• March 31st, 2016 - Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV – Recap

    Here is our official coverage of the Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV event.

    The very first surprise of the event occurred right at the start, when Hironobu Sakaguchi, the “father of Final Fantasy” took to the stage to introduce the event, talking about how as with every child, he has wondered whether Final Fantasy is always on the right path.

    We were then treated to a new trailer featuring narration from Noct’s father Regis, scenes from several different aspects of the game (fights, Titan, Leviathan, childhood scenes, and camping scenes) as well as a pretty superb female cover of Stand by Me by Florence and the Machine (!), which was then replayed with reaction from the event’s presenters Greg Miller and Tim Gettys.

    We are then told that Uncovered: Final Fantasy will see 14 stages, the first of which were the appearances of Hironobu Sakaguchi and the trailer, and the next is a piece of key art done by Yoshitaka Amano called Big Bang. This image is special as the Square Enix art team have animated its individual components into 3D models in an impressive manner that works shockingly well. A game done entirely in this style could be so special. We then find out that Yoshitaka Amano himself is sat in the audience, as is music composer Yoko Shimomura! We are then treated to a video message from legendary Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu who says that while he hasn’t composed for Final Fantasy XV, he was invited to the event but he hasn’t been able to attend due to prior commitments to the Distant Worlds music tour.

    We then get a video message from Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine, who talks about having listened to a two hour show on Classic FM on music from video games and that she really wanted to contribute to that movement and describes the Final Fantasy franchise as this mythical brand to contribute to.

    Next up we have some new gameplay videos, starting with the team exploring a wildland area, and Noct summons a chocobo to make the exploration that little bit easier. Exploration then switches to the Regalia, Noct’s car where we can now officially hear that there is a “Final Fantasy Radio” playing music from older games, we hear Main Theme of Final Fantasy and also The Sunleth Waterscape from Final Fantasy XIII. We see side events being available at the side of the road that are chosen to be ignored for the purposes of this video. We then switch to battle gameplay, which has had some GUI improvements and modifications and some prompts for defensive abilities. We see the environmental effect of Blizzara, which surrounds the immediate area in ice, including covering the enemies and the cast in ice particles. This series of videos then ends with us seeing a clip of Titan’s famous Gaia’s Wrath attack.

    Time for another video, this time about the game’s environments – and this is played to a vocal version of the series staple Prelude theme. We are treated to a selection of locations ranging from the region of Duscae we are already familiar with, but also dense forests, gorgeous cliffsides, industrial areas, cities, a train in the snow, caves, what looks like mines, and all these are shown in different degrees of lighting, some actually switching from day to night in an impressive display of what the game can physically show.

    Next up we get to hear a bit about the characters, they cover Noctis the protagonist of the game on his journey to reclaim his throne, Ignis (Noct’s advisor), Gladio (Noct’s bodyguard essentially), and Prompto (who is compared to as the Michaelangelo (haha TMNT reference) of the group), the main team we already knew about. We are then shown that the game will also feature a tie-in 5-episode anime tie in called Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV, free to watch online, with the first episode available RIGHT NOW! The rest of the anime will be made available in the time between now and the game’s release.

    We then get a brief explanation of Noct’s father King Regis and his “betrothed” Luna. And then another video concentrating on these two characters as well as covering the war to protect the throne of Lucis. This is for a CGI movie called Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV, a FULL LENGTH CGI movie. We then get an aside to tell us that car manufacturer Audi have partnered with Square Enix to create a one-off Final Fantasy XV model of the R8 car that features in Kingsglaive.

    Game of Thrones‘ Queen Cersei Lena Headey then takes to the stage, who describes herself as a new fan of the series and she confirms that she’s a voice actress (who has just wrapped on Kingsglaive) and that she voices Luna! Kingsglaive takes place during the events of Final Fantasy XV and centers on what happens in the capital of Lucis after Noctis is forced to leave. A quick aside on my part, this is not the first game she’s provided her voice for as she also provided voice work in the amazing Dishonored from a few years ago. Lena then confirms that a “good friend” of hers, Sean Bean (!!!) provides the voice of King Regis. I can’t help but wonder now if Kingsglaive and Final Fantasy XV will feature the same voice work. Aaron Paul then takes to the stage who says he’s playing the role of the twin-knife wielding Nyx (the protagonist of Kingsglaive), and while Lena has recorded her lines for Kingsglaive, Aaron only started recording yesterday. He also says that this movie has now been worked on for the last 3 years, and that by and large (other than a couple of rumours) this has managed to be kept secret. Kingsglaive will be released before Final Fantasy XV, and will be available to stream and download world-wide.

    Next up we talk about minigames (name drops of Triple Triad, Tetra Master, Blitzball, and Chocobo Racing from the past), and we get a video that opens up with Noctis playing Justice Monsters Five, a pinball machine game that we get to play within the game. This will also be available as a phone app for iOS, Android, and Windows with registration available from tonight.

    Mat Kishimoto of Square Enix America then takes to the stage who comes with a special trailer for a “Fun and Free Final Fantasy”, which appears to be the trailer for the rumoured game demo taking place during Noctis’ childhood. He’s accompanied by a creature that makes me think strongly of a Carbuncle, and we also get to see Noctis fighting some enemies even a transformed-into-an-adult Noct fighting an Iron Giant in Lucis. The end of the trailer confirms it is for the demo, known as the Platinum Demo, which Mat tells us is “coming soon”. He confirms information we should always be familiar with, in that it is a separate story that doesn’t take place during the events of Final Fantasy XV and he confirms that the creature was Carbuncle. Mat then plays some of the demo live on the stage, and shows some of the gameplay exclusive features of this demo, such as the “plates” that are available within it, which have special features like changing the weather, turning into monsters, and the like. We find out that the child Noctis has his own variation of the spells from the main game, like his Fire spell is Fireworks (does what it says on the tin). The demo is free, not attached to a game (as with the previous demo), and if you complete the demo you unlock the use of Carbuncle as a DLC in Final Fantasy XV. And the demo will be available to download as of tonight on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

    Next up we find out about a Deluxe Edition of Final Fantasy XV, which will come with a hard copy of Kingsglaive, a Steelbook cover, and some bonus DLC items (a new outfit, the Final Fantasy XV edition of the Masamune, and a recolour for the Regalia). We also hear about the Ultimate Collector’s Edition, which also comes with a soundtrack (for Final Fantasy XV, Brotherhood, and Kingsglaive), an artbook, a Noct PlayArt, the whole thing limited to only 30,000 units available only directly from Square Enix.

    Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata then takes to the stage and with this comes the announcement that Final Fantasy XV will be released on September 30th 2016, a release date that had unfortunately already leaked but is still exciting!

    A final trailer is then shown, voiced in Japanese with Englsih subtitles, presenting us with a balanced mix of story scenes, battle scenes, our first real look since 2011 at the “Reno/Axel” character, some closeups of the summons Titan and Ramuh (and Leviathan), and ending with a tranquil set of scenes set once again to Stand by Me. Most surprisingly we then see the shocking reveal of the Regalia sprouting wings and taking to the skies!

    And that’s it guys, what turned out to be an extremely successful event on Square Enix‘s part!

  • March 30th, 2016 - How to watch Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV

    In a few hours Square Enix will be holding their Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV event at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles where, after a wait of ten years, we will finally find out when to expect the game to be released.

    As previously mentioned this event should hold some other interesting tidbits, including a rumoured first real look at the game’s first publicly available demo (as opposed to Episode Duscae which was only available with special prints of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD), where we will take control of protagonist Noctis during his childhood years.

    The event will be streamed live on the official Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV website here

    Or to access pages more directly you can head over to Square Enix‘s offical Twitch or YouTube pages
    Twitch (Square Enix TV)
    YouTube (Square Enix Presents)

    These transmissions are actually due to start an hour before the event, where they will have a pre-show conference, as well as a recap following the event itself. So the times you need will be:

    Los Angeles local time (PST): 7pm official start, 6pm for the pre-show event
    Eastern Standard Time: 10pm official start, 9pm for the pre-show event
    England/Europe: March 31st 3am (England/GMT)/4am (Mainland Europe) official start, 2am (England/GMT)/3am (Mainland Europe) for the pre-show event

    As I said in the last post I will be available to post a brief recap on the event, so see you all then!

  • March 29th, 2016 - Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV in less than 2 days

    March 30th in Los Angeles will be the start of the finishing straight towards the release of Final Fantasy XV and should signify the true beginning of the game’s media advertising across the world.

    This final stretch will be launched with a special event known as Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV, which – amongst other details about the game – will see the announcement of the game’s release date which several sources across the internet are currently rumouring at a worldwide release of September 30th (there is a certain ring of truth to making the release date exactly six months after this event).

    As much as I’d like to go into full detail about what we can expect from this event, this newly developed news blurb section on this main page is really meant to be a way for me to quickly pass on the news so that I can concentrate on designing the new website, so here’s the important information:

    Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV

    Live at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium at 7pm local time (PST) on March 30th. For those of us in other parts of the world, this will make it 3am GMT (luckily I get up at work at exactly that time so I will be available to pass on details of the event).

    Square Enix will be retransmitting the event live across several different mediums, the full details of which can be seen at their official portal for the event http://finalfantasyxv.com/uncovered/. Catch you all on the flip side!