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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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!

New Final Fantasy XV Screenshots Released

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

Got a line on some new info in the world of video games? drop us a line at: solidstateromcast@gmail.com

Xbox One Virtual Reality Peripheral To Be Revealed At E3 2015

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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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Xbox One Outsells PS4 According to NPD

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Earlier this week It has been reported by various publications that the Xbox One has outsold the PS4 during the month of November, emerging as the victor of the first stent of the holiday season. This has most likely been a result of a big push in temporary price cuts on Xbox One system bundles of various types. In a statement issued by Vice President of marketing of the Xbox division Mike Nicols, he went on to say:

“We are committed to making Xbox the best place to play, with this year’s best games, the best community of gamers to play with, and terrific value. And we are amazed by the excitement Xbox fans have shown to start off this holiday. November set a new record for sales of Xbox One, and Xbox One was the best-selling console in the US and UK.”

“Response to the holiday lineup of games on Xbox One was incredible, with Xbox One fans buying more games in November in the U.S. than any other gen eight platform and enjoying over 357 million hours of gameplay globally. In fact, more fans logged into Xbox Live across Xbox One and Xbox 360, and enjoyed more entertainment, than any other month in the history of Xbox. We love to see the excitement from our fans and are grateful for their passion, support and contributions to the Xbox community.”

While Xbox seems set new sales records in the US and the UK for the month of November, NPD Analysts point out that there is still a decline in dollars spend on home console hardware. Of this decline from late 2013 to the beginning of this past month, current generation consoles made up a third of this decline of roughly $294 million dollars. Liam Callahan of the NPD Group even went on to say in his notes:

“Cumulative PS4 and Xbox One sales are now almost 80 percent higher than the combined total of PS3 and Xbox 360 sales after 13 months on the market.”

It is hard to say how this will bode for all three major players in the home console ream, but there is still this month of the holiday season for Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony push for the gold as far as console sales go.

 

 

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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.