Friday, May 29, 2009

Pre-E3 Trailers to Get Your Feet Wet

E3, for all intents and purposes, starts Monday morning with Microsoft's press conference. But everyone's all excited this week, showing off new stuff, releasing info and trailers, the whole bit. Who are we to stop them?

So if you just can't wait until all the new stuff, here are a bunch of new trailers for a bunch of upcoming games. Hopefully all of this is just a shadow of things to come, as I certainly hope we don't spend next week just talking about these trailers...

Alpha Protocol
PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Obsidian, Sega
Q3 2009 (North America)

Dragon Age: Origins
PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
BioWare, EA
October 20, 2009 (North America)

Mass Effect 2
Xbox 360, PC
BioWare, EA

White Knight Chronicles
PlayStation 3
Level 5, Sony

None of the above are very long or show off much in terms of gameplay, and are clearly 100% focused on hype. That said, anyone have a favourite? :P

Thursday, May 28, 2009

XSEED Announces Fragile: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

It's not quite E3 yet, but that isn't stopping surprise announcements, as publisher XSEED has just announced that it will be bringing Tri-Crescendo and Namco Bandai's emotional and exploration-based Wii RPG Fragile: Sayonara Tsuki no Haikyo to North America later this year.

For the forgetful, Fragile follows a young man named Seth (whose name will apparently be retaining the Japanese pronunciation of 'Seto' for XSEED's localization) as he searches for companionship in a seemingly empty world.

The game is heavy on exploration over combat, and utlizes the Wiimote for various functions, most prominantly as a flashlight.

I'm honestly a little surprised to see this game making the jump. I knew Namco Bandai would have nothing to do with it over here, but I didn't think they'd give up the publishing rights. But this is certainly great news for North American Wii owners, as this definitely looks like a title worth checking out.

Fragile: Farewell Ruins of the Moon will be available for Nintendo Wii sometime later this year in North America. It is already available in Japan.


Europe gets a Star Ocean 4 Collector's Edition for Being Patient

European gamers don't always get the best end of the bargain with JRPGs, often waiting months (or sometimes years) after Japanese and North American release dates before they can get their hands on new titles. Hell, they still don't have Tales of Vesperia. That's just not okay.

tri-Ace and Square Enix's latest Xbox 360 action-RPG, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, has been no exception, with our European friends having to wait until June for a game that came out in February in Japan and North America.

Well, in a way, Square Enix is trying to sweeten the deal for the patient RPG fans, offering a special edition of the game. The European collectors edition will reportedly contain the following:

  • Limited edition Star Ocean: The Last Hope Box: Unique 'digistack' packaging with dual gatefold, inside a special collector's sleeve.

  • Star Ocean Soundtrack Compilation CD:
    The Star Ocean Sound Best Collection showcases key themes from across the series specially chosen by the game creators and series fans.
  • Five Star Ocean: The Last Hope Character Cards: Collectable prints of lead characters from the game, using rare artwork not officially released in Europe and other PAL countries.

  • Brady Games Official Miniguide: 32 page game guide printed in full-colour, with extra character artwork, descriptions and walkthrough information - to help you on your journey through the universe.
  • Three Star Ocean: The Last Hope Game Discs
    Expansive galactic adventuring goes across three game discs, accompanied by full-colour play manual.

Hm, so North America is the only region that didn't get any extras? Pardon me while I go pout.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope will be available for Xbox 360 on June 5, 2009 in Europe. It is already available in Japan and North America.


Koei Announces Trinity Zill O'll Zero

Koei Tecmo announced this week via Weekly Famitsu that they will be bringing their highly obscure RPG series Zill O'll into the current generation with Trinity Zill O'll Zero for PlayStation 3 under the Koei brand.

If you haven't heard of Zill O'll before, don't worry about it, most people haven't.

The original Zill O'll was a turn-based RPG for the original PlayStation that never made it out of Japan. Since then, it was remade once for the PS2, and again recently for the PSP. Thus, despite the 'Trinity' and 'Zero' elements of the new installment's name, this is actually only the second original Zill O'll title.

Unlike previous installments, TZOZ is an action-RPG. Unfortunately, the scan is too low quality to be read properly, but you can check out the images below.

Well, I suppose this seals it: the PS3 is the official home of the obscure RPG.

Though none of the previous Zill O'll installments have seen Western shores, the lack of big name RPGs on the PS3 (and the lack of RPGs in general this gen) gives Trinity Zill O'll Zero a much higher chance of seeing the light of day in North America.

Trinity Zill O'll Zero will be available for PlayStation 3 sometime this year in Japan.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sword Machine E3 RPG Predictions 2009

Yes, it's that time of year again. With E3 less than a week away, it's time to dust off that crappy magic 8 ball that never works, and make some guesses about RPGs. Some educated, some speculatory, and some just off the top of my head .

I should warn you before diving in that my guesses this year feel a little more bitter than usual. This may be due to a lackluster showing at last year's E3 and TGS, or it may be due to the fact that the RPG scene is currently looking comparatively dry right now. Or I could have just woken up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. (It's probably some sort of combination of all of the above.)

So, if you're feeling a little sensitive about your favorite console/company/franchise today, you might want to put off reading my predictions for a while. I would hate for you to get your knickers in a knot over my random guesses.

As usual, I have limited myself to 10 predictions to keep things flowing smoothly. Here's how each prediction breaks down:

10 – Almost Guaranteed
9 – Incredibly Likely
8 – Very Likely
7 – Likely
6 – Foreseeable
5 – Possible
4 – Might be Possible
3 – Unlikely
2 – Probably Not
1 – In My Dreams

So without further ado, here are my 10 best guesses for E3 2009:

10 – Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Dragon Quest IX are, of course, not present at E3
If Final Fantasy Versus XIII taking home last year’s Vapourware Award didn’t tip you off, I have very little faith that this game is anywhere near being finished. Its chances at appearing at E3, where having stuff for the press to get their hands on is high priority for most companies, are near zilch. And then there’s Dragon Quest IX, which I won’t even get started on. Hey, at least Square Enix knows they are taking too damn long with this stuff.

9 – White Knight Chronicles playable at the show, but barely mentioned in Sony’s press conference, if at all
Let’s face some hard facts: Sony of America doesn’t really care about any RPG that isn’t called Final Fantasy, even if they are publishing it. Sure, Sony of Japan has had some great times with stuff like Legend of Dragoon, Wild ARMs, Dark Cloud, Okage, and several others. Unfortunately, that hasn’t really transferred over on our side of the pacific, especially recently, where modern Sony is seemingly only concerned with Killzone, SingStar, and Buzz.
That said, White Knight Chronicles is apparently coming over from them sometime this year, so I would be very surprised if it wasn’t playable somewhere. Just don’t expect Sony to be proud of it. They’ll be too busy telling us why their other games are all coming out next year, but 2009 is the year of the PS3.

8 – Magna Carta II gets a solid release date, while the majority of the press ignores it for more shooters
Similar to last year’s Tales of Vesperia, Namco Bandai is going to be showing off the upcoming Magna Carta II, pleading with you to care about JRPGs. They will have playable stations, press materials, and will even announce the game’s official North American release date. And yet most in attendance will be much more interested in playing Two Buff Guys with Guns Save Earth from Aliens Part 7.

7 – Front Mission Evolved announced for Xbox 360, fails to change anyone’s opinion of Front Mission
There have been some rumblings around the internet that Square Enix is preparing a new Front Mission title for the Xbox 360, and it seems likely that E3 will be the venue to pull the curtains back on that announcement. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I have never liked any of the Front Mission games. They just, I don’t know, weren’t fun. I hope this new title changes my mind about the series, but somehow, I doubt it.

6 – Mario & Luigi RPG 3 announced for North America, Nintendo believes that the hardcore should now be satisfied
Even the hardest of the hardcore Nintendo fanboys have to admit that Nintendo is sort of out-of-touch with the “hardcore” gamer lately. We ask for Zelda, we get Spirit Tracks. We ask for Fatal Frame or Day of Crisis, we get Wii Music and Wii Sports 2. Maybe it’s about time we realised that Nintendo doesn’t actually care about us all that much anymore. After all, we aren’t the ones wallpapering their office with money. Our moms, grandparents, and little sisters are. So out of all of those sweet Nintendo of Japan published RPGs that we aren’t getting, Nintendo of America might – and I emphasize might – be willing to let us have Mario & Luigi RPG 3. Because, y’know, it’s got Mario and all his lovable friends in it. Y’know, it doesn’t actually play very much like an RPG, which only nerds and otaku play. America safe! Thanks, Nintendo! You really have us dumb North Americans figured out, don’t you?

5 – Microsoft unveils new Mistwalker action-RPG
We know Mistwalker is working on a new action-heavy RPG. We know Sakaguchi plans on announcing it this year. We know that the game appears to have seamless transitions between FMV and gameplay. We know that Fujisaka is handling the art direction, implicating a more mature theme. We know that he has spoken about all of this recently. So, the biggest question really should be when. E3 seems like a good time if Microsoft is going to wow us with new exclusives, which they better start doing soon if they hope to be relevant by the end of the year (as their current state is depressingly devoid of, well, anything). All I know is I want MORE 360 MISTWALKER!

4 – Tales of Graces announced for North America for early next year
Namco Bandai is notoriously hit-and-miss with which Tales of titles it brings to North America. For instance, why Tales of the World for PSP and not Tales of Innocence? There’s not always a lot of logic behind some of the choices. That said, Tales of Vesperia and Tales of Symphonia 2 received some real love last year, with ToV even hitting North America mere weeks after its Japanese release. Namdai has registered the Tales of Graces trademark here in North America already, giving a significant boost to the likelihood of the game seeing English Wiis. Namdai doesn’t typically pull out any surprises at E3, but this is not out of the realm of possibility. At least, I’d like to think it isn’t.

3 – Crystal Bearers announced for late 2009 / early 2010
Despite its seemingly negligible following here in North America, Square Enix has sure been putting out a lot of media for their latest upcoming Crystal Chronicles instalment, despite it having no concrete release date on either side of the Pacific. Though E3 seems like a questionable venue for a game like this to get a release date, stranger things have certainly happened, and Wii owners would certainly come away from the show feeling a lot better about things.

2 – 360/PS3 Castlevania titled, detailed, and dated
Konami teased us at TGS last year that there will be a new Castlevania entry for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Will they show it to us at E3? Will we get a date? A demo? A video? Anything? I don’t know, but Castlevania is about equally popular over here as it is in Japan, so anything is certainly possible. I’ll keep my fingers crossed if you will.

1 – Sony announces Legend of Dragoon remake for PS3
Some completely unsubstantiated rumors flew around the internet around the time of GDC a couple of months back. Some sounded slightly legit, most sounded like horse $#!+. Sony remaking Legend of Dragoon for PS3 is one of those rumors that seems like it was just made up by some delusional fanboy. Realistically, we know that Sony of America doesn’t care about RPGs. Realistically, we know that the team that made Legend of Dragoon left to become Sacnoth/Nautilus, and left again to become feelplus who were established by Microsoft. Realistically, we know that Legend of Dragoon was supposed to capitalize on Final Fantasy VII’s success, and wasn’t really planned to be a major staple of Sony’s lineup. But dammit, I freakin’ loved Legend of Dragoon, and I don’t care who knows it! Making that rumor come true would do a lot in patching up our relationship right now, Sony.

Well, there you have it. For your reference, I got 3/10 right for my E3 predictions last year, and 1/10 right for my TGS predictions last year. I'm hoping for 5/10 this year.

I'll be back to score myself after the show is finished.

Monday, May 25, 2009

RPGs of the Week: This is Embarrassing Edition

Welcome to another week of RPG releases. And hey, it happens to be the LAST week before E3 kicks off. Kind of snuck up on me this year, huh?

Take a look at the RPG releases for all major platforms and all major gaming regions hitting this week (May 25 - May 30, 2009):

North America
Crimson Gem Saga - IRONNOS, Atlus - PSP
Cross Edge - Compile Heart, NIS America - PlayStation 3

Final Fantasy - Square Enix - WVC
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days - h.a.n.d., Square Enix - Nintendo DS
Ougon no Kizuna - Jaleco - Nintendo Wii
Tacticslayer: Litinagard Senki - Ninja Studio, D3 - Nintendo DS
Witch Tale: Minarai Majo to 7-nin no Hime - Hit Maker, Nippon Ichi - Nintendo DS
Yuusha 30 - Marvelous - PSP

Ar Tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica - Gust, NIS Europe - PlayStation 2

North America gets Astonishia Story 2, otherwise known as Crimson Gem Saga, and the embarrassing crossover RPG Cross Edge.

Japan has a lot of new releases this week with Ougon no Kizuna for the Wii, Witch Tale, Tactislayer, and the new Kingdom Hearts for DS, and the indie-game-remake Yuusha 30 for the PSP. Oh, it looks like they also get yet another release of the original Final Fantasy for the Virtual Console. Just in case, y'know, you haven't bought it enough times yet.

Europe bags Gust's Ar Tonelico II. It's a decent game, but I hope the European localization is better than the poor rush job we got here in North America.

Anything looking sweet to you this week?

Square Enix's Western-Developed Title is Nier, Not Really an RPG

Since I started this, I figured I better finish it off.

OXM just broke word that the first game from Square Enix's recently opened Los Angeles studio is titled Nier (the French verb "to deny"), and is closer in style to action games like Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden than it is to Square Enix's typical RPG fare.

The game reportedly centeres around a father in his late 30s serching for a cure for his daughter's illness, and features action combo button mashing similar to the above mentioned action titles.

Details are still slim, but the game is reportedly slated for a 2010 release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Since Square Enix is involved, it may feature enough RPG elements to keep covering it, or it may be a totally new direction and have nothing to do with the corporation's RPG roots. It looks likely that Square Enix will be showing the game off more at E3 next week, so we'll hold off on passing judgement until then.

[One Last Continue]

Let's Learn About End of Eternity's Battle System

So we've seen the pre-rendered teasers for tri-Ace and Sega's upcoming multiplatform RPG, End of Eternity (pointlessly renamed to Resonance of Fate for North America), and we've heard a little bit about how it plays, but we're still pretty out in the dark on the whole thing.

Famitsu, however, has recently run a feature giving us a little more detail on exactly how the battle system works. I thought this might be revelant to some of your interests, so I took the liberty of translating it.

In the spirit of JRPG developers naming their battle systems with random acronyms, EoE's battle system is reportedly called t.A.B. (short for 'tri-Attack Battle'). At least it's short.

Despite it's real-time elements I detailed for you from the last article, t.A.B. reportedly functions in a very turn-based style, with each of your friendly characters getting a limited amount of time to move around and perform actions (think something along the lines of Eternal Sonata).

During each character's "turn," you are free to move around the battlefield and change up equipment as you please. However, once you attack, your turn is over, regardless of how much extra time you may have.

Once you have told your character to attack, they enter a "charge" mode, where they take a specified amount of time "charging" their attack before actually inflicting any damage. Your charge time for each attack will differ depending on your distance from the enemy/enemies you have targeted. Being closer to your target will allow for shorter charge times, but will leave you more open to receive attacks. These charges can reportedly be "saved" and added on top of each other to facilitate bigger attacks, though exactly how this works has not been made known.

Finally, it is interesting to note that enemies do not have turns of their own. Instead, they are permitted to move and act while your characters are doing so. Thus, charging your attacks will certainly leave you vulnerable to your enemies.

To show the game off in motion, Sega has also released a new trailer for the game showing off some brief battle footage. Though it doesn't do much in the way of explaining much, it gives you an idea of how the game will look in motion. You can check it out below.

End of Eternity will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sometime this winter in Japan, and sometime next spring in North America as Resonance of Fate.


Blood of Bahamut gets a Release Date, New Trailer

Though the game is still not confirmed for North America, Square Enix's upcoming Shadow of the Colossus-reminiscent action-RPG, Blood of Bahamut, has just been dated for late this summer in Japan.

Featuring enormous 3D bosses and small character sprites, this game's draw appears to be fighting these enormous creatures that span both screens of Nintendo's little portable that could.

Along with the release date, Square Enix has also dropped off a new trailer for the title, which gives perhaps the best look at the overall feel of the title so far.

Check it out below:

Blood of Bahamut will be available on Nintendo DS on August 6, 2009 in Japan.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meet the Magna Carta II Cast (Part 1)

As per request, here is the beginning of some translations from the absolutely-full-to-overflowing Magna Carta II official Japanese site.

Today I'll be starting with the first six characters that were introduced (4 allies, 2 villains), with plans to follow-up with more characters in coming weeks.

Juto is a young man living on Kazemijima. He was found by Melissa wandering around a battlefield with no memories of his past. Melissa brought him to Kazemijima and the two have lived together as brother and sister since.

Juto treasures a pendant that he received from his adopted sister, which is the same as the pendant that Melissa carries. The name “Juto” was also given to him by Melissa.

Juto is a relaxed, if occasionally lazy young man, and wishes for nothing more than a quiet, peaceful life. He has no confidence or interest in joining the war raging on the mainland. His memory loss occasionally worries him, but since it doesn’t interfere with his daily life, he doesn’t think about it much.

Juto fights with swords.

Rzephillda Grena Berlinette, or ‘Zephie’ for short, is the Princess of the Kingdom of Lantzheim, the Commanding Officer of the Royal Southern Armed Forces Anti-Sentinel Corps, and a skilled
Wind Magus.

Zephie, the daughter of Queen Evaline of Lantzheim and a noble father (who she has not met), was raised without want. Though something of a tomboy in her childhood, Zephie has matured into compassionate and honest young princess, very much resembling her beloved mother, though she is still not as strong-willed as her mother was.

After her mother was assassinated by Schauenzeit, her happy and peaceful life was shattered instantaneously. Her carefree and boisterous personality were tempered into a much calmer, more reserved attitude, and she developed a strong sense of justice along with a desire to end the war for the people who are suffering. She still carries a fierce hatred for Schauenzeit.

Zephie fights with rods and fans.

Melissa Tiss is the Captain of Kazemijima’s militia and Juto’s adopted older sister. She possesses masterful skill with the sword which she learned from her father, and sword training is one of her favourite pastimes.

Melissa’s mother died giving birth to her, and was raised by her father, an ex-mercenary from the mainland who settled down in Kazemijima after marrying Melissa’s mother. The strongest swordsman in town, Melissa’s father took the position of Militia Captain during the day, and taught swordplay to Melissa in the evenings. One of her most prized possessions is the sword her father bought for her in Abajet on the mainland. Unfortunately, during a voyage to the mainland, her father’s ship was caught in a storm and went missing. This loss caused Melissa great pain, and she was said to have forgotten how to smile for half a year after the incident.

A determined and strong-willed woman, Melissa hates the war, but vows to protect Juto and the island with her life. Though others see her as having no weaknesses, she secretly has many fears and insecurities. Her normally collected and formal attitude changes only around Juto or when she speaks about her father.

Melissa fights with swords.

A soldier in the Royal Southern Armed Forces Anti-Sentinel Corps, Argo Kindu is a powerful warrior of the Torewa Tribe from the desert village of Blue Moon, which was destroyed by Schauenzeit.

Though Argo’s fierce appearance startles many humans, he is typically calm, cool, and collected, analyzing situations thoroughly and making informed, level-headed decisions. He is usually quiet, careful not to interfere in other’s personal matters. Though he is more knowledgeable than most Torewa due his various travels throughout Lantzheim, he is very humble, and is sure to take the time to listen to the opinions of others.

The Torewa Tribe are a powerful people with immense physical strength and high endurance for extreme heat and intense cold, allowing Argo the ability to travel quickly across deserts and snow fields with little effort. Argo’s father was the chieftain of the Blue Moon village, and a famous warrior among the Torewa, with his mother being a warrior of comparable strength and ability. After the destruction of his village, he joined Princess Rzephillda’s forces, and dreams of one day returning to his village to rebuild once the war is over.

Argo fights with axes and hammers.

Originally the Prime Minister of Lantzheim, Schauenzeit Baren murdered Queen Evaline to usurp the throne, plunging the country into civil war.

Schauenzeit is cool-headed, compassionate, and deals with situations with a sense of humor. Though he interacts with people with elegance, he gives off a relaxed aura and occasionally even throws in a joke. Despite this, most people who interact with him are intimidated by his charisma and are typically unable to reflect his relaxed attitude. During his time as the Prime Minister, Schauenzeit was even friendlier than he is currently, and was very popular with the people.

Schauenzeit fights with swords, but is also skilled with magic.

An assassin and leader in the Northern Army, little is known about Elga’s true identity.
He himself seems to have no personal interests or hobbies, and spends all of his time either on the battlefield or training.

Cold-hearted, cruel, and brutal, he relishes in the fear of others, and talks down to everyone he meets. He has only respect of Schauenzeit, and does everything he is commanded without question in hopes of earning Schauenzeit’s approval.

Elga fights with swords.

That wraps up part 1 (going through all the info on the website was much more work than I anticipated - there's a LOT there!). I hope to have part 2 up very soon.

Magna Carta II will be available for Xbox 360 on August 6, 2009 in Japan, and sometime this Summer in North America.

Atlus Announces Demon's Souls for North America

No rest for Atlus, apparently, as the localization company that isn't content to rest on its laurels has stepped forward to announce their first PlayStation 3 project, FromSoftware and Sony's Western-style RPG, Demon's Souls.

Despite poor reviews in Japan, the English version of the game has been available from China for a while now, and it has earned a following amongst Western RPG fans and some favorable reviews in Europe.

Different from most RPGs coming out of Japan, Demon's Souls allows you to customize your own hero and choose how you want to progress the game's story.

Demon's Souls will be available for PlayStation 3 sometime this fall.

I still think this game looks half-assed. Sort of surprising that Sony didn't want to bring it over themselves, since the game is clearly designed in a Western-RPG style.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

RPGs of the Week: Stealing Princesses Edition

Well, it's another slow week for the RPG across all three major gaming territories. I suppose with E3 just around the bend, it might be nice to catch a quick breather before some new announcements.

I don't have much of an amusing preamble to go with the releases this week, so let's just get on with it, shall we?

The following RPGs are shipping out for the week of May 18 - 22, 2009:

North America
Steal Princess - Climax, Atlus - Nintendo DS

Mass Effect - BioWare, EA - Xbox 360
Takt of Magic - Nintendo - Nintendo Wii

Pokemon Platinum - Game Freak, Nintendo - Nintendo DS

North America bags Atlus' localization of a platformer/action-RPG, while Japan finally gets a piece of the Mass Effect pie, and Nintendo's latest SRPG. Europe gets Pokemon. Can or should they really ask for more?

Let me just say that if it wasn't for Atlus' seemingly undaunted support of the JRPG genre, these last two months would have been dry for North America indeed.

Anything on your shopping list this week?

Fallout 3 DLC Not So Exclusive After All

In another edition of corporate lies, Bethesda Softworks announced today that the previously announced Xbox 360 and PC exclusive downloadable content for the extremely-popular-and-extremely-broken RPG, Fallout 3, is actually not exclusive at all, and will be also going to PlayStation 3.


According to the publisher, Operation: Anchorage, which released in late January on PC and 360, will be available for PS3 late this June. The Pitt and Broken Steel will be available 4-6 apart from that.

In addition, two new expansion packs were announced titled Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta. Both will be available for 360 and PC in late June and late July respectively, while they are scheduled for "sometime after Broken Steel" for PS3.

If you don't have your console/computer hooked up to the internet, Bethesda will be offering the DLC via regular old retail. Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt will be bundled together for $9.99 on May 26, 2009, while a second disc containing Broken Steel and Point Lookout will be available sometime in August for the same price.

Bethesda claims that these discs will only be available for Xbox 360 and PC, as disc expansions for PS3 are not possible. Right. Like I should believe anything you claim, Bethesda. (eye roll)

Finally, Bethesda has announced that a Game of the Year edition will be available for all three systems this upcoming October. It will be priced at $59.99 for 360 and PS3, and $49.99 for PC, and will contain all 5 expansions. Meaning that, yes, you have now officially paid way too much for this crap.

Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat. I don't mind the fact that PS3 owners will get this content. I personally don't even like this game, and never planned on purchasing any of the DLC anyway (I'm actually thinking seriously about selling my copy back). For gamers who only own a PS3 and really really wanted the DLC, this is nothing but good news.

What really irks me is that Bethesda lied about it.

As a consumer who, y'know, pays for things, I like to be treated honestly. If DLC, extra content, or even an entire game is exclusive, timed exclusive, or multiplatform, I just want the developers/publishers to say that right from the start.

Gamers complain that game companies treat them poorly, but do absolutely nothing when companies like Bethesda do this sort of stuff. In fact, they even give them money to do it!

Just saying.


Final Fantasy IV: The After Years Dated for North America

For those of you who have been waiting since 1991 to find out what happens to Cecil, Rosa, and the whole FFIV crew, your wait is almost over, as Square Enix has announced that it's cellphone-gone-WiiWare-port of Final Fantasy IV The After will be coming to North American waggle boxes early next month.

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years follows Cecil Harvey and Rosa Farrell's son, Ceodore, 17 years after the events of the original title. It was released on Japanese cellphones early last year via subscription-based episodes.

It is still unclear if the North American version will be released as a single game, or in installments similar to the Japanese release. But since we're talking about this wonderful generation of "milk gamers for all they're worth," my guess would be that SE will drag it out over as many downloads as they can.

Don't you just love this gen?

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years will be available for Nintendo Wii via the WiiWare service starting on June 1, 2009.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Rather Sizable Update on Magna Carta II

Famitsu recently published some new info on Softmax and Namco Bandai's upcoming Xbox 360 action-RPG, Magna Carta II, including new character bios, story background, and battle system details.

The scan that surfaced on the internet is not exactly what I would call legible (you can check it out below), but thankfully, all the info is already available on the game's official Japanese website! Meaning that if you'd like a translation, I have a very easily-readable source to work with! Hooray!

Interested parties may also be interested in checking out a new video on the site that shows the battle system in motion HERE. It certainly looks like a huge improvement over Tears of Blood. (phew)

Magna Carta II will be available for Xbox 360 on August 6, 2009 in Japan, and sometime this Summer in North America.

End of Eternity Announced for North America... Next Year, With a Different Name

Well, chock this one up to 'Sega of America is still the retarded kid at the back of the class,' the seemingly brainless company has recently announced that it will be bringing Resonance of Fate to North America in Spring 2010.

Hey, you say, you've never heard of Resonance of Fate before! Is this a new IP? Er, well, yes it is, but maybe not as new as you might think, as it is just a renaming of the upcoming tri-Ace developed Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 RPG, End of Eternity.

For the forgetful, End of Eternity is an action-RPG with turn-based functionality built in set in a dystopic city floating above the surface of a destroyed Earth in the future. The game is the first tri-Ace project without Enix's publishing supervision, and tri-Ace's first true multiplatform game. It is due out sometime late this year in Japan.

So, why the completely irrelevant name change? Why the extra wait for a North American version? It's Sega. Need I say more?

Ugh (facepalm). As if we needed more proof that Sega of America is totally clueless.

North America Debut Trailer

End of Eternity will be available in Japan this Winter in Japan, and next Spring in North America (as Resonance of Fate) on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Bravo, Sega. You fail again.


Monster Hunter 3 gets a Release Date (in Japan)

The Japanese game market is slowing down. Unless, of course, you are a game called Monster Hunter, in which case you can enjoy ridiculously huge sales to absolutely everyone in the country (almost).

Bringing the third official entry in the series to the Nintendo Wii, Capcom has recently announced that Monster Hunter 3 (pronounced 'tri,' for whatever reason) will officially be hitting the white waggle box this summer in the Land of the Rising Sun. Perfect timing for all those kids getting out of school for Summer Break!

Also, here's a trailer:

Monster Hunter 3 will be available for Nintendo Wii on August 1, 2009 in Japan.


Dragon Age: Origins Caters to Your Mature Tastes

You used to like RPGs, you say. But lately, they just feel so, oh, I don't know, childish. You wish someone would come along and make an RPG that feels like it understands the grown-up you.

Don't worry, my mature friend, BioWare understands all too well what growing up is all about. To prove it, they've made sure that their upcoming PC and console RPG Dragon Age: Origins will cater to the refined mature tastes that you have come to appreciate in life.

Don't believe me? Just watch the trailer below, and prepare to feel mature.

Yes, with all that violence, blood, and sex, you are sure to feel right at home with Dragon Age. No no, BioWare asks for no thanks. Just about $60 and you're good to go.

Isn't it nice to know that someone is looking out for you and your maturity in this juvenile world? I know I feel relieved.

Dragon Age: Origins will be available in North America on November 3, 2009 for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

Ubisoft Announces Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes

Ubisoft announced a new handheld entry into the extremely long-running Might & Magic series on Wednesday. Titled Clash of Heroes, this new title incorporates a new manga-inspired art direction coupled with five unique quests and puzzle-style turn-based battles.

Clash of Heroes represents something of a "reboot" to the series which Ubisoft hopes will expand the appeal of the franchise and make it more relevant to current DS gamers.

I, myself, have been out of touch with Might & Magic for about 15 years, never having really cared for the ultra Western feel of the series, but I must say that the new art style and puzzle-style battles have me intrigued. I'll at least be keeping an eye on this.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes will be available in North America for Nintendo DS sometime this August.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

GungHo Works Announces Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star

PSP remakes of PS1 games seems like a popular thing to do these days, and publisher GungHo Works is not about to let a good thing pass by, announcing a remake of a remake: Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star.

Based on Lunar: Silver Star Story for the PlayStation, which is a port of the Sega Saturn title, which is itself, a remake of Lunar: The Silver Star for the Sega CD, never let it be said that Square Enix is the only publisher that knows how to milk the ports/remakes.

For those of you who inexplicably missed this title, Lunar follows a young man named Alex Noa who leaves his small village in hopes of becoming a hero and adventuring like his hero, the Dragon Master. During his travels, however, Alex and his companions become aware of something much more sinister behind the scenes that somehow involves his childhood friend/adopted sister/love interest, Luna Noa.

This new PSP remake features an updated graphical style with isometric maps, remade sprites, and redone gameplay.

Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star will be available for PSP sometime this Fall in Japan.

Ah, I loved this game on PS1.

Star Ocean 4 Beats Blue Dragon in Japan

For a long time, Microsoft and Mistwalker's first collaborative RPG, Blue Dragon, has reigned as king of the hill for the Japanese Xbox 360. It was turn-based, cute, had Akira Toriyama designed characters, and was full of poo. How do you hope to top that?

Well, Square Enix and tri-Ace's sci-fi action-RPG, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, has gone ahead and done just that, breaking past Blue Dragon's sales and barrelling headlong into the most popular 360 game in the country.

Interestingly enough, the top 6 Xbox 360 games in Japan all happen to be JRPGs:
1. Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope - tri-Ace, Square Enix
2. Blue Dragon - Mistwalker, Artoon, Microsoft
3. Tales of Vesperia - Namco Bandai
4. The Last Remnant - Square Enix
5. Infinite Undiscovery - tri-Ace, Microsoft, Square Enix
6. Lost Odyssey - Mistwalker, feelplus, Microsoft

Will upcoming titles like Magna Carta II and End of Eternity rank in? Will a new game arise to challenge SO4's newly acquired title? I guess we'll find out.


SaGa 2 Gets a New Subtitle, Vague Release Date

It's the SaGa series' 20th anniversary this year. Since SaGa never really caught on in North America, you might not really care, but dammit, someone at Square Enix DOES, okay?!

Anyway, in honour of the series' 20 years, Square Enix decided it would be fantastic to make a new SaGa games for the best video game system ever! Instead, they remade SaGa 2 for DS.

Since the game's announcement back in January, things have been relatively quiet. However, Square Enix just stepped forward to break news that the remake will be getting a brand new subtitle, officially making the game called SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu: Goddess of Destiny. Three titles for one game?! HUGE NEWS!

But Square Enix won't be stopped there, oh no! They've also come forward with a release, uh, season. This is far better than a release date, because then it leaves a lot to players' imagination, promoting the game's release into the abstract realm, and therefore, high art.

See? You thought this story was lame, but really, it is AWESOME.

SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu: Goddess of Destiny will be available for Nintendo DS sometime this Fall in Japan.


Idea Factory Announces Trinity Universe

Great. Here we go again.

Idea Factory recently announced that it will be publishing a new turn-based RPG for PlayStation 3 this summer in Japan. So far, I don't have a problem, nay, colour me interested, even. However, this is no ordinary turn-based RPG, oh no. This is a cross-over RPG with characters from Gust's Atelier series and Nippon Ichi's Disgaea series.

The game follows either the Battle Goddess Rizelia or the Dog Demon Lord Kanata (no, I'm not joking, he really is a DOG Demon Lord). Both characters have their own stories, and depending on which you choose will play a large role in which of the cross-over characters will influence your quest.

As you can likely guess, Nippon Ichi's Disgaea fits in rather well with the Demon Lord side of the story. Meanwhile, somehow the Atelier series' characters are sided with the Goddess side. Whatever, I guess.

Ultimately, we have on our hands another large advertisment that gamers are expected to pay for. Woo.

Look, game devs. I didn't like Kingdom Hearts for this exact reason. I have tried to not to be so fussy over games like Chaos Wars and Cross Edge, but you've got me backed up against a wall here. Occassional character cameos? Awesome. Fun references to other games? Great. Blatant whoring out of game franchises to sell mediocre games? No No No No No x1,000,000!

For those of you into this sort of thing (you don't have to tell me about it), Trinity Universe will be available for PlayStation 3 sometime this August in Japan. And don't worry, I'm sure some company like NIS will pick it up eventually for those of you with too much money here in North America, too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

RPGs of the Week: King Abaddon Edition

I'm finally back into my original schedule, having recently returned from a trip to Japan. The trip was... well... let's just say that it wasn't quite everything I hoped it would be. The small amount of Tokyo I did get to see was nice, but didn't really make up for spending the majority of my vacation sick in bed. :(

Lessons learned: don't travel when you're sick, and Akihabara isn't as great as the internet would like you to believe.

Anyhow, here's what you are really here for: RPGs!

The following RPGs are hitting retail this week (May 11 - 15, 2009):

North America
Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships - Akella, Playlogic - PC
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel - Ascaron, cdv - Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon - Atlus - PlayStation 2

Growlanser - Atlus - PSP


Well, still not much to speak of, but I guess North American gamers have some stuff to choose from.

I have Devil Summoner 2 pre-ordered, but I don't think it will get here until sometime next week. Not that I have any time to play it anyway...

Anything looking sweet to you this week?

Namco Bandai Confirms Magna Carta II for North America

Namco Bandai announced at a press event late last month that their latest Xbox 360 RPG, Magna Carta II, will indeed be making the jump to North American 360s this year.

Developed by Korean studio Softmax and published under Namdai's Banpresto label, Magna Carta II is the third game in the Magna Carta series (the original for PC, and Tears of Blood for the PS2, which was later remade for the PSP), and follows a young man named Juto and an exiled princess named Zephy during the outbreak of war.

Though Magna Carta II has yet to receive a solid release date, it is expected to ship sometime in Q3, and therefore assumedly near the Japanese release.

Magna Carta II will be available for Xbox 360 on August 6, 2009 in Japan, and sometime this Summer in North America.

What is Mistwalker's Next Game Like?

If you're like me, you've been waiting on your hands for something - anything - to confirm Mistwalker's next console RPG since the untimely death of Cry On.

Well, you and I may be in luck, as Sakaguchi has spilled a few of the beans on his latest title via the official Mistwalker blog.

According to the Gooch, the team is putting a lot of effort into seamless integration throughout the game, and mixing CG scenes in with the gameplay. The game apparently takes an RPG-style approach to character building and battle tactics. He also mentions some "interesting" behaviors that occur based on the situation, but said that he couldn't talk about anything further.

However, he reports that the game is far enough along in development that it will be announced and shown sometime this year.

Unfortunatetly, exactly what the game is, it's title, and even target platform are still being kept under wraps, but since Mistwalker expects the announcement this year, it's a good idea to keep an eye on E3 and TGS.

Any speculations?


Idea Factory Announces NUGA-CEL

Chock another one up for RPGs that will never leave Japan. Idea Factory has just announced Nurture Garment Celebration, or NUGA-CEL, for the still-not-dead PlayStation 2 through their Lupinus label.

NUGA-CEL follows a group of young girls in the land of Tokyo-23 as they, er, change their clothes. Yep, that's about it.

The game fuses SRPGs and traditional turn-based battles, and adds a hefty helping of cosplay and young girls changing to create the ultimate RPG of this or any other generation. Your strange Western tastes cannot appreciate how revolutionary this game is, which is a big reason that you'll never get play it.

NUGA-CEL will be available for PlayStation 2 on July 30, 2009 in Japan.

[NUGA-CEL Official Website]

NIS America Announces a Tonne of RPGs

Since the release of Ar Tonelico II, NIS has been relatively quiet. Yeah, I guess you could count Cross Edge as a game if you want. To each his own, I suppose.

However, NIS came forward with a rather enormous press release last week where they confirmed 6 RPGs for North American release this year! Perhaps appropriately, the title of the press event was "Holy Drunken Shenanigans, Badman!"

For the PSP, NIS revealed that they would be bringing the recent PSP port of Disgaea 2 to our shores, renamed to Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days. The PSP port features new playable characters, additional story scenarios, and other additions to the original PS2 title. It is scheduled for release sometime this Fall.

The company's Nintendo Wii port of Phantom Brave was also re-confirmed for our shores as Phantom Brave: We Meet Again. As previously mentioned, it too will feature new content. It is planned for release this June.

Hit Maker's DS RPG, A Witch's Tale, has also been re-confirmed for North American release, and should be available sometime this Fall.

The PlayStation 2 had the largest showing, with Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy and Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love confirmed for release on the console this Fall. Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love is the first Sakura Taisen game ever to make it over to North America, though is officially the fifth game of Sega's long-running dating-sim/giant robot RPG mash-up. Mana Khemia 2 is of course the last of Gust's Atelier series to grace the PS2, and the direct sequel to the original Mana Khemia.

Finally, NIS announced a brand new title for the PlayStation 3. Titled Last Rebellion, this turn-based RPG is in development by Hit Maker, and is expected to hit shelves sometime this Fall.

(Phew), that's a lot of stuff. Most of it we had heard about through the grape vine previously, but it's impressive to see it all lined up in one place. Except for the 360, it seems that NIS has something for just about everyone this Fall.

Anything looking promising out of this lot to you?

[NIS America]

Ignition to Publish Muramasa, Nostalgia, and Possibly Spectral Force Genesis?

When you think of JRPG publishers in North America, a few names typically come to mind. Square Enix and Atlus are probably the fan favorites, while companies like XSEED and NIS America regularly keep themselves busy with RPGs from time to time. Hell, even companies like Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, Sega, and Namco Bandai, who publish a variety of different titles occassionally come through and give us an RPG or two.

One name that you may not be as familiar with is Ignition Entertainment. Having established themselves with titles from other genres, Ignition stepped into the JRPG scene earlier this year with Mistwalker and AQ Interactive's Blue Dragon Plus for the DS. Though the game carries Mistwalker's Blue Dragon franchise, the game was generally dismissed by fans in both North America and Japan, and I personally thought Ignition would have washed its hands of JRPGs.

Not so, however, as Ignition has stepped up to bring at least two more JRPGs to North American shores.

First up is Vanillaware and Marvelous' 2D side-scrolling action-RPG, Muramasa: The Demon Blade. Initially slated to be published by XSEED, Ignition stepped up to take the project immediately after XSEED announced that it would no longer have anything to do with it. Some of you pointed this out to me a while back, and I know it's probably old news by now.

Their second confirmed project is RED, Matrix, and Tecmo's DS RPG, Wind of Nostalgeo, which has been renamed simply to Nostalgia for North America. For the forgetful, Nostalgia (Wind of Nostalgeo) is set in an alternate 19th century Europe, and is heavily focused on airships, drawing comparisons to Sega's Skies of Arcadia.

Finally, according to an ESRB leak, Ingition will also be handling the localization of Spectral Force Genesis, Idea Factory's DS entry into their Spectral Force series. Ignition has yet to confirm or deny any connection to this title.

With more and more JRPGs being handled by international arms of the original publisher, there hasn't been as much room for new publishers on the scene. It's nice to see Ignition pick up some slack, and we wish them the best of luck in their RPG publishing endeavors.

Both Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Nostalgia are set for North America release on Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS (respectively) sometime this September. Spectral Force Genesis is still unconfirmed.

[Ignition Entertainment]