Square Enix Sweetens the Pot For Final Fantasy X Re-Release
When an HD remaster of Final Fantasy X was initially announced for the PS3 and PS Vita it was an occaision for much excitement, but also for bafflement at the fact that Final Fantasy X was the only game announced for the package. The convention for such things tends to be that two or more games are released as part of a HD package [or at least this is the case on the PS3], as anything less would not warrant full-pricing. Many people chalked the initial announcement up to being typical Square Enix hubris, yet happily it has been this week revealed that Square Enix plan to make good on a value-packed Final Fantasy X re-release, at least in so far as the PS3 is concerned.
The PS3 version of Final Fantasy X HD will feature the international version of Final Fantasy X-2 as part of the package. The PS Vita is also set to receive both games, yet they are to be sold separately on account of the Vita’s maximum physical gamecards holding just 4GB of data at present. That said, it would be very much appreciated if Square Enix’s Vita pricing reflected the decreased value proposition offered by the games being sold individually.
While Square Enix initially stated that the game would be a simple upscaled remaster, it has been this week revealed that the game will be something more than this. New game screen shots have been released this week which depict entirely new character models, with both higher polygon counts and vastly improved hair and textures. This should remedy the occurrence of very poor LoD character models which were in evidence during some of the original game’s cutscenes.
In terms of new content for North American gamers, the international version of Final Fantasy X features the ‘Expert Sphere Grid’, along with the Dark Aeon and Penance boss battles. Meanwhile, the international version of Final Fantasy X-2 features additional dress spheres along with the eighty-floor ‘final mission’ dungeon. In one final point of interest, the release of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 this week revealed the inclusion of scenes from Kingdom Hearts II, Birth by Sleep, and Coded during the game’s ending credits, indicating that a Kingdom Hearts 2.5 might be in the offing. This means that a HD collection featuring Final Fantasy XII and Revenant Wings might not be beyond the realms of possibility, since Square Enix appears to be geared towards HD re-releases at present.
New Xbox Durango Console To Block Used Games
The documentation for Microsoft’s Durango development kit was leaked onto VGleaks this week, and it indicates that the console intends to utilise some of the least consumer-friendly DRM practices available. The Durango is unable to play software directly from the game-disk; instead, every game will have to be installed to the hard-drive before it will become playable. Presumably this process will in some way render the original game-disc unusable, so as not to allow software to be installed on multiple consoles [unless the disc is still required as a means of authentication, like with many PC games]. This measure becomes increasingly problematic when one factors in reports that state that the base model of the Durango will ship with a hard-drive that is only capable of storing five hundred gigabytes of data, allowing for just ten full sized games to be stored at a time. To top all this off, the Xbox Durango will require an always-on internet connection, because that worked out so well for SimCity.
The first thing to note about this leak is that the information present is likely many months old, and may not reflect the final state of the Durango Console. The second thing to note about the leak is that if the information pans out and holds true up to release, then the next Xbox stands to be completely decimated by the PS4. Console gaming used to be about convenience, yet these last five years have seen it become in many ways more cumbersome than PC gaming. At any rate, if the Durango does opt to go down this dark path, then Microsoft can expect to see its market-share dwindle to a small demography of Microsoft enthusiasts largely focused in and around North America.
Richard Garriott Claims To Be the World’s Only Good Game Designer
This week Richard ‘Lord British’ Garriott [of Tabula Rasa fame] has claimed that he and Chris Roberts are the world’s only good game designers, on account of the fact that the role tends to be filled by people who are unqualified to perform any other role. Garriott asserts that this leads to them adopting a lazy approach to game design, where they will tend to iterate rather than innovate.
“Other than a few exceptions, like Chris Roberts, I’ve met virtually no one in our industry who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am. I’m not saying that because I think I’m so brilliant. What I’m saying is, I think most game designers really just suck, and I think there’s a reason why: we’re leaning on a lot of designers who get that job because they’re not qualified for the other jobs, rather than that they are really strongly qualified as a designer.”
“It’s really hard to go to school to be a good designer. Every designer that I work with – all throughout life – I think, frankly, is lazy. They go to make one or two changes to a game they otherwise love versus really sit down and rethink, ‘How can I really move the needle here?'”
One hopes for Garriott’s sake that this was a moment of stunning hyperbole as opposed to a sincerely held belief, as, the dire state of the industry not withstanding, he is still a game design minnow in a pond full of very large fish. The implications of Garriott’s suggestion appears to be that he is possessed of the belief that he is somehow a better game designer than studio’s like Valve and Arkane, and yet here he is having to launch a Kickstarter in order to get his next game funded – because there are precious few dolts who would wish to play another Tabula Rasa.