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  • New Square-Enix RPG Announced

    Square Enix Announces The Last Remnant
    A new title for a new generation.
    by Jason Allen

    May 10, 2007 - Square Enix is looking to blaze new trails in the new generation of game development. Today they announced The Last Remnant, a multiplatform RPG scheduled to release on both the PS3 and Xbox 360.

    There all kinds of elements that make this game a unique project for Square Enix. For one, the game will release in Japan and the U.S. on the same day. So the localization is taking place during the initial stage of development. Secondly, the team is using the Unreal Engine's development tools to develop the game. So for all of the conspiracy theorists out there that said Square Enix was ditching the white engine and using Unreal to make Final Fantasy XIII, please proceed to put your foot in your mouth

    Interestingly enough, there were no trailers for this game at the press conference. Instead, they showed off actual gameplay footage, which included giving everyone a taste of what the environments are like. The demo started with the opening sequence of the game. The main character, Rush Sykes, is wondering through the forest, looking for someone (the name sounded female). There's a ton of foliage everywhere, not as dense as Crysis, but decent. All of sudden he hears a battle in the distance and rushes to a ledge to see what's going on.

    In the distance we see a war getting ready to jump off. There are all kinds of fantastic creatures, some completely foreign and imaginative, some more identifiable. One in particular looks like a cat with four arms. It's obvious at this point to see what the Unreal engine is really good at, and that's rendering bumpy textures. So the enemies with lizard-like skin benefit the most from the strengths of the Unreal engine, but the furry cat dude, not so much. Nevertheless, there are a ton of characters on screen, all executing various animations that seem unique to their own volitions. A captain of sorts readies his warriors, and a large tube that looks as though it will act as a cannon is brought to the front line. The action follows shortly thereafter with Rush yelling out a name and rushing into the middle of the battle. We're told that everything we saw was rendered in real-time. Considering how detailed all the textures and lighting were, this little intro demonstrates how narrow the gap has become between game graphics and CG animation.

    After the intro concludes, we're taken on tour of some of the cities in the game. First there's a map of the world (complete with a rippling ocean) and players can select where they want to go. Then there's an image of the city that functions like the world map. Each city we saw had its own "Remnant." In the context of the game, this is a huge artifact that entire cities are built around. In the first city we go to, there's a huge sword in the ground; its hilt juts into sky for miles. The second city had a huge dragon as its "Remnant." The first thing that jumps out to most viewers is how close the environments are to Final Fantasy XII. Any one of the cities we were shown could have been a place in Ivalice. The difference here is all of the texture the walls and ground have.

    After touring a few caves we got a chance to see some action. The combat wasn't explained in detail, but from what we could tell, users control huge groups of fighters. The groups are mapped to go fight other groups of enemies on a "planning" overhead map. Once the enemies are chosen, everyone engages them and the animation sequence plays out. During these sequences, players are instructed to press the proper face buttons on time, or else they're "late" and the attacks are less successful. Well timed attacks yield awesome results, good gory violent results. When things really heat up, summons come into play. From what we can tell, the summons are the Remnants, and they can go head-up against other Remnants. The main character, Rush, summoned a giant stone-like beast named Cyclops, who proceeded to do battle with a giant bird. The scale and vastness of the battle field was pretty spectacular, with a ton of detail paid to each warrior fighting on it.

    There's no release date yet but we'll spill the beans as soon as we get them.

    ~ First Images

  • #2
    A Little more detailed preview:

    The Last Remnant First Look
    Square Enix unveils a new role-playing game franchise for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
    By Ricardo Torres, GameSpot
    Posted May 10, 2007 6:11 pm PT

    The Last Remnant is an upcoming game from Square Enix that the company is viewing as a new pillar of its role-playing game business for the new generation of consoles. This is a wholly original game that the publisher believes will be the start of a new franchise targeted at Japanese and US audiences. Though The Last Remnant is still a ways off from release, it was shown at a recent press conference held by the Japanese studio where work in-progress footage of the game was shown. While still in an early stage of development, the game showed a promising mix of Square's familiar bag of tricks and some interesting new ideas.

    The game follows a young man named Rush Sykes who gets sucked into some pretty spectacular circumstances. Though the game's story wasn't discussed in depth, we got the sense, from the opening cinema, that Rush might just be a reluctant hero. The game's opening scene was shown and, in a departure from most of Square's games, featured a real-time cinematic using the game's graphics engine. Though the intro sequence was also a work-in-progress, it was close to matching the production values of the epic pre-rendered Square's games are known for. The sharp, Unreal Engine-powered visuals were highlighted by slick, cinematic camera angles and an ambitious sense of scale. The intro opened with Rush walking through a lush forest looking for someone. His attention was drawn to the highly detailed foliage, providing a glamour moment to showcase the game's lighting, bump-mapping, and particle effects. Upon hearing a commotion off in the distance, he raced to the edge of the forest and wound up on a cliff overlooking a vast battleground with two opposing armies preparing to square off. The camera swooped in, offering dramatic views of the assembled forces, which included humans as well as humanoid lizards and animal men. Large beasts carrying soldiers and assorted heavy artillery also appeared among the ground troops. As the forces began to clash, a soldier--who looked a bit like Vhaan from Final Fantasy XII thanks to his perfectly-styled, dirty blonde locks--started to throw down by using a crazy eye patch and an enormous cannon-like weapon. This is also around the same time young Rush apparently saw his special lady in the middle of the mess, and waded down into the chaos. The trailer faded to white, leaving what happens next a mystery. We reckon this point in the story would be a great place to throw players in to a rolling tutorial as all hell breaks loose, but we'll see.

    Following the intro scene, producer Nobuyuki Ueda offered some context and a tour of the game's world, courtesy of a series of gameplay segments. The game's work-in-progress world map was a massive 2D representation of the continent with labeled points you can select to drop in. The points represented proper cities as well as smaller towns and assorted points of interest, but the adventure will span a massive world. The true cause of the conflict that Rush sees at the beginning of the game is a struggle for control of ancient items called remnants. The relics are apparently objects of power that are scattered throughout the world. Unlike other RPGs in which similar items are tiny and hard to find, the relics in the Last Remnant are anything but subtle. One of the first stops on Ueda's tour of the game was one of the major cities in the game called Athlum, whose centerpiece was a Remnant shaped like a massive sword stuck right in the center of town. The towering blade, apparently known as the Valerai Heart, was visible from all parts of town and looked pretty imposing. Rush was shown running through a town square teeming with inhabitants of varying species--though most were human, there was a variety of lizard folk as well, in small and large varieties. The segment in Athlum showed off different parts of the town, again navigated from a 2D map with selectable points. Rush was shown interacting with some of the townsfolk, including one of the smaller lizard folk, identified in a text box as a "friendly qsiti."

    The next bit of the world shown was a point on the world map named Siebenur, a dungeon-like cave interior chock full of monsters. You'll trigger combat by walking right into your enemies. Ueda noted that the game won't have random encounters. The cave interior was a dimly lit area with monsters, mossy foliage, and running water that kicked up as Rush ran through it. There appeared to be a few routes off the main path that lead to other areas within the cave.

    The next stop was the city of Nagapur, another metropolis sprawling around another remnant. Unlike in Athlun, Nagapur's remnant took the form of a massive, skeletal dragon. As with the tour of Athlun, Ueda showed off different areas of Nagapur, all with people milling about, showing the massive dragon from different angles. The look at Nagapur included another look at a separate part of the map that was tied to the dragon city, the aqueducts. The area was just that, a sewer filled with grimy water and surly monsters eager to cause trouble.

    The last two areas shown, Vale of the Gods and Yamarn Plain, showcased areas that appear tailor-made to be dramatic set pieces. Vale of the Gods is a canyon bounded by massive cliffs that showcased more of the game's sexy water effects. Monsters were visible in the area, and so was a totem-like object, which Ueda identified as a treasure chest which contained useful items. Yamarn Plain was actually the area shown in the intro sequence and was designed to be a battlefield. The area was less populated than it was in the cinematic sequence, but there were still a healthy number of enemies milling around the area.

    The plain locale served as the perfect segue for Ueda to introduce another member of the team, Hiroshi Takai, director of the game's battle system. Takai noted that the key to Last Remnant's battle system is that it lets players control large groups of combatants with a simple control scheme. The feature is important because of the dynamic nature of the battles. Once you engage an enemy, both your forces and theirs can grow larger, due to reinforcements being summoned during the course of a battle. We saw an example of the way this system works while watching footage of the game.

    In battle, Rush engaged a group of enemies with a force of his own. The fight began traditionally with a menu that seemed to initiate the actual skirmish. Once the forces began fighting, the camera zipped around the battlefield, zooming in on some fighters and flashing button prompts. Apparently, if you enter the correct button inputs in time, a descriptive text will flash onscreen to call out whether you succeeded or failed. During the battle, various fighters could be heard talking to each other. There seems to be a number of different factors that come into play during battle, and one of the more important aspects seems to be positioning. Another interesting aspect to the text alerts was that they seemed to indicate when some groups were working well together. For example, a group of small qsisti lizard men cast a deadly, explosive fire spell that took out some enemies in one fiery blow that popped up a note about their being in sync.

    As the fight progressed, enemy forces called in reinforcements which affected a bar at the top of the screen that appeared to be tracking the status of allies and enemies on the battlefield, possibly morale. When the enemy reinforcements, which included a massive flying beast, arrived, the bar favored the enemy faction. However, it evened out once Rush called his own special buddy, a giant clockwork Cyclops summoned from a crystal.

    We also noticed that, as the battle raged, the game's soundtrack changed dynamically. Takai noted that the soundtrack would change to reflect how you were doing in battle. As far as what kind of music played, the theme playing was big on rock music and screeching guitars. While the battlefield can grow larger as both sides summon help, it's apparently also possible for wandering enemies to be attracted by the fighting and join in. Takai stated that although there are some familiar aspects to the game's combat, the team hopes to make it a new experience. Based on what we saw in the demo, the game's combat certainly looks like it will certainly be a change of pace from what we're used to in Square Enix's RPGs.

    Based on what was shown off so far, The Last Remnant seems like a unique new entry into Square Enix's robust library of RPGs. The game's visuals are already looking great and the gameplay looks like it has an intriguing mix of familiar and new elements. The game is slated to ship simultaneously in the US and Japan for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 sometime in the future. Look for more on the game in the coming months

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice. IF anything, i thought this was the 360 exclusive they had planned but should be interesting.

      Edit: Looks pretty sick:





      Last edited by Apathy; 05-11-2007, 05:02 AM.
      Ready to pop you like the cork and wine
      Ready to pop you like the cherry on a gorgeous dime

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