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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:43 pm

Inside Square Enix
Going behind the scenes of one of gaming's most endearing and enduring forces.
by Dave McCarthy, IGN UK
UK, March 5, 2008 - Just before Christmas last year, Square Enix took a bunch of journalists to Japan, ready to see some of the games it plans to release in the west this year: The World Ends With You; Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings; Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates; Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker; and Dragon Quest Swords.

Among other things, the trip provided an opportunity to walk past Nicolas Cage and Mr Bean in the hotel that starred in Lost in Translation, drink in a bar so small that everybody in it had to get up and go outside to let anyone else in, and sing karaoke for three nights in a row (which is, apparently all it takes for the majority of British games journalists to embrace this singularly important aspect of Japanese culture: on the first night there were just two singers; by the third night the whole party was singing while dancing across chairs and tables). More than just celebrities and singing, though, the trip also offered a unique opportunity to find out exactly how Square Enix works. According to our hosts, the company has never before invited western games journalists into its headquarters; never before let any grubby outsiders in to see exactly how it keeps coming up with one blockbuster after another.



Square has built its reputation on compelling storylines and great characters, such as those in Crystal Chronicles.
Just around the corner from the aforementioned Lost in Translation hotel, Square Enix's head office is housed in a fairly unassuming building. It's big, sure, but there is little to suggest, from the outside, that it's home to one of the indisputable powerhouses of game creation. When Enix merged with Square back in April 2003, it brought together two of the best known publishers in Japan. The company's leading lights are, of course, the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy series (which have, respectively, totted up global sales of 43 million and 75 million at the last count). But between them, Square and Enix have been responsible for some of the most fondly remembered franchises since they started out in the mid-'80s days of the Famicom/NES.

There's the Mana series, Chrono series, Front Mission, Star Ocean, Kingdom Hearts and tonnes of others. The list of big-name RPG blockbusters is apparently endless. In 2005, the acquisition of Taito added the likes of Space Invaders and Bubble Bobble to the company's release schedule, and recent years have also seen it branch into online gaming like the massively multiplayer Final Fantasy XII. A couple of years ago, when the leading Japanese videogame magazine, Famitsu, picked its top 100 games of all time, 25 of them were Square Enix titles, seven of them in the top ten. And if you're still not convinced that Square Enix is one of the most important videogame publishers in history, just think how different things could have been if Square had decided to create Final Fantasy for Nintendo's N64 cartridges, or if Microsoft had taken a stake in the company shortly before the Japanese launch of the original Xbox.

Taichi Inuzuka, producer of Dragon Quest Monsters, wanted to make a DS game that was visually on par with the console version of DQ.
With so many different teams working on so many different games, it probably shouldn't surprise you to learn that some of the company's brilliance can be attributed to the friendly rivalry that exists between development teams. While discussing the latest Crystal Chronicles, the game's producer joked about having to go back to the drawing board after seeing what another part of the company had done with Final Fantasy III, for example. Dragon Quest Monsters producer, Taichi Inuzuka, meanwhile, talks of his desire to emulate the technical achievements of the main Dragon Quest series: "These are different teams making different games, so we're not like blood rivals or anything like that, but when we made Joker, we definitely did try to create a game with graphics that could come close to being on par with what was provided in Dragon Quest VIII. So there was a bit of rivalry, but in a good sense, where we were trying to create a game that could live up to that graphics standard."

Inuzuka also points out, however, the need for each of Square Enix's mega-talented development teams to keep a healthy distance from each other, too. "If you had the Final Fantasy Team giving lots of advice to the Dragon Quest team, the difference is going to fade and so the game would lose something," he says. "Even Dragon Quest VIII and Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker have a degree of individuality that needs to be kept in place." His counterpart on Dragon Quest Swords, Ryutaro Ichimura, agrees. "There is definitely a bit of communication between different teams," he says. But part of the reason for that communication is so that the company doesn't come up with two games that are too similar to each other: "An example would be DQVIII versus FFXII," he continues. "Some of the development cycle was shared between the two and so they shared a little bit just to make sure that they didn't make two games that were more similar than they should be."
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:43 pm

Apart from this healthy intra-company competitiveness though (which surely exists at other publishers), how does Square Enix come up with such rich characters and intricate worlds, and how do they bring their narratives so memorably to life? Well, a lot of hard work, obviously (it's tough not to sympathise when our hosts are frequently called away from karaoke to work late into the evenings). But what else? The company's almost windowless offices continue to give little away, until we're escorted into the sound department.

After taking off our shoes, we're invited in to a recording studio that's full of odd bric-a-brac – a sword and armour in one corner, and a variety of different shoes in the other. And in the centre of the room, a sunken pit, covered by a selection of different floor surfaces, such as the sort of metal grille that you might find in some of the company's sci-fi settings. Then, a small demonstration of how they lovingly and laboriously record each and every sound that you've ever heard in a Square Enix game; stomping across the surfaces in different footwear, swinging sword against armour from a variety of angles. As a games journalist, it's exactly the sort of thing you yearn to see in development studios: developers taking pedantic pains to get things absolutely right, while having an excellent time doing it.



For Revenant Wings the team wanted to make a battle game that used the stylus, reveals producer Eisuke Yokoyama.
But back to those characters, and the in-game stories that have amazed gaming audiences for the past few decades. Which comes first? The characters? Or the story? Or the game design? Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's different for each game. Here's Revenant Wings producer, Eisuke Yokoyama, for example: "For Revenant Wings we started off wanting to make a Final Fantasy game for the Nintendo DS using the stylus and featuring a battle system that would involve and revolve around the stylus. At that point we hadn't decided particularly which title it would be tied to. So for Revenant Wings' case, it began with the design of the game first, and then after Final Fantasy XII had come out and done well, it was decided that we would tie in that story to this game." And since the development of the game was turned around so quickly, very little was adjusted from the original game after the plot was decided.

World Ends With You directors Tatsuya Kando and Takeshi Arakawa: "We wanted to do something different from a fantasy world like Final Fantasy."
By contrast, a project like Dragon Quest Swords involved a much more flexible process, even though it, too, stemmed from a design concept modelled around the Wii controller. "You've got a team that gets together that starts to figure out the story they want to tell and the world that it takes place in," says Ryutaro Ichimura. "You get sketches of locations and places and characters and monsters sent to the development team, to the programmers, and then they take those sketches and turn them into graphics. And once you reach a certain stage where the world is intact you start putting the characters in and like a puzzle you fit it all together."

One of the company's most unusual releases this year is The World Ends With You, because it takes all of the hallmarks of a Square Enix title – a rich cast of characters caught up in an epic quest narrative, supported by solid RPG game mechanics – and transposes them to the modern day setting of Tokyo's fashionable Shibuya district. Two of the game's directors, Tatsuya Kando and Takeshi Arakawa, explain that it, too, featured a design that evolved over the course of development: "We knew we wanted to do something different from a fantasy world like FF. We wanted to make it more real, based on the real lives of people. So we knew we were going to set the story in Shibuya. But then the game design adds to it and it's a mixture [of design and story]." They also explain that the visual appearance of the game's characters evolved out of the personality that the writers had decided upon, with artists creating sketches based on descriptions (rather than the other way round).
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:44 pm

It must be said though, that in terms of character design, the company does have one advantage: many of the Square Enix employees we met over the course of our trip appeared to resemble in-game characters in one way or another: our Crystal Chronicles translator could easily be mistaken for Final Fantasy X's blitzball star, Wakka; Eisuke Yokoyama dresses every bit as stylishly as Balthier the Sky Pirate; and, unfortunately, it's difficult to shake off the feeling that Joker producer Taichi Inuzuka looks a bit like King Trode from Dragon Quest VIII.



There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing during the artwork process of Dragon Quest Monsters Joker.
Even with this advantage, however, a lot of effort goes into making those characters truly unforgettable. Again, though, the exact process varies from title to title: "With Joker we started with the logo, and we wanted a cool design, a cool image there," explains Inuzuka. "Then we took that and showed it to Akira Torayama, who does the art for the Dragon Quest series. We showed that to him and told him we were going for something kinda cool, something new. So he does some artwork for us and we check it out. It's a back and forth process, he puts something out and we're like, 'Nah, he looks too much like the main character from Blue Dragon, so tweak it a little bit, give us something new.' And so goes back and forth like that till we finally came up with the character we've got."

In spite of all of the effort that goes into designing memorable characters and dramatic storylines, one of the major criticisms levelled at Square has been its traditional reliance on producing sequel after sequel. There is, as is so often noted, an unsubtle irony to a game called 'Final Fantasy' spawning over 20 games, and the past 12 months or so has seen a raft of re-releases, such as Final Fantasy III on the DS, or Final Fantasy Tactics on the PSP. A lot of that, however, is down to the 20th anniversary of the series arriving in 2006, and the company's desire to give new audiences an opportunity to play these games.

In any case, the criticism is misplaced: although many observers are reluctant to admit it, over the course of its long history, Square Enix has a proven track record of embracing new technology, new hardware, and new ideas, whether that's by releasing games on Sony's newfangled CD-ROMs when they were introduced back in 1997, or advocating environmentalism long before global warming made it fashionable.

For The World Ends With You Square Enix has created a world completely different from anything in Final Fantasy.
Nowhere is this forward-looking approach more evident than in the company's latest crop of games, whether it's taking Dragon Quest and transforming it to fit the Wii, turning Final Fantasy into a stylus-based RTS, or applying the sort of rich character and story that you'd expect from one of their fantasy/sci-fi epics to a contemporary setting. Indeed, in many ways, The World Ends With You embodies the real reason behind the continuing success of Square Enix. It's embraced the cutting-edge street culture of Shibuya to create a game that combines music, fashion, food, design, psychic powers and shopping (!). Which, actually, makes it unlike pretty much anything out there. It's a new concept for new hardware that the company hopes to turn into a new franchise. And so it encapsulates the way Square Enix is constantly striving for new ideas and, ultimately, continued excellence.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:45 pm

new mariokart wii footage http://media.wii.ign.com/media/949/949580/vids_1.html
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:50 am

cool

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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:39 am

The TV Guide Channel was confirmed a while back. No screenshots or information has been revealed. All we knew is that we will be able to search for TV listings on our Nintendo Wii's. That's it. Well today, the channel has been released in Japan! New information and videos have been released.

Basically, the TV Guide Channel is a TV guide on your Nintendo Wii. You simply download the channel for free, and register your location and time zone. The channel will then pop up with TV listings of upcoming television programs. You then click on the TV show that's on right now and click to watch it.




The Care Program allows you to set a set a date for a TV show and in 30 minutes before the TV show is on, you will receive a Wii message saying that the show you are seeking is about to come on. You can also register your email address or cell phone, and you will receive messages to those as well!




While watching a show on your Nintendo Wii, you can use the Wiimote as your TV remote. This will control your volume and channel viewing.




Here is a video of the "TV Wiimote" in action: GameVideos.com - Nintendo Wii JPN 'TV Guide Channel'

That is all the details I know of. I will keep you guys updated once I hear new information about the TV Guide Channel! As for now, you guys can discuss about this channel. I will end this article with a video of the channel:
YouTube - TV Guide Channel GET!

Source from: Translated version of http://www.nintendo.co.jp/wii/features/tv_no_tomo/[/

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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:29 am

New Cheerleading game to utilize the Wii Balance Board.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Odd, but seemingly true news has risen that will surely give the cheerleader in all of us something to cheer about. A new video game is being developed by THQ, which is set to transform the Wii Balance Board into whatever cheerleaders stand on in a new game called All-Star Cheerleader.

Unfortunately very little about this game has been noted, but THQ CEO Brian Farrel did mention that the game will utilize the Wii Balance Board in some way. More on this news as it breaks.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:45 am

i heard about that 2
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:56 am

i know,wats up with nintendo at the moment?
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:08 am

idk Razz all regions get mario kart in april, europe-april 11, japan-april 10, america-april 28, austrailia-april...sumthing Razz
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:06 pm

april 28 huh i doubt it

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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:28 pm

it was confirmed by nintendo, soooo yeah...
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:17 pm

wooo 2 days from my bday lol
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:41 am

lucky, i have just enough money left 4 it Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:25 am

thats what they said about ssbb(


releasng in 4 hours and 30 min)

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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Sun Mar 09, 2008 9:17 am

released! Very Happy i owning it! level 20! subspace emissary!
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:45 pm

LOL
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:46 pm

i beat it, tabuu is rly hard!
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:10 am

im getting it within 5 days!!!
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:15 am

Error Code for Super Smash Bros. Brawl?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today, Super Smash Bros. Brawl has officially been released. After many delays, we finally have it. Yes, we are all very excited. But apparently many of the games disc won't work on your Nintendo Wii. You always get an error code. This is because Super Smash Bros. Brawl utilizes a double-layer disc which has a large memory capacity. A very small percentage of Wii consoles may have trouble consistently reading data off this large capacity disc if there is some contamination on the lens of the disc drive.

Here is what the Nintendo site says:

Super Smash Bros. Brawl utilizes a double-layer disc which has a large memory capacity. A very small percentage of Wii consoles may have trouble consistently reading data off this large capacity disc if there is some contamination on the lens of the disc drive. Nintendo has specialized cleaning equipment that can resolve this problem. (Please do NOT attempt to clean the lens yourself, as you may damage the system.)

“How can I get this fixed and how long will it take?”
If you are experiencing disc read errors, please utilize the form below to request a repair order. Nintendo is upgrading inbound and outbound shipping to expedite the total repair process. Specific repair times will be provided as you fill out the repair form below. There is no cost for the repair or shipping. Please note: returning the game to the retail store will not solve the problem. So we encourage users who are experiencing issues with playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl to utilize this repair order process.

“What if I have Virtual Console games or other stored data on my Wii console?”
Due to the nature of this particular issue, you should not lose any of your stored data. In some rare cases you may have to re-download your Virtual Console games from the Wii Shop Channel, but there is no cost to doing so.

“Who can use this form?”
Consumers who are at least 13 years old, and live in:

* The continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii
* Puerto Rico
* U.S. Territories (such as Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
* APO/FPO addresses

Repair Form
To begin the repair process, please complete this short repair form. After you submit this form, you will be sent an e-mail with complete instructions on how to proceed with your free factory repair. Please ensure you provide a valid e-mail address.

If your copy of Brawl doesn't work, then please visit the site below.

http://www.nintendo.com/consumer/repair/repair_form_us_ssbb.jsp
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:15 am

Animal Crossing Wii in 2008?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Although there has been very little information about Animal Crossing Wii, it seems that the rumored title is set to be released sometime this year in Japan.

Nintendo UK's Official Magazine had a small article regarding the upcoming Animal Crossing game for the Wii, with a quote stating "It’s been a long wait but Animal Crossing Wii will arrive in 2008."

As you'd expect, still no word regarding how this game will utilize the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection or the Wii for that matter. I will keep you posted.
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:45 am

yeah th error happened to me once teh first time i put it in then from there its worked fine

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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:07 am

yea so its not a huge prbolem
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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:36 pm

i know i aint saying its a big poblem

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PostSubject: Re: news/reviews/previews   Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:09 am

ok mariokart wii doesnt ship in
US till june... Sad either it was moved bak or it was wrong Sad every1 else in april! damn nintendo!
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