Mon, 29 February 2016
This week, we discuss the post Golden 2D RPG Era within Square, and Enix.
History of Square-Enix - Part V
by Joseph DeGolyer
Last time we talked about the golden era of the 2D RPG, but it’s 1996 now in our timeline, and that can only mean one thing… 3 dimensions. But how exactly did we get to 3 dimensions? Well, we’re gonna have to spin back the clock another 10 years.
The Playstation began its life in 1986 as a joint venture between Nintendo and Sony (weird right? But this was before they were competitors). Nintendo wanted Sony to develop a CD ROM add-on for their SNES console that they would call the SNES-CD.
No one’s quite sure why, but the joint project never panned out. Some people cite behind-the-scenes drama between Ken Kutaragi (who some dub “the father of the playstation”) and some back-channel dealings with Nintendo. EIther way, Sony and Nintendo’s partnership would be over for now, and Sony would take the technology used on the SNES-CD, and use it to develop their own gaming console.
Sony briefly went to Sega to help develop the CD-centered technology, but Sega refused (mistake!!!!!!), and Sony was left to their own devices. Sony’s Play Station (two words) was announced in 1991, still made for SNES quality technology. At this, Nintendo filed a lawsuit on the claim that Nintendo still had the rights to the name “Play Station”, but as all the tech used was Sony’s, the judge refused Nintendo’s injunction.
Following the lawsuit, various deals with Nintendo were made and broken, and Sony, wanting to be free of Mario’s litigious grasp, did the only thing they could to get Nintendo off their backs: they changed the console from having the name “Play Station” (two words) to “Playstation” (one word).
At this point, Sony decided to beef up the system for a new generation of home consoles, focusing on the ability of the console to render 3D Polygons as opposed to 2D sprites.
In December of 1994 the Playstation console was released, selling 2 million units on launch and officially kicking the 5th generation of video game consoles into high gear (Sega’s system, the Sega Saturn sold 1/10th that of the Playstation only 2 months earlier). With this, CD’s were “in”, Sega was out, and a new console juggernaut was on the scene.
Of course, Nintendo would be back with a vengeance with their own 5th gen gaming console: The Nintendo 64.
The N64 was released in June of 1996 and would prove to be the defining system of the late-90’s. Sure, Sony had their fancy new CD tech, but Nintendo had the brand, and was already the publisher for many iconic games and game developers, including Square Co.
Many companies, including that of Enix, decided to begin publishing games for a variety of consoles, ostensibly to see what “stuck”, and initially published games for all 3 major systems at the time. They gave Saturn the games Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari and Nin Pen Man Maru in 1997, as well as Riven (the japanese version of the Sequel to the hit game “Myst”) and Nihondaihyō Chiimu no Kantoku ni Narou! in 1998.
Enix also gave a go on the N64 with the games Wonder Project J2: Koruro no Mori no Josette (1996)--a weird, culty, anime story “life-simulation” game-- and Mischief Makers (1997)--a side-scrolling platform game developed by “Treasure”, often seen as a forgotten N64 Classic--.
My only assumption is that the games didn’t sell all that well on either system, and after 1998, Enix would publish exclusively on the playstation (but we’ll get more into that next time).
Mon, 22 February 2016
This week, we humbly welcome one of our Patrons to the show! We discuss Brad's Final Fantasy origins, and his ranking within the Final Fantasy series. We discuss the series through his eyes, since he's been playing the series since Final Fantasy VI. He takes a very different approach to Final Fantasy VII, citing it around mid quality as a game. The main reasons for this is from coming off of Final Fantasy VI, he felt slightly disappointed. Brad has played his fair share of Final Fantasy XI, and Final Fantasy XIV as well, even being a legacy player in the latter title. Once we review his history with the Final Fantasy series, we play a round of Stump the Host, with Joe finally securing a well fought win over Brad. We then turn to the questions segment, discussing the Final Fantasy VII remake. Brad was quite skeptical of the remake, Joe was as well. Kaleb, on the other hand, has become soft on the idea of a Final Fantasy VII remake. Enjoy the grind!!
Mon, 15 February 2016
This week, we bring back the popular Mythic Origins segment. We feature Mythic Origins of the Summons, Part Three. We dig into the origins of Yojimbo, Phoenix, and Golem. We then reminisce about the usefulness of each summon throughout the Final Fantasy series, and discuss what we hope the summons in Final Fantasy XV will turn out to be. We also discuss the rebirth of common summons throughout the series, and talk about ones lost, and how we would be interested in their resurrection. We then answer some great user submitted questions, and read a few stellar reviews. Enjoy the episode!
Yojimbo- Translates into Bodyguard. Appears in Final Fantasy X. The usage of this name for the summon is fairly effective, as you have to buy Yojimbo’s service from the get go, and then continue to pay him for each of his four moves. Diagoro, the dog of Yojimbo, will attack during the weakest of the attacks. Kozuka is the attack where Yojimbo throws multiple knives at enemies, where Wakizashi is the air slicing atttack. Then the Zanmato. The ultimate of the attacks. This is an attack that is borrowed from Odin. Odin’s was called Zantetsuken, but they’re essentially the same attack.
Phoenix- A Greek fire creature that is said to rise from it’s own ashes of demise around every 500 years. Phoenix is arguably one of the most useful summons in the series, yet I found myself rarely using the epic resrrection ability associated with summoning the creature.
Golem- From Jewish mythology. A Golem is a mud creature that is brought to life when a righteous person writes “emet”, or truth, onto its body. The most popular Golem was supposedly created by Rabbi Judah Loew in order to defend the Jews of the Prague Ghetto from antisemitic attacks, mainly for the Blood Libel. The blood libel is an accusation that Jews kidnap and murder christian Children to use their blood as part of their religious rituals during their holidays.
Sun, 7 February 2016
This week, Kaleb and Joe discuss their altered rankings for the Final Fantasy series. Rather than ranking the games in terms of what makes Final Fantasy great, they break it down even further. They discuss in depth which Final Fantasy games have the best story, combat, overall cast, music, and art. The results are quite different than one would expect, given the difference between this Final Fantasy list, and the one produced after the completion of Final Fantasy XIV. We then move on to revisit an old question from us to you, and move into this weeks, which deals with ranking the spinoff games in their own rite. Jump on the forums and vote! Enjoy the episode everyone!
Mon, 1 February 2016
This week, Kaleb and Joe review Final Fantasy IV: Interlude, in all of it's two hour glory. We discuss the beauty of the Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection PSP port, and talk about how it nicely sets up the story for Final Fantasy IV: The After years. We release some nostalgia seed when it comes to the soundtrack, and gameplay that we've come to miss, and praise the entry on it's look. We will be setting up a stream for Final Fantasy IV: The After Years on Sunday, January 31st. Enjoy the episode, and welcome to season two of Ultima Final Fantasy, the ultimate.... Final Fantasy Podcast.