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FFVII Remake turns its back on turn-based combat; Square Enix responds to criticisms

The latest Final Fantasy VII trailer has shown a surprising change in the classic RPG — the removal of the turn-based combat system that many fans were expecting to have. Pixelpine’s affiliate podcast, The Platinum Achievement Podcast, initially questioned whether new fans would be supportive of the old gameplay. It seems Square Enix thinks the risk would be too great and have opted for a more contemporary approach.

Fans have had mixed reactions, but the concerns that some have had were addressed by Square Enix in a recent blog post by the game’s original director suggested fans look at FFVII in a new way as the devs are given the opportunity “to go beyond” what they’ve done in the past.

“With FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, we have the opportunity to go beyond the story, world and experience of FINAL FANTASY VII in ways we’ve always dreamed of – from the depths of Midgar to the skies above the Planet. The multi-part format enables us to expand the original story and turn it into an epic experience for fans and new gamers alike.” – Yoshiniri Kotasi, Square Enix Blog

The latest gameplay video shows a more adventure-game feel to the past one — perhaps that’s just a side-effect of being converted to a newer style. The small glimpse of action looks visually stunning.

The new gameplay isn’t the only thing proven to be disconcerting for some fans. FFVII will be released in an episodic format rather than a full single release. Square Enix went on to respond to this in a way that many could expect — claiming it would have been impossible to include all the content they would have liked to include in a single release. “…we would have to cut various parts and create a condensed version…”

Still, the criticisms from the diehard fans looking for a rejuvenated nostalgic feeling of playing Final Fantasy VII again will have to be considered throughout the development process for Square Enix. It’s clear the developer wants to appeal to a larger audience, but maintaining the core fanbase will be crucial to ensure this high-profile title will be a success.

Square Enix has yet to reveal a release date for Final Fantasy VII.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider release schedule for PC and PS4

It is well known that Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics’ newest entry in the Tomb Raider series, will be timed exclusive for Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox 360 this November. Square Enix has recently disclosed exactly how long the timed exclusivity of their third-person adventure game will last.

The Windows 10 and Steam versions of the game being made available early 2016.

Playstation 4 owners will have to wait until Holiday 2016 to get their chance to play the game.

Rise of the Tomb Raider serves as the sequel to the 2013 release of Tomb Raider on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and later Xbox One and PS4.

Developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix, the new incarnation of Tomb Raider series has received critical acclaim in a time where ‘reboots’ are looked down upon. The last game managed to adjust extraordinarily well to contemporary gameplay and the next will likely do the same when it releases November 10.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake Announced

Sony’s E3 press conference revealed a visually stunning remake of Final Fantasy VII, incurred by sheer force of will from popular fan demand. The remake will be directed by Tetsuya Nomura and is aptly dubbed Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Whether or not the game will appear outside PS4 was not confirmed, but Square Enix said in their showing that gamers can “Play if first on PlayStation” which would imply that the game will release on other platforms.

Whether or not Microsoft, the main competitor to Sony, will be host to this nostalgia filled recreation of the Final Fantasy VII world is still to be seen.

More details will be announced in the near future.

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Oculus Rift Pre-E3 Press Conference – All You Need To Know

The Oculus Rift has been a long spoken about Virtual Reality head-mounted display. Birthed from Kickstarter around 3 years ago, it has grown at a tremendous pace. This has led to many admirers from all over the tech industry. In July 2014, internet superpower Facebook purchased Oculus VR for a staggering $2 billion.

On June 11, Brendan Iribe led a pre-E3 press conference showcasing the Oculus Rift. The final consumer unit was revealed as well as an array of exclusive titles. Here’s all you need to know:

The Device Itself

Oculus Consumer Unit

The Oculus Rift consumer unit is very similar to what we’ve seen. It is smaller, looks a lot more comfortable and is meant to be far lighter (you can hold it in one hand with ease). It has a custom display and optics as well as two OLED screens that deliver low persistence.

As you look around there’s no motion blur or judder. Visual clarity is very important to those at Oculus and the way Iribe spoke about the device, it was pretty evident.

It features a wireless sensor which sits neatly on your desk. This is designed to measure depth. The Rift itself is covered in fabric and is meant to “slip on like a baseball cap.”

Iribe also mentioned the importance of sound and how the virtual reality experience isn’t just visual but also audible. The Rift comes with (removable) headphones in order to enhance the experience.

Partnership with Microsoft

How important is this partnership?
How important is this partnership?

Then came the news everyone is talking about. Phil Spencer (Head of Xbox) took to the stage to announce that every Rift will ship with an Xbox One controller and adapter. Rift will have native support with Windows 10 and will also have the ability to stream Xbox One games a la Remote Play. You will be sitting in a virtual living room and playing Forza. Great for when the your television is not available.

DirectX 12 has been developed with the device in mind to make sure that using a Rift on a Windows machine will be a seamless experience.

The Games

Edge of Nowhere

An array of games was shown for the Oculus Rift, including Edge of Nowhere by Insomniac Games. A third person action adventure set in the Antarctic. A grueling test of wits and bravery as you scale across a mountainous terrain using makeshift weapons.

CCP (the brains behind EVE Online) showed a short demo of Eve Valkyrie. A multiplayer dogfighting shooter where you helm a spaceship allowing you to enjoy a fully immersive space war.

Amongst the other games were Chronos (Gunfire Games). A third person adventure RPG with some very interesting gameplay elements. You get to explore an atmospheric fantasy world. The unique leveling mechanic means that as you get older, the way you approach the game changes.

Some other games mentioned included VR Sports Challenge, AirMech VR, Lucky’s Tale and more. The most interesting and arguably most important factor of the game slate was the developers signed up to work with Oculus. Square Enix, Ready At Dawn, and Harmonix are just some of the names on an impressive list.

Developer List


Anna Sweet (Head of Developer Strategy) reiterated how Oculus have been working closely with Unity and EpicGames. This means the Rift works natively with Unity 5 and Unreal Engine 4. Two of the top game engines today.

Also mentioned was the revamping of Oculus Share; the platform that allows developers to self-publish, discover, download and experiment with a plethora of Rift related technologies. More pertinent was the ten million dollars that Oculus have pledged to help the Rift indie developing community. A real push for all the indie developers out there.

The Software

Oculus have been working closely with Microsoft, Nvdia, and AMD to make sure the Rift works straight out of the box. As soon as you wear the Rift and activate it you boot straight into Oculus Home.

Oculus Home is the Rift’s dashboard — the portal for everything Oculus related. It puts all your Rift games in one place. You can see what’s new, what’s featured and what games your friends are playing. A neat feature is that before you purchase a game, you get to experience a full virtual reality preview of the game in question.

There is also a 2D interface that allows you to stay in touch with your friends as well as browse, manage, and download games.

The Oculus Touch

Oculus Touch 2

Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, made the final announcement of the press conference. As well as having each Rift ship with an Xbox One controller the team at Oculus are constantly working on innovative ways to improve virtual reality input. The latest being the Oculus Touch (prototype name: Half-Moon).

The Oculus Touch is a pair of wireless controllers designed to be held in each hand respectively. This allows for the users to experience “hand presence” – the feeling that your hands are also part of the virtual world you are experiencing.

Oculus TouchThe Touch lets you interact with the virtual world such as picking up a gun and shooting or throwing it. The precise manipulation of virtual entities is key to creating a fully immersive VR world and this is one of the many pieces of technology that Oculus are offering. The Touch also allows for communicative social gestures such as pointing or waving.

The controllers themselves have traditional buttons, analog sticks and a hand trigger. This trigger allows you to use your index finger to shoot a gun for instance. Oculus are also aiming for a “low mental load.” Low mental load is the idea that we shouldn’t have to think about what we are doing when using the Rift. The user experience should be a natural and fluid understanding. As always with Oculus they are taking massive strives into making virtual worlds a reality.

Pricing and Release Date

Unfortunately there were no pricing or bundles announced for the Oculus Rift. The only remnant of a release date they gave was Q1, 2016. The timeframe we have all really been expecting.

Everything at the press conference will be available at E3 so hopefully we can hear about some hands-on reactions.

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided | A Look at Square Enix’s Upcoming Release

“I didn’t ask for this.” Said no one as Square Enix revealed the newest entry in the Deus Ex series — Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The CGI is looking great, Adam is gruffer than ever, and suddenly I feel the need to mate with my computer, but augmentation aside, gamers should really be looking forward to seeing the PS4’s hardware in action sooner rather than later.

Will we be purchasing the jaded, 30-something, action hero that triple-A titles have been feeding us? Or will we look past that, rather, be blinded by a torrent of explosions and gunplay that transcends cliche storytelling?

Either way, you won’t have to remind me to pick up my copy when it’s released, just promise me you’ll bring the beer if things go south.


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The chaotic freedom of Just Cause 3 shown in new screenshots

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Open world freedom with insane physics-defying stunts and actions has always been the mantra for Avalanche Studios’ Just Cause series, and some recently released screenshots show more of the same in Just Cause 3.

With the same grappling tool that makes the Just Cause game a unique open-world experience, the third installment of the series as Rico Rodqiguez takes the reins again with a new addition — a wing-suit.

The wing suit will add a whole new dynamic of exploration in addition to the various vehicles and weapons at Rico’s disposal.

Just Cause 3 is due for a 2015 release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Spiderman and Luke Skywalker may be teaming up with Sora in Kingdom Hearts III

Square Enix and their deal with Disney to make the Kingdom Hearts series has always brought some of the most wonderful characters and stories to the incredible multi-universe story and adventures of Sora and the heartless.

We may now see some new Disney owned characters in the upcoming third title in the primary games. In an interview with Kotaku, game designer and co-director Tai Yasue claimed all Disney worlds are made available to the developer.

“[The worlds] are all under consideration. Nothing’s off-limits, we’re considering all of the worlds. There are so many wonderful concepts. We’re happy about that, but at the same time it’s really tough to choose.”

While nothing is confirmed, we now know Square Enix is at least considering the addition of the newly acquired Disney IPs.

Sora battling alongside the likes of Spiderman, the Hulk, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker are all very realistic possibilities right now.

Though Kingdom Hearts III has no definitive release date as of yet, the Square-Enix adventure game is expected to release late 2015 on the Xbox One and PS4.

Amazon: Kingdom Hearts III
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New Square Enix IP announced – Life is Strange

Life is Strange is far from a traditional action/adventure game.
Life is Strange is far from a traditional action/adventure game.

The newly announced Square Enix IP, Life is Strange, available to journalists at gamescom this week, focuses on a unique narrative and a major gameplay twist.

The game’s lead characters, Max Caulfield and her highschool friend, Chloe, take on a journey to find a fellow student who has mysteriously disappeared. Max has an odd characteristic that aids her through the adventure though. Max can rewind time and the choices made throughout can be redone to fit the direction you would like to take in the game.

It isn’t often you see a story incorporating such young characters in a contemporary setting. It is certainly a good direction to see a major developer take the road less taken with regards to the style of a game.

Square Enix’s press reveal reitereated the power of choices, “You can change one tiny thing, but the consequences of that miniscule action can potentially lead to catastrophic results.”


With a distinct art style and unique gameplay, DONTNOD Entertainment and Square Enix look to bring something different to the table this time around.

Life is Strange will be coming to Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, and PC.