Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Check This Out: New Trailers from Square Enix

Earlier this week in Tokyo, Square Enix had a Press conference in which they revealed several trailers to members of the press under a Media Blackout policy, meaning they can talk about it but just not show any pictures. Obviously these things never stay hidden and of course a clever youtuber has already uploaded them(and had them taken down, so there are links instead now), I'm going to be looking at these trailers both from a fan stand point but also a learner, looking at modeling texture (trying to make sense of it all), finally wrapping why modern games industries feels the need to organise press events such as this one.

The first trailer is for the next upcoming installment to the Kingdom Hearts franchise on the Nintendo 3DS. Titled "Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream, Drop, Distance" the trailer shows the two main characters from the series Sora and Riku talking to each other on the desert island, cutting to King Mickey talking to Yensid, they seem to be discussing something ominous for our heroes. The trailer continues showing game play featuring both younger and older versions of the two heroes, whilst the world "Dream", "Drop" and "Distance" appear on the screen.

The Kingdom Hearts series has already tackled the theme of memories so it seems likely that this game might focus on dreams. A new world is spotted in the trailer being the one from "The Hunch Back Of Notredam", it's clearly planning to cover untouched ground. As a fan of the series I'm quite excited to see what this new game is about and what adventure I'll be taking the heroes through next.

Now, let's talk about the graphics. Square Enix has been known for creating some of the best looking video games in the last 15 years, their follow their own art direction rather than focusing on how realistic can they make a character look. The Kingdom Hearts series has been known for having this weird mix of good looking and yet simplified art style when it comes to graphics, this is done so that the characters can blend easily from one Disney world to another (with the exception of the Pirates of The Caribbean world). I really like they way things looking this game which is smooth and stylistic, cartoony but not. The levels seem to follow this same art style, not too texture based but more of a painted UV map look, this was the type of style that I want my character to have so further research into the texture mapping techniques used for these games might be beneficial.

Next is the trailer for "Final Fantasy XIII-2" for PS3 and Xbox 360, following the trend of making Final Fantasy games last longer, this one seems like a direct sequel . The trailer follows off directly from the end of XIII, with Lightning monologuing over the top. The scene then changes to Lightning dressed in knights armour, bowed before an altar of some sorts, she then unsheathes her sword and clashes blades with a new character dressed in similar attire. To be honest the setting for "Knight Lightning" completely throws me I can't figure out what this game maybe about, I didn't hate XIII but it wasn't the best game I had ever played, I'm going to keep this on my radar just to learn more info about where they're going to take the characters.

The graphic textures for this game follow the same as the last, semi realistic yet stylised. This pro level texturing with some amazing attentions to detail, I can only imagine the amount of man-hours that went into creating the textures to make this game look as good as it does, the animation is also smooth and well considered. I have all the certainty that I would never be able to create something as good look at my current level of skills.

Watch the Trailer for "Final Fantasy XIII-2" on Kotaku here!

The next trailer that Square Enix presented was for the upcoming "Final Fantasy: Type-0". Previously known as "Final Fantasy Agito XIII", Square Enix has since decided to try evolve the game into it's own "spin-off" series. The trailer depicts four waring fractions, focusing on the one that follows a Phoenix emblem, the trailer also shows game play which follows the "Action RPG" trend Square Enix have been having recently, it's not a bad thing and actually makes the game look dynamic and exciting, I'm getting quite excited for this game as it also seems you can control a range of characters. This looks to be one of the games to look towards for the PSP this coming year.

The texture and graphics follow the same stylisation as the other Final Fantasy games and looks just as gorgeous, these textures definitely need looking at further and I'm going to do a post on them later.

Watch the Trailer for "Final Fantasy: Type-0" on Kotaku here!

The final trailer is for the long talked about "Final Fantasy Versus XIII", with development starting in 2003 and the game itself being unveiled in 2006 that's a pretty long time for a game to be in development but the fruits of labor are finally beginning to show. The trailer shows of a realistic based world with the main character seemingly being of a high social status attending a party until it's disturbed by an attack from the military (or a similar organisation), it seems you play a character who is targeted for a crime or reason unrelated to him.

The game play shown in the trailer shows the same type of game play as "Type-0", in that it seems much more action orientated. This trailer just oozes with style from the sleek aesthetics of the city scenes to the character designs, the texturing seems to be on the same level as "Final Fantasy XIII" if not, a little more impressive/detailed. Even though this game is currently for the Playstation 3, if it stays that way it might be the reason that I'll buy one.

Watch the Trailer for "Final Fantasy Versus XIII" on Kotaku here!

With the exception of "Final Fantasy XIII-2", each game shows scenes of it's game play all with an "Action RPG" motif, and it all looks very exciting. The various narratives in each all look interesting but "Type-0" and "Versus" seems to be the most exciting, with no further info on the characters or the settings it's still hard to judge but considering Square Enix made a huge financial loss last year 2011 is already heating up to look bright for both the company and gamers.

So why do companies like Square Enix organise huge press conferences just to reveal some trailers for games that won't be coming out until six months later, at the least? Most obviously I believe it's about promotion, this helps spread information that these games exist which will hopefully increase sales once they're released.

It's seems the game industry is becoming more like the film industry with each passing year and games are soon becoming more of a consumer product rather than just entertainment, they have to make and sell these products to make a profit, take for example 12 years ago a sequel to a Final Fantasy game seemed illogical but in the world of business it happens more often with spin offs and collections.

As a product they also need to show examples of their work and proof that it's of a high quality to reassure current investors whilst also enticing new ones. Ultimately this is all to help the company grow larger and you can't blame companies for doing this, the only backlash that might happen is an over saturation of "Final Fantasy" games in the market, maybe Square Enix needs to consider creating a new IP to help grow? In the end all the promotion surround a game(s) is just to boost sales and strength of the company and by scaling the hype around press conference interest in the subject will increase substantially resulting in more sales.

The most important thing though is that for fans of RPGs is that Square Enix seems to have 2011 sorted out for us!

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