.:. m a y . 3 1 . f r i d a y .:.

   SquareAMP Game Section Online! Final Fantasy VII ... site news | stealthriot

   SquareAMP is proud to present our very first game section, Final Fantasy VII. We have included in-depth information on the characters, equipment, materia, chocobos, and the music of Final Fantasy VII. The materia section is still in the process of having some more info added (sell prices of mastered materia). Please feel free to contact me at stlthriot@hotmail.com with comments and suggestions or if you find any errors that need to be corrected. Thanks...more game sections are on the way!
   I would also like to mention that our email aliases are still not working and that if you have been trying to send fanart or remixes via my SquareAMP email address I will not receive them. Please use stlthriot@hotmail.com to send any emails for the moment.

.:. m a y . 2 8 . t u e s d a y .:.

   Two FFX Psuedo-Sequels on the Way ... news | stealthriot

   Mainichi Interactive reported that in the financial report meeting on May 28, Square announced the plan to release two spin-off games based on Final Fantasy X for PlayStation 2 within this fiscal year in Japan. The two titles are code-named Yuna Version and Rikku Version, both games are being developed by the FFX team, which expand on the story of Final Fantasy X, under Yuna and Rikku's point of view. The two titles will adapt the same game engine used in FFX.

   source | The Magic Box

   Square Regrouping To Cut Down on Development Costs ... news | stealthriot

   Bloomberg reported that Square is making internal changes by grouping the development teams into divisions, the source codes and resources will be shared amount divisions, members of each division will receive bonuses depending on the profit of their division. Square also plans to reuse elements from past games to make game development more cost efficient, they expects the change to cut down the development cost by over 50%, from 2 - 3 billion yen to 1 billion yen.

   source | The Magic Box

   Square Speaks Out on Current Plans ... news | stealthriot

   Square has recently announced several of its plans for the fiscal year. First off, the company has restated that it has no intention of developing for the Xbox, preferring to focus its resources on the PS2. In addition, it was made known that Square's current GameCube project, which will feature GBA connectivity, will be the company's only title produced for Nintendo's system this year. Lastly, Square mentioned that Final Fantasy XII will see release in 2003.

   source | Gameforms

.:. m a y . 2 6 . s u n d a y .:.

   Final Fantasy XI Tops Japanese Charts
... news | stealthriot

   Square's online RPG Final Fantasy XI has topped the Japanese sales charts by selling 76,136 units until May 19th. While it is impressive to see an online game upset the entire packaged competition, sales for the eleventh installment of the Final Fantasy series were obviously on a pretty low level, in particular compared to its offline predecessors.

   source | RPGFan, Dengeki

.:. m a y . 1 9 . s u n d a y .:.

   More Final Fantasy XI Problems Reported ... news | stealthriot

   Square has reported yet another problem related to the release of its first online game, Final Fantasy XI. Apparently several game packages were shipped with useless registration codes. Furthermore, the unique registration codes will become useless if the registration process is interrupted by a problem with the connection or the Playonline servers.

   Square has announced plans to deal with those issues from case to case, since the problem's cause has yet to be located.

   source | RPGFan, MadMan's Cafe

.:. m a y . 1 8 . s a t u r d a y .:.

   PlayOnline Service Free Until July ... news | stealthriot

   Square President Yoichi Wada himself apologized to users after numerous problems hampered the launch of PlayOnline and Final Fantasy XI on May 16th. While he stated that the company is working hard to fix all the problems, users will have to tolerate further inconviences for the time being. Thus, Square will charge no fees on the use of Final Fantasy XI, additional characters for the game, and TetraMaster until June 30th.

   source | RPGFan, MadMan's Cafe

.:. m a y . 1 7 . f r i d a y .:.

   PS2 Broadband Network to be Partitioned by Region ... news | stealthriot

   The latest issue of Japanese gaming magazine Game Lab reports that Sony plans to geographically partition the broadband network to be used for online gaming with the PS2. According to their report, the network is structured in such a way that restricts users to playing online titles only in the region where the software was purchased.

   Game Lab suggests that the partitioning plan has been put into place in order to discourage importing of Final Fantasy XI, which launched yesterday in Japan. No information has released regarding the technical methods to be used to accomplish the partitioning.

   source | GameForms

.:. m a y . 1 6 . t h u r s d a y .:.

   Final Fantasy XI Offline... ... news | stealthriot

   While thousands of players gleefully picked up copies of Square's long awaited PlayStation 2 RPG Final Fantasy XI today in Japan, few have been able to play the game online. Despite Square's assurances regarding the ability to handle network traffic, the registration system for Square's PlayOnline service was overwhelmed within hours of the game's release. Square issued a formal apology regarding the problem this morning, and assured customers that they're expanding the registration system to handle thousands of simultaneous requests. It's currently unknown how long it will take to fix the registration system.

   source | Xen Gamers

   Limited Quantities of Final Fantasy XI ... news | stealthriot

   Due to a limited supply of Sony's PS2 Broadband Units, Square has only shipped between 150,000 to 200,000 copies of Final Fantasy XI to retail stores. Several game retailers reported over 100 people have lined up in front of the stores for the game, the game has sold out within a short time. Many people also signed up for the PS2BB (broadband) service at the same time.

   source | The Magic Box

.:. m a y . 1 5 . w e d n e s d a y .:.

   European FFX To Support 50hz Mode Only ... news | stealthriot

   Square has announced that the European version of Final Fantasy X will come without a 60hz display mode and instead only support 50hz. This will result in the already infamous black PAL borders which narrow the height of the screen. Square examined the possibility of a 50/60hz switch, but had to drop the 60hz mode due to the lack of free space available on the DVD.
   The European version of Final Fantasy X will come with a special bonus disc featuring developer interviews and a preview of Kingdom Hearts; the game will be released in various European countries between May 29th and 31st.

   source | RPGFan

.:. m a y . 1 4 . t u e s d a y .:.

   PlayStation 2 Price Drop Official! ... news | stealthriot

   Sony got the ball rolling today by cutting the U.S. price of its PlayStation 2 game console by one-third and dropping the price of its older PlayStation One by 50 percent. Effective immediately, the PS2 costs $199, down from $299, while the PSone now sells for $49, down from $99. The PSone/LCD screen combo will be available for $149, also a $50 drop.
   Additionally, PlayStation accessories will also see a decent cost reduction. PS2 memory cards and Dual Shock 2 controllers are now both $24, with the original Dual Shock being priced at $19.

   source | News.com, GameForms

   Weekly Famitsu Rates Final Fantasy XI ... news | stealthriot

   The latest issue Japan's popular game magazine Weekly Famitsu featured a review of Square's long awaited online RPG, Final Fantasy XI. For those of you unfamiliar with Famitsu reviews, a panel of four authors review the same game on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best). Here is what they had to say about FFXI:

   Omiya: 10 "Not merely an update to the series, this is the beginning of a whole new dimension. Raising the bar for flexibility in network games, the game will be as expandable as the player could want with supplementation from optional contents. There are as many ways to play as you can imagine, and the addition of interaction with other players adds another element of appeal. Incredible. I've never seen anything like it."

   Arashiyama: 9 "The fact that this is an online game that is not action-based is in itself innovative. However, this sometimes makes the game frustratingly slow. The huge field and large variety of monsters are reason enough to play, but when you add the quest and interactive chat, you begin to see a whole new level of fun."

   Okamura: 10 "This is a fun, huge-scale adventure that allows a large degree of freedom. The game is loaded with quests and collectable items, causing one to seriously worry there won't be enough time to do everything! However, the manners of other players sometimes introduce a different kind of "fun" and there are charges associated with network play. Even so, it is a game you definitely will want to play!"

   Haneda: 9 "The requirement of changing to an online environment may pose high barriers, but this title is definitely a milestone in consumer game software. Even veterans of MMRPGs will be surprised by some points. The design seems to have kept things simple through fixed, easily-enforced rules rather than letting the game act as a microcosm of society. Very fun."

   source | Xen Gamers

.:. m a y . 1 3 . m o n d a y .:.

   Hollywood Actors & Actresses Bring Kingdom Hearts to Life ... news | stealthriot

   SquareEA and Disney Interactive have assembled a cast of Hollywood actors and actresses to breathe life into the primary characters in the PlayStation 2 role-playing game, Kingdom Hearts, which ships this fall.
   Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense, A.I. Artificial Intelligence) will provide the voice of Sora, the central character in the game. Other actors recording voices for the game include David Gallagher (“Seventh Heaven”) as Riku, Hayden Panettiere (“Ally McBeal,” Remember the Titans) as Kairi, Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, Goonies), David Boreanaz (“Angel,” “Valentine”) and Christy Romano (“Even Stevens,” “Kim Possible”).

   source | Xen Gamers

.:. m a y . 0 7 . t u e s d a y .:.

   New Details on Square's Upcoming Soccer Game ... news | stealthriot

   Square has released new details on their PS2 soccer game World Fantasista, scheduled for release in Japan on June 6, for 6800 yen. The game features real professional players from different countries, including Hiroshi Nanami, Patrick Mboma and Jose Luis Chilavert; in addition, there will be 36 real Japanese players, world soccer teams from 35 countries, and the ability to create your own team.

   source | The Magic Box

.:. m a y . 0 6 . m o n d a y .:.

   Yoichi Wada Talks FFXI ... news | stealthriot

   Square President and CEO Yoichi Wada sat down with Mainichi Interactive to discuss his company's first online game, Final Fantasy XI. He expects the game to remain online for four to five years, thanks to constant updates (such as new events, maps, etc.), that should keep players interested. A team of staffers will exclusively work full-time on those updates.
   As expected, the Japanese release of Final Fantasy XI on May 16th will be followed by a US release later this year. After the release on this side of the Pacific, the rest of the world will be able to start playing the eleventh installment in the Final Fantasy series.
   On a sidenote, Wada mentioned that Square was working on an unspecified, light-hearted online RPG scheduled for a 2003 release date.

   source | RPGFan

.:. m a y . 0 5 . s u n d a y .:.

   Kingdom Hearts Exceeding Sales Expectations ... news | stealthriot

   Square announced that the shipment of their highly anticipated PS2 RPG, Kingdom Hearts, has exceeded 750,000 units in Japan, the sales of the game have also exceeded Square's forecast of 500,000 units.
   As of the week April 22 through April 28, Kingdom Hearts has sold a total of 650,287 units.

   source | The Magic Box