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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend E3 this year – instead, I’m on vacation in Cape Cod, using awful hotel Wi-Fi to watch streamed press conferences. Not the most glamorous way to take it all in, but exciting announcements, great games and new details are welcome no matter how you hear about them.
Here’s my personal transcription (in very brief form) of all the announcements and showings, along with some reflection on what Microsoft had to show.
If you’re a JRPG fan with access to nothing more than an Xbox 360, then things have been a bit slow going. That’s an understatement… since release, you’ve gotten nothing more than Enchanted Arms, which is arguably not all that good. But worry not, because a JRPG is coming to the U.S. next month in the form of Blue Dragon. Originally released in Japan late last year, Blue Dragon has gotten a tremendous amount of attention due to Hironobu Sakaguchi –creator of the Final Fantasy series.
Those wanting to give Blue Dragon a try before plopping down the cash for a copy will have that opportunity, as a 1.1GB demo is going to be available for download from July 20 – August 3.
It looks like Nintendo is moving to grow support for more traditional Japanese RPGs – while having the new Dragon Quest XI appear on the DS is a pretty big coup, and Square has been supporting Nintendo with Final Fantasy remakes and side stories, it would be nice to see more diversity on Nintendo’s platforms. It was announced today and reported by IGN that the company has moved to acquire an 80% stake in Monolith Soft, developers of the popular Xenosaga and Baiten Kaitos. Bandai Namco will still hold a 16% stake in the company. This move would effectively seem to make the company an exclusive developer for the Wii and DS, but no new game announcements were made at the time of the news release.
Read More | IGN
Koei has offered up some new details and images from their new “lifestyle RPG” and exclusive Wii title in Japan. Scheduled for release in that territory this summer, the RPG is quite a departure from the Dynasty Warrior franchise. The RPG’s look is definitely on the cute side; beyond its looks, though, appears to be an interesting gameplay system – the game is completely controlled through just the Wii nunchuck controller. The new screenshots hint somewhat at the background story and environments the player can expect, and show a few in-game combat screens. No mention has been made of a localized release, but this seems like the kind of unique title that might do decently on the Wii in the US.
Read More | GameWatch
Nintendo’s Super Paper Mario ships today, and so far the game is tacking up a 90% overall rating on Gamerankings.com. From some of the major game sites, 1up rated the release an 8.0, citing the title’s relative lack of depth compared to its Paper Mario siblings, tacked-on Wiimote controls, and some slowdown evidenced in gameplay. IGN rated slightly higher at 8.9, feeling that the platformer and RPG merger was more successful and that the Wiimote controls felt appropriate for the game, but they felt the amount of writing in the game disrupted the flow, and the 3D elements seemed barren compared to the lushness of the 2D world. Nintendo has also kicked off marketing the game with a “Wii Would Like To Play” TV commercial, shown above.
Read More | 1up
Read More | IGN
Mistwalker head and Final Fantasy originator Hironobu Sakaguchi today spoke at the GDC and filled in the US audience on the release dates for their RPGs in the US. Blue Dragon, the epic RPG with character design from Akira Torayama will hit the US in August. According to 1up, Lost Odyssey will ship in December for both the Japanese and US territories, with the DS RPG Ash hitting during the holidays as well. Sakaguchi also reported discussed his team’s investigation of the PS3 as a development platform; according to IGN, his thoughts so far are “PS3 is difficult.” It is a little shocking to hear that the company is looking to the PS3 already, but without knowing the exact details behind the company’s agreement with Microsoft, it would be difficult to say when or if something from Mistwalker would appear on the PS3.
Read More | IGN (Sakaguchi on PS3)
Read More | 1up (RPG release dates)
EGM’s Shane Bettenhausen has played through a full preview build of Super Paper Mario and he took some time out after completing the game to answer questions about the game at 1up. There’s some interesting ground covered in the Q & A, particularly since not a whole lot is known about the game other than some short previews and some movies of boss fights that have hit YouTube. It was known that the game would neither be a straight platformer, nor an updated version of the other RPGs in the Paper Mario franchise, but the preview gives some insight into how the combination is going to work. The game also looks to feature a lot of content, roughly 27 hours for the main game, plus more for some of the side quests and extras. From previously released screenshots, gamers know the game will support 16:9 presentation modes, but Bettenhausen also clarifies that the title will support progressive scan as well. The preview also briefly touches on the story, characters, and Wii-mote support. The preview screen shots released look great, and this update gives gamers something to look forward to on April 9th when the game releases in the US.
Read More | 1up
Gaming site Cubed³ is reporting that the quirky Tingle RPG will be heading to Europe in 2007. The odd game received a decent amount of success in Japan, and the game’s unique gameplay may make it a title worth checking out. One assumes that the title will be localized to something a bit less of a mouthful than Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rose-Colored Rupee Land; on the other hand, that may be part of its charm. At least with a European release, gamers will be able to import the title if the game never makes its way to the United States.
Read More | Cubed3
The announcement that the latest entry in the Dragon Quest series would not take place on a traditional console but instead the Nintendo DS shook up Japanese fans. Famitsu magazine has polled both magazine readers and retailers to get their opinions of the shift, and Insert Credit has a detailed summary of the overall reaction. In the Famitsu poll, 40.3% of readers asked were excited by the idea of having Dragon Quest XI on the handheld, but 46% had a negative opinion. Even more reacted negatively to the action-based battle changes in the RPG. Retailers were more on the positive side; this might be a reflection of the mainstream opinion, and not the hard core. Insert Credit also details the specific comments from magazine readers, and the span of opinions is interesting. Despite the negative reaction from fans, though, Dragon Quest XI is still likely to be a huge seller in Japan.
Read More | Insert Credit
Square-Enix has placed a new trailer for Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings for the DS online. There is a small streaming version on the main page of their Revenant Wings site, but inside the trailers section is a larger streaming video. The trailer includes a fair amount of pre-rendered footage, but gamers can also get a glimpse at some of the in-game video, including combat sequences. The trailer was shown previously at the Jump Festa 2007 event in Japan.
Read More | Square Enix Japan
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