customizable through her equipment and abilities, and combat has been changed significantly — where timing abilities to break apart enemy weak spots will be your advantage.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is expected to release for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in the latter half of 2013.
A woman returned named Lightning,
whose outfit was rather frightening.
Not a belt or a zipper,
now towels are hipper,
surely this game will be enlightening.
THE YEAR OF FINAL FANTASY MOBILE
This year saw a multitude of releases for iPhone and Android-powered smartphones, including Final Fantasy Dimensions (Final Fantasy Legends: Warriors of Light and Darkness). The game itself is a throwback to the SNES-era Final Fantasy games, but told in an episodic fashion, and a cast of two bands of warriors. Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade (Final Fantasy Brigade) also made the localization cut, a gachapon-style Final Fantasy game aimed at those who play games on their smartphone sparingly. Titles like these weren’t expected to make the jump, what with titles like Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII never making the cut, but many fans were surprised when these titles were announced for localization.
Final Fantasy IV recently made the jump to iOS, with more on the way. Accompanying the official iOS trailer for the game, Square Enix revealed Final Fantasy V (and more, presumably Final Fantasy VI) will make their way to smartphones in some form.
TO BE DETERMINED…
Of course, there are three titles that have yet to reach North American shores (one of which is still six years in limbo and still going). Final Fantasy Type-0 for PlayStation Portable has yet to release overseas, despite involved personnel citing the game’s localization as near complete. The reasoning behind Type-0′s stalled fate may be due to weakness in the portable handheld market (minus smartphones and tablets) with regard to PSP and its successor the PlayStation Vita. This may also be the reason behind Bravely Default: Flying Fairy’s lack of a localization after shallow sales of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light on the DS and with 3DS on shaky ground outside Japan.
A small shoutout must be paid to Final Fantasy X HD, announced over a year ago at Tokyo Game Show 2011. In the time that has elapsed, not a single screenshot nor trailer has made it online, spurring many to believe the game had entered development hell or had been dealt a quiet death. Speculation over problems with the game’s pre-rendered backgrounds being an uphill battle to convert to HD often dominate the discussion amongst anxious fans, though no official announcement nor update regarding the PS3 and Vita-bound title has enlightened us with its development status.
Alas, we’re still without Type-0.
We’re in need of some sort of hero.
Those kids clad in red,
we hope they aren’t dead,
but waiting for our hard-earned DeNiro.
Luminous is something you’ll probably be seeing a lot of with regard to Square Enix games in the future, starting with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and next in Final Fantasy Versus XIII. When the engine itself was unveiled at this year’s E3 in the form of the Agni’s Philosophy tech demo, a lot of rumors swirled that this was the emerging face of a next-generation Final Fantasy XV. Square Enix themselves asked for fan feedback on the main character and world displayed in this tech demo, leading some to believe they were weighing their options — that Agni’s Philosophy could in fact become the next mainline Final Fantasy installment.
One other title we heard bits and pieces about this year was the never-ending saga of Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The current buzz has Versus delayed so that Square Enix can focus the bulk of its developer manpower on finishing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn — which is quite possible. Aside from all this, many cryptic hints were dropped by Square Enix staff, including Final Fantasy series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto and director Tetsuya Nomura himself. While the amalgamation of teasing and vague hints have yet to produce any scrapings of Versus’s ongoing development (other than CEO Yoichi Wada’s confirmation that the project is not dead) 2013 may be the year where we see Versus again.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still hidden in the sleep, after overdosing on a bottle of Ambien.
There once was a game called Versus
that now causes fans to spit curses.
How long must we will wait,
for the new release date?
‘Fore the dev team are laid in their hearses?
Available today for iOS and Android-enabled phones, Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade brings Square Enix together with Mobage for a Final Fantasy-themed mobile title. The game lets you create a character with their own Final Fantasy jobs and abilities, and embark on quests to gather resources to further refine your character. Character and monster designs by Monster Octopus are featured prominently.
Previously announced for Japan as Final Fantasy Brigade, Square Enix revealed today that Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade will be coming to your iOS/Android-powered phone. The mobile-social Final Fantasy game features designs by Monster Octopus (see: Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy), and will allow you to team up with friends to take down powerful bosses and summoned creatures. The game features a classic Final Fantasy job system, and you’ll have your very own airship to take to the skies.
For those that pre-register for Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade, they’ll receive a free three-month exclusive in-game card featuring Cloud Strife which will help them during boss battles. You can register by clicking here.
Launching a new website for Japanese audiences, Square Enix and GREE announce today a new Final Fantasy-themed social game for Japan. GREE is a social media company based in Japan, with a focus on mobage or “mobile games”. The Final Fantasy game is largely a card-based battle system as seen in the images below, and will be compatible with iOS 4 (iPad 2 and 3) and Android 2.2/3.x. Registration for the social mobage is now underway in Japan.
Rev up your iOS devices because Final Fantasy Dimensions is here! The Prologue for the game has arrived on the App Store for download, and will give you a taste of the story and combat. Chapter 1 will cost $2.99, and then each subsequent chapter will go for $8.99. You can get an overview of the game by visiting the official site here. The rest of the chapters are now available for download!
For those of you early birds who have downloaded the prologue, what are your thoughts? Leave a comment below!