First Trailer of The Last Story

July 8, 2010

And it looks gorgeous. Easily the best-looking game for the Wii. Great way to start a day, wake up, walk over to the PC, sit down, and find out that there´s finally a video of The Last Story.

The Last Story – Trailer

Besides the awesome visuals, what´s most intriguing is the combat-system. I actually thought it was going to be some turn-based system, but this is so much better. Looks more like Zelda meets Final Fantasy meets Gears of War. Combat looks very direct, very active. No passive command-choosing, but active fighting. Take cover behind objects, aim and shoot at an enemy, jump over objects and so on. And then there´s the town, that really looks nice. Maybe it´ll succeed my favorite video game-town, Windfall Island from The Wind Waker, who knows. The thing that I definitely know, however, is that at this moment, I´m more excited about The Last Story than Zelda: Skyward Sword. Now just announce this game for Europe and the USA, Nintendo!

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First gameplay-screenshots of The Last Story

April 27, 2010

The time has come, and wow, does it look good! The Last Story, a Nintendo-published JRPG, directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, was featured in this week´s issue of Famitsu, and we can finally see ingame-screenshots of the promising game. And what can be seen on the following four scans is indeed promising. See for yourself:

I´m sorry, Nintendo, but by now I´m about to give up hope that between Monster Hunter 3, Xenoblade and this one, Zelda Wii can somehow manage to do anything better in terms of building up an adventurous atmosphere. Please look at the one scan where the main character walks on a narrow town street…EXACTLY what I always imagine when I´m talking about a lively, moody city for Zelda Wii. It´s simply incredible what Mistwalker and Sakaguchi are doing here. I´m still happily playing Monster Hunter 3 and will be for a long time, but here I´m already totally hyped for another adventure to experience. Until now, the upcoming E³´s major factors were Zelda Wii and the 3DS. But now Nintendo has one more high profile-title that everyone can look forward to.


The Calm before E³ 2010 – Crazy Prediction Time

April 23, 2010

Another year passed by, and the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010 is approaching quickly. From June 15th to 17th, we´ll get this year´s biggest, cumulative media blowout, with conferences supposedly taking place starting with June 13th. While sporting a bunch of interesting titles nonetheless, the past couple of E³s have been lacking. These expos never fail to gather a lot of hype, but rarely is that hype justified. E³ 2010 ramps up to be different – or to be its old self, for that matter. Remember E³ 2004, when Nintendo revealed Twilight Princess? Yeah, it´s going to be that kind of E³! Like last year, I´m focusing on predictions and expectations regarding Nintendo, as the two competitors simply don´t interest me that much. That´s more fair than making up stuff. So, let´s start with the FlyingFisch´s predictions of E³ 2010!

Fanboy´s favorite: Nintendo


Nintendo hat a pretty damn good start in 2010, with games like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories or the now released Monster Hunter Tri. Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M are underway, too, so a good first half of the year is well covered with games. So what´s being released in the latter half of 2010? Despite the higher amount of great games compared to 2009, it kind of feels as if third-parties stopped trying. There´s only one third-party title I´m going to mention…maybe another one, though that one´s more likely to be revealed at Tokyo Game Show.

We´ll definitely see Warren Spector´s Epic Mickey. The dark, adventurous platformer, starring the new Mickey-design, will get a lot of focus at its publishers booth. I´d say it´s safe to assume that not only will there be videos, but it´ll be playable. As far as as I know, it´s supposed to be released at the end of the year, so now´s the time to start the Mickey-hype machine. First screenshots were pretty disappointing, but everything you read about the game sounds just so promising. We´ll see how that one turns out. The other high-quality third-party game that might be shown, but, most likely won´t, is Dragon Quest 10. I don´t have to explain how this is the biggest traditional JRPG-franchise in Japan. Which is exactly why it´s more likely to be shown at this year´s Tokyo Game Show (if at all). Considering that Dragon Quest 9 for Nintendo DS will be released in the US and Europe this July, it also wouldn´t make too much sense to announce the next instance of the series now. There´s a really slim off-chance, but I´d rather bet money on some of the upcoming crazy predictions than DQ10 being shown at E³ 2010.

Which leads us to Nintendo´s first-party offerings. Honestly, I don´t know what other awesome stuff I should predict, when we already know of the two most important things of this year´s E³: Zelda Wii and the Nintendo 3DS. Really, just rename “E³ 2010” into “Zelda 2010”. It´s going to be all about Zelda Wii. Sure, I´m personally hyped, but you´d be a fool to deny how much weight, how much importance rests on this game´s shoulders. It´s kind of staggering and hard to believe just how little we know about the new Zelda. Which is…nothing. There´s an artwork we got at last year´s E³, but that´s it. We know that it´ll use MotionPlus, and Eiji Aonuma talked about introducing a new overall structure of the game, which could mean a lot of things. There´s basically three options for Zelda Wii: 1.) Devolving into some kind of Phantom Hourglass/Spirit Tracks-like game, featuring top-down camera-angle and wiimote pointer-based controls, 2.) yet another Ocarina of Time-like Zelda, like Twilight Princess, or 3.) a truly new, fresh adventure-experience, that finally manages to jump out of Ocarina of Time´s shadow and become its own classic, impacting the future gaming industry again. I fear for 1, hope for 3, but believe we´ll get 2. Which will be disappointing, too, but at least nothing too bad. Then again, I think Zelda Wii is going to be the definitive experience of the next 10 years to come. That´s what it should become. But there´s so much stuff that Zelda Wii “should” do, it´s hard to believe that Nintendo´s going to be able to get it all right. But no matter if they fail or not, Zelda Wii is THE game of E³ 2010.

And when there´s a game of E³, there also has to be a hardware of E³ 2010. There are only two contenders, but if we go by historic importance, then Nintendo wins this one, too. This will be the first time when Nintendo´s going to show the Nintendo 3DS in public, and probably lets E³-visitors get their hands on the true DS-successor. We know that it has some kind of 3D-capabilities and that the screen size will be smaller than 4″. Rumors have it that the 3DS will feature GameCube-like graphics, but that was never confirmed. Even though that much should be possible in 2010, it´s silly to take it for granted. But I can understand that the thought of a portable version of The Wind Waker in 3D sounds daring. Yeah, if Nintendo continues their tradition of remaking an older game for a new hardware´s launch, I´d want that one to be TWW. But let´s see what the 3DS really will be like. It´s supposed to be backwards-compatible to the DS, so some kind of 2-screen-design is obvious. But there´s a lot of possibilities within that frame. Another hardware that´s likely to be shown is the Vitality sensor. But I have no idea how that one´s coming into play.

And then there´s the two Nintendo-funded JRPGs, Xenoblade and The Last Story. While the former looks promising, even though graphically not too special, it is The Last Story that might surprise a lot of gamers. Seemingly, Hironobu Sakaguchi is behind that game, and it´s him as well as the known artworks that make it appear as if this is meant to be a Final Fantasy-competitor. But, again, we have no idea about the game, except for some vague combat-system details. In the end, a high-profile JRPG should also look high-profile, so what many gamers ask themselves, is: What is The Last Story going to look like? Personally, I´d love to see a gorgeous cel-shading style featured, similar to TWW´s. Just have it more detailed. But I won´t complain about a good-looking realistic game. Just make sure it looks “round”. Xenoblade suffers from that.

So, prediction time, eh? With Zelda Wii dominating the Wii´s lineup, there´s not much that could impress equally. But if we assume that Nintendo finally figured out how to use motion controls in a singleplayer-adventure to its fullest, it has to be another MotionPlus-game. Three games would greatly fit that new control-style. First one is Kid Icarus. Yeah, a popular, recurring speculation, but with his bow and arrow, Pit is a perfect match for MotionPlus. Imagine a platformer that closer to Zelda than Mario, and you have it. Another franchise I really want to see anew is the StarFox-series. I´d go against the serie´s arcade-feeling, but I finally want a flight-game that uses the wiimote (and motionplus) as if you´re holding a flight stick. It would control like the flight-game from Wii Sports Resort, but you´d be holding the wiimote vertically instead of horizontally.  The last fitting game is a crazy wish that I had last year, too. Give me a Berserk-game (great anime/manga). Have it use MotionPlus for Gut´s sword strikes. Have it be a mixture of Zelda and Monster Hunter. Have it sport gorgeous cel-shading. And thus, attempt at making me forget Zelda Wii. Ha!

A new hardware obviously needs some new games. Surely, the 3DS will get its own version of Wario Ware. And there´ll be a remake/port of an older title, which I want to be The Wind Waker. But what for new games? We haven´t heard of RetroStudios in quite a while. We should hear from them at this year´s E³. With Zelda getting all the spotlight on the Wii, I cannot imagine that they´d like to start a fight there. Instead, I believe they´re working an the 3DS first killer-app. If the GameCube-level graphics rumors are correct, it would grant RetroStudios a well-known developing environment. There, I expect to see Metroid Prime 4 exclusively for the 3DS. I´d prefer a Metroid-game that continues the story after Fusion, though. There´s also going to be Pokemon Black and White. I´m pretty disappointed by how small the visual upgrade from the last games came out to be, but maybe we´ll get 3DS-support at the least. If not canceled, Golden Sun DS will be fully covered, as well.  Depending on how the 3D works, I also believe that Nintendo will introduce a movie-watching ability for the 3DS, starting with James Cameron´s Avatar. It´d be just too perfect of a marketing move.

As I told you initially, predicting is hard when we know of the best stuff already. Maybe there´ll be Pikmin 3, a new F-Zero-game, some WiiFit-like title. Capcom might finally port Resident Evil 5 to the Wii. Perhaps, Konami makes Zone of the Enders 3 for Wii. And how about a real home console-Pokemon? The heck, I could even imagine that Nintendo´s showing or at least talking about the Wii´s successor, even though there´s the 3DS. If Zelda remains a 2010-release, as well as all the other games, Nintendo won´t have any games for Wii except for Dragon Quest 10 somewhere down the road. We have had two Mario-games by then, another Zelda-game won´t be finished that quickly. And there´s nothing else that can fill the hunger for big, epic, adventurous games like these two. Or, even more crazy, maybe the 3DS is much more important than everyone thought until now. Maybe the 3DS marks Nintendo´s future business, being a hybrid handheld-home console. We know that 3D needs more power, so how about GameCube/Wii-level graphics when you´re not at home, and when plugging the 3DS into the TV, you´ll be able to play HD-quality games, a Wiimote connecting via bluetooth. Who knows. E³ 2010 is looking like it´s going to a Nintendo-show. But when there´s a lot of promise, there´s also a lot potential for disappointment.

Microsoft´s effort-machine


There are two things that highly interest me on the Xbox 360. One is Natal. And no, I´m not interested in that one because of controls. I believe that completely hand-free controls don´t feel good. After all, I had EyeToy, and you just need something in your hands. But I´m totally interested in A.I.-focused games, so that´s Milo for me. Of course, it´s Peter Molyneux. That means: Lots of awesome sounding announcements, lots of terrible shortcomings. But what the showed with Milo last year was…revolutionary. I´d like to see two “games” for Natal. One being a pure A.I.-based simulation-game. Maybe replace Milo with a girl, too, so a nerd can learn how to socialize. As for the second game, create a RPG that makes use of Milo-like interaction. That´s where I see the possibility for a revolution regarding Natal. You´re still using the 360-controller, but all the communication-part of the game is done by yourself. If Microsoft and Molyneux manage to do that, they´ll have their own killer-ap. A game I´d also love to see some first bits and pieces of is BioWare´s Mass Effect 3. I haven´t followed the developer´s recent news-announcements, so if they already said there would be no ME3, too bad. But this third and final part of the Mass Effect-saga is hyped-worthy, no matter when they decide to show it. On the note of surprises, maybe Microsoft finally got their hands on a Metal Gear Solid 4-port.

The Third Place: Sony

I´m (not) sorry, but i just don´t care.

Conclusion:

Phew…E³, eh? The true christmas of every gamer. No better time in the year. I think every gamer, no matter what you´re a fan of, will see a lot of great stuff. Aside from all the stuff I already talked about, it´ll be most interesting to see gamers´ and developers´ reaction on the 3DS. Will Sony announce a new handheld to counter Nintendo? Will the 3DS be too freaky for a lot of developers? Or is it going to be a much more important hardware than “just” the next handheld of Nintendo? Time will tell. But predictions are big part of each year´s E³, so let´s see how much of the above turns out true. Just one advice for next year: Please, Nintendo, don´t spoil all the fun by announcing the two biggest things beforehand. Where´s the fun in predicting a new Kirby-game when you already know of ZELDA being shown. Not that I blame you.


Pokemon Black & White and new The Last Story-artwork

April 9, 2010

It finally happened, the new Pokemon-game got its name: Pokemon Black and White Edition! Seemingly, the game is supposed to come out at the end of the year, being fully revealed this sunday. From what is known, it´s a NDS-game, which is kinda disappointing, now that we know of the 3DS. For now, that´s all that is known.

And we also got a nice new artwork for The Last Story for Wii. The producer also spoke a bit about the game´s story, basically: There are two main characters, guy and girl, they have problems and so on. And there´ll be side-stories featuring other characters, too. Nothing that you wouldn´t expect of such a JRPG. Anyway, if the art style translates well into actual game graphics, this will be one nice looking game.


New artworks and details about The Last Story

March 18, 2010

The official website of The Last Story for the Wii was updated again, and it´s quite interesting what information we got this time.

Ruli City is supposed to be the base of the whole adventure. the game director wanted it to create so that the player feels as if he´s actually there. Even more intriguing is what the game´s producers, supposedly Hironobu Sakaguchi, had to see. He explained that most RPGs are designed in a way to not get the player lost. Dead ends and broad roads. Ruli City is created to actually make you lose your orientation once you walk around for a while, featuring big roads as wall as narrow backstreets and also dead ends. The city is made so that you look around, watch the passing-by people, things that fly with the wind and other stuff.

There a reason for this kind of setting, so walk around aimlessly to experience that reason” is what he closes his explanation.

The only thing I can say at this moment is that Ruli City is the town that I always imagined for a new Zelda-game. It´s all there in the artworks. The market people on the big road, the dark, narrow backstreets, and you can even spot points that would make for some nice climbing, exploring the city in its vertical direction. With The Last Story´s city, Xenoblade´s overworld and Red Steel 2´s sword controls, one wonders if Zelda Wii will be able to deliver. It´s getting more difficult with each day, that´s for sure.


New JRPGs for Wii announced

January 31, 2010

Many hate it, some love it: Nintendo´s new announcement policy. There wasn´t any kind of special conference, yet Wii-gamers got two new titles to look forward to. Both of the are JRPGs, a genre that had been lacking on the Wii.

Both will be released in 2010, with Xenoblade making it as soon as this spring. Xenoblades is technically no new game, as it is the game formerly known as Monado: Beginning of the World. The Monolithsoft developed JRPG has only been shown in one trailer, presenting a game world that looked a lot like Final Fantasy 12. The new artwork shows two giants, one of them possibly being a battle mech, the other one looking more organic. It is unknown if the game uses any kind of motion controls or if it is completely classic.

The other announced JRPG is The Last Story, developed by Mistwalker that are known for their Blue Dragon-game. Hironobu Sakaguchi is working on it, with seemingly Nobuo Uematsu working on the soundtrack. Release date is some time in 2010 as well.

If you follow the links to these games´ official websites you can hear nice pieces of music. Really beautiful tracks, especially the Xenoblade one.

The Last Story – Official Website

Xenoblade – Official Website


“The Last Story” – Nintendo´s newest trademark

September 13, 2009

So Siliconera reported that Nintendo registered a new trademark, called “The Last Story“. Like anything Nintendo does, this new little piece of information pass by untalked. Before I go into full-speculation-mode, I´d like to point out that this could be litterally anything. From a Wii-game, a Nintendo DS-game, a Wii-channel, to even some completely new product. We don´t know any of that. But we can do one thing: Let “the right side of our brain run wild“.

thelaststory

When first hearing this title, the last story, it carries a certain epic feeling that makes you think about some kind of adventure-game. So, there´s certainly a chance that this turns out to be some great new action-adventure franchise. Maybe the first Western RPG from Nintendo themselves?

Chances are, too, that it´s the subtitle for an existing franchise. “The Legend of Zelda: The Last Story” doesn´t sound so bad. Or “Mario and Luigi: The Last Story”. It probably won´t be for Fire Emblem, doesn´t really fit the past subtitles of this series. Or it is simply the subtitle for Metroid: Other M. “Other M” is a bad title, anyways, and depending on what´s going on in Other M´s story, “The Last Story” could fit, especially if it´s about killing the last Metroids or something like that…or Samus Aran dying.

The third, and my last, theory is, that this is going to be an interactive story-book for the Nintendo DS. That would fit right into Nintendo´s casual programm, though, depending on how much effort is put into, could make gamers happy as well. I came to this idea, because when i read “The Last Story”, it could imply that you´ll never need another story again. So that´s where the interactive story-idea stems from. There´s lots of creativity going on on the NDS at the moment, with Scribblenauts right around the corner. And a real interactive story is something yet to be seen. There are books that let you make choices, where you jump from page to page, but getting this into video game form is something else. I´m sorry if I come off being too visionary, but again, depending on how much effort is put into such a concept, this could mark the beginning of a whole new entertainment world. Of course, something like that is just an out-of-the-box thought that has little chance of becoming reality.

Whatever this trademark turns out to be, chances are good that we´ll get to know about it at the beginning of October. There won´t be an American Business Media Summit this year, but Nintendo´s going to attend the Kyoto Cmet fair. I also heard word about a European Business Media Summit happening. I´m not sure about that info i got, though. Then again, we Europeans got quite some games that were never released in the USA, so maybe it just shows the bigger importance of the European market these days. I´d love to publish my personal full-blown expectations of Nintendo´s October conference 2009, but until there´s confirmation of anything like that happening, I´ll hold off. Have fun talking about The Last Story.