Saturday, October 15, 2005

More Final Fantasy News than you can Shake a Chocobo at

There's been a great deal of activity in the world of Final Fantasy as of late, and surprisingly little of it has made front page news, requiring some digging on my part. First off is the region 1 DVD release of Advent Children. If you look around on-line, most retailers have a late-November release date listed, and, depending on where you look, you'll find that it may or may not have an original Japanese audio track on there. While this may not seem important to all of the kids waiting for the English dub, it'll be a cold day in hell before I buy if it's dub only, and I know I'm not alone in this. That being said, SquareEnix is one of the few last hold-out companies that refuses to release any of their video games with an original Japanese dialogue option, so there's really no precedent. But I'm still hoping, because not including it would be a very stupid decision on their part, IMHO, because there are lots of people like me waiting to throw our money at it that will have to settle for the illegal Japanese DVD-rips if it's dub only. As for the dub cast (which I really couldn't care less about), apparently almost noone has been announced yet, although there's been some speculation that they'll have the FF7 actors from Kingdom Hearts reprise their roles to fill out half the cast. This seems unlikely to me, however, since, IIRC, Disney used all in-house voice talent for that game. Finally, the release dates on-line are questionable, since, according to SquareEnix, not only have they not decided officially on the DVD's format/options/packaging, they also haven't decided on a release date.

Speaking of November, the XBox 360's debut is fast approaching, and things aren't looking all that great. Their launch lineup is decidedly lacklustre, and recent press events have taken on a far more subdued tone (that is to say, they've done away with all the dancing women and loud music). Speaking of lacklustre, one of the early expected releases is a 360 port of Final Fantasy XI, the MMORPG that should have been called Final Fantasy Online which has not done nearly as well as SquareEnix hoped it would. I can't imagine that it'll finally find an audience on the new XBox of all places. That being said, if the 360 is anything like it's predecessor (and that certainly looks to be the case), it'll be an RPG-starved system, so perhaps it's good to have at least one initial entry into the genre. On the Xbox 360 RPG horizon, however, are several promising 360-exclusive entries, and by promising I mean that they promise to make me buy one of the damn things. First is Blue Dragon, the freshman effort from Mistwalker, a team of ex-Square vets. It marks a reunion of sorts between the producer, character designer, and musician behind the masterful SNES epic Chrono Trigger, and what I've seen so far looks depressingly good. Speaking of depressing, just as I'd previously feared, Bioware has recently announced their official exclusive support for the system, and they have a 3-game sci-fi epic in development with role-playing in the vein of KOTOR (although apparently new and improved), with real-time squad tactics replacing KOTOR's combat engine. *sigh* I REALLY don't want to buy an XBox 360.

While on the topic of things I don't want to buy, it was recently announced that Dragon Quest 8 (known as Dragon Warrior here in North America) will come with a playable demo of Final Fantasy XII, the first real Final Fantasy since Final Fantasy X. Square has a history of putting together really bitching playable demos, but I'm trying my hardest to stay away from DQ8. I'm actually a long-time Dragon Quest fan, and I love Dragon Quest 1-4, but I've got to cut things out of my bloated RPG hole somewhere, and, with it's archaic menu system and outdated graphics (DQ has always been about nostalgia over improvement), DQ seemed like the logical choice back when I made a decision not to play DQ7 last year. Unfortunately, I'd already purchased it, but, when I found out that it was quite possibly the longest RPG to ever make it to North America, and furthermore wasn't really that good, I sold it to Aiden (aka Requiem), who I don't think has ever played it either. Still, DQ8 is supposedly quite a departure from previous DQ's, for better or for worse, so I may end up buying it yet.

There's been a trio of GBA Final Fantasy announcements recently. FFIV (also known as THE GREATEST GAME EVER MADE, which I'm actually playing through yet again these days), V, & VI will all be ported to GBA, complete with TBA extras, but I wouldn't expect anything major. I'd guess something like the bonus dungeons that Dawn of Souls had. And maybe some more dreams for Shadow or something. Rumours include new playable characters (some more General Leo action maybe?), but I wouldn't hold my breath-- that sounds like a lot of effort for SquareEnix to put it.

In DS news, and this one kills me, but apparently the reason that the FFIII remake for DS (FFIII being the only Final Fantasy yet to see a domestic release) has been taking so long is because they're making it 3D. *SIGH* Fuckers. They couldn't just leave well enough alone, could they? Maybe I'll just play the ROM like Aiden is. I don't want to play it in fucking 3D. Also on the way for DS is Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles DS, which, to my mind, is a much better idea than the original Gamecube Crystal Chronicles was, and won't require jumping through any expensive hoops to play it.

Finally, and although this is only tangentially Final Fantasy related, I've been told that Kingdom Hearts 2 has been delayed yet again recently. I generally don't follow release dates, since they change all the time anyways, but lots of people do. In the case of KH2, although I'll certainly buy it when it comes out, I've long forgotten the plot of the first game, and although I was very excited for it at the time (thanks to a bitchin' teaser trailer at the end of the first game's credits), I've long gotten over it. It's done when it's done. I'm sure bad-ass Mickey getting down with his bad-ass self will be a sight to behold, whether it's a few months from now or a year from now.


Blogger Requiem said...

I just wanted to point out my name (Aiden) is in 7 places on your web log. And no thats not counting the 2 Gaiden in your posts.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 2:04:00 PM  
Anonymous NOS said...

Re: FF XI. I could be mistaken, as I'm not a huge follower of MMORPGs and I also don't know Square's expectations but... I'm pretty sure FFXI was actually a pretty phenomenal success. I think the only thing that may have dented it was EQ2, and I believe that until the juggernaut that was WoW it was the most popular one out there. And it still seems to be kicking strongly despite WoW all the same.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 8:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

No! Not Kingdom Hearts! Noooooooo. Well, curses. I was really hoping for this as a Christmas present.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 9:57:00 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

RE: Nathan
I could be mistaken as well, for the same reasons, but my understanding was that, while quite popular in Japan, it didn't do as well here in NA as Sqare hoped it would, which is what I was referring to.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 2:44:00 PM  
Anonymous NOS said...

That may very well be, but even then I think it was still one of the most successful ones. I have some suspicion that it may have dethroned EQ briefly but I'm not about to go double check any of that.

I do agree though that it seems like putting it out for the 360 seems like kind of a silly move. I doubt many people have been waiting for the 360 to get their chance to play FFXI, and I doubt many people who are early 360 adopters and haven't already played FFXI are going to want to either.

My only hypothesis is that the 360 makes for an easy port from the PC version, and Square figured that it was cheap enough that even with a low number of subscriptions it would squeak out a profit. I think the more important points here are:

1) Square talks to someone from Microsoft every now and then now.
2) The XBox must have at least done well enough that Square pays attention to them.
3) Square may be using this to see if people will buy their products on the 360 at all. Perhaps if FFXI sells well at all, future Square titles might get an 360 port.

Monday, October 17, 2005 9:52:00 AM  

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