Healthy Holiday Gifts

360 title in Famitsu's most wanted. Wha??

Several sites have been posting Famitsu's latest most wanted list. But wait! What's this? An Xbox 360 exclusive, Blue Dragon -- the RPG being developed by Hironobu Sakaguchi's Mistwalker studio -- is number 8. A prestigious spot indeed for a 360 title. Even more impressive, Blue Dragon tops the Japanese favorites like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This is just the sort of thing that Microsoft's new Japanese PR blog should be pimping, and pimping hard.

Be warned, the read link points to a Nintendo fan site. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with the 360 at all. So, just prepare yourselves for that.

June 27th says: "No Live for you!" [update 1]

PlayOnline has announced that Xbox Live servers will be down on June 27th from 2:00 'til 6:00 PDT for maintenance. It looks like this will only affect PlayOnline, but it might mean no Live for anyone. No word has actually come down from Microsoft about Live being down so, who knows?

The announcement mentions that those already connected to PlayOnline will stay connected, but once you disconnect you won't be able to access PlayOnine until the maintenance is finished. So, 360 Final Fantasy XI fans (both of you) better connect now before it's too late.

[Via Xboxic]

Update: Reader bigC24 let us know that the Live outage is official. Check out Major Nelson for details.

Continue reading June 27th says: "No Live for you!" [update 1]

Screenshot roundup: FFXI, X-Men, Rumble Roses, more

Just when you thought Rumble Roses XX couldn't get any more scandalous, they go and release even more screenshots of the battling beauties (hey, no complaints here). This title will be hitting shelves just next week, so we probably won't be seeing many more after this. And let's not forget the viewables from Final Fantasy XI. These screens are specifically from the Treasures of Aht Urhgan pack, but the Xbox 360 bundle will include that as well.

A handful of Far Cry Instincts Predator images are also available. The attention to detail coming from these never cease to amaze. Don't miss out on the screenshots for X-Men: The Official Movie Game either. If this title snuck up on you, then you'll be happy to know that Zak Penn and comic writer Chris Claremont are backing this game. We could be seeing it as early as May.

FFXI box art reflects "Blighted Gloom"

1UP has images of the cover art for the Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion pack for the PlayStation 2, PC, and Xbox 360 (sort of). The Xbox 360 version isn't just an expansion pack, but the entire game and all expansion packs, including Treasures of Aht Urhgan.

The boxart is created by longtime Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano, and features two different themes: "Blessed Radiance" and "Blighted Gloom," both the names of quests from the current Chains of Promathia expansion. Final Fantasy XI hits the 360 on April 18th.

Final Fantasy XI release dated

Square Enix announced yesterday that their MMO Final Fantasy XI will be shipping soon to North America, Japan, and Europe, along with the upcoming PC expansion pack, "Treasures of Aht Urhgan." FFXI will be shipping in North America on April 18, with Japan and Europe following just two days later.

Players have been beta-testing the title for a couple weeks now, and we've heard complaints of repetitive gameplay, an agonizing install process, dated graphics, and worse. We've made a wishlist of all the things an MMO on the 360 should do if it wants our hard earned rupees, so the question is: are the FFXI beta testers out there planning on ponying up for the full version?

Xbox 360 MMO wishlist

We've been getting pretty cosy with Final Fantasy XI recently, and while porting various existing massively multiplayer games to the 360 is very much sought-after, we're hoping that developers will really take the 360 into account for some upcoming titles. Here's a wishlist of features we'd like to see in 360 MMOs:

Continue reading Xbox 360 MMO wishlist

FFXI beta hits the UK

OXM's free Final Fantasy XI beta disc has been a success despite a delay in the magazine's UK release; it hit newsagents on Thursday, and seems to be a big hit amongst many gamers.

Our quick tips:
  • Get your registration code handy before installing. You'll want this site if you're using the European disc.
  • If you can, grab a USB keyboard for the installation and registration procedure. It's a lot easier than entering the requisite information the long way.
  • Also, find something else to do during the two-hour installation.
  • Remember your character name; if you hit the Random button, write it down!
  • Make sure to get a copy of the US or UK manual; the registration isn't particularly complex, but the controls are.
  • If you want to group with a friend, use the Xbox 360's private chat feature to talk rather than laboriously crafting text messages ingame.
Happy adventuring in Vana'diel!

Final Fantasy XI beta testing

FFXI beta testing has begun and they need some eager testers to run it through its paces. Readers of the Official Xbox Magazine know what's going on: all you have to do is go purchase the latest issue to find the beta disc. Lucky for us Square Enix is prepared, with enough to go around for each magazine copy.

Everyone will be in the same boat as a separate server is available for the beta test. So if you're an Xbox 360 owner in North America, Japan or Europe, check out the site to receive a registration code.

Japanese 360s available online

Japanese 360 packThe 360's launch in Japan has been muted, with a fairly lukewarm reception, which is good news for anyone elsewhere who's desperate for a console. Importers' haven Lik-Sang are reporting that they have Japanese consoles in stock and ready to ship. The commemoration pack (including Final Fantasy XI beta disc) is available for $439.99, but you will need to source Japanese games to go with the console, as it will not play US or European versions; also, you may need a power transformer, and there's no warranty for orders placed outside of Hong Kong.

All that aside, at least they have them in stock.

Final Fantasy XI beta to be available with UK magazine

Good news for people from Her Majesty's blessed shores. The popular massively multiplayer online game Final Fantasy XI is due for release on the Xbox 360 next year, and readers of the UK's Xbox 360: The Official Xbox Magazine (or OXM 360 for short) will be able to take part in the beta test in January. A disc is included free with the magazine, which goes on sale on January 5th.

This is a great opportunity to preview what the next generation of gaming will be capable of; however, with the Xbox Live marketplace shaping up to be a solid content-delivery system, it's a shame the beta will not be downloadable. Beta discs are also being distributed with special Japanese 360 launch packages, but we've no word on when it will be available to our American cousins, so this may give them one reason to hate us back.

Square Enix responds: No FF and DQ on 360

Square EnixWe, along with the rest of the entire internet, were culpable of posting the rumor of Square Enix bringing their flagship RPG properties to the 360. They have released a press statement today to put this one soundly to rest stating, "... speculation about the availability of both the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series on these systems has been reported in the media. However, we have made no concrete decision on our strategic direction of this issue."

Wait, no.  Go back.  "... no concrete decision..."

Decisions have been made but not concrete ones. Are we ready to start this one off? Could Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest be coming to the 360 after all?  There's always Final Fantasy XI... but maybe...

360 to get Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest?

Square Enix 225pIt's the first post so let's make it a big one!  According to Yoichi Wada, president of mega-publisher Square Enix, we may be seeing Final Fantasy XIII and Dragon Quest IX on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox360.  With the announcements of Final Fantasy XI for 360 and Crystal Chronicles for Revolution, the normally monogamous Square properties will already be appearing on all three major platforms. 

In July had a chance to talk to Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for the Xbox, Peter Moore, to get some insight into Microsoft’s plans for conquering the Japanese market.  Microsoft is well aware they need to penetrate the Japanese market in order to effectively compete with Sony.  With developers like Tetsuya Mizuguchi, franchises like Ridge Racer, and the possibility of FF and DQ titles coming to the 360 it seems like things are falling into place.

Will the higher development costs for next generation systems help Microsoft secure more third-party titles for the 360?  Is this the beginning of a trend?

[UPDATE: 1up has gotten confirmation from Square Enix "that Wada's comments in the Reuters report are apparently inaccurate."  We'll let you know if anything else is reported. It was nice while it lasted... ]

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