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By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Feb, 2017 At 12:16 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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During the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival earlier today in Europe, Square Enix discussed a possible version of the game for Switch.  All that was said right now is that it’s under “consideration”.

Previously, in August 2015, Naoki Yoshida, the director and producer  mentioned that Square Enix was open to putting Final Fantasy XIV on Switch,  and that was when it was still called NX. It seems like things are moving along for it to happen bit it isn’t final yet.

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Recently I had the chance to have a discussion with Brian Diamond and Stephen Froeber of the Materia Collective, regarding their upcoming project ZODIAC: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed. We talked about how the project came about and what was involved. Have a read below.

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JB: This is a very interesting project, how did it come about?

Brian Diamond (BD): Stephen can probably answer this question more fully than me as a life long fan of the Tactics franchise. I came onto the project as an assistant producer a few weeks after it started, to help with organisational grunt work, though I quickly took on more responsibility as the project took shape. Tactics is a very popular game among members of The Materia Collective, with many chomping at the bit to put their musical mark on the world of Ivalice.

Stephen Froeber (SF): Final Fantasy Tactics was actually the second game that I played in the franchise. I was one of the “late bloomers” that caught the FF series starting with VII and the PlayStation era. I later went back and played all the originals.

Tactics was special to me because of how much more mature it was. The storyline was much darker and more serious, and the gameplay itself was more cerebral.What ultimately grabbed me, of course, was the music. It was so atmospheric and really fit the world so well.

When Materia Collective started with the first album covering VII, I knew it was only a matter of time before Tactics had to be done. I was thrilled to be able to produce the album with Brian. 

JB:  How has the response been for the project so far?

SF: We’ve had a lot really positive feedback, to include a nice comment from Yasumi Matsuno himself, which was a huge, unexpected honor! 

BD: The response has been extremely positive, with many praising the size of the album, its eclectic mix of styles and high quality of arrangers remixes. Everyone has a different favorite and I think that’s a testament to the all the talented individuals who poured their hearts into this project. We even had Tactics Creator Yasumi Matsuno retweet and buy a copy of the album.

JB: Was there any special selection of the musicians for the project?

SF: Many of the arrangers are veterans of the Materia Collective’s previous albums, but we always have new people with each project that request to join. We are continually impressed with the quality of work that arrangers put into each piece.

Each arranger has discretion on using their own musicians for their song, and many times, that is how many people end up getting involved long term.  

BD: Not really, the process of the majority of our projects involves our would be arrangers pitching proposals for the tracks they want to remix. We often ask that they pitch multiple tracks in case they don’t get their first preference. As with all soundtracks there are really popular tracks and hidden gems, and sometimes we have 7 proposals for one track. In that situation we might allow 2-3 versions of a track but we give priority to the first to submit and make sure the multiple submissions are stylistically different enough e.g. (a) Dubstep Remix, (b) Solo Piano and (c) Full Orchestral. It’s important for us to try and cover as much of the original soundtrack as possible, so we try and keep the number of repeated tracks to a minimum.

JB: What kind of future projects do you anticipate?

SF: We anticipate many future projects. 😉 

If you take a look at our current discography, you can probably take some good guesses as to things that are in the pipeline. 

BD: I can’t go into details yet (mainly because I don’t know myself), but would love to do more Final Fantasy albums, maybe some remix albums of Indie Games, I’m really looking forward to Materia Collectives Kickstarted Hero of Time orchestral album – the art work and vinyl design for it looks gorgeous and the work that Producer Eric Buchholz has done with Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses is stellar.

JB: What kind of approval process was there for the songs recorded?

SF: We have a pretty wide variety of skillsets and experience levels within the Collective. It’s always a delicate balance between being inclusive, and keeping our quality level consistently high. 

We have periodic check-ins throughout the production process for us to give feedback on demos and mixes. By the time the final tracks were submitted, they were pretty polished. 

BD: Outside of the initial proposal process, we try and get our arrangers to check in periodically with updates on how their tracks are doing, whether they’re having any problems, making sure they submit stuff on time. The most important thing we strive for is making sure that everyone involved give the best that they can give and that they can look back on the project with pride.

JB: There are a lot of tribute albums to video game soundtracks, how will this one stand out?

SF: One thing that makes all of the Materia Collective albums unique is that you really don’t know what you’re going to get from one track to the next. We have such a diverse range of musical influences, and you can hear that front and center in the music…. and yet, in spite of that, the album stays surprisingly unified and consistent. There’s something musically for everyone. 

BD: One thing about Materia releases that I have always enjoyed has been the sheer size of them and eclectic mix of styles – ZODIAC: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed has 63 tracks and 4 hours long. And that isn’t even the largest one – our Undertale tribute album FALLEN that we released last September was 97 tracks 

JB: Have there been any difficulties in the making of Final Fantasy Tactics remixed?

SF: All large projects have challenges, and this was no exception. Life still happens even when you’re making awesome music. 

We had some artists that had to drop out of the project, as well as some growing pains with project management tools.

We try to take each problem as a point of learning to bring into the next album.

BD: I found it surprising how smoothly it went considering Stephen and I were dealing with 60 odd arrangers and by extension 100+ musicians throughout the process. Sometimes working with musicians can be like herding cats (speaking from past experience) however I’m delighted that we had very few issues on this album and all the musicians and vocalists were wonderful to work with.

JB: What is it about the music of Final Fantasy Tactics that stands out the most to you?

SF: Tactics, more so than the other FF series, was much more focused on atmosphere. There are several ambient, dissonant, haunting tracks all throughout, as well as some large orchestral pieces. 

I initially thought that would make this a challenging album to cover…. but when I started hearing the renditions of each track, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. It breathes new life into an already amazing soundtrack. Many times, it put a unique spin on a piece that gives it a whole new meaning.

BD: For me it’s the rich and luscious scores of Sakimoto and Iwata, the interweaving themes, the tapestry of storytelling conveyed through their music. My first experience of Sakimotos wonderful composition style was with the music of FFXII – I grew up on Uematsu sans gorgeous arrangements from the mainline Final Fantasy entries of the 90s and early 2000s. I came late to Final Fantasy Tactics playing it more recently on Android devices, but I had heard the soundtrack long before playing the game, and it’s unique style has stayed with my ‘til this day.

JB: Do you have anything you would like to say to the readers of Real Otaku Gamer?

SF: The one thing that I really enjoy about the VGM cover scene is the deep passion for the source material. 

These albums give us a chance to connect with fellow fans of these amazing games, and (hopefully) add something personal to the conversation of how we experienced the music that other people can connect with.

BD: Even though we’ve just released ZODIAC: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed – Materia Collective has got a lot of cool projects coming out this year; so if you want to keep up with all our goings on – follow Materia Collective on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and Bandcamp for updates on all our releases and general VGM goodness.

 

JB: Thank you again for doing this.

By Wade Hinkle On 18 Oct, 2016 At 12:08 AM | Categorized As News, PlayStation | With 0 Comments
Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood

No GravatarSquare Enix showed off the next expansion for Final Fantasy XIV this past weekend during it’s fan festival in Las Vegas, Nevada.

During the festival a teaser trailer was shown which showcased the Warrior of Lign honing his skills during a sparring match with an unidentified red clothed woman atop a stone statue surrounded by resistance fighters ready for battle below.

Stormblood, which follows the Heavensward expansion, will take players to new locations to explore, revamp the battle systme, and increase the level cap up to level 70.

During the keynote address, it was announced that the summer of 2017 which is also the expected release of Stormblood, will also bring the end of Playstation 3 support of Final Fantasy XIV. Square Enix will allow players on the PS3 to upgrade their game and continue their adventures on the Playstation 4 for free.


During the Tokyo Fan Festival this December, and the European Fan Festival in Frankfurt, Germany scheduled in mid-February 2017, Square Enix Will unveil more information on Stormblood.

In the meantime, check out the screenshots and trailer that was released with the announcement and stay with Real Otaku Gamer for the latest on Final Fantasy XIV and all video game related news.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Sep, 2016 At 01:27 PM | Categorized As News, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSquare Enix has released a new trailer for the remake of Final Fantasy 12 coming to PlayStation 4. The trailer shows off some of the amazing new graphics and gameplay featured in The Zodiac Age. You can see the trailer below

 

By Jorge Jimenez On 7 Sep, 2016 At 05:05 PM | Categorized As Animation, Featured, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Final Fantasy has had with very spotty track record when it comes movies. From the $137 million nuclear bomb the was Final Fantasy: The Spirits to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children which many considered a love letter to fans of the beloved JRPG, Final Fantasy VII. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is in the unique position of offering fans insight on the political landscape and conflicts for fans looking forward to playing Final Fantasy XV later this holiday season.

Square Enix spared no expense to bring forward the most visually striking animated movie seen to date. Saying that Kingsglaive is a great looking movie would simply be an understatement. The level of detail and photorealistic visuals mixed with an element of sci-fi fantasy wasn’t only pleasing on the eyes but give the world of Eos it’s own visual history without saying anything. There are times where you’ll confuse the actors on-screen with real people that simply shows how far we’ve in terms of motion capture and animation.

For years, The magical kingdom of Lucis has been fighting a losing war against the technologically superior Nifleheim Empire. The Nifs employ the use of vicious monsters and advanced weaponry to essential take over most of the world. Lucis is the only nation that hasn’t succumbed to the might of Nifleheim mostly due to the massive magical barrier erected by King Regis. This halted any and all attempts of invasion by Nifleheim leaving the conflict at a stalemate.

Nifleheim’s comically stylish chancellor Ardun Izunia proposes a controversial peace treaty that could end the fighting but could put the nation of Luis in a compromising position. There’s a lot of political outmaneuvering that happens around the treaty signing that feel like a game of royal checkers than chess.  Thankfully, King Regis is such a royal badass, who’s played by the equally badass Sean Bean, can make something as boring as a treaty signing into a tense and thrilling affair.

If political machinations aren’t really your thing, other half of the movie focuses on members of the Kingsglaive, King Regis’s elite forces imbued with a fraction of the King’s magic that allow them to perform extraordinary feats of wow-ness like casting magic spells and warping around like mystical Navy SEALs. Nyx Ulric, played by Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, uncovers a conspiracy that could mean the end Lucis and its King. His other assignment is to be the personal driver/bodyguard of Princess Luna Freya of Tenebrae, voiced by Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey. Luna Freya’s is basically a vehicle to deliver exposition and remind us that Noctis, the main character in Final Fantasy XV, isn’t going to be in this movie. It’s tough to root for Nyx as a character since he falls under the category of the very typical typical ‘rule-breaking duty-bound super-soldier’ making it tough to care about what happens to him.

The action scenes involving the Kingsglaive shooting lightning out of their hands and snapping necks are fun and well choreographed. The opening 15 minutes that pits the Kingsglaive against an invading Nif army is a jaw-dropping sequence got me more and more excited to actually to play Final Fantasy XV. The final act is essentially a long chase scene with helicopters, spider mechs and bird demon-things that ends with a boss battle on a freeway with 50-story monsters doing their best Kaiju Big Battel reenactment in the city of Insomnia. This will would please any Final Fantasy fan especially if you grew bored with old men in robe performing political gymnastics and and rather see a dude with rock-star hair fight a dark knight inside on top of a collapsing freeway. You know, the stuff we love about Final Fantasy.

Paul and Headey work really well together especially towards the end of the third act. Headey brings a regal confidence while Paul’s nails the charming rebel act. Sean Bean, who plays King Regis, deserves a nod for a really killer performance and made me wish for an entire movie devoted King Regis saying kingly things.  As talented as they are, there’s no saving them from the aggressively melodramatic dialogue that usually comes with Final Fantasy. It’s tough to take a lot of what’s said seriously when the characters delivering the lines have super ridiculous names like Ravus Nox Fleuret, Libertus Ostium and Luche Lazarus.

Clocking in at under 2 hours, Kingsglaive feels about half-hour too long. There scenes involving Libertus could have completely cut completely. His arc doesn’t really pan out as well as you think it would and his role is reduced to just, “guy who gives another character a ride at the end of the movie.” There also some very interesting social-political themes about immigration, class and nationalism that I would have loved to seen fleshed-out but all seem to take a back seat in the second half of the movie in favor of watching Nyx beat the ever-loving crap out of an 8-foot jerk in plate mail, flying demons and spider-mech things for 45 minutes. Don’t get wrong, these are fun action scenes on their own but loses all charm and personality the first hour spent building by shifting its focus from world-building and political intrigue to non-stop action.

It’s tough to recommended Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV to anyone who isn’t a FF fan. If you plan on picking up Final Fantasy XV then Kingsglaive does a decent job setting up the state of the world when you take control of King Regis’ son, Noctis and his band of merry ass-kickers. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is a visual marvel that suffers from a predictable story that takes itself too serious that takes away from the over-the-top action.

 

 

 

By Jessica Brister On 29 Apr, 2016 At 06:22 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe Final Fantasy franchise is beloved by many gamers.  They have fallen in love with the characters, the music, and the worlds of this popular series.  When Final Fantasy XIII came out, many were expecting something wonderful.  Instead, fans got the worst game of the series and possibly one of the worst AAA titles of the generation.  Here is what went wrong with FF XII:

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Final Fantasy XIII was released on December 17, 2009 in Japan and in 2010 worldwide as a straight-forward RPG.  It was developed and published by Square Enix for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (the game was eventually released for PC as well).  It was widely criticized because of the game’s linear game play and storyline, while most western RPGs had gone toward open world.  However, there were other issues with the game as well.

The story itself was extremely hard to follow.  I actually still don’t quite understand it.  From what I gathered, a world called Cocoon and it’s government, Sanctum, is basically committing genocide of people who have come in contact with the world below Cocoon called Pulse.  The main character, Lightning, has a moral epiphany and decides to fight back with a bunch of others.  There really wasn’t anything to love about the story or even really like.  It was completely bland, and many times confusing.

Unfortunately, the characters were even worse than the story.  They were extremely cheesy, and the dialogue was cringe-worthy.  Here are some actual quotes from the game:

“Heroes don’t run from fights.”

“Mom’s are tough.”

“Hang on, baby.  Your hero’s on the way.”

Even the talents of Troy Baker were wasted on the character of Snow because everything that the character said was dumb (you know I think it’s a bad game when I tell you that Troy Baker couldn’t even salvage anything good in the game).

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The battle system is outdated in style and resembled more of a ’90s RPG where characters take turns fighting each other.  It was a system that actually made my jaw drop when I got into the first battle.  Though the game is a bit older, that sort of style has died off for AAA titles.  For a “modern” RPG, it felt like a blast from the past, and not in a good way.  When a player meets an enemy, he or she is entered into a “battle system” with change in music and everything.  Each character takes turns attacking the baddie, and if they aren’t attacking, then they sit and dance around in place.  It was very similar to many ’90s retro RPGS.  Though those old games were so much fun, it is quite bizarre for a game in the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 generation.

Also, the battle system is way too simplistic.  You don’t even have to pay attention while playing the game.  Just hit “X” (playing on PS3).  You’ll kill almost anything that way.  I could train my cats to play this game.  In fact, for the most part, I really wasn’t even playing it.  I was on Twitter, milling around.  The only part of me that was playing the game was my hand, which kept hitting X, X, X, X.  What’s the point of even playing if the game is that easy?  I didn’t really even seem like a true leveling system.

Unlike most modern RPGs, I was limited basically going in a straight line throughout the maps.  The whole thing felt claustrophobic.  And it never got any better!  I kept on thinking: Well maybe if I go along a little farther, the map will open up a bit, and I can actually do some exploring.  Nope!  It never happened.  For a game that came out to PS3 in late 2009, this is actually embarrassing.  I’ve played Call of Duty campaign modes that were more open than this game.  I can’t believe that Square Enix thought that this would be okay, considering FFXII (for the freaking PS2) gave you more freedom.  In fact, every Final Fantasy game I have every played gave you more freedom.  Heck, freaking Pac Man gives you more freedom (at least you don’t have to continuously go straight).

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Another annoying aspect of the game was the sheer amount of cutscenes in the game.  You could barely go five minutes without a cut-scene interrupting.  It was quite obnoxious.  Sure, the cut scenes were pretty, but most of them didn’t feel like they moved the plot.  I’m still scratching my head at what was going on in the game.  In fact, most of them felt like they were just thrown in there to show off the graphics.  Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy a good cut-scene, but I expect the cut-scenes that I watch to have a point and move the plot.  It shouldn’t just be a graphics show-off.

Sadly, I think that Square Enix is losing touch with what many gamers are demanding from their games now.  At this point, I think that they are focusing on an audience that wants a true JRPG experience.  If that’s the case, go for it.  However, don’t expect any glowing reviews from me.  That’s just not my cup of tea anymore.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 Jan, 2016 At 03:58 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No Gravatartactics advance

 

Square Enix’s Game Boy Advance classic “Final Fantasy Tactics Advance” is coming to the Wii U VC in NA tomorrow, while EU was already confirmed to get the game this week. This was the first game between Nintendo and SE after their falling out in the 90’s and received critical praise. The game is not a direct sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics but a separate game with its own story. Hopefully this is just the start of more Square Enix games on the Wii U Virtual Console outside Japan. We hope to see Final Fantasy VI ( GBA and SNES versions), Chrono Trigger (SNES and DS versions) and The World Ends With You.

The game will cost 7.99 like all GBA games on Wii U virtual Console.

 

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Will you be getting the game when it comes out? Let us know in the comments.

 

By Daniel Fugate On 18 Dec, 2015 At 06:02 PM | Categorized As Nintendo 3DS, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Are you a fan of Final Fantasy? Do you have a 3DS? Then you may want to check out Final Fantasy Explorers next year.

Final Fantasy Explorers is Square Enix’s upcoming 3DS spinoff title that takes players on a journey to battle powerful monsters. The player will have 21 unique job classes to choose from (see image above) and you won’t have to go alone on the journey. Explorers features 2-4 player local and online co-op. Check out a new trailer from Square Enix below:

You’ll have to pick the right job and the right party to defeat the game’s challenging monsters. Are you up to the task?

Final Fantasy Explorers is coming to North American 3DS systems on January 26, 2016!

Source: Square Enix PR

By otakuman5000 On 11 Jan, 2014 At 11:25 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Interviews, ROG News, Tales of Real Otaku | With 0 Comments

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560059_545217922223147_21166582_nI had the wonderful pleasure of being able to interview Leon Chiro, a respected cosplayer throughout the nerd community who has won several awards for cosplays like Dante from the Devil May Cry series, Tidus from Final Fantasy X and Dissidia, Caius from Final Fantasy XIII-2, and the list goes on and on. Today we get a sneak peak into the life of a competitive cosplayer from his humble beginnings, his current works in progress, and everything in between.

ROG: The classic question; we all started somewhere in our cosplay careers. Tell me a bit about that – how old you were, what inspired you, your cosplay inspirations, and what convention you did your first debut.

LC: Ok, so it was 2010…

ROG: Oh, so you’ve only been doing this for a little while!

LC: Yeah. I only started to cosplay seriously when I realized what cosplay was. But my first convention was in 2010. I’m coming from the modeling world, and I was asking myself, “Ok, I love doing pictures, but what if I try to take a character I love a lot and I model with them?” So, I was thinking of doing Tidus because he’s my favorite character ever, and I was thinking, “what if I contacted somebody to see how much this costume would cost?” And they said, “Oh, that’s simple!” And I was like, “… what?” “Cosplay.” “Ok, what is cosplay?” So he explained it and I was like, “Oh. Hm. Sounds like a carnival thing.” He said, “No, it’s more than that…” So he explained it to me. I could never imagine what the cosplay world was. So, I took my Tidus cosplay, I went to the convention alone, and I was a nobody. I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. That was fine because I was like, “Woah.. where the [expletive] am I?” (Laughter) Someone came up to me and said, “you should enter the cosplay contest [with the Tidus cosplay] because you are very, very good.”

ROG: Yeah, you did a really great job on that. I’m shocked that was your first cosplay.

Leon Chiro's cosplay as Tidus from FFX

Leon Chiro’s cosplay as Tidus from FFX

LC: Yeah, I did Tidus’ first and second version. So yeah, this guy said I should do the cosplay contest. Ok, what is the cosplay contest? Well, it’s like a masquerade. You have to do an exhibition and interpret your character, and I said “oh, sounds cool!” I discovered that I made it to the finals without knowing it. I wasn’t expecting that. A lot of people were surprised because I was anonymous and I came from nowhere, and I arrived in a place that other people have been trying to get to for years. I don’t know what I did… I did it with my heart. That’s the thing – I did my character with my heart.

I have to say that a lot of people started to go against me – “Oh, he’s nobody,” “He only has one cosplay,” “He has too much success” – just people talking bad about me. So I said, “Ok, it’s time for me to do a second cosplay.” I did Dante, and I tried to do the cosplay contest, but I didn’t arrive in time and I had some problems. People still continued to talk bad about me because they were like, “Oh, he’s just doing it for the body” or “He’s just doing it because of the abs.” By then it was 2011, and I wanted to stop because I was like “What the [expletive] is this world?” I’m coming from the modeling world where a lot of people respect me.

ROG: Cosplay is supposed to be fun, and unfortunately there’s a lot of hate.

LC: First of all, it was just supposed to be fun. Secondly, in the gaming and comic world, if I’m winning a lot in a short amount of time, they should be happy for me, and that wasn’t the case. I wanted to stop, so I stopped for two months and I thought about it, and I said, “Ok, there are a lot of haters, but I met a lot of special people and I wanted to do an achievement exhibition for them.” So I entered the cosplay contest, and the winner won a trip to Lucca. I won first place with Dante, and a lot of people were against me because I was doing good. It’s not easy in the beginning and you’re alone and you don’t have recommendations, but I started like everyone else – a nobody. Everything I did, I did by myself.

Leon Chiro as Dante from DMC3

Leon Chiro as Dante from DMC3

I started to get more motivated, and I was like “Ok, you hate me because I’m doing good? Ok.” And I did Tidus from Dissidia, and I started to face more haters, and I was winning every contest I entered. People started to look at me with more respect. I went to Lucca with my Kung Lao cosplay because he’s my favorite character from Mortal Kombat and I won the Best Interpretation Award, which is the hardest award to get. When you win in Lucca, you can say that you’re a professional cosplayer. Winning that award made me really proud of myself, so after I won, that’s when I made my facebook cosplay page towards the end of 2011. So yeah… that’s my story. After my first convention, I won something like 14 in a row, including Lucca. The most important thing was that people were starting to know who I was and that I did good work. That was the main victory. It wasn’t about being popular – it was about being respected. I got a lot of respect for my Caius cosplay because it was very hard. Do you know of Kamui Cosplay (another respected cosplayer in the community)?

ROG: Yes, I recently liked her page on facebook because I saw it on your page. So I watched some of her tutorials on YouTube – they’re really helpful.

LC: To me, she’s the best cosplayer in the world. I had the honor of her complimenting me, and that was really satisfying… someone that big complimented me. I’m also talking to Rick Boer from Ubisoft, who’s the official Edward Kenway cosplayer (from Assassin’s Creed IV), and it feels great to have his respect because he’s such a humble guy. He’s my Assassin’s Creed idol. (Laughter) So that was a long reply for just one question!

ROG: (Laughter) It’s not a problem! How a cosplayer started out is usually a long one. All right, so an editor from ROG and I were talking and we were discussing that cosplaying seems to be mostly female dominated. What do you think about that and how to do you feel taking part in something that’s so female based?

1531739_565873086824297_1431166684_oLC: It depends, because people usually focus on half-naked girls. But for me, they’re appreciating cosplay – they’re appreciating modeling. It’s not the same thing. I’m not looking for likes (on facebook) – I want to earn them. I try to mix the two because I come from the modeling world and I’m doing cosplay from my heart. It’s female dominated because it’s easy to be popular when you’re barely wearing anything. It makes me laugh because girls will be like “Oh, you’re judging me because of my half-naked pictures?” They barely know what they’re talking about, and after you see their page, you’ll see them in bras and barely wearing anything. Girls will get angry and nitpick other girls’ cosplays, but they’re the ones doing sexier versions of a particular character. A lot of girls will judge girls that they can’t be as good as.

ROG: As a girl, I understand that totally. All right, so have you ever been an invited guest to a big name convention? And if not, what would be your dream convention to be invited to?

LC: I’ve been invited to a lot of European conventions, but I still haven’t been to America, for example. It’s unfortunately really expensive to go there.

ROG: Yeah, which is a shame. But, in the same way, I haven’t been to Italy because it’s really expensive. A friend of mine just left for Rome a few days ago and I was mentally cursing her (laughter).

LC: I mean, for me, a lot of people that go to America are really lucky. But even if I was invited to an American convention, I don’t think I’d be able to accept it anyway. I’d love to. I hope one day someone sees my cosplay and invites me over, I don’t know. This year, I was invited to three conventions. I’m taking things step by step. If you reach an achievement, it’s because you deserve it. That’s what we learn growing up. For me, it’s hard to keep up the good work because people love my cosplay, and they have a lot of high expectations. I always have to do my best.

ROG: Sure, it can be a lot of pressure.

LC: No, it’s not pressure. It’s kind of motivation for me. If cosplay was a pressure for me, I wouldn’t be doing it and I wouldn’t be doing this interview with you (laughter).

ROG: (Laughter) Trust me, we all appreciate your work. So, you’re from Italy, which I already said I’m totally jealous of, and you’re jealous of the fact that I live in New York. What would you say the biggest difference between American and European convention scenes are?

LC: I wish I could know about the American convention scene, but I’ve never been there.

ROG: I wasn’t sure if you just meant you haven’t been to New York in particular.

LC: I can say about Italy and other European conventions that there is a lot less competition. There are two European championships, and they’re the EuroCosplay, and ECG, European Cosplay Gathering. In every main convention in Europe, they choose 2 representatives and put them against the representatives from all the other countries.
I’m really proud to say that I’m competing in the world championship for Italy. It makes things harder because the competition gets more and more intense. Sometimes, competition isn’t healthy here because a lot of people are doing all they can to destroy the other cosplayers, with flames, with fights.

ROG: So it’s not good sportsmanship.

LC: Yeah, there was this guy who used to be my friend, and we’re not friends anymore. He always used to come into my job and wanted the basics to cosplays, and he’s good now, but he’s so arrogant. At the first opportunity, after I helped him meet a lot of contacts, he turned his back on me and left, and spoke bad about me. For example, we had a TV show to do and they were going to choose two cosplayers – one male and one female. They called me instead of him and a lot of other cosplayers, and I was happy about that. He wrote to the director of the show and said, “how can you choose that shitty Dragonball cosplay instead of mine, just to make me look bad. I didn’t believe he wrote and the director said, “yes, he did. Do you want to read?” So I read it and I was shocked. I was like “what the [expletive]? I don’t know what I did to him. Maybe he just ate something bad (laughter).” So I began to understand that reputation in Italy isn’t always good because a lot of them aren’t able to be humble and honest to someone else. Cosplay is a hobby, not work.

ROG: Yeah, I was actually talking to the rest of my team a few minutes ago that I truly appreciate you taking the time out. It says a lot about the cosplay community – you being good at what you do and so respected, but you’ll still take the time out for others. I’ve known and met a lot of cosplayers who thought they were better than everyone else and slammed other people. We’re all nerds, we all play videogames, read comics, watch anime – whatever. We’re supposed to be a family, but instead we just shut other people down because someone can’t sew and craft as good as someone else.

LC: There should be a middle ground between those who share the same passion. It’s not everyday that you find someone who understands you. You can’t always talk to others about video games. For example, when I was doing my Tidus cosplay, I had my hair blonde. I wasn’t wearing a wig and I had to face university with blonde hair. People would call me names like fleshlight (laughter).

ROG: That’s awful! I thought it looked great. Who cares?

LC: Yeah, who cares? I can kick your ass whenever I want, so…

ROG: (Laughter) I’d hate to get on your bad side…

LC: (shakes head) Nu-uh. Ok, so I go to school for motor science… what I would like to do with that degree – that future degree. University is a

Chiro's cosplay of Kung Lao won him first place in Lucca.

Chiro’s cosplay of Kung Lao won him first place in Lucca.

cruel world. Not everyone can pay to go to university here in Italy. It’s very selective. They’ll choose the best 200 out of thousands of applicants. Luckily for me, they were extending applications to former athletes. I was a former national champion in athletics.

ROG: What sport were you in?

LC: 100 meters. I was a runner. I’m doing parkour right now because it gives me freedom of expression. I would take my degree, get a passport, and come to the USA. I’m doing this major for personal satisfaction. I want to create my own future and do the things I love. If I can do something with it, that’d be great.

ROG: That’s a great point. Most parents in America – when I tell my parents, “hey, I want to go to school for video game design.” The first question out of their mouth is going to be “what are you going to do with that degree?” There’s no such thing as going to college for something that makes me happy; it’s all about how to make money out of it. Good for you that you go to school for something that makes you happy.

LC: You pay for your time to study. You can’t live anymore because you have to constantly study. School should make you motivated, not miserable. A good teacher isn’t someone who knows everything. A good teacher is someone who can give you those few things during your time at university and motivate you. It’s not a competition of knowledge. Sometimes it could be a former student going through their own frustrations and they pass down to you what they’ve learned in life.

ROG: Great point. So, we’ve all had that one costume that was a lot of fun, and others that were extremely challenging. What costume did you have the most fun making, and which one was the most frustrating?

LC: Caius was the one that gave me the most satisfaction. It’s full of armor parts, and it was great winning because it didn’t show off my body [like how Dante and Tidus did], but I spent a lot of money on Caius. Especially making this (shows Caius’ weapon).

ROG: Wow… how did you make that?

LC: (Laughter) I don’t even know. It’s a bit damaged now. You can say that it looks good, but since I created it, I can say that it’s definitely damaged.

ROG: How long did it take you to make Caius’ cosplay?

LC: Ahhhh… a month. One month, every single day for five to six hours. If you look on my page, I have a work in progress album that you can see. I started with a piece of wood, and then cut the shape, added more layers of wood, and just added things piece by piece. I was covered in sawdust. I had so much sawdust on me that when I went outside, all the dogs kept trying to pee on my leg because they thought I was a tree!

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Caius was the most uncomfortable to wear. It’s a lot to put on. I went to a convention and I took three redbulls with me… I have no idea why I did that. When you’re anxious and nervous about getting on stage, I had to have a redbull. But then I was like, “Oh my God, I have to pee. What the [expletive] am I going to do?” I had to remove all the pieces of the cosplay. It took a half hour to put it on and fix it. Thankfully, the Dante cosplay from DMC was the easiest. I just had the coat, didn’t have a wig, and if I got hot, I could take the coat off. It’s hard with the Caius cosplay because he does a lot of movement, and it’s hard to move in his cosplay. I need to improve some things before I compete with it again for the debut of Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns.

ROG: What do you enjoy doing the most – the outfit, the props, or the makeup and wigs?

LC: I hate the wig part. I have to make them in a way that it wont fall apart. When you’re on stage, you can’t have something like that go wrong. I mean, you’ve seen my Vegeta cosplay. It’s really heavy. I love doing makeup, but I love making my accessories. I’m well known for my props. I can get help with my tailoring and sewing stuff. If I have to do something with a coat, I’ll buy a coat and alter it. Come, on, let’s talk about it. I think it’s stupid. If you need orange pants, buy a pair and dye it. There’s no need to make one. I mean, sure, it can be satisfying, but really. Just buy a pair of pants and do what you need. With the accessories, you make it from scratch. I go to the woodshop, get the wood, and I get to work. Or you can use regular household items, like tubes from toilet paper, paper towels, or wrapping paper. Even plastic water bottles.

ROG: Obviously it takes a lot of work to keep your body in such great shape. What’s a typical workout routine for you? I know you’re all about ‘eating clean and training dirty.’

LC: I avoid fast food and processed food. I train 6 days a week. You have a choice between choosing an elevator or the stairs. Just take the stairs. Exercise is making changes in habits like that. People always complain because they don’t get the results they like because they’re not working hard enough. Or they reach their result and people think they can take a break. No, it doesn’t work like that. You have to maintain it. It’s not just your metabolism – it’s about habits. Everyone can be in shape if they wanted to. We have two legs, two arms, and a brain, and we can do whatever we want. I work out a bit less in the winter – one to two hours a day, a few times a week. During the summer, I’m training three to four hours, six days a week. I’m a trainer too, so I have to make sure I stay in shape. I don’t do the gym… I’m usually in the playground. You should see the face of the kids. They’re like “daddy! This guy is stealing our playground!” Well, you’re gunna have to fight for it. Round one… FIGHT!

ROG: (Laughter) Your cosplays are absolutely incredible. I see that your cosplays are all video game-based. Do you plan on doing any anime or movie characters?

LC: I do video game cosplays because video games, in my opinion, are the best ways to release emotion. Video games give you the power to choose, and to be that character. I believe in the power of books, but that’s the power of imagination. It’s still good, but they have limited potential. You can have great images from a movie, but not control. Video games combine the two – the freedom of movement and the wonderful visuals.
I did do a non-video game cosplay. Well, it wasn’t really a cosplay. It was a tribute to Spartacus. I did it for a new amusement park that was opening in Rome. They were doing different eras – Roman, Greek, futuristic… They wanted to do some entertainment with gladiators and they asked me, “do you have a Spartacus cosplay?” I said no, and that I’ll call them once I was done making one. I have a recycle box with material – if I don’t like a piece of armor, I’ll put it in there because I don’t want to waste materials. So I took out the box, and I made that cosplay in 4 hours with just the recycled stuff.

ROG: Care to share what character we should expect from you next?

LC: Sure, why not. I’m planning on doing Lloyd from Legend of Dragoon. I usually like to do characters that are newer, but I want to do some nostalgic cosplays too. So, Lloyd from Legend of Dragoon will be my next cosplay. Next, I’m going to work on Gladiolus from Final Fantasy XV. He is such a badass. I don’t think this cosplay is a secret anymore (laughter). I want to learn more about him before cosplaying him. Adam Jensen, from Deus Ex, is a dream cosplay of mine. I really wanted to do Nathan Drake. I could cut my hair, but I don’t want to cut it just for him. I want to keep my hair longer for some cosplays in progress and future projects.

ROG: I can say for myself that you’re a true inspiration for cosplayers around the world – whether just starting out, or an expert. To those just starting, what would you consider to be the best piece of advice you can give them?

LC: Like I said before, do everything with your heart. If you really love a character, do it from your heart, and don’t care about the critics. Don’t do it because you like it – do it because you love it.

So, there you have it – backstage access to the world of cosplay through the eyes of a professional. I was fortunate to be told some exciting news and future cosplays (I was sworn to secrecy!). Thank you again to Leon Chiro for graciously allowing me his time and contribution, 

You can find Leon Chiro on Facebook at Leon Chiro Cosplay Art and look through the rest of his work. You can also find him on Instagram at Leonchiro, and on YouTube at LeonChiroCosplayArt.

No GravatarYuna and TidusFor those that are fans of Final Fantasy X and X-2 from the PS2 and awaiting the Final Fantasy X | X-2 Remaster edition for the PS3, there’s apparently some exciting information awaiting us in the interview section of the Ultimania book included in the collection.  The remastered edition has already been released in Japan.

Siliconera translated the interview in Japanese to English. Kazushige Nojima, the Final Fantasy scenario writer, stated that “If there’s enough demand, then we may possibly see new developments” and “I would personally like to see a sequel like X-3.”

As worried as I would be at the quality of a FFX-3, I can’t say that I wouldn’t be excited to play it.  FFX is my favorite game in the Final Fantasy franchise and I enjoyed FFX-2 as cheesy as it was.  I would love to see a return of my favorite characters in some form or fashion within reason of course.

Final Fantasy X | X-2 Remaster will be available in North America on March 18th and in Europe on March 21st.

Siliconera’s translation post can be found here.

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