Final Fantasy VII Remake Will Be Episodic And Feature A Dynamic ATB Combat System

ffvii remake logo

During the Sony PSX 2015 event a new trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake was revealed, creating quite the stir in the process. In this new footage there was quite a bit of information to digest. The members of Avalanche (Barret, Biggs, Wedge and Jesse) and Cloud Strife speak during the  trailer, giving a glimpse into the current state of the voice acting and how these characters will sound. The graphical fidelity of the footage definitely matches what was seen in the announcement trailer for this work in progress title. Some of the video shows the player as Cloud running through the streets and Mako reactor facilities of Midgar. However, the bigger reveal shows some of the battle sequences, which looks feature a real-time combat system accompanied with a small window of options and character status window. This display of action RPG game play has provoked many reactions from fans of the Final Fantasy franchise, with some embracing this new system and others longing for the familiar Active Time Battle system. Despite first perceptions, this trailer technically does feature the ATB system, but it is presented in a more dynamic way and does not telegraph itself particularly well.

ffvii trailer 1

Cloud Strife takes a swing at one of the Shinra troops.

The characters have received a heavy graphical overhaul and some have been heavily redesigned. Barret specifically has seen many revisions in terms of his build and his outfit. It is nice to also see more attention given to Biggs, Wedge and Jesse of Avalanche. The environmental design of the Mako reactor and the streets of Midgar have seen some design changes, but still maintain a similar unsaturated steampunk aesthetic like its original counterpart.

ffvii trailer 2

Cloud and Barret traversing the innards of the Shinra Mako reactor.

There are a few other interesting aspects of the trailer, but the visuals action oriented nature of the overall game play is what caught the most attention during its PSX presentation. After the presentation, Square-Enix issued a press release announcing that Final Fantasy VII Remake will not be presented as one game. It will be released in an episodic format and there were no details explaining how this would affect the game’s release and/or development initially. This revelation has worried critics and fans alike with speculation germinating from this known distribution method.

ffvii trailer 3

Cloud crouches to squeeze through a hole in the wall.

In an interview with Dengeki Online, Square-Enix’s Yoshinori Kitase (Producer) and director Tetsuya Nomura (Director) both addressed the reason for breaking  up the remake into multiple parts. They stated that the scope of the game is ambitious and is more densely packed, which cannot be done with just one release.

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

…As you can see in the trailer, we showed Sector 1 and Sector 8, but in those areas alone, I think you can see a lot of density. When you’re remaking the entirety of the original version in that quality, it’s not possible to fit it all in one release.  ~Yoshinori Kitase (Producer, Square-Enix)

ffvii trailer 4

Cloud looking forward after jumping off of the train at the reactor.

If we dedicated our time to a single release, parts of it would become condensed. We’d have to cut some parts, and additional parts would come in few, so rather than remake the game as a full volume, we decided to do multiple parts.  ~Tetsuya Nomura (Director, Square-Enix)

Even with this explanation, this announcement has been met with a mixed and heavily polarizing reception. It is far too soon to tell how this will affect the final release of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Nonetheless, many are concerned that this design choice may bode ill for this highly anticipated game.


For those who have yet to see the latest Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4) game play trailer, here it is:


Thoughts From Rivera:

So far, I think the game looks impressive with the character redesigns offering some familiarity while making aesthetic improvements. It is also really interesting to see Cloud interacting with obstacles in the environment when trying to traverse it. The thing that has me the most intrigued is the combat system because of how fast paced it appears. It is hard to tell how much of it is action and how much of it is strategic – you can only discern so much from a few seconds of combat over which you have absolutely no agency. The whole episodic nature of the game’s eventual distribution is the only aspect of Final Fantasy VII Remake that sounds troubling to me. How is this game going be handled in a physical retail capacity? Will it simply be an digital download only release? There is still a bit of ambiguity surrounding this title and I hope that it becomes more clear in the coming months.



What do you think of these new FFVII Remake details? Let us know!

Microsoft Leaks Details On Controller Redesign

xbox one controller Via Microsoft’s main website, new details of a Xbox One controller redesign have surfaced. Many members of the press have speculated that this new controller design will be announced formally at this upcoming E3 (2015).  The new controller does not exhibit substantial changes in terms of form factor, but the controller’s schematic does indicate the presence of a 3.5mm jack. Judging by where the line is pointing to in the diagram, this jack is located horizontally at the base of the peripheral just below the directional pad. xbox one controller schematic According to this information provided there are no other significant changes to the standard pad. This new peripheral is to be made available after June of this year. However, new information from the gaming retail site Libro has also shown that the tweaked pad is to debut on June 8, 2015.  There are questions about the new controller being able to recharge through USB natively without having to purchase a separate plug and charge kit; this will still be a necessity.

Twitch Clarifies Ban On AO Rated Game Content


Quite a few questions were raised concerning recent changes made to Twitch‘s terms of use policies pertaining to the broadcasting of games rated AO (Adults Only). Examples of games that would be affected by said changes include titles like Manhunt 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The confusion arose because of the fact that Twitch has users from around the globe and content rating standards differ between the various game distribution territories. These regions also have their own individual rating organizations like the ESRB for North America and PEGI for Europe. To lessen the confusion, Twitch has made a statement has a more conclusive specificity in regards to US AO rated titles:

if the game is AO in the US, then it is not allowed. If the game is not AO in the US, but has a different rating abroad, like The Witcher 3, it is permitted… If a game’s US version is rated Adults Only by the ESRB, you should not broadcast that game on Twitch. However, ESRB rated Mature versions of Adults Only titles are permitted for streaming, such as Mature versions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy.”

Hopefully this helps live stream broadcasters understand the changes made for better or worse as this format of video game exhibition grows ever popular.

New Final Fantasy XV Screenshots Released




The party going toe-to-toe with a Behemoth near a ruined structure.



Recently today, Square Enix has unveiled new screenshots for their upcoming new installment in the Final Fantasy franchise to gear up fans and RPG enthusiasts alike for Final Fantasy XV. Originally titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII when the project was first anounced as a new installment in the Fabula Nova Crystalis franchise family of games, this title has undergone an incredible metamorphosis to emerge as being what it is today; a legitimate Final Fantasy title with a roman numeral attached. With an amalgamation of modern day aesthetics and the ambiguous medieval sociological motif makes this an interesting departure from the vintage and modern FF games.



Noctis and his comrades at a gas station.



Square Enix has released a plethora of stills that are meant to show what will be available in the Final Fantasy XV – EPISODE DUSCAE, which will debut with the day one release edition of Final Fantasy Type 0 HD; Type o originally was a PSP exclusive title in the FNC franchise that was both commercially and critically successfull.  All of these stills are intended to give everyone an inkling of the open world nature of this title. The Episode Duscae demo will feature a taste of this open world structure along with a few missions that allow players to experience the real time combat system amongst other features.



The party taking on a group of baddies using a real time combat system.



Currently Final Fantasy Type 0 HD is slated to be a Playstation 4 exclusive and will launch on March 17, 2015. With that, the FFVX demo will be available for those who buy the game brand new on said date along with Type 0. The finished version of the fifteenth roman numeral title still has no clearly defined release date as of this time.



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Xbox One Virtual Reality Peripheral To Be Revealed At E3 2015


According to industry inside sources, along with publications VR Focus and Tech Radar, that Microsoft will indeed be revealing its virtual reality HMD (Head Mounted Display) at the following Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2015. This information is riding off the heels of news reports last month that this peripheral was demonstrated in some capacity to Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take Two Interactive of Grand Theft Auto fame. This VR headset has been in development for a few years according to Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division at Microsoft.

Not only does this happen to be the case, but it has also been reported that Microsoft has already sent development units for the HMD to a few developers thus far, with the subsidiaries of Take Two being very probable candidates. There have been some several development studios that have confirmed this information.


A patent visual aid showing the auto-stereoscopic display of this to be formally announced VR HMD

A patent visual aid showing the auto-stereoscopic display of this to be formally announced VR HMD.


This may surprise gamers from the outset, but Microsoft has been heavily focused on augmented and/or virtual reality. This rings especially true when looking at the three patent documents Microsoft had filed in the span of time from April 2015 to July 2015. These documents detail features pertaining to grasping objects within an augmented reality (ability to manipulate that only exist within the visual display of a software program), a direct interaction system with mix environments (populated with both artificially rendered and real world objects/entities) and an auto-stereoscopic display system (possibly one that dynamically tracks the user’s eye movements).


A patent visual aid showing the interactivity within an augmented reality.

A patent visual aid showing the interactivity within an augmented reality.


Looking at these documents shows quite a bit of insight into how the Project NATAL (a.k.a. Microsoft Kinect), Both with its development and critical response, has taught the company some valuable lessons in motion tracking and augmented reality development. This has doubtlessly had an impact on Microsoft’s efforts moving forward.

However, the notion that the Xbox One may have a virtual or augmented reality peripheral is particularly interesting when considering that the Oculus Rift VR set and Sony’s Project Morpheus are also knee deep in development for the PC and PS4 respectively. Competition is great for the consumer, but it is also necessary for a standard to be birthed from said competition. A VR HMD standard for all gaming platforms is hard to fathom, considering the fierce competition between the two current generation consoles. No release date or video game titles have been announced to take advantage of this hardware as of yet.



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John Romero Unleashes Unseen Doom Development Art For 21st Anniversary

Young John Romero, along with the ID Software gang.

Young John Romero, along with the ID Software gang.


This past Thursday (December 11, 2014), John Romero made a post on Twitter about this day marking the 21 year anniversary of the seminal release of Doom. This was the first person shooter that not only solidified the genre, but also permeated the industry and influenced it for the years to come. The impact that this game had and its commercial success is nigh impossible for anyone to deny, even today.


A never before seen digital scan of the Archvile model striking an intimidating pose.

A never before seen digital scan of the Archvile model striking an intimidating pose.


Romero’s post also linked to a zipped folder on a file sharing website that contains a collection of previously unseen development art that never made it into the final release of Doom. For those who fancy themselves to be video game historians in a certain capacity, this may not be such a surprise from the outset. Doom underwent many changes and even led to one of the core ID Software team members (Tom Hall) leaving due to the game’s dark nature and graphic violence.


This image depicts four images, one of which looks like a pile of corpses arranged in a way that makes it look like some sort of sick and twisted shrine.

This image depicts four images, one of which looks like a pile of corpses arranged in a way that makes it look like some sort of sick and twisted shrine.


Doom went from being a story driven squad based first person with an interesting “helmet HUD” system to being what it is now. That, of course, is of no discredit to this milestone in video game history. With that, a few images show further evidence of the existence of different looking weapons, enemies, environment textures, sprite animations and other such development artworks.


This graphic show the beginnings of the disembodied flying skull enemies known in the Doom Bestiary as Lost Souls.

This graphic show the beginnings of the disembodied flying skull enemies known in the Doom Bestiary as Lost Souls.


However, the majority of this art never even made it into any of the prototypes of Doom. It is very possible to see, if you are familiar with this subject, how these images fall into the creative through line of progression of this historic game’s development cycle. At long last, avid gamers and fans can get an even closer look into the fascinating history of this title and the history of one of the industry’s most storied development companies.



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Wii U Game Cube Controller Adapter Discontinued Rumors Dismissed By Nintendo

(From top to buttom: Nintendo Wii U 32GB Deluxe Model, official Game Cube controller adapter, special SSB Game Cube controller.)

(From top to buttom: Nintendo Wii U 32GB Deluxe Model, official Game Cube controller adapter, special SSB Game Cube controller.)


In the wake of Nintendo’s release of Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U, fans and avid gamers alike have been buying many retailers, both physical and online, out of their stock of Wii U Game Cube controller adapters in order to play this title using a controller that harkens back to the tactile feel of Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Game Cube. As of last week, online retailers like Amazon (specifically Amazon UK) have show their listings for this accessory as being out of stock, giving off the intimation that the item was no longer in stock and thus was no longer available for purchase. This led to much speculation and rumors to the effect that the Game Cube controller adapter was discontinued.

Nintendo Life received a statement from Nintendo UK Essentially denying said speculation. The accessory, according to the company, has not been discontinued and this issue is simply a result of not being able to handle the consumer demand:



We would like to reassure you that GameCube Controller Adapter for Wii U has not been discontinued by Nintendo of Europe and we are doing everything we possibly can to meet the demand which is currently outstripping supply.

We are unable to comment specifically on individual retailer stock levels and as such we ask customers to contact their local retailers directly regarding their availability of this product. We would however like to reassure you that we are working hard to ensure that additional stock can be made available and delivered to retailers.



Despite this statement, there is no information given as to when this device will be shipped to retailers. In fact, the Nintendo UK online store still shows the adapter as being “Out of Stock”. As of right now, there is no date or timetable set for this coveted item to hit store shelves once again.



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Grim Fandango Remastered Slated for Early 2015 Release

Grim Fandango Concept Art

Grim Fandango Concept Art


For those who were too young to remember the gaming landscape in 1998, a gem of an adventure by the name of Grim Fandango was released and signified the pinnacle of the genre to date. Produced by Lucas Arts under the direction of Tim Schafer, it was a well written adventure game that incorporated elements of the Aztec culture and film noir set in a world modeled after an early twentieth century art deco metropolis with a Latin Day of the Dead motif. It was a critical success, but sadly emerged as a commercial bomb.

Not only was this game the high point of the adventure genre, but was also sign of the changing tides in the video game market from great cerebral works of fiction to more action oriented experiences. The notion of the point and click adventure game had been seen as sort of a dead genre during most of the early aughts. However, there has been a relatively recent resurgence of interest in graphic adventure games with the successful releases of the Tales of Monkey Island games, the episodic installments of the Sam & Max series and The Walking Dead.

It was announced at this past E3 that Double Fine Productions, founded by Tim Schafer, had acquired the rights to the Grim Fandango name and that a remastered version of this classic adventure was in the works. As of now it is known that there are several things being done to bring this game up to modern day standards. In terms of aesthetics changes, the prerendered backgrounds are being reworked to scale for widescreen displays and higher resolutions on both home console and PC platforms. The polygonal character models are also being redone for catering to higher resolutions. one of the biggest changes has to with the agency in which the player is able to maneuver within the game’s environments. The game will feature both point and click movement as well as camera relative movement (as opposed to character relative movement a.k.a. ‘tank controls’). Lastly, players can switch between the remastered visuals and those of the original release from 1998.

Grim Fandango is currently slated for release on January 27, 2015. It will be released for Windows, Linux and OSX PCs, the Playstation 4 and the Playstation Vita. In recent interviews, Tim Schafer has also hinted at the possibility of doing a remastered version of Maniac Mansion’s sequel The Day of the Tentacle. Hopefully, new and old gamers alike will finally get the opportunity to enjoy this lovely adventure classic and give it the love that it never got back when it originally launched over 15 years ago.



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Microsoft buys ‘Minecraft’ maker Mojang for 2.5 Billion

This morning it was announced that Microsoft would be purchasing Mojang, the maker of the game ‘Minecraft’ for 2.5 billion usd.  Last night when we recorded the Romcast, we had a section talking about the possible acquisition rumored in places like the Wall Street Journal over the last week.  We speculated that Notch, the founder of Mojang, would be leaving the company to pursue other interests in the gaming industry after the deal was completed.  We were right.  All three of the founders of the company will be leaving, but it appears at this time that all of the development staff (or “mojangstas” as they style themselves) will be retained for the time being.  According to Microsoft’s press release they will retain all cross-platform support (although no mention is made of the Mac OSX version).  We will see what the future holds for Mojang under Microsoft and provide updates accordingly, although anything can happen at this stage.