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.
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.
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.