Weekend News Update
A few months ago an RPG arrived on the PC scene that was very much like a console role player, but not a port such as Final Fantasy VIII. Septerra Core got mixed reviews but ultimately managed to make a fan base for itself out there. Now Valkyrie Studios, the creators of Septerra Core have unveiled their latest projects, two of which venture into the world of RPGs.
The first game is a 2D PC RPG that more closely resembles Septerra Core and is currently codenamed 'Betty'. All that has been revealed of Betty so far is that the game will allow you to customize your characters, as well as there being many spell combinations.
The other PC RPG in the works is mysteriously known as 'Aria'. This will also supposedly be a 2D RPG(the pics show polygon for the landscape though). Aria is going to be big on interaction. The players actions will be what the directly affect the course of the story, rather than having to be forced on one linear path. No release dates have been given at this time.
Joining the online gaming craze is Verant Interactive(EverQuest) and LucasArts with their upcoming title based on the Star Wars universe. At the moment zero details have been revealed other than that the title has elements of combat, questing and or missions. Prepare to give in to your anger and walk with the darkside though. Players won't be able to lock horns with strange beasties or wield light sabers until 2001.
Falling into the world of the ever popular Black Isle Studios is more information on Icewind Dale, yet another RPG in the forgotten realms. IGNPC interviews designers Steve Bokkes and Josh Sawyer, and try to find out exactly what will make Icewind Dale unique amongst other RPGs.
Earlier this week it was reported that Yu Suzuki would release Shen Mue 2 which would contain several chapters bundled together. Now comes another bit of interest on Shen Mue. The sequel's improved graphics engine is said to display nearly fifty characters on screen at any given time. If that doesn't give players the feeling of walking through a crowded city street nothing will.
Last year one of the only(ok ok, THE only) RPGs to hit the Dreamcast was Sting's Evolution. Evolution was a game that was brought from Japan courtesy of Ubi Soft. Despite the repetitious gameplay and outright bashing it received from more than a few hard core RPG players, Evolution must have enjoyed some success, as now Ubi Soft is hard at work bring us the sequel, Evolution 2: Far Off Promise. Having extensively played both import versions of Evolution, I personally enjoyed the second adventure more. Besides, the Dreamcast could always use another RPG. Well...except for Climax Landers/Time Stalkers. =P
New details on Final Fantasy IX have surfaced. The game will have approximately 8 characters with which to form a party of four with, and feature a wider variety of races than before, like mice of all things. The huge floating ship is in actuality a flying theatre that visits from time to time. The main theme of Final Fantasy IX's storyline is supposed to mirror that of the upcoming Final Fantasy movie, but obviously the setting is far from identical. Final Fantasy IX will also introduce yet another new system from Square currently referred to as the 'combining system'. Each character will make use of this system in their own way. Final Fantasy IX is looking great so far. Two words, Yoshitaka Amano.
In an unrelated bit of Square news, the song from Final Fantasy VIII, Eyes on me won the Best Western Style Music Award on March 15. The Eyes on me single has sold over 400,000 copies in Japan. Why doesn't video game music ever sell here? Considering what Square payed Faye Wong to sing that song, I guess they should be elated they are getting their money's worth. =P
This concludes the lengthy news update. If any of you are still with me I thank you. Unless of course you cheated by skipping all the way down here, in which case I will do one of the many unspeakably evil things a person can do to someone on the web, like typing in all caps, using irc netspeak, or typing ":P" symbols after EVERY other sentence. =P Look, I'm doing it already! See, I warned you! =P Yeah, that'll learn ya. :)