It would be nice for Square Enix to remaster Xenogears and release it on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Windows PC plus Xbox Game Pass (XGP)

Are you an Xbox gamer who likes Square Enix’s Japanese-developed role-playing games or JRPGs? Chrono Cross has been available since April. Square Enix’s new JRPGs The DioField Chronicle and Star Ocean: The Divine Force will be released on September 22, 2022 and October 27, 2022 respectively.

To be clear, I find Square Enix’s business relationship with Team Xbox lacking. The HD remastered version of Legend of Mana was very noticeably released on multiple platforms but not on Xbox. Tactics Ogre: Reborn was announced for future release for multiple platforms except Xbox. Still on Square Enix, the Final Fantasy VII remake as well as the announced sequel are exclusive to Sony’s platforms. The exclusions are clear and disturbing. Why Square Enix excluded the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and the Xbox One (which still has many millions of console users until now) as platforms to sell the above mentioned games remains a mystery although there is speculation that Sony Corporation and its PlayStation executives made a secret deal with the JRPG giant to specifically hurt Xbox without affecting Nintendo and Steam. Realistically, Microsoft pointed out that Sony pays game companies for blocking rights to keep games off Xbox Game Pass. Read all about it here, here and here.

While these developments are disturbing and also annoying, I still wish that Square Enix would remaster one of its classic JRPGs and release it on Xbox platforms similar to what they did with the remastered Chrono Cross. That classic RPG I’m referring to is none other than Xenogears.

Xenogears’ battle system allowed individual persons and giant robots (called gears) to engage in battle simultaneously. Observe how the approach on in-game scale was done here.

I played Xenogears on the original PlayStation console way back in 1998 but I never got to finish it due to my academics and other external matters. It also did not help that the CD-ROM of the PlayStation deteriorated.

Regardless, I had a lot of enjoyment during my limited time with the said JRPG, the design of which was led by Tetsuya Takahashi. The fictional concept of Xenogears took a lot of inspiration from real-life forms of religion as well as concepts from certain intellectuals to establish the story themes, the fictional cultures and historical backgrounds within the game. At the same time, the game had this in-depth universe composed of different settings for gamers to explore. In my experience, I felt immersed into the game’s universe and I still remember the moments I got astonished discovering not only the many locations and landmarks but also the many non-playable characters (NPCs presented as 2D sprites) in the form of local communities and the in-game cultures.


Xenogears had 3D polygonal environments and 2D sprites for the characters and creatures who move around.
In this classic JRPG, you play as Fei and you will explore a lot, fight a lot and interact with lots of characters as you go along.

While Xenogears had a science fiction concept, it still had lots of settings and gameplay features that made it feel like a fantasy. I love the way how the creative team’s artists implemented their art styles on the environments, the characters, the machines, the interiors of places and more. Visually, this game saw the use of 2D sprites for the characters who move along a 3D polygonal environment which can be explored creatively by a camera that can be adjusted by the players. As such, this approach done in Xenogears made the game look and feel a lot like Grandia.

While Xenogears’ battle system had key elements that were common with other JRPGs, there was a clear emphasis on hand-to-hand combat that took a lot of inspiration from martial arts as well as 2D fighting games of the decade. There were these martial arts-inspired combos which required button combinations and timing which were fun to watch happen. There were also these death blows which were really rewarding when pulled off correctly. Of course, there were still some magic attacks that were nicely presented.

What made Xenogears stand out is the use of giant robots or gears in the game. Not only did the game allow me to travel with the gears, it also allowed me to engage with enemies (both the large and the small ones standing on the floor/ground) with a fully functional battle system that emphasized size, scale and impact altogether. Similar to the other battle system, the gears battle system fun and engaging in my experience. I can never forget the moment I first saw my gear crush a huge enemy with a lot of impact to seal the victory. Travel using gears, however, was hampered somewhat by the creative team who implemented platform gaming elements (note: this includes jumping from one platform to another without falling down to your death) and the controls were not really responsive enough. This is something Square Enix should consider improving if they ever remaster Xenogears.

The battle system with the individual characters is a lot of fun and also unique as the combat emphasizes combos and martial arts.
The artistic approach used in Xenogears remains captivating.

Right now, I would love to replay Xenogears and complete it but I prefer the game should be remastered and be released for Xbox consoles. I have no intention of buying a new console from Sony and Nintendo to play Square Enix JRPGs that are missing on Xbox consoles. JRPGs on Xbox are not exactly lacking (note: Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes will be released via Xbox Game Pass in 2023 while Persona RPGs are coming to Xbox soon) but it would be great not only for Xbox gamers but also Square Enix itself to remaster Xenogears and release it on the Xbox ecosystem. That being said, I believe Xenogears itself would make a great addition into Xbox Game Pass (XGP) which already has many millions of subscribers worldwide!

Think about it carefully. Having a remastered Xenogears for sale on Xbox and also listed on Xbox Game Pass will not only be good for the Xbox ecosystem but also for Square Enix to not only sell games but also reach out to the XGP subscribers who could enjoy the said JRPG and add a lot of new players that the JRPG giant could not reach before. Not only are more Square Enix role-playing games are needed on XGP right now (note: adding Chrono Cross into it will be delightful), they can also benefit nicely as the Xbox ecosystem is gradually becoming the premier ecosystem for RPG enthusiasts in this console generation. Xbox-exclusive RPGs like Starfield, The Outer Worlds 2, Fable as well as future sequels of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout will collectively generate big game sales as well as increase the number of gamers in the Xbox ecosystem and Xbox Game Pass subscribers will grow big as well. The growth will be even bigger once Team Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard gets approved. For Square Enix to miss out on fast growing Xbox ecosystem in favor of Sony’s blocking rights will be a regrettable move.

Going back to Xenogears, I want to make it clear to Square Enix that now is the time to remaster it and release it on Xbox as well as other platforms. That being said, I also urge Team Xbox’s chief Phil Spencer, executive Aaron Greenberg and the Xbox Game Pass team to reinvigorate the business relationship with Square Enix and try to convince them to release Xenogears and other classic JRPGs into XGP and the Xbox game store. To the Xbox gamers and RPG enthusiasts reading this, I encourage you to contact Square Enix and Team Xbox to have Xenogears and other JRPGs (both classic and modern) released on the Xbox consoles and Windows PC.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus a few Xenogears-related videos for your enjoyment.

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Persona games coming to Xbox consoles, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass (XGP) at last!

Anyone who owns an Xbox console or a Windows PC who loves Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) should be delighted to know that the popular Persona game franchise will have three of its established games released for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Windows PC with availability through Xbox Game Pass (XGP) soon as confirmed in the recent Xbox-Bethesda games showcase! For clarity, Persona 5 Royal is slated for an October 21, 2022 release.

For starters, watch the official video below…

To understand the Persona games better, posted below is an excerpt from the official article published at Xbox.com written by SEGA Communications Manager Stacy Lee. Some parts in boldface…

Cheers to 25 years of Persona! In this very special anniversary year, we are bringing the worldwide hits Persona 5 Royal, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 3 Portable to Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and with Xbox Game Pass. Starting this fall, fans will get to experience this beloved RPG series.

To kick things off, on October 21, don the mask of Joker and join the Phantom Thieves of Hearts when Persona 5 Royal arrives with Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows PC. We’ll have more to share on the release of Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable so be sure to stay tuned here to Xbox Wire.

For those who missed out on these games originally, or are excited to play Persona on Xbox and Windows PC, the 25th Anniversary is a great time to join in the celebration. Here’s a quick refresher on each game:

Persona 3 Portable – If I say there’s an hour “hidden” between one day and the next… would you believe me? This unknown time is the “Dark Hour.” Unfamiliar stillness swallows the city, people turn into eerie coffins, and otherworldly monsters called Shadows swarm. One night, the protagonist is attacked by these Shadows. When all hope seems lost, the power of the heart, their Persona, is awakened.

Persona 4 Golden – They say your soulmate will appear if you stare into a television set on a rainy night… This strange rumor slowly spreads through the rural town of Inaba, the protagonist’s new home, just as a chain of mysterious murders begin. As the protagonist and his teammates chase after the truth, they find themselves opening the door to another world.

Persona 5 Royal – Forced to transfer to a high school in Tokyo, the protagonist has a strange dream. “You truly are a prisoner of fate. In the near future, ruin awaits you.” With the goal of “rehabilitation” looming overhead, he must save others from distorted desires by donning the mask of a Phantom Thief.

In my personal experience, the one and only Persona video game I ever played was Revelations: Persona on the original Sony PlayStation way back in 1996. I never finished that game but I spent many hours playing it and that includes the loading times and the not-so-efficient pacing of the gameplay.

Image from Persona 5 Royal.

The upcoming release of the recent Persona RPGs on Xbox and Windows PC with access through Xbox Game Pass (XGP) should help the franchise reach even more gamers worldwide. As far as Japanese gaming goes on Xbox right now, I enjoyed finishing Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising on my Xbox Series X and I’m looking forward to the Suikoden-inspired Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes RPG which will be released sometime next year. Square Enix has Star Ocean: The Divine Force and The Diofeld Chronicle coming to Xbox this year but no release dates have been announced as of this writing. Most recently, Square Enix announced that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion will be released on Xbox consoles although no release date has been announced.

Combined with those mentioned Japanese games or JRPGs to be exact, the addition of Persona games is indeed a welcome addition to the Xbox ecosystem which has lots of gamers craving for such games. It’s nice to see that Team Xbox head Phil Spencer has been working hard negotiating with Japanese game companies and makers to release their games into the Xbox ecosystem. In fact, during the Xbox-Bethesda showcase, a special Xbox project with Hideo Kojima’s company was confirmed to be real and there was also the announcement of an Xbox release of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty developed by Team Ninja.

Let me end this piece by ask you readers: Are you happy that the Persona game franchise is coming to Xbox with the mentioned three games? Do you think that more Japanese RPGs and other kinds of games made by Japanese game developers will continue to be released on Xbox? What other past JRPGs do you want to see released on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass? Do you think that all the JRPGs already announced coming to Xbox and mix in with Western RPGs (examples: Starfield, Fable reboot, The Outer Worlds 2 and Avowed to name a few) will result a wide variety of games for those who love playing role-playing games? Do you see Xbox as the definitive ecosystem for RPGs right now?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Forza Motorsport (2023) coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass (XGP)

This year’s edition of the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase has passed and I can say it was a truly loaded showcase of games – both exclusives and multiplatform ones – that will be released over the next 12 months. Among the highlights of the June 12 event were the showcases of Bethesda’s epic RPG Starfield and Turn 10’s new Forza Motorsport game plus the Xbox project involving Hideo Kojima and his company and the Persona game series coming to Xbox platforms!

Official gameplay image of Forza Motorsport (2023) from Team Xbox and Turn 10.

In my pre-event article, I anticipated the official revealing of the next edition of the acclaimed Forza Motorsport game franchise handled by Turn 10. Indeed, the new game was showcased at the event with Turn 10 executives who led the presentation (with a demo) and a separate trailer of it was released along with a Spring 2023 release period for the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Windows PC plus Xbox Game Pass (XGP) As the new game is a reboot and it shares the same name as the very first game released way back in 2005 on the original Xbox, I personally refer to it as Forza Motorsport (2023) to avoid confusion.

To learn more about Forza Motorsport (2023) and its features, watch the two videos from the showcase below…

Team Xbox and Turn 10 went the extra mile by publishing key details and features as to why Forza Motorsport (2023) is the most technically advanced racing game ever made. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Xbox.com article. Some parts in boldface…

Forza Motorsport has been built from the ground up to showcase the Xbox Series X|S consoles. The accuracy of our overhauled physics, the beauty of our cars and tracks, our new dynamic time of day, advanced car damage, and real time ray tracing on track lead to a generational leap in immersion. The all-new Forza Motorsport is the most technically advanced racing game ever made.

Fundamental to Forza Motorsport is our fully dynamic time of day system, which brings tracks to life in stunning detail and like weather, it will be available on every track. Changes in time of day alter ambient temperatures, which, in turn, impacts the track surface temperatures. These track temperature changes will affect the grip of your car, as does rubbering in and weather. These new simulation details add further depth, drama, and dynamics to the racing experience.

A small example of ray tracing implemented in Forza Motorsport (2023).

We’ve completely overhauled the core driving experience to take advantage of the power of the Xbox Series consoles. This includes a 48 times improvement in the fidelity of our physics simulation. Based on your feedback, we’ve introduced new features like tire and fuel management, multiple tire compounds, and new in-depth car building to create the ultimate racing playset. This is all brought to life at the trackside pits, where advanced materials and shaders paired with ray tracing bring out incredible detail in the gold heat wrap, anodized aluminum, and carbon fiber. Ray tracing especially shines on engine bays with their complex self-reflection.

Much more detailed car damage plus interaction with the external elements such as in-game dirt, water droplets, movement and more.

In Forza Motorsport, car damage is reproduced down to the individual scratches on the bodywork. There are all-new simulation details in the directionality of damage, how the paint peels away at exposed and raised edges, in the wheel abrasions, and in the dirt build-up. Car damage is a racing reality and has been authentically captured in the new Forza Motorsport.

There is no doubt about it. Team Xbox and Turn 10 are not only making the grand return of the Forza Motorsport game franchise (note: last game was released in 2017) with Forza Motorsport (2023), they are aiming high on delivering the most ambitious and most engaging racing experience. Very clearly, Turn 10 had been working hard to improve the simulation racing experience for those who will play their next game on Xbox Series consoles or on PC, and they are doing it with both long-time Forza Motorsport fans and casual gamers in mind. With the heavy revamping and reforming done on game design, Turn 10 really went all-out and went way beyond just raising the polygons and raising the resolution to earn the next-generation label.

The implementation ray tracing (defined as a rendering method that simulates light reflections, refractions and shadows. It follows a light path from a specific source and computes each pixel in the image to simulate the effect of the light.) looks great but I still wonder if Turn 10 will still be able to make Forza Motorsport (2023) gameplay run in full native 4K resolution (3840×2160) while maintaining a consistent 60 frames-per-second rate with ray tracing turn on at the same time on Xbox Series X (note: I own the console). Ray tracing is indeed a very taxing visual effect and it has been limited only to Forzavista mode in the acclaimed Forza Horizon 5. If Turn 10 can ensure gameplay with ray tracing, 4K resolution and 60FPS altogether in Forza Motorsport (2023) without any technical compromises, I would really love that!

Forza Motorsport (2023) is a true next-generation game coming out next year only on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass (XGP).

More on the game, I am looking forward to its revamped cay physics, the improved car damage, the dynamic time of day system, improved dynamic weather, and Turn 10’s next-generation approach on the crafting of the race tracks and experience how all of those will impact the gameplay experience on my end. That being said, Forza Motorsport (2023) is the one simulation racing game to watch out for next year exclusively on the Xbox ecosystem.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Team Xbox has a lot to prove to its fans and other gamers with the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase on June 12

Let’s put things straight here. Firstly, the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase is all set for June 12, 2022 (Sunday) which Team Xbox already announced.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from Team Xbox’s announcement. Some parts in boldface…

Today, we are excited to announce that the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase will stream on Sunday, June 12 at 10 a.m. PT. This show will feature amazing titles coming from Xbox Game Studios, Bethesda, and our partners around the world.

Watch for the showcase on June 12, 2022 (June 13, 2022 in Asia).

The Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase will include everything you need to know about the diverse lineup of games coming soon to the Xbox ecosystem, including upcoming releases to Game Pass on Xbox and PC.

The Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase will be streamed on a variety of outlets, in over 30 languages. You can choose where you want to tune in from:

For some insight about what could be showcased on June 12, 2022, watch this video by Colteastwood.

Secondly, my personal excitement is not too high due to recent developments with regards to Team Xbox’s Xbox-exclusive releases for this year which I was looking forward to playing on Xbox Series X. For one thing, I am very disappointed with the delay of Starfield into 2023. I do understand that Bethesda and Team Xbox want to make it a grand game to play that will ensure enduring bouts of fun and engagement, the previous assurances (note: this includes preview videos published by Bethesda) that the game will be released on November 11, 2022 proved to be meaningless. Why was the old release date decided on in the first place? Did the development team led by Todd Howard encounter serious problems while polishing the game? Howard and Xbox head Phil Spencer will have to explain why.

And there is also the delay of the Xbox-exclusive Redfall into 2023. That game was supposed to be released this summer and it has been months already since any high-profile Xbox-exclusive has been released. I know that there are other Xbox fans still playing Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite on their Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S units out there but without any new content or any other Xbox-exclusive games, fans craving should be satisfied as soon as possible. That being said, the June 12 games showcase becomes more crucial.

No Xbox-exlusive games for the rest of 2022? Team Xbox, Bethesda and their other studios have a lot of explaining to do if they cannot deliver anything this year.

As of this writing, the well of exclusive games for Xbox looks dry. So what can Team Xbox and its teams of developers and Bethesda do to solve the lack of exclusive games this year? Personally, I am anticipating the showcase of the next edition of the Forza Motorsport series of simulation racing games which will be done by Turn 10 and eventually they will announce a late-2022 release date. If the new Forza Motorsport (sometimes referred to as Forza Motorsport 8) will be released beyond this year, that would be a major bummer! For the still-hot Forza Horizon 5, I am anticipating Playground Games to showcase a feature-loaded DLC for release this year.

When it comes to unlikely scenarios, it would really be nice and exciting to see Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II showcased and announced for a late-2022 release. Such a development would really excite gamers and be a strong rebound from the Starfield/Redfall setbacks. I don’t have any updates about the very state and progress of Senua’s Saga but it has been more than three years since the game was initially announced. I can only speculate that the game’s development would be in the polishing stage by now and there would be enough time left for marketing it for a late-2022 release. If only Ninja Theory would update gamers at the showcase.

As for the other Xbox-exclusive role-playing game (RPG) Avowed, showcasing the game on June 12 would make a lot of sense in connection to the Starfield delay. Obsidian Entertainment should be far into the fantasy RPG’s development by now, perhaps reaching the stage of polishing. Showing the latest working gameplay footage of Avowed should be pleasing. And then there is the one other Xbox-exclusive sequel The Outer Worlds 2…any update about it will be very welcome. Going back to Playground Games, I personally am not expecting to see an update about the new Fable RPG at all.

As for Rare and The Initiative, I’m not anticipating anything from them. Still, it would be nice for Team Xbox to make things clear about the state of not only The Initiative but also the Xbox-exclusive Perfect Dark reboot (which now has external studio Crystal Dynamics involved). A Perfect Dark reboot showcase would be very surprising. Regarding one other Xbox game studio – Compulsion Games – it is high time for them to show something. A no-show will be disappointing.

When it comes to Xbox Game Pass (XGP), I would not be surprised to see the announcements of more games get added into the service for subscribers to enjoy. What would be surprising for me is adding memorable Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) like Suikoden, Suikoden II, Breath of Fire 1 to 4, Lunar: Silver Star Complete and Grandia into XGP. When it comes to what could be shocking, it would be the announcement of a Day One Xbox Game Pass launch of the Saints Row reboot. Whatever negotiations Team Xbox is having with game developers and publishers worldwide right now, you can be they are doing they could to keep on filling XGP with varied games.

Speaking of Team Xbox dealing with game companies, the June 12 games showcase would be a great opportunity to make announcements about the latest projects under Xbox Game Studios Publishing. I’m eager to find out any breakthroughs regarding Project Belfry (Stoic Studio), Project Indus (Oxide Games), Project Dragon (IO Interactive), and of course, Contraband (Avalanche Studios). If Team Xbox cannot show anything about those mentioned projects at all, they can at least announce whatever new deals and projects they made with other game companies. While it is possible that Team Xbox could announce something related to their Activision-Blizzard acquisition, I’m not anticipating anything as the acquisition has yet to be completed.

Have you gamers played Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising on Xbox? I recently finished it and I had a lot of fun with it. From this point on, I really want to play Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes (scheduled for 2023) and I hope to see Team Xbox welcome Japan-based developer Rabbit & Bear Studios and lead game designer Yoshitaka Murayama (responsible for Suikoden & Suikoden II) onto the stage to show the latest gameplay footage and announce the final release date during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase. More on Japanese-developed games coming to Xbox, it would be nice to see Square Enix have its own spotlight in the same showcase to show the latest gameplay footage of Star Ocean: The Divine Force and The Diofeld Chronicle, plus their respective release dates. As for Final Fantasy VII Remake possibly coming to Xbox, I’m not anticipating it at all.

The Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase is just days away from happening as I write this. While the 2021 showcase was great and delightful to me, I’m more cautious now about the June 12 event. Considering what happened recently and how painful the delays of Starfield and Redfall really were, the pressure is now on Team Xbox, Bethesda and its other studios to not just deliver great stuff June 12 but also actually release high-profile Xbox-exclusive games plus DLC THIS YEAR. We will find out soon what Phil Spencer, Todd Howard and other Xbox producers/executives will reveal.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Japan eyes SUBIT dominance

Japan served notice it is all out to regain her pre-eminence in the NTT Asia Cup SUBIT as she entered a powerhouse squad in the 29th edition of the country’s longest running triathlon event outside of the National Championships set at Subic Bay Freeport Zone this Sunday (May 1).

            Asia’s No. 3 and 56th in the world rankings Ren Sato is installed as the No. 1 seed in the elite men category followed by Tsudoi Miyazaki, ranked 4th in Asia and 59th in the world.      

            In the elite women, inaugural Youth Olympic Games triathlon gold medalist and Rio Olympics 2016 15th placer Yuka Sato (10th– Continental Ranking; 90th– World Ranking) gets the top billing and Tsudoi Miyazaki (14th-CR; 145th– WR) the main supporting role.

            Rounding out the top 5 men favorites are: Rio 2016 veteran Azerbaijan’s Rostislav Pevtsov (47th– CR, 76th-WR), Genta Uchida (8th– CR; 97th– WR) and the last SUBIT (2019) champion Hong Kong’s Oscar Coggins who finished 33rd in the Tokyo 2020 (10th– CR; 120th-WR).

            Completing the pundits’ choices for a podium finish in the distaff side is Australia’s Jessica Ewart-mctigue (16th-CR; 153- WR).

            The last time the Japanese ruled the elite men was in 2017 when they romped off with 1st,3rd and 5th positions with the Koreans inserting themselves in-between; and in the elite women in 2015 when they finished 1-2.

Partnering with organizing Triathlon Association of the Philippines in SUBIT are Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority under newly-installed Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee with Standard Insurance, Asian Center for Insulation Phil (ACIP), Pocari Sweat, Aurora Suites & Pavilion, and FINIS as sponsors.

Seeing action in SUBIT where top performers gain points for continental and world ranking are hopefuls from aside Japan, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, and Australia are Chinese-Taipei, India, Singapore, Slovakia and the Philippines.

Conspicuously absent are the Chinese, particularly Mengying Zhong, the back-to-back women’s champion of the last two editions of SUBIT.

The country’s bets to the 31st Hanoi SEA Games, namely, Kim Mangrobang, Raven Faith Alcoseba, Lauren Plaza, Andrew Kim Remolino, Fernando Casares and John Chicano banner the Team Philippines.

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The above information was sourced from an official press release issued by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines. Some parts were modified for this website.

For related triathlon stories about the Subic Bay International Triathlon and the SEA Games this year, click here, here, here and here.

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising launching on Xbox consoles and through Xbox Game Pass (XGP) on May 10, 2022!

To the gamers who are craving for new role-playing experiences and some more action, get ready as 505 Games confirmed that Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (the spin-off game to 2023’s Suikoden-inspired Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes) will be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One and Windows PC (via Steam) on May 10, 2022, and it will also launch on both Xbox Game Pass (XGP) and PC Game Pass that same day!

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from 505 Games’ announcement. Some parts in boldface…

Global publisher 505 Games in collaboration with Rabbit & Bear Studios, headed by Yoshitaka Murayama, a creator of Suikoden, and NatsumeAtari today unveil the release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, the fast-paced 2.5D action RPG with town-upgrading elements serving as a companion prequel game to the upcoming Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. Rising’s pre-war tales begin May 10th, 2022 on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam, Epic and GOG. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising will also be available day one via Xbox and PC Game Pass.

After a massive earthquake revealed Runebarrows deep below a town on the remote frontier of the Allraan known as New Nevaeh, fortune-seeking adventurers and merchants from across the world arrive. Among those hoping to find treasure, three star-crossed heroes come together. CJ, the Venerable Scavenger, and Garoo, the Beastman Mercenary, hope to mine the Rune Lens, a source of magic hidden underground. Isha, the Young Deputy Mayor, wants to rebuild her town.

Delve into the ruins and master Rising’s satisfying combat. Dash in quick and strike with CJ’s climbing axes, sling sorcery from afar as Isha, and punish foes with Garoo’s gigantic sword. Topple imaginative bosses by swapping between each character and unleashing devastating Link Attacks combining each hero’s specialty, all while platforming through gorgeous 2.5D environments.

Scavenge dungeons and earn materials to reconstruct New Nevaeh to its former glory and reap benefits applying to Hundred Heroes when it releases in 2023. Cross content includes special cosmetic items, valuable equipment, and trade goods. Make a personal mark on the world of Eiyuden Chronicle by naming certain weapons and delicacies in Rising that will carry over to Hundred Heroes next year.

The May 10, 2022 Xbox and XGP release of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is very notable as it will add depth to the number of Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) and Japan-produced games on the Xbox platforms in this current generation. I still remember the moments of surprise and excitement I had when I saw the unexpected announcement of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising during the Xbox-Bethesda Games Showcase of June 2021.

To those already subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, mark your calendars for May 10, 2022 as Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising will come out for your enjoyment! To learn more details about the game, click https://carlocarrasco.com/2022/03/29/watch-out-for-eiyuden-chronicle-rising-on-xbox-via-xbox-game-pass-xgp/

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Watch out for Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising on Xbox via Xbox Game Pass (XGP)

We all know that great video games will be released for fun-loving gamers on the Xbox platforms. That’s the truth that Xbox-hating people out there keep on denying. The June 2021 Xbox-Bethesda games showcase was a major event that showed what kind of games and experienced will be released in the years to come. For me, one of the biggest and most unexpected reveals in the showcase were Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising from developer Rabbit & Bear (led by Suikoden creator Yoshitaka Murayama).

In my view, those two Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) are significant not only because they add variety to the upcoming games Xbox gamers can look forward to but also because both will be made available to the many millions of Xbox Game Pass (XGP) subscribers!

More recently, a developer exclusive preview of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (note: the spin-off game to Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes) which you can watch below…

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is clearly a side-scrolling JRPG that emphasizes action, platforming and town-building set within the universe of Eiyuden Chronicle. To learn more details about the game, posted below is the excerpt from the Xbox.com article written by 505 Games Brand Community Manager Stephen Takowsky. Some parts in boldface…

This upcoming game is a side-scrolling adventure that mixes platforming, action, and role-playing.

The game’s story takes place on the continent of Allraan in a small mining town called New Neveah. The battle against the evil Galdean Empire awaits. Traverse the town, encounter a vibrant cast of colorful characters, collect resources, and prepare for epic battles.

As you watch this first look at Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, make sure you pay attention to these five key elements in the footage!

A cut-scene with dialogue for gamers to read and understand as the narrative moves.
  • Utilize potions and other stat boosting modifiers to increase your chance of survival. You might notice that we’re at a very high character level compared to the enemies we face off against in this exclusive look. When you play Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, confrontations could be far more challenging than they appear. Potions will give you an edge when traversing dungeons, but they heal your entire party. Try to even out the damage your party receives so you heal everyone efficiently as opposed to only partially healing members of your squad. It is possible to overuse members of your team!
  • Fast travel will help you traverse massive dungeons and hasten quest completion. You will save hours by using the maps and signposts to fast-travel versus running everywhere.
  • Some enemies have an additional bar next to their health that represents a shield. Focus on removing this bonus defense to quickly defeat strong enemies.
  • Each character can help in unique ways throughout levels and even in combat. For example, Garoo can destroy shields quickly, Isha can effectively bring down the defenses of magic focused enemies, CJ is better equipped to traverse challenging terrain, and Isha can teleport to inaccessible areas. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team.

While a final release date has yet to be made, 505 Games declared that the launch of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising will take place later this year. Perhaps the publisher might announce the final launch dates of both Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and the Suikoden-inspired Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes (tentatively set for 2023) at the next Xbox-Bethesda games showcase in a few months from now.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Better than Streaming: My first time in two whole years to watch a movie inside the local cinema

I finally did it! After two years of living with the COVID-19 crisis, I finally returned to the local cinema at Commercenter in Alabang recently where I saw The Batman on the big screen. The day was March 5 (Saturday) and it was a very notable experience for me personally and I can say that the theatrical experience is still better than watching movies via streaming.

To be very clear, it has been months since the cinemas all over Metro Manila reopened and as the months passed by, moviegoers have gradually returned in relation to what films were screened, what the local Alert Levels were and what health protocols were implemented. The reopening of cinemas went a long way since the 1st quarter of 2021 (for references click here, here, here and here) and the Philippine cinema industry as a whole is trying to recover what was lost over the past two years. At one point, the movie theaters employed over 300,000 employees nationwide.

On my way to watching The Batman at the cinema with my ticket!

Going back to my return to the local cinema, I want to make clear that currently the cinemas will only accept people who have been fully vaccinated (meaning two doses of most COVID-19 vaccine brands were injected) which is why vaccination cards/passes are required for verification BEFORE any ticket will be sold. As such, I showed to the theater ticket seller my vaccination card and eventually I was allowed to purchase a ticket for The Batman which was P320 (more than US$6). I should state that it was also there at the Commercenter cinema where I last saw a movie in 2020…just before the first lockdown happened.

More on rules, it has been declared already that food and drinks are prohibited in Commercenter’s cinemas and that moviegoers are to wear their masks on as they watch a movie. Again, the prohibition on food and drinks at the said cinema were in effect when I viewed The Batman on March 5. According to a March 9, 2022 report by the Manila Bulletin, some theaters allowed their moviegoers to have food while watching.

For transparency, these are the rules for you to see.

While having no food and drink was a bummer for me as a paying moviegoer, I decided to just let things be and focus strongly on the narrative of The Batman which has a running time of almost three hours! That being said, as the movie went on, I was compelled to really focus on the story, the details and the dialogue (note: I turned my smartphone off as soon as I sat down). I also realized something that movie theaters can instantly provide that streaming apps and the home-based theater cannot – complete privacy and immersion.

In other words, there no distractions from external forces (examples: smartphone updates through the Internet, in-home telephone ringing, a noisy neighbor, someone knocking on the door, the house doorbell ringing, a motorist driving a car with an overly loud sound outside the house, etc.) and as such I experienced this strong engagement in watching the Matt Reeves-directed Batman movie. I also noticed that not only does Colin Farrell looks truly unrecognizable as the new cinematic Penguin, there were two moments I noticed he sounded and spoke like Robert de Niro!

I should also state that there were several other moviegoers who occupied seats on rows behind and in front of me. Clearly the attendance of that very screening was below 50% which only reminds me that the pandemic is still ongoing here in the Philippines. Fortunately, everyone was well behaved and in-theater noise and distractions were non-existent.

After waiting until the very end to see the very short and cryptic end-credits scene, I finally left the cinema satisfied and entertained. I found The Batman a worthy movie to watch on the big screen but to judge its quality and emphasized my observations about it, I would do that in a possible movie review.

Nothing like looking at what films are being shown before you reach the ticket counter.

My return to watching a movie in the local cinema was a really interesting experience. It was also my first time in many years to watch a movie on the big screen without consuming any drink or food. Still, I got my money’s worth overall and I really hope that what I paid will keep helping not just Commercenter cinema but the entire movie theater industry to achieve economic recovery with the pandemic still ongoing. The more people who get fully vaccinated, and the more fully vaccinated people who get boosted, the better it will be for movie theaters in terms of qualified moviegoers.

When it comes to spending time inside Commercenter, be aware that the mall has really nice places to enjoy delicious meals before or after you watch a movie at their cinema. You love ramen and Japanese meals, go to Sigekiya Ramen. You want to try Greek cuisine? Visit Akrotiri. You like good food and wine? Visit The Black Pig.

To those of you reading this, if you have the means and if your local cinemas are allowed to operate, I encourage you to buy tickets and watch your desired movie on the big screen inside the cinema. I suggest you stop streaming temporarily and help the movie theaters achieve economic recovery from this pandemic. For The Batman, I say screw HBO Max and HBO Go!

Remember this: Streaming will NEVER match the grandeur and immersion of the cinema! The cinema is always better than streaming. What you pay for movie tickets will help not only the cinema operators and their respective employees, you will also help the local authorities by means of tax collection and keeping the local area in order.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

The DioField Chronicle coming soon on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One

As a happy gamer who owns an Xbox Series X console, I should state that I am having fun with turn-based tactical games like Gears Tactics, Empire of Sin and Phoenix Point. Those three games – which as of this writing are still available for Xbox Game Pass (XGP) subscribers to enjoy – have their own concepts and their own approach on gameplay that involves strategy.

Speaking of strategy gaming, Square Enix officially announced that it has a brand new strategy role-playing game (strategy RPG) that will be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One this year – The DioField Chronicle.

To begin with, watch the official video below…

To put things in perspective, posted below are excerpts from the official announcement by Square Enix. Some parts in boldface…

This fresh new franchise is developed by SQUARE ENIX in conjunction with Lancarse Ltd, a team of veteran strategy developers, features unique character designs by Taiki (Lord of Vermilion III, IV), concept art by Isamu Kamikokuryo (FINAL FANTASY XII, FINAL FANTASY XIII) and has beautifully orchestrated music by world-renowned composers Ramin Djawadi and Brandon Campbell, known best for their work on Game of Thrones.

The Announcement Trailer unveiled today provides a first look at the story and new, deeply strategic real-time battle system called ‘Real-Time Tactical Battle’ (RTTB). Told through stunning ‘diorama’-style combat scenes, players will assess front line conditions in real-time, issue decisive orders and use a variety of skills, classes, and equipment to gain the upper hand over their foes.

A glimpse on the gameplay based on a work-in-progress.

The DioField Chronicle is set in a beautiful and unique world blending fantasy, medieval and modern-day influences. Under the steady hand of the Shaytham dynasty, the Kingdom of Alletain on DioField Island has known peace for 200 years, but suddenly find themselves cast into an age of uncertainty due to the rise of warlike powers and modern magic.

This image shows the scale of the location.

The Kingdom of Alletain is rich in the mineral Jade, prized for its use as a base ingredient in magic and sorcery, and the attention of both the Empire and the Alliance inevitably turns towards the island. Players will take control of a band of elite mercenaries calling themselves “Blue Fox”, but will the name “Blue Fox” come to signify hope or darkest tragedy?

For the newcomers reading this, The DioField Chronicle is the fourth new game from Square Enix that will be released on Xbox consoles this year. The others are Star Ocean: The Divine Force (release date still pending), Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin (March 18, 2022), and Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Collection (April 7, 2022). While it is notable that Square Enix won’t be releasing their big-budget RPG Final Fantasy XVI on Xbox consoles anytime soon, their other games mentioned above will still add a good amount of Japanese-style gaming on the Xbox platform for gamers to enjoy. Take note that hot Xbox-exclusive RPGs are coming and Bethesda’s Starfield will rock the gaming world this November. To the Xbox fans reading this, be assured that 2022 will be an even bigger, more exciting and more enjoyable year. Team Xbox has strong momentum that PlayStation and Nintendo cannot even match.

Going back to The DioField Chronicle, it sure looks interesting and intriguing at the same time. The visual style of using 2D art while showing polygonal action in key sequences is notably eye-catching. For more information about the game, visit https://www.diofieldchronicle.com/

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Tasty food at Saibachi Japanese restaurant in Festival Mall, Alabang

Have you been at Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City lately? If you are craving for delicious food at one of the many Japanese restaurants inside Festival Mall, then you should take a look at Saibachi Japanese restaurant (stylized as SAI-BACHI) at the ground floor level just steps away from SM Savemore Supermaket.

In my experience, I’ve been dining at Saibachi in the mall from time to time over the past several years. Their restaurant has limited space (note: they have a counter for orders and payments, and a selection of food at a space by the wall just outside their restaurant), some chairs and their tables are small compared to those in other restaurants there. The current COVID-19 pandemic saw the imposition of limitations on how many customers could be allowed to eat inside restaurants (I’m looking at you – MMDA, Metro Manila Council and IATF). Even so, Saibachi still succeeded in staying in business and keeps on feeding customers with delicious food. Not even the pandemic and government overreach could stop them.

At this point, you must be wondering what food of Saibachi’s do I enjoy eating. Let’s move on!

Miso Soup

The single serving of Miso Soup in a small-sized cup.

For starters, I like their Miso soup which as of this writing costs P55 per single serving (small sized). In terms of taste and ingredients, it is good and satisfying to have. It is also one of the earliest items to be served to me in most of my dine-in visits at Saibachi Alabang through the years.

Futo Maki (Foto Maki according to Saibachi)

The 5-role Futo Maki set.

Saibachi’s Futo Maki is served with five pieces along with soy sauce and wasabi. Each roll is not as thick compared to what is served in other Japanese restaurants but to Saibachi’s credit, each roll is tasty and their specific selections of ingredients per roll shows precision. The 5-roll set is good enough in terms of taste and content for me personally. Those who crave for greater satisfaction with Futo Maki should consider a second set to order. The Futo Maki set nowadays costs P125 per order.

Fried Rice

A solo serving of Fried Rice.

Fried rice at Saibachi (P150 per order as of this writing) is pretty tasty on its own. The taste is strong enough, I did not need to add any condiments anymore. Their fried rice has bits of meat, carrots, egg and a few other vegetables. For a single serving, the content is satisfying enough for me dining in. For anyone who craves for greater satisfaction of fried rice, you should consider ordering Saibachi’s fried rice offerings through their delivery and catering services.

Beef Sukiyaki

A bowl of soup-style Beef Sukiyaki on the right, Miso Soup cup on the left.
A close look on the ingredients prepared in Saibachi’s Beef Sukiyaki.

This one is easily my favorite in Saibachi when dining in. At P220 per order, the Beef Sukiyaki is served by the bowl and it is what others would refer to as the “soupy type Sukiyaki” for it is prepared in soup-style. On face value, the bowl looks small but in reality, it contains a good amount of hot soup, Sotanghon-style noodles, pieces of beef, vegetables and one egg on top. Beef Sukiyaki served in other Japanese restaurants are often large (note: with lots of vegetables and ingredients served fresh apart from the soup) and prepared to feed at least three people. If you want a tasty Beef Sukiyaki for your solo enjoyment with lots of soup, enough ingredients and a strong taste, you will get it at Saibachi! Personally, I consider this as Saibachi’s dine-in special and I highly recommend it.

Chapchae

The very tasty Chapchae on display.

While they are referred to as a Japanese restaurant, Saibachi also serves non-Japanese food. Anyone who loves Korean-style noodles should order the Chapchae whenever dining in. To begin with, Saibachi’s Chapchae are really prepared to be very tasty and anyone who loves strong flavors will enjoy it. When it comes to content, I find the Chapchae solo-serving (P150 per order as of this writing) to be rather lacking. Any customer who wants more of the very delicious Chapchae should consider ordering another serving or go for the bilao-sized servings (for multiple people to enjoy).

The above-mentioned foods are the ones that I enjoyed collectively when dining inside Saibachi at Festival Mall over the past several years. That being said, I recommend their Miso Soup, Futo Maki, Fried Rice, Chapchae and Beef Sukiyaki to you readers. Apart from serving food for diners, they also serve meals of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Thai cuisine through delivery and catering. Going back to my previous dine-in experiences with them, they need to improve on their Beef Ramen which I must say is flawed and not exactly a satisfying ramen experience (note: the beef served had that burned taste and feel, and the noodles served did not look and feel made in store but most likely were sourced from the wholesale market).

Saibachi’s Beef Ramen needs improving.

Also, in my opinion, the interior of their restaurant inside Festival Mall needs some improving to be more comfortable for families or groups of friends (five people and more) to enjoy. I understand their restaurant space is limited and they need enough space for the kitchen personnel to work in, but I can see that some improvements could be made on the dining area. When I say improvements, I don’t mean a full renovation which can be very costly.

Ultimately, if you love Japanese food and you want it with the best possible value for your limited budget while visiting Festival Mall, I encourage you to try the food at Saibachi’s restaurant. Go there! They have lots of other food offered and their menu has lots of items for you to select.

The wide menu at the space by the wall just outside their restaurant. Look at all the choices and prices.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you dined in at Saibachi inside Festival Mall lately? What meals do you enjoy there the most? Also, have you tried ordering Saibachi’s food through delivery service or through their catering packages? How often do you eat inside their restaurant whenever you visit Festival Mall?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673