Sunday, January 27, 2013

"I Live... Again"

I have been gone for nearly two years. Many things have happened in that timespan. Most of them bad. I call them, "The Shadow Years." Devastating events took place. I've taken nearly a year to heal. Now I can say that everything is back to normal in my world. But some things are lacking that I will miss, and I fear I may never have them back again.

One was my online circle. Those I collectively called, "The XIII Order." It has since dissolved. Fallouts happened. I now keep in contact with only one of them, whom I was closest to (the "Superior" of the whole shebang), but it's nothing as it once was. We are both busy with jobs and college these days. It certainly doesn't help that I was completely absent and away from my pc for nearly two years. I may be back to my former glory, or as close as one can be, but some voids remain that fill me with sorrow and regret.

These days I work two jobs. One during the week, and the other on the weekends. I have inherited an Xbox 360 during that time, and happily play Skyrim with it. Yes, I've become an Elder Scrolls nerd, though that may have started in 2009 with Oblivion.

I can no longer use this blog as a KH hub anymore. I don't even own a 3DS, let alone even played anything past Birth by Sleep. I've thought about using it as my main spot, in the same way I once used Bebopgroove in the past. Speaking of which, I do realize Blogger is probably considered a bit dated nowadays. I'm a bit dated myself. I tried using Tumblr nearly a year ago, and could never really "connect" with it in the same way I do here. Besides that, several years of my past remain here on Blogger, and I would like to keep everything together.

The old blog has been on my mind for the past few weeks. To be honest, I was really missing Esoterical, despite any current Elder Scrolls fanaticalness. I don't know if it will ever be read by others anymore, as it once was and as blogs are meant to be, but I would like to give it all another go, and see just how long I can stick to it.

TO DO LIST - It's time to clean house! I've been gone for ages!

  • Already removed several now-pointless widgets. 
  • Update my user profile + new photo of yours truly
  • Find a new image-hosting site for all those wonderful icons (they'll still be on here, don't worry. I just don't trust Photobucket
  • Add new widgets to replace the old ones. Not sure with what yet, but I'll find something. 
  • Find a new Shoutbox. Apparently, the powers-that-be at Shoutmix decided to charge for their services while I was gone :S
It's late, and I'm tired. I've worked all day. There might be more to do, but I just don't have the brain power right now. More things might come to me later. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Life Happened - and So Did Birth by Sleep

Over the last couple of months, I've had some important personal matters to attend to. Also, last Tuesday, I did indeed buy my copy of Birth by Sleep, after four years of waiting. It was just after 10:00 a.m., at a Walmart. My copy came with an interesting slip cover. Since then, I've been playing it nearly non-stop. I've just finished Terra's side of the story, and I've just started Ven's. Personally, I found this event to be more exciting than the release of Final Fantasy XIII (though that may sound a little crazy).

In any case, I am truly sorry for neglecting the blog, for those who actually visit often. "Sorry" may not even be enough, but my personal matters are more important than the blog.

With personal matters aside, I should now be back to post on a regular basis as I once did. Bios, pics, and more information from Birth by Sleep will be uploaded as I play through the game.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

So I was on Vacation...

In Washington State. For twelve days. During which time I decided to free myself from having to worry about updating blogs. But of course now I'm back and having to face everything I've missed.

I did keep in tune to E3 news while I was away, so I'm very aware of the Recoded and KH 3D news. In regards to KH 3D, I've added it to the Release Dates column.

I haven't stopped updating the site. I will get back into the groove of things. My vacation did throw me off, however once I have Birth by Sleep in my hands, you can expect a whole slew of news and updates.

Also, as this is mainly a Xehanort fansite, I'm not entirely obligated to post every single round of KH news a la KH Insider.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New DS Game: Kingdom Hearts Re:coded

Just announced today via Square Enix Europe's twitter, is confirmation of the speculated KH game, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, being released on the Nintendo DS. Re:coded is based on Kingdom Hearts Coded, which was available on certain Japanese cell phones. It is unknown whether or not the game will be a direct port, or a remake (a la Re:Chain of Memories).

No release date has been announced at this time.

Re:coded, along with Birth by Sleep, are set to make an appearance at next week's E3.

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded official description:

Sora's journey in KINGDOM HEARTS II has drawn to a close, and now a new tale is set to begin.

Jiminy Cricket is looking over the journal he used to document his first adventure with Sora when he discovers a mysterious message. He didn't write it – so how on earth did it get there? King Mickey is determined to find out, so he and his friends decide to digitize the journal and delve into its deepest secrets. Inside this "datascape" dwells a second Sora who is about to embark on a grand adventure of his very own.


Sourcs: Square Enix Europe's Twitter, Kotaku

Sunday, June 6, 2010

New BbS Gameplay Video + Next Game Speculation

On the North American Birth by Sleep site, you can now find a new gameplay video which finally reveals the English voices of Terra and Aqua (and Ventus, but that one shouldn't have been a surprise). No voice actor names have been announced yet, but you can now watch the video and speculate yourself.

Meanwhile an interview with Tetsuya Nomura from this month's Gameinformer has recently surfaced on fan sites, one which gives insight into the next game in the series:

Q: The North American versions of Kingdom Hearts games have traditionally included some extras. What kind of bonuses can we expect?

A: There are a variety of new elements, including Critical Mode, which takes the difficulty beyond Proud Mode; Keyblades, abilities, minigame maps, and songs. We're also unleashing a mystery enemy for North American fans, so hopefully everyone will enjoy the challenge.

Q: How did you decide which Disney worlds would be in Birth by Sleep?

A: The process of choosing worlds has been the same with every entry. First, we select the worlds that are essential based on the scenario; in this title's case, the three pricess' worlds. Then, to add some variety to the locations we decided to include Deep Space (Lilo & Stitch) and Neverland (Peter Pan). Since Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep takes place before the rest of the games in the series, we decided to include Olympus Coliseum (Hercules) to show the contrast between past and present. We were able to incorporate more locations because of the hardware's capacity, and also because this title carries the same weight as a numbered Kingdom Hearts title.

Q: How did you decide to set Birth by Sleep before all of the Kingdom Hearts games?

A: We set it before the other games to resolve mysteries that have scattered us thus far, and to clarify what mysteries lie ahead in the series. I hope everyone gets to see the secret ending!

Q: What can you tell us about the new enemy, the Unversed?

A: Heartless are realizations of darkness in the heart, while Unversed are an existence born of negative emotion. They're similar in essence, but more information will be revealed in due time by a certain individual.

Q: How did you decide on featuring playable heroes in Birth by Sleep with different quests rather than a single protagonist like Sora or Roxas?

A: Everything is part of one big story, and there is only one final destination. Fans of the series who already know what happens beyond Birth by Sleep may be able to predict where the three are headed. I thought that by separating the story into three prospectives, and having the player choose the order of progression would deepen the mystery, making the journey all the more interesting. Even if you complete one character's story, you'll become more curious as to what happens to the other two, and eager to see to how everything comes to a close for the three.

Q: Can you explain some of the new combat elements?

A: The main concept for this battle system was to incorporate speed and tension in combat. There are three new systems that comprise the core of the game's battle sytem, and the Command Deck is definitely a key component. Each command has a level assigned to it, and there are several ways to develop them. There is also a charge time for each command, and timing is a crucial factor to using them successfully. You can freely adjust the command column, creating a setup that reflects your personal strategy and battle style.

The Shotlock command is an evolution of the target lock-on, which was one of the few constants throughout the series. You can use it to wipe out multiple enemies at once, or as a special one-shot attack against powerful enemies.

Dimension Link (D-Link) was a concept we took from the scenario and built into the system. It's an extension of the summoning system, and allows you to access other characters' deck commands and special attacks by connecting with them.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the new Command Board?

A: I personally love board games, and this was a concept I had been working on for years as something I wanted to construct as a system one day. It's not a concept I thought of just for this game, but I think we were able to link it very well with the current command leveling system. It's not just a minigame, but an alternate game whose results affect the main game as well.

Q: What did you want to accomplish with the multiplayer gameplay in Birth by Sleep compared to 358/2 Days?

A: In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, you could venture to different worlds to accomplish missions, but this time around players can gather in a world called the Mirage Arena to defeat target enemies. Up to three players can play co-op or against each other three-on-three. There are also minigame battles that are new to the series: Command Board and Rumble Racing. We utilized the hardware's wireless capabilities and capacity to the fullest to offer minigames that people can jump right in and out of. This way, people can enjoy the variety of battles and worlds that the game has to offer.

Q: Translations of your interview in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Ultimania seem to confirm that Kingdom Hearts III is coming along with two other games.

A: Kingdom Hearts III is not a confirmed title. I actually phrased my asnwer for the Ultimania "two titles other than III" to avoid speculation that we were working on Kingdom Hearts III.

Q: Are there any hints you can provide about these new games?

A: Hints would give away too much, and for Kingdom Hearts we're contractually obligated to keep any information that has not been official released under wraps. However, I can say one of the two projects mentioned above came into existence because we wanted to do something for the North American fans, so we'll be announcing it at E3.

Q: Any chance these new games will spread to consoles that Kingdom Hearts hasn't been on yet like Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, or iPhone?

A: We have no plans at the moment, but have been discussion opportunities with various parties, so once we've completed the two new projects we'll begin thinking about the next steps.

Q: Final Fantasy Versus XIII is your current primary project. How is it coming along?

A: Developement is progressing smoothly, but starting with E3 and through winter, there are a number of titles I am involved in that will be announced. And of course, the company as a whole has many upcoming projects, so we'll take it one step at a time. We do have plans to officially showcase the title at a certain point.

Currently, there is speculation that this new game is titled Kingdom Hearts Recoded. Click here for further details.


AUSSIE FANS - I haven't forgotten about you. I know you're still awaiting a Birth by Sleep release date, and there hasn't been one announced at the moment. I am always on the lookout for it, so when it is finally announced by Square Enix, I will certainly post it.

Sources: Heartstation, KHInsider, KHUltimania

Monday, May 17, 2010

Birth by Sleep - NA and EU Release Dates Finally Announced

I think the title speaks for itself.

Today, Square Enix has decided to announce the release date of Birth by Sleep for NA and Europe.
  • North America - September 7th, 2010
  • Europe - September 10th, 2010
Yes I know that Square Enix had originally announced the date to be "Summer 2010", but as the final date is only just one month more, I think they can be forgiven.

To add further confirmation, here is the latest press release by Square Enix and series director Tetsuya Nomura:

"The entire development team is extremely happy to announce the North American release date for KINGDOM HEARTS Birth by Sleep. We hate to keep fans waiting, but we've added some brand-new features for the North American version, so even those who have been following the Japanese version are sure to find a few surprises. In addition, we've put together an outstanding voice cast. We can't wait for everyone to experience this game!"

Read the full press release here.

Sources: Birth by Sleep portal site, KHInsider

Friday, May 14, 2010

Birth by Sleep - First English Trailer

I apologize for the severe lack of updates, as there really hasn't been much news in the KH Community. However, today Gamestop has posted a teaser for the English version of Birth by Sleep on their website. The clip is small, only 36 seconds, but it does showcase Master Xehanort's English voice actor.

Watch it on Youtube.

Sources: KH Ultimania, Gamestop

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's been a really long time, but here's some unimportant news

In what seems like the longest time since I've posted anything on the site, I've caught a couple bits of wandering news. Nothing important really, but I figure I'm past due to post something.

Birth by Sleep ESRB Rating

The ESRB rating system likes to provide unintentionally humorous, and slightly spoilerish (or in the case of Heavy Rain, very spoilerish) details to upcoming games. Fortunately however, Birth by Sleep didn't quite receive the same type of torment.

KINGDOM HEARTS Birth By Sleep Platform: PSP
Rating: Everyone 10+

Content descriptors: Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes

Rating summary:

This is a role-playing game in which players assume the role of one of three characters aspiring to become a "Keyblade" master. Players explore fantasy worlds, perform missions and mini-games, and battle various enemies along the way. Characters use magic spells and a giant key-shaped sword to attack enemies (e.g., humans, ice golems, dragons, magical suits of armor) in melee-style combat. Enemies react to damage by crying out in pain or bursting into small orbs that serve as items and power-ups for players. One cutscene depicts a man sinking a keyblade into his chest as a burst of light appears. A female character's breasts jiggle slightly during cutscenes.

Please note that this probably only pertains to the NA version of the game.

The 58th Possible NA Birth by Sleep Release Date (which is NOT official or confirmed)

Not really sure why I've decided to post this, but here you go: Gaming site G4TV has announced that the NA release date for Birth by Sleep is July 27, 2010. And of course, Square Enix has yet to confirm anything. This is all merely speculation.

Sources: KH Ultimania, KHInsider