About Erren Van Duine

As a self-professed Final Fantasy fan, Erren created Nova Crystallis in 2009 as a place to collect the latest information on her favorite series. As owner and Editor-in-Chief, she also spends her time writing for RPG Site as Senior US Editor.

Final Fantasy VII Remake’s battle system to see “dramatic changes” from the original

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If you want to play the classic Final Fantasy VII experience, the upcoming Remake for PlayStation 4 may not be for you – but we already knew that right? After all this is a “full remake” and not a simple remaster – a full remake that means updates for the modern age.

While the game’s director Tetsuya Nomura noted quite recently that much of the core of FFVII will remain the same its the battle system where sweeping changes will be taking place. Rather than fall back on the original’s Active Time Battle style of combat, Nomura says fans should expect “dramatic changes” that gel with the times.

“We’re not going to be changing it into a shooter or something like that,” Nomura mentioned in the latest issue of the Official PlayStation Magazine UK. “We are going to be bringing dramatic changes, but we want to make sure it’s still recognizable.”

Additionally, Nomura told the magazine that he was looking toward his own Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children as inspiration for the visual side of things. “Don’t intend on utilizing the 3D models of Advent Children as is because, well, it’s a different technology, and it’s actually been almost ten years since Advent Children was first released.”

First bit of Dragon Quest Builders gameplay

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Dragon Quest Builders is a Minecraft-clone that looks to be a very good one if its first gameplay showing is anything to go by. Square Enix showed a bit of the PlayStation game off at their Dragon Quest press event this morning – and although off-screen, we can still get a decent feel of what the game will play and look like when it launches in Japan later this year.

Check it out below.

Square Enix is holding a Dragon Quest press event next week to announce a new title

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Dragon Quest has been the theme of the last several issues of Jump – bringing us the latest information on new titles as well as the upcoming 3DS port of Dragon Quest VIII. All of this has been building up to a “new title presentation” which the magazine has revealed will take place in Japan on July 28th.

The conference will be live streamed and – much like the last mainline entry in the series – it’s likely here we’ll see the first details on the long awaited Dragon Quest XI.

This week’s issue also confirmed the subtitle for Dragon Quest Heroes II: The Twin Kings and the Prophecy’s End. Healix, the healing slime, returns as an adviser and the game will feature a more dramatic story and improved gameplay mechanics.

Jump’s final Dragon Quest-related scoop will appear next week and teases information on “that big title”. It’s clear we’re in for something huge.

Returning West: An Interview with the Developers of Dragon Quest Heroes

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Dragon Quest has always held a sort of peculiar situation outside of Japan. With multiple entries delayed or outright absent in several regions, fans were left wondering if there ever would be any sort of consistency with the series missing a localization for several key Nintendo 3DS releases. That question was finally answered following the Japanese release of Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below – the first Dragon Quest back on PlayStation platforms in nearly 10 years and the first high-definition entry in the series that will make its way overseas later this year and thus, marking four years since English-speaking fans last saw an official localization.

Hot on the heels of the game’s release date announcement at E3, we had a chance to sit down with Dragon Quest series executive producer Yuu Miyake along with Tecmo Koei Games manager Tomohiki Sho to hear the latest on the upcoming action RPG and what it means for Dragon Quest going forward.

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Nova Crystallis: Why did you decide to localize Dragon Quest Heroes so quickly?

Yuu Miyake: Because this is the first action game in the series, there was a really big reaction abroad when we announced it originally and because the overseas audience seemed very keen on it, we thought we had to get it out quickly. There was also a big call for us to bring it out on the PlayStation 4 as well, so we wanted to respond to that too. We felt that from the temperature of the reactions there from the audience that we had to get it out earlier.

Nova Crystallis: People have said that Dragon Quest Heroes looks a like like the Warriors series. What do you say to that?

Miyake: When the Dragon Quest Heroes project started, we didn’t set out to make a Warriors-type game. It was very much not the intention there. The real idea was to partner with Koei Tecmo to turn Dragon Quest into an action RPG. If you look at the titles, what we tried to do with Dragon Quest Heroes was to bring in the feeling and essence of a Dragon Quest game and to make that into the overall ethos into creating it. If you look at Hyrule Warriors, it’s actually a lot closer to the rest of the Warriors series in that it’s not so much removed from there, but we certainly tried to make a very different game. I can say they do look similar in a lot of ways, but there are very different ethos and ideas behind the ways those two were created.

20141108141215It’s kind of unavoidable really – if you get Koei Tecmo to make an action game everyone’s going to be like “oh it’s going to be a Warriors game,” but we think when you actually pick it up and play Dragon Quest Heroes you’ll see that it feels a lot more like a Dragon Quest game. It’s a Dragon Quest game that’s been turned into an action game and I think if you play it you’ll get that.

Nova Crystallis: Do you feel like there’s a lot of pressure being the first HD Dragon Quest game?

Miyake: (Laughs) I think it was really exciting to see, rather than pressure, to see what we could create in a new image and visual style for Dragon Quest and there was a lot of discussion on how we were to go about doing that. For example, how can we take the slime and make it a more realistic slime and using the power of the PlayStation, we can show that in a new way. It was really exciting and challenging as well, I think.

Nova Crystallis: Can you tell us more about the characters in the game?

Miyake: As you are probably aware of, there are a lot of characters from previous entries in the Dragon Quest series like Yangus, Bianca, Alena, Jessica and others. In addition to those, we have two completely new main characters designed exclusively by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame. The two main characters are Luceus and Aurora that you can see in the game’s key artwork.

This is one of the first times we’re going to have absolute full voice acting for all of the characters – not only the new protagonists, but the old characters as well. In the older games they have the kind of “beep, beep, beep” kind of thing for their sound effects when they talk, but this time everyone’s going to be done with full voice.

19With the addition of the voices like that, and also the new style of animation, and Koei Tecmo along with us, we tried really hard to get in this new dynamic animation style, so we really added a lot of realism to the way the story is told; I’m really proud that we managed to create this new way of expressing Dragon Quest through that.

Nova Crystallis: When this game came out in Japan, it also came out on the PS3. Is there a reason it’s now PS4 only in the west?

Miyake: Obviously there are a lot of business things that we have to factor into these decisions and that’s how we approach this. But I think we have to look at the Japanese market and at the moment there’s still a very large user base for the PlayStation 3 – it’s still a very popular console, so we really have to consider releasing games on it for them as well.

Certainly for the Dragon Quest series, there are a lot of casual players who play the games in Japan and most of them play games on PS3 rather than switching to PlayStation 4, so for them, we have to release it on that system.

But then if you compare that to the market situation outside of Japan, those players have really made the shift now to PS4 and want to play that mainly now so those market forces really influenced what consoles we decided to release on. There is a clear difference between the market in Japan and outside of Japan so we have to consider that.

Square Enix PR: From a technical point of view, Dragon Quest Heroes on the PS4 – we think of it as the definitive version of Dragon Quest Heroes; it runs at 60 frames per second with more enemies on screen… So because we’re really bringing Dragon Quest back to the west we wanted to deliver the definitive version of the game to the fans.

7Miyake: Thanks for following up! (Laughs)

SE PR: That’s the official answer.

Nova Crystallis: We know the Dragon Quest series for its beautiful stories. Has it been abandoned here for more action gameplay elements?

Miyake: No, that’s not the case at all. We understand that Dragon Quest is a game that people love for the story and so we very much made sure there was a proper story in there and the people who come for that will appreciate it.

Nova Crystallis: Because the story is so important, will there also be a lot of exploration like in previous Dragon Quest titles or will areas be more linear with a focus more on set pieces?

Tomohiki Sho: There was a deliberate decision in how it was developed – in the way the game’s put together. We set out with the priority of creating an action game, which is different in a gameplay sense to previous Dragon Quests. We understand that people enjoy traveling through different areas and walking around the world, but we feel they can still experience that in the pure, old school RPG Dragon Quests. What we really wanted to do was concentrate on the action this time and make sure people have that real feeling of being involved in battles.

On top of that, we do want to keep the idea of leveling your characters and character growth aspects from Dragon Quest, so in addition to the battle stages, you do have town areas where you can go and talk to people and buy items and stuff at shops. The overall focus, though, is the action side of it and we want players to experience the story through the action. We cut down on some of the exploration elements, like the world map, so we could focus the experience inward.

Nova Crystallis: Can we expect to see some language choices like switching between Japanese and English voice acting?

006Miyake: There will be! You can switch between Japanese or English voices in the English version. We do get – especially from the fans overseas in Europe –  a lot of people saying they prefer the Japanese voices, so we decided to give that to the people who wanted it.

In the game, the voice talent that we use in the Japanese version has a lot of very famous voice actors who do a lot of Japanese anime shows as well. I think for people in Europe who like Japanese anime, this will be something they can really get on board with and really enjoy it because they know the voice actors.

From a development point of view actually – originally we didn’t intend on having it in there because there was a bit of a problem with the memory on the disc. We didn’t think we could fit having both the English and Japanese voices, but Square Enix came to us and said, “Look, we’ve got a lot of people from Europe who really want this. There’s so many people calling for it.” So we really knuckled down and tried to find a way and we finally managed to put it in there for everyone.

Nova Crystallis: With Dragon Quest Heroes, and even Dragon Quest X, you’ve gone away from more of the traditional aspects of the series. Do you think that’s something you’ll be aiming for going forward by continuing to change up the formula a little bit?

Miyake: I think that Dragon Quest is moving and evolving with the taste of the times and the hardware available at the time, so if we make a Dragon Quest game for PlayStation, it’s going to use the advantages of the PlayStation format and it’s going to be aimed and optimized for that. By contrast, you have Dragon Quest games for smartphones that will be more geared toward that audience and closer to the originals in some way, or if it’s made for the Nintendo 3DS, it will be based on the specifications of what the 3DS can do.

I think the nature of the game and what we do to change it is more to better fit in with the hardware they appear on.

Nova Crystallis: Can we expect any sort of multiplayer going forward, perhaps added to this title or its recently announced sequel?

Miyake: We don’t have any plans to introduce multiplayer to this game, no. But for future games, we do really want to look into it because a lot of fans are calling for something like that so we’d want to give it to them if we can. All the people in the development team as well – we thought it would be great if we could add multiplayer and everyone wanted it, including myself. It’s something we’d like to do for sure.

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below is launching exclusively for the PlayStation 4 in October 13 for North America and October 16 for Europe.

Syndicated from our sister site, RPG Site.

Final Fantasy XIV Letter from the Producer Live XXIII summary

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Final Fantasy XIV is ever growing and the release of its first expansion, Heavensward, is just the start. This past weekend, producer/director Naoki Yoshida gave fans a wealth of new information on what they can expect going forward through Patch 3.1 as well as addressing some of their concerns in the most recent Letter from the Producer Live.

Aside from class adjustments for roles such as Dragoon, Astrologian and Machinist Yoshida revealed the team is planning introduction of many requested items such as a Haurchefaunt minion, a Vanu Vanu dance for players, the ability to change Free Company names and a new afro hairstyle. On the systems side, a bar will be added to display party TP amount and retainers will soon be able to actually able to use jobs rather than simply classes. The European data centers should also be ready for launch around the release of Patch 3.1.

Starting next week, those looking for a greater challenge will have a chance to try at Alexander’s Savage Mode which will carry with it a weekly lockout similar to the Coil of Bahamut from A Realm Reborn. Loot rules will be different this time, however, with both random gear drops and a token automatically distributed to players for clearing each Floor per week. This will allow those who don’t get what they want to drop to simply buy the piece of gear they’re missing and will hopefully eliminate some of the frustration caused by RNG. The gear from Savage mode won’t look any different from the Normal version, although it will be higher ilevel and have the ability to be dyed different colors.

Yoshida also touched on a few other questions and revealed that they aren’t planning on adding any new jobs until at least the next expansion, version 4.0. He also commented on the PS4 version of the game as the team is considering adding some of the DirectX 11 improvements added to the PC version of the expansion to that client while making sure to maintain stability on the console side of things. Unfortunately for PS3 users, however, that hardware just isn’t up to handling that sort of technology so there will be no further improvements on that front.

Starting next month in August Final Fantasy XIV will be celebrating its second anniversary since its relaunch and on August 22nd Yoshida will be hosting a 14-hour livestream in celebration. Also during that month, the Moonfire Faire summer event will see its return along with new swimsuits for the masses.

Final Fantasy XIV will also see its share of presence at Gamescom in Germany again this year, which starts on August 5th and will feature various primal battle challenges with a chance for more t-shirt prizes similar to past events.

The complete list of questions and answers can be read over here on the official forums.

World of Final Fantasy Interview with Director Hiroki Chiba

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Of the many titles at E3 this year, by far the one with the most charm, and perhaps potential, came from a quirky little spin-off overshadowed by its bigger mainline brothers. World of Final Fantasy – announced for both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita – is coming out next year, and looks to be bringing back a lot of traditional elements to the series along with some modern gameplay flair.

We had a chance to sit down with the game’s director, Hiroki Chiba, at the show for a chat discussing the game’s inception as well as what players can expect when they get their hands on it some time next year.

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Nova Crystallis: What kind of a game is this? We haven’t seen much from the trailers.

Hiroki Chiba: So this game is about befriending monsters – creatures from the previous FF titles, and raising them.

Nova Crystallis: How did you decide what platforms were suitable for this title?

Chiba: The concept of the game actually came first, and because the concept was about gathering all the different monsters that appear in the game, we wanted a system that could display as many as possible and as much information as possible. That’s why we first decided on the PlayStation 4, but to gather, befriend, and collect all these different types of monsters… it does take a long time, so we wanted to give different types of play styles to player. That’s why we decided to go with the PlayStation Vita as well, so you can take them outside to play too with the Vita.

Nova Crystallis: What was the concept and motivation behind the creation of World of Final Fantasy?

Chiba:  The first thing is we wanted to bring back the energy – the excitement – of the original Final Fantasy series from years ago. The second was because users are wanting more realistic graphics. Especially from XIII on, a lot of the core users are really into those more realistic visuals of the characters. That’s what the main numbered series is doing, and Mr. Hashimoto was worried that new players may not be able to get into that world. That’s when Mr. Hashimoto consulted with [me] that he wanted to bring new players to the franchise, and that is how they decided on a new approach, with a new visual design and graphics appeal that he’s hoping will attract new players to play the game.

event_02_fix001Nova Crystallis: So how are you planning on introducing players? Are you taking us through the battle systems that have appeared throughout the games, are you taking us to the different worlds? How will this work when you’re playing?

Chiba: We’re trying to incorporate different elements from different Final Fantasy titles, so that it could appeal to different users. Because each user will feel they like a particular Final Fantasy for the elements it brings, it’s tricky trying to incorporate different elements in from older Final Fantasy titles. Also for the battle system, users can actually play a classic play style or they can immerse themselves in the more modern play style that’s offered at the beginning of the game. The battle system is very intuitive, and so players who have never played Final Fantasy before will be able to catch on quickly.

Nova Crystallis: What was the inspiration behind the game’s kind of cute style for the artwork?

Chiba: So when deciding on a character, we approached Mr. Izumisawa from Crystal Chronicles because he loved to draw cute characters. It’s challenging to try and put a new visual style on an existing franchise. We went to Mr. Hashimoto to see what he would say or think, and Mr. Hashimoto really liked that design and new look for World of Final Fantasy and that’s how we decided on it.

Nova Crystallis: In the trailer, it looks like you can switch between very cute characters and the more realistic ones. Can you explain how we’ll switch in game?

Chiba: Yes, you can switch between the smaller characters and a more realistic appearance whenever you like in the game. We decided to implement that into the game because if it was only the cute characters, existing fans of the franchise wouldn’t be able to identify themselves with it at all. So, we went to Mr. Nomura to consult with him on the (more realistic) designs for the two main characters as seen in the trailer.

battle_02_fix001Nova Crystallis: How do you do it, as far as switching goes…?

Chiba: It’s just one button to change between the two sizes.

Nova Crystallis: In Final Fantasy the story has always been important. Is this story more about those two characters, or more about the different Final Fantasy characters you meet throughout the game? Do you walk into their story, or do they come into your story?

Chiba: So the main protagonists that you saw in the trailer, they’re actually siblings and they are going to be the center of the story. I have always been a fan of the series, so I want to keep that RPG play-style feel in the game. The scenario is going to be very similar the feel of previous Final Fantasy series games.

Nova Crystallis: Since this game is on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, is there going to be any kind of Cross Play or Cross Save element to go between for items, collected monsters, and things like that?

Chiba: So we’re planning on implementing Cross Save for the save data, but I wasn’t sure what you meant by items.

Nova Crystallis: For multiplayer elements, like trading items and so on between players on PS4 or PS Vita.

Chiba: Item sharing and trading is still up for discussion, no decision has been made yet. In regards to creatures, they are trying to implement a feature where creatures can be shared between different players.

Nova Crystallis: Will other Final Fantasy characters from throughout the series be making their appearance alongside characters like Cloud?

Chiba: As you saw in there trailer, there was Cloud from Final Fantasy VII and the Warrior of Light who was designed for Dissidia and you can definitely expect to see them in the game. Other characters can’t be revealed at the moment, but I have personally selected a number of characters to appear in the game. It’s a personal choice so it might be a bit different than what you’d expect, but there will be other characters in the game.

battle_WOL_fix001Nova Crystallis: At the press conference you mentioned towers, and it has something to do with the battle system. Can you explain this a little further, what it means and how it works?

Chiba: As mentioned earlier you can switch between large characters and small characters, you can become bigger and have monsters go on top of you or you could shrink down and ride on the different monsters. Forming different towers or stacks of monsters and player will affect abilities you can use.

Nova Crystallis: Now will just the main two characters be able to do that, or will the classic Final Fantasy characters be able to as well?

Chiba: The two protagonists actually came from a world of that larger size into a world called Grimoire, which is where the cute little characters live. That’s why the two protagonists can switch sizes, but the other characters in that world are only that smaller size. As you can see from the trailer though there are different sizes still in that world, with some very small monsters and some bigger characters.

Nova Crystallis: You mentioned different play types earlier, can you elaborate on that? And can we expect things such as mini games in World of Final Fantasy similar to the Gold Saucer or Tetra Master?

Chiba: Regarding the battle system I can’t disclose too much in detail, but I can say that the users will be able to select between a simple classic game style or a more modern play style. As for mini games, I loved the previous Final Fantasy games – I was actually in charge of creating the Gold Saucer in FFVII – those elements are still in discussion so we’re still deciding whether or not to put them in. On the battle system – the ‘tower’ that I mentioned earlier – the easiest explanation is that if three characters are stacked up in a tower that all have the Fire ability then that Fire will become Firaga.

Nova Crystallis: Can you reveal any of the other staff who are working on this project?

Chiba: The core members are the producer Shinji Hashimoto, the creative producer is Tetsuya Nomura, and the main character designer is Yasuhisa Izumisawa. That is all I can disclose at this time, and of course I am the director.

event_04_fix001Nova Crystallis:  What is your favorite Final Fantasy game?

Chiba: As a developer the first title that I was involved in was Final Fantasy VI so I have fond memories of that, but I do love Final Fantasy VII even though it is embarrassing to say because I did work on it. As a fan, I really do like the job systems in Final Fantasy III and also the airship – I can’t forget that moment that I rode the airship. I just felt like the world was so big!

Nova Crystallis: Will there be airships in World of Final Fantasy?

Chiba: It’s in discussion right now but we’d really like to put it in.

Nova Crystallis: Since you’d like to put it in, can we expect a big overworld in this game or will the world be divided into zones?

Chiba: It is a little separated but but you will be able to travel through the world.

Nova Crystallis: So you worked on the original Final Fantasy VII – what were your thoughts when they finally decided to go ahead with a remake?

Chiba: It was the same as the users for me, I was like “Yes!”

Nova Crystallis: Can we expect any classic music from the series or will World of FF have only all new music?

Chiba: We do have a lot of new songs but we are also arranging a few classic songs from the Final Fantasy series. Masashi Hamauzu is in charge of that. You can hear his music in the trailer.

Nova Crystallis: Because you’re calling this World of Final Fantasy, can we expect this to be something that expands over time like with downloadable content, new characters, new areas and things like that?

battle_01_fix001Chiba: We are considering DLC and many of the mechanics in the game allow for it, but we’re not thinking of making that a business model for the game.

Nova Crystallis: With DLC, will this be a disc-based game at retail or will it be a digital download only type of thing?

Chiba: We’re thinking of both.

Nova Crystallis: In the game world will you be free to move wherever or will be more linear and restricted on what you can do?

Chiba: Since the play style is similar to the older FF games you won’t be able to go to new places on a whim but you can go back to previous towns whenever you want. To access new ones though, you’ll need to go through the story.

Nova Crystallis: Will the world map be big like in older FF games?

Chiba: I want to make it into a big world map.

Nova Crystallis: How big will the focus be on the story versus the gameplay? What sort of balance are you aiming for there?

Chiba: The image of the game is of the previous Final Fantasy series so it is more story focused, but it really is up to the user if you want to go through the stories and get to the end as fast as possible or you could try and befriend creatures as much as possible so it really depends on the user.

Nova Crystallis: Do you have any sort of message to say to the fans who may be hesitant to play because this isn’t a numbered Final Fantasy title?

Chiba: Of course, World of Final Fantasy doesn’t have realistic graphics like the recent numbered titles, but as a fan of the series myself I believe I’ve been able to put in the fun elements from the series that a lot of people will recognize so I feel that any FF fan will love the game.

Nova Crystallis: Thank you for your time!

Syndicated from our sister site, RPG Site.