News: Online Farce

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Weaponised Moogles

This week after ten long years of planning and development Final Fantasy XV finally went gold ahead of its release in more or less one month’s time, on November 29. In celebration of this fact the team released footage depicting how they have managed to incorporate Moogles into the game. Readers may remember that Moogles topped a Twitter poll that the devs were running, asking fans which Final Fantasy creature they would most like to see in the game. Honestly, the poll probably had more to do with PR than with actually soliciting feedback, as the victory of Moogles seems pretty much like a foregone conclusion. At any rate we finally know how Moogles have been incorporated into the game. They have not been implemented as adorable characters with names like Mog and Stiltzkin, which may be interacted with, and they do not serve as savepoints. They do not appear as costumes like in X-2, or as animatronic games like Mog’s House in Final Fantasy VII. No, the way that Moogles appear in Final Fantasy XV is as very crude looking human-sized plushies which can be thrown at enemies, causing enemies to attack the Moogle dummy instead of the party until it has been destroyed, allowing the player to get in some free hits. Thanks guys. It was really worth incorporating Moogles into the game. Gotta get some more of that famous ‘fantasy based on reality’, because that is always such fun. There is nothing more gritty and realistic than seeing a platoon of battle-hardened soldiers instantly forget about the very existence of the enemies they were attacking, only to concentrate their firepower on a giant plushy!

In other news Square Enix has released some slightly more detailed information pertaining to Final Fantasy XV‘s season pass this week. We previously knew that each party member was set to receive their own DLC chapter, allowing season pass owners to play as other members of the party, but now we know the exact pricing, as it is set to retail for almost fifty percent of the game’s cost – which is to say $24.99. Moreover, Square Enix has also announced the ‘Comrades’ expansion, which is essentially online co-op for up to four players – meaning that the ‘online pass’ is still alive and well in [CURRENT YEAR]. In fact most of the content announced thus far for the Season Pass seems like stuff that should have been included with the main game. If the party member chapters prove to offer up a bunch of new content and serve as satisfying expansions then that is satisfactory material for a Season Pass, but the ability to play as other party members is a fucking wretched feature to stash behind a pay wall. Final Fantasy XV will be the first mainline Final Fantasy title to not allow players to control party members as standard. And if anyone had thought they had seen the last of pernicious online passes, then think again! Not only do players first have to pay for their internet service and then have to pay $60 a year to Sony for the privilege of using it with their console, but they then have to pay Square Enix an additional fee on top of the price of the full game in order to play Final Fantasy XV‘s multiplayer! On the one hand, at least online co-op is not a feature that Final Fantasy fans typically expect from mainline series entries, but on the other hand a company charging for multiplayer comes across as very shabby indeed.

The Hello Games universal password.
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No Man’s Tweet

The last few months have not been the easiest of times for Hello Games. While No Man’s Sky has been a massive financial success for the little studio, the game’s divergence with consumer expectations has led to it being attacked on many fronts to the extent that it has become a meme of sorts. The game is under investigation by the advertising standards body of the UK [which is not as dire as it sounds], and on Steam it has managed to receive an ‘overwhelmingly negative’ user rating, which is usually reserved for asset flip games and other lowest-tier dreck. It seems that the pressure may be getting too much for Hello Games, or rather that is what someone wishes the industry to believe if the events of the week are anything to go by.

Yesterday many people were a little surprised to see the official Hello Games Twitter account state that:

No Man’s Sky was a mistake.

Shortly after this the Hello Games Twitter account went protected, and then when it came back online the offending Tweet had been deleted. In the confusion that followed several gaming sites received emails from the official Hello Games email stating that a disgruntled employee had tweeted the message. Following this Polygon received an email from Sean Murray’s email claiming that it was he who had sent the message:

The tweet is from me, but somebody from the team took it down. We have not been coping well.

Subsequent to all this however, the Twitter accounts of Sean Murray and Hello Games shared a brief exchange which suggested that the original tweet had been the result of somebody hacking the Hello Games LinkedIn profile in order to seize control of the Hello Games Twitter account, along with their email and Sean Murray’s email. Hello Games’ public communication has been typically awful in this situation, denying that the tweet had come internally before reestablishing the radio silence that they have maintained since August. At this stage it is very difficult to determine which account of events is the truthful one, and we may never know what occurred in this situation. Ultimately this is just more drama to surround a release that is already rife with it.

But don't get too excited.
Amano Art for a New Final Fantasy Game.

Square Enix Announcements

A teaser site has appeared for a new Final Fantasy project. The page features an original logo created by Yoshitaka Amano, which is set against the series’ iconic ‘Prelude’ BGM. This project seeks to celebrate what makes a Final Fantasy game, and is being directed by Takashi Tokita, who directed Chrono Trigger and Parasite Eve, and also acted as lead game designer for Final Fantasy IV. Oh, and the game is being developed and released for mobile, because fuck you, this is Square Enix and only bad ideas rise to the top in these here parts. A little predictable, no? Whenever something involving Square Enix sounds too good to be true on paper then that is usually a dead give away that it is a mobile project – meanwhile on console we get to bear witness to Tetsuya Nomura raping the corpse of Final Fantasy VII! What a time to be alive.

In more positive news there is actually good news for Kingdom Hearts fans on the PS4. The series had been in a bit of an odd situation where the remasters for Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix were stuck on the PS3, while the forthcoming Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Remix is going to release on the PS4 – but now Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Remix has been confirmed for a March 28 2017 release on PS4, allowing fans to acquire the full series collection on the PS4. The package will run at sixty frames per second, and will include four games: Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts RE:Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, along with cinematic adaptations of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. This announcement is a nice way of keeping things tidy, and gamers will be getting a lot of content for the asking price.

7 comments

  1. They should have put moogles in FFXV as a status effect, like the Seiken Densetsu games.

  2. It sounds like Squeenix might be taking its strategies from the pillow-toting weebs at a convention. What an idiotic way to use a beloved character.

    “In fact most of the content announced thus far for the Season Pass seems like stuff that should have been included with the main game.”

    This has, in my experience, always been the case save for right at the very beginning of the Season Pass (bowel) movement in the same way that worker Unions were once pure and useful until they realized they could straight fuck everything up with their power whenever they wanted. I wasn’t wholly aware that the Season Pass thing had died in any way, as it seemed more like there wasn’t an obvious successful title that could abuse the concept. Last I checked, while gamers bitch loud and proud about how Season Passes and whatnot are bullshit, they still pay for the fucking things, voting in favor of it with their dollars while decrying it with their wasted breath.

    Speaking of whining, am I the only asshole who did not expect NMS to be anything more than it is? I apparently missed all the interviews where it was stated that this game was going to be an MMO in the very traditional sense, and that it was going to employ the homesteading aspect of Minecraft. This game has literally been about wandering aimlessly from the start, with some vague notion that something weird might be at the center of the universe, and that is what prompted my interest. Color me the odd one out, but I am starting to feel like the whole of gaming is going insane over their own invented expectations a little too much lately.

    “Oh, and the game is being developed and released for mobile, because fuck you, this is Square Enix and only bad ideas rise to the top in these here parts.”

    Hitting the nail on the head, here. Part of me wants to believe that the slide to mobile is more lateral in the sense that they understand their long time fans are fully fledged adults now, needing their gaming sessions to fit in mere minutes on a lunch break or that brief lull where one is deciding to read a book or not before bed. If we consider that, the move to mobile makes sense.

    That hope, however, recoils in horror at what is already on the mobile market.

  3. @Java: You are confusing a ‘season pass’ with an ‘online pass’. It is the ‘online pass’ that is supposedly dead, yet is alive and well with the release of FFXV.

    @Java: Sean Murray very foolishly was cajoled into confirming that NMS players were able to ‘grief other NMS players’, which indirectly confirmed multiplayer.

    It has been speculated that Murray underestimated the proximity of distance that players would begin to one another, and thus thought that he would have enough time to implement the multiplayer stuff before players were ever able to reach one another.

  4. @SN: After playing at launch, I had several people add me on PSN after having encounterd me in NMS, so that rather puts a hole in the idea that there was no ‘multiplayer’ effect of any sort.

  5. @SN yikes, my bad. I suppose I feel the same way, although with “online pass,” I get the server/overhead cost argument, but the numbers far from add up.

    Regarding Murray and NMS, I distinctly remember him discussing the scale of the universe prior to launch, and noting that the odds of encountering another player would be lower than a typical MMO. In short, I was led to assume that encountering one would be a rare treat, rather than an instant (and often bothersome) experience. To expound (not that anyone asked), I am that Minecraft player who carved out his corner or the private server, and really only interacted with the other inhabitants when invited to see a new build, or when someone directly asked for help. Mostly I like the idea of multiplayer, but I am a solo player at heart, if that makes any real sense. Another reason why NMS appealed so much to me.

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