News: The Reunion Approaches

Less Than a Year Until Final Fantasy VII

It is looking as though the Final Fantasy VII remake will release sometime within the current fiscal year, or at least this is what Square Enix are aiming for. To be clear, the current fiscal year also includes the first quarter of the 2020 calendar year. People had begun to speculate that a release date for Final Fantasy VII was imminent at this year’s E3, on account of Square Enix organising a Final Fantasy VII concert on the eve of the convention, in the same way as they did for Kingdom Hearts. The game’s mini-trailer in this week’s Playstation State of Play sizzle reel pretty much confirms this.

 Hair rendering is vastly improved over Final Fantasy XV.

At least the character models are looking gorgeous.

Kingdom Hearts III received a release date at E3 2018, and saw release in January of 2019, so if that is the template that Square Enix is working from then we should be anticipating a January 2020 release for Final Fantasy VII, no? Well no, at least not necessarily. Kingdom Hearts III was originally set to release December of 2018, but then had to be delayed to January. Moreover, Square Enix forecasts have predicted that in the third quarter of the 2019 financial year they will bring in more money than during the release of Final Fantasy XV, which indicates a pretty big release. It is possible that this third quarter release could be the mysterious Avengers game that Eidos has been working on, but there is still better than even odds that this earnings forecast is predicting the Christmas release of Final Fantasy VII part 1. Regardless, Square Enix promises us that we will know more in June when E3 gets underway.

Writing on the Playstation Blog, Yoshinori Kitase had this to say about the trailer’s release:

Finally… the long awaited moment has come. Sorry to keep you all waiting so long!

We hope you enjoyed the footage shown during State of Play. It was quite short, but hopefully you enjoyed seeing Cloud and Aerith brought back to life with such realistic graphics.

And oh my god! Did you notice he was there too…?

We are preparing to release more official information in June, but we wanted to try
something new here on State of Play by showing you this special trailer as a taste of
what’s to come.

Stay tuned for more updates about the Final Fantasy VII Remake in the future!

Release is now imminent, so it falls to us to cross our fingers and hope that it turns out to not be shit.

Star Citizen Is In Worse Shape Than You Think

Good grief! We have known that Star Citizen was in dire straights for a while now, but this week’s Forbes expose paints an even bleaker picture than previously imagined. As the game has wobbled along from barely playable tech demo to barely playable tech demo, it was quickly becoming apparent that Star Citizen was heading no place good. When the game went to crowdfunding and quickly found historic success, Chris Roberts should have used that huge windfall to polish his original vision for the game and maybe add a few scalable bells and whistles, but he instead decided to completely blow out the game’s scope, and as a result it has never been in a state that most people would consider to be playable.

People continue to shovel money into a bottomless pit.

Why was this even so popular in the first place?

It turns out that there is a very good reason why Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium Games pushes a new $3000 make believe ship every other week, and that is because he had burned through the majority of the money by the end of 2017, and so bringing in money with ridiculously priced ships is the only thing keeping the project from collapsing. Star Citizen made $242 million off of initial crowd funding, and then another $46 million through investors, bringing the total figure of money raised to $288 million – the most expensive game ever made.

In spite of this by the end of 2017 Cloud Imperium Games had a mere $14 million left in the bank, and so the devs were diverted to work on ever more expensive ships, and regular demos used to advertise them, as they were now living hand-to-mouth, and this was the only way to keep the studio from going belly up. Apparently Chris Roberts was such a micro-manager that nothing could be done until he had signed off on it, and he would regularly meddle with elements of the game that were already in place. This is a common feature of most games that end up in development hell. It boggles the mind that people are still funneling money into this black hole.

New Details Emerge About Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5 was an impressive game in many ways. The game’s graphics and presentation floored many, the writing was on point, the music was gorgeous, and there were many gameplay improvements which made dungeons more enjoyable to go through. That being said, the game was overall much less satisfying to play than Persona 3 or Persona 4. Persona 5 now requires that players do dungeons over multiple days which gets in the way of the game’s primary draw, which is managing after school activities. To make matters worse the game is plagued by Morgana, who often prevents the player from spending their time as they wish. With this in mind Persona 5 Royal represents the hope that the game can be radically re-balanced in a more satisfying way, the way that Persona 4 The Golden was.

... So it would be nice if the Royal version stopped cucking us in this respect!

Planning after school activities is the best part of Persona 5…

The first feature appears to deal directly with one’s complaints with the game. The devs are going to make it easier to earn experience in order to improve the game’s tempo. This does not sound like everything that one would hope for. Increasing EXP gains might decrease player frustration, but it would be far more satisfying if the devs were able to free up a few more afternoon time slots in order to allow players a little more freedom with how they spend their time. That said, we are only going off of very brief bullet points here, so it is possible that a less restrictive calendar is part of the plan here.

There will be a play assist function, which will allow the player to see different locations with information about which social links are available, and then travel there with the press of a button. This will obviously also mitigate the game’s frustrations, but it still does not fix the problem that it is not satisfying to have a bunch of restrictions placed on how you spend your time.

The game will now feature a thirds semester to play through, and it is being developed with the aim of exceeding the expectations of people who have played through Persona 4 The Golden. It looks like Persona 5 Royal will continue the tradition which began with Persona 3 FES of featuring almost another 50% of substantial content to play through.

The game’s new party member/confidant Kasumi will be used to probe existing characters during cutscenes, which is probably something that most people already expected of her. The game’s story is being adjusted so that feels natural to throw Kasumi into the mix – which is the perfect opportunity to go back and adjust Morgana to be less of a tyrant! It must be said though that Kasumi is not the only new confidant, as Maruki is also a new addition to the game, and is described as a nice adult character. There will apparently be even more new confidants than this, but the team are not yet ready to discuss these new characters. It would be super nice if Morgana actually allowed us the time to speak with these new confidants.

Finally, the games already exceptional soundtrack will be bolstered by a further 20 music tracks. People with existing Persona 5 game saves will be given some sort of in-game bonus. And finally, there is a handsome new male character which is thought to be a human version of Morgana – so it would be nice if this version of Morgana was less of a cunt. Persona 5 Royal will release in the West in 2020.

5 comments on “News: The Reunion Approaches”

  1. We might get a release window in June, but we are only six months from the end of the year, so I have serious doubts that the remake will launch before next year.

  2. 5 and a half months sounds like the perfect length for a hype cycle to me, assuming that the game will actually be finished in time. The marketing budget is finite, and five months is a great length of time to raise interest with a big marketing spend, and then maintain it to the end of the year.

    Other times Square Enix has run into problems by starting the marketing cycle too early so that interest spikes and then slumps before the game can be released.

  3. I just don’t buy that they are going to go from having to hire an entire team to redevelop six months ago, to having a finished product (of which they can only show us 5 seconds of gameplay six months out) a year later.

    This isn’t to say that it isn’t possible to do such a thing, but one should be *extremely* skeptical of the quality if they do so. It is far more likely that we are going to get a 2020 release and, if it is in the first few months of 2020, I’d expect a delay (or, without a delay, a substandard product).

  4. They actually moved production back in-house back in May of 2017, so pretty much exactly two years ago. I’m not sure how long it took them to get up to full speed, since they did a lot of hiring, but if the game is released Q1 of 2020 then it will have been in full development for two years and seven months [give or take]. Assuming that all the pre-production work was already in place, and given that they are only developing half a game, I think it is doable.

  5. “given that they are only developing half a game”
    They aren’t, though. All three of the FF7 parts are meant to be 40-hour experiences. It might only constitute a part of the original game, but it is in no way ‘half a game’ considered on its own, if what they have told us about their plans is true (and I see no reason to disbelieve them at present).

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