Just in time for your road trip to LA for E3, Square Enix has suddenly made the soundtracks to every main Final Fantasy game available for free to listen to online. Just log into Spotify or Apple Music and search for “Final Fantasy original soundtrack.”
I just checked and Final Fantasies I-XV and some sub-sequels are all there, some in original and remastered versions, plus plenty of popular (or not) side titles like FF Tactics (come out on Switch already!) and Type-0. There’s even the soundtrack for the ill-considered 2001 movie, The Spirits Within.
No X-2, unfortunately for the few who liked that one (usually very intensely), and a few of the other non-main entries (like Tactics Advance and A2) are missing right now but perhaps only late to arrive. So it’s not every every Final Fantasy, but close enough that I don’t feel bad about putting it in the headline.
There’s been no mention of it on Square Enix’s social media channels, even the Final Fantasy-specific one. But it likely has to do with a special concert being given this week for FF VII, the remake of which is almost certain to appear at E3.
I’ve listened to a few tracks and it all seems legit. The only thing is that many of the titles are in Japanese — so it might be difficult to pick out your favorite character’s theme or what have you if you don’t, you know, speak that language.
Now you can at last create a greatest hits of Nobuo Uematsu’s FF work and access it from anywhere. It’s been a long time coming.
Most of the buzz about esports focuses on high-profile professional teams and audiences watching live …
It’s once again that special time of year when we give you a chance to do well by doing good. That’s right—it’s time for the 2020 edition of our annual Charity Drive.
Every year since 2007, we’ve been actively encouraging readers to give to Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play charity, which provides toys and games to kids being treated in hospitals around the world. In recent years, we’ve added the Electronic Frontier Foundation to our annual charity push, aiding in their efforts to defend Internet freedom. This year, as always, we’re providing some extra incentive for those donations by offering donors a chance to win pieces of our big pile of vendor-provided swag. We can’t keep it (ethically), and we don’t want it clogging up our offices anyway. So, it’s now yours to win.
This year’s swag pile is full of high-value geek goodies. We have 50 prizes valued at nearly $5,000 total, including game consoles, computer accessories, collectibles, smartwatches, and more. In 2019, Ars readers raised over $33,000 for charity, contributing to a total haul of more than $330,000 since 2007. We want to raise even more this year, and we can do it if readers really dig deep.
How it works
Donating is easy. Simply donate to Child’s Play using PayPal or donate to the EFF using PayPal, credit card, or Bitcoin. You can also support Child’s Play directly by picking an item from the Amazon wish list of a specific hospital on its donation page. Donate as much or as little as you feel comfortable with—every little bit helps.
We’ll then contact the winners and have them choose their prize by January 31 (choosing takes place in the order the winners are drawn).
Here are quick descriptions of some of the biggest, most desirable prizes in this year’s contest. See the next page for a complete list of available prizes.
HP Elite G1 Dragonfly laptop
Ars’ review called this laptop “an impressively portable and powerful machine, but it’s also pricey.” But it won’t be pricey for one lucky winner of our sweepstakes, who will get this lightly used review unit for free! Oh, and it also makes for a great Linux machine.
Pro-level flight-simulator controls
Our own Sam Machokovech made use of the Honeycomb Alpha Flight Control yoke, the Logitech G PRO Flight Yoke System with throttle quadrant, and the Thrustmaster Pendular Rudder while spending some extensive hands-on time with Microsoft Flight Simulator this year. Now, these lightly used pro-level controls can be yours!
Evercade retro portable w/ ten cartridges
When we reviewed this retro-focused portable game hardware earlier this year, we found the reliance on swappable plug-and-play cartridges was a concept best left in the past. Still, the device itself is a capable emulation machine, and this collection of cartridges provides a good selection of classic gaming goodness.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
This Samsung smartwatch sets itself apart from the competition with a nifty blood pressure monitoring function, in addition to the usual Galaxy Watch features.
Doom Eternal Collectors Edition (Windows)
Back, in March, we called the latest game in the storied Doom franchise a “masterful twitch shooter” that is “almost uniformly excellent.” This Collector’s Edition version of the game comes with an 11×17″ lithograph, a wearable Doom Slayer helmet, Lore Book, steelbook case, and digital goodies.
Command & Conquer Remastered Collection: Limited Run Games Special Edition
Party like it’s 1995 with this massive physical Collector’s Edition of this classic real-time strategy series. Comes complete with patches, a reversible beanie, official soundtrack on USB and six CDs, 100+ page art book, stickers, replica figurines, and more!
None of the big prizes grabbing your attention yet? Check out the next page for a list of dozens of additional prizes you can win by entering!
Sabrina Spellman and the good people of Greendale face their most terrifying adversary yet as otherworldly beings seek to bring about the end of all things in the official trailer for the fourth and final season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The Netflix series is based on the comic book series of the same name, a part of the Archie Horror imprint.
(Some spoilers for prior seasons below, most notably the S3 finale.)
As we’ve reported previously, the show was originally intended as a companion series to the CW’s Riverdale—a gleefully Gothic take on the original Archie comic books—but Sabrina ended up on Netflix instead. The show retains some of the primetime soap opera elements of Riverdale but it incorporates more full-blown horror without bowing to the niceties imposed by network television. As I wrote earlier this year, “Ultimately, the best thing about The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is how gleefully and unapologetically the show leans into its melting pot of the macabre. It’s quite the high-wire act, exploring serious themes while never, ever taking itself too seriously—and never descending into outright camp.”
In the S3 finale, Sabrina transforms a trio of unholy artifacts into a medieval spiked ball and chain known, appropriately enough, as a morning star. She uses this to create a time loop, enabling her to go back and correct the grievous errors she made over the course of the season. Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has already said Sabrina’s time meddling will have “huge repercussions” in this final season, one of which is the fact that there are now two Sabrinas. The original Sabrina Spellman returned to her life in Greendale while her alternate self, Sabrina Morningstar, took up her rightful throne as Queen of Hell. They’re supposed to always stay within their respective realms, but, well, what are the odds of that happening with such a headstrong heroine?
Aguirra-Sacasa has also hinted that S4 will go full-blown Lovecraft. The title of S4’s first episode is “The Eldritch Dark,” an allusion to sci-fi/horror writer and Lovecraft contemporary Clark Ashton Smith, who wrote a 1912 poem with that title. S3 concluded with a now-mad Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) performing a summoning ritual to call forth the “Eldritch terrors” and telling his loyal acolyte Agatha (Adeline Rudolph) that they will bring about “the end of all things.”
The S4 trailer opens with Spellman family and friends singing “Happy Birthday” to Sabrina, who senses the arrival of something foreboding as she is about to blow out the candles. “They’re here,” Zelda (Miranda Otto) declares, meaning (one assumes) the Eldritch terrors. Meanwhile, cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) helpfully describes “ancient entities. They are world-destroying, and there are more terrors yet to come, culminating with the arrival of The Void.”
It’s up to Sabrina and her friends and family (as always) to stop the boogey-men. And it’s clear from the trailer that Sabrina’s trusty doppelgänger, Sabrina Morningstar, Queen of Hell, will prove to be a handy ally. One assumes that Hell, after all, will also be subject to the end of all things: “A threat to one of us is a threat to us both.”
Will Sabrina and her plucky crew succeed? Will Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) finally take revenge on Blackwood (her biological father)? And are things heating up again with Nick Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood) after his time imprisoned in Hell? Whatever the outcome of this final showdown, our heroes will finish it the way they always do: “together.”
The final installment of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina drops on Netflix on December 31, 2021, so you can usher in the new year with a suitably Lovecraftian binge.
Casey Hudson, BioWare’s general manager, and Mark Darrah, the executive producer of the Dragon Age franchise, are both leaving the company before the end of the year, BioWare announced today.
EA executive Laura Miele announced the departures in a corporate blog post. “I want to personally thank Casey and Mark for everything they have done for the BioWare community, and particularly for our players,” Miele wrote. “They will always be an essential part of the studio’s history, we appreciate their many contributions, and we look forward to seeing what they’ll each do next.”
Leaving is “not an easy decision to make,” Hudson said. Hudson served as project director on the Mass Effect trilogy before departing BioWare in 2014. He returned in 2017 to take on the role of general manager.
“When I became Studio GM a little over three years ago, our goal as a leadership team was to position our people and projects for long-term success,” Hudson said. “Now, as BioWare celebrates its 25th anniversary, the studio is poised for an exciting new era of amazing games. It’s an exciting time, both in terms of projects you’ve heard about and some things not yet announced.”
Darrah similarly expressed confidence in the studio where he has worked for more than 20 years. “This has been a very difficult decision for me,” he said. “The team of amazing developers on Dragon Age, make my life fuller and better. They have taught me so much. But the strength of the team is also what makes this possible. I know that Dragon Age won’t just survive without me, it will thrive.”
BioWare has been working hard this year to assure its ardent fans that new installments in both its banner franchises, Mass Effect and Dragon Age, are on their way… eventually. In August, the studio dropped a sizzle reel featuring concept art for the eventual, as-yet-untitled Dragon Age 4 at GamesCom. Although the tease gave no glimpse of gameplay or potential release window, it did feature designers and voice actors at work against a dazzling array of concept art.
Last month, not only did Hudson himself confirm that a full remaster of the much-loved original Mass Effect trilogy is in the works for spring 2021, he also dropped the surprise announcement that another game in the Mass Effect franchise is under development at BioWare.
All of those projects will be continuing, Hudson and Darrah assured fans. Going forward, Christian Dailey—currently studio head of BioWare Austin—will be helming Dragon Age. The Mass Effect side of things will be led by Mike Gamble, who was a producer on Mass Effect: Andromeda and lead producer of Anthem.