A better class of art thief
I never played Secret of Mana 2 on the Super Nintendo, but I could recognize its trees in a blink. I saw them in countless other games, their lush branches decorating the corners of fantasy worlds filled with magic, dragons, and bugs. Oh, so many bugs. I’ve never played the first Star Ocean, the Suikoden series, Terranigma, or Chrono Trigger. But I know them. They are games I’ve always appreciated in a disjointed state, their plants and furniture dissected and laid out on sprite sheets like tiny organs on an autopsy table.
I saw all this because, when I was a teenager, I illegally ripped art assets from commercial games. Read the rest of this entry »
Ranked in the correct order, finally
A group of Final Fantasy fans divided against themselves cannot cast fire. Or so the saying goes. For too long we’ve been at war about which is “the best”. Sliding roman numerals around on a table until one of us gets upset and starts using bad language. Let’s end this, here, today. Let’s look at each other, earnestly, with open minds and opener hearts, and regard one another as friends, allies in a world that doesn’t understand us. Let’s look not to the past, but to the future!
And also at this definitive list of Final Fantasy games available on PC ranked in perfect order.
Don’t worry, there’s only nine of them.
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The big interview
The royal boyband roadtrip adventure that is Final Fantasy XV is almost here. In just under two weeks, Square Enix’s ginormous JRPG will finally arrive on PC, a little over a year after it first came out on console. Yes, it gets a little bit bogged down by its wonky story beats, but to dismiss it because of that would be to ignore all the brilliant things it does right, like chronicling your journey with amazing photographs. It also helps that the PC version looks properly brilliant. Yes, you’ll need an Iron Giant-sized PC in order to run it, but more thoughts on that are coming separately soon.
Here, I have a talk with the game’s technical director and lead programmer Takeshi Aramaki and game design and development manager Kenichi Shida (and their translator) about all things XV on PC. We cover just about everything but if you’re after hot mod chat that’s over here. There was also a surprise gatecrashing by the game’s director, Hajime Tabata, about ten minutes in, so I got to hear what the big boss had to say about the PC version as well. Let the battle music commence. Read the rest of this entry »
Listen now for exposition
You’d think we could agree on four simple letters. But nothing is ever straightforward on RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. This week the gang are talking JRPGs, or Japanese role-playing games to use some real words for human people. Does a game have to be made in Japan to be defined as an JRPG? Or does it just need some bright colours and lots of turn-based battles? Maybe it only needs a boss behind a boss (and then another boss behind that one)? Come with us into the petty world of the genre bouncer, as we examine the shoes of dozens of games and decide whether or not they’re allowed into the JRPG nightclub.
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An absolute bangaa
There’s a race of beings in Final Fantasy XII called the Bangaa. They have the snout of a crocodile, the squat of an ape and the arms of an entire gymnasium. Their ears are colourful leathery drapes, their lips adorned with piercings and trinkets. One of them, a shopkeeper called Migelo, resembles a rehabilitated Watto. Others are menacing bounty hunters. But they all have strange voices. Not otherworldly or fantastical, I mean strange in the sense that the voice actors can’t decide between a Scottish, Jamaican or West Country accent, and often speak as hackneyed villains. In a lot of ways, these scaly people encapsulate how I feel about this late-to-the-PC-party JRPG. They are both good-looking and incredulous. Flawed works of biological art that I can’t help but like, even when my better judgement often says “no”. Read the rest of this entry »
Listen now or be monstered
They lurk, they creep, they skulk and weep. Monsters in videogames can be as simple as a big spiky cyclops ball, or as unsettling as a sobbing woman in a rainy alleyway. This week on the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, the team is talking about their favourites, from flaming skulls to digitally possessed diving suits, and the clever ways in which game monsters inspire heebies, jeebies, creeps and sometimes even willies. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy birthday, fans
It’s the 30th birthday of Final Fantasy, says Square Enix. The first in the series was released in Japan on this day in 1987 and an old story goes that the name was chosen because Square was in financial trouble at the time – almost bankrupt – and it was likely to be their last game. But that’s rubbish, the creator later said in an interview. It turns out any old F-word would have done.
It’s nevertheless a series worth celebrating. A tropey, dopey JRPG series that somehow manages to be comforting and friendly. At least, some of the time. Here’s the highs and lows of the series. Read the rest of this entry »
A Prompto recovery
The royal road trip of Final Fantasy XV [official site] is coming to PC (and with planned mod support too), it was announced this week during Gamescom. That’s good, we like road trips on RPS. So to find out more I sat in a room with the game’s director Hajime Tabata and his translator to quiz him on the origins of Prompto’s camera, the mysterious Final Fantasy committee, sports cars, and the big question: just who is the best boy in the band? Read the rest of this entry »