Why am I so excited for a HD Remaster?

FFX HD RemasterAs it gets closer and closer to release I find myself getting more excited to play the HD Remaster versions of Final Fantasy X and X-2. I suppose it has something to do with the major nostalgia factor that Final Fantasy X has for people around my age. Sure I had played Final Fantasy VII through IX on the PSone but when FFX hit the PS2 in Europe in 2002, (almost a year after its release in Japan!) I was 15 and at just the right age to really understand the key themes and thrust of the story in a way I had not with the previous games.

Tidus’ journey into adulthood with the innocence of his youth being stripped away as the hours of gameplay went by reflected certain aspects of my life at the time. It also helped that Tidus as a somewhat annoying character (but not as annoying a Squall that mopey bastard) was surrounded by one of the best casts of characters in a Final Fantasy game. (Please feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments below!) The world of Spira was a setting that mixed the post-cyberpunk/neo-gothic stylings of FFVII and VIII with a traditional fantasy setting to deliver a unique world which has not been touched or replicated since X-2. It very much stands apart from the other Final Fantasy games because of this. It does not quite fit into the classic Nintendo or PSone eras of the franchise or into the modern cross-media hit and miss of the PS3/Xbox 360 titles. Hell it does not really fit in with the other PS2 era Final Fantasy games which both went for very traditional settings. X and X-2 are unique to the Final Fantasy franchise and I find it really odd that SquareEnix have not gone back to that particular well to plunder it for more spin-offs and new games. Such as my idea for a Blitzball Manager game for iOS. (Think about it. How awesome would that be?)

Also it helped that at the time of its initial release the game was one of the best looking games ever made, had an awesome combat system and non-linear character progression that was way ahead of its time. But hey I liked the world and the characters. A lot. It is also the only Final Fantasy game that whenever it is brought up in the eternal argument of which is the best Final Fantasy (hint: It is NOT Final Fantasy VII) that causes everyone to pause for a second and ponder before returning to their original and most likely, incorrect pick. (FYI the actual best Final Fantasy game is close tie between IX and XII)

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Link Storm

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I haven’t done one of these for a while! Here’s some interesting gaming, game design and other random crap that I find interesting related links!

Games We Play

This video is a tad annoying in its approach (I don’t know why I just find it annoying) but it is some interesting food for thought about how we can make a game out of pretty much anything. Even the most mundane tasks or huge amounts of bordom can drive people to create a game to help pass the time.

Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse Kickstarter

What’s this? A new Broken Sword game that looks like it will be really good? And it has Charles Cecil on board too? Am I dreaming? I will be backing this if I can scramble the money together for a pledge before the deadline.

Voting Open For The Golden Joystick Awards 2012

A surprising amount of top quality games have made the cut this year but it is your votes that will stop Call of Duty from sweeping the boards! Any guesses as to how many awards Skyrim will win on the night?

The Making Of: Final Fantasy VII – Edge

One of the many look backs at Final Fantasy VII that have popped up since the PC Port Re-release came out a week or so ago. It goes into some detail about the production of the game and the advancements it made at the time but then like all look backs at FFVII it ends up focusing heavily on the characters and story.

So, Tell Me About Yourself, Video Game – Kotaku

A piece championing the underused story telling device of having a narrator (both first and third person) in video games. I find it can go a long way to helping create a connection between the player and the game. Making the experience a lot more personal.

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Hearthfire – Official Trailer

The second piece of Skyrim DLC is all about building a home and leaving your mark on the world of the game with it and your family. Basically it takes all the family and home mechanics from the Fable games and gives them a nice in-depth Elder Scrolls twist. YAY for rewarding time sinks!

The Video Game As Game Changer – Gail Simone

Comic book writer Gale Simone muses on the story and narrative structure of games and in particular their tendency to have protracted or indefinite second acts which make up the meat of the player’s experience with the game. She also points out that this is pretty much the opposite of what is happening in the rest of fictional media such as TV and Film where the second act is becoming shorter and shorter.

SPEC OPS: THE LINE!!!!

You may not be aware that I recently played through Spec Ops: The Line and fell in love with its dark, disturbing, mind bending and gut wrenching story and gameplay. So while I am still currently obsessed with it here are some interesting links about it:

Extra Credits – Spec Ops: The Line Part 1 & Part 2

The Extra Credits team take a brilliant two part look at the game. With the first part glossing over things and drawing your attention to key themes, concepts and moments while enticing you to try the game out with the minimum of spoilers. The second part goes into detail about everything basically and is spoiler central as it explores how every facet of the game works together to create the whole experience.

Spec Ops multiplayer is “tacked-on bullshit” – Edge

Interestingly this piece has been making the rounds about the game’s lead designer, Cory Davis speaking out about the game’s multiplayer and how the publisher 2K forced it into the game. Made by a separate team the multiplayer is a big departure from the main game and is one of the reasons why many reviewers scored the game at 7 or 8’s out of 10. Hopefully other publishers will take this onboard and stop trying to shoehorn multiplayer into every game they publish.

Spec Ops: The Line – Zero Punctuation

Yahtzee gives a rare mostly positive review for the game highlighting the story and character/player connection.

No Good Deed – Narrative Design in Spec Ops: The Line – Gamasutra

Finally, Gamasutra provides an in-depth look at the narrative design for Spec Ops which is well worth reading. A great behind the scenes look and good example how ideas can grow and change over time.

Weekly Link Storm

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It’s been a quiet week around here for me as I have been mainly looking for jobs and relaxing. (Next week will be more productive I promise!) I will make up for the lack of actual content with a bumper bag of links!

So here’s your Sunday afternoon entertainment:

Get Into Games 2012 – Edge

Edge magazine’s yearly guide full of advice and helpful tips on how to get into the industry. This is mainly for people considering starting a degree course in a games industry related field but it does have a few pointers for those of us currently looking for work.

Square Enix will only remake Final Fantasy 7 after it betters original with a new Final Fantasy – Eurogamer

Thank god for that! I’m all for HD remakes and re-releases, in fact I am currently enjoying the Metal Gear Solid HD collection, but for Final Fantasy VII I will make an exception.  For Square like Yoichi Wada says if they were to do it, it would break their franchise. Simply because they still have to surpass it. SquareEnix know that if they announce a remake of FFVII no one will pay attention to FFXV whenever that rolls around.

Camilla Luddington portrays Lara Croft in new Tomb Raider game – Eurogamer

I’m linking to this for a couple of reasons:

  1. It is not often that you see the announcement of who is playing a character in a video game be big news.
  2. Luddington isn’t bad on the eyes. (I’m a man I can’t help it!)
  3. I find it incredibly funny that the women best known to me for this piece of trash is now playing one of gaming’s most iconic characters.

Fortnite Unveiling At Comic Con – GameInformer

Even though little is known about Fortnite I am looking forward to seeing more. Mainly because it is Epic showing they can do more than just grim’n’gritty shooters and iOS fighting games. The concept interests me too because I am a big fan of co-op play.

Batman Revisited, Part 1 – The Big Picture

In the run up to the release of the Dark Knight Rises, Movie Bob over on The Escapist is taking a look back at the Batman films from Tim Burton’s first stab right up to Batman & Robin. 

Dishonored’s two lead designers talk about magic, “breaking” the game, and amoral power – The PA Report

This preview/interview for Dishonored fleshes out a lot of the gameplay focuses for the game along with the design methodology. Mainly embracing when players break the game in interesting ways and adjust the overall experience accordingly. Interesting reading.

Power Creep – Extra Credits

This week’s Extra Credits is all about Power Creep and how it effects online games. It goes for the MMO angle but it applies to many types on online games, especially shooters with levelling and unlock systems.

SimCity Social is a collection of dirty tricks pretending to be game play – The PA Report

Oh EA, why must you do this with your Facebook games? Good, fun and engrossing gameplay should keep the player in the game and spending money. The payment system shouldn’t prevent them from enjoying the game!

Meet The Pyro – Valve

‘Nuff said.

Source Filmmaker – Valve

Along with Meet The Pyro, Valve decided to unleash their in-house editing suite upon the world, for free! It looks incredibly versatile and fairly easy to use. I’m looking forward to seeing what people come up with. I might also have a play around with it myself at some point!

The 25 Greatest Spider-Man Stories – IGN

A great list of the best the Spidey has to offer for readers and fans. It has a lot of modern classics on there which is refreshing because a lot of these types of lists for comic books never go past the 80s.

Gender Inclusive Game Design – rumirumirumirumi

Shared by rumirumirumirumi on the game design tag on Tumblr this PowerPoint Presentation is well worth a read. I wish I knew this existed when I was doing all my work on Core Female Gamers earlier this year!

The Most Important Character in Mass Effect 3 Never Even Showed Up Until After the Credits – Kotaku

This article sums up my feelings towards the various endings for Mass Effect 3 fairly well. Lover, hater or inbetweener I would suggest reading it.

A Day in the Life of Max Payne – timtimfed

As a long time fan of the Max Payne franchise this video had me laughing a lot!

Super Mario World Camera Logic Review – shauninman

A good look at the camera system for Super Mario World. Before watching I recommend trying to remember how the camera works. Then be prepared to realise how much work and thought has actually gone into it!

Rezzed

Finally I thought I would share the details for Rezzed, the PC and Indie Games Show that is happening down in Brighton on next Friday and Saturday (6th-7th July). I will be going on the Saturday and looking at all the Inide games on offer and hopefully chatting the people behind them. Borderlands 2 and Aliens: Colonial Marines might get a bit of a play too.