Well fuck me. I had already written this week’s article, and one for next week also, and then Square Enix’s Production Team 1 conference dropped into my lap. Production Team 1 as it turns out may be a bit of a misleading title, as through the chora of Orient gibberish and game blog retranslations, it would seem that all of the old Squaresoft Production Teams were rolled into Production Team 1 (and likely downsized) last year, meaning that, like the Jecht Shot, there is only mach 1.
I hardly begin to know how to frame what I’ve just witnessed, it was simultaneuously surprising and not surprising at all. Perhaps it was surprising in the fact that it was everything that I imagined it would be, which is no mean feat given my profoundly uncharitable spirit. What I imagined were farcical rivers of shit flowing from an out of touch dinosaur, and what I got was something akin to Squeeeeeenix voiding their bowels on my head.
First up we have Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Yes that’s right, 358/2 Days is no longer the most absurdly named title in the KH series. We have a title comprised of three words beginning with ‘D’, do you get Nomura’s very clever joke? Apparently Nomura has put a lot of work into the action sequences of the game, and has attempted to imbue it with a sense of great speed. Aditionally, they have attempted to maximise the 3D effect offered by Nintendo’s poorly constructed 3DS, by including many falling and flying sequences. The game alternates between the player controlling Sora and Rikku, and looks to recycle many of the graphical assets from the original Kingdom Hearts game. Given the advancing years of the initial cast of the English voice component, one suspects that Sora, Riku and Kairi will need to be recast, seeing as we don’t have an entertainment industry built around adult’s efforts to sound like ten year old girls.I’m almost glad that this game sounds so lacklustre given the 3DS’ terrible battery life, abhorrent region locking and the fact that the majority of users allegedly suffer malign side-effects. One less reason to fritter away my scratch.
Next up the the Final Fantasy Duocedem producers took to the stage to introduce Final Fantasy Prologus! That’s right, Duodecem is to have a PAID demo, and buying said demo is the only way to obtain Aeris (though I imagine a solution might be fothcoming on the internets). Selling the FFXIII demo was a ridiculous, mercenary and despicable move on the part of Squeeeeenix, but a) it was a highly anticipated game (none of us knew how awful it was), and b) it came with Advent Children Complete, so there was at least some component of the package which was a legitimate product. Final Fantasy Prologus on the other hand is a demo of a game that no one bar Luis Vasquez could give a shit about. Squeeeeeenix continue apace their decent into absurdity, which brings me to …
Final Fantasy XIII-2! And once more at the helm is that master of storytelling Motomu Toriyama! According to Kitase many fans (such as poor Lusipurr with his obscene Vanille obsesstion) implorred the FFXIII team for a sequel to the worst game of 2010, nay the current console generation. So rejoice Lusipurr, for you shall have MOAR of that abject horridness you so enjoy. PS3 and Xbox360 versions are being developed concurrently this time around, so there exists the possibility that the M$ version won’t be a standard definition, artefacted mess. Additionally the game has been pencilled in for a 2011 release in Japan, and a vague Winter release for the American market. Things could be worse I suppose, as Joystiq pointed out, the ‘-2‘ in the title could well indicate the subtraction of Vanille and Hope, and I think we can all agree that the game would be better for it.
Moving on we have Final Fantasy Agito XIII, which is no longer Final Fantasy Agito XIII, but rather Final Fantasy Type-0. What a fun buzz word, Type-0, branding can do what quality game design could never dream of. The game is now assuredly hip and cool, mission accomplised. Whether the title itself is still a part of Fabula Nova Cristallis is anyone’s guess at this point, as it is not yet known whether the name change was brought on due to the X-factor of having a title with a ZERO in it, or whether the game simply strayed too far beyond the scope of the FFXIII platform in its attempts to ape Monster Hunter. Whatever the case it has been pencilled in for a Summer 2011 release in Japan, is being released on multiple UMDs, and is allegedly being turned into a series (SE have already trademarked Type-1, Type-2, and Type-3), because polymorphic content has been such a smashing success for them thus far!
Finally, Squeeeeeeeenix showed an extended gameplay trailer of Final Fantasy Versus XIII. My opinion of SE is at rock bottom, I am filled to brimming with cynicism and bile, yet that trailer was amazing. Amazing in a way that, if I didn’t know better, I would say was the direct result of competence. I know that I’m setting myself up for an epic disappointment, but the gameplay trailer really did look like a game that would be amazing to play. The footage moved beyond the colourless urban and rural wastelands which have been revealed thus far, to demonstrate colourful and lush environments. Also in evidence was a third person shooting mechanic made available to one of the party members, dare I say I am hopeful for this title? At any rate there was no vague 2010 release window given to Versus, so I guess we can all just look forward to playing XIII-2 instead!