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91  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy Type 0 on: July 26, 2011, 06:29:02 PM
I really wonder how big the Data Install will be with 2 UMD's.

Announce game in 2006 - start development in 2008 -  release it in 2011
That's SE for you.

You're forgetting that Type-0 was a cellphone game when it was first announced back then and scope was significantly smaller. The change of platforms along other projects lined-up obviously had an effect on planned time-frame, and really outside of 3 FNC games SE's Dev time has been fine.
92  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy Type 0 on: July 26, 2011, 05:26:47 PM
The entire Dengeki article has been translated here and it clears up a few things:
Quote
This week’s issue of Dengeki PlayStation had another wellspring of information on Final Fantasy Type-0, elaborating on some of the gameplay systems that will appear in the game that we had briefly seen in the Odaiba demo and in other forms of the game’s media. The interview involved the game’s director Hajime Tabata as well as the game’s art director Yusuke Naora. Here’s a summary of the information we’ve broken down below:

World:

■ The Nation of Concordia
Like the three other countries, Concordia has a Crystal and Peristylium of it’s own. The manifestation of Concordia’s Souryuu crystal is a great dragon who they revere as a queen. The Dragon Queen has a special relationship with Andoria whom was seen in the newest trailer. Concordia’s ruling class is comprised entirely of women, and it is said that they are a “petite” nation but adeptly wield spears or lances, some of which may resemble the traditional Dragoon job class from the Final Fantasy series. Five orders of knights protect the Souryuu Peristylium (loosely: “Five Star Guard Corps”), one of which Celestia belongs to. When compared to the other three countries of Oriens, Concordia is not as advanced from a military perspective, but they control the power of dragons as well as other monsters. Concordia is a country with a feeling of magic and fantasy.

Story & Characters:

■ Class Zero & A Story of War
Director Hajime Tabata makes a note that players should not consider any particular one of the Class Zero students the main character, and this goes for Machina and Rem as well, despite their special role beyond Class Zero. The narrative will be told from the group’s perspective and so it is best to not think of a main character, but the group as a whole. Special detail to the character has been added in gameplay to give them touches of flavor to their respective personalities. Tabata and the team have also worked hard to depict the game as a story of war and all the conflicting emotions that brings; they have also not shied away from showing images of violence and blood that are usually not present in the style that is normal for Final Fantasy. They imply that they must be careful with these scenes to send the right emotions.

■ Deuce (CV: Kana Hanazawa)
Deuce is the brown-haired girl that wields a flute in battle. She is very loyal to her duties at Class Zero, and she is kind-hearted and good-natured even if she can be a bit stubborn. It seems as if manipulating the pitch of her instrument will cause different effects in battle. Her special ability “Concerto” will create an opening in which you will be able to attack an enemy targeting her.

■ Seven (CV: Mayuko Aoki)
Seven is the young woman whom wields a sword-whip. While her expressions are somewhat cold she is kind and good-natured. It is because of this personality that she has won popularity with the underclassmen at the Suzaku Peristylium. Seven’s sword-whip is able to come apart and damage enemies at both close and long range. Her special ability “Catch” seems to ignore elevation differences between Seven and her enemies.

■ Jack (CV: Kenichi Suzumura)
Jack is the young man that has slicked-back hair and weilds a katana. He seems to always have a smile and is able to make wise-cracks easily. In dangerous surroundings he is encouraging his peers to take it easy. Jack’s play style is heavily involved with timed sword strikes, and his special ability “Surrender” is sort of a fake-out attack where he appears to surrender but then throws his weapon into an enemy.

■ Andoria (CV: Megumi Hayashibara)
Andoria is the princess of Concordia, and has a special relationship with the Dragon Queen (which is also the Souryuu crystal) through this role. She respects order and discipline and has a noble and fair spirit.

■ Celestia (CV: Nana Mizuki)
Celestia is from the nation of Concordia and is a member of the prestigious knighthood that protects the Souryuu Peristylium. She is very prideful of her nation.

■ Cadetmaster (CV: Masako Nozawa)
Director of logisitcs at the Suzaku Peristylium.

■ Commandant (CV: Kenji Utsumi)
Director of military affairs at the Suzaku Peristylium.

■ Provost (CV: Shigeru Chiba)
Director of academics and magical research.

■ Commissar (CV: Masako Ikeda)
Authority in charge of magic management.

Battle System:

■ Phantoma
Phantoma will play a large part in the game in the field and how your characters will progress and evolve their magic. When enemies are defeated, you can draw Phantoma from their corpses which comes in three colors: red, yellow, and purple. Doing this will restore your MP in different amounts depending on that color, but where Phantoma is really useful is the development of Class Zero’s magical assets.

■ Magic
The three main schools of offensive magic in Final Fantasy Type-0 are Fire, Blizzard, and Thunder spells. The spells themselves can be modified so that the function in very different ways although they are of the same element. They can be altered to have similar effects to shotguns, rifles, bombs, missles, and rocket launchers. Dengeki lists:

    SHG: Shotgun-type magic that is powerful at short range but fires in a wide shot with little range.
    RF: Long-distance magic with a narrow shot that shoots straight for the target.
    BOM: Powerful at close range and can be used to make quick work of swarming enemies.
    MIS: Homing magic that will chase after an enemy. At higher levels it will follow longer.
    ROK: Magic that is aimed over-the-shoulder. When it strikes it will deal damage to adjacent targets.

For example, the spell “Fire-RF” will function as a long-range “rifle” shot of fire.

■ Altocrystarium
Similar to Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy Type-0′s Crystarium will serve as the basis for developing character skills. For magic, the article cites that to refine “Fire-RF” to a higher level of magical potency, six red Phantoma must be used. You will be able to alter the attributes of your magic such as: potency, MP efficiency, casting time, range of fire, and rate of fire.

■ Summon
Shiva takes the spotlight again here, here Dengeki details that some of her attacks are called “Icicle Dance” and “Chilly World”. If you summon Shiva while it is snowing, her elemental potency of ice is increased. Her special attack “Diamond Dust” will require several button inputs from the player as it a continuous or “combo” ability. Odin is also briefly mentioned, with one of his abilities being listed as “Iron Sword”.

■ Multiplayer
Nothing particularly new was revealed about the multiplayer component of Final Fantasy Type-0, but to further elaborate Tabata explained that this game’s multiplayer is played in brief sessions where you will replace a member of the other player’s party. If you would like to join someone else’s game you must do so from the game’s title menu suggesting that the character you control in battle may be independent of your save file’s version. Players who want others to join their game need only check an option in the game’s Configuration menu. You will also be able to stop players from entering your game through this option as well. Players will be able to earn a type of currency through successful play or completion of multiplayer sessions and objectives; this currency’s function will be revealed at a later time.

Active World Map:

■ A Hint of RTS
The students of Class Zero you control will be able to exit to the world map at their leisure between missions. The Active World Map mechanic will introduce ally and enemy units on the world map, and you’ll be able to issue orders to your comrades in Rubrum. There are elements of RTS games at work here, but Tabata shied away from calling them substantial and that it’s more of a basic approach rather than in-depth. You can view them as a sort of mini-game aside from the main campaign. If you should take control of or liberate a town, you will be able to shop there and perhaps at a discount.

■ Work In Progress
Director Tabata says the Active World Map in Final Fantasy Type-0 is extensive and resource intensive and that he and his development team are currently working on reducing the load times from where they currently are, harkening back to the PlayStation days of Final Fantasy to make the comparison. He does note that those who use the game’s Data Install feature will find the load times negligible.

Developer Comments:

■ A Long Time Coming
Final Fantasy Type-0 was first announced back in 2006 as Final Fantasy Agito XIII prior to January’s Square-Enix conference. Since the team was still deep into production of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, development did not begin until 2008. Up until that point, production had only created the trailer and various other visual concepts. The 3rd Birthday’s development put “Agito XIII” on the second rung for about a year until development began in earnest in 2009. Long-time Square-Enix art director Yusuke Naora joined the project with Yusaku Nakai in tow to handle character and monster designs.

■ You Get What You Pay For
Final Fantasy Type-0 will be on two UMDs as well as carry a pricier selling point. Despite this, Tabata reassures that the amount and quality of the content of this game will justify that price point.

http://www.finalfantasy.net/type0/final-fantasy-type0-details-dps/
93  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FF Versus XIII follow up coming next week + possible new game announcement on: July 06, 2011, 07:35:21 PM
Next up is the Final Fantasy Kart Racer.Play with your family and friends the wackiest racing game on Kinect.Customize your favorite Final Fantasy characters with goofy costumes,race across 12 different tracks including the Shinra Speedway,Luca Grand Prix and the Nautilus 500.



They already did that in the PS1 era, see "Chocobo Racing".

Anyway, this sound like it could be fun.
94  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Breaking: Yasumi Matsuno (FFXII, Tactics Ogre) joins Level 5 on: June 30, 2011, 12:40:43 AM
Square Enix executives put their noses where they didn't belong

SE Exec: We want you to make a single player RPG that feels like an MMORPG; people love MMORPGs.
... FFXII
SE Exec: Ok, that wasn't so hot, so how about we make an MMORPG?
... FFXIV

Vaan was always in the game to begin with, furthermore the Offline MMORPG idea was Matsuno's as he is big fan of FFXI and wanted to mimic that style of game on a console.

There wasn't any executives meddling either which Matsuno attested to himself in an interview on TO with 4Gamer:



Quote
4G: As you have said yourself, you were the director, game designer and scenario designer for the game. You're often thought of as a multitasker prodigy.

YM: We simply didn't have enough people at that time, so there wasn't any way around it. After I joined Squaresoft, however, I started assigning to others any tasks that didn't have to be done by myself. After all, Squaresoft had a very democratic development process by the time I joined them.

4G: Democratic?

YM: During production, programmers and designers as well would always come up with several ideas. In FFXII, for instance, the huge airship in the game wasn't my idea, but one of the designer's, who wanted to give it a sci-fi-esque feeling. It's a completely different methodology if compared to how Ogre Battle was made.

4G: It does sound harder to do things that way. Still, one usually hears about how important it is to consider the opinions of the whole team. In the other hand, as far as creative works are concerned, I feel it's important to insert somewhere your individual touch, or a your own beliefs. Perhaps that's what game creativity is all about in first place?

YM: Looking at things that way, I could say the two Ogre Battle games I've made were fruits of my own beliefs, while the games I made for Squaresoft were certainly fruits of democracy. Ah, save for Vagrant Story, that is (laughs).

The rest here:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/999440-tactics-ogre-let-us-cling-together/59486772

Basically Matsuno wasn't used to being in charge of large teams number over 100 people where development and ideas are done by committee rather than one person calling all the shots of 20 man group. It's probably why he wants to stick too smaller games where he has more control.
95  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: June 09, 2011, 09:35:49 AM

Yep, that was pretty nice, I had no idea they were fans of RDR and it's even better that they taking some inspiration with sidequests from it. The Monster System as well as NPCs having some form A.I. sound solid.

The only question I have left is whether they overhaul FFXIII shitty Weapon System or not.  Guess we will find out at TGS.
96  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: June 08, 2011, 10:59:56 AM
Something interesting that was posted on SE Members blog:

Quote
I’ve had the chance to sit down and play some FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 recently and I wanted to let you know what I thought of it. Before we jump straight into the Hands-On report, however, here are a few key points I suspect you’ll all be interested in knowing.

While still a deeply story-driven game, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 has a higher emphasis on giving the player choices to make throughout the game. More branching paths, more hidden secrets, more exploration.
Level design sees you returning to unlocked environments to access hidden areas as the game progresses.
A self-contained story set after the events of FINAL FANTASY XIII. XIII-2’s story will be darker and more mysterious.
All-new playable characters (Serah and Noel), plus the return of fan favourites from FINAL FANTASY XIII.
The return of the much loved Moogle. A treasure hunter at heart, he will seek out hidden chests.
Recruit monsters who will aid you in battle, each with unique abilities.


For those of you who wanted more from FINAL FANTASY XIII, the sequel is the game for you. As a FINAL FANTASY fan I had some specific things in mind that I wanted to see from XIII-2 and the more I see of the game, the more excited I get about it..

As you can see from the list above, XIII-2 has seen improvements and expansions in many areas (and these are just features we’re allowed to talk about right now). The designers of the game have made giving more choice to the player a key focus of theirs. Even in the small demo being shown off at E3, the level design features plenty of forks in the road, leading to hidden chests and lurking monsters, as well as wide open areas.

The developers also want players to have more control over their character and a larger variety of experiences in the game, which explains the inclusion of a jump button (the first in the numbered FINAL FANTASY series’ long history), which can be used to find hidden chests. Abilities will be gained throughout the game which will further allow exploration, making you return to areas you’ve visited before to see if your new skills can give you access to hidden areas and items.

Environments are filled with people, many of whom can be engaged in dialogue. A little speech bubble floating above their head will let you know if they have anything interesting to say. All of this dialogue is fully voiced.

Your objectives won’t always be straight forward. Sometimes you will be given a choice of which direction to go to reach your goal or of which order to perform certain tasks in. The E3 demonstration includes the choice to fight a large golem (we’re talking massive - like 20 storeys) or to investigate a mysterious device which has appeared out of nowhere. Investigating the device will lower the golem’s defences, making him much easier to kill, but if you fancy the challenge you can go straight into battle.

Some battles may include interactive “cinematic action” sequences, which require you to press specific buttons at specific moments. On succesful button inputs, rewards are given, depending on the situation. For example, hitting buttons correctly in the first golem battle in the E3 demo results in your party members receiving temporary stat buffs, making the rest of the battle that little bit easier.

We’re not talking too much about the game’s story right now, but we have said that the game takes place a few years after the events of FINAL FANTASY XIII. Lightning has disappeared, presumed dead, and her sister Serah is trying to find out where she’s gone, with the help of the mysterious Noel. You will not need to have played or completed FINAL FANTASY XIII to understand the story of XIII-2. It will help to know some of the backstory, but it has been designed to be accessible to newcomers.

For those who are fans of the franchise, you may be surprised and delighted to learn that Moogles are making a return. One such creature befriends Serah and has vowed to follow her on her quest to find Lightning. He has a few tricks up his sleeves, such as being able to reveal secret chests and other secret abilities which we will be revealing in time.

Another new addition is the recruitment of monsters. They will join your party and each species of creature will have a unique ability. You will be able to switch them in and out on the fly by changing the party’s Paradigm. Yep, the Paradigm Shift system makes a return, with some improvements and refinements. We’re not going into much detail on all the enhancements yet, but we thought you’d like to know that they exist.

So hopefully this whets your appetite a bit and demonstrates just some of the enhancements and improvements FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 will feature. I’m personally very excited about this game and we’ve got much more to tell you about it in the coming months, so keep an eye out here on the Square Enix Members Blog.
97  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: June 08, 2011, 08:11:19 AM
Um guys, you know that FFX-2 Int had system which you could use Monsters right?

I like how in the fight with Titan, the whole party dies in one hit.  What a fantastic way to demo your game!

I also love how the dialogue is incredibly bad.  "Do I get overtime pay for this?"  Hahaha, oh Yuna Noel, you are such a wacky teenager!  Just what will she he say next?

Fuck this game.  Square doesn't have a clue.  I'm out.

I have a lot of issues FFXIII. but this a bit much.

First that isn't Titan, it's a new monster called Atlas and all shares with Titan is that he's big though not nearly so. Second you have choice on how to fight him much like FFXII's Garuda. You will probably be a beat him directly on New Game Plus" anyway. Third Noel likely isn't a teenager as the Japanese official site lists his age as "seinen" which can be anywhere from 20-50. Lastly while FFXIII like most FFs have awkward dialogue don't see what's bad about that line. For all we know Noel probably works for the Sanctum.

I'm not saying that FFXIII-2 will be the greatest game ever, but a lot comments folks who have played demo as well as videos in generally seems to show that SE has listened to criticisms about the game and is addressing them.
98  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Square-Enix publishing Tactics Ogre remake for PSP! on: July 22, 2010, 08:36:07 PM
US site and Press Release are now up:



Quote
THE TRUE VISION IS FINALLY REALIZED; SQUARE ENIX ANNOUNCES
TACTICS OGRE: LET US CLING TOGETHER

Dream Team of Developers Reunites to Bring the Beloved Strategy RPG to the PSP System

LOS ANGELES (July 21, 2010) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in North America, announced today the upcoming release of TACTICS OGRE™: Let Us Cling Together™, a PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) system reinvention of the strategy RPG. The timing of the release will be announced at a future date.

TACTICS OGRE is one of the most beloved strategy RPG titles of all time, with the game being the only one to place in the Japanese gaming magazine Weekly Famitsu’s “Top 20 games voted by readers” for 14 years running.

Having also worked on such hit titles as FINAL FANTASY TACTICS®, VAGRANT STORY® and FINAL FANTASY® XII, key members of the original TACTICS OGRE development team have reformed to deliver the ultimate version of this definitive strategy RPG experience. Hiroshi Minagawa (Director), Akihiko Yoshida (Character Design), Yasumi Matsuno (Game Design), Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata (Composers) are pleased to return to TACTICS OGRE and to revitalize their masterpiece for a new format and era – created with the simple idea – “how TACTICS OGRE would be if it was developed and played now.”

TACTICS OGRE: Let Us Cling Together, is being reborn from the ground up, with reworked visuals and effects, a re-arranged soundtrack by the original composers, new character growth mechanics and a new Wheel of Fortune system that adds even more replay value to the game.

For more information about TACTICS OGRE please visit the official website at http://www.tacticsogregame.com.

Story:

Long ago,
Power was everything.
It was a time called Xytegenia,
where metal, and evil that was enshrouded in darkness was in control.

Features:

• From the creators of FINAL FANTASY TACTICS, VAGRANT STORY and FINAL FANTASY XII. The original TACTICS OGRE development team reform to revitalize their iconic title.
• Tactical, turn-based battles are brought to life with stunning graphics, sounds and animation.
• New 3D maps that enhance the concept of height and improved battle engine, offering more compelling and realistic battles than ever before.
• Uncover the truth in a gripping tale of intrigue, betrayal and heroism.
• Near-endless customization and hundreds of abilities to choose from.
• New characters not included in the original game
• New Battle Skill ability, adds to the range of play beyond Magic and Special abilities
• New graphics, music, gameplay and much more make this the definitive version of TACTICS OGRE.
• New and improved visuals that create a TACTICS OGRE experience with more detail than ever before.
• Re-arranged soundtrack from the original composers including 15 new compositions.

About Square Enix, Inc.
Square Enix, Inc. is a U.S. based wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd., a holding company leading Square Enix Group. Square Enix, Inc. publishes and distributes entertainment content under the Square Enix Group’s internationally renowned brands such as Square Enix, Eidos and Taito in the Americas. The Square Enix Group includes a global network of leading development studios located in North America, Europe and Japan. The Group boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property including: FINAL FANTASY, which has sold over 97 million units worldwide; DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 54 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 35 million units worldwide; and other well-established products and services.

More information on Square Enix, Inc. can be found at http://www.square-enix.com.


DRAGON QUEST, FINAL FANTASY, FINAL FANTASY TACTICS, SQUARE ENIX and the SQUARE ENIX logo are registered trademarks of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. in the United States and/or other countries. TACTICS OGRE and VAGRANT STORY are registered trademarks or trademarks of Square Enix Co., Ltd. Eidos and Tomb Raider are registered trademarks of Square Enix, Ltd. Taito is a registered trademark of Taito Corp. “PlayStation” and “PSP” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Japanese site is here too:
http://www.square-enix.co.jp/tacticsogre/

Famitsu sceens and Artwork:
http://www.famitsu.com/game/coming/1237859_1407.html

Some shots:
 


Deim, Kachua and Vice:


One of the new characters: Ravness Loxaerion

     

Detailed Interview:

Quote
Team Tactics Ogre Details PSP Remake
Minagawa and Matsuno discuss what's changed in the 15 years since the Super Famicom original.

▶Posted Jul 22, 2010 at 03:46, By Anoop Gantayat


Square Enix is readying a revival of classic Quest strategy title Tactics Ogre. In this week's Famitsu, the company shared first details on Tactics Ogre: Wheel of Fate, a remake of the Super Famicom original. The game is due for PSP release at an undisclosed date.

The original Tactics Ogre, fully "Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together" was a Japan-only strategy game that hit Super Famicom from Quest in 1995 (Quest was later bought out by Square Enix). The game was known for its rich world setting and advanced strategic gameplay, with such novelties as height-based play. PlayStation and Saturn ports were released in, respectively, 1996 and 1997, and a Game Boy Advance prequel followed in 2001.

The original staff has assembled for the PSP remake. The staff list includes Hiroshi Minagawa as director, Yasumi Matsuno as designer, Akihiko Yoshida and Tsubasa Masao as character designers and Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata on music.


Rather than "remake," Famitsu actually refers to Wheel of Fate as a "re-imagining" of the original. However, the game will see much of what one would expect of a remake, including a new visual engine, and new story and gameplay elements.

As this is a new version of Let Us Cling Together, the story and character basics remain unchanged. Famitsu introduces characters like Denim Powell, Catiua Powell and Vyce Bozeck, all of whom were in the original. The game will have new characters as well, though. One example is Ravness Loxaerion, a 23-year-old female Walstanian soldier. She's a playable character, appearing in the magazine's array of in-game battle screens.

In addition to the new character, the game will see some adjustments for the story, giving us a closer look at the emotional side of the characters along with added side stories and new stories for the newly added characters. This area of the game is being handled personally by Matsuno, who served as director, scenario writer and designer on the original.

The game will be seeing a great increase in text. This includes newly added descriptions for the various fields of play, and a great increase in the conversations that you encounter in battle. Some characters will have conversations exclusively with certain other characters. You'll also get to hear the emotional state of enemies via dialogue.

The battle system is also seeing some major changes, in terms of both gameplay and presentation. The maps are now fully 3D, allowing you to move the camera around and even view the action from above. The characters are sprite-based, giving the game a Final Fantasy Tactics visual impression. Visuals for enemy units and battle effects have been redone.

The screen layout has been reformed, with a character movement timeline at the bottom of the screen, and a single line text area at the top of the screen for detailing your currently selected unit.

The interface is also being sped up. Your characters will move more quickly. Additionally, the visual effects for magic and skill use are faster.

It looks like we can expect gameplay changes even beyond these areas. Famitsu shows a mysterious screenshot that looks somewhat like a flow chart. The caption for this screen reads "What if you'd made a different choice at that point? Will there be a system that realizes the 'what if?'." Famitsu is usually informed for such speculative statements, so we can probably expect something along this line.

DEVELOPER INTERVIEW

Minagawa, Matsuno and Yoshida appear in the magazine this week for an interview. The interview was conducted by Enterbrain CEO Hirokazu Hamamura who was given a chance to play an early build of the game during the discussion. (If you manage to get your hands on Famitsu, you'll also see a picture of the three developers with a cake. This was apparently readied to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the series.)

Hamamura provided a few impressions as he played. After viewing the game's opening, he selected "New Game" and commented jokingly that the "hand mark" is very nice. As he viewed the opening proper for the start of the new game, he commented that the text has become prettier and easier to read. Minagawa noted here that this is because the resolution has been upped due to the game being on PSP.

Hamamura's initial impression, apparently after just seeing the opening areas of the game, was that the game retains much of the look and feel of the Super Famicom version. Matsuno pointed out that a lot has actually changed from the original. For example, the Super Famicom version did not have the shadows that the PSP version has. Because of this, the game has an overall brighter, fresher look.

One of the goals for the team, said Minagawa, was to recreate the look of the original, while adding in the beautifications players make in their minds due to nostalgia. They're purposely keeping the Super Famicom qualities of the visuals in place. Matsuno joked that it would be praise for them if someone who played the game would say, even with contempt, "This is just like the original!"

There's a lot going on in the background, though, noted Matsuno. For example, they're taking great care to make sure that the sprite visuals for the characters will not be out of synch with the 3D maps.

Hamamura suggested that they should have perhaps remade even the sprite visuals. This was under consideration at the start of development, replied Minagawa. However, they felt that there'd be no need for the original staff to be making the game if they went with that approach, and so decided on the current direction. More intriguingly, Matsuno said that if they were to go the full dynamic 3D route, they might as well make a brand new title. Hamamura joked that he'd like to see this.

While the character sprite visuals are being carried over from the original Super Famicom version, the character illustrations -- the artwork -- is all new. Working on the illustrations is Tsubasa Masao, who previously worked on Final Fantasy Gaiden: Four Warriors of Light.

Matsuno detailed some of the changes are that are being made for the other areas of the game. The game's text will be more readable -- this is both for the font itself, and also for the textual content, with Matsuno himself working to fix what he describes as "my amateurish writing from 15 years back." Players will find a number of areas that have been brushed up.

On the gameplay side of things, Minagawa said that the basic format of the game will remain unchanged. That is, you'll get into battle at points in the story, and you'll have to clear these battles in order to progress. During the turn-based battles, you'll need to make use of your units to defeat enemy armies.

Atop the basic game systems, the staff is working in a number of new features. Minagawa describes the battles as being "greatly changed," although he promises that the essence of the original, including the height mechanics for the maps and the ability to send arrows flying greater distance by shooting from above, will remain in place.

New features mentioned by Minagawa include the addition of "skills," and additional classes. Some of the current systems are being changed. For example, they're removing the difference between male and female versions of a class, a change that will allow players to freely change class without thinking about gender.

The scale and speed of battle will also be seeing adjustments. Minagawa said that he's placing importance on the tempo of battle. Regarding scale, the original featured 10 vs 10 battles. For the remake, players will be able to have 12 members on their party facing off against 18 enemies, making for 30 characters on screen.

One point of note that Matsuno brought up himself was the original's difficulty. In short, it was quite difficult. Minagawa believes that keeping the game as is would be tough, especially for portable gamers. To address this issue, they've added such things as the expected mid battle save feature. There will be other features as well, including something related to the "Wheel of Fate" subtitle. This "Wheel of Fate" element is deeply related to the battle system, and it's something that players will be able to use or not use as they like. For specifics, we'll have to wait until a followup report, but Minagawa said that hints can be found in the screenshots included in the magazine.

Throughout the interview, Minagawa and Matsuno both downplayed the use of the term "remake" or "directors cut" to describe Tactics Ogre Wheel of Fate. Said Minagawa, "The goal of this game is not to make a 'Tactics Ogre Complete Version.' It's to remake Tactics Ogre again for the current generation." Said Matsuno, "It's not just a remake or directors cut. You could call it a 're-imagination.'"

Re-imagination or remake, Tactics Ogre is at last being revived for modern gamers. While Famitsu lists the game as release date TBA, the fact that Hamamura was able to demo it seems like a good indication that we'll get our hands on the game in the not-so-distant future.

Today is a GOOD day. :D
99  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: December 18, 2009, 07:23:05 PM
Best impression on the game by far from duckroll at NeoGAF:

Quote
Okay, I've clocked over 10 hours of the game now and have a good handle on most of the systems in the game. Time to write up some impressions.

THIS IS NOT A REVIEW, I'M ONLY 10 HOURS INTO THE GAME.

FFXIII is a really interesting game. No doubt it is the HD successor to the FFX/FFX-2 school of design in terms of many things, but what is surprising is that it doesn't really throw away the concepts pushed forward by FFXII. At the same time, the game itself is a whole new beast. There has never been a FF like this before, and it is a very bold new step for the series. Some fans will almost certainly like it more than others, depending on what your stake in the series is, and what is important to you in a RPG. Either way, I think it is very refreshing to have a game which breaks down barriers while erecting other new boundaries in defining what constitutes a "Final Fantasy" mainline game.

The first thing I noticed about the game was how uncompromising it was in letting the narrative dictate the entire direction of the game. Right from the start, the game starts with a bang. There has never been a FF game or a RPG as cinematic driven as FFXIII. I don't mean it uses a ton of cutscenes (lots of games do) during the game, but rather the entire experience feels like you are playing a part in a film instead of a game which uses a lot of cinematic sequences to tell the story. The best comparison would be with action games, where not only are the levels linear, but everything is designed around the narrative itself which you play through. The game doesn't consider the player's needs or wants in relation to what they want out of a RPG, but instead strives to deliver a very specific experience.

Now that could be pretty bad if the story and characters are terrible and no one cares. Thankfully, I think this is one of the strongest FF games in terms of narrative and characters. It's definitely up there with FFVI. The style of the scenario is such that the player is thrown into the world at a crucial period, and experiences several events unfold which don't quite make complete sense immediately. The game also throws the characters all out at once, without wasting time with detailed introductions or the standard form of character building.

Instead, you learn what each character is like and what they're each about as you play, and as you see them react to situations and discuss their own desires, fears, dreams and experiences. Much of what they have done in the days leading up to the game are vital to developing their characteristics and for the player to understand them, and these events are slowly unraveled through flashbacks as you play the game. This method of narrative means the game pretty much never slows down. The characters are always on the move, and with their lives all in peril there is no time to waste. Yet it also allows the game to slow down for some short moments along the way to build up on the characters and to let their various layers unfold.

All in all the narrative is very strong, the characters are extremely likable, and the plot keeps pushing players forward with the motivation to learn more about everything - the world, the characters, and the crux of what is happening in the world that allowed the events at the start of the game to occur. The sense of mystery is a high point of the storyline, and definitely a driving force for players to keep playing.

Gameplay-wise, the game is also very different from anything before. The battles are faster than ever before, but also more different than ever before. The Optima system is often mistaken for a sort of Job system, and a passive option in battles which allow you to change your Roles. It couldn't be further from the truth. The Optima system is in fact simply another way to input commands.
Because of the speed of the battles, even if the game gave the player the option of inputting commands for each character separately, and toggling using L1/R1, it would be unplayable. No human player would be able to keep up with the battles and to select AND input commands for different characters at the same time.

What the Optima and Role system does is to define 6 very specific type of roles, and limit what each role can do down to their core usage. Hence by changing the Optima of the party in battle, you are essentially specifically changing the commands each party member can make, and hence giving them near-specific orders until you change the Optima again. It is not a passive command, it is something you will have to use in almost every battle.

The game is NOT being played by "AI" so much as command input being aided by AI, and instructed by the player. Due to how battles are designed, and what the player is required to do to win battles, the emphasis is still on strategy and tactics determined by the player. Anyone who claims that the AI party members in the game are "auto play", is probably a person who has previously complained that the Gambit system is "auto play" and so we can know to safely ignore them.

Outside of the battle system, the game actually features some pretty interesting forms of character customization. Gone are character levels, just like in FFX. Instead, in it's place are various systems which break the core meaning of "leveling up" down into different bite pieces to make the player more proactive in considering how to strengthen any given character. Each character starts off with access to a limited selection of Roles. Each character's Crystarium (think simplified Sphere Grid or License Board) for each Role is different. So even between say Lightning as a Blaster and Snow as a Blaster, the abilities they can learn and the stat boosts they can gain from putting in CP is different.

Aside from stats and abilities gained from Crystarium, the game also features a pretty interesting Weapon and Accessory system. Fans of weapons will be happy to learn that unlike FFX, the weapons in FFXIII have stats again. Each weapon has a Physical Attack and Magical Attack stat, and some weapons have an ability attached. Weapons also have levels, which starts at level 1. Using materials gained from defeating enemies, you can pump them into weapons to give the weapon experience, and level it up. Each weapon has a different sort of balance for the stats, so leveling up the initial weapon is just as viable as changing to a new weapon each time you can buy or find a better one, and leveling that up for a little bit before the next one.

In some cases, specializing on a certain weapon and leveling it up over and over might be a much better option, depending on how you plan on using the character it's equipped on. Different weapons gain different amounts of exp from different materials, and using a bunch of materials which give a small bit of exp might sometimes trigger an exp bonus chain for the next set of materials you put in. There's a bit a experimentation involved, although with how limited some materials are earlier in the game, it might be wise not to waste too many on trial on error too soon.

Accessories also have levels, and each accessory has an ability tied to it. By leveling it up, you increase the effectiveness of the accessory. For example, a Silver Bangle Lvl1 would give HP+100, and putting in enough materials to get it to Lvl2 will change it to HP+116 instead. What I've also noticed is that there are synergy abilities as well. Hope had a weapon which had no abilities on its own, but when equipped with that weapon AND a certain accessory, it gave him an ability which boosted Physical damage. The ability is not listed on either accessory, and is essentially hidden. As such, it reasons that there are many more of this sort of secret combinations of weapon+accessory which when equipped grant bonuses.
100  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: December 09, 2009, 02:39:41 PM
I'm curious how the game loses linearity.  I'm hoping its much less than "you get to travel more".

Aren't FFIV-X like this? In fact it sound a like FFVI's progression.

@CFDN: The first one is fake.
101  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: December 08, 2009, 08:40:31 PM
A better translated review from Aokage at NeoGAF:
Quote
10: "Although the game is linear until the midway point, the story is substantial, like no FF before it, with its own distinctive appeal. The battles based around changing characters' roles are fresh and highly strategic. The tempo is speedy and you get very excited when fighting strong enemies. Being able to restart battles is a user-friendly feature I'm happy about.

9: "Unquestionably the highest echelon of event and movie scenes. Moreover, changing Optimas on a dime, the varied abilities and being able to use multiple magics at once bring real exhilaration to the battles. That high quality is unfortunately offset by a story that stays linear until the midway point. The lack of gimmicks during the middle of the game also worried me."

10: "The overwhelming graphics expressing every nook and cranny of this unique world, along with the praiseworthy direction, moved me!! The battle system is applicable both to beginners and micro-managers. The fights progress quickly, and have ratings, so you never grow tired and can always battle with a feeling of urgency. The melancholic story is also so dramatic, you can't tear your eyes away from it."

10: "I doff my hat to the overwhelming graphics and story. Since the game's various systems become denser as the story progresses, you find yourself pulled ever deeper into the experience. The summon battles take careful planning and strategy, so I was frustrated a few times, but the feeling of achievement when you win is something special. You'll be sorry if you don't play this!"
102  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: December 04, 2009, 03:19:54 AM
Lots of nice information screens here:

http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2009/12/04/ffxiii_update/
http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2009/12/02/ffxiii_update/
103  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Famitsu announces a new Lufia (Estpolis) game on: November 20, 2009, 05:44:14 AM
Oh geez, they gave Maxim a metrosexual look right out of Persona:

http://www.true-gaming.net/tgupload/images2/09111920456cd4ed0e378d3009.jpg

Got this from NeoGAF:


Quote

Some excerpts from the interview that I guess are notable:

-It was a request by SE
-It's in no way a port
-It's different from a remake; the story, characters, and world-view have been reconstructed
-The Wave Device is (a) key, the world is different from the SNES version
-It's still like a Lufia game
-The bottom screen is only used for changing characters
-The D-Pad is more central than the stylus
-It's programmed so bosses take up both screens
-While the bosses are difficult, a guide isn't needed (I think that's what he said...)
-Action game players will be satisfied, but it's fine for those who aren't good at action games as well
-The elements are a growth of the RPG (you'll be hurt if you waste time)
-The scenario is based on II, and there are parts where the lines are the same as II's, but it's basically been completely rewritten
-The number of places like towns that will be in the game is different from I and II
-There are also elements we tried to add for the fans of the series so far
-You can figure out hidden setups within the puzzles
-They're bringing back music from I and II
-The sound quality has been improved without tampering with the melody line
-The main staff from the original version are making it
-They're keeping things like "xxx of Magic" and "Magical xxx" as they are since back then (I think they're talking about treasures/items or something?)
104  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: October 30, 2009, 08:03:58 PM
Official site has been updated with Fang, Bahamut, Brunhildr and 4 new music tracks which really sound good.

http://www.square-enix.co.jp/fabula/ff13/

Note: These aren't the actual names.

"Resistance"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMacrDEwwsU

"Lightning's Theme"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke281MBhpDg

"Valiant" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoDVPgkdqEs

"Chocobo Theme"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDwAN90MKTo
105  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: September 28, 2009, 11:42:01 AM
Another link here:
http://www.gametrailers.com/video/tgs-09-final-fantasy/56839
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