Thursday, April 30, 2009

RPGs of Next Week: Not Missing Much Edition

I know it's not Monday, and I know I've been terrible at updating as of late. A combination of tonsilitis and last-minute Japan trip preparations have done a commendable job of robbing me of basically all of my time.

Speaking of the Japan trip, it starts tomorrow with a flight at an hour no human should be forced to be awake at. From there, I will be on the other side of the world for absolutely all of next week, nearly guaranteeing a complete dearth of updates until the 11th (at the earliest).

Thankfully (for me), next week looks even dryer in terms of new releases than most of April. The perfect time to take a vacation (in theory).

With that said, I give you the entire one release of next week (May 4 - 8, 2009):

North America
Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times - Konami - Nintendo DS

Japan
(none)

Europe
(none)

Quite the desert around here lately, isn't it?

I suppose North America could brag about being the only region getting an RPG this week, but really, Magician's Quest (or Enchanted Folk in Europe or Tongari Boushi in Japan) is really questionable in terms of both objective and RPG qualifications. Probably the half-retarded 5 year old brother of the RPG is a more fitting classification.

I guess it is notable that the third (and final?) exclusive downloadable packet for Fallout 3, Broken Steel, will be available for the Xbox 360 and PC versions next week. In North America and Europe, I should add.

Also, Puzzle Kingdoms, which I assume is similar to Puzzle Quest, is going to DS next week. This is probably the first time I've heard of the title, and really can't vouch for its authenticity as an RPG in any form, nor can I vouch for its quality as a stand-alone game.

Picking anything up next week?

Monday, April 27, 2009

RPGs of the Week: Not Dead Yet Edition

Whew, where have I been for the majority of the last week? I don't really know myself. It was like I woke up one day, and it was next week! (Or, is that "this week"? Semantics are difficult.)

I'll try to keep up this week as best as I can. My Japan trip starts this Friday, so things are still a little crazy in preparation.

Anyhow, enough of my witty banter, and onto the RPG releases this week! (April 27 - May 1, 2009)

North America
Lineage II: Chaotic Throne: Gracia Final - NCSoft - PC
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier - Monolith Soft, Atlus - Nintendo DS
Warrior Epic - Possibility Space - PC

Japan
Dan-Damu - Rideo On, Acquire - Nintendo DS
Dragon Ball Kai: Saiyajin Raishuu - Namco Bandai - Nintendo DS
Persona - Atlus - PSP

Europe
(none)

Once again, sort of slim-pickings for the last week of April. What can you do, I guess.

North America snags a new MMO, an expansion for an older MMO, and a 16-bit style RPG with an interesting battle system. Could be worse, I guess.

Japan gets the Dragon Ball RPG, the tower defense/dungeon crawling hybrid Dan-Damu, and the PSP remake/port of the original Persona. All handhelds? How very Japan.

Europe, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be getting anything this week.

Whatever, April. Just go away already.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

RPGs of the Week: Disappointing April Continues Edition

I think I'm going to have to add April to my list of months that I dislike. Really, there's like no love at all this month. :(

Anyway, here are the measly RPG pickings hitting shelves this week (April 20 - 24, 2009):

North America
(none)

Japan
Monster Hunter G - Capcom - Nintendo Wii
Nantama: Chronicle of Dungeon Maker - Global A - PSP

Europe
Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships - Akella, Playlogic - PC
Little King's Story - Cing, Rising Star - Nintendo Wii

Yep, North America gets a tall helping of absolutely nothing this week.

Japan is likely excited to get the Wii port of the PS2 Monster Hunter G (maybe). They also happen to be getting a quirky dungeon-maker style RPG for the PSP. Yay?

Europe bags the second Age of Pirates game (I didn't know there was an Age of Pirates 1) for the PC. Also, Rising Star still claims that Cing and Marvelous' Little King's Story is coming out this week. I find this highly dubious, as the game still doesn't even have a release date in Japan, but I am not one to argue with a publisher's official release dates.

Anything looking sweet to you this week? I'm just going back to sleep until May.

Microsoft Japan Spring Press Conference Confirms a Few RPGs

To commemorate selling a million 360s in Japan, Microsoft held a press conference today in Japan showcasing 31 upcoming titles. Unfortunately, there were only 3 RPGs shown, and you have already heard about all of them.

First off, Namco Bandai has confirmed Magna Carta for release on Xbox 360 late this summer in Japan. Developed by Korean studio SoftMax, and published under Namdai's Banpresto label, Magna Carta II follows a young warrior named Juto who becomes involved with the young princess Zephy during a civil war in their country.

The game's first official trailer was debuted at the event (viewable below), and the press was given hands-on time with it. Namco Bandai also announced that the game's official Japanese site has now gone live HERE.

Magna Carta II will be available in Japan on August 6, 2009 on Xbox 360.



Second, Sega took some time to show off their tri-Ace-developed RPG, End of Eternity, due out simultaneously on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sometime this winter in Japan. tri-Ace's Takayuki Suguro, the game's director, said he wanted to take the know-how from tri-Ace's previous two 360 RPGs to make an awesome game.

The game's first trailer was shown again (embedded again below), and the press were given a look at how the game plays. Unfortunately, no concrete release date was given yet.



Finally, Microsoft took the liberty of showing off the Japanese version of BioWare's sci-fi shooter-RPG, Mass Effect, which, by now, is totally old news here in the West.

Mass Effect will be available on Xbox 360 on May 21, 2009 in Japan.

I personally can't imagine that this is everything Microsoft has planned for this year in Japan. Don't get me wrong, I think End of Eternity and Magna Carta II look interesting, but it just seems a little underwhelming. Like, where's Mistwalker? What's Square Enix doing this year? Doesn't Atlus have something to show off sooner or later? I can't help but think there's more they aren't telling us right now...

Thoughts?

[XNEWS]
[Famitsu]
[Dengeki]
[Xbox Official Press Release]

XSEED Drops Muramasa

Publisher XSEED Games announced yesterday that they have officially dropped publishing responsibilities of Marvelous and Vanillaware's 2D side-scrolling action-RPG, Muramasa: The Demon Blade (known as Oboro Muramasa in Japan).

XSEED remains adamant about their partnership with Marvelous, and has confirmed that they have not dropped publishing duties of other Marvelous titles, such as Arc Rise Fantasia and Little King's Story.

Though the press release doesn't mention a new publisher, XSEED states that they will "look forward to seeing it release in North America." Whether that means the game has indeed been picked up by another publisher (like, say, Atlus) or simply that XSEED remains hopeful that someone else will pick it up is anyone's guess. Kind of usettling news, though.

Stuff like this just confirms to me that buying a North American Wii is a total waste of money.

[RPGamer]

Bethesda Announces Fallout: New Vegas

In a press conference yesterday, RPG developer and publisher Bethesda Softworks announced a new entry into the Fallout series, titled Fallout: New Vegas.

The new title, due out sometime next year, will be developed by Obsidian Entertainment, a studio notable for their work on Neverwinter Nights 2, KOTOR 2, and Sega's upcoming spy RPG, Alpha Protocol.

New Vegas will reportedly take place in the same universe as last year's Fallout 3, but will not be a direct sequel. Other than that, details are scarce, but we are told that it is being developed for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

While I thought Fallout 3's scale was impressive, the game generally failed to live up to its hype for me, so I can't honestly say that this news really excites me. But I know a lot of people swear by Fallout 3, so some of you are bound to be getting all hot and bothered by this news.

What's your take? More Fallout? Is it alright with you to let Obsidian handle this one?

[Kotaku]
[Bethesda Official Blog]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Almost Everything You Wanted to Know About End of Eternity...

I know this translation has been a long time coming, but I finally got around to getting it done.

As you are likely already aware, End of Eternity is the first joint RPG project between RPG developer tri-Ace and publisher Sega, due out sometime this winter in Japan for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

End of Eternity is set in a giant machine city known as Basel. The game takes place almost completely within Basel’s mechanical compound, from its upper level tower to its lower living areas, the story reportedly never takes you out of the city’s metallic confines.

Background
Basel was created as a desperate attempt to save humanity from the poisoned deterioration of the Earth. It was supposed to protect and govern human life, and people willingly set themselves under its supervision.

Eventually, many people flocked to Basel, took up residence, and built themselves a city. However, the machines slowly began to deteriorate themselves, becoming corrupted like the world outside.

People forgot the truth of the past, and, secluded in their self-made tiny world, began to repeat the past.

Inside Basel and the People that Live There
When Basel was initially constructed, humanity possessed a highly advanced technological society. However, after confining themselves within the structure, this knowledge was eventually lost, and there are currently few who hold any knowledge related to the mechanical metropolis.

That said, there are still ongoing construction projects with Basel, and people live thanks to Basel’s grace. Through its power generation plants, street lights function, television broadcasts are relayed, and other important functions are possible. It seems that the standard of living is not all that bad.

The Scriptures and the Cardinals
The people of Basel believe in a single faith that they have based on a set of ancient writings that they brought with them. This religion’s leading class are known as “Cardinals,” and are distinguishable by their unique robes.
Originally, the religion was centered around a pope, but authority was assumed by a man named Roen after the pope’s death.

Characters: the girl who bids farewell to fate, and the men who shoulder the past

Subject #20 (19)
Soon after her birth, this young woman was raised as a live test subject in a kind of reaserch facility and named Subject #20. Due to a certain experiment she was involved in, she has been set to die exactly 20 years after her birth. Knowing that her remaining life is nearing its end, she escapes from the facility and chooses to end her own life before her 20th birthday in an attempt to defy her fate.

Zephyr (17)
A young man raised in a facility, Zephyr causes an incident several years earlier that brings a man named Vashyron on assignment to suppress it. During that incident, he received what should have been a fatal blow from Vashyron, but somehow escaped without a single scratch. Currently, he lives with Vashyron as a PMF.

Vashyron (26)
A former military officer who currently lives with Zephyr, Vashyron works as a PMF. He met Zephyr as an assignment to suppress a violent young man. Though he is a survivor of the Cardinals’ subordinate armed forces that were annihilated in a large scale battle, he rarely speaks of his past.

PMF
Short for Private Military Firms, PMF originally referred to hired mercenary soldiers, however the word has recently come to refer individuals who take many sorts of job requests, such as intelligence gathering or goods exchanges, regardless of battle.

Currently, only Zephyr and Vashyron have been confirmed as playable characters.

Grid-divided fields and gun-heavy battles
In EoE, movement on the field is very different from movement within dungeons.

The overworld map is divided up in a hexagonal-celled grid with your party appearing as a sort of symbol. As your party moves across the grid, it has a certain probability of encountering enemies on each cell. By contrast, movement in dungeons is very much as you’d expect a modern JRPG to handle, with your characters visible and controllable in a third-person view, with enemies also visible. Engaging enemies in a dungeon transitions you into battle mode seamlessly.

Battles are played out in semi-real time, with the player taking direct control of one member of your team of up to 3 characters. While your character is performing any action, the game’s time proceeds normally, but stops when your character is stopped, allowing for strategic planning on the fly.

It has been made known that there will be some sort of dynamic between the positioning of your characters, as well as some sort of element that will enable certain special attacks, but we don’t have any details on exactly what those might be yet.

Additionally, the current release shows the playable characters engaged against living machines (?) and biotic weapons, but we are not sure what their true identities are yet.

I think you might also be interested to note that the battle screens list a playable character name of something like Leenbelle (Riinberu), but don’t actually picture her or him. Possibly the next revealed playable character?

End of Eternity will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sometime this winter in Japan.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Miscellaneous Stuff This Week: Is it Cold in Here? Edition

Ugh. Unfortunately it doesn't seem that my cold is going away anytime soon. That has made for a looooong week. I think I'm going to go to sleep around 6 or 7 tonight. :(

Anyways, here's a bunch of stuff I missed in RPG news this week. As usual, let me know if there's anything I missed that you'd like to see included, or any articles you'd like to see me translate/cover.

Official News/Updates
Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga official Japanese website goes live [Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga]
Blue Dragon: Ikai no Kyojuu official Japanese website reveals a new trailer [Blue Dragon: Ikai no Kyojuu]
Take a look at the town and its people in Dungeons & Dam [Dengeki]
Items, characters, and armor, oh my! in Blue Dragon: Ikai no Kyojuu [Dengeki]
Take a look a good first look at the world of Tales of Graces [Dengeki]
Inazuma Eleven 2: Kyoui no Shinryakusha gets an official Japanese date [Famitsu] [Inazuma Eleven 2]
Crimson Gem Saga's official English website goes live [Crimson Gem Saga]
Watch the Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII trailers that came with the FFVII BluRay [FFvXIII - Gamekyo] [FFaXIII - Gamekyo]


Worth Reading
Square Enix trademarks Front Mission Evolved and Vangard Storm in North Ameirca [Front Mission Evolved - Kotaku] [Vangard Storm - Kotaku]

Also, please note that I am working on the End of Eternity translation as promised, but it's been a little bit of a rough week. I hope to have the translations up tonight or tomorrow morning. Sorry for the delay.

Hope you all have pleasant weekends.

First Details for Magna Carta II Surface

UPDATE: Famitsu.com has the details in legible form (and nicer viewing for the images) HERE. Open for translation requests in the comments.

Despite being one of the first RPGs announced for the X
box 360 near the console's launch, the Korean-developed Magna Carta II has fallen silent for so long, that many gamers (myself included) assumed the game to be canceled.

After some strange rumors surfacing earlier this year, it seemed the game was indeed still alive, but still shrouded in mystery. Were the two "released" screens indicative of a remake of the PS2's Tears of Blood? It sure seemed that way.

Well Famitsu has brought the game out of the shadows this week, and smashed many of the previous rumors. The game will not be titled "Crimson Stigma" (which is very close to Crimson Stigmata, the Japanese title of Tears of Blood), and will not be a remake of the PS2 game (or the original PC title, for that matter), but remain Magna Carta II, and have its own story. It will, however, indeed be published by Namco Bandai (since they acquired Banpresto some time back).

Magna Carta II's theme is said to be "love and hatred," a theme that has been common throughout the series' other installments.

The game's protagonist is (unfortunately) a young man with amnesia named Juto, while the heroine is a banished princess named Ruzephilda Belrinet ("Zephy" for short).

Other revealed characters include a swordswoman named Melissa Tith, a large beastman warrior named Argo Kindu, an assassin named Shuenzyte Baren, and a strangely-dressed warrior named Elgar (I think - the scan is cut off).

Again, the scan is difficult to read well, so I will postpone further details until some more legible information surfaces, but it's at least nice to hear that the game is indeed still alive.

I enjoyed Tears of Blood as much as I played of it. The story seemed like it was going somewhere interesting, and the presentation was very high quality. Unfortunately, the battle system was too painfully broken that I eventually just stopped playing it all together. I hope that this new title addresses that.

Magna Carta II is due out sometime this year for Xbox 360 in Japan.

First Details for Ninety-Nine Nights II Surface

UPDATE: Famitsu.com has the article up in legible format with nicely sized screens HERE. Open for translation requests in the comments.

As announced by Microsoft at their pre-TGS press conference last year, their hack-n-slash action/RPG hybrid Ninety-Nine Nights will be
making a reappearance on the Xbox 360 sometime this year.

Details have not exactly been forthcoming, but Famitsu had the first scoop on the game this week.

As with the first title, the game's main focus will be on battle, with swarms of enemies to defeat at once (along the lines of Drakengard or Dynasty Warriors). Q? Entertainment will again be taking the game's reins, but the development will be handled by feelplus (of Lost Odyssey reputation) rather than Phantagram.

N3-II, in contrast with its brightly-colored predecessor, will take a much darker tone both in design and in-game. In accordance with this, the game's main character, Glen, is a much more mature looking character, with dark armor and two blood-stained blades.

A second character, an elven woman named Sephia, was also revealed in this article, but it is currently unknown if she will be playable or not, as Glen is the only one who appears in the currently revealed screens.

The scan is unfortunately too blur to read well, so I will postpone further details until I can read it properly.

I enjoyed the first N3, if only for the hacking and slashing, but felt that it fell short in a lot of areas. I'm hoping the developers focus more on the game's story this time around, and add a bit more interaction besides just killing everything. Oh, and no more "protect the villagers" quests. I hate those.

Ninety-Nine Nights II is scheduled for release on Xbox 360 sometime this year in Japan.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sega Announces Shining Force Cross

UPDATE: Nice scans GET!

UPDATE 2: Famitsu.com has an article with much easier-to-look-at screens HERE. Article open for translation requests in the comments.

Huh, well I never saw
this coming.

Sega's teaser site for the next Shining Force title was neither Shining Force Gear, nor a home console OR portable title, but a co-op action-RPG for Japanese arcades titled Shining Force Cross.

Interesting.

The scans from Famitsu are unusually crappy this go around, so I can't really make out much, but the graphics appear to be bright and high-def, and the gameplay sort of reminds me of Soma Bringer or Shining Force EXA (Shining Force Isuka in Japan).

It appears that 4 people play simultaneously as you hack and slash monsters, earn loot, and assumedly save the world. (I just made that last part up.)



Since a great many arcade games eventually make their way to consoles, I'll keep my ear to the ground on this game for a possible relevant platform.

Shining Force Cross is expected to hit Japanese arcades sometime this winter.

Watch Someone Else Play the Final Fantasy XIII Japan Demo

The Final Fantasy XIII demo is out in Japan. If you bought it, you've already played it and can ignore this post. If you didn't, but don't want to spoil anything, you can also ignore this post. But if you didn't buy it, and want to see it anyway, well then this kid that played the demo and upped it on YouTube is probably your favorite person for the week.

Send him some flowers or something.











Final Fantasy XIII is due out sometime this year in Japan on PlayStation 3, and sometime next year on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Massive Dump of End of Eternity Stuff

For any of you starved for more details on Sega and tri-Ace's recently announced Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 RPG, End of Eternity, you should be excited to not only get a look at some nice, clean scans from last week's enormous article on it, but also take a look at the game's first Japanese trailer.

The 7 page feature looks at not only EoE's first three characters, but also glimpses at the game's story and setting, various locations, and battle system.






Finally, though the recently released first trailer doesn't feature any gameplay, it does give you a better look at the characters and the overall feel for the game.

I still don't totally dig the 2 male characters' designs, but the game has certainly come to intrigue me. I shall definitely keep a closer eye on this.

End of Eternity will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sometime this winter in Japan.


The article (and I suppose the trailer, too) is open for translation requests in the comments.

Watch the First Tales of Graces Trailer

Tales of Graces, the next entry into the main series Tales of games, will be coming to Nintendo Wii in Japan this winter. The game follows a young noble named Asbel Lant who sets out on a journey to acquire enough power to protect those he cares about.

We still know almost nothing about the game itself, but Namco Bandai has graciously released a trailer for the title, which is highly viewable below.



Tales of Graces will be available for Nintendo Wii sometime this winter in Japan.

Konami Announces Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgement

In rather awkward news, Konami announced earlier this week that they will be reviving the PS1 SRPG series Vandal Hearts on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network late this summer.

The downloadable title, Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgement, takes place on Sostegaria, a continent from the original game, and follows a young man named Tobias Martin who attempts to protect his homeland as two countries prepare to go to war.

Though the game's developer has not been officially announced, the art style suggests that Flames of Judgement is being developed by a North American studio, and has swapped a Japanese gothic look for a 90s Saturday morning cartoon show approach. While I'm not a "Japanese devs or GTFO" snob, I... can't say I really appreciate this different direction.

The SRPG title is scheduled for an August release on XBLA and a September release on PSN.

I'm all for the resurrection of old series, but this isn't exactly what I had hoped for...

[Destructoid]
[RPGamer]

Monday, April 13, 2009

RPGs of the Week: I Have a Cold Edition

Hello, and welcome to another (slow) week of RPGs!

Let me apologize in advance if updates are a little more sporadic than usual this week, as I'm scrambling around trying to get things in order for a trip to Japan next month, on top of which I seem to have come down with a nasty case of my girlfriend's cold. Awesome. -_-;

Anyway, here are all the RPG releases hitting shelves this week (April 13 - 18, 2009).

North America
City of Heroes: Architect Edition - NCSoft - PC
The Dark Spire - Success, Atlus - Nintendo DS
Dokapon Journey - Sting, Atlus - Nintendo DS

Japan
Pokemon Fushigi no Dungeon: Sora no Tankentai - Nintendo - Nintendo DS

Europe
Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories - Jupiter, Square Enix - PlayStation 2
Phantasy Star Portable - Alfa System, Sega - PSP

North America grabs a couple of Atlus portable titles, notable for their extreme appeal to the niche of the niche gamers, while MMO fans can spend (more) money on a new reprint of NCSoft's City of Heroes.

Japan only gets one RPG this week, but since it has the name "Pokemon" scribbled all over it, you can bet that few will complain over there.

Meanwhile, Europe bags Sega's PSP pseudo-MMO Phantasy Star Portable, as well as the PS2 remake of Chain of Memories.

Am I the only one who finds April incredibly depressing for new releases? :(

Friday, April 10, 2009

Miscellaneous Stuff This Week: First Ever Edition

Y'know, there is a lot of RPG news. A lot. So much that I can't always keep on top of everything. I often get some info, or see some media, or something, and I think to myself, "Self, you really should post about that." But sometimes, I just don't have time.

Cue the Miscellaneous Stuff This Week post. Every Friday, I will try to post links to all the stuff from around the web that I found this week, but didn't have the time to post. Hopefully, this will be a way that you will be able to stay a little more informed. Because knowing is half the battle.

Without further ado, check it out check it out check it out.

Official News/Updates
tri-Ace x Sega's End of Eternity official website opens [End of Eternity]
New Growlanser characters revealed for the PSP remake [Famitsu] [Growlanser]
Packaged version confirmed for Japanese indie action-RPG Fortune Summoners [Famitsu] [Fortune Summoners]
Ys I & II Chronicles official site opens [Ys I & II Chronicles]
Ys 7 teaser site opens [Ys 7]
Oboro Muramasa goes on sale in Japan, gets site update [Oboro Muramasa]
Final Fantasy VII International hits Japanese PSN [Final Fantasy VII PSN]
Arc Rise Fantasia official site update [Arc Rise Fantasia]

Worth Reading
Arc Rise Fantasia gets underboob censorship [Kotaku]

Puzzle Quest Galactrix devs will play with you [Kotaku]
Ten Mistakes Made by Modern RPGs [Destructoid]

If there is anything I missed this week that you want me to include, or any thing in the above links that you would like to see me cover/translate, don't hesitate to let me know in the comments.

Have a great weekened, and a happy Easter!

Sega Teases a New Shining Force Game

Hmm, didn't Sega just finish teasing a new RPG? I guess they are nothing if not persistent, as they recently opened a new website for a new entry into their Shining Force series, the company's long-running SRPG series (with plenty of action-RPG spin offs).

The teaser site claims that the official site will open on April 17, 2009 (exactly one week from today). However, we expect Famitsu to drop word a little earlier than that. C'mon, they always do.

The site features no clues as to the title of the new game, who is developing it, if it will be an SRPG, action-RPG, or just what, or its target platform.

My guess is it's the sort-of-recently trademarked Shining Force Gear, but I'm just spitballing here. As for a target platform, my gut reaction is to say Nintendo DS. PSP is also a possibility. Personally, though, I would much prefer a console title. Please Sega?

Thoughts? Guesses? Hopes? Fears?

[Famitsu]
[Shining Force NEW]

Sonic Chronicles gets a Japanese Release Date

In case you might have forgotten, BioWare and Sega teamed up last year to make a Sonic the Hedgehog RPG, known as The Dark Brotherhood. Reception here in the West was, well, only okay. For BioWare, that's not very encouraging, but for Sonic, well, that's better than he's done in a while, so we'll let it slide.

Though the game hit our shores in September last year, Japan has only just got a release date for the little blue Hedgehog's first turn-based attempt.

Renamed to Sonic Chronicles: Yami Jigen kara no Shinryakusha (Invaders from the Dark Dimension), the game is set for release on Japanese DSes August 6, 2009. Wow, that's almost an entire year.

See? Sometimes Japan has to wait for RPGs too.

[Famitsu]

Square Enix to Reveal Western-Developed Title Next Month?

According to One Last Continue, UK's Official PlayStation Magazine has the lowdown on the first title coming out of Square Enix's recently opened North American studio in California.

We are already aware that the Japanese RPG megacorp has been looking to expand to North American gamers for some time now, and to that end has opened a studio in the USA in an attempt to develop games for the West in the West.

The original target platform the studio had been hiring for was the Xbox 360. However, since this news is coming from a PlayStation magazine, it is reasonable to believe the game will be on both, especially considering Square Enix's recent licensing of Gamebryo (the multiplatform engine that was recently used to build Bethesda's Fallout 3).

OPM has a teaser screenshot in this month's issue showing what could possibly be an in-game screen.

...I have to say that I'm a little worried. Gamebryo is not known for its, er, stability (as a lot of Fallout 3 owners can likely testify), and if that screen is anything to go by, the graphics look rather terrible.

I'm hoping to be proven wrong next month.

[XNEWS]
[One Last Continue]

Reasonably Sized Scan Update

There are a bunch of new scans this week which may or may not be relevant to your interests. For your browsing pleasure, I have posted them below, as per the usual setup.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers
Nintendo Wii
Square Enix
TBA



Rorona no Atelier: Arland no Renkinjutsushi (Atelier Rorona: Alchemist of Arland)
PlayStation 3
Gust
June 25, 2009 (Japan)



Takt of Magic
Nintendo Wii
Nintendo
May 21, 2009 (Japan)




Tales of Graces
Nintendo Wii
Namco Bandai
Winter 2009 (Japan)



Takt of Magic, previously announced at Nintendo's not-TGS press conference, has finally started to get some exposure, even though it goes on sale in Japan next month. I wonder if Nintendo actually cares if people are interested in it? Ah, probably not. It's not called "Wii Sports" or "Wii Fit," after all, so it will likely get as much attention as ASH did. Such a shame.

Anyways, if any of the above scans interest you, go ahead and leave a translation request in the comments. (Except Atelier Rorona, which is way too poorly scanned to be properly legible. Sorry.) Cheers!

Not News: Black Sigil Delay #573

So, by now, I'm sure you know that I've more or less given up on ever being able to play Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled. For whatever reason, the game just refuses to be real. I don't know what it is, but I no longer have any faith in it as a legitimate product anymore. More like a rumor of a game that refuses to disappear.

Well, in keeping with that, I thought some of you that perhaps believed, for whatever reason, that the game was actually going to make its April release (confirmed by the publisher to be the last delay) has actually been delayed again until May.

...Are you seriously surprised?

Graffiti has allegedly given some bullshit excuse why they have delayed the game again, but I'm sure we'll be hearing more of their excuses in the following months, so I won't waste your time with it.

For whatever it's worth, though, they have posted two new trailers that look at the first 6 characters in the game and how they handle in combat. Give them a watch, but please bear in mind that this is not actually a game you will ever get to play. Think of them more as documentaries.

Characters Trailer 1


Characters Trailer 2


Graffiti claims that Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled will be available on Nintendo DS on May 12, 2009. We all know they're lying through their teeth though.

[Graffiti Entertainment]

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sega Announces End of Eternity

As usual, Weekly Famitsu has blown the lid off of tri-Ace's countdown timer surprise early, and announced that the mysterious Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 RPG is a game for Sega titled End of Eternity.

This is obviously the multiplatform title Sega hinted at to Famitsu Xbox earlier this year that they thought would please fans. However, my question is why did Sega choose not to include their logo on the teaser site? That seems a little strange.

It is also interesting to see tri-Ace branching out from Square Enix. While it's true that Infinite Undiscovery was done for Microsoft, publishing duties were eventually transferred to SE, so this will be the first tri-Ace project that has nothing to do with the JRPG giant. (Before the Square merger, tri-Ace always published with Enix.)

Anyway, End of Eternity appears to be a turn-based RPG (sort of unusal for tri-Ace) set in a cyberpunk dystopia. The game follows a young 19 year old girl known so far only as Subject #20, who was raised in a testing facility as part of some experiment. As she nears her 20th birthday, she decides to take her own life, an event that apparently has drastic consequences for the game's plot.

The other two revealed characters are members of the PMF (Private Miliary Firm), named Zephyr (17) and Vashyron (26). Zephyr may have some connection to the testing facility where Subject #20 was.

The Famitsu article on the title is quite an in-depth first look, and spans what looks like 10 or 11 pages (including art splash pages). However, the available scans (or rather, photos) of the article are terrible to read. So I'll be waiting for nicer scans to surface before I really delve into the meat of the article.

So far, I'm not particularly impressed with the art direction of this title, but the story does sound promising, so I'll keep an eye on this one for the time being. It is Sega, though, and that worries me.

End of Eternity will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sometime this winter in Japan.

[End of Eternity scans at Gamekyo]

Namco Bandai Trademarks Even More Tales of Titles

So, PlayStation 3 is getting a port of Tales of Vesperia, Wii is getting the new Tales of Graces, and PSP is getting Tales of Vs. (not an RPG, but still a Tales of). That's a lot of Tales of, you say. Surely there won't be anymore Tales of this year, you say.

Well, Namdai doesn't know the meaning of "too much," and to prove it, has trademarked 3 more potential Tales of titles, which are reportedly:

Tales of Blessea
Tales of Unifics
Tales of Battle Fandom

Yikes.

It is interesting to note that Tales of Blessea is remarkably similar to the previously trademarked Tales of Blessia, and Tales of Unifics seems like a variation on the previously reported Tales of Unitia. It is further interesting to note that the original Blessia and Unitia were trademarked at different times, which is usually indicitive that they were for separate projects.

So, either someone is going trademark crazy at Namdai, or there is one or two more Tales of projects needing trademarks in the pipeline.

Interesting.

Also, Tales of Battle Fandom? Seriously? They couldn't come up with something a little better sounding?

[Wii @ Everyday]

Namco Bandai Announces Queen's Blade: Spiral Chaos

I don't know if you've ever heard of Queen's Blade or not. It probably depends on how "into" Japanese nerd culture you are. In a nutshell, Queen's Blade is a popular spin-off series of combat books from the Japanese table top series Lost Worlds. Queen's Blade (as far as I can tell) has far surpassed its original in terms of popularity due to one very important thing:

Boobs.

Yes, Queen's Blade features only female characters, most (if not all) of which are, well (ahem), not exactly dressed for the types of activities they allegedly participate in (like adventuring and dragon-slaying).

The risque series has spawned comics, figures, and even a TV anime (among "other things"). Namco Bandai knows an opportunity when they see one, and have recently announced that they will be releasing an SRPG for PSP based on Queen's Blade, called Spiral Chaos.

The game will feature the main characters from the series, and even include risque cut-ins placed liberally throughout the title.

Queen's Blade: Spiral Chaos will be available for PSP sometime this winter in Japan. There is no way in hell that it will see North American shores, so if you think this might be something you're interested in, you're probably looking at importing.

Also, it is a bad idea to Google Queen's Blade at work or around other people.

[Famitsu]

Fable II's See the Future DLC Dated, Detailed

As Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux divulged at GDC, Microsoft has confirmed the second downloadable content package for last year's Fable II, indeed titled "See the Future."

The new expansion adds several new quests, locations, items, and customization options for your hero. However, the biggest draw for the new pack is arguably the chance to get a sneak peak at what the future of the Fable series holds.

See the Future will be available for 560 MSP on Xbox Live Marketplace next month, though no specific date has yet been confirmed.

Anyone looking forward to more Fable?

[Fable II: See the Future Official Press Release]

Steal Princess gets Delayed Again

Atlus dropped word late last week that they would be intentionally delaying the platforming action-RPG, Steal Princess by about one month.

Originally slated for release in March, then pushed back until mid-April, Atlus decided to hold the title back another month to allow for more people to get informed about the game, insisting that Arpil is a "crowded month." (I honestly don't know what they're talking about. I don't think I even need one whole hand to count the RPGs that are coming out this month.)

I have yet to see them step up any advertising, however. Is this really the reason for the delay?

Steal Princess will now be available for Nintendo DS on May 19, 2009 in North America. It is already available in Japan.

Maybe I'll give the Japanese version a spin to see if this game is really worth an extra month of waiting.

Monday, April 6, 2009

RPGs of the Week: Painted Steel Edition

Hello, and welcome to another RPG-filled week!

...Well, so "filled" might be a little bit of an exaggeration. But there are games coming out this week, just not as many as you might like.

Check out what's hitting stores around the world this week (April 6 - 10, 2009):

North America
Puzzle Quest: Galactrix - Infinite Interactive, D3 - XBLA

Japan
Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono. (The Best) - Zerodiv, Acquire - PSP
Oboro Muramasa - Vanillaware, Marvelous - Nintendo Wii

Europe
AWAY: Shuffle Dungeon - Mistwalker, Artoon, Majesco - Nintendo DS

Like I said, not exactly "filled" per se, but some stuff spread out for everyone.

North Americans can download the newest Puzzle Quest from Xbox Live Arcade this week in case they chose to skip the DS version.

Japan gets a cheap reprint of Class of Heroes, and Vanillaware's incredible-looking Oboro Muramasa for Wii.

Europe bags Mistwalker and Artoon's AWAY, which puts a bit of a different twist on the action-RPG genre.

Oboro Muramasa is hands-down the best-looking title this week (not like it has much competition, but still), and provides a compelling argument for the survival of 2D graphics, and proves that the Wii isn't always just for your grandparents and your non-gamer girlfriend. ...Just mostly. :P

Anything looking worth it to you this week?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Namco Bandai Announces Tales of Graces, Ports Tales of Vesperia

The latest issue of V Jump gives us the first look at the long-obscured-from-view Wii Tales of title, now confirmed to be titled Tales of Graces.

The article doesn't give us many details, but the game's protagonist has been revealed to be a young man named Asbel Lant, the 18 year old son of a regional lord who sets off to seek power after a certain event. The game's theme is reportedly "to protect," though we have no further details on the game's story at this time.

The game's character designs appear to be entrusted to Megumi Inomata, one of the series' staple character designers. It is unknown if the title is being developed by Team Destiny, or if a new team is handling the development.

Tales of Graces will reportedly be available sometime this winter on Nintendo Wii in Japan.

The article also briefly announces that the PlayStation 3 will again be receiving the Xbox 360's hand-me-downs, as last year's highly popular in Japan Xbox 360 RPG, Tales of Vesperia, will be reportedly be ported to Sony's fat 3rd child later this year.

To sweeten the deal, it appears that a new character will be added to the game. Her name is Patty Fleur, and she is a child sailor in search of the famous pirate Aifread's treasure. She reportedly fights with guns and knives (so I would imagine she will handle similarly to Raven).

Tales of Vesperia will apparently be ported to PlayStation 3 sometime this year in Japan. Since it was touted as an Xbox 360 exclusive here in North America, it is unknown if the PS3 port will make it over here, or if it will remain Japan-only like the PS2 port of Tales of Symphonia.

Incidentally, you may also be interested to know that Tales of Vs. (indeed pronouced 'Tales of Versus') was announced to indeed be a Tales of crossover brawler for PSP, in the same vein as Dissidia: Final Fantasy or Super Smash Bros.

Tales of the Abyss' Luke fon Fabre, Tales of Symphonia 2's Richter, Tales of Vesperia's Yuri Lowell, and Tales of Hearts' Shing Meteoryte have all been confirmed as playable characters, and the game appears to support up to 4 players simultaneously.

However, since it isn't an RPG, I won't be covering it any further.

Personally, Tales of Graces looks quite promising from the little bit we've seen. Asbel is one of Inomata's most likeable character designs to date (imo), and its nice to see the next main series Tales of game appear on a console (as opposed to the DS).

Tales of Vesperia being ported to the PS3, however, is rather insulting. Xbox 360 owners should be upset that a game they already paid for is being moved to another platform with extra content that they (likely) won't get, while PS3 owners should be upset that they have to settle for a port of a year-old game rather than receive their own. It is my view that nobody wins with timed exclusives.

...Except maybe console fanboys who get to gloat about it, but I don't consider them real people anyway.


As a head's up, since all of these games were revealed yesterday, I'm going to tentatively tag them as "RUMORS" until we get further confirmation. The scans look legit though.

Thoughts?

tri-Ace Developing a New RPG?

This is the first of the seemingly-legit April Fools Day announcements, as tri-Ace took an ad out in the recent issue of Weekly Famitsu to let the world know that they are working on a new RPG title, and put up a teaser site complete with a flash counter counting down to April 10th (next Friday).

The teaser is fairly standard as far as teasers go, with no real information, and only a single peice of concept art to go off of.

What makes this teaser so interesting, is the appearance of both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 official logos gracing the bottom of the page, and the lack of a publisher's name anywhere. Could this be the very first self-published tri-Ace RPG?

Class of Heroes Delayed

Atlus dropped word on Tueday that their upcoming PSP dungeon crawler, Class of Heroes, would be receiving a significant delay.

Originally scheduled for release this month, Atlus has reported that they encountered a sizable bug in the game during the final testing, and decided to hold the game back in order to ensure the best possible product.

While the delay is disappointing, I have enormous amounts of respect for a company that is not only honest with its fan-base, but also has a commitment to quality, even at the expense of lengthy delays. I honestly wish more companies could take a few pages out of Atlus' book.

Class of Heroes will now be available for PSP on June 9, 2009 in North America. It is already available in Japan as Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono.