DX12’s Bonuses Only Achievable by Dropping DX11 Says Hitman Dev

When new technology comes out it tends to take time for systems and developers to get to grips with them, with their advertised bonuses normally offered at some price, but is it too steep with Hitman’s developer saying that if you want to experience DX12’s bonuses only achievable by dropping DX11 support completely.

Hitman was released earlier this year to favourable reviews, with an entire YouTube series putting people in command of Agent 47, including the likes of the chuckle brothers. The lead developer behind the game, Jonas Meyer of IO Interactive, has not stated that if you want the 20% CPU and 50% GPU bonuses that Microsoft promise with DX12 you will have to drop DirectX 11 support entirely. Hitman, on the other hand, was more of a port from the former framework to DX12.

With games getting released more and more often with DX12 at their core, such as the remake of the classic Gears of War games, suffering from less than amazing performances the new graphical library doesn’t look to show off as much as it was advertised just yet.

When asked about another low-level API for graphics, Vulkan, Meyer responded by describing the API as a “graphics programmer’s wet dream” but stated that they don’t have any plans to add Vulkan support to Hitman.

Final Fantasy IX PC Version Requires Android SDK

Final Fantasy IX is often regarded as one of the series’ greatest games and became a real showcase of the PlayStation One’s ability to offer deep, enriching gameplay. Of course, it’s usually overshadowed by Final Fantasy VII but this shouldn’t detract from the new skill system and captivating story. Historically, Final Fantasy games have predominately adopted a console focus and very few titles initially released on the PC platform. However, the dramatic rise of mobile gaming and PC encouraged Square Enix to port these games after seeing the possibility of enhance sales.

The latest entry to arrive on Steam is Final Fantasy IX and the company has just released the game’s plug-ins disclosure. Unbelievably, the PC version requires the Android SDK to run as well as the Autobuilder license:

Plugin Licenses

In order to play FINAL FANTASY IX it is necessary to download and install a software installer program and certain third-party plugins. The installer software incorporates certain third-party plug-ins, which are governed by the open source licenses and other provisions ascribed to them below. The application of these licenses is limited strictly only to the plugins to which they are stated expressly to apply:

Android Support Library / Android SDK Terms and Conditions, Apache License 2.0

Android Support Library

http://developer.android.com/tools/sdk/ndk/index.html

Android SDK

http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html

Terms and Conditions

http://developer.android.com/sdk/terms.html

Copyright (C) 2005-2013 The Android Open Source Project

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

As expected due to the game’s age, the system requirements are extremely low:

MINIMUM:

    • OS: Vista /7/8/8.1/10
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz or higher
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS or ATI Radeon HD4650 or higher
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectSound® compatible sound card(DirectX®9.0c or later)

RECOMMENDED:

    • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10 (32bit / 64bit)
    • Processor: Core i5 2520 2.5GHz or better
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 20 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectSound® compatible sound card(DirectX®9.0c or later)
 Are you looking forward to playing Final Fantasy IX on PC?

Each Final Fantasy VII Remake Episode Will be as Long as Final Fantasy XIII

Reception was mixed when Square Enix announced that its remake of Final Fantasy VII was to be split into episodes, with some fans accusing the developer of milking the game’s release. However, Final Fantasy VII Remake producer Yoshinori Kitase has revealed that each episode will be the length of a single game, comparing the length of each instalment to Final Fantasy XIII.

“It will essentially be a full-scale game for each part of the multi-part series. In XIII, each installment told the story from a different angle,” Kitase told Game Informer’s Joe Juba (via TechRadar). “It was kind of like approaching an unknown territory in a sense.”

“Whereas with Final Fantasy VII Remake, we already have a pre-existing story, so it wouldn’t really make sense if that isn’t encompassed in a multi-part series […] So, if we’re just looking at each of these parts, one part should be on par with the scale of one Final Fantasy XIII game,” Kitase added.

Kitase is a Final Fantasy veteran, having been involved in the franchise since the very first release, plus RPG classic Chrono Trigger.

“I, along with [Tetsuya] Nomura-san and [Kazushige] Nojima-san – who are involved with the remake – were also involved with the original Final Fantasy,” Kitase said. “We were the people who created it, so in that sense, we don’t think anything is untouchable. That isn’t to say we’re changing everything!”

While the release date for the first episode of Final Fantasy VII Remake has not been revealed, it’s a safe bet that more details will be revealed at this Summer’s E3.

Free-To-Play Online Game Nosgoth Has Been Cancelled

The Legacy of Kain franchise has been largely ignored by developers over the last few years, but some fans were appeased by the idea that a free-to-play spin-off was in the works. Named Nosgoth, this was a multiplayer action game developed by Psyonix and published by Square Enix for Microsoft Windows. Sadly, the title has been officially cancelled during its beta testing phase, and Square Enix has recently delivered the news on its forums.

“It is with a heavy heart and an immense sense of sadness that we must announce the end of Nosgoth’s development. Servers will continue to run until 31st May 2016, during which time you will be able to play the game as normal. After that date, Nosgoth will be taken offline for the last time.”

Square Enix also provided an FAQ, which clearly states that players will still be able to enjoy the game until May 31, albeit without being able to make any real-world purchases. Moreover, purchases made since March 1 will be refunded entirely, which seems fair. The game certainly wasn’t the worse in the world, but it didn’t really represent Legacy of Kain properly. Those games were incredibly well-made and impressed with great stories and voice acting, which is why a simple F2P title could not possibly do them justice.

Final Fantasy XV Director Admits Series was in a “Tough Spot”

Hajime Tabata, the director of the forthcoming Final Fantasy XV, has admitted that the series has failed to deliver a truly successful game during the HD era – a “tough spot,” as he puts it – and that the latest entry in the franchise has been forced to take a more “modern” approach in order to be a “challenger again”.

“After a fresh start as Final Fantasy XV, the part that we felt was most necessary was “to modernize Final Fantasy”,” Tabata told Siliconera. “Basically, to make a Final Fantasy that works in today’s era. In order to do this, we thought that “Final Fantasy will become the challenger again” and we decided to do everything we can to make this possible.”

Tabata blamed the trappings of HD game development for the oft-criticised linear nature of Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix’s previous single-player RPG entry (since Final Fantasy XIV is an MMORPG), saying, “I understand that Final Fantasy XIII also had some rough criticism, but that is not what was aimed for, and I’m sure the objective for it was much higher than that. In the end, it became a title known for being linear.”

“That was not something that was aimed for,” he said, “but considering the way things were being done, they were not able to break the walls of HD production, and I believe that the truth of the matter is that they simply weren’t able to make a proper landing.”

He also acknowledged that the burden of the Final Fantasy name weighed heavily on the shoulders of FFXIII’s development team, adding, “If anything, how to break through such a reality was what made it heavy, in that sense. The heaviness of “the Final Fantasy IP is in a tough spot” was at its peak there.”

Final Fantasy XV is due out for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year.

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.

Thief Movie to Steal Our Screens

Thief is a series in which you are playing just that, as a thief getting by on your wits and your skills. The latest game in the series made by Square Enix, currently on sale on Steam for only £5, saw mixed reviews. If the game wasn’t for you, that may be changed when you get to experience it all over again in a new form, on as the Thief Movie.

Los Angeles-based production company Straight up Films has acquired the rights to make a film based on the Square Enix franchise. Currently, the screenplay is set to be written by Adam Mason and Simon Boyes, with all hints pointing to a storyline involving a master thief trying to restore freedom which has been taken away by a magic-wielding tyrant.

With Khalid Jones (from Source Rock and Square Enix) acting as an executive producer, Square Enix still have some say in the creation of the movie, raising hopes that it won’t be a video game movie which fails fans of the series.

Are you excited about seeing a master thief run around in a dark victorian-era city fighting for freedom? If you could take one video game and make a full blockbuster movie on, what would you choose and why?

Square Enix Offers David Bowie-Starring Omikron: The Nomad Soul for Free

To honour the sad passing of David Bowie, Square Enix is offering Omikron: The Nomad Soul, starring The Thin White Duke himself, for free.

Omikron: The Nomad Soul – produced by David Cage’s Quantic Dream studio, responsible for the likes of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls – was released in 1999 for the Dreamcast and PC. While reception at the time was mixed, the game has become a cult classic, not least for the presence of the erstwhile Ziggy Stardust.

“We don’t have any games in our catalogue featuring Alan Rickman [who died four days after Bowie] (more’s the pity…),” a blog post from Square Enix reads, “but we do have Omikron: The Nomad Soul, which David Bowie had a pretty big part in creating. Not only did his music feature heavily, but he also had an input in storyline and game design – plus of course he appears in it as well.”

“We’ve seen a lot of people reminiscing this week, and we’d like everybody to be able to check the game out – so we’re making it available for free from the Square Enix Store,” the post adds.

The game is available for free by default via Square Enix’s European site, but people of the Americas will have to add the voucher code “omikron” (all lower-case) at the checkout. Once the transaction is complete, you’ll receive a code to be activated via Steam. You have until 22nd January (or “while stocks last.” Digital stocks, made-up codes, imaginary numbers: they might run out of them!) to take advantage of the deal.

The Latest Hitman Game Will Now be ‘Fully Episodic’

Major publishers have been progressively alienating the core gaming demographic by implementing anti-consumer measures including season passes, DLC, pre-order bonuses, microtransactions and retailer exclusive content. This raises the question, what’s next? In the past few years, story-driven titles from Telltale adopted an episodic business model which allows users to purchase the entire game in a lump sum or buy each chapter individually. Despite some scepticism, episodic games have worked incredibly well thus far as showcased by Life is Strange. One could argue it gives the consumer choice, but it greatly depends on the price per episode and total cost for the entire package over time.

Recently, Square Enix cancelled all digital pre-orders for the upcoming Hitman game without giving a clear explanation. However, the reason behind this was to make the game episodic and offer “a living game that will expand and evolve over time”. The news was announced on the Hitman blog which reads:

“After a lot of consideration, we decided to take the full leap and publish Hitman as a truly episodic game experience with a major live component. It’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly and we fully acknowledge that the decision may frustrate some players. But it is a shift that we believe will ensure the best possible foundation for this game and the future of Hitman.”

Each episode will cost $10 each while the initial release, including the prologue, is priced at $15. When all the episodes are totalled up, the final cost comes to $65. If you decide to buy the full package, it will set you back $60. Thankfully, Hitman isn’t going to feature any microtransactions and when all the episodes have been released, there will be a physical edition for purchase.

Do you have any issues with episodic releases, or feel they give the consumer more choice?

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.

Rise of the Tomb Raider PC Release Date Announced

The Tomb Raider series is one of those classic gaming franchises which has a huge consumer following, titles ranging from the early days of both The Sega Saturn and also the PS1 all the way through to the latest incarnation of the series “Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Xbox One next-gen console. Talking of the aforementioned “Rise” title, new details have been announced for this version of the game for the PC Platform.

So, what are the details? Rise of the Tomb Raider will be officially released on PC on January 28th 2016 and has been announced by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics. The game will support 4K resolution and will be able to provide players with a stunning experience.

Rise of The Tomb raider will also be available through both physical and also online retailers which include Steam etc. There will also be various editions of the game and this will include a standard edition that will be priced at $59.99 dollars (£40.91), a Digital Deluxe Edition that will feature the game and its DLC pass for $89.99 dollars (£61.37) and a collector’s edition.

On the subject of the collector’s edition, below is an image to illustrate this, it will feature a Digital Deluxe version and a 12-inch Lara Croft statue, replicas of Lara’s journal and jade necklace and a steel case. It will be priced at $149.99 dollars (£102.28) and It will be also available at Square Enix’s online store, and yes I understand the irony of an image stating January 29th.

Other information includes the notion that it will be fully compatible with Windows 10 and the US edition has also been given an “M” rating, this means that the game might include elements such as intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language. The minimum specs which have been confirmed by Square Enix for the PC version are as follows,

Rise of the Tomb Raider PC Minimum Specifications:

  • OS: Windows 7 64bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 or AMD equivalent
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 650 2 GB or AMD HD7770 2 GB
  • RAM: 6 GB
  • HD Space: 25 GB
  • DirectX: DirectX 11
  • Input: Mouse + Keyboard

Image courtesy of gearnuke

Conquer the World And The Past In Latest Humble Bundle

We try to keep you informed with the latest humble bundles, so let me make a solid argument for why you should invest a whopping $8.99 (around £6.08) into the latest Square Enix Humble Bundle.

First off let’s start with the $1 tier. Featuring four games, such as the Last Remnant and Episode 1 of Life is Strange,  you’ve already some good titles with action and emotion pumping through your keys while the next two (or rather) five titles in this price bracket will only inspire you more. Murdered: Soul Suspect sees you face the supernatural and your own death as you play a ghostly detective who is trying to solve their own murder from the afterlife. Oh did I forget to mention that you also get Tomb Raider 1, 2 and 3? If I have to explain these games, you should probably grab this bundle just for those alone.

At the average price bracket, you will only pay $5.45 (at the time of writing) to get a further 8 games featuring not one but three different Tomb Raider games, including Anniversary, Legend and Underworld. Climbing through the past a little too slow for you? Why not try just cause collection featuring both just cause one and two? Helicopters and explosions fill your screen as you hijack cars and planes alike with a grapple, and a voucher for 20% off Just Cause 3 means you can get that series for a small fraction of its price.

Front Mission Evolved sees you pilot giant robotic tanks while Gyromancer and Yosumin give your mind a challenge in matching shape games with Final Fantasy XIV A realm reborn rounding off this bracket with an online role-playing adventure for friends and enemies alike.

Last but not least is the higher price tier, costing a whole $8.99, for this you receive Lara Croft & the Temple Of Osiris, a top-down adventure fighting game with puzzles and traps for up to four players. Following up this is the latest Tomb Raider game, in all its glory as the Game of the Year version., with 21 DLC’s rounding off the latest adventure in the Tomb Raiders Past. If you feel up for a little more direct solution to problems, Hitman: Absolution is the last game and the Elite edition comes with a variety of weapons and disguises to enhance your contracts.

Check out the bundle here which is in support of GamesAid and Make a Wish, both charities designed to help young people, either disabled, disadvantaged or those with life-threatening conditions.

Director Confirms Final Fantasy XV Release

Square Enix’s forthcoming epic action RPG, Final Fantasy XV, has been confirmed for a 2016 release. In a blog post entitled “Happy New Year!”, FFXV director Hajime Tabata announced that the game will hit Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this year.

Tabata wrote:

“We will finally release FFXV this year, in 2016! In development, previous phases required wisdom and strength. However, moving forward the final phase will focus on effort and willpower.

I vow to you all that every member in the team will do their best to the very last possible moment taking responsibility and pride in their craft.

We will do everything we can do to finish FFXV to create an experience we are incredibly proud of and one that you will enjoy and treasure.

The whole FFXV team appreciates all of the support from each and everyone one of you this past year. I cannot tell you how much it means to all of us.

We’d like to celebrate a wonderful New Year and as we approach the release of FFXV, I’d like to enjoy that moment with you all.”

Tabata, joined by global marketing manager Akio Ofuji, will be revealing further details of FFXV in the next Active Time Report video, expected at the end of this month.

Final Fantasy XV is yet to be confirmed for a PC release.

Another Fantastic Humble Bundle – Just in Time for Christmas

At this time of year, we often see sales appear, from GOG’s store opening sales and deals to the infamous Steam Winter Sale. Amongst these sales, we must remember to keep your eyes peeled for other great deals, the ones that may not be holiday deals, but don’t mean they can’t brighten up those dark mornings. One of the regular deals, Humble Bundle, is back with yet another great selection.

The Humble Square Enix Bundle features a range of games going from $1 to $13. At $1 you get Life is Strange episode 1 and the last Remnant. As if altering time in order to twist a story as you wish it to unfold and saving the world from creatures unknown but all-powerful isn’t enough, why not solve murders in Murdered: Soul Suspect. Still not interested? How about Tomb Raider 1, 2 and 3!

Still not interested? Why not get Just Cause 1 and 2, 30 days of Final Fantasy XIV and Front Mission Evolved among the “pay more than the average” price bracket. With games like Tomb Raider GOTY edition and Hitman Absolution Elite Edition in the $13 bracket with even more games unlocking on Tuesday.

Check the bundle out here

First Scenario of Final Fantasy VII Remake Finished

The latest issue of Japanese weekly gaming magazine Famitsu has revealed that Square-Enix has already completed the first scenario of the Final Fantasy VII Remake.

While the use of the term “scenario” can be taken many different ways in English – and could be misread as either scene or even episode – the Japanese use of the word is effectively a synonym for script or screenplay. So, by “first scenario”, we can assume that whatever will constitute the first part or episode of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s multi-part release is now set in stone, meaning that we could soon discover how much of the game we will be getting in the first release.

More information regarding this first scenario has emerged through Hachima (via Siliconera):

  • Players will be able to explore all the areas of Midgar.
  • Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie will get more character development.
  • The amount of parts or episodes is as-yet-unknown.
  • Potential online features are yet to be decided.
  • FFVII Remake will use Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.
  • The team is getting technological assistance from the Kingdom Hearts team.
  • Cloud’s auditory hallucination scenes are being shaped up to be more meaningful.
  • The voice cast from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children will return.
  • The team will implement a new ATB Gauge and Limit Break system.

Final Fantasy XV Pre-Beta Already Runs Fully on PC

Square Enix seem to be making a habit of porting games from their Final Fantasy RPG series to the PC. The more recent Final Fantasy XIII series of games are already available on Steam, and PC ports of many of the older games from their console homes mean that almost all of the epic franchise is now open to PC gamers. PC owning Final Fantasy fans will be pleased to hear that Final Fantasy XV programmer Satoshi Kitade announced on the official Square Enix forums that the pre-beta build of Final Fantasy XV runs on the PC and is fully playable in its entirety.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Final Fantasy XV has been confirmed for a PC release yet, it certainly puts it on the cards for the future, if Square Enix is already putting in the effort to make such an early version of the game run well on PC. It will hardly be surprising if we see a PC release of XV announced following its console release.

The real question then, is time. It took them 5 years to bring the original FFXIII to the PC (albeit poorly optimized), but only 2 for its sequels, XIII-2 and Lightning Returns.With XV already running on PC before its console release, it could be as short as months after console release that XV is available for PC. Who knows, maybe FFXVI, whenever it happens, will have a simultaneous release across all platforms.

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.

New Final Fantasy VII Remake Trailer Hits – Details of Combat System Revealed

During the PlayStation Experience keynote address yesterday, Square Enix debuted a brand new trailer for the greatly anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake first announced at E3 earlier this year. The footage gives us our first glimpse at combat, seemingly eschewing the classic Active Time Battle system in favour of more dynamic action-style fights, and even the new voices of Cloud Strife and a sunglasses-wearing Barret Wallace.

It’s not yet clear whether the voice actors from the sequel movie, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, are reprising their roles in the remake, but it sounds a lot like Steve Burton and Beau Billingsly as Cloud and Barret, respectively.

After the trailer, Yoshinori Kitase, the game’s producer, spoke about some of the changes gamers can expect from the remake, including the combat system previewed in the video.

“The hardware itself has evolved since the release of Final Fantasy VII, and the games are more real, and real-time based,” Kitase said (translation courtesy of Nova Crystalis). “The previous Final Fantasy VII was a command-based RPG that utilized active-time-battle. Real-time and GMC are the trends these days.”

“I can’t say the new game is completely action-based, but it has more of that element and real-time than the previous game.”

“However, what makes Final Fantasy and RPG different from other games is that the players have the ability to choose weapons, capabilities and magic to be strategic minded, so while the new game has more real-time element, it will also maintain that strategy building element, balancing these two factors perfectly to enhance the gaming experience.”

“The game is still in development, and we have not fully grasped all the abilities of and upgrades made to PlayStation 4. The graphics are superb on PlayStation 4, and more polygon volume is available to make it better.”

“The way we harnessed the power of the PlayStation 4 was to maintain the graphic quality of characters like Cloud, Tifa, and [Aeris] in the movie called Advent Children in our game, and this was the starting point. So, what we’re aiming for with the Final Fantasy VII Remake is to have the same quality of these characters in real-time while playing the game, and this is only achievable with PlayStation 4.”

New Hitman Teaser Trailer Released and Beta Phase Announced

The upcoming Hitman (2016)  game is highly anticipated and slightly delayed and it is one of the very few games these days that I’m actually considering to pre-order to be able to play it on day one. Square Enix released a new teaser trailer and announced when the beta testing of the game will launch at the same time.

With the upcoming holiday and all the shopping going on, they surely don’t want to miss a chance to sell a few more games and as such the timing is perfect. Why? Because pre-orders will get guaranteed access to the upcoming beta testing of the game. With the way that they worded it, we can assume that there will be other methods to gain access to the beta, but those haven’t been revealed yet.

The new trailer teases the beta mission which puts Agent 47 20 years back into the past. This mission is the first time that Agent 47 meets his long-time handler Diana Burnwood, at least that we as gamers get to see. The mission takes place in a top-secret ICA recruitment and training facility and that is about the information we get now.

The Hitman beta will launch on February 12th for PlayStation 4 and one week later on the PC, on February the 19th.

Dragon Quest Heroes PC Requirements Relevealed

Great news for fans of the Dragon Quest series, as the recently released (on PlayStation 4) Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below is coming to PC!

The PC release of the game is shaping up nicely, and comes packed with extra content courtesy of all 14 DLC items that you could find in the PlayStation 4 Slime Edition release, and Square Enix are even offering a 10% discount for pre-orders on Steam. Keep in mind, though, we don’t recommend pre-ordering any game ever, wait for the release, wait for any patches, as with any release these days they’re inevitable.

Developed in collaboration with Omega Force from Koei Tecmo Games, Yuri Horii, Koichi Sugiyama and Akira Toriyama, there’s no doubt that the game will look and sound as amazing as every other entry in the game’s history.

The system requirements suggest a powerful GPU isn’t the most important part, but a fast multi-core processor will go a long way, although that’s true of a lot of games. Can you run it?

MINIMUM:

    • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10 (64bit required)
    • Processor: Core i7 870 2.8GHz or better
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 or AMD Radeon HD 5770
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Hard Drive: 20 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c over

RECOMMENDED:

    • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10 (64bit required)
    • Processor: Core i7 2600 3.4GHz or better
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti or AMD Radeon HD 7870
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Hard Drive: 20 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c over

The game will launch on Steam on December 3rd 2015, with an RRP of £39.99/49.99 EUR.

The trailer below is from the PlayStation 4 release.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Only Sold 63,000 Copies on Launch

Microsoft’s timed exclusivity deal with Rise of the Tomb Raider was shrouded in controversy and caused a great deal of anger from fans. Historically, Tomb Raider is perceived as a Sony property, despite being a multi-platform release and releasing on competing systems like the SEGA Saturn. Many critics didn’t understand why an agreement was reached given the high development costs of the Tomb Raider reboot and sales required to break even. Clearly, Microsoft must have offered a huge amount of funds up front to help with the game’s development.

Despite having the financial support of Microsoft, Rise of the Tomb Raider is performing quite poorly and only sold 63,000 units on launch. In comparison to this, the previous game shipped 183,000 units in the same period. The Xbox One’s limited user-base was undoubtedly going to result in lower sales but this is well below Microsoft and Square Enix’s expectations. This begs the question, why are the sales so poor?

The answer is very simple, and revolves around Fallout 4’s hugely successful release. Microsoft underestimated the enthusiasm for Fallout 4 and stupidly launched Rise of the Tomb Raider on the same date. As a result, Fallout 4 received all the major headlines and trended on social media. This is a crying shame, and I cannot comprehend why the game’s release date wasn’t changed. Fallout 4 is probably the most anticipated game since the Witcher 3, and it’s incredibly foolish to try to compete.

Who knows what the future holds for the Tomb Raider franchise, but the sales figures are awful at this time. The numbers will improve as people move on from Fallout 4, and it launches on other platforms. However, the exclusivity deal look to have categorically failed in shifting a large number of units.

Square Enix May Crowdfund Localization Projects

Ever since crowdfunding has come onto the scene, many indie devs and sometimes even major ones have used the power of the crowd to fund their game development. Square Enix is now taking this approach and applying it to the localization of Japanese games. This will address the many popular Japanese titles that western fans have long wanted a local version of but have never had the chance to get it.

While there are many vocal fans that always clamour for a localization, it can be hard for the developer and publisher to determine how many potential customers there really are. Even when fans say they want the game are willing to buy it, many of them might actually not purchase the localization title. Given the costs of translating and hiring voice acting talent, the risks have generally outweighed the potential return on investment.

With crowdfunding, the community is able to prove that they want a localization done by actually paying for it. Depending on how the rewards and crowdfunding are done, the developer is able get a guaranteed return on their investment and fans can get the game they want in their own language. It will be interesting to see if other developers take on this idea and if alternatives like a guaranteed buy-in get explored.

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information

Crystal Dynamics Cuts Rise of the Tomb Raider Multiplayer to Focus on Campaign

Nowadays, it seems that most games have to have a multiplayer component to it. While the Tomb Raider reboot released in 2013 included a multiplayer element, the sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider apparently will not. Developer Crystal Dynamics had been mum on what the multiplayer would look like and it appears that is because there will be no multiplayer section. According to the Offical Xbox Magazine, the decision was made to refocus resources from the multiplayer section and devote them to the singleplayer campaign to make it that much better.

In some ways, the move mirrors the one EA and DICE chose to do with Star Wars Battlefront where they cut out the single player campaign to focus on the multiplayer section. While EA’s decision was controversial, the Tomb Raider one probably won’t be. That’s because Star War Battlefront has long had a single player campaign that was relatively well-loved and played. On the other hand, Tomb Raider has historically had no multiplayer section and the one that came with Tomb Raider 2013 wasn’t that well received.

Overall, if Crystal Dynamics is able to provide a compelling single-player campaign, it’s unlikely most gamers will have complaints. The game is set to launch on the Xbox One and 360 later this year in November. Being a timed exclusive, the game won’t arrive on the PC and PS4 till mid to late 2016.

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information

Donate To Charity Against Cancer And Get A Copy Of Hitman: Absolution

In recent years, charities are finding more and more ways of advertising and supporting themselves and other causes through events. The Ice Bucket challenge raised millions towards a good cause, humble bundles donate a portion (or if you wish, all of it) to charities every time you purchase one. Now you can support another great cause for only a single dollar.

Gamer Changer Charity are working with Square Enix so that, when you donate a minimum of $1, you can claim a copy of Hitman: Absolution. This is the last day though so if you are interested then please go and donate here. This is not the first time hitman has been used to support Game Changer though, at PAX this year people could offer to have their head shaved in a hitman style, with Square Enix offering up $47 per head.

Game Changer Charity are supporting the research and development of treatments that target cancer, To be more precise it will go towards the development of treatments for pediatric cancer (cancer found in children). If you want to find out more about the cause please watch the video below.

Thank you PCGamesN for the information.

Final Fantasy XII Remake Teased at Distant Worlds Concert

Final Fantasy XII, considered the best of the modern Final Fantasy games (by me), is getting an HD remake, according to statements backed up by the game’s composer. During a Q&A session at the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert – an orchestral event that showcases the best of the music from the entire Final Fantasy series – in Pittsburgh, PA, conductor Arnie Roth announced that Final Fantasy XII, the only Final Fantasy game that is not available on modern consoles, is being remade. Hitoshi Sakimoto, who was also in attendance, later confirmed Roth’s statement. Sakimoto was one of three composers for the original game.

Attendees of the concert began furiously tweeting the news as it happened:

https://twitter.com/BlakePawelec/status/627634631391715329

https://twitter.com/BlakePawelec/status/627644789358481408

But, as the Twitter account for fansite Final Fantasy Network points out:

It could be that the news is half-true: non-tech savvy musicians could instead be referring to an HD remaster of FFXII, much like the spit-and-polish given to Final Fantasy X recently.

Final Fantasy Network later tweeted a video of the announcement by Roth, which at least adds an element of legitimacy to the rumour:

It seems likely that something is happening with Final Fantasy XII. But is it a remake or a remaster? Which would you prefer?

Image courtesy of Final Fantasy Network.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Officially Coming to PC and PS4 in 2016

Square Enix has confirmed the release schedule for Rise of the Tomb Raider which will arrive on PC and PlayStation 4 in 2016. Microsoft’s exclusivity deal came under a great deal of criticism given the history of Crystal Dynamics and now Core Design, who are perceived as a PlayStation-centric studio. The agreement’s terms were baffling and both parties tried to obscure specific details about the game being either a timed or platform-based exclusive. After much speculation, we finally know the release date on each system.

The Xbox One version is predicted to launch in November, whilst the PC edition will arrive on Steam in early 2016. Hopefully, this delay is designed to give enough time to properly optimize the PC release. I suspect so because the Tomb Raider reboot performed brilliantly on PC through the wizardry of Nixxes Software. PlayStation owners will have to wait until late 2016, almost a year after the original release. This is pretty insulting as the Tomb Raider franchise owes a lot of its longevity to the PlayStation brand. Exclusives are anti-consumer, and fuel the vitriolic fanboyism plaguing the modern gaming community. Microsoft haven’t done themselves any favors in trying to reverse the negative press from their original DRM plans. Obviously, exclusives are essential to persuade people to purchase a particular console, but I would rather they didn’t exist.

I’m not convinced that Tomb Raider is a system seller, and Microsoft probably should have worked on reintroducing an old IP. Nevertheless, at least the game is coming to other systems, but PlayStation fans are going to struggle given the amount of spoilers which gamers will be posting a few days after launch.

Thank you IGN for providing us with this information.