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Report: New Final Fantasy Souls-Like In Development At Team Ninja

Posted on May 26, 2021 by Rae Michelle Richards

According to new reports the Final Fantasy franchise might be branching out in a slightly unexpected direction – the “souls” genre. Going from a party of casters, melee, healers and heroes to a single playable character is quite the departure from what we are used to from Final Fantasy. Sure the series has experimented with a three member setup (XIII) and even a two party setup (Lightning Returns) but the slower paced combat, potential focus on counters and expected difficulty spikes could mean the end result is something entirely unseen in the FF series.

News broke via Fanbyte two days ago that this souls-like title will be titled Final Fantasy: Origin, it is under development at Team Ninja and will be exclusive to the recently released PlayStation 5. Further details have also supposedly come to light via the R/GamingLeakSubreddit where it was revealed that the game will focus on the setting of the first Final Fantasy game from the NES – and a reminder that game didn’t have jobs, bahamut or even Chocobos – so there’s lots of room for new inclusions. Difficulty will apparently be dynamic, meaning that multiple difficulty settings will be offered from the outset. To top this all off, like the Ni-oh games before – a playable Alpha version of the game will be made available for fans to leave feedback before the game launches.

As with anything of this nature – unconfirmed rumours of in-development games in the weeks leading up to E3, take it all with a grain of salt. The fact that other outlets, with much more reach inside of development studios, and other insiders are corroborating this story means there is probably something to it.

E3 will be held on June 12th through the 15th as an online only event. Square Enix will be holding their own presentation showcase during that time.

Source: IGN


Everything Talked About During The Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest Q & A

Posted on November 19, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Over the weekend Square Enix held the biennial Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest in Las Vegas. Expectations were high, and honestly it feels like Naoki Yoshida and co delivered with the debut trailer for the game’s latest expansion ShadowBringers. On Saturday Final Fantasy XIV Producer / Director Noaki Yoshida sat down with Sound Director Masayoshi Soken along with a translator. The pair took questions from curious Warriors of Light who traveled from all around the (physical) world to ask the pair questions about Eorzea, its lore and what the future had in store.  Topics ranged from how the developers plan to balance Tank accessories, to the stability of servers and how they’ll bring new accessibility options to FFXIV.

Below is a complete transcript of the Q & A. Please note that this transcript was typed in real-time during the Q & A so there may be minor typographical errors and wording may not be exactly 100% accurate.

Please Look Forward To It!

Q: Lots of players need to use VPNs to connect without disconnecting it lag. Will be talking to ISPs about routing?

A: this is an issue we are constantly tackling. We strive to provide the best service but the ISPs are their own company and sometimes they are cooperative. Sometimes they push back about accommodating for our needs. We will continue to reach out, we are not giving up.

Q: I was curious, do you have any plans for realm vs realms open world PvP content with siege weapons?

A: To be honest we do not have any plans. We did hear that applause, we acknowledge that – no need to exert the opinion that we only want PVE content but thank you.

Going back to the original question, we don’t have plans currently – we have done tests where we take certain worlds where we turn on the PVP flag and have Grand Company battles in the public space. It is possible – if we were to do something like this we would still make it a PVP realm. We are continuing to monitor if this is content that is wanted.

The Warrior of Light / Darkness From The ShadowBringers Trailer

Q: it’s clear that time is progressing in the expansion trailers. We don’t know much time has passed. Since ARR how old have our characters grown?

A: That might not be something we want to touch upon. We don’t want to specifically answer it or make it canon so to speak.

That being said, since 1.0 and looking at Shadowbringers we do notice that our warrior of light has aged. We hope that you can imagine or speculate how this might be. Maybe it’s static party breaking apart and disbanding (referencing a reddit post).

Q: Everyone here appreciates all of the work that you do. We have Hilda who is half elezen half human. I’m Stormblood a half human half Raen is mentioned. Could we get to play as these types of character?

A: *laughs* That’s why I told you not to bring out those characters so many times! It’s Oda-san! I do believe we would have the possibility of more NPCs like that appearing but having them playable….

Say for example a half Miqo’te, half Roegadyn, what kind of voice would it have?

Sokken: I have no idea!

FFXIV Producer / Director Naoki Yoshida Presenting The FFXIV Fan Fest Keynote

Q: I’d like to thank you for making one of the greatest games I look forward to every day. My question is. – there are 15 classes in the game and rumours for more. In terms to glamour plates, can we have them linked to class or more plates? I could be a MNK or SMN but the weapon would be different but the gear stays the same.

A: I believe we do have three major tasks in regards to the Glamour Dresser and plates. We want to increase the number of sets you can store in the dresser. Another task we want to look into is the number of available plates. Third would be increasing the number of Locations where you can use these plates.

We do have these three tasks identified. We are still investigating which task to take on, and what’s feasible technically. Updates on this may come in spurts. In terms of your question you’re asking about tasks 2 – increasing the number of plates. Technically speaking increasing the number of plates and recognizing a job is possible. This brings up a great opportunity – by show of applause which would be your preference, we will name out the three tasks we are looking at.
Sound director please be the judge.

Sokken: Number 4 – I get less work.

Q: New races are exciting but I wanted to ask about the existing character models. Like Male elezen looks a little weird around the neck with some gear. Are there plans to polish up existing models?

A: Technically speaking it’s not impossible to do but say hypothetically speaking at the launch of Shadow Bringers you see Elezen have very compact neck, people familiar with existing characters would say “why would you do that!” It’s a very line. If it isn’t too much trouble – if you are experiencing these issues please post a screenshot on the official forums and we will look into it. Please mark the posts as (Fanfest QA).

Sokken: I have a request for the sound team and QA for this. Something I always get asked about the Waring Triad mounts. A lot of time people think ur music is the latter half of the battle but I The Sephorot case it is the music from the first half of the fight. People say “change it!” But if we do change it people will say “why did you change it!”.

Yoshida: If we did change it we wouldn’t have the first stage music would not be on the mounts. As a development team people say “you could just change it” – as a development team if it were that simple we would have already done it. Everything in the game has an ID and there are no more IDs.

Q: Thank you for making Ultomate and Savage. We love directing how the mechanics how they work. In Omega 3 Savage the big fists chose players in the light Partyand we can’t figure out how this works. Could you shed some light on this?

A: *everyone laughs* According to the person who handled this (Omega S3) – I had actually asked how are people being picked? And I think I remember them saying that may be a bug…

*crowd erupts in laughter*

Depending on which jobs make up the party there seems to be a pattern. I’m so sorry! Just to add to this – it is not a critical bug where you can’t clear the content. But we don’t want to go in there and make things worse, we are still in the monitoring phase. I’m so sorry!

The President of Square Enix comes on stage dressed as a Blue Mage during the reveal of the Job at Fanfest.

Q: Showing my friends End Game raids from HW and SB a lot of my friends love it but when they start they get to 2.X quest chains and they stop playing. Is there any plans to condense that so that maybe players who left will come back?

A: To be completely honest with you. I would love to go into ARR to rebuild the story quests – and there are a lot of quests in that narrative. We have looked into the quests in there and not cutting out quests but making adjustments to what is necessary to progress. When we evaluated previous quests in previous expansions we decided we would have to dedicate a lot of resource too. Now that we’re moving into development of Shadow Bringers it is something we could look into post 5.0 launch.

Q: In the trailer there for 5.0 it sounds like they’re saying “Warping Shadows” what are the lyrics?

Sokken: Warping Shadow! It’s me! It’s a secret!

Yoshida: I wanted to add if you hear a male vocals on a song it’s usually one of those two – Sokken or Koji Fox. The sounds of the gremlin are one of the sound design team.

Q: White Mage is very maligned right now and we won’t find out any changes until 5.0. Is the team looking into this a the Lillies and other mechanics make it difficult to raid. Scholar and AST are the main picks in Omega.

A: Let’s look at it from the timing perspective first. At the time of the release we will adjust each of the jobs within their role. With certain mechanics of these jobs – we heard a lot of feedback, certainly MCH, we will have to take a hard look at them for rework. I’m so sorry! We are going to look into making adjustments into the fundamental mechanics of these jobs – we’ll make sure to communicate this before the launch. Please look forward to more information as it is to come.

In terms of the immediate Patch 4.5 – we are looking at the numbers and deciding amongst the development team whether or not we make any adjustments to WHM or MNK. We will had a second live letter before the launch of the patch.

Blue Mage Strikes a Pose In The Reveal Trailer

Q: Thanks for adding Blue Mage to the game. I’m a big really fan of the instances content like the haunted house mini game. As an homage to FF7 could we get a haunted house game in the golden saucer?

Sokken: There’s this memory problem.

Yoshida: *contemplates* First and foremost letting us know you enjoy the Seasonal Event. Any sort of instanced content we try to add several of these within the year. We are at our maximum workload when we are introducing those within our upcoming Starlight Celebration this winter. Considering have that kind of content to the Gold Saucer we’d have to consider what do we do with the following years mini games and seasonal events. It is tough to consider these events from a development perspective. In the live letter we will be introducing two new games for the Gold Saucer later this afternoon!

Q: As a player with near nearsightedness, colorblindness i would like to thank you how accessible you’d made the game. Could it be possible to change the color of damage indicators for AOEs on the floor on the client side as they tend to bleed into the floor.

A: We have done our due diligence to research accessibility and that there are differences depending on the individual. If we were to have to adjustments on the client side – we would have to prepare different types of assets – in our accessibility settings we do have color adjustment to filters has that helped?

In this case but if you could post this on our forums. We would like to get information about what content and where you have trouble recognizing the AOEs so that we can consider the color variations and patterns we use on our floors within our content.

Q: Warriors has shifted to using crafted accessories that make only a few 100HP difference but our DMG can make the difference in the situation of a 1% wipe. Are there plans to address this?

A: This is an issue that has existed for a while. There are lots of issues why can’t revert to the calculation used in the Midas era. At that time Tanks had a lot of DPS and we felt this was an issue. From a game balance perspective despite being a tank role the damage dealt is increasingly close to that of a DPS role Job. ATK power is consistently high. At the same time in order to raise the damage dealt we do have to rely on crafters and there are players considering the raid drops being inferior to the crafted alternatives.


Five More Final Fantasy Games We’d Like To See On Switch

Posted on September 25, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

With Final Fantasy is making the jump to Nintendo Switch throughout the next year there are still many more tales that would be an absolute delight to have on the go on Nintendo Switch. The lack of Final Fantasy 8 in the release schedule has been covered to death – and apparently there’s no modern port for S.E to easily convert to switch – so baring that entry here are six more Final Fantasy titles that should grace our favorite console. 

In no particular order…. 

Final Fantasy Explorers  

Monster Hunter World showed that Capcom’s long niche boss gauntlet game can have massive mainstream appeal and the recent launch of Monster Hunter Generations: Ultimate on Switch was nothing to sneeze at either.  

Now take the barebones structure of Monster Hunter’s gameplay and apply it to possibly the most well-known RPG franchises to exist and it sounds like a winning combination. Foregoing the well-known narrative structure of previous Final Fantasy entries1, like Capcom’s games, Explorers had players traverse an island performing various objectives from gathering to combat. With well-known jobs like Red Mage, Fighter, Summoner, Dragoon and more available, how is this not a rife for a complete remake for Switch? 

Final Fantasy Tactics 

Ivalice is a world that has been visited many times and Nintendo Switch owners will get the chance to visit Dalmasca when Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age arrives next year but missing from Square’s line-up is the game that started the Ivalice mythology – 1998’s Final Fantasy Tactics. 

Eschewing the Active Time Battle system and even the traditional side-view combat camera angle – Final Fantasy Tactics takes all of the trappings of previous FF titles and crafts something truly unique. Playing more like a strategy RPG, complete with isometric camera angles, Final Fantasy Tactics crafted an intricate narrative set in the aftermath of a great war. Featuring 20 different jobs (PlayStation original version2), interesting conflicts between characters and a vast wealth of lore – Final Fantasy Tactics is perfect for players who want to immerse themselves in both strategy and deep storytelling.

[Head Image: Fan creation based upon CaitlinStar’s Switch Case Template | FF Tactics Image via YouTube | FF Explorers Image via YouTube]

Final Fantasy XIII-2 / Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Square Enix’s “Fabula Nova Crystalis” might not have panned out as originally intended but what did it eventually give us was a trilogy of games that greatly expanded upon one of  FFXIII’sheroine Lightning and the world’s lore. Welcome but unexpected (to me) at the time was FFXIII-2 focus on her sister Serah’s quest to find Lightning after the events of the original XIII. Taken as a trilogy the XIII Saga greatly expands upon the larger universe with the introduction of deities, alternate timelines and even the ability to view alternate timelines where certain events did or did not take place.

The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy takes the world initially created for the first game to unexpected places but you might be wondering why the first game didn’t make it onto this wishlist. Simply put the original FFXIII would never fit onto a single Switch cartridge or even two of them. As of the writing of this article Nintendo Switch carts are limited to 16GB and some of the largest digital Switch games come in at approximately 30GB (hi DOOM!). XIII has a number of 720p cut-scenes that made a Blu-Ray disc on PS3 mandatory (or 4 Xbox 360 DVDs). Switch owners would be better served by a truncated movie version of the XIII events or that game’s story as a data-log.

Final Fantasy XIV

At last we come to what is undoubtedly my most wanted FF title on Switch – Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood. What can be said about the world of Eorzea that hasn’t already been expressed by other fans and Warriors of Light? Naoki Yoshida and his team have taken XIV and made fashioned a world that I simply want to live in – from the rolling green foothills of the Azim Steppe to the lush forests of New Gradania, the world of Final Fantasy XIV is as vibrant as it is diverse when it comes to setting. Special mention also goes out to the music – from the memorable City State themes, Zone themes you can’t but help to humm or the amazing music brought to every raid tier by the talented Masayoshi Sokken – the music in FFXIV will leave you awestruck. Flesh all of that out with a Main Scenario that helps create characters that resonate with players and a regular patch cycle that adds new content to the game every few weeks and it is easy to see why thousands of people login to FFXIV every day.

I’ve been playing FFXIV since the waning days of A Realm Reborn and it remains a place that I visit every day – whether I’m exploring the new Main Scenario quests, running daily content with my spouse or just logging in to hang out in chat with my comrades in my Free Company. With dozens of classes- both battle and crafting – seasonal events, 24 person raids and weekly loot drops – there is always something to do in FFXIV and it really is my second home.

[Sources: 1 2 ]


So much Final Fantasy coming to Nintendo Switch starting with FFXV Pocket Edition

Posted on September 15, 2018 by Jason Nason

Square Enix is bringing Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD to the Nintendo Switch (it’s actually already available in the Nintendo eShop). That much we already knew. Well it looks like Square Enix is going all in with the Nintendo Switch.

On the latest Nintendo Direct it was announced that Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD isn’t the only Final Fantasy game coming to the Switch. High-definition versions of some of the most beloved Final Fantasy games of all time are coming to Nintendo Switch.

This includes Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster, as well as the recently released Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. This is the first time any of these Final Fantasy games has been released on a Nintendo system.

In addition, three other games in the Final Fantasy universe will launch on Nintendo Switch in the near future.

The leveled-up edition of World of Final Fantasy Maxima launches November 6th, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! launches this winter and Nintendo GameCube co-op game Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition with online multiplayer and no need for a link cable comes to Nintendo Switch in 2019.

I haven’t played the bulk of these games on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, and played a little bit of Crystal Chronicles, but after Final Fantasy XI I haven’t played much at all. I’m excited to see these released on the Switch.

Are you excited by these releases? Will you be playing through them?


E3 2018: Kingdom Hearts III Gets Two Collector’s Editions and a Release Date

Posted on June 11, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

After a half a decade long wait we finally know when we will get to play the end of Sora’s story in Kingdom Hearts III – January 29th, 2019 on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Before the E3 press conferences, parties and festivities Square Enix announced the global release date during the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour Concert in Los Angeles.

Fans have speculated that Disney / Square might include a world based upon the 2012 hit film Forzen so that Sora, Riku and Mickey can sled their way thru Elsa’ frozen wonderland. During Microsoft’s E3 press conference yesterday these hoped were confirmed with a brand new trailer that basically recaps early plot points from Arendalle’s first tale.

Check it out here:

A brand new trailer, release date and world reveal weren’t the only exciting things to be revealed this week. Today Square Enix also confirmed that KHIII will also have two collector’s edition. One that includes a set of Sora, Donald and Goof Bring Arts figures and another includes a collectable pin and steel box.

First up is the Deluxe Edition:

  • Deluxe Edition – $79.99
    • Exclusive steelbook packaging
    • Mini art book with concept artwork by Tetsuya Nomura
    • Collectible KINGDOM HEARTS III pin.

Next up is the $199.99 USD Bring Arts + Deluxe Edition:

Deluxe Edition + Bring Arts Figures – The KINGDOM HEARTS III Deluxe Edition and Bring Arts Sora, Donald, and Goofy Set bundled separately will be available in limited quantities for $229.99. Fans can now preorder the Xbox One and PlayStation®4 system versions exclusively from the SQUARE ENIX Online Store.

Kingdom Hearts III was one of the first games I wrote about for BrokenJoysticks back in 2013 when it was revealed. Will KH III answer all of the lingering questions after 16 years of games? We’ll find out next January.


E3 2018: Shadow of the Tomb Raider Gets First Gameplay Trailer and Screenshots

Posted on June 11, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix revealed the first in-engine gameplay trailer for the upcoming third entry in the Tomb Raider reboot franchise, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This 3 minute long cut of sequences seems to be taken from the same “first hour” demo that I got to play at the Shadow of the Tomb Raider reveal event back in April.

Demo stations featuring a slice of Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be playable at both Square Enix’s E3 booth and Microsoft’s Xbox Experience Theatre. E3 is also the first place that the public will get a look at SOTR running on PC hardware.

Here’s Square Enix’s official description of the demo that’s available on the show floor:

E3 attendees will have the opportunity to experience Shadow of the Tomb Raider firsthand with playable demos at the Square Enix booth and the Xbox Experience at the Microsoft Theater. Meanwhile, the NVIDIA booth will host a behind closed doors, first time playable demo of Shadow of the Tomb Raider on PC.

In the demo I got to play a massive tidal wave destroys an entire city during the climax. Here is how I described it back in April:

“This is where things went from standard action movie fare – as seen in the previous two titles – to nearly world shattering. A ginormous tidal wave quickly engulfs the cavernous tomb and sweeps Lara out and onto the city streets. What follows is an almost indescribable amount of devastation as the large wave carries Lara, innocent pedestrians, cars and anything not firmly cemented into a foundation along with it.”

Alongside the gameplay trailer Square Enix also released several brand new screenshots, which you can check out below:


FFXIV’s Hard Core Raiding Community Spent The First 12 Hours Doing ‘The Weapon’s Refrain’ Wrong

Posted on June 6, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

With the release of FFXIV Patch 4.31 two days ago, the newest entry in the on-going series of Ultimate difficulty encounters – The Minstrels Ballad: The Weapon’s Refrain – has been unleashed upon the denizens of Eorzea.  

As soon as the servers went live in the early morning hours several well-known raiding groups like Elysium, YouTuber Mister Happy Gaming and XenoSysVex were ready to see just what Yoshi-P& Co were going to throw at them. Alongside these skilled raiders are thousands of viewers (over 9, 810 as of the time of writing) ready to watch and interact as Streamers attempt to figure out just how The Weapons Refrain works. 

The Ministral’s Ballad: The Weapon’s Refrain is a dramatic retelling of The Warrior of Light’s encounter with the Ultima Weapon way back in A Realm Reborn. Featuring brand new mechanics and edge of your seat encounters with the 3 original Primal (Garuda, Titan and Ifrit) from ARR, this is an encounter of epic proportions. Challenging an Ultimate level encounter is no joke – FFXIV offers encounters at a number of different skill levels: Story (regular), Extreme (harder content but still PUGable), Savage (Even harder group content that can require weeks of coordination) and for the most diehard – Ultimate. 

Above: The Weapon’s Refrain streams are currently the most popular FFXIV content out there.

Initially the community thought that the first 3 phases of the fight were a joke as raiding groups blew through the 3 Primal with relative ease over the first few hours of their streams. Some called the encounter too easy as these Warriors of Light pushed on for upwards of 16 hours yesterday but there was a massive problem once the first group hit phase 4, the Ultima Weapon itself.  

Upon entering Phase 4 of the fight (which may not even be the last phase, we don’t know as no one has gotten past it yet) entire parties received a Doom buff that could not be cleansed (removed) – killing the entire party. It turns out that if a party does not do the mechanics in phases 1 thru 3 in a certain order to “awaken” the 3-original primal (and make these phases much more difficult in the process) they inevitably hit an unwinnable state come Phase 4.  

After 12 hours of what seemed like steady progress that frontier of the Final Fantasy 14 raiding community had all of their gains wiped out by a single doom cast. Major groups had to go back to Garuda (phase 1) and figure out just how to cause her to “awaken” before moving on to Ifrit and finally Titan.  Right now it seems like the current theory is to gain a special buff from each of the 3 primal in order to cleanse the doom in phase 4 and survive incoming attacks using three consecutive Limit Break 3s. All of this, is of course, hypothetical because noone has lived long enough through Phase 4 to verify that this is the intended solution. 

Watching chat commenters, community personalities like Mr.Happy and even on-going analysis between groups streaming the encounter individually to figure out the solution to The Weapon’s Refrain’s mystery is actually really captivating. My spouse and I spent several hours last night watching it all unfold live and who knows how long it will take before a World’s First is claimed. 

Above: The Unending Coil of Bahamut

Last Fall in Patch 4.11 Square Enix released the first Ultimate level encounter, The Ultimate Coil of Bahmut, which tasks players with slaying the Elder Primal yet again. Groups worked on the UCOB encounter for 12 days before Dysnomia from Japan was able to claim the World’s First UCOB kill. 

Header Image Source: YouTube


Star Ocean: Anamesis comes to mobile in July

Posted on June 3, 2018 by Jason Nason

Square Enix has announced that Star Ocean: Anamesis, a brand new journey in the popular sci-fi fantasy Star Ocean series, is coming to the North America this July on the App Store and Google Play Store for mobile devices. The game will be free to download.

Star Ocean: Anamesis puts players in the captain’s chair as they lead a squad of heroes across the galaxy. They will have the freedom to build endless strategic and iconic teams with returning all-star characters from the Star Ocean series, choosing between attackers, sharpshooters, defenders, invokers and healers to assemble a powerful crew.

Enhanced mobile-specific controls will have users experience fast-paced real-time combat with gorgeous 3D graphics. For the first time in the series, players will also be able to tackle missions together in a brand-new co-op multiplayer mode.

Apple users can now register for the official Apple Testflight closed beta to get an exclusive preview of the game before launch. Additionally, fans can now pre-register through the official Star Ocean Twitter and Facebook, as well as Google Play to unlock a variety of awards following launch, which are determined by the total number of pre-registrations across all participating channels. Prizes include bubbly iconic series character Welch Vineyard, as well as the cool and collected Faize, originally from Star Ocean: The Last Hope.

The full list of pre-registration rewards is available below.


Kingdom Hearts III Off-Screen Pictures Emerge Before Embargo

Posted on May 17, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Four off-screen camera phone pictures of a development build of Kingdom Hearts III surfaced earlier this afternoon on 4Chan and were later picked up by several users on Twitter. It is public knowledge that Square Enix recently held a preview event for KHIII and the embargo supposedly ends tomorrow morning. 

The user who posted these images on 4Chan noted that they were subsequently kicked out of the event and had their phone confiscated for the breach. 

Spoiller Warning Obviously 

Each of the 4 images given us a bit more information on KHIII’s gameplay and systems. We now know what each of the buttons on the PlayStation 4 controller do while piloting the Toy Mech. This leak confirms rumors that a Wreck It Ralph stage complete with Fix It Felix game will appear in the game … and most of all, who is this mysterious woman with blue hair? 

BrokenJoysticks did not attend the KHIII press event and is not under any sort of NDA or embargo. We have, in the past, attended Square Enix preview events.  



Final Fantasy XIV Patch 4.3 Details Further Unveiled During Letter From The Producer Live

Posted on May 14, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

FFXIV’s next big update Patch 4.3: Under the Moonlight will be delivered to players on May 22nd it has been revealed during the latest entry in the Letter From The Producer Live live-streams. During the show with Producer / Director Naoki Yoshida, a special guest joined the show in the last half – none other than the creator of Italic himself – Yasumi Matsuno, to further discuss the second tier of the Return to Ivalice raid series.

The Main Scenario Continues
As with every major patch released for Final Fantasy XIV, the Main Scenario revolving around the player character and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn continues for yet another instalment full of twists and turns. Patch 4.3 will see the storyline regarding the far eastern land of Doma come to a dramatic conclusion as the newly installed leader of Doma, Hien, grapples with a tense prisoner exchange with the Gatlean Empire. Can we trust the Empire’s intentions at face value? For a faction that has invaded Eorzea and caused a devastating calamity five years ago, there isn’t much reason to trust them.

Job Adjustments
Several jobs will receive adjustments as part of Patch 4.3, it was noted that the Tank role of Dark Knight could be due for a complete redesign but we shouldn’t expect it during this patch series – as this redesign would take at least six months of development time. Dark Knight, Monk, Astrologian, Black Mage, Samurai and Scholar will all receive adjustments with this patch.

• Samurai – Potency increases, Basic combo potency to be increased, possibility of empty control (remove empty like Machinist / Bard?) to be included with these adjustments.
• Dark Knight – Potency increase across the board, animation cool downs to be reduced, defence buffs.
• Astrologian – Cast times for Attack Spells reduced across the board, Lightspeed MP cost of affected spell reduced from 50% to 25%, Danage reduction effect currently on this spell to be removed.
• Scholar – misc Pet adjustments.
• Monk – Skills that allow Monks to reduce the amount of Emity they generate will be introduced.
• Ninja – Unspecified adjustments for use with the Deep Dungeon Heaven on High.

New Deep Dungeon: Heaven on High

Remember the Jenga tower in the Ruby Sea that the camera focuses on for a long dramatic pause before never being mentioned again? Players were correct in their assertion that this will be the new Deep Dungeon – similar to Palace of the Dead – with a focus on quick experience gain and it’s own levelling system. Rather than contain 200 floors of challenging MOBS, Heaven on High will feature 100 floors with the really hard content beginning on floor 31. It was also mentioned that a “grand summing” system will become available in Heaven on High, but what this actually entails is currently unknown.

Forbidden Land of Eureka: Pagos (To be introduced several weeks later in Patch 4.36)

Our last expedition to the Forbidden Land of Eureka seems like it has been a success with the announcement of the commencement of the Pagos expedition expected to be released sometime in June. This snowy region of the misplaced island of Val could very well focus on the Blizzard aspected aether that players use to defeat some of the Notorious Monsters across Val. Once players locked down the pattern of knowing the NM spawn times, moving as a cohesive “train” from Monster to Monster and power-levelling. The obvious problem with this system was that lower level characters could contribute to the battle against the stronger NMs like Pazuzu. Here’s hoping the vague promise of ‘new gameplay elements’ can make our time in Pagos engaging and entertaining.

Final Fantasy XIV Under The Moonlight will be released next Tuesday, May 22nd. Alongside everything outlined above it also brings a brand new 24-person raise, a new Extreme Trial, a mysterious unannounced Story related trial (it’s Zenos.. come it has to be) and the Ultima Weapon’s Refrain (Ultimate) – the next segment of the ultra-hard content for the top % of players. For further coverage check out my post from last month.


Shadow of the Tomb Raider Preview PT 2: Every Beginning Has An End

Posted on May 2, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

This is Part 2 of my comprehensive preview of the upcoming Shadow of the Tomb Raider based upon an hour long play session and interviews at last week’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider reveal event. Square Enix USA covered my travel expenses and accommodations to attend the event. If you missed my breakdown on how Shadow of the Tomb Raider is evolving the established Tomb Raider formula – check it out here.

Later this week and early next week I’ll be publishing a pair of video interviews with a Gameplay Systems Designer and Producer from the game.

Debut Trailer

SotTR’s First Hour

Spoiler Warning: The following hands-on preview discusses the ending of Rise of the Tomb Raider and how it affects Lara’s motivation towards the villans in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Both the events of RotR’s ending and the identity of SotTR’s villans are discussed at length. Several names and events have been blacked out to help readers avoid spoilers.

I got the chance to go hands-on for Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s beginning hour during the reveal event in Montreal, Quebec last week. My play session kicked off approximately 15 minutes into SotTR’s campaign I was told by one of the developers at the event. Lara alongside Jonah – who players of Rise of the Tomb Raider should recognize – find themselves hunting down a set of Mayan relics before the Trinity Organization can get their hands both the Box and Silver Key of Ixel Chel.

Legends say that by using the mystical power contained within the Box in combination with the Key, the holder of both Relics can reshape the world. This transformation takes the shape of a powerful world shattering Earthquake, a massive volcanic eruption and a drowning Tsunami. While Trinity’s intentions with these devastating powerful forces is not made entirely clear – surely they will kill a lot of the Earth’s population in doing so.

Avoiding an apocalyptic scenario isn’t the only thing at stake for Lara Croft in this third entry of the rebooted franchise. Given how Rise of the Tomb Raider ended – after Lara spending the entirety of RotR processing the suppressed memory of her father’s suicide, it is revealed that the Trinity Organization orchestrated his death – there is a personal factor driving Lara’s determination to see things through to their conclusion. SotTR’s antagonist, Dr. Dominguez who heads up Trinity will pose an equal intellectual, as well as physical challenge, to both Lara and Jonah this time around. Perhaps it is Crystal Dynamics / Edios Montreal’s intention to have the player question whose approach to averting the Mayan apocalypse is best? – if a disastrous power is going to be unleashed upon the world should it be used in a way that allows some of humanity to live?

My demo began with Lara and Jonah arriving at a South American festival that gave off a vibe similar to that of Dia de Muertos with banners, fireworks and attendees sporting skeleton face paint. To hide her identity Lara dons a hooded poncho and a partial Skull Mask that, to be honest, looked absolutely amazing on her! Our heroes must stay hidden from Trinity security forces all while gaining access to one of the organization’s Dig Sites in order to find out where the Key of IX Chel is located. As Jonah distracts armed men by approaching them and asking about an on-going party, I guided Lara through the city streets, which acted as a basic movement tutorial.

Things opened up as I progressed through the Dig Site, with SotTR prompting me about the basics of stealth – hiding in bushes, watching enemy alert statuses – as well as a basic primer on how to run and gun my way through a given situation. Hiding in the lush South American brush and striking guards from close quarters is just as exhilarating as it sounds. Towards the Dig Site’s conclusion I decided to change my approach and use the small sub-machine gun that Lara came equipped with to dispatch the remaining patrols.

Gameplay seamlessly shifted things to the first real Tomb of Shadow’s first hour – “Hunter’s Moon” – which saw me utilizing Lara’s climbing expertise to effortlessly climb and repel Lara into the once hidden temple belonging to Ix Chel (when I wasn’t missing the button prompt to connect two jumps together and falling to my death). Rope Arrows from the previous two titles where key to solving a quite ingenious puzzle involving an abandoned mine cart and a wench. Without giving away the solution, after solving the mine cart puzzle and another clever puzzle involving large weights Lara finally had one of the two coveted Mayan artifacts in her possession.

This is where things went from standard action movie fare – as seen in the previous two titles – to nearly world shattering. A ginormous tidal wave quickly engulfs the cavernous tomb and sweeps Lara out and onto the city streets. What follows is an almost indescribable amount of devastation as the large wave carries Lara, innocent pedestrians, cars and anything not firmly cemented into a foundation along with it.

As the water subsides and Lara rejoins Jonnah for the first time since the opening minutes of the demo she surveys the sheer damage the tidal wave has unleashed. Suddenly the roaring blades of a helicopter come from behind and within an instant the duo are face to face with Dr. Dominquez who promptly swipes the dagger of Ix Chel from Lara’s possession without a grandiose speech or monologue – RoTR’s Konstantine, he is not.

It is here in the closing seconds of SotTR’s first hour that the impact of all of this destruction catches up with Lara. I could see the anguish and guilt stricken across her face as she begins to plead with Jonah to go on to the next dig site and capture the box before Trinity can. It is here the Jonah snaps back at Lara in quite an unexpected fashion – essentially saying “Not everything is about you Lara, you want to act on a myth and a scrap of information when the people HERE need us. We can make a difference here.” With just a few short sentences he bring’s Lara’s attention back to devastation caused by the removal of the Key and away from her larger quest – reminding her of the human cost that can come when the stakes are this high.


Final Fantasy XV Season 2, Spin-off Comrades Game Coming In The Next 2 Years

Posted on April 6, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Fans of 2016’s Final Fantasy XV got confirmation at the Penny Arcade Expo that a season 2 of downloadable content is upcoming alongside the unexpected news that the multiplayer focused expansion, titled Comrades, will be receiving a major update this summer and a stand-alone release.

We’ve known for a while now – since the release and confirmation of March’s FFXV: Royal Edition  – that brand new episodic DLC episodes could be a possibility.

Thanks to ResetERA User Reyes, who provided high quality copies of slides presented during the Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future panel that the next season of FFXV DLC will include:

  • Episode Ardyn: “The Conflict of the Sages”
  • Episode Aranea: “The Beginning of the End”
  • Episode Lunafreya: “The Choice of Freedom”
  • Episode Noctis: “The Final Strike”

All four of Season 2’s episodes will be directed by the same director as Season 1’s Episode: Ignis. An alternate ending to the game will be presented in Episode III: Notics – “The Final Strike”, Season 2 of DLC is set to begin at the end of this year and continue into the summer of 2019.

Comrades, an add-on expansion from Season 1 which allows players to create their custom avatar and take them during Chapter 13 of the story will receive multiple updates as well as a standalone version that can be played without the base game.

Here’s the full DLC schedule as presented at the panel:

I’m glad the rumoured (and honestly absurd) Final Fantasy XV: Versus episode ended up being nothing more than fan speculation. With almost two years of post-release content, now multiple Season Passes and a collection of free updates, FFXV has improved markedly from the initial release. I know fans wanted the development team to embrace Nomura’s original script and ideas – but I think expanding the characters and world of XV is a much better choice.


Fear Effect Sedna | Nintendo Switch Review

Posted on April 5, 2018 by Meghan Kass

There is a saying that goes “jack of all trades, master of none”. This was what came to mind while I was playing Square Enix’s newly licensed game Fear Effect Sedna. While this in no way means Fear Effect Sedna is a terrible game, it does suffer from trying to accomplish t0 many things at once while not particularly achieving greatness in anything.

Fear Effect Sedna was brought to life via Kickstarter campaign from developer Sushee and is the third installment in the Fear Effect franchise. The original Fear Effect was a PlayStation 1 era game and this new addition to the franchise seems like it picks off right where the last two entries left off – straight out of the late 90s to early 2000s.

You got your sexy mercenaries, cyber punk / neo noir aesthetic and of course a dose of hacking and terrorism to boot. I have not experienced the past two games in this series, but I did pick up on things fairly quickly as far as the characters go. I enjoy Hana and her posse as they lurk in the shadows, take on missions and even share a sexy moment or two between each other. I enjoy the nostalgic feel of the game even with its silly early 00’s “post The Matrix” feel.

The plot of this game is similar to many heist movies. Our protagonists get in over their head when what was supposed to be a simple art theft turns into something much bigger than they imagined. The difference is, this game involves inuit magic along with this heist. From what I understand, this is not the first time this group has gotten into some mystical shenanigans. (Editor’s note: Video games have a long and troubling history appropriating aboriginal culture. For more on the subject, Dia Lacina’s Medium Post “What We Talk About, When We Talk About Natives” , is good reading material on this subject.)

The plot may be passable and interesting, but the script I feel is where this game falls flat, with dialogue that can be stilted and cliche, enough so at times it even made me cringe. The game could have done with another pass by an editor to take care of some of the lines. Overall, passable in story, characters and dialogue, but nothing impressive.

The gameplay is an isometric top down shooter with some puzzles added in as well. There is a distinct lack of challenge in these missions and puzzles. It is fairly simply to mow down enemies with your weapon as long as you start with some stealth to get your target in the optimal position. It’s not to say I didn’t enjoy feeling powerful against my enemies or finding my way through levels, it just seemed somewhat repetitive after a bit and less thrilling which I feel was the actual intent of the creators. I did enjoy the combat system though and the whole fear effect which involves an on-screen fear meter rising and the effect being more damage output, but your characters are weaker against enemy attacks.

I also felt a lack of challenge from the puzzles as well. A couple had me stumped for a bit, but for the most part I found them pretty easy and sometimes even just stumbled upon the answer by accident. I will admit, I enjoyed the variety of types of puzzles at least. From disarming a bomb, to hacking computers, the puzzles offered a breath of fresh air in the game..

Overall, this game is about quantity over quality. There is a lot this game is trying to add and include in this game, but little that impresses. There is a variety in the type of game it is whether it is a strategy game, a shooter game or a puzzle game, but none stand out. The game has passable art style, passable plot and passable dialogue. The characters are fun, but a tad cliche. Overall, this is an average game that only fans of the series would want to check out for the $17.99 price.



Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition Demo Coming Ahead of March 6th Launch

Posted on February 22, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Final Fantasy XV will be coming to Windows 10 in a little over a week and Square Enix has announced that a free demo version of the game will be made available a few days before launch. The demo will give players a taste of the real-time combat, NVIDIA Game Works enhancements and characters that FFXV has to offer. You’ll be able to play the entirety of Chapter 1: Departure in the demo version, which should last about an hour or so.

Square also outlined a series of pre-order bonuses that will be available until May 1st. There is a different set of bonuses based upon your digital distribution service of choice:

Steam – Access to the Half-Life pack which decks out Noctis in the HEV suit and glasses of Gordon Freeman. This pack also adds the iconic crowbar as a usable weapon in game. I guess Valve hasn’t entirely forgotten about the Half-Life series, they’ll still dust it off for a cross promotion.

Steam purchases also includes access to the “FFXV Fashion Collection” which is comprised of various stat boosting tees for Noctis.

Origin – Access to the “FFXV Decal Selection” which comes with a selection of alternate skins for the crew’s car.

Windows Store – Probably the most interesting of all three services. The Xbox One version of FFXV is cross compatible with the Windows Store version, meaning that you can play the multiplayer Comrades expansion with friends who own the game on that platform. Save data can be imported from the Xbox One version of XV to the Windows Store version as well.

Previously Square Enix also released the Final Fantasy XV Official Benchmark a couple weeks ago. That tool was supposed to give players a sense of how the game would run on their computers but as it turns out – some features like NVIDIA Hair Works couldn’t be disabled entirely and the Official Benchmark lacked all of the tweakable options that will come with the final release.

Here’s hoping the upcoming official demo fares a bit better. Below are the previously released minimum specs and a run through of the official benchmark.

Recommended Specs for 1080p
• AMD 8350 or Intel i7 3770
• 16GB
• At least 100GB free
• GeForce 1060 6GB variant or Radeon 480 8GB variant

Recommended Specs for 4K
• Windows 10
• Intel 7700k or AMD Ryzen 1600x
• 16GB
• At least 150GB free
• GeForce 1080TI


Kingdom Hearts 3 Invades Monsters Inc

Posted on February 12, 2018 by Joshua Rust

Square Enix, while at the D23 expo in Japan, took time to show off some new footage of the long awaited Kingdom Hearts 3.  Of course this trailer, the voices are all in Japanese but it now has an English caption available to read as well. In the trailer below, you’ll see some of the Monsters Inc. gameplay footage. I will have to say, this is looking pretty amazing. Monsters Inc. is just one of the many Disney worlds you’ll be able to visit in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Kingdom Hearts 3 is expected to release sometime later this year on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.


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