It took almost twenty years but Bandai Namco is finally releasing a version of their hit Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) Tales of Symphonia on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One on February 17, 2023, and it will come with a lot of stuff apart from the from the enhancements. Already pre-orders are being accepted.
In relation to this really good news, watch first the official Xbox trailer of Tales of Symphonia Remastered posted below…
For added insight, posted below is an excerpt from the official announcement from Bandai Namco. Some parts in boldface…
Lloyd Irving and his friends journey is getting closer, confirmed for release on February 17th. Bringing veteran fans and newcomers in the worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe’alla, the game offers visual enhancements, gameplay improvements, and new features.
Alone or with up to four players during battles, players will be able to experience or re-experience the deep and fascinating story in one of the most beloved “Tales of” titles.
Players will have the choice between two editions:
The Standard Edition, only available digitally
The Chosen Edition, containing a metal case, art prints and stickers, with pre-orders already available here
For the newcomers reading this, Tales of Symphonia was originally released on the Nintendo Gamecube way back in 2003 followed by the PlayStation 2 in 2004, PlayStation 3 in 2014 and Windows PC in 2016. The game gathered lots of positive reviews from game critics and it sold more than 2,000,000 copies worldwide.
There is no doubt that Xbox Game Pass (XGP), a subscription service that allows customers access to lots of games for their enjoyment in return for paying a flat monthly fee, is here to stay. I myself have been subscribing to XGP since I started playing my Xbox Series X console and I can confirm to you readers that I’ve been playing a whole lot of games while saving myself a lot of money.
Along the way, I am constantly having a whole lot of fun as an XGP subscriber and I am look forward to playing highly anticipated new games like Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, Starfield (Xbox-exclusive) and Forza Motorsport (2023) (Xbox-exclusive) through the service in 2023! And then there are many, many other games from other game publishers – including the small and independent game makers – who signed up with Team Xbox to add their games for XGP subscribers to enjoy!
This week alone, several games will debut on Xbox Game Pass which should interest gamers who love adventure, first-person shooters, narrative gaming, mysteries, puzzles, tactical gaming, golf, ice hockey and more! Check out the new XGP additions in the Xbox.com article and also be reminded that enjoyable games such as As Dusk Falls, Deathloop and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered are now available in the service.
As I mentioned earlier, Xbox Game Pass is here to stay and its credibility as a stable and growing form of business cannot be dismissed. To understand the business aspect of XGP, there is this in-depth article published by Windows Central. Posted below is an excerpt from the article with some parts in boldface…
Flying in the face of traditional gaming revenue models, with Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft is offering thousands upon thousands of dollars’ worth of content for $10 dollars a month. It’s potentially even cheaper if you factor in the upcoming Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family accounts as well.
In any case, Xbox Game Pass isn’t going anywhere. I’ve seen analysts and pundits rally around the idea that the service must be burning through cash hand over fist in order to offer the value it does, and that may still be true. But as noticed by Tweaktown, we now have a glimpse at roughly how much revenue Xbox Game Pass is actually generating.
Microsoft is currently trying to get its massive Xbox Activision Blizzard merger through regulatory bodies around the globe. In order to make its legal arguments, certain data points Microsoft typically doesn’t share with its shareholders publicly is making its way into the public domain, as a result of these discussions. It turns out that Xbox Game Pass is making a fair bit of dosh.
According to Brazil’s regulatory body CADE, Xbox Game Pass’ revenue from subscriptions stands at $2.9 billion dollars in the fiscal period ending January 2021. Tweaktown noted that it accounts for 18% of Microsoft’s revenue from gaming for that fiscal year, which would have put Xbox Game Pass subscribers at around the 18-19 million mark. The last official figure we got on Xbox Game Pass subscribers came last January, where Redmond revealed it had hit 25 million users.
It should be noted, however, that this figure only includes users on the console versions of Xbox Game Pass, with PC Game Pass figures omitted. It’s also hard to know the exact breakdown of this revenue figure. Does it include purchases of games in the post-Game Pass discount period? Does it include microtransactional sales and in-game content sales for titles that are in Xbox Game Pass? Or is it representative purely of the subscriber figures across Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which are $10 and $15 apiece?
Even though they have great 1st party game studios that produced several exclusive blockbusters, Team PlayStation under Jim Ryan is very worried about the acquisition because their business benefited so much by depending on Activision’s Call of Duty games (note: remember the last time you played a new Killzone game from Sony?). Ryan and the PlayStation executives know their current contracts with Activision will eventually expire and certainly there will be no more extensions under Microsoft-controlled Activision Blizzard. It is also clear to me that Team PlayStation is very afraid of the idea that Call of Duty games and other Activision Blizzard games will come to Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. Simply put, Team PlayStation is way, way behind competing with XGP on the subscription service model of business.
In concluding this article, posted below for your enjoyment are Xbox-related videos.
I will get straight to the point here – Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroesis my most wanted Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) of this current console generation and it is one of the main reasons why I subscribed to Xbox Game Pass (XGP) as soon as I bought my Xbox Series X console late last year. While a release date was not yet announced as of this writing, I am looking forward to this upcoming JRPG on my Xbox Series X sometime in 2023. Check out the official Xbox listing of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes by clicking here.
During the recent Tokyo Game Show (TGS), publisher 505 Games and Rabbit & Bear Studios executives – including studio head Yoshitaka Murayama (the Suikoden series creator) and Junko Kawano (who worked on Suikoden and Suikoden IV) – had their own presentation and made announcements. During the TGS, the newest trailer of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes was unveiled and it sure looks really good even though the footage shown was from pre-alpha build. Watch the newest trailer below…
As I mentioned earlier, no release date was announced during the TGS which I found baffling since that event drew a lot of viewers and gamers’ attention worldwide. Could it be possible that Konami’s surprise announcement of Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to multiple platforms (including Xbox) in 2023 might have something to do with the lack of a firm release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes? At least in my view, developer Rabbit & Bear is still working on finishing their JRPG.
Perhaps publisher 505 Games is doing a wait-and-see approach about the many video games expected to fill the market in 2023 with anticipated heavy hitters like Starfield, Forza Motorsport (2023) and Redfall to name a few. 505 Games will have to select soon a firm 2023 release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes based on market competition and the development status of the game.
For the newcomers reading this, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a turn-based fantasy JRPG which has a design and style similar to what was seen in the first two Suikoden video games. As seen in the above trailer, the upcoming JRPG has the combined talents of game creators such as Yoshitaka Murayama, Junko Kawano and Junichi Murakami (Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow) plus musicians Motoi Sakuraba (Star Ocean series, Tales of series) and Michiko Naruke (Wild Arms series).
Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes has a story set in one corner of Allraan, a tapestry of nations with diverse cultures and values. On Xbox.com, 505 Games released the first set of character profiles introducing: Nowa, Seign, Marisa, Lian and Garr. Their respective descriptions are as follows…
Nowa – When the League of Nations recruits warriors to assist in a joint expedition with the Galdean Empire, our protagonist answers the call and leaves his remote village to test his skills. On the mission, he finds an ancient rune-lens, unaware that the discovery will spark a war between the League and the Empire. After the conflict begins, he joins a unit in the League’s border guard. The protagonist is the “leap before you look” type. He doesn’t always weigh the pros and cons before springing to action, and while his constant need to involve himself in other people’s problems sometimes creates headaches for his companions, they like him for it and know his heart is in the right place. After all, if they ever got into trouble, he’d be the first person there.
Seign – The second-born son to House Kesling, a powerful imperial family. His older brother died on the battlefield. Seign is exceptionally gifted; after achieving outstanding grades at military academy, he was placed in command of a company of his peers and sent on the expedition to find the ancient rune-lens. During the mission, he meets the protagonist. The two warm to each other as they overcome adversity, and they learn of one another’s ambitions. Seign’s strategic mind allows him to analyze things from a broad perspective and make sound decisions. People often confuse his clear mind for a cold heart, but he is guided by strong ideals and a deep passion to fulfill them. After his brother’s death during a border rebellion, Seign began to think long and hard about what it means to fight.
Marisa– A young member of the Guardians, a clan that hallows and protects the forest. Since Marisa was very little her family has instilled their ways and traditions in her. She has a warm, affable smile — except on the battlefield, where she wears the countenance of a warrior.
Although the Guardians live as one with the forest, they have respect for the outside world’s culture and technology, and they are not against integrating the parts of it that make sense to them. Marisa is particularly forward-thinking in this regard and loves new things — especially cute things.
Lian – After the Empire’s forces invade league lands, Lian is infuriated and runs away from home without even the slightest semblance of a plan. She decides the first thing to do is hoof it to the biggest town she can find, and luckily that’s where she meets the protagonist and his companions. Lian was born in a dojo, and her father wasted no time in teaching her. She was doing roundhouse kicks before she even learned to walk properly.
Garr– A veteran beastman warrior. He and his clan make their living as mercenaries, and their vast experience and sheer brutality put them in high demand. War is all Garr has known, and to him life is one battlefield after the other until you die.
To date, Rabbit & Bear Studios already released the side-scrolling spin-off game Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and has been working hard to complete Hundred Heroes. The shared game design elements between the early Suikoden games and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes such has having over 100 playable characters, a story of war, in-depth world exploration, heavy use of 2D sprites for the characters along with their acts during battles, and dynamic group battles are not surprising given Murayama’s history of leading the development of the Suikoden JRPG franchise (until the 3rd game) during his time with Konami. Murayama also is a proven fantasy storyteller with the Suikoden games. Personally, I really loved playing Suikoden II which in my opinion is not only the best of the Suikoden game franchise but also one of the very best JRPGs of the 1990s that I have ever played as well as one of the best JRPGs that was not made by Square Enix.
Knowing that Murayama, Kawano and other notable Japanese creators are working together in making Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, I have reasons to be confident about it. On my end, my taste on video games has changed a lot over the past fifteen years and that goes the same with my interest in JRPGs. Along the way, I really miss the fun I had with the first two Suikoden games as they had gameplay elements that were not only uniquely fun but also aged well. For me, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes could become the most delightful surprise among JRPGs in this current console generation. It is my most-wanted JRPG of this console generation and I believe it will fit in nicely with the Xbox ecosystem which is already becoming an ideal haven for fantasy RPGs and RPG fans in general.
Watch out for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass in 2023.
To start with, watch this official Xbox launch trailer of Deathloop!
Now watch this latest Deathloop trailer.
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official Xbox.com announcement written by Anne Lewis, Sr. Content Manager, Bethesda Softworks Senior Content Manager Anne Lewis. Some parts in boldface…
The award-winning, mind-bending, time-warping sensation critics are calling a “masterpiece” is now available on Xbox Series X|S! Deathloop transports players to the lawless island of Blackreef in an eternal struggle between two extraordinary assassins. Explore stunning environments and meticulously designed levels in an immersive gameplay experience that lets you approach every situation any way you like. Hunt down eight targets all over the island to put an end to the cycle once and for all, and remember, if at first you don’t succeed… die, die again.
Xbox players can now jump into the colorful world and time-warped action of Deathloop, running at 60 FPS on Xbox Series X|S. Deathloop is also available now with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Cloud Gaming (Beta). Experience Arkane Lyon’s unique spin on the first-person shooter and lose yourself on Blackreef.
Everything You Need to Know About Deathloop – New to Deathloop? Get caught up with everything you need to know with this handy roundup.
What the hell is happening on Blackreef? – As Colt, you have one day to eliminate eight targets who are responsible for keeping the timeloop functioning. If you miss even one, the day will reset. But they’re scattered all over the island. How are you supposed to track them all down in just one cycle? To take out all of them before the day starts over, you’ll need to learn to manipulate the world around you, discovering your targets’ routines and schedules as you fight to solve the puzzle of the island. And the best part: You’re free to determine how to go about this.
You can take every mission — main missions and side missions — at your own pace and in any order you choose as you assemble those puzzle pieces. Each day is an opportunity to learn and piece together the mystery. You’ll get stronger, you’ll try new things, you’ll discover new paths, and eventually, you’ll break this f***ing timeloop. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with The Story of Deathloop and Dig into the Basics.
Meet Colt – It’s no surprise that Colt is a mystery. After all, it’s hard to know much about a guy when he doesn’t know anything about himself. He has no idea who he is; why he’s caught in a timeloop on a frigid, isolated island; why people seem to know him… All he knows is that he’s having a pretty bad day, and he’ll *be* having a pretty bad day until he can do something about the timeloop. Progressing through Deathloop means uncovering not only the island’s secrets, but the secrets of Colt’s past. For better or worse, Colt’s determined to figure out who he really is and why he’s here. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Our Hero, Colt.
And Colt’s Hunter – Where Deathloop’s hero Colt is mysterious because he knows nothing about himself, its “villain” Julianna is mysterious because she knows everything about everything, and she keeps all those cards tucked carefully up her stylish sleeves. When you know everything, sometimes the most fun you can have is playing your winning cards while laughing in your opponent’s face. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with And His Nemesis, Julianna.
Who Are the Targets? – Colt’s job isn’t easy. He’s trapped in a timeloop on Blackreef, surrounded by chaotic partygoers with itchy trigger fingers. At the top of the island’s food chain are either “Visionaries” responsible for keeping the timeloop going. If he can manage to take them all out in a single day, he can break the timeloop and finally escape. Eight targets, all spread out across an entire island, and just one day to kill them all. You better get to know all eight if you plan on getting the job done. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Check Out Your Hitlist and How Will You Take Them All Out?
Go Head-to-Head – While Colt’s single-player journey is the focus in Deathloop, if you’re feeling particularly devious you can switch things up and take on the role of Julianna and sneak into another player’s game to cause some chaos. Break the timeloop or protect it? The choice is yours. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Face Off Against Your Friends In PvP.
What’s New in the Goldenloop Update – Deathloop’s latest major update comes with cross-platform PvP matchmaking and a host of new goodies for you to enjoy. Get your hands on a new weapon, a new ability, and new trinkets, plus new enemies to go head-to-head with, and much more. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog about the Goldenloop update.
Deathloop’s Xbox debut is notable not only because it helps soften the blow related to the lack of big-budget Xbox-exclusive games this year but also because it was one of the Bethesda games Sony paid to be an exclusive on PlayStation 5 (PS5). With its availability on Xbox Game Pass (XGP), many millions of subscribers will get to play and enjoy the game complete with optimization for their Xbox Series consoles.
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official press release from Konami’s website. Some parts in boldface…
Announced during Tokyo Games Show 2022, KONAMI confirmed several fundamental improvements and quality-of-life features in the upcoming remaster collection:
Pixel sprites and environment art enhanced with new screen effects including lighting, clouds, and shadow animations Flickering flames, smoldering smoke, the movement of leaves and insects, all add up to a lively in-game atmosphere!
The effects and direction have been redesigned, bringing memorable scenes back to life in more beautiful ways!
New Character Drawings
All character portraits have been updated in HD. Junko Kawano, who designed the characters for the original version of Suikoden released in 1995, has newly re-drawn all the character portraits for Suikoden I HD Remaster Gate Rune War.
Field Sound – A large number of environmental sounds not found in the original version, such as the sound of running water in the river, wind, insects, and running footsteps, have been added. You can enjoy an immersive experience like never before!
Battle Sound – All sound effects are now in HD. In addition to the impact of the 3D effects, the realistic sound greatly enhances the dynamism of the battles!
Game System Improvements
Many new features have been added, such as dialogue log, auto-battle, double-speed battles, etc.
As I have played Suikoden and Suikoden II on the original PlayStation console in the 1990s, the announcement of Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars is big dream come true for me personally. I always wanted to replay Suikoden and Suikoden II without the hassle of having to spend a lot of money to buy a PlayStation or a Nintendo console. In my experience, Suikoden II is the peak of excellence of its own franchise as the creative team listened to the fans and learned from their shortcomings on making the first game which resulted in very rich gameplay, several fun features and compelling story. Suikoden II also remains a great example of using 2D sprites aided with 3D camera movements and some polygonal effects. Read my retro review of Suikoden II at https://carlocarrasco.com/2021/07/15/a-look-back-at-suikoden-ii-1999/
That being said, Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to Xbox (note: Xbox One was officially listed as the Xbox console) is a big bonus not just for Xbox gamers who enjoy JRPGs but also for long-time gamers who loved the early Suikoden games who have not been spending much time with console gaming. As seen in the official press release from Konami as well as in the revealed footage in the official announcement trailer, there were several enhancements to make Suikoden and Suikoden II more presentable in today’s age of high-definition gaming. While the 2D sprites and in-game art works of the two classic JRPGs look the same (note: with some minor adjustments), I noticed the improvements on sound effects, the in-game lighting, some adjustments on textures, the higher resolution resulting in sharper images, and the redrawn character portraits (in the first game specifically).
Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to Xbox is looking like a great addition on the Xbox ecosystem’s growing global appeal as the haven for fantasy RPGs gamers and also for gamers who like other types of role-playing games! For Konami, selling the two classic JRPGs on Xbox could mean bigger sales than what they achieved on PlayStation decades ago. Remember that 2023 will see the eventual release of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and the Xbox-eclusive Starfield. Right now, Konami is still at work on enhancing the remastered Suikodenand Suikoden II and they will have to decide which date in 2023 should mark the release. Personally, I can hardly wait to play Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars on my Xbox Series X console. Watch out for Konami’s announcement of the official 2023 release date. Also, here is hoping Konami will do a good job remastering the two classic JRPGs and that the promises they made in their press release will be fulfilled.
For the newcomers reading this, the Suikoden game franchise’s core concept has been based on the motif of the Chinese classic novel Water Margin and the creative team back then (led by a very young Yoshitaka Murayama who is now leading Rabbit & Bear studios making Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes) created role-playing games that had engaging fantasy stories, feature-rich gameplay and a wide lineup of characters who collectively contribute to the game endings. The first Suikoden RPG of the mid-1990s follows a protagonist whose father is one of the empire’s five generals, as he gathers his 108 Stars of Destiny and friends to fight against the oppressive rule of the Empire in ruin. Suikoden II happens three years after the first game’s story, further evolving the game systems unique to Suikoden, such as Rune magic, the 108 Stars of Destiny, home base management, and Army Battles, which were well received in the previous game. Three childhood friends, including the protagonist, are tossed about by a great whirlpool of destiny.
Historically speaking, the Suikoden video game franchise has been strongly identified with PlayStation platforms. Suikoden and Suikoden II were released on the first PlayStation console while Suikoden III, Suikoden IV and Suikoden V were released on PlayStation 2. There were also some versions of Suikoden games that got released on Sega Saturn, Windows PC and Nintendo platforms. That being said, the inclusion of Xbox One as a platform for the upcoming Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars is very notable, even exceptional.
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official Xbox.com announcement. Some parts in boldface…
We are pleased to confirm that Xbox will be making its digital return to Tokyo Game Show on September 15 at 6 p.m. JST / 9 a.m. UTC / 2 a.m. PDT, with a streamed broadcast celebrating the vibrant players and visionary creators across the region. Like years’ past, this will be a show curated for our players in Japan and Asia.
We invite fans to tune in to the Tokyo Game Show 2022 Xbox Stream where you can expect to see updates on existing titles from Xbox Game Studios and titles launching from developer partners that we hope will delight players here in Japan, across Asia and around the world.
While Tokyo Game Show 2022 will open its gates to the public for the first time in three years this September, the hybrid nature will allow players from around the world to also enjoy the latest in video games, technology, and games culture in Japan. With the theme of “Nothing Stops Gaming,” Tokyo Game Show 2022 will embody the solidarity of gamers and the promising future that lies ahead for our industry.
Gaming has always provided an important way to connect, but especially over the past few years. It has a transformative power to bring joy and foster community, and it’s at TGS where we can all enjoy the spirit of games together.
We look forward to you joining us digitally for the Xbox Stream on September 15 at 6 p.m. JST / 9 a.m. UTC / 2 a.m. PDT.
In the above announcement, the 2nd paragraph mentioning developer partners suggests that games – both brand new and those released previously on non-Xbox platforms – will be unveiled. I can imagine this would turn out to be a mix of independent productions as well as games from the medium-sized game studios and perhaps from the big ones.
When it comes to the big game publishers of Japan, I can only hope that Xbox chief Phil Spencer and his team renewed and reinvigorated their business relationships with Square Enix, Capcom, SEGA, Bandai Namco and other game publishers to secure their new games for release on Xbox platforms plus PC and also some of their old-but-fun games (from the previous console generations) that would make nice additions to Xbox Game Pass (XGP). I would love to see classic titles like Xenogears, Final Fantasy VI, Breath of Fire IV, Virtua Fighter, Shining Force III, Tekken 3, Lunar, Suikoden and many others on my Xbox Series X through my XGP subscription.
Team Xbox should establish stronger relationships with their Japanese partners and keep on moving forward with what they have achieved so far in Japan in this current generation. Already Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S combined outsold the Xbox One in Japan by a wide margin (including a sales victory over PlayStation 5 in Japan last June). Until now, I am seeing almost every day on Twitter picture posts of Japanese gamers who showed off a new Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console they bought. There is no doubt that Xbox is gaining traction in Japan better in this current console generation and that alone should convince Team Xbox to keep on intensifying and improving their gaming interest in Japan.
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus last year’s Xbox TGS live stream…
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.
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.
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.
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.
In what is clearly an ambitious effort to make video gaming more available to users who don’t have game consoles, Team Xbox announced that its Xbox app is officially available on Samsung 2022 Smart TVs and with the power of the cloud, users will be able to play hundreds of games through Xbox Game Pass!
To begin with, watch this video below…
To put things into perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official announcement on Xbox.com. Some parts in boldface…
Starting today in 27 countries, you can turn on your Samsung 2022 Smart TV, navigate to the Xbox App in the new Samsung Gaming Hub or Media Hub, connect your Bluetooth controller, and play. It’s as simple as using any other streaming app on your TV.
Here’s what you need to know to get started:
Getting Ready – Playing Xbox games on 2022 Samsung Smart TVs is a seamless experience. To make sure you’re ready to game, here’s what you’ll need:
To access the Xbox app, you’ll need one of Samsung’s 2022 Smart TVs.
If you don’t have a membership and want to try the experience for yourself before you sign up, you can play Fortnite for free without an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.
Almost any Bluetooth-enabled controller will work with the Xbox app, like the Xbox Wireless Controller, Xbox Adaptive Controller, Elite Series 2 Controller, or the DualSense controller.
How to Access the Xbox App – There are two ways you can access the Xbox app on a 2022 Samsung Smart TV depending on where you’re located.
In some countries you can access the Xbox app through Samsung’s new Gaming Hub. Simply navigate to the Gaming Hub via the user interface, launch the Xbox app, and you’re ready to go!
Otherwise you can navigate to the Samsung App store from the Samsung Media Hub, search for “Xbox” to download the app onto your TV, and launch it to begin playing.
As we shared earlier this month, we’re excited to take this first step with Samsung and look forward to keeping you up to date during this next evolution in our vision. With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and a controller, you can easily jump into the world of gaming and connect with your friends and communities on Xbox.
As I mentioned earlier, this team-up between Team Xbox and Samsung can impact people’s accessibility to playing video games at home and free them from the financial burden of acquiring a standalone gaming hardware (the video game console) which is crucial because even until now, modern game consoles like the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are still challenging to acquire due to tight supplies. Also there are households who are already struggling with inflation and this makes buying a game console not so attractive financially.
Once this move by Team Xbox and Samsung succeeds, it will mean more new users coming into the Xbox ecosystem which will benefit game publishers eventually. To put it clearly, the old strategy of selling game consoles to connect with TVs in households is no longer the only way to enjoy video games in the comfort of home. This is something that Sony and Nintendo have not embraced because it goes against their old console-focused business nature.
In ending this piece, posted below are some Xbox-related videos for your enjoyment…
Starfield, the ambitious sci-fi role-playing game (RPG) from Bethesda Game Studios led by Todd Howard, is easily one of my most anticipated games for my Xbox Series X since I myself played RPGs of Elder Scrolls and Fallout produced by the said creators. That game, which is set for exclusive release on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series X, Windows PC plus Xbox Game Pass (XGP) sometime in 2023, was one of the highlights of the recent Xbox-Bethesda games showcase which had a real-time gameplay showing which you watch right below…
To put things into perspective, posted below is an excerpt about the related Starfield gameplay reveal as published in an official article at Xbox.com. Some parts in boldface…
The year is 2330. Humanity has ventured beyond our solar system, settling new planets, and living as a spacefaring people. From humble beginnings as a space miner, you will join Constellation — the last group of space explorers seeking rare artifacts throughout the galaxy — and navigate the vast expanse of the Settled Systems in Bethesda Game Studios’ biggest and most ambitious game.
In this next generation role-playing game set amongst the stars, you will create any character you want and explore with unparalleled freedom as you embark on an epic journey to answer humanity’s greatest question: What is out there?
Bethesda Game Studios “can’t wait for all of you to experience the game,” Howard says. “It’s been an incredible journey for us making it, but we know that’s only the beginning, for it’s when all of you play it that the journey begins.”
Like anyone else, I was very disappointed by the news that Starfield would not be released this year. I have been craving for more new, great single-player gaming experiences from Todd Howard’s team and I am done replaying Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4. The November 11, 2022 release date was promised several times before the delay happened. As of this writing, there is still no firm date about the new 2023 release for Starfield.
Fortunately, the gameplay reveal of Starfield this past June 12 was very entertaining to see. I really liked the sci-fi look and feel of it while the in-game shooting reminds me somewhat of Fallout 4 which itself was pretty functional and fun with shooting. The gameplay shown did not run at 60 frames-per-second (60FPS) which is insufficient in my view because I personally prefer a 60FPS frame rate even with open-world environments implemented. Like Skyrim, Starfield allows players to view the game in 3rd person or 1st person when controlling the in-game protagonist.
There are also key game features that were shown such as the customization of your character’s own traits and skills, crafting systems (by running in-game research using resources you find), and creating mods for your weapons. What struck me is the new outpost creation feature which I find intriguing and attractive. Have you ever dreamed of creating your very own outpost on the surface of an unknown planet you visited and hire people you find qualified to help you operate it? The Starfield feature looks really promising.
Apart from the exploration and action, they also revealed the in-game construction and customization of space ships complete with varying differences in terms of performance and efficiency which players will realize and feel. Not only that, there was also the showcase of space battles in the game which looks really nice and promising. In recent times, I’ve been playing Chorus on my Xbox Series X (thanks to the benefit of my Xbox Game Pass subscription) which is strongly a space shooter in design with exploration and flying as strong gameplay features.
Personally, I don’t expect space flight and shooting in Starfield to be the same as those of in Chorus but I do expect the experience to be fun and that the controls should be fully functional and work precisely. Starfield is, after all, a sci-fi RPG with shooting and exploration as strong features. We will find out soon how efficient and engaging space flight and shooting in the game will really be.
While it is understandable that plot details are very light, I find questionable Todd Howard’s claim that Starfield has over a thousand planet that are open for players to explore. That is pretty wild! I am not a game developer nor am I an expert one making digital worlds but can Todd Howard and his team really deliver on that promise with Starfield? Did his team really in far exceeding what BioWare achieved in their Mass Effect video games that had several worlds composed of those truly explorable (on-foot with the protagonist and teammates engaging on missions or searches) and those which are not explorable (limited to orbital scanning)? Can the developers ensure that each planet has its own distinct environments, alien life forms and other creative designs? Whatever Howard and his team did with regards to in-game world exploration, I can only hope that Starfield will turn out great.
Overall, I am personally looking forward to playing Starfield on my Xbox Series X sometime in 2023. After seeing what was revealed at the recent Xbox-Bethesda games showcase, I can say my disappointment over the delay has waned a lot. Here is hoping that Bethesda will be able to fully polish the game in-and-out, and somehow they can increase the frame rate to 60FPS. Take note that Starfield is just one of many Xbox-exclusive games coming as a result of the seismic Xbox-Bethesda acquisition and integration and the good news is that current Bethesda-published games have been added into Xbox Game Pass and future games will follow! Starfield will eventually solidify Xbox as the best ecosystem for gamers who love role-playing games!
Watch out for more details about the Xbox-exclusive Starfield coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC plus XGP in 2023.
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.
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?