More ‘Technically Developed’ FF XV PC Version Being Considered

The Final Fantasy series is one of the most iconic creations in video game history and continues to attract a very passionate following. Unfortunately, the latest entries haven’t really been noteworthy or lived up to the original’s magical formula. Despite this, they are still a visual treat and took the previous consoles to their technical limits. Of course, the Final Fantasy franchise has strong roots in the console market and many of the games didn’t initially have a PC version.

Thankfully, the influx of obscure Japanese games and willingness from publishers to unleash JRPGs on the PC platform makes the notion of console exclusives less prevalent. Some time ago, Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2 and XIII Lightning returns came to Steam with enhanced visuals and an improved frame-rate. The next game in the series, Final Fantasy XV isn’t coming to PC, however this could change in the near future.

Hajime Tabata said in an interview with JeuxVideo which was translated via a Reddit post:

“I’m quite positive about the idea of developing a PC version, but I would like to make a very different project if possible. The reason I’m interested is that a PC version would propel the game to another technical level. I have in mind a version of Final Fantasy XV that is more technically developed. This version could incorporate things that we were forced to abandon because of the limitations of home consoles. With the PC, this would be an opportunity to release a version far superior in terms of quality and tech. That said, if we choose to develop this project, the development will start from scratch by doing research of what would be the best technology to use. It might not be a simple port of the console version.”

While the current consoles are capable of running Final Fantasy XV, it might not fulfil the development team’s full artistic vision. Perhaps, a PC version in the future without any technical constraints could feature smoother gameplay and 4K support. Also, when the PC version is being made, it’s likely to be launched on new consoles with greatly improved hardware.

Square Enix Considering “Higher Spec” Version of Final Fantasy XV for PC

While Square Enix has not yet confirmed that its forthcoming JRPG epic Final Fantasy XV will arrive on PC, it seems that, if it does, it will be a “higher spec” version running on DirectX 12. The current version of the game, due out for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year, was built using DirectX 11 “generation tech.”

“The DX11 generation tech used for #FFXV is for console only,” a Tweet from the official Final Fantasy XV Twitter account reads. “Once FFXV is out on console we may look at a higher spec version for PC.”

Whether this “higher spec” PC version of the game actually see the light of day is yet to be decided, though, despite admissions from Square Enix that it is “aware of the big call for a PC version.”

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to do simultaneous development on a PC and console version for XV,” FFXV Director Hajime Tabata told Engadget. “We had to focus on the console version and our goal was to maximize, optimize everything for the HD consoles. Once that’s done, then we will definitely take a good, hard look at PC and what we need to do, and consider all our options. But right now we aren’t decided, we’re still considering a lot of things.”

The free Platinum Demo of Final Fantasy XV is available for download on PS4 and Xbox One now.

Final Fantasy IX for PC to Boast Graphical Upgrades

Everyone has their own opinion on which is the best entry in the Final Fantasy series is, and many of those fans have seen their favourites appear on the PC in recent years. From the last gen console trilogy of XIII to ports of the 3D remakes of early classics III and IV, so many are available on Steam for JRPG fans. Two of the three PS1 entries in the series came to Steam years ago, and finally, the last of the three is making the jump, with Final Fantasy IX set to be released on Steam in early 2016.

This release isn’t just an effortless port of the PS1 classic either, with the game’s Steam page revealing more about this new version of the game. Most notable is the increase in detail in the character textures, which have presumably been through an upscaling process. This seems to cause a rather odd effect when set against some of the game’s backdrops, which don’t appear to have been given the same treatment. According to PCGamesN, higher detail art assets exist, but are sadly unavailable to Square Enix. Unfortunately, like many of Square’s FFX assets, the files that could be used to add these details into a game have been lost over the years, making improved versions of the games impossible without remaking them entirely. The addition of these higher resolution textures and new higher definition cutscenes come at a cost, with the game requiring a whopping 20 GB of disk space, which is a lot, especially for a game that was originally contained on four CDs.

Along with the graphic improvements, this version of FFIX also includes the usual set of new features to be found on Final Fantasy ports, with a suite of achievements available to unlock, as well as seven “game boosters”, which include a high-speed mode and the ability to disable encounters. Both of which could be a welcome addition to those who have played the game before and wish to zip through random battles. If the ports of the other two PS1 games are anything to go by, expect the other boosters to include character level and stat boosts and the ability to automatically max out your gil, with features more akin to cheats than anything else.

As a long time fan of the RPG franchise, I’m happy to see yet another of it’s entries make its way to the PC. With almost every single main game in the series now available on PC, including 2 MMOs, Final Fantasy is the most accessible it has ever been. I hope that this release of FFIX, one of the lesser known gems in the series will draw even more people into Final Fantasy and increase interest in a PC release of the upcoming Final Fantasy XV.

Kitase and Nomura Explain Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Episodic Format

Square Enix caused quite a stir when it announced that its forthcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake is to be what has been described as a “multi-part series”. Now, the game’s producers, Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase, have spoken out about why Square Enix has chosen the episodic route for release, in interviews posted by Famitsu and Dengeki.

The pair were asked to explain the decision to make the game episodic (translation courtesy of NeoGaf user JeffAtomsky):

Kitase: “The idea that a remake of Final Fantasy VII would not fit into a single release was there from the very beginning. We still can’t share more information about its multiple parts, but please look forward to future announcements.”

Nomura: “If we dedicated our time to a single release, parts of it would become summarized. We’d have to cut some parts, and additional parts would come in few, so rather than remake the game as a full volume, we decided to do multiple parts.

Kitase: “As you can see in the trailer, we showed Sector 1 and Sector 8, but in those areas alone, I think you can see a lot of density. When you’re remaking the entirety of the original version in that quality, it’s not possible to fit it all in one release.”

Kitase and Nomura also revealed more about the game’s battle system:

Kitase: “Rather than a command-based battle ensuing when you encounter an enemy, we’re aiming for a seamless active battle, as you can see in the trailer.”

Nomura: “Regarding the battle speed and tempo, for the sake of a stress-free battle, we want to do something on the level of Dissidia Final Fantasy. As far as the degree of action goes, it’s Dissidia Final Fantasy, then Kingdom Hearts, then Final Fantasy VII Remake. There won’t be any actions that require a technique. By using the new system, we want to do action battles while also being able to fight while thinking strategically.”

Nomura [RE: FFVII’s original ATB system]: “In the end, it’s based on Final Fantasy VII, so elements like the ATB gauge and Limit Breaks will appear with new ways to be used. Please look forward to how this game will evolve through the remake.”

Finally, they responded to queries regarding any potential changes to the story:

Nomura: “In addition to delving into these episodes more deeply, we’re preparing a number of mechanisms and such. To those who played the original version will know the important parts and understand the story from the beginning to the end. Also for these people, I hope that they can be surprised once again.”

Kitase: “I don’t want the remake to end as something nostalgic. I want to get the fans of the original version excited.We’ll be making adjustments to the story with this feeling in mind.”

While an episodic release structure may anger some, it is in keeping with Square Enix’s stance regarding a remake of Final Fantasy VII for the past two decades. Until the surprise unveiling of Final Fantasy VII Remake at E3 earlier this year, Kitase maintained that adapting the game for modern, HD formats would be cost-prohibitive due to its sheer scale. Just last year, Kitase told Eurogamer that a remake “would take a lot to happen.” It seems that the episodic structure facilitates that “lot.”

Is this a cash-grab or does is it pragmatic to release such an ambitious undertaking incrementally?

Final Fantasy VII Remake Will be Episodic

The term masterpiece is used far too often these days, but in the case of Final Fantasy VII, it’s thoroughly deserved. As a huge fan of the JRPG genre, the likes of Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger and more didn’t even come close to the mainstream impact of Final Fantasy VII. Unlike previous games in the series, Final Fantasy VII managed cater to the core JRPG audience and entice new players into the genre. The game’s magnificent story, awe-inspiring soundtrack and excellent battle system combined to produce an almost faultless experience. Many consider Final Fantasy VII to be the crowing achievement of the original PlayStation and showcased the future of detailed, story-driven titles.

Without trying to get overly nostalgic, Final Fantasy VII was an integral part of my childhood, and despite its age, I’ve still gone back and replayed it many times. As you can imagine, I could hardly contain my excitement when a proper remaster was first announced at E3 earlier this year. Only a few days ago, Square Enix unveiled a trailer showing the absolutely stunning remake which surpassed my wildest dreams. Unfortunately, Square Enix is planning to release the game via an episodic form according to a press release:

“During this past weekend’s PlayStation Experience in San Francisco, SQUARE ENIX® debuted a new trailer for FINAL FANTASY® VII REMAKE, the full remake of the award-winning role-playing game, FINAL FANTASY VII. The new trailer features the first CG scenes as well as gameplay footage.FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE will be told across a multi-part series, with each entry providing its own unique experience.”

Recently, games like Life is Strange have shown the viability of an episodic business model. However, these revolve around dialogue choices and pretty simplified gameplay. In contrast to this, Final Fantasy VII relies on mini games, a battle system, and more advanced features. The idea of releasing a JRPG via episodic means is extremely silly and I’m pretty baffled about how it’s going to work. Hopefully, the game adopts a reasonable pricing model and doesn’t try to charge well above $60 once all the episodes have been released.

This is a worrying development, and bound to cause some apprehension from Final Fantasy’s adoring fanbase. The criticism of this decision is legitimate as the episodic model will probably restrict the story into sections and break up the game’s flow.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for PS4 Screenshots & Release Date Revealed

Square Enix’s official US Twitter account has revealed that the release date for Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on PlayStation 4 is 12th May. This marks the second time the PlayStation 2 classic and its sequel have had HD remastered versions after the PlayStation 3 release back in 2013.

The official Japanese site, however, cites 14th May as the release date. Also revealed are a series of crisp new screenshots from the forthcoming titles.

Source: DualShockers

Final Fantasy XV Gets Three English Gameplay Videos

Thanks to the latest Active Time Report, we have three new videos showcasing gameplay in Final Fantasy XV, and this time they’re in English.

The videos, introduced by Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata, show the approach to a dungeon, played on Xbox One, and inside the dungeon, taken from the PS4 version. Finally, we have a BBC-esque “World of Wonder” documentary, which shows off some of the weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit the game’s milieu.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ExfN-qTW-d8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=liW836zMys8

Source: DualShockers

New Final Fantasy XV Trailer Shows Gameplay on Xbox One

Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata revealed the gameplay for Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae (the demo release of the game), and it looks pretty spectacular. The video was showcased during the Active Time Report Page 4.0 broadcast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PIzYCg91WHc

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae will be made available for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 one hour after the release of Final Fantasy Type-O HD. Tabata says that the full game is around 60% complete at this point.

Source: DualShockers

Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch PlayStation 3 Review

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch has been on my “to play” list for quite some time now and while this is an effective spoiler for the rest of the review, I’m annoyed at myself for leaving it for so long! Hailing from the masterful developers at Level-5; who have created a phenomenal collection of games over the last 16 years, including the legendary Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, White Knight Chronicles and the Professor Layton series. Then we have the added support of Studio Ghibli; the legendary animation studio behind many of our times greatest animated masterpieces, with too many to mention. Finally the mix is complete by the publisher Namco Bandai, who have long been at the front line when it comes to Eastern influenced games. Combined, the companies have a considerable war chest to create something magical, and Ni No Kuni is the end result of such a collaboration.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a real mixture of influence, with the obvious J-RPG elements that each team involved can bring. With that, the game features a very unique range of settings and make-up that have as much in common with a western RPG as it does with a J-RPG.

Before we continue, I want to make sure that you know the following paragraph includes plot spoilers!

Set in the town of Motorville, young Oliver is your typical adventurous young boy, keen for excitement, but forever cautious of being caught by his mother while sneaking around town with his friend. A series of events lead up to a tragic loss for Oliver when events unfold and his mother passes away. It is at this point that the game really takes off, as Oliver is met by the King of the Fairies, also known as Drippy, who may in fact be the greatest sidekick in RPG history. With a thick Welsh accent that you really wouldn’t expect in a J-RPG style game, Drippy takes you on a journey to defeat Shadar, (effectively this games “Voldemort”) as you go out into the world to become a wizard, defeat Shadar and save your mother’s soul mate in the other world, which you hope will in turn save your mother’s life.

The games story is full of fantasy, mystery and a massive amount of fun. Despite the games story of despair and impending doom, the characters high spirits persevere and keep you smiling with their quick wit, jokes and puns aplenty throughout. The game focuses heavily on cooperation and friendship with the people you meet and it doesn’t take more than a few moments to feel like you’re playing around in a Ghibli universe. Characters are imaginative and unique. Young Oliver (your lead character) gets to explore a beautifully designed world full of towns, people, beasts and a whole lot more as you seek out the help you need to become a more powerful wizard, but always happy to help those in need as you quest to save your mother’s life.

It’s full of interesting twists on the typical boy saves the world formula that most RPG’s follow, especially since you’re able to freely open up a portal and travel between the human world of Motorville; a lovely American town full of happy citizens and people going about their business and the fantasy realm where you’ll find wizards, witches, and fairies with broad Welsh accents roaming around. It’s the travelling between worlds that is important, and the notion that everyone has their soul mate on the other side, and how one good deed, or wrongdoing can influence the lives of their soul mate.

The game is packed full of features that keep things fresh throughout the 60 hours or so story line,. You can play through like most any other RPG and blast through it to a certain extent, but as with most RPG’s you’ll struggle a fair bit unless you focus on side quests, which can earn you rewards, exploration and grinding a few battles, but most importantly capturing creatures to fight alongside you. It’s these “familiars” who do most of the fighting for you and think Pokemon/Final Fantasy summons to get a rough idea of how this works. Each familiar in your creature cage can be deployed in battle, be equipped with weapons and armour, level up, and even grow into new creatures and with hundred of them out there, you’ll find a lot of fun and time can be put into this.

There is a lot to love about this game, from the amount of emotions that the characters take your through, to the games gorgeous world and people who you’ll easily fall in love with. You can spend plenty of time just walking around the towns and enjoying the scenery and sounds, with Drippy providing an amusing backing track as you create your own path in this very interactive Ghibli movie/game. This is further enhanced by a “nothing short of stunning” orchestral soundtrack, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less from the team that developed the best Dragon Quest games (IMO).

This is one of the finest RPG’s to come out in a very long time and while it does have a few minor issues that stick out, they’re easily brushed over thanks to the most enjoyable characters and settings. The battle mechanics are great, offering a mixture of run-around combat like you would find in Zelda, with turn based commands of a more classic Final Fantasy title and a considerable amount of challenge to them to test seasoned RPG fans. Random encounters are a little too frequent at times, but you can see enemies in the world and avoid them some of the time.

Tutorials come thick and fast in Ni No Kuni, even 30 hours in your still being taught game mechanics and it can be hard to keep on track of them at times, but once all the major stuff is out-of-the-way, amazingly around the 12 hours mark,  the games pace really picks up, combat becomes more dynamic and you can really dive into the familiar capturing system that the game offers. Even once you’ve done with that you’ll find no end of imaginative side quests and monster hunts to keep you from heading for the end credits.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/WrCJQJcZ_bM[/youtube]

Pros

  • Stunning art design throughout
  • Ghibli Studios animated cut-scenes are beautiful
  • Voice overs are superb and full of spirit
  • Lots of great characters
  • Deep and involving battles system
  • Creature capture / levelling system
  • 60+ hours of gameplay and beyond for those willing to explore everything

Cons

  • Too many tutorials at times
  • Main battle mechanics don’t really take off until after around 10 hours of gameplay
  • More of those gorgeous cut-scenes would have been nice
  • Voice acting is a little more broken up with sub-titles only sections than I would have liked

“Easily one of my top ten RPG’s of all time and one I’m keen to revisit in the future if only to enjoy the magical characters and world that Ghibli and Level-5 have created. It may be a little complicated at time for newcomers to the genre, but the story alone will be enough to keep you playing through regardless.”

Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch PlayStation 3 Review

Microsoft Returning To Tokyo Game Show For 2013

Microsoft are set to make a return to Tokyo in a big way, after skipping out on events for 2012 in Japanese games market they’re set to take their new toys to battle it out with Sony on yet another battle ground.

Microsoft has historically had no luck in Japanese marks with their Xbox products, the general gaming community has little time for a western developed and focused console from a company that they have little love for in general, especially when Sony are Japanese and have local developers catering to the desires of the population, especially a large selection of JRPG titles for the Sony console.

Yet Microsoft don’t often back down from a fight, most often because they can financially afford to take the risk more than most companies and this year should be an exciting one for Japanese audiences who have been showing interest in the new Xbox One more than they have previous Xbox consoles, which is interesting given that many retailers don’t even stock the Xbox 360 in the country due to lack of popularity!

Microsoft have to make some big changes if they want to succeed in this market, JRPG is a tough market to crack and NFL titles are of little use there so Microsoft will need to have some new development deals under its belt to cater to that audience in a big way, especially if they want to compete with Sony on their home turf.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TGS.