Xbox fans who love role-playing games (RPGs) should be delighted to know that the new multiplatform fantasy RPG Sea of Stars will be officially released for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One consoles on August 29, 2023, according to an official announcement by Sabotage Studio (The Messenger).
To begin with, watch the official Sea of Stars Xbox video below…
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official announcement by the developer…
Talk about an announcement that was long overdue!
Since the very beginning, we were secretly hoping to be able to cover all current and previous generation consoles. With production being a world of curve balls, we had to leave the messaging at “PC and Consoles” to avoid having to walk some things back. With the big unknowns now in the rear view, we are delighted to finally confirm the addition of Xbox to the party!
For the newcomers reading this, Sea of Stars is a turn-based RPG inspired by the classics. It tells the story of two Children of the Solstice who combine the powers of the sun and moon to perform Eclipse Magic, the only force capable of fending off the monstrous creations of the evil alchemist known as The Fleshmancer. The game also has some music from veteran composer Yasunori Mitsuda whose credits include Japanese RPGs (JRPGs) Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross and Xenoblade Chronicles 3. In terms of setting, Sea of Stars is a prequel to Sabotage Studios’ previous game The Messenger.
In case you missed the news, the acclaimed 2019 science fiction role-playing game The Outer Worlds is back again with enhancements as well as the two DLC packages (Peril on Gorgon and Murder on Eridanos) in the form of The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition which has just been released. Those who already owned the game and wish to replay it with the latest stuff can digitally avail of the Spacer’s Choice Edition for a small price. Expect a series of enhancements while playing The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
To begin with, watch the official Xbox trailer below…
When The Outer Worlds was released to critical success, we at Obsidian Entertainment were excited to see our community thoroughly enjoy this RPG that we felt was fun, fresh, and concise. Now that we’ve announced The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition, an upgrade for the new generation of hardware, we thought we’d go over some of the cool changes we are bringing in and the thought process behind it. If you aren’t familiar with the game, here’s a quick recap:
Lost in transit while on a colonist ship bound for the edge of the galaxy, you awake decades after your planned date only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the colony. Explore the various planets and locations of Halcyon, including the mysterious Gorgon Asteroid and the delightful distillery on Eridanos. As you encounter various factions, all vying for power, the decisions you make determine how the narrative unfolds.
Since its release, over 5 million lucky spacers have explored the celestial bodies of Halcyon and taken an active part in the power struggle rocking the colony. Everything was going just fine. But then, just over a year later, the Xbox Series X and S arrived in people’s living rooms, pushing the boundaries of console gaming ever further. In a sense, the game was released in between two console generations. When opportunity insists on striking, it’s best to use a Prismatic Hammer.
Living on in the new console generation – With the release of this new generation of consoles, we wanted The Outer Worlds to live on for future spacers to enjoy. We wanted to make The Board proud and prevent this must-play RPG from aging prematurely as new games come rolling in, while at the same time providing a relevant, modernized space colonist experience for all newcomers to Halcyon. The technical capabilities introduced with the Xbox Series X and S made it clear there was room for improvement! Not just in how the game looks, but also regarding how the game feels.
This meant brushing up what were already some of the strengths of the core game: an engrossing storyline influenced by the in-game choices you make, quirky yet endearing companions – each with unique abilities and their own missions for you to help them complete – a freely diversified combat system yielding high-intensity encounters with your enemies, and much more…
The road to making the definitive version of The Outer Worlds – So we grabbed our spacer’s dev kits and got to work. Of course, we worked on visual improvements such as bringing 4K, 60FPS graphics, volumetric lighting, improved special effects, better particle physics, and enhancing the environments with increased asset density and visual storytelling.
But we also strived to create a smoother gaming experience by making the combat and companion AIs smarter, improved the open-world sensation through better depth, reworked the vistas already in the game, and updated weather variations. On top of that, we reworked character models and animations to improve the feel of the game. Finally, we thought this Spacer’s Choice Edition would make even more sense if it included the base game’s DLC expansions, Peril on Gorgon and Murder on Eridanos, so we did just that. Now the experience is even richer! And we increased the level cap to 99, to give players even more ways to build their character from the seven branches of the skill tree.
While I have been waiting for the Xbox-exclusive fantasy RPG Avowed from Obsidian Entertainment as well as Xbox-exclusive sci-fi RPG Starfield from Bethesda, I was surprised to see that The Outer Worlds was enhanced for the more modern Xbox consoles and that the price is not too high for those who previously bought the game. Still, the original game is only a little over 3-years-old now and at the time of its release, it was not exactly a visual standout among video games. Its gameplay, story concept, witty writing and memorable concept really defined The Outer Worlds as a fun game worth replaying.
I personally had replayed The Outer Worlds a lot on my Xbox One console (which conked out in 2021) and I did the same with the two separate DLC packages. I replayed The Outer Worlds and its expansions on my Xbox Series X one last time using backward compatibility and I enjoyed the improved frame rate. To replay the game in the form of the Spacer’s Choice Edition is enticing to say the least. It could ease the pain of the long wait for Avowed and Starfield (note: scheduled for release on September 6, 2023). Oh yes, Obsidian Entertainment is still working on the Xbox-exclusive sequel The Outer Worlds 2.
As of this writing, there are YouTubers and gamers who reported a variety of technical flaws and shortcomings with The Spacer’s Choice edition. In fact, the PlayStation 5 version of the game has so many bugs, a lot of gamers are suffering. Obsidian Entertainment and publisher Private Division (note: the company does not own the intellectual property rights of The Outer Worlds) should pay attention to the complaints and improve the game via patching. For the Xbox gamers reading this, watch below the early videos of The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition tested on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S…
The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition is now available for gamers to enjoy.
In concluding this article, posted below for your enjoyment are Xbox-related videos.
To begin with, watch the official Xbox launch trailer of Tales of Symphonia Remastered below. It’s something to get excited with…
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official announcement by Bandai Namco published through Xbox.com. Some parts in boldface…
Twenty years ago, we experienced the original story of Lloyd Irving and his journey to save the two worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe’alla with his friends. Filled with unforgettable characters and an emotionally charged storyline, it still resonates with longtime fans.
Today, it is our pleasure to bring Tales of Symphonia Remastered to Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. As part of the excitement, our production team would like to share a few personal tips with newcomers and returning veterans to set you on the right path. We hope you will enjoy your journey in Sylvarant and Tethe’alla!
The adventures of Lloyd and his friends is a tale to remember. Guide the party by honing your swordsmanship and sorcery skills.
Arts and Techniques – Set up each character to use magic or techniques, which can be called a special technique. As character levels increase, each character will learn magic or techniques. When magic or techniques are used, the character will perform powerful attacks or enable recovery by consuming a character’s TP.
On the menu screen, you can set the magic techniques that the operating character activates with the left stick combination and the magic techniques that you want your companions to perform. For techniques, there are “beginner magic,” “intermediate magic,” and “advanced magic,” while for skills, there are “Lv1. Special Attacks,” “Lv2. Special Attacks,” and “Lv3. Special Attacks. However, not all techniques are earned from character levels. Some techniques can only be learned by using a lower-level technique 50 times.
EX Skills – Additional abilities can be added to your character. During the game, you may obtain EX Gems, which you can equip on your character to grant them EX Skills.
When certain EX skills are equipped on the same character, a compound EX skill can be learned at the end of a battle. For example, in the case of Colette, if the level 1 skills Defend and Accuracy are equipped, she can learn a compound EX skill called “Search Item”.
Character Types – EX skills have a function, which allows the character type to be changed. Type determines the arts and techniques a character learns, and the current type is indicated by a gauge on the status screen. This gauge changes with each battle, and the number of EX skill types set determines whether the character will grow into a T-Type or S-Type.
T-Type (Technical) – They learn techniques that have a large number of hits and area effect techniques capable of targeting multiple enemies or allies. For those who emphasize continuous techniques or like to specialize in magic, the T-type is recommended.
S-Type (Strike) – This type learns techniques that are focused on powerful single target damage. The S-Type is recommended for those who want to deliver a powerful blow. It is especially effective against single bosses.
Production Team Tip: For characters who use magic, it is recommended they grow into a T-Type and learn magic with a wide range of effects. For example, Indignation is a lightning type of skill with a large area effect and high power, which will give you the upper hand in battle!
For the newcomers reading this, the original version of Tales of Symphonia was 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 Remastered version’s release marked the first time ever the game – which was positively received critically and commercially – got released on Xbox platforms and it further adds to the Xbox ecosystem becoming a significant haven for gamers who love fantasy role-playing games (fantasy RPGs) in the years to come.
Of course, it remains to be seen how Tales of Symphonia Remastered how today’s JRPG enthusiasts and Xbox gamers in general will react to the game’s features and overall fun factor. Regardless, anyone who plays games on Xbox and enjoys RPGs from Japan should seriously consider this game and make the decision.
Watch out for Tales of Symphonia Remastered on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One right now.
In ending this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your enjoyment.
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.
Have you been searching for something fun or interesting to watch on YouTube? Do you feel bored right now and you crave for something to see on the world’s most popular online video destination?
I recommend you watch the following videos below…
#1 Minty Comedic Arts’ entertainment trivia videos – I don’t know with you but I enjoy the entertaining approach by Australia-based YouTuber Minty Comedic Arts on explaining trivia related to entertainment. He does his research online, utilizes available content related to the subject matter and does his thing on explaining trivia. He can be quite funny to watch. To start with, watch his videos about The Blob (1958), Friday The 13th Part 3 (1982)and Ghostbusters (1984).
#2 Worship music videos of Planetshakers – For the newcomers reading this, Planetshakers is a Christian church based in Australia and their very anointed music team produced a lot of original worship songs and music videos that are all engaging for those who need to come to the Lord. Planetshakers’ has always been successful in leading the praise of the Lord and you should read about my Planetshakers worship event experience by clicking here. I should also state that prayers led by Pastor Sam Evans are always powerful and deeply compelling for your faith. Remember that Jesus is the Lord and Savior! That being said, posted below for you are worship music videos of Planetshakers.
#3More Ashleigh Burton reaction videos – I always enjoy watching Ashleigh Burton’s movie reaction videos as her style, approach and ways of reacting are fun to see. Posted are more for your entertainment. There is a lot to enjoy on her YouTube channel.
#4 Wind and solar power are truly UNRELIABLE – Let’s be clear here. Renewable forms of energy such as solar and wind are truly unreliable and they cannot provide the abundant amount of energy needed by the people, businesses and societies in general. Fossil fuel is polluting but it is more reliable as it can produce abundant energy. Wind and solar power are, at best, additive forms of energy. Learn from the videos below.
#5 Looking back at Xenogears – If you were an avid console gamer back in the 1990s who had a PlayStation and you were focused on Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs), chances are you would have at least heard of Xenogears from Squaresoft (Square Enix’s previous name). While it did not come close to the Final Fantasy games of the time in terms of commercial and critical success, Xenogears remains highly memorable for those who played it and it still has a dedicated following to this day. I myself played Xenogears on my PlayStation in 1998 but I never got to finish it. As such, I would really love it if Square Enix would remaster the game and release it on the Xbox ecosystem (including Windows PC) someday. The production history of Xenogears alone is astonishing to research. Watch the videos below.
#6 X-Men: Fatal Attractions revisited – The 1990s was a wild time when it comes to reading superhero comic books. Apart from the sudden rise of Image Comics and other smaller publishers who collectively gave Marvel and DC a challenge in the market, there was also the comic book speculator boom, a rise of crossover storytelling and the sudden need by certain comic book creators to change the status quo on the franchises they worked on. In 1993, Marvel Comics celebrated the 30th anniversary of the X-Men and creators who handled the X-Men-related comic books came up with the Fatal Attractions storyline. Fatal Attractions was not exactly a crossover tale, but it had central themes and elements – notably the return of Magneto from his “death” – that affected the X-Men-related monthly comic books of the time. Read my retro reviews here, here and here. Watch the videos below.
#7 Games coming to Xbox in 2023 – If you are an Xbox gamer who has been disappointed with the lack of big-time Xbox-exclusive games this year, then your disappointment will end as a fine mix of exclusive and 3rd party games will come to Xbox platforms and some of them will come to the Xbox Game Pass (XGP) service. Watch the videos below.
Given the fact that the Suikoden game franchise has always been very associated with the PlayStation brand and platform, its inevitable arrival on Xbox is indeed remarkable and it could inspire other Japanese game publishers to consider remastering their old Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) and releasing them on the Xbox ecosystem.
I could only imagine the possibility of Capcom releasing their old Breath of Fire JRPGs on Xbox in remastered forms someday. I am interested to replay Breath of Fire IV as I never got to finish that game on the original PlayStation console (PS1). The most extensive Breath of Fire experience I had was Breath of Fire III which I managed to finish. While I never got to play the original Breath of Fire game, I played Breath of Fire II on a rented Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).
I don’t know what it would take to convince Capcom to remaster their old Breath of Fire games and have them released on Xbox One, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, but it would be worth a try for all JRPG-loving Xbox gamers to reach out to the Japanese publisher as well as executives of Team Xbox and express demand for those games.
For the most part, Breath of Fire RPGs have their unique take on fantasy as well as turn-based gameplay. I also noticed online gamers who are nostalgic not only with those games but also with recurring characters Ryu and Nina. Back in 2009, it was confirmed via Capcom’s online message boards that Breath of Fire as an intellectual property was put to rest.
In my honest opinion, having the old Breath of Fire games released on Xbox Game Pass will surely attract the attention of the subscribers who love JRPGs and potentially revive the franchise. Remastering will also give Capcom opportunities to not only enhance the visuals but also correct whatever errors or technical flaws they find in each game. Xbox Game Pass has a lively subscriber base and already XGP has the remastered Ni no Kuni which subscribers are enjoying. Recently, Persona 5: Royal was released on Xbox. If having Breath of Fire games on Xbox platforms and XGP are enticing to you, then I encourage you to reach out to Capcom, Xbox chief Phil Spencer, Sarah Bond, Aaron Greenberg, Team Xbox and Xbox Game Pass on Twitter now.
In concluding this article, posted below for your enjoyment are Xbox-related videos plus a few Breath of Fire 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 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 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.
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.