While the testing for Phase 2 in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn‘s beta has concluded, the team is busily preparing for the next phase that will open up much more of the game for testers. Square Enix posted a handful of new in-development high-resolution screenshots this morning which feature some of the newly-revamped locales.
In the images below you can see that the UI has gone through a few aesthetic tweaks, and that the player is controlling a Thaumaturge class Lalafell. There are several different places in Thanalan (a mostly arid region of Eorzea) shown, such as: an overlook in what I presume is western Thanalan near the sea, Uldah in the distant nightscape, and in the city of Ul’dah itself. It should be noted that the map has transparency, which may be adjustable going forward.
The next phase of closed-beta testing (Phase 3)will begin in June for both PC and PlayStation 3. You can apply by following this link. Following that will be the open beta (Phase 4) followed by the official release. If you’re wondering what time-frame the team is shooting for, they assure us it will release in the “hot summer” — as if to rule out later in September.
What areas are you most excited to revisit and re-explore in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? Those of you who are completely or generally new to the game, what strikes you the most about the areas featured in media thus-far? Do you find the new Eorzea to be more appealing to play in? Leave us your thoughts in a comment below!
Update: Four new screenshots have been posted featuring the Limsa Lominsa/La Noscea region. Update #2: Three new screenshots from Ul’dah/Limsa Lominsa. Update #3: Four new screenshots from Limsa Lominsa at night time.
Believe it or not, it’s been nearly thirteen years since Final Fantasy IX released in North America. Okay, maybe it’s not that hard to believe. The last Final Fantasy title for the original PlayStation served as a reflecting point for the franchise, and interwove elements and themes from the classics with the gameplay of the new (at the time) titles.
NeoGAF member Mama Robotnik has a penchant for digging up relics from the past, and has uncovered a veritable treasure trove of concept artwork and pre-rendered backgrounds from the game. I’ve chosen just a few to feature here from the dozens available, but you can view them all by reading their post here.
The game itself started development in 1998 at Squaresoft’s Honolulu office, in the middle of Final Fantasy VIII‘s development in Japan. At first, the game was planned to be a spinoff, but it was eventually given a proper Roman numeral as development progressed. In around 1999, most of the staff that had wrapped production on Final Fantasy VIII were moved to the Final Fantasy X project such as: Yoshinori Kitase, Kazushige Nojima, Yusuke Naora, and Tetsuya Nomura. This, of course, was due to Final Fantasy IX being deep in development. The game’s staff, including character designer Toshiyuki Itahana, eventually moved on to different projects like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who conceived the game and wrote its scenario, regards it as his favorite in the series.
What fond memories do you have with Final Fantasy IX? Would you like to see Square Enix revisit this world at some point in the future — or would you rather “let memory be a memory”? What about Final Fantasy IX stood out to you as an example of what a Final Fantasy game should be? Do you agree with the decision that Final Fantasy IX should become a numbered title? Leave us a comment with your thoughts below!
In 2012 we celebrated 25 years of the Final Fantasy series. With the newly-announced Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy -The Celebration- Blu-ray, you’ll now be able to own a piece of the franchise’s musical history. Each numbered Final Fantasy is represented in the selections, along with a brand-new battle theme medley arranged by Distant Worlds conductor Arnie Roth and Eric Roth and featuring the Kangawa Phiharmonic Orchesta. The Blu-ray version will include a feature where you will be able to switch angles between the orchestra and the video presentation.
Square Enix has provided a listing for the Blu-ray on their official Japanese e-Store here, and on Amazon Japan here. For more info, including samples, check out the officia website here.
Square Enix has provided us a sneak preview of the Blu-ray per the video above. A release date for June 26th has been set in Japan, and will be priced at 6500 uen (roughly $66 USD). Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy will be performing in Atlanta, Georgia on June 7th, 2013 — be sure to snatch up tickets soon! More information here.
01 Final Fantasy Series — “Prelude”
02 Final Fantasy I-III Medely
03 Final Fantasy IV — “Battle with the Four Fiends”
04 Final Fantasy V — “Main Theme”
05 Final Fantasy VI — “The Phantom Forest”
06 Final Fantasy VII — “One-Winged Angel”
07 Final Fantasy VIII — “Don’t Be Afraid”
08 Final Fantasy IX — “You’re Not Alone”
09 Final Fantasy X — “To Zanarkand”
10 Final Fantasy Series — “Chocobo Medley 2012″
11 Final Fantasy XI — “Procession of Heroes ~ Vana’diel March Medley”
12 Final Fantasy XII — “Dalmasca Estersand”
13 Final Fantasy XIII — “Blinded by Light”
14 Final Fantasy XIV — “Answers”
15 Final Fantasy IV — “Theme of Love”
16 Final Fantasy VIII — “Eyes on Me”
17 Final Fantasy VI — “Opera: Maria and Draco”
18 Final Fantasy Series — “Battle Theme Medley & Victory Fanfare”
19 Final Fantasy Series — “Final Fantasy”
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.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is at this weekend’s Nico Nico Chokaigi to present the game in a special cross-promotion with Windows 8. The team was on hand to talk about the game, including director/producer Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida. Yoshi-P’s stage performance included fusing with a Miqo’te to become “Yoshi’te”, the result of which you can see in the images below. There was also Final Fantasy XIV-themed cosplay, complete with the new default outfit designs by Kazuya Takahashi.
A Realm Reborn’s beta testing is currently in Phase 2 of 4. In Phase 3, which is safe to put in May, the PlayStation 3 beta will commence; Square Enix is working with Sony to prepare for this. In Phase 4, the team will shift to an open beta and begin testing PvP (Player-versus-Player) content. With regard to the upcoming release, Yoshi-P confirmed that the game will release this summer and simultaneously on PC and PS3.
The Final Fantasy XIV team also lifted the veil off two new Japanese voice actors that will be voicing key characters in the game. Yuuichi Nakamura (Cid Raines — Final Fantasy XIII, Trey — Final Fantasy Type-0) will voice Thancred and Shinnosuke Tachibana (Kristoph — Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, Capel — Infinite Undiscovery) will voice a new character named Alfino. In our earlier report, voice-work for a new trailer was underway — that trailer is now scheduled to be released in the third week of May.
The development of a smartphone app as a companion to the game is also planned, and players will be able to check the online status of their friends and Free Company cohorts as well as check a database of in-game information including what items drop in a certain dungeon. A new soundtrack is also in the works, featuring music from Masayoshi Soken and Nobuo Uematsu.
The second day of the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn presentation will contain a panel with Yoshi-P and 2ch founder Hiroyuki Nishimura, and we’ll bring you any notable developments!
You won’t get far in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn without crossing blades with the Beastmen Tribes. These tribes of monsters (though I’m sure they’d object to that classification) inhabit various regions of Eorzea. Through their wanton use of aether, the lifeblood of the planet, they summon their Primal gods — but not without drawing attention from the Empire.
Of course, mentioning the Beastmen needs mentioning of the Primals, who appear as classic Final Fantasy summons. In Version 1.0, Ifrit, Garuda, and Good King Moggle Mog are each challenged with a party. In A Realm Reborn, more Primals will appear. Through an official website update, Square Enix brings us more information and images of the Primals and Beastman Tribes. Expand the article to read on.
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.
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.
Releasing on Monday, April 29th, a brand-new patch for Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin will introduce high-level battle content for veteran players and those that have made their way to cap. This new content comes in two forms: Delve and Otherworldy Skirmishes.
Delve: By using a special item, up to eighteen players can plunge into spatial distortions known as “fractures” to vanquish five powerful monsters and their leader. Players are rewarded with powerful equipment after completing a successful fracture.
Otherworldly Skirmishes: Up to six different players can enter an ethereal realm to fight against a swarm of enemies by using a special sculpture in the land of Ulbuka. Surviving against the swarm will yield victors a cache of powerful armor and additional armaments.
Check them out in the “in-development” screenshots below!
Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin is available now for PC and Xbox 360 for $29.99. The Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition includes the game and its four previous expansions and various scenarios in one box, and is available for $39.99. You can also purchase the collection on Steam, and right now a 25% discount applies.
Square Enix has provided another round of screenshots from the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn beta — currently underway. We’re in the second of four phases, with the next phase open to everyone who purchased the original game and then-some. It’s then that Square Enix will boot up the PlayStation 3 version of the beta, so for those of you patiently waiting to try the game out on a console, we’re not far off! The following screenshots are from the PC version of the game.
If you’re interested in signing up for the beta, you can do so by clicking here. If you want to scope out how well the game runs on your PC, you can download the first of two benchmarks by clicking here. Another benchmark equipped with a character creator will be released closer to the game’s ship date.
At this juncture, what are you most excited to play in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? Will this be your first MMORPG or have you made the rounds with Final Fantasy XI or other franchises in the past. What do you think Final Fantasy XIV needs to get right to be a success in your eyes? Leave us your thoughts by posting a comment below!