Final Fantasy 8 is coming to Switch

Final Fantasy 8 Remastered Is Heading To Switch

Square Enix has revealed that a remaster of Final Fantasy VIII is finally coming to the Switch (and other consoles/PC) later this year. Yes, that one.

Announced during the E3 Live event, the remaster brings the game’s classic story to modern platforms, now with new visuals that help bring the game’s characters to life

You can see an example of the graphical update below:

The story of Final Fantasy VIII involves the military nation of Galbadia declaring war on the Dukedom of Dollet, who must hire the mercenary force, SeeD.

Squall Leonhart, a new member of SeeD, together with his friends and Rinoa Heartilly, a member of a resistance group, get pulled into the war, unaware of their fated task to save the world:

We don’t have an exact date for release, but it’s due out this year.

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Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition

Square Enix announces Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition and a PC Edition

Final Fantasy 15 was one of my favourite titles of last year and the PC release has long been awaited. So finally, on March 6th, 2018, PC gamers will be able to experience the latest instalment in one of the most engaging and long-standing franchises in history. The game will also include all the previously released DLC.

But PS4 and Xbox One gamers should not feel left out as Square Enix have also announced the release of the Royal Edition that will drop on March 6th, 2018 as well. It also comes alongside every single piece of additional content. So that’s the base game, the four DLC packs from the season pass and new DLC that launches contemporaneously with the PC edition. It also contains flashy new box art:

Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition

Additionally, instead of buying the game again, Square Enix will sell the Royal Pack which includes a new dungeon, boss fights and much more, such as the first-person mode.

Pricing for both the Royal Edition and Royal Pack are yet to be confirmed but look out for it on March 6th!

Square Enix partners with GlobalGiving to host charity auction for hurricane relief

Square Enix, known for their Final Fantasy series, of course, and GlobalGiving have come together to host the 30th annual Final Fantasy: A Legacy of Art charity auction for hurricane relief.

The charity auction allows fans to bid on select artwork from the exhibition from now until December 9th and all proceeds from the auction, as you can see above, will be given to GlobalGiving, who will aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria.

Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary: A Legacy of Art runs until January 7th, 2018. Check out the link below to get involved.

Fans can bid to own a piece of Final Fantasy history here.

Final Fantasy X gets a new arrangement album from ‘Materia Collective’

If you thought the Final Fantasy X soundtrack needed a new musical arrangement then you’re in luck. Meet SPIRA: Music From Final Fantasy X: a huge 100-track tribute to the beloved PS2 RPG soundtrack, originally by Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, and Junya Nakano.

The album is spread across two 50-track volumes titled “Besaid Mix” and “Zanarkand Mix” and will feature a variety of styles such as orchestral, electronic, and rock along with Bollywood, disco, gipsy punk, folk and even Chocobo choir… Yeah.

The large cast of musical talent includes Horizon Zero Dawn vocalist Julie Elven, composer Dale North, Pokémon Reorchestrated arranger Braxton Burks, the Triforce Quartet, and others.

Project organisers Joe Chen and Emily McMillan said:

“The Final Fantasy X soundtrack already contains a lot of variations on a few common themes.

We wanted to create a listening experience where it didn’t feel like you’re listening to ‘Hymn of the Fayths’ 20 times in a row, so all of our artists aimed to do something new on their track.

For example, some artists arranged in an unfamiliar style, while others incorporated unique instrumentation. As a result, both SPIRA albums re-frame the classic themes from Final Fantasy X with a fresh perspective.”

The new album follows other arrangement projects from Materia Collective including MATERIA: Final Fantasy VII Remixed and SUCCESSOR: Final Fantasy VIII Remixed.

We’ve been informed that FF fans can count on all of their favourite tracks being included, such as the emotional “Zanarkand”, the vocal ballad “Suteki da ne”, and Jecht’s own favourite metal track “Otherworld”.

You can get a free taster of the Besaid Mix right here. Or alternatively, the Zanarkand Mix awaits you here. Check out track five from the Zanarkand Mix…

Past Blast: Final Fantasy VII

‘Past Blast’ is a new feature we’ll be running that looks back at games from the past in a brisk, and hopefully, entertaining manner. First up, well, it’s a small game called Final Fantasy VII…

What is there to write that hasn’t been written before about Final Fantasy VII? For over a decade it has been lavished with praise, provoked lengthy debates amongst gamers, and brought millions to tears. It is the most successful entry of the series dealing with the nature of identity, responsibility and loss. The story indulges the emotions while the gameplay rewards your perseverance.

There aren’t many games that do it like this anymore.

VII is a story that was always about balance. Nature versus artificial. Understanding versus the unknown. Love versus lost. Each side a real element we deal with in our day-to-day existence. And these battles echo through the game itself. Whether it’s the beautiful pre-rendered backgrounds fighting against the harsh, real-time, polygonal characters. Or the amazing crafted score battling with the technological limitation of the MIDI format. Or simply the battle element, trying to defeat your opponent for the greater good.

And yet the villains and heroes of the piece are not necessarily so one-sided. In this game, good and evil are simply not exclusive qualities to any character. Just like us, each character is flawed. Each person has made mistakes. Each individual believes they are doing what is right, and what needs to be done.

And it is these traits that makes playing back Final Fantasy VII in 2017 an immensely satisfying experience. Sometimes, a good game doesn’t need to have photo-realistic graphics. Sometimes a good game doesn’t need a full symphonic orchestra. The fact that this game is encapsulated in that PlayStation 1 era adds a certain charm and nostalgia that only intensifies as the game progresses.

And when you find yourself saving your game at one in the morning, thirty odd hours clocked up in a few days, then you realise something: for me to invest this much time in a game made in 1997, yes, it really has to have something special about it.

An indescribable quality perhaps. Just perhaps.

Possibly the greatest game ever made…” said Gamefan many years ago. Looking back today, they may want to scratch that first word off.

Now, let’s see where that remake takes us.

Viewpoint: Remakes vs. Re-masters – which is more desirable to gamers?

Releasing previous titles seems to be something that is less common these days, but there is still a case to be made for bringing old titles back to life using new technology. When it comes to this, there are two routes to go down; re-master the old game or remake it entirely from the ground up. Both of which have their pros and cons, but which truly represents the series and brings the heritage of it back to life?

Generally speaking re-mastered titles have been given a bad rap when they have launched, predominantly in the last generation of consoles when PS2/Xbox games were brought to PS3 and Xbox 360. Take for example when the Splinter Cell titles were re-released on PS3; not much effort was put into these to make use of the new hardware or do the series much justice. Of course, there are exceptions where an old title can bring countless more hours worth of entertainment to new consoles, much like the Kingdom Hearts re-releases where bugs were ironed out and the graphics were given a new lease of life.

But there’s potentially an argument there in itself when it comes to a re-master; how far should they go to re-master the game and how much of the original should they keep in? Nostalgia is a funny thing and playing a poorly produced re-release, or one that doesn’t stay true to the original, can ruin the memories and attachment to a series for some gamers. We can all remember one bug or another from a previous game (before mandatory/automatic updates were a thing) which will forever stick in our brains, so if we remove these are we ruining the originality of the game?

KH2FM

It’s a tricky decision to make as this will probably split gamers right down the middle in terms of what they do and don’t want from re-mastered games. Personally I’d like the game to retain some of its originality, not completely overhauling the graphics, but to at least eradicate the bugs so it runs perfectly when it may not have done first time around.

With that in mind though, would they not be best simply recreating the game from the ground up and using the old game as inspiration to update the game to current standards? One key example of this is the upcoming, and still quite secretive, remake of Final Fantasy 7. Not much is known about this game yet, but we do know that it will be overhauled and updated to modernise/bring it in more in-line with more recent Final Fantasy games. One of the main updates would be that the battles will now be more dynamic and open, rather than the traditional turn-based system used in the original.

If you asked me, I’d be more than happy to see this given a new lease of life using modern technology but keeping the fundamentals of the original. I’d want the turn-based combat to remain, yet more cinematics and the characters brought to life with voice acting, which they didn’t have previously. If you remake the game, you’re taking the game away from its roots in my eyes, and I would rather leave it as it was than potentially play this remake and it ruin my memories and feelings towards the original.

Yet there will be people who will welcome this with open arms and will love to see the game re-imagined and worked on by a new team with some fresh ideas that can make the game feel like it is brand new. So the question is: who do you please? Do you please the people who would like the roots of the game to be kept? Or do you aim the game at those who would like the game to be re-made from the ground up?

cloud ff7

Somewhere along the line it will all boil down to costings and which developers can be trusted to work on a beloved series or franchise as not to tarnish its reputation. It would also depend on its success, as the developers would not want to spend huge amounts of money on something that may flop, so should they spend money on re-masters or remakes at all?

When we are on the eve of having the most powerful home console delivered to us in Project Scorpio, and PS4 Pro already pushing 4K gaming, should we be focusing on bringing new content to the forefront? This time and money could be used better elsewhere in bringing us new IP’s, new experiences and ensuring the future of console gaming is secure. When all is said and done, don’t we have enough to play without bringing games back from the past?

That itself is a debate in itself for a different day, but I for one would like to think that we are moving on from the remake/re-master trend and begin to focus our attention on the future. Let’s celebrate what we have to come, not what we had, and embrace the new experiences that are yet to come.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age trailer shows off prettier visuals and the Zodiac Job System

Square Enix has released a new trailer for Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age that shows the world of Ivalice, but with some prettier visuals this time around.

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Fancy splashing out?

Zodiac Age is a high-definition remaster that introduces several modern advancements, and will be the first time for western audiences to experience the ‘Zodiac Job System’.

It’s coming to PS4 on 11th July, 2017. Are you excited for this remaster, or is it one too many?