September 1st, 2012
(as of 2012-12-04 20:52:14 PST)
(as of 2012-12-04 20:52:14 PST)
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In an interview with The Nerdist, Kinberg explains how carefully the Star Wars story is being mapped out across the entire franchise by Lucasfilm. "The idea of characters actually popping up or transferring from animation to live-action and live-action to animation, we're obviously open to because we have a lot of characters from the original movie and actually prequels who pop up in Rebels as substantial characters," he said.
"The thing we're really focused on is just making sure there is real continuity. That it is a unified universe from a story perspective, where anything that happens in Rebels is canon, in the same way as the original movies or prequels, the Clone Wars, and the movies going forward.
"There's just a lot of care that's taken to make sure that whatever happens in whatever different story right now is acknowledged, and that it actually feels like a coherent world or galaxy. All of it is incredibly well unified and planned."
In 2013, Lucasfilm established the Lucasfilm Story Group, a team of writers whose job it is to maintain narrative consistency across the Star Wars franchise.
Star Wars Rebels began life as a 44-minute film, called The Spark of Rebellion, in October 2014, which was followed by a 13-episode series. It is set five years before the original 1977 film, and tells the story of the formation of the Rebellion. The new season begins on October 14, 2015.
Star Wars Episode 7 - The Force Awakens is due for release on December 18, 2015, while Rogue One arrives on December 16, 2016.
Interband Japan CEO Yuki Wada told Japan Times that Nintendo was left out in part because it did not adapt its business to reflect the changes in its consumers' lives. Wada specifically pointed to Nintendo's longstanding unwillingness to release smartphone games, something the company announced in March 2015 that it would finally do. The first fully-Nintendo, non-Pokemon mobile game, developed in collaboration with DeNA, will launch before the year is out.
Wada went on to say that, from a brand value perspective, it is good business to quickly respond to changes in the marketplace. He specifically said that Facebook and Amazon did this, while Nintendo did not do it in a timely enough fashion.
Nintendo just barely made the list in 2014, landing in 100th place.
Interbrand's list aims to identify the 100 most valuable global brands by looking at a number of factors, including:
Head to Interbrand's website to see the full list of the top 100 brands.
Nintendo is going through a period of change. President Satoru Iwata passed away in July, with his successor only just named last month. Newly appointed president Tatsumi Kimishima will lead Nintendo as the company makes smartphone games and moves forward on the Wii U successor, currently codenamed NX. In addition, Nintendo is expanding the profile of its brands by through a deal with Universal Theme Parks and the company may even license its characters for movies.
For now, although this bundle certainly sounds likely, 2K has not yet confirmed this. We have followed up with the company in an attempt to get more details. We'll update this post with anything we hear back.
In addition to an Ultimate Edition, it sounds like a sequel may also be in development. Evolve launched in February 2015 and has shipped more than 2.5 million copies. Parent publisher Take-Two has referred to the franchise as "permanent," and teased that a sequel might not be so multiplayer-centric.
Would you be interested in an Evolve Ultimate Edition or sequel? Let us know in the comments below.
On August 12, 2009, Swedish game developer Grin filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors. After a little more than six months of work on its latest project, founders Bo and Ulf Andersson announced that, due to an "unbearable cashflow situation," the company was ending its 12-year run.
In a final farewell posted to Grin's website, the Anderssons mentioned "an unreleased masterpiece" they could not finish. One week later, a former employee outed the project, referencing an "unreleased Final Fantasy project" on his LinkedIn profile.
Final Fantasy is owned by and developed under Square Enix, and it has always been produced in Japan. No Final Fantasy game has been developed outside of Square Enix's ring of Japanese studios and affiliates. Even most Final Fantasy spin-off mobile games have been developed internally or in collaboration with other Japan-based studios. It was unheard of for the company to lend its crown jewel property to a Western studio.
In the months following Grin's closure, details began to leak about this Western-developed Final Fantasy. It would have been a second spin-off to Final Fantasy XII, the first being the 2007 DS title Revenant Wings by small Japanese developer Think & Feel. Grin's game was codenamed "Fortress" and was an action role-playing game with events centered on the titular structure. Some outlets reported on sources claiming Fortress began its life as an entirely different game, only becoming a Final Fantasy title after Square Enix's involvement, and that it was a lack of funding from the publisher that caused Grin to cancel the project and shut its doors.
But how did all of that happen, and what could have been if Fortress had succeeded in becoming the first Western-developed Final Fantasy title?An early sketch of the titular fortress from above, from the online portfolio of artist Peter Johannson.
In the second half of 2008, Square Enix paid a visit to Grin, which was one year into development on action platformer Bionic Commando Rearmed, a sequel to the 1988 NES title of the same name. According to Ulf Andersson, who spoke with GameSpot at length about Grin, Bionic Commando was in fair shape when Square decided to drop by, and the game impressed the touring company.
From this visit, Square invited Grin to pitch a game based on one of its existing IPs, an obscure card game by the name of Lords of Vermilion. It is unknown whether other studios received the same invitation pitch as well. Ulf Andersson was tasked with writing the pitch, and after sending it along to Square Enix, was invited to present his ideas in person. Prepared to run down his pitch for Square Enix's IP in front of the company's board of directors, he was surprised when Square Enix revealed it had other plans for Grin instead.Concept art of a desert area in Fortress featuring the protagonist, from the online portfolio of artist Martin Bergquist.
Square Enix was going to give Andersson and his team Final Fantasy. But not just any Final Fantasy; Grin would be tasked with making a spin-off for Final Fantasy XII.
It's not hard to imagine why Square wanted another Final Fantasy XII title. The game shipped 5.2 million copies worldwide in the year after its March 2006 release, with more than 1.7 million copies shipped in Japan during its launch week alone. It garnered near-unanimous critical acclaim in the West as well, with critics praising its combat and story in particular. Its sequel, Revenant Wings on DS, broke one million units sold just over one year following its release.
When Square Enix had contacted Grin, Final Fantasy was already beloved worldwide, but other high-grossing series such as Dragon Quest still couldn't find footing in the West. Square seemed interested in seeing if a Western studio's take on one of its core franchises could be the key to unlocking unanimous international success.
"It was a test," Andersson told me. "Square’s problem at the time was trying to understand the Western market. They wanted to see how we did."Another piece from Bergquist's portfolio featuring the protagonist in a tundra setting.
In early 2009, Grin's Final Fantasy began to take shape. The project, codenamed Fortress, would have been an action RPG with a distinctly Scandinavian art style. The developer invented an entirely new area of Ivalice, the world in which Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy Tactics, and their sequels and spin-offs including Vagrant Story, were set. Buildings and characters would have an ancient Viking-esque aesthetic, while landscapes would feature a variety of exotic environments. Players would walk through grassy green meadows in the shadow of rocky crags; chilly snow-laden, wind-whipped mountain peaks; and dusty brown deserts. The game would be groundbreaking for the studio, whose pedigree included mostly PC shooters and racing games such as Ballistics and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 and 2.
One source, another former Grin employee, described the game to me as strictly following Nordic aesthetics, with deep, dark forests reminiscent of fantasy illustrator John Bauer's works, along with inhabitants resembling fantasy ideals of Vikings.
Several sources previously connected to Grin, all of whom asked to not be named, claimed that Fortress did not begin its life as a Final Fantasy game. Andersson said that the idea of a game that took place entirely in one location was on his development bucket list, and he used this idea as a springboard for his pitch to Square Enix. Grin was excited to take on Final Fantasy--up until that time, no Western studio, not even Square Enix's international subsidiaries, had made its own game in the classic JRPG series.
"We didn’t want to reinvent or remake too much of [Final Fantasy XII], but create a fresh piece," Andersson said. “If we were to make a straight Final Fantasy, I don’t see the point in us making it. It would be better if Square just kept on making those themselves.”3D modeling of the Fortress gates with the outer courtyard and main halls in the background, courtesy the online portfolio of designer Timoslav Spajic.
According to several people connected to the matter, a few months into production in spring 2009, a mandate came down from Square Enix that the art style of Fortress had to be completely altered. The Nordic aesthetic was to be changed, and more obvious Final Fantasy influences had to be implemented. Fortress wasn't set in a representation of Ivalice that players were familiar with; and yet, that was Grin's idea, to make a whole new part of Ivalice for players to discover.
Several sources said that the design overhaul required to do this was so "massive" that it significantly disrupted development. Most assets had to be redone and whole environments were scrapped.
The team working on Fortress soon ballooned as Grin shuffled its ranks, assigning more developers to the Fortress project. At this time most of the studio was dedicated to Fortress, with only a handful of designers working on other projects. According to Andersson, Grin was, at this time, completely reliant on Fortress and the money coming from Square Enix. There were no other big projects in the pipeline, and no other funding. In 2009 alone, the company released three poorly-reviewed action games--Bionic Commando, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, and Terminator Salvation.A forest environment, courtesy of designer Andrew Hamilton.
Spring became summer, and according to some sources, all Grin heard was positive feedback on the project. But the Nordic art style, which the team did not want to totally scrap, was still not well received by the publisher. It wasn't Final Fantasy XII enough, they were told; it didn't look like Ivalice. But Grin continued to work on the title, dedicated to creating something fresh and new, something they thought Final Fantasy fans would love.
The Nordic aesthetic continued to be a problem for Square Enix. Grin maintained it could pull it off by making it a new region of Ivalice. The developer thought the potential brought on by a Nordic part of Ivalice was intriguing, and it tried desperately to make the aesthetic work within the universe. Grin argued that the concept could work because other parts of Ivalice were already based on real-world Middle Eastern countries and cultures, like Egypt and Syria.
According to Andersson, Grin would communicate with Square Enix's headquarters through its London office, sending all content through the European branch for review. There were problems with this communication he said, and wires were often crossed or answers wouldn't come at all.Another piece from Johansson's portfolio featuring a wet tundra.
"I don’t believe in blaming people, but there was a broken process between the UK office of Square Enix, which was merging with Eidos at the time, and it was a bit of a mess," he said. "We were working with them and they were supposed to communicate with the Japanese headquarters, which in my opinion I don’t think they did enough. So all this stuff they wanted to change we changed as much as we could or wanted to, but that drifted further and further away from what we agreed on making with the Japanese studio. So when the Japanese guys saw it, it was completely different, because they weren’t as much a part of the dev process as they should have been."
Some people associated with the project claimed that around several months into the project, Square Enix hadn't paid Grin what had been agreed upon for that time frame. The company laid off large numbers of staff from its Barcelona, Gothenburg, and Stockholm offices, before shuttering the former two altogether. Some said that at this time they had received no overwhelming negative feedback from their work on Fortress, but Square Enix was still not keen on the game's art direction.
"We did some combat stuff that was okay in the beginning and got feedback from Square UK and had to change it, but we never got to the point where it was fun," Andersson explained. "At the same time we spent two to three months on the gameplay stuff alone. We didn’t really get to develop it much, we did a bunch of story and concept for it, but really never got into any heavy development."A piece from Hamilton's portfolio featuring tombs in a desert.
In August 2009, Square Enix told Grin it would no longer be funding the project and pulled support for Fortress. A week later, with no way to pay its employees, Grin filed for bankruptcy and closed the doors on its sole remaining Stockholm studio.
When reached for comment for this story, Bo Andersson--Grin's former co-founder and head alongside Ulf--did not want to discuss Grin or Fortress. But in speaking with Ulf Andersson, it appears that the story of Fortress' cancellation and Grin's closure is much more complicated than a disagreement over art style. Ulf Andersson said that it was probably a business move, suggesting that Square Enix examined the project's milestones, determined that Grin wouldn't be able to deliver, and decided that Square's investment would be lost.
"They didn't truly dump us over the art style," Andersson explained. "The concept guys, they were doing an awesome job. All the stuff they made was really, really cool. I think it’s a shame if they think that at any point they did a bad job. It's sad, because they did a great job, and I don’t think Square thought they did a bad job either.Enemy concept art from the portfolio of Joakim Hellstedt.
"I sat down with a guy [recently] and he had basically talked to someone high up at Square Enix--considering who the guy I am talking about is, it’s probably very true--and he said that the reason they canceled the project is because they were looking at the economics of our studio and said, okay, they only have our project, and they have three times the amount of people, and they aren’t going to survive on the money we gave them. If they don’t sign a new project, they will eat our project and go bankrupt, and we’ve spent tons of cash on Fortress. It’s better to quit early."
When asked about the cancellation of Fortress and the reasoning behind it, a representative from Square Enix declined to comment.
During our conversations, Andersson's tone was nothing but reverential towards Square Enix and his time working on a Final Fantasy game. He feels the accomplishments of the Fortress project outweigh the drama, and he spoke of his time working on the project and with Square Enix with no negativity. Games get canceled, he said. This one just happens to have gotten a lot of attention because it was attached to a widely beloved series.
"It’s not on Square, I would say it’s just how lawyers work. I don’t think Square is an evil company, I think they’re awesome, and in my mind, their reputation should stay intact. I don’t think they made something really bad, I think it’s just how business works. When you have to cancel something, it’s always going to be a bit nasty, and when you hand something over to lawyers it’ll be even nastier. I understand why they canceled. I would have done the same thing."Artwork from Spajic featuring more modeling of the fotress.
So what happened to Fortress after Grin closed its doors?
In the years since the closure, concept art has surfaced in the online portfolios of many former Grin designers. Composer Erik Thunberg released a track for Fortress, called "Crystal Theme," on his SoundCloud page. A tech demo for Fortress surfaced along with a curious image containing a summary for a game called Valiant Saga and referencing Final Fantasy XII directly, as well as several locations from the world of Ivalice. The logos for Square Enix and Eidos Montreal were stamped on the image, suggesting that Eidos was developing its own Final Fantasy XII spin-off.The "promotional image" for Valiant Saga, never confirmed as official.
According to the summary, Valiant Saga would take place 10 years after the events of Final Fantasy XII and center around the Fortress of Faram, a stronghold in the Ivalice country of Nabradia. The Queen of Dalmasca--Ashe--hires a "lone mercenary" to vacate the Fortress's resident, an evil cult leader who wants to use the structure's ancient magics to destroy Ivalice.A snowy environment from Bergquist's portfolio.
But at E3 2011, Square Enix director Motomu Toriyama told VideoGamer that Fortress "won't be released," adding that it was "suspended." Producer Yoshinori Kitase added that having a Western studio develop a Final Fantasy game was also very much off the table, saying, "Quite honestly, we can't really see it happening."
As of today, no Western games studio has finished a Final Fantasy project. In 2013, Square Enix designer Yuji Abe told OXM that a Western studio could one day steward the Final Fantasy franchise, though to date no more has been said on the subject.
"Obviously, Square Enix bought out Eidos a number of years ago, and now we have direct access to American development teams," Abe said at the time. "That's certainly been discussed within the company, the possibility of say, Eidos or maybe someone else to look after or maybe take on the Final Fantasy series."
An Eidos Montreal spokesperson denied that the studio had ever worked on Fortress; it seems that the project died with Grin. Andersson, however, sees the game everywhere--specifically in games former Grin developers have lent their talents to.
"I do know that parts of it has seeped into other projects, because everybody from Grin is working on other games," he said. "I can see certain patterns in art, or people tell me they took it from Fortress. It still sort of lives to this day.”
Artwork above taken from the online portfolios of Andrew Hamilton, Bjorn Albihn, Joakim Hellstedt, Martin Bergquist, Peter Johansson, and Timoslav Spajic.
The intricately designed figure sports a pretty fierce-looking overall design. It comes with interchangeable hands, four daggers, a spear, and a shield emblazoned with the Batman sign. For a closer look, be sure to click through the images in the gallery above.
ToyArk reports the figure will be released in March 2016, priced at ¥14,800 (around $123 USD).
This is just the latest third-party character that Square Enix has created a figure for, some of which were created by Final Fantasy designer Tetsuya Nomura. You can check out some of the others through the links below.
What do you make of the Spartan Batman figure? Let us know in the comments below.
"A galactic battle against artificial ingredients," is the game's tagline. You can play it right now in your browser.
This isn't the first time a restaurant has made its own video game. Earlier this year, KFC released an 8-bit-style game called Colonel Quest, challenging players to complete a series of mini-games based on Colonel Sanders' (totally fake) life. Before that, Denny's partnered with Atari, while Burger King made a number of games, including Sneak King.
What's your Taste Invaders high score? Let us know in the comments below.
Beginning on October 18, six new items will be available as post-game rewards: the calavera, fuzzy brute, and fuzzy vampire antennas; pumpkin topper; carriage wheels; and candy corn rocket trail. You'll earn these as you would standard items, by simply playing the game. Whether you win or lose, you'll have a shot at unlocking these items after completing a match.
You'll only have a limited time to do so, however--they'll only be available until November 2. If you aren't able to get your hands on something by then, you'll have to wait until next year's Halloween event for another shot at unlocking it.
These Halloween items are coming as part of a free update for the game. Rocket League's next DLC, the Revenge of the Battle-Cars pack, is due out on October 13 for $4, but you won't need to have purchased it to get these new Halloween items.
This is the first time we're seeing the app. You can assign any of the 14 inputs to the ABXY buttons, paddles, D-pad, triggers, and thumbsticks. In all, you can create up to 255 different controller configurations and load two onto the controller at any one time. Toggling between the two profiles is as simple as pressing a button.
In addition to button-mapping, the controller lets you tweak values for thumbstick and trigger sensitivity, using either pre-built sensitivity curves or your own. You can also change the brightness of the Xbox button and adjust rumble sensitivity in the controller's grips and triggers. Customization for this first-of-its-kind controller also extends to its physical components, as the pad comes with interchangeable rear paddles and hair trigger locks.
The Xbox One Elite controller, which was announced at E3 in June, goes on sale on October 27, the same day that Halo 5: Guardians is released. Button-mapping will eventually extend to all Xbox One controllers, not just the Elite model, Microsoft's Mike Ybarra recently announced.
Xbox One controllers with buttons on the back are proving popular, as both Razer and PowerA have announced their own high-end Xbox One pads with increased functionality.
In addition to this, eerie music, the sounds of growling beasts, and ritualistic chanting can be heard in the background. There is also what sounds like normal speech, but there's a layered echo effect on the audio, which makes it difficult to make out what's being said. The video is slowly zooming out to reveal more of the painting, so keep an eye on it.
It is unclear what this project may be, but the most obvious guess would be a new entry in the Far Cry series, which has prominently featured both hunting gameplay and the bow and arrow weapon. The video description also says "survival is timeless" and survival has been a core theme of the Far Cry franchise.
In November 2014, Ubisoft addressed whether it will do a spin-off for Far Cry 4 akin to Far Cry 3's 80's action movies inspired Blood Dragon. Alex Hutchinson, creative director at Ubisoft Montreal, indicated while Blood Dragon 2 wasn't on the cards, it would consider another unique setting to spin-off into.
"That's was what was cool about [Blood Dragon], it was surprising," he said. "It was a great use of the Far Cry 3 base, and had an awesome soundtrack. But no, you won't get another one of those. But hopefully we'll be able to surprise you with something just as much."
The teaser may be related to this new spin-off. Of course, it could also be a brand new property, or something tied to For Honor, an action game that pits warriors from different civilizations against each other.
Another teaser image can be seen below.
In February 2015, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said the Far Cry would be one of the company's tentpole franchises for years to come.
"The Far Cry franchise is here for the long-run and is a stronger contender in the shooter genre," he said during a conference call.
According to Guillemot, Far Cry 4 outperformed expectations for Ubisoft and interest in the game was the strongest in franchise history. The game has sold substantially more than Far Cry 3.
The open-world shooter managed strong sales despite launching on the same date as other high-profile blockbusters such as Dragon Age: Inquisition and Grand Theft Auto V for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Buy an Xbox One at Best Buy this week, and you'll get a free copy of NBA 2K16 (and 50 percent off three months of Xbox Live Gold, if you so choose). This includes system bundles like the new FIFA 16, Forza 6, and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition ones.
Similarly, Amazon is offering a 1 TB Xbox One bundle with Madden 16 and NBA 2K16 for $399.
Target is offering 25 percent off any Xbox or PlayStation game when you reserve a game for $1. The exception is Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, though if you buy that and put $1 on Uncharted 4, you'll receive a $10 gift card.
Buy a PS4 at Target and receive a $50 gift card. This includes the Destiny: The Taken King and The Last of Us Remastered bundles.
Target Cartwheel has a coupon taking 15 percent off the price of an Xbox One.
Save $50 when you buy two select EA Sports games at Toys R Us, including NHL 16 (PS4/Xbox One), Madden NFL 16 (PS4/Xbox One), FIFA 16 (PS4/Xbox One), and Rory McIlroy PGA Tour (PS4/Xbox One). With all of these games costing $60, that brings the total price down to $70 ($35 each).
The Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition is $100 at Best Buy for the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge and Galaxy Note 4.
You can get the Xbox One's Halo: Master Chief Collection bundle for $310 on eBay.
Below you'll find the rest of today's best deals divided by platform.
The 1 TB PS4 is finally coming to the US on November 6 in the form of a Call of Duty: Black Ops III Limited Edition bundle; it's now up for preorder on Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy for $450.
You can also still preorder the limited-edition Darth Vader-themed PS4--which comes with a custom system and controller, Star Wars Battlefront's Deluxe Edition, and four classic Star Wars games--at Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, and Walmart for $450.
You can check out all of this week's deals on the PlayStation Store here, and all of the PlayStation Plus member-only deals here.
Other PS4 game deals:
The free PlayStation Plus games for September are available for one more day and include Grow Home and Super Time Force Ultra. October's games have been announced and will be released tomorrow, October 6.
Amazon Prime members can get a 3.5mm jack-equipped Xbox One controller with a Play & Charge Kit for $58. Just add the bundle to your cart (make sure it's the one sold by Amazon, not a third party) and proceed to checkout to see the discount.
You can buy a year of Xbox Live Gold on eBay for $35.
Last week's Deals With Gold are still available and include sales on Mortal Kombat X, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Toy Soldiers: War Chest, and more.
Other Xbox One game deals:
The first of October's free Games With Gold games, Valiant Hearts, is now available. You can also still get Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for free.
The newest Humble Indie Bundle is a good one. It includes games like Skullgirls, Planetary Annihilation: Titans, Xenonauts, and more. You can get everything for $10, or only select games by beating the average (currently $7.07) or paying any price you want.
Humble Bundle last week introduced its new Humble Monthly Bundle, a LootCrate-style subscription service that delivers mystery games on the first Friday of the month for $12. If you subscribe before the first one launches in November, you'll get a free copy of Legend of Grimrock II right away.
GOG has a sale on classic Activision/Sierra games, offering the likes of Police Quest, King's Quest, and Gabriel Knight for a few bucks each.
Preordering a Steam Machine, Steam Controller, or Steam Link right now will get you free copies of Rocket League and Portal 2.
Buy select Nvidia GPUs (or Nvidia-equipped laptops) and get a free copy of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Other select cards come with a Heroes of the Storm bundle.
If you have a free Green Man Gaming account, you can access the VIP area, where you'll find deals like South Park: The Stick of Truth for $10, Skyshine's Bedlam for $15, and Killing Floor 2 for $22.49.
You can save 23 percent at Green Man Gaming using the voucher 23PERC-AUTUMN-SAVING.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is Origin's next free On the House game.
Other PC game deals:
If you don't mind buying a refurbished system, Nintendo's online store has a Wii U bundle with Nintendo Land for $200, Nintendo Land and Super Mario 3D World for $225, or The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Nintendo Land for $235.
Nintendo's online store is offering refurbished 2DSes for $60.
The free PlayStation Plus games for September are available for one more day and include La Mulana EX and Xeodrifter. October's games have been announced and will be released tomorrow, October 6.
Amazon prices are accurate as of publishing, but can fluctuate occasionally throughout the day.
GameSpot's gaming deals posts always highlight the best deals we can find regardless of retailer. We also occasionally use retailer affiliate links, which means that purchasing goods through those links helps support all the great content (including the deals posts) you find for free here on the site.