Square Enix Talks Up ‘Wait Mode’
The first of Square Enix’s Active Time Report streams since E3 has hit this week, and the Final Fantasy XV team sounds to be quite happy with fan reaction to ‘wait mode’. To recap: wait mode allows for players to pause the action [much as they would in Final Fantasy XII] and issue commands at their leisure. Wait mode was well received by players, and particularly by Japanese players – for obvious reasons. In the Episode Duscae demo magic was completely absent, while in the Platinum Demo magic was broken and unusable. In light of this the announcement of a wait mode was obviously going to resonate well with long-time Final Fantasy players, since it offers the possibility of magic actually being usable, and especially since this concept recalls one of the better Final Fantasy installments: Final Fantasy XII. That being said, it is very important to remember that most [if not all] of this positive sentiment is driven by people who are judging the wait mode based on concept rather than implementation. This author is unsure quite when Final Fantasy XII‘s battle system was set in stone, but it seems unlikely that Square Enix were dropping key components of it into place a mere three months before the game went gold!
Square Enix also discussed the Regalia [Noct’s car], and apparently their North American staff are huge fans of the Cidney Regalia skin. Apparently the form that the Regalia transforms into will also differ depending on the altitude that it is at when it takes off – so that is a wonderful use of development resources. The game can barely even be considered to have an actual battle system, yet Noct’s car can transform into multiple different forms based on altitude! Fantastic! Tabata has also backpedaled on his previous promise that Kingsglaive and Final Fantasy XV would be stand alone experiences. Mr Tabata now feels that people should watch both the film and then play the game if they wish to have a proper understanding of the story. Finally, the team feels that there will probably be a day-1 patch for the game. Well no shit!!
Nintendo Reveals Why NX Missed E3
Miyamoto reveled this week precisely why the NX missed E3 – Nintendo did not want Sony and Microsoft to copy their gimmicks [because gimmicks are doing so well for Nintendo at present]. This pretty much confirms that Nintendo’s NX plans to heavily push another gimmick, which is likely to either fete or doom the NX. Earlier in the week Miyamoto had this to say:
“Normally we would’ve shown the NX at E3, but we didn’t. We’re worried about imitators if we release info too early.
In terms of NX, there’s an idea that we’re working on. That’s why we can’t share anything at this point, and I don’t want to comment on the other companies. If it was just a matter of following advancements in technology, things would be coming out a lot quicker.”
So, Nintendo is worried that industry leader Sony will steal their trash gimmick and turn shit into gold, because PS Move was such a shining success during the Wii era. So what is this ‘idea’ that Nintendo has been working on? Nintendo has previously stated that NX will be a completely new way of playing games – whatever that counts for. We have previously heard about the unconfirmed possibility that the NX will be a unification between Nintendo home and handheld consoles. We have also heard about patent-based rumours that the NX controller would not feature face buttons and/or would include shoulder buttons that double as dials used to select inventory items.
Now we have another patent-based rumour that the NX may be poised to feature a pseudo 3D effect compatible with normal televisions. The way this is set to work is through eye tracking, where the system is able to track the player’s head movements and adjusts what is displayed on screen relative to what the player is doing. For instance if the player leans to the right then the angle of what is being displayed will change accordingly, so that it might actually be possible to peer behind objects. This is almost a similar concept to the way that several of the comic panels were displayed in the PS Vita version of Gravity Rush, only there the 3D effect was created by tilting the system’s gyroscope. One thing that has to be said is that if the system has the ability to track the player’s eye movements, then it almost certainly has the ability to function as a Kinect, so that is something for us to all look forward to. The rumour is based on this patent which was renewed by Nintendo in 2015. Take it with a grain of salt because existing patents are not proof of anything, but this rumour certainly bares thinking about.
Square Enix Details a Very Special Pre-Order Bonus
Is everybody looking forward to the release of I Am Setsuna? The game’s release is scarcely over two weeks away, and promises to stimulate all of our nostalgia glands with abundant
isometric diagatilt goodness and a battle system ripped straight out of Chrono Trigger. But every great game needs a great pre-order campaign, right? And boy does Square Enix ever have a pre-order campaign for traditional JRPG lovers! In the spirit of infinite generosity, for which Square Enix is well known, they have decided to bestow upon us a bounty of two PS4 themes and a digital song. Not even joking.
That certainly sounds like just the thing to get gamers to preemptively loose their wallets in order to stroke Square Enix’s fiscal ego! Not only have they half-assed the release of I Am Setsuna, but they have half-assed the pre-order campaign too. Square Enix’s failure to provide I Am Setsuna with a physical release in the West was a huge mistake. It was a massive snub to fans of their traditional games, and it was a slap in the face for their newly established division, Tokyo RPG Factory. Regardless, in the absence of any kind of physical copy a pre-order campaign [no matter how lavish] just fundamentally does not make sense. There is no scarcity involved in this transaction, as Square Enix does not run the risk of depleting the stock of 1s and 0s used to manufacture the product. But then the sheer fact that the accompanying ‘swag’ is so fucking meager just serves to add insult to injury, and comes off as more than a little brazen.
In the absence of a physical version Square Enix should have just decided to not have a pre-order campaign – they could have taken this scant digital content and given it to everyone who purchases I Am Setsuna as an apology for the lack of a proper release, but that of course is not what they decided to do, because they are a greedy and arrogant company. A company as big as Square Enix does not simply release a game without a pre-order campaign, even if the game in question happens to be regarded by them as such an afterthought that it does not warrant a physical release. This pre-order campaign is not better than nothing. Nothing would be preferable to this. I Am Setsuna is a game that this author very much wishes to make the most of irrespective of Square Enix’s self-sabotage at the game’s launch, yet every time one begins to become hype for it Square Enix does something new to remind everybody what utter shits they are. One becomes increasingly convinced that I Am Setsuna is the game that Square Enix made in order to justify never having to make one of these games again.
Anime Spotlight – Sankarea: Undying Love (2012)
Sankarea: Undying Love is not fan service, or if it is fan service then it is the kind that is liable to give an individual the weirdest boner they have ever had. Sankarea is just your typical love story: boy meets girl, girl suffers a horrible death, boy proceeds to court her lifeless corpse etc. Chihiro Furuya is a shut-in horror buff who is not interested in anything with a heartbeat. When Chihiro’s cat Babu is killed by a car he is resolved to bring him back to life, experimenting on Babu with various concoctions in an abandoned building. While at the abandoned building Chihiro meets Rea, and the two quickly strike up an unlikely friendship. Shortly after this however, Chihiro witnesses as Rea is killed by her disgusting pervert of a father. What Chihiro did not realise though is that Rea had taken a drink of one of his concoctions, and so he is surprised to find that both Rea and Babu are now back from the dead. Very belatedly Chihiro realises that Rea now fits his sexual fetish to a t, and so begins one of the oddest romances to appear in anime [which is really saying something].
Sankarea certainly makes for some awkward viewing, but it is also very compelling as the series tends to keep one wondering what will happen next. On the strength of the first six episodes Sankarea is something that this author would happily recommend to anyone who is not averse to some fairly twisted themes. It is of a surprisingly high quality in terms of writing and animation, and it is easy to become invested out of a desire to see bad things happen to Rea’s father [seriously one of the most loathsome characters seen in anime]. Just do not expect a happy ending, because this author cannot see how that would be at all possible. Rea’s plight is extremely sad, and the tone of the show is not humourous or upbeat – though there are plenty of instances of humour, if that makes any sense. All twelve episodes are currently available for streaming on Funimation, and viewers may choose to watch subs or dubs.