French Final Fantasy fansite FFDream recently sent an envoy to Square Enix’s Japan headquarters to meet with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy director Motomu Toriyama and producer Yoshinori Kitase. Previously, it was revealed that the Coliseum would return in some form, and now their full interview is available to read. We’ve provided a translation below, but you can read the original report here.
When asked why the team chose Lightning as the singular playable heroine to this title, Kitase commented that they wanted players to understand and appreciate this character — and that’s why the game is dedicated to Lightning. Up until now (with the exception of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII) Final Fantasy games have been designed around several combatants, so they will try to provide enough strategy to compensate for a solo character.
Toriyama re-iterated that this will be the last chapter in the Final Fantasy XIII series; a definitive ending will come, as opposed to Final Fantasy XIII-2′s cliffhanger. Since players will have thirteen days left before the end of the world, the team’s goal is to acclimate them to the vastly changed remnant of Pulse and Cocoon called Nova Chrysalia. You’ll need to find a balance between exploration, and keeping an eye on the clock as Doomsday nears. However, the team assures us that the world will be worth exploring in subsequent play-throughs. The Coliseum will return in some form, but we’re told that it will be different than it’s appearance in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, there were several paradox endings in addition to the “main ending”. The script of Lightning Returns was designed around this main ending, but the events that occur in the paradox endings may manifest in Lightning Returns.
Composer Masashi Hamauzu, who created the original “Blinded by Light” theme for the Final Fantasy XIII series returns in this game as well. New arrangements of that theme have been created around the idea that this is the final journey of Lightning and the desire to save the world.
Kitase and Toriyama were also asked about any developments with Final Fantasy Versus XIII and a Final Fantasy Type-0 localization, but responded that since they are not on the team working on those games, they could not comment. When asked about other HD remakes or the possibility of a Final Fantasy VII remake, Kitase responded that through working on Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD, it will give them experience for other attempts. He implies there are currently no plans for a remake. The team also hasn’t made a decision on a Collector’s Edition for Final Fantasy X|X-2, but asked for fans to be patient for more information.
Courtesy of Hidemi Matsuzuka, the brand manager for Square Enix’s Play Arts Kai figure line, we got a sneak peek at two new upcoming figures from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Materia hunter Yuffie Kisaragi and good son Rufus Shinra join the line-up — not pictured is Vincent Valentine, who will likely get a painted reveal in the future.
The figures also come with accessories and are pose-able. Rufus ShinRa (as seen below) also has an alternate head and chest, JENOVA case, and shotgun. Yuffie also has her Shuriken weapon, armful of materia, and open/closed sets of hands for your personal display customization. Both figures come with a display stand
While a release date on the figures is still at large, more information will come soon.
Update: The official Square Enix e-Store has listed the Yuffie and Rufus figures for release on September 20th for 8800 yen each. (Roughly $90 USD.) View the listings by clicking here.
Tsuyoshi Sekito may be best known as the lead guitarist in The Black Mages with songs like “Advent: One-Winged Angel”, but Final Fantasy fans have also heard him in The Star Onions and generously throughout the series. This includes “Into the Adder’s Nest” from Final Fantasy XIV, and re-arranging and composing new tracks for Final Fantasy Origins (a compilation of Final Fantasy I and II for PlayStation that released in 2003).
Sekito is also abundantly featured as a performer and arranger on many Square Enix titles in the last fifteen years, a bit of an unsung hero! This includes arranging and performing music for the Kingdom Hearts, Mana, and SaGa series, such as the should-be-famous “Ardent Rhythym” from Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song-, featured in the video above.
A new album called Tsuyoshi Sekito’s Guitarworks Selection, is a compilation of his work in Square Enix’s videogames. It’s now available on iTunes for $5.99 (or 69¢ for each track). Check it out by clicking here.
01Those Who Fight Further — Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete 02Violator — Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children 03Vamo’ Alla Flamenco — The Black Mages II: The Skies Above 04Burning Spirits — Dawn of Mana 05Ardent Rhythm — Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- 06Hallowed Ground — Gyromancer 07Bullet Through Friendship — Mindjack 08Spiral G! — Death By Cube! 09Reversal! — The Last Remnant 10Scramble Battle — Monster×Dragon
Over a year ago, buzz began around a few stealthy updates to Steam that indicated a possible re-release of the PC versions of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. Last year, Square Enix went ahead with Final Fantasy VII PC — but as an exclusive to its own eStore. Fast forward to today, where new updates to Steam including the EULA (End User License Agreement) for Final Fantasy VII have led some to believe that Steam-powered ports are still on their way.
Final Fantasy VIII is not exempt, as updates to its Steam registry include achievements were uncovered. The achievements pertain to collecting various Guardian Forces and SeeD Ranks — or completing sidequests and amassing Gil.
For discerning PC gamers and Final Fantasy enthusiasts, would you be more inclined to buy these games through a service like Steam or through Square Enix’s eShop? How does the inclusion of DRM (which came with Final Fantasy VII’s PC re-release) factor into your purchasing decisions? What new features of a PC re-release do you find the most interesting? What would you like to see Square Enix add for this type of release?
Leave your thoughts and speculation in our comments section below!
Final Fantasy series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto posted an update to the Official US PlayStation Blog today to announce that select Final Fantasy titles on the PlayStation Network will be 50% off when the store updates tomorrow.
Similar sales have taken place in Europe to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series. So for those of you who have yet to round out your PSone classics collection or need to get Dissidia, now’s your chance to save some green in the process! The following titles on discount are:
Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy
Dissidia 012 Prologus: FINAL FANTASY
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
Final Fantasy I
Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy IX
You may remember YouTube variety duo Max and Sam from our previous feature Hay Fever Encounter have contributed a new entry into their Geekapella (that’s geeks and acapella combined, mind you) series with this entry featuring Final Fantasy VII. The video is set to “Opening ~ Bombing Mission”, the first song to play over the game’s bombastic introductory chapter.
For more from Max and Sam, check out their YouTube channel here, and their Tumblr here!
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?
Coming to iOS, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy returns with more characters and music to level up to. Available now on the iTunes store, the game itself comes with a “Compose Scores” mode which will let players upload their own custom scores for others to download and try.
The initial game is free and comes with two songs and 13 playable characters. The rest must be purchased in application at $.99 per song and $1.99 per extra character. Song bundles for each entry in the series are also being offered up at $2.99. Balthier (FFXII), Auron (FFX), Hope (FFXIII), Tifa (FFVII), Rinoa (FFVIII), Ramza (FFT), Celes (FFVI), Garnet (FFIX), and Serah (FFXIII-2) will add to Theatrhythm’s roster of characters. New songs from Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children have also made the cut in this version.
The game is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad2, new iPad (3rd generation), iPad (4th generation), and iPad mini. Compatible with iOS 4.3 and later.
You can read more on the official iTunes listing here.
Square Enix announced earlier this month that it would be opening a new café and merchandise shop in East Side Shinjuku called Artnia. As you can easily imagine, the café menu comes with a variety of Square Enix-inspired beverages and snacks — including ones from the Final Fantasy series. Thirsty for a Shiva cocktail? How about a Materia cocktail? Or maybe ice cream with a chocolate Buster Sword busting into it? It’s quite similar to Luida’s Bar for the Dragon Quest series.
Artnia will open for business in December, but its menu has hit the web early! Take a look below!
Given how popular and long-running the Final Fantasy series is, it’s almost hard not to think of at least one cameo in some other videogame — or other form of media. Heck, that’s half of Kingdom Hearts! Either product placement or fan reverence has gotten a Final Fantasy character or theme in a place where we probably wouldn’t be expecting, whether it’s tastefully done or not so tastefully done.
So is there any particular Final Fantasy cameo that’s stuck out in your mind for any particular reason?