Last week, Romancing Saga 2 quietly finally launched in North America for consoles. The game originally came out in 1993 on Super Famicom but didn’t make it our shores until recently. The new remaster finally brings the game to PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Vita, and PC with its share of enhancements, from updated graphics and audio to a new dungeon and character classes. We spoke to series’ mastermind Akitoshi Kawazu, who is also known for his work on Final Fantasy I and II alongside The Final Fantasy Legend games, to learn more about what the remaster offers and why now is the time to give the Saga series a shot. 

Discuss what your role has been in this remake and what makes you excited about it.

For starters, I’m the person who initially proposed a remake for Romancing Saga 2, so in that sense, my biggest role was to push forward a project that had difficulties getting realized. As such, what makes me most excited is the fact that we’ve finally reached a moment where the game is being realized on current generation platforms, including the overseas market.

How was it revisiting the game after so many years? What changes did you want to make?

The level of completion of the original Romancing Saga 2 was rather high, and I personally didn’t feel like I would ever need to go back and readjust any particular aspects of the game. When we started work on this project, my sentiment was very similar, and I didn’t feel the need to touch up anything aside from bugs. 

How different is the remaster from the original release? Is this just a visual upgrade or did you add other new features?

The remaster is based on the version that was released in 2010 for a Japanese cellphone device called i-mode. The additional classes, dungeons, and functions incorporated at that time are also implemented in the latest version. The graphics are also improved to support 2K, and the game also supports Xbox Play Anywhere as well as cross-save for PSVita and PS4. 

If so, of the new elements in this remake, which is your favorite and why?

The new features incorporated in 2010 were added by the developers from a fan perspective. Ninjas are also quite popular in Japan. Rather than the particular features in-game, I think my favorite aspect of this remaster is the fact that we were able to support multiple platforms. 

Most westerners haven’t had a chance to play Romancing Saga 2, other than its release on mobile devices.  How do you think western RPG fans will react to this release?

When I conducted interviews overseas, there have been numerous instances after an interview where I was asked to release Romancing Saga 2 abroad because they personally like the game. I really got the sense that many media have a genuine love for games. We have finally been able to respond to those demands, but the only regrettable part is that the game is only available in English. Supporting additional languages is harder than increasing platforms, so we’re not sure if this will ever be realized, but it’d be great if we could somehow localize the game little by little. 

Steam is becoming a haven for re-releases and remakes of older games, and that trend seems to be continuing with Japanese developers.  What made you look to Steam for this release?

There are many regions across the world where PCs are highly popular as a gaming device. We selected Steam as a method for reaching out to those regions. 

What is it that sets Romancing SaGa 2 apart from the other games you’ve worked on?

A unique aspect of Romancing Saga 2 is that the universe and scenario were built around the generation system — this gameplay concept that allows passing abilities from one generation to the next was an initial idea for the game we used as a basis for the game. Saga Frontier 2 proceeded in a similar fashion, but I feel that the level of completion in terms of the game mechanics is far greater in Romancing Saga 2. 

For players who have never played Romancing Saga (or even a Saga game in general), what would you say to convince them to play? 

The main character’s objective is already determined: defeat the final enemy. That said, there are as many paths one can take to reach that goal as there are players of the game. This is an aspect that’s unique to Saga, and particularly Romancing Saga. We would love for you to share your gaming experience with others, as it would be hard to believe you’ve played the same game considering how much your stories differ. Saga is the perfect game for those who want to accompany the main character and the party in an experience unique to each player. 

Talk more about the generation system and what players can expect from it.

The main character is an Emperor. The enemies that need to be defeated are the Seven Heroes. That said, they are no longer heroes, though they are powerful beings, so much as to have once been called heroes. It is no easy feat for the main character to defeat these enemies. The Emperor discovers a way that enables the succession of abilities across generations, and a conflict between the Seven Heroes and the emperors of history begins to unfold. 

When an emperor dies, his abilities are passed down to the next chosen person. There may be instances where the emperor lives out his life, and there may be some instances where the emperor dies in battle. Yes — the in-game losses truly signify the death of the character. A player is unable to save the emperor by resetting their game over and over again. Time flows, and people will be born and people will die. The abilities of the main character you raise will be passed onto the next generation, and the battle against the Seven Heroes will also be carried on. 

At times, an emperor may die before achieving anything or an emperor may cast away his title. An unexpected being may even assume the throne and receive the emperor’s abilities. You, as a player, will be the one that selects who will become the Emperor. That is a decision that will surely change the world.  

Has the tech sparking system changed since the Super Famicom release?  How do you think new players will react to this mechanic?

Nothing has changed when it comes to the tech sparking system in Romancing Saga 2. The spark and the techniques make the battles in Romancing Saga 2 extremely exciting. Those new to the game may perhaps feel a greater sense of excitement from experiencing the system for the first time. 

What has the Saga series meant to you? What do you feel is its legacy for role-playing games?

I’ve been able to connect with players through Saga. It’s a field in which we can continue to propose new types of fun, particularly with the scenario and the battles that provide interesting mechanics. I would still like to continue this evolution by creating new games, so it may be a bit too early to speak about its legacy. 

The enhanced version of Romancing Saga 2 is now available for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Vita, PC, iOS, and Android.

As with most industries in the United States, esports tend to slow down during the holiday season. That doesn’t meant there’s nothing going on (a cursory look at the front page of Twitch should always have something for most players to watch), but most major tournaments have wrapped up. But, in case you want to get back into 2018 with a crowded calendar to keep up with, we’ve compiled some of the most notable esports tournaments that will be going on through January, as the month has several strong outings you should make note of.

Things kick off on Thursday, January 3 with the Hi-Rez Expo, which will feature the Smite PC and Console World Championships. Players from across the world have worked their placements in this tournament, and the final placement matches will decide who will compete live in front of a crowded arena from Thursday to Sunday. (Stream / Schedule)

That weekend you can also catch the Kumite in Tennessee, which will feature several prominent fighting games like Street Fighter V, Injustice 2, and Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite. (Streams / Schedule)

January 10 marks the start of the much-hyped Overwatch League full season, which should be interesting to watch due to its intensely regional and big-budget format. (Stream / Schedule)

On January 12, The Call of Duty: WWII World League kicks off in New Orleans, which will showcase the new stripped-down title in action. (Stream / Schedule)

That day also marks the start of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Boston Eleague Major, which will be the game’s first million-dollar tournament of the year. (Stream / Schedule)

On January 15, Dota 2 returns with the Galaxy Battles tournament, which will have the game’s biggest teams vying for $1,000,000 in prizes. (Check here for Stream and Schedule updates)

On January 19, Super Smash Bros. fans can catch their first big tournament of the year, Genesis 5. The event will have events for both Melee and For Wii U. (Check here for Stream and Schedule updates)

Meanwhile on January 20, Leauge of Legends comes back in full swing, as the North American branch of the CLS returns with a match between Team Liquid and Team Solo Mid, among several others. (Stream / Schedule)

That weekend also marks the start of Frosty Faustings, which will have events for several different fighting games, including Street Fighter V, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, Tekken 7, and more. (Stream and Schedule)

The following weekend you can catch Evo Japan, which is the first time the world’s biggest fighting game tournament adds a new event in a foreign nation. (Stream / Schedule)

Also that weekend on January 26, the Gears of War 4 Pro Circuit will have its Mexico City Open, featuring a starting prize pool of $150,000 (Stream / Schedule)

That’s it for January! And that’s it for What to Watch This weekend for the year. Let us know if we missed an event, or if there’s a scene you’d like us to cover, in the comments below.

In my recent review for Curse of Osiris, I praised Bungie’s compelling vision for the Vex Infinite Forest on Mercury. Billed as a massive engine for simulating alternate timelines and realities, the concept further drives home the mystique around the Vex enemies and their inscrutable ways. But that same review noted my disappointment with implementation; the expansion fails to fully capture the potential of the concept. The Infinite Forest is a brilliant way that Bungie could expand the Destiny 2 universe, and I hope the developer returns to the concept to further build it out, even as the studio turns its eye toward subsequent expansions. 

For fellow children of the 1980s, I likely don’t need to explain the conceit of the holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The holographic playspace on-board the Enterprise was the backdrop for some of the stranger and more memorable concepts over the life of the show, and its use carried over into subsequent Star Trek shows and movies. For the writers of the show, the holodeck undoubtedly served a valuable purpose, freeing them from the constraints of a futuristic spaceship, and letting them flirt with other settings, from noir detective tales to Old West shootouts, and free from the limitations imposed by decades of established Star Trek fiction and characters. 

In the Infinite Forest, Destiny has a chance to explore its own holodeck – not a centerpiece locale upon which all the subsequent storytelling can be based, but rather, a rich tapestry of potential encounters and narrative, unbound by the limits of established lore. 

In Curse of Osiris, the Infinite Forest is manifested as a semi-random collection of interconnected blocks with unexpected collections of enemies, followed by diversions into very specific simulations of Mercury’s past, present, and future. I don’t have any problem with those locales, but one can’t help but feel like it’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. 


Curse of Osiris lets us visit a beautiful vision of Mercury’s past, but there’s so many other places and times we could visit

Story-wise, we’re told that Osiris and Sagira have uncovered countless simulations across the Vex reality engine – we even hear mention at one point of a simulation of the Hive home world. While the past and future versions of Mercury made for some beautiful scenery, Guardians should have the chance to go much further afield. 

How about visiting a version of Earth that’s been overrun by the Hive and Taken, with Oryx’s Dreadnought looming on the horizon? What about a simulation of the past that lets us participate in the fateful Battle of Six Fronts, side-by-side with Osiris as he holds off hordes of Fallen attackers? Perhaps we could visit a version of Mars in which the SIVA infection has spread across the entire solar system. Or maybe we could land in a simulation exploring the immediate aftermath of the Exodus Black’s disastrous crash onto Nessus, and its desperate crew’s fight for survival. 

The Infinite Forest doesn’t just need to be a storytelling tool for alternate histories or glimpses into important moments in Destiny history. The simulation concept has broad applicability for cooperative wave-based combat scenarios, not unlike those we saw in the Prison of Elders or Archon’s Forge in the original Destiny. It’s also a place that can support wildly divergent Crucible scenarios; imagine a matchtype set in a Vex simulation without traditional notions of gravity, or a Crucible map that is constantly shifting and reshaping walls, cover points, and corridors as the simulation unfolds. 

I’m certain that Bungie has robust plans for subsequent expansions to Destiny 2, and that most of those concepts are likely to veer away from Mercury, the Vex, and the strangeness of the Infinite Forest concept. I’m happy that we can look forward to new adventures on other planets that push forward the core narrative of the Destiny universe. At the same time, it feels like a missed opportunity to not more fully flesh out the weird and wonderful concept of the Infinite Forest. Destiny 2 could use a dose of surprising diversions from expectation, and with the massive reality simulation of the Vex on Mercury, we could have exactly that. 

Update (12/23/17): We’ve added some new entries and updated the list to reflect the new remaster-related releases and announcements in the last few months.

Original Story:
The PS4 and Xbox One are capable of delivering new and surprising experiences, but some of the best games available for the consoles are the ones you’ve played already. New features, better performance, and improved visuals provide more than enough of a reason to revisit older games, and we’ve assembled a list of the big titles that have won a second life on new hardware. 

Note that this isn’t a comprehensive list of every remaster or remake available, but we try to hit as many as possible. It covers released and upcoming games that have been touched up for current generation of platforms, and we will update the list as games are released and new announcements are made. Until then, read on and relive the past.

ANNOUNCED

Shadow of the Colossus
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Original Version: A PS2 adventure from the team behind Ico, Shadow of the Colossus casts you as a wanderer who battles enormous beasts in hopes of restoring life to a loved one.
New Version: This complete remake of the original game will feature updated visuals and a highly accurate recreation of the gameplay.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Original Version: This RPG originally released on Nintendo DS. With a tactical turn-based battle system and a story about different timelines, Radiant Historia feels like a contemporary of classics like Chrono Trigger.
New Version: Featuring new gameplay, added story content, and enhanced presentation on the 3DS, this definitive remaster offers a new take on the experience for fans and newcomers alike.

Devil May Cry Collection
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Original Version: The Devil May Cry games are PS2 classics (well, 1 and 3 are, at least). In these games, Dante helped popularize the stylish action genre with his killer combos involving various melee weapons and firearms.
New Version: This is effectively a remaster of a remaster; the last-gen version of this collection had uneven transition to HD. Capcom has talked about improving the framerate for this PS4, Xbox One, and PC version – but here’s hoping more visual fixes are also in the works.

Resident Evil 2 Remake
Release Date: 2018
Original Version: Starring Leon Kennedy and Clare Redfield, this installment is a fan-favorite. You explore Raccoon City, solve puzzles, and fight zombies – all in a chilling atmosphere. These are all classic elements, but the clunky controls may not hold up as well these days. 
New Version: Little beyond the existence of this project has been revealed (after an interesting public campaign to gauge interest). However, Capcom has emphasized its commitment to capturing the atmosphere of the original.

MediEvil
Release Date: TBA
Original Version: Medievil is a action series that debuted on the original PlayStation. It stars an undead skeleton knight named Dan who uses a variety of weapons (including his own arm) to beat down bad guys.
New Version: Details are still scarce about the remaster. Is it just the first game? Is it both? What about the PSP remake? What we know for sure: It’s coming to PS4 and has 4K support.

Catherine: Full Body
Release Date: TBA
Original Version: A strange mixture of puzzle and romantic drama, Catherine stars a man named Vincent who is dealing with two women, Catherine and Katherine. However, the most intense gameplay revolves around block-pushing sequences.
New Version: In addition to hitting PS4 and Vita, this edition will feature a new love interest, new endings, and more.

Yakuza Kiwami 2
Release Date: TBA
Original Version: The tale of Kazuma Kirya continues in the second entry in the Yakuza series, with enhanced combat and more drama about clan relationships.
New Version: With the recent warm reception to both Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami, Sega announced a full remake of the second game in the Yakuza series. Along with updated visuals, players can also take the reins of both Kiryu and Majima to explore the underworld of Sotenbori.

Next: The remastered titles that have already released. 

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A few days ago, Nintendo alluded to the ARMS 5.0 update bringing a new character. Now, we have a reveal of Dr. Coyle, a villainous-looking scientist with punches for days.

The game introduces her as a new boss that can be accessed by playing Grand Prix mode above Level 6 as anyone other than Dr. Coyle. You can access her stage, which is named “[Name Redacted]”. Also, just for fun, the official site lists her age as 0x30, which is 48 in hexadecimal.

You can check out a trailer of the new character in action below. The update is available to download now.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

 

Our Take
It’s a shame Nintendo never got as big into lore as the characters and framework, which are cool, seemingly would have allowed. Still, post-launch support for ARMS continues to be impressive for the price.

Nintendo announced yesterday that they are reviving Nintendo Power in the form of a podcast hosted by Nintendo of America employees.

The new podcast is hosted by Chris Slate, former editor-in-chief of Nintendo Power, Damon Baker, publisher and developer relations, and Kit Ellis, from the Nintendo Minute. The debut episode sits down with Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma and Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi. Aonuma does confirm in that episode that there will be no further DLC for Breath of the Wild.

Nintendo Power first started in July of 1998 with news of Super Mario Bros. 2. Nintendo owned the magazine, and exerted editorial control, until 2007 when Future publishing took the magazine over. The final issue published in December 2012, after Nintendo declined to renew their deal with Future. The final issue covered New Super Mario Bros. U.

 

Our Take
I grew up reading Nintendo Power and explicitly remember poring over the first issue my parents bought me. The magazine inspired me to get into games writing in the first place. Hopefully the podcast picks up where Iwata Asks left off and goes into deep dives of Nintendo developer insights.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI has been alive and kicking on PC for a year now, but it has been released for newer iPad models today.

The game is free to download with a 60-turn demo, which doesn’t really get you a whole lot of game to try out. Purchases are $29.99 for launch and double that price after the launch window. The iPad version does not have any of the DLC and expansions from the PC yet.

The game needs iOS 11 to run. You need any iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, or any 2017 iPad to play the game, so Civilization VI won’t run on just anything. It’ll only take up about 3.14GB on your tablet, though. You can read our review of the PC version here.

Welcome back to The Game Informer Show! On this episode, Ben Hanson, Matt Miller, Ben Reeves, and Suriel Vazquez recommend a ton of video and tabletop games to play with family and friends over the holiday break. We know family time can be stressful, and we’re here to help. After some great community emails and a surprising visit from a Christmas icon, we say goodbye to our wonderful batch of Game Informer interns George Ash, Keenan McCall, and Cody Mello-Klein and force them to debate about the best game of 2017.

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Play, or listen to episode 378 on SoundCloud. Also, be sure to send your questions to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show’s intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below…

5:55 – Praising The Jackbox Party Packs
10:00 – VR with the family
15:00 – Codenames Duet
23:00 – That’s A Question
24:00 – When I Dream
25:00 – Dropmix
31:00 – La Lotteria…?
34:20 – Stick Fight: The Game
35:00 – Gang Beasts
35:30 – Crawl on Switch
35:55 – Snipperclips
36:55 – Unlock
39:47 – Risk Legacy/Pandemic Legacy
46:00 – Love Letter
48:20 – Star Wars: Destiny
52:00 – Flick ’em Up
57:40 – Community emails
1:51:40 – Goodbye Game Informer’s interns
2:07:55 – 9 underappreciated games from 2017
2:21:16 – Debating the official Game Informer intern Game of the Year

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition continues to add the modes and features that should have launched with the original game as Team Versus Mode gets added to the revision.

Team Versus Mode lets teams of players engage in 1v1 matches to reach an eventual winner. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition’s version has a host of custom options, however, including how much life a winner regains, whether to continue fighting after a winner has been determined, randomizing order, and more. The mode is local only.

Since Arcade Edition has multiple V-Triggers, players choose their character’s V-Trigger as the match begins, allowing players to change strategy depending on who they’re facing. Know your friend doesn’t react well to Ryu’s original V-Trigger? Make a quick change at the beginning of the match to best deal with them.

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition releases on PlayStation 4 and PC on January 16. It will be a free update for existing owners or a new release including season one and two characters 

[Source: Capcom-Unity]

People on the forum ResetEra noticed today that Transformers games are suddenly not available on PlayStation Network and Steam. It was then noticed the the licensed Legend of Korra game made by Platinum also disappeared, without warning.

The missing titles include Transformers: War for Cybertron, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, Transformers: Devastation, and The Legend of Korra. For whatever reason, the games are still available on Xbox Live  on a deep discount that was not given to either PSN or Steam stores before their delisting.

While it is likely that Activision’s licenses for these games necessitated they pull it from digital stores, it is exceedingly unlikely the date just snuck up on them, and it is rare for non-Activision publishers to delist games without warnings or sales. The Deadpool game was delisted six months after release in 2014, then came back, and then got delisted again last month. Last year, Platinum Games’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, was pulled eight months after release. For many of these games, there is no physical release to pick up if a digital copy has been removed.

We’ve reached out to Activision for comment and will update the story when they get back to us.

 

Our Take
While a lot of these games weren’t exactly great, some were pretty good, and it’s a shame Activision thinks so little of them that they wouldn’t even warn people they were about to disappear. Their view of games as purely ephemeral feels bad from a preservationist perspective.