June 2019




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The Future of Xbox May Hinge on E3 2020

Ever since the Xbox One’s nightmarish launch in 2013, Microsoft and the Phil Spencer-led Xbox leadership team have done a remarkable job of rebuilding the entire Xbox brand on the fly. There could never be an overnight fix; restoring Team Xbox to its Xbox 360 glory days would require a complete systemic overhaul in order to win spurned fans back over.

And so they began. The Xbox One S, the Xbox One X, Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, original Xbox backwards compatibility, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Game Pass for PC, Xbox All Access, eight new first-party studios, Project xCloud, and on and on and on. Every E3 program has come with a clear focus and a gamer-first message. Kinect is dead, the “all-in-one entertainment device” is dead. Xbox is a gamer-focused brand, and this year, it was playing for tomorrow.

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Marvel’s Avengers Teases Spider-Man PS4 Connection

The reveal of Marvel’s Avengers in the 2019 E3 Square-Enix press conference came with an unexpected surprise: a possible link to Spider-Man on PS4! But before we get to the details, it’s important to point out that this connection would be a huge stretch given Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games) was created by a different studio than Marvel’s Avengers (Crystal Dynamics), and they are both published by different companies. Still, we’re going to explore whether they may share the same universe. After all, Marvel Games is the overseer of both, so creating an interconnected Marvel Games Universe similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be in the cards. And we’ve seen Marvel make a special deal for Spidey before when Sony agreed to share the character with Marvel Studios.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s Battle System Is a Tactical Reinvention

Final Fantasy 7 Remake has a brand new combat system that’s a significant departure from the 1997 original’s Active Time Battle system. Of course it does, because we’re in 2019. As much as using that old-school turn-based mechanic continues to bring me joy two decades after I first used it, the remake needs to put a fresh spin on it. And, with a sigh of relief, it looks like we can say that the new system is taking Final Fantasy 7 Remake in the right direction.

The new system is a hybrid design, blending a Kingdom Hearts-like action approach with a modified version of the Active Time Battle mechanic. Playing as Cloud, you can swing the Buster Sword around as you would in a hack-n-slash, landing blow after blow. But, while that iconic sword may be a chunky lad, standard sword attacks are a slow way of killing enemies. That’s why you need to combine them with special abilities, which is where our old friend the ATB gauge comes in.

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‘Romancing SaGa 3’ and ‘SaGa SCARLET GRACE: AMBITIONS’ Are Getting Localised for iOS and Android Devices after a Long Wait

Over the last few years, I’ve written about various Square Enix games on mobile that release in Japan. Many of them are free to play but there are some premium ports as well. Two of these were Romancing SaGa 3 which is a remake of the original in the style of Romancing SaGa 2 ($17.99) which debuted on iOS and Android before seeing console ports. The second is SaGa SCARLET GRACE which was a PS Vita exclusive that saw multiple console ports in Japan later with extra content. I speculated that the Steam release implied a localisation was happening back then.

Today, Square Enix confirmed localisations for both games at their E3 showcase for consoles, PC, and mobile platforms. Romancing SaGa 3 is an HD Remaster of the original with new dungeons, new story content, and a new game+ mode. The original release debuted in Japan back in 1995. SaGa SCARLET GRACE: AMBITIONS is the localised title of SaGa SCARLET GRACE and it includes various additions from the original release including better visuals, new weapons, new voiceovers, and a lot more. Watch the trailer for both above.

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