NieR:Automata Piano Collections Album Release and In-Store Signing Event

Today saw the release of the NieR:Automata Piano Collections album of 12 new piano arranged tracks by a handful of talented pianists including Hoashi Keigo himself.

All music is produced by Okabe Keiichi (MONACA) and includes arranged performances by the following:

  1. Weight of the World, Arranged & Performed by Sakakibara Dai
  2. Amusement Park, Arranged & Performed by marasy
  3. A Beautiful Song, Arranged & Performed by Hoashi Keigo
  4. City Ruins, Arranged & Performed by suzuki yo (akisai)
  5. Dependent Weakling, Arranged & Performed by Taguchi Mariko
  6. Peaceful Sleep, Arranged & Performed by Kumagai Yasumasa
  7. Copied City, Arranged & Performed by Yabuki Taku
  8. Voice of no Return, Arranged & Performed by suzuki yo (akisai)
  9. Bipolar Nightmare, Arranged & Performed by Kikuchi Ryota
  10. The Tower, Arranged & Performed by Kumagai Yasumasa
  11. The Sound of the End, Arranged & Performed by Duke of Pianeet
  12. Vague Hope, Arranged & Performed by Hoashi Keigo


▶︎ New illustration on the back cover depicting 9S by Koda Kazuma.

There was also an in-store event at the Shinjuku Tower Records that had appearances by Hoashi Keigo, Okabe Keiichi, and Yoko Taro. The three discussed various tracks on the album, funny anecdotes about its development, and more! Okabe also mentioned their desire to put on a larger orchestral performance for NieR:Automata. If you are interested in helping this thought become a reality, he suggested that everyone purchase this album and also tell SQEX via their music account on Twitter how much you’d like to see such a thing come to be! He suggested that you could even tell them this without purchasing the album (haha).


▶︎ New illustration of 2B by Koda Kazuma inside the album booklet.


▶︎ Album booklet cover.

◼︎Displays in the Store!

◼︎Participating in the Event

Those who preordered the piano collections album directly from the Tower Records Shinjuku branch store were given first dibs at obtaining a “participation ticket” for the talk / musical performance / signing event. This just allows you the opportunity to draw a random number when you come in to purchase the album on release day. This number becomes your place in line to enter the special event area. Starting at 7:00pm, those with event tickets were to line up in order inside a stairwell. I was pretty well up the stairs given the number I drew, so it was really hot waiting…

Related: NieR:Automata Original Soundtrack In-store Signing Event

◼︎Photo Op Time!

Just like the last album release event at Tower Records, we had a short photo op at the end of the talk segment and just before Hoashi performed a single piece. My phone was running out of juice, so I turned down the brightness of the screen…and couldn’t quite see what I was taking, so there are a ton of bad photos. Also, my phone camera can’t zoom in very well. I’ll go through all of the photos, but here’s a preliminary shot of the trio during this portion of the event!

◼︎ Fun Anecdotes from the Event

Hoashi mentioned that he usually doesn’t get nervous at live events like this or even performing at various concerts, but he said that the moment he steps out of his house, he feels a sense of dread as though he’s forgotten something really important and often ends up going back home to check that he didn’t actually forget something. He said this is probably due to other musicians who have to carry their instruments with them, but as a pianist, he doesn’t need to bring anything special to perform. It’s this sense of “empty handedness” that tends to make him paranoid.

Hoashi talked about a moment when Okabe actually got angry at something, but instead of yelling at moments like these, he merely asks why something wasn’t done or simply asking for a clear explanation. Sometimes it’s this sort of mentality that can be even more scary than those who openly unleash their anger. Maybe…

Yoko mentioned that Fujisaka Kimihiko, the illustrator for the Drakengard games among many others, was present at the event, and said that if anyone noticed some “buff” looking dude, that was probably Fujisaka. Unfortunately, I didn’t not run into him. 🙁

Sugihara-san from Famitsu as well as the same camera man who sat next to me at the YoRHa Musical dress rehearsal were also present at the event. I noticed Sugihara at the front, right side of the event space, but he disappeared by the time I walked by after speaking with Hoashi, Okabe, and Yoko.

◼︎ NieR:Automata Piano Collections Livestream!

The NieR:Automata Piano Collections will also be streamed live in NicoNico Douga on Wednesday, April 25 at 9:00pm (JST). Tune into the broadcast here!

YoRHa Musical Ver.1.2 Recap and Exclusive Interviews from the Cast and Crew

It’s been almost exactly two months since the performances of the YoRHa Musical by now, but I am finally able to share my officially endorsed article and recap of the dress rehearsal, which includes several exclusive interviews from the cast and crew!

Read the Article Here!

As a quick overview, you can find personal comments and interviews from the following members:

  • The Cast
    Ishikawa Yui (No2)
    Takana Reina (No4)
    Mochida Chihira (No16)
    Hanana Mio (No21)
  • The Music Team
    Emi Evans (vocal)
    Goto Takanori (guitar)
    Kawaji Emi (piano)
  • Extended Interview with Tanaka Reina

I may write an afterward eventually detailing my first experience as official press.

Fan Questionnaire in Famitsu Magazine

Famitsu recently sent out a questionnaire to international fans of NieR:Automata, and here’s a compilation of the comments that were chosen and printed in this week’s issue of Famitsu magazine, No.1531

I thought maybe I saw a comment that I made but…alas. lol Maybe they recognized my name and don’t consider me as “international” since I live in Japan. orz I’ll have to complain to Sugihara-san. lol J/K


[PlayerQuestionnaire]
The best part about NieR:Automata
Total number of unique users: 3856
Multiple answers possible.

  • Gameplay: 3085
  • Story: 3562
  • Art: 3008
  • Music: 3399
  • Other: 397

[Breakdown of Voters]

  • Total participants: 3856
  • Male: 3309
  • Female: 461
  • Other: 63
  • No Answer: 23

[Age]

  • 10s: 417
  • 20s: 2531
  • 30s: 814
  • 40s: 83

[Location]

  • North America: 1964
  • Europe: 1290
  • Asia: 227
  • South America: 193
  • Oceania: 154
  • Africa: 16

The twists on the above aspects were so clever and unique. ーJohn M (20 / M / Europe)

PlatinumGames creates very exciting and fun to play combat. Yoko Taro’s stories are always so interesting and compelling. The style of NieR:Automata is so different from American games, and the music of NieR games are on a whole other level above most American games. ーMichael Coleman (30 / M / North America)

Everything is excellent. What I love the most, though, it’s the way in which it usese every single feature of videogames as a mean to enhance the narrative. I’ve particularly enjoyed the moment when you cannot read the options menu because of the missing chip, or at the end, when 2B/A2 are damaged and it reflicts on the screen. ーLontrain (20 / F / Europe)

Everything was so unique and unusual. ーMsg (30 / M / North America)

The only thing missing from mosst of Yoko Taro’s games was polished gameplay, and PlatinumGames delivered wonderfully in that area. I also love the work of Akihiko Yoshida, so getting to see his designs in a Yoko Taro work was a welcome surprise. Keiichi Okabe’s musical work continues to be some of my favorite in the industry, as well as Emi Evans’ vocals. ーMimi (20 / Other / North America)

The weapon stories were an interesting way of providing some information about the world, and it was helpful because I’ve never played the first Nier or Drag-on Dragoon. ーAndrew (30 / M / North America)

Every aspect of this game was thoroughly considered. ーkstor (20 / M / South America)

The gameplay was fun, the music was amazing, I loved the story, 2B is really cool. ーMike Parks (30 / M / North America)

The hacking 8-bits parts were genius too! Especially with those 8-bits musics! ーTin (30 / M / Europe)

Parce que aucun jeu n’est comme lui. Et pour l’émotion qu’il apporte. (There is no other game like it. Especially the emotion it brings) ーCharles (30 / M / Europe)

Everything! Fantastic gameplay. Amazing story. Beautiful music. ーPhreakar (30 / M / America)

What a great example of Japanese gaming culture! Fast paced, energetic, sexy, funny, sad, touching, entertaining as hell. Great game! ーTobi (20 / M / Europe)

Yoko Taro’s “madness” is a very interesting phenomenon of videogame industry. NieR:Automata is no exception. ーDarkV (20 / M / Europe)

This game made me think about my existance in this world. Damn you Yoko Taro. ーShadi (20 / M / North America)

2B’S BIG BUTT ーKale Cahoon (20 / M / North America) *multiple duplecate comments

The story, the music. Most importantly 2B FTW! ーMaherTRY (20 / M / Asia)

Unique gameplay elements that can go from action to 2D shoot ’em up. The story is also interesting where it tried to explore what makes the androids individual beings. ーBuga (30 / M / Asia)

The music in this game is a masterpiece, I never heard any game that have this amazing music before in my life. ーHammerTank (20 / M / Asia)

Yui Ishikawa is fantastic in this game, also the combat is great. ーKi’oon (20 / M / Europe)

The Japanese voice actors’ performances of the script was fantastic. ーgrace (20 / F / Asia)

Interesting side quests. ー4yvak (20 / M / Europe)

Romeos and Juliets. ーNir (10 / M / Asia)

Emil! ーTiffany (20 / F / North America)

Yoko Taro is a mad genius. ーPandorise (20 / F / North America)

The music and story is very powerful and sad. ーBeau (20 / M / Oceania)

The Atmosphere. It’s perfect in this game. ーMakoEyes (30 / M / Europe)


◼︎ Who’s your favorite Main Character?

  • 2B: 2169
  • 9S: 916
  • A2: 770

[2B]

She is a strong and complex character. ーZMangz (20 / M / North America)

Her development, her personality. I got her tattooed on my leg. haha ーAnonymous (20 / M / Oceania)

2B’s story of opening up and becoming more “human” is very touching. ーTrevor (20 / M / North America)

She’s my waifu. ーNess (20 / Male / North America)

[9S]

I like his design and character a lot! Hacking was a lot of fun, too. ーRebecca (20 / F / North America)

I love how he degraded from a nice boy into a mad one after losing 2B. ーRebecca (20 / F / North America)

[A2]

I love A2’s personality. She reminds me of Kaine from Gestalt. ーBianca (20 / F / North America) *multiple duplicate comments

A2 was very cool and mysterious, which made it more enjoyable to find out about her. I also really liked her interactions with Pod042. ーEll (20 / M / Europe)


BECOME AS GODS BECOME AS GODS BECOME AS GODS ーSky (20 / M / America)

The really cool character designs! And the soundtrack was super good, too. ーNave (20 / M / North America)

Crazy story from Yoko Taro, amazing music from Okabe, and awesome gameplay from PlatinumGames. ーAnacra (30 / M / Oceania)

The YoRHa androids’ designs are amazingly beautiful, the areas are gorgeous, and the music is so beautiful it brings me to tears. ーVivian (10 / F / Europe)

Yuki Aoi as Pascal. ーPyotr (20 / M / Europe)

As a long time NieR and Drag-on Dragoon fan, it was nice to have some questions from both games answered while expanding the universe I adore. ーPhazonmasher (20 / M / North America)

The ending credits sequence. This was so moving to me, something that could only be done in a video game. How you had to choose to sacrifice everything, but you saw that so many people had sacrificed for you. It was a special moment and speaks to Yoko Taro’s genius. ーChristopher Dodge (30 / M / North America)

Everything. I could write endlessly, but here are the most important parts I loved:

  1. The beautiful UI and its inclusion in the game’s story
  2. The haunting music, especially the song entitled “Tower”
  3. All the continuity and references to the rest of the NieR and Drakengard universe, especially the first NieR’s Popola & Devola, A2’s stage play backstory, and Accord
    …..

Overall, the most impressive accomplishment of NieR:Automata is that it’s a story that could only be experienced in the format of a video game.Aside from being incredibly fun and satisfying to play, every element that makes video games unique is used to its fullest potential to create nothing short of a masterpiece. ーshiina (20 / F / North America) *Due to the length of the comment, the Japanese translation was shortened.

2B’s final message to 9S had me in tears. ーJK (20 / M / Europe)


◼︎ What’s your favorite ending?

#1:  the [E]nd of YoRHa ー 1958
#2:  flowers for m[A]chines ー 418
#3:  childhoo[D]’s end ー 247
#4:  meaningless [C]ode ー 231
#5:  aji wo [K]utta ー 106

The choir version of Weight of the World has a strong, emotional impact. ーbradyonetta (20 / M / Oceania)

Having to choose to sacrifice your whole gamesave to help someone you will never meet, such a brilliant decision. Very moving. ーChristopher Dodge (30 / M / North America)

The integration of the credits with the shooter hacking game and the story was unexpected and wonderful! ーKarasu (40 / M / North America)

I unlocked it by accident and after realization of what I have done I laughed so hard… ーILYA (20 / M / Europe)

Took me off guard, did not expect that a fish would be the end of me. ーNehelichus (20 / M / Europe)

I played the first Nier, so what Emil said during the fight was pretty moving. ーNoleen (20 / M / Europe)

SINoALICE x DOD3: Harmonic Interference Chapter Introduction

There are quite a few interesting things that are included in the chapter introduction for the new SINoALICE x DOD3 chapter “Harmonic Interference*“.

* I have an alternate translation for this below…!


First off we have a couple lines by Zero:

  • “Mikhail, I will save you at all costs!”

There are a couple keywords that we can see in this shot:

  • The Wall of Jericho (エリコの壁) – This is the wall that was built around Shinjuku after the 6.12 incident to keep the White Chlorination Syndrome from spreading.
  • Will of God (神の意志) – If you take the largest kanji bit that covers the majority of the screen here and add these together, it looks like 神 aka “god”. The circle next to it is likely part of the hiragana の needed to complete this keyword phrase: 神の意志 or the “Will of God”.
  • Maso (魔素) – This is the so-called “demonic element” that comes from the Red Dragon’s remains after it is cursed by the Mother Angel aka the Queen Beast.
  • The Origin (始祖) – These jumbled kanji bits had me stumped for awhile, but thanks to a comment on Twitter, I was able to fix this part. This term can be translated as the “founder” or “origin”…It is likely referencing god as the creator of all or it could be talking about Maso and how it’s involved in the very existence of the Utautai.

There’s also a direct connection to NieR:Automata hidden here. See the text wrapped around in a circle?

You can see that it says ポッド042ポッド153デポルポボル (Pod042 Pod153 Devola Popola) listed there. The text wraps in a circle, so it’s unclear what order it’s meant to be. A couple frames after the above images, the text in this circle starts glitching out, replacing legible words with meaningless garbage.

  • Distortion in time… the great Apocalypse

  • The starting point, the Utautai

  • The Will of God

  • Special Weapons Organization (特殊兵器群) – Not sure what this is referring to, either. I don’t believe this term has been used in any of the previous titles of NieR or Drakengard… But, I get really weird vibes from this…such as something from KimiShini perhaps?? The experimental students at the Special Abilities School could be considered a sort of “special weapon” in development.
  • Mikhail
  • Dragon – This could be a stand-alone reference to the race of “noble dragons” that were forcefully transported into the Drakengard world in 856… Or it could be coupled with the aforementioned Special Weapons Organization since a new weapon was designed to support the conflict in the Kingdom of Night in 6230.
  • [A]ccord
  • Gishi[n]
  • [Ki]The letters in brackets line up vertically to spell “Anki”.

  • Falldown – This is probably a figurative reference to nuclear meltdown in terms of the multiple timelines. Or maybe it’s meant to be reversed as in the word “downfall” aka the inevitable failure of something…something like time and all of its various branches.

Here we see a bunch of items from the overall timeline:

  • EID_M0010 – Branch A, Chapter Zero, Verse 1 (March 4, 999)
    Zero and Michael storm the Cathedral City.
  • EID_M231
  • EID_M321
  • EID_M332
  • EID_M431
  • EID_M1510 – Zero, Mikhail, and Octa…
  • EID_M2310 – Branch D, Verse 1 (March 19, 1000)
    Zero and the gang search the Kingdom of Mountains
  • EID_M3210 Branch B, Verse 1 (April 1, 1000) 
    Zero and the gang search the Kingdom of Forests
  • EID_M3320 Branch D, Verse 4 (April 4, 1000)
    Zero kills Five.
  • EID_M4310 Branch D, Verse 5 (April 14, 1000)
    Zero and the gang arrive in the Kingdom of Sands
  • EID_M5320 Branch D, Last Verse (April 22, 1000) 
    Mikhail and Zero battle against the “Flower” and destroy it

More specific dates:

  • 20
  • 99
  • 200
  • 997 – Usubeni (Zero) dies.
  • 998 – Suddenly, contact from each ruling lord is lost.
  • 998 – One creates Brother One
  • 1000 – The Utautai are destroyed.
  • 2003 – A strange being appears above Shinjuku.
  • 2004
  • 2008
  • 2010 – The “origin”…
    The word they use here is “始祖” which appears to be used for the Red Dragon after it had been affected by the curse of the Queen Beast… causing Maso to appear.
  • 2016 – The drug “Luciferase” was completed to delay the progression of the “White Chlorination Syndrome”.
  • 2026 – Experimental Weapon No7 (Emil) is developed.
  • 2033 – Relapsed Gestalts (Shades) are…
  • 2034 – “Project Gestalt”

The next shot of the timeline shows a lot of glitching as much of the lines are nothing but gibberish:

  • The Great Apocalypse
    About 15 years have passed since that battle.

    A mysterious disaster occurred on the Iberian Peninsula in the year 856.

  • It is our origin, the harmonizer of the world.

  • Harmonic Interference or… Accord’s Interference

It might be important to mention here that, according to the DOD3 Complete Guide, the name for Accord is taken from French which translates to “harmony”. More specifically, the Japanese that is given is 調和 or 和音. Notice, that 調和 (chouwa) appears in this chapter title. Therefore, it may be better to translate it as Accord… maybe Accord’s Interference.

Lastly, it’s interesting how blood is used in this trailer. First, we see a small drop falling in the darkness from which the first couple of keywords appear. The camera zooms out while spinning a couple times before we’re engulfed in a pool of blood as the keyword “Falldown” appears on the screen. Bright, yellowish petals begin to race to the top of the screen that makes it feel like we are falling. Then, from the top of the screen again, comes a splatter of blood that reaches throughout the timeline. The red blood stains slowly turn black the further we fall until the text of the timeline begin to glitch. Then finally the blood splatter hits the center of the screen where the chapter title “Harmonic Interference” appears.

We know the blood of the Utautai is far reaching and likely has ties to the “Flower” entity that wants to destroy the world. Perhaps this chapter will explore yet another unknown branch in this tangled mess of timelines.

SINoALICE x DOD3 – New Character Designs

The official SINoALICE twitter account just posted a couple designs for the new character. They’ve redacted the character’s name, but if you saw my last post regarding this, then you’d know that it’s actually human Mikhail!

Since I designed the DOD3 characters a long time ago, I find myself thinking “What do DOD3 characters look like again?” I hand trouble with that sort of ambiguity, but I imagined that anything would work as long as I made it cute. That’s pretty much how I came up with this design. ーFujisaka Kimihiko

He was originally a dragon, so he’s borrowed wings* and a tail* from that design. I began designing it with the thought that he’ll attack by grasping the heart, powering up by squeezing it, and getting angry by ??? The electric looking bolts are supposed to resemble blood vessels. ーFujisaka Kimihiko
* educated guess from the obvious. xD

The collaboration with DOD3 will begin on Tuesday, March 26!

SINoALICE x DOD3 Collaboration

The other day, Square Enix released a preview for the new SINoALICE x DOD3 collaboration. Here are a couple things that we know about the details:

  • Zero, One, Accord will be playable. Upon logging in, all players will receive Zero (Breaker) as a gift.
  • DOD3 character designer Fujisaka Kimihiko has illustrated a new character for the collaboration, but the name is blurred out in the video. That being said, if you pause the video just right, you can clearly see that it says:
    「少年ミハイル」= Boy Mikhail
  • Yoko Taro has penned the story for these collaboration stages, so prepare some tissues…

Lastly, here are some photos from the PV:

 

Zero, One, and Accord will be playable characters!

New original character design by Fujisaka Kimihiko!
This is the young human form for Mikhail!
He is somewhat of a 4th “secret” character in terms of marketing.

If you look closely at the center of the “ribcage” looking part of the dragon design, you can see there’s actually a heart inside of it…!
It looks like the “red lightning” is also originating from the heart.

New original story penned by Yoko Taro!

Voice actors Uchida Maaya and Toyama Mao reprise their respective
roles as Zero and Mikhail.

Um… That’s Five’s glyph…

 

Zero: This world is surely my curse.

Chapter Title: Harmonic Interference
Available on March 26

Lastly on a couple of the screens we can see some of the story text. It’s really difficult to make the second half of it out, but so far this is what I can read. If anyone can help flesh it out some more, please let me know!

Japanese:
最初に感じられたのは痛み。
呼ぼうとする喉からは抜かれた空気だけが、
というか、何がどうなってるんだ?
右手には剣が握りしめられて、
左手を見ると……
金属の甲冑が く 光っていて。
私に私の感情と記憶
していくのを ていた。
そうだ。
僕が、私ーーは  と戦っていたんだ。
ーー友。
なくてはならない、ゼロ
English:
The first thing I could feel was pain.
As I tried to call out, only air escaped my lips.
Besides that, what’s going on?
A sword lies firmly in my right hand,
Whereas when I look at my left hand……
Some metallic armor glistens brilliantly.
My thoughts and feelings,
???
That’s right.I, I was– fighting.
??? friend.
I must… ???
Zero

.hack//G.U. Last Recode – Drama CD “Innocent Call” [Complete]

Well, I’ve been sitting on this for too long, so here you go! I had the majority of this translated sometime around Christmas, but I wanted to proofread it more and fix it up a little more naturally… But I just haven’t had the time to do that yet. So, rather than not posting it for who knows how long again, here’s my rough draft translation of the .hack//G.U. Last Recode Drama CD “Innocent Call” that came with the Japanese Collector’s Edition of the game.

But, as I said above, this is a rough draft, so there may be further edits and stuff done to it from time to time, so I’d really appreciate it if you do NOT copy and paste this elsewhere. Thank you!! <3


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Old World Connections: The Cathedral City, the Mercurius Gate, and more!

I was just discussing how DOD3 connects to DOD1 through Ending E that’s revealed in the DOD3 Story Side Novel with the publisher of this YouTube video, so I felt another wave of energy to delve back into the lore on the Cathedral City and its connection to the so-called “Old World”.

To do this, I’m largely going to take a closer look at some of the chapters of the Utahime Five prequel manga, so if you haven’t read that yet, please beware of spoilers as you go further down the page.

Since my image gallery is sort of busted right now, I can’t link to full chapters of the Utahime Five manga that I worked to translate, but I will post several pages that are related to this topic here so we can get a better look at what lore revelations are revealed therein.

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Thou Shalt Not Die / Kimi Shini Tamou Koto Nakare, Chapter 33 Preview

Chapter 33, which was released on February 25, 2018, gave us some interesting new details that seem…awfully reminiscent to some aspects in the new YoRHa Boys Ver.1.0 stage play. I’ll discuss this further behind spoiler tags below.

This is only going to be a very brief look at the chapter right now, as I need to be out of the house in ten minutes, but this chapter brings back a familiar face…

Welcome back, Yanagi. It’s been a while.

As the students were preparing all night for the up-coming School Festival, Yanagi had other ideas. He round up a group of “defecting students” to stage a coup against the teachers and government that set up the whole “Special Abilities High School” in the first place. Using the gym as their base of operations, Yanagi and his gang sent out an email to an outside news agency that said there would be an important announcement made at 6am.

Leading up to that time, Yanagi and his goons were using their powers to kill the teachers and other staff near the school entrance gate. Police were alerted to the incident and went to take control of the situation, but they, too, fell victim to Yanagi’s group.

As more and more bodies littered the school entrance, Kuroi and his group finally get word from the “outside world” about what’s going on (they didn’t know because they were in a different area of the school, preparing for the festival). Also, it appears that communication going in and out of the school had been cut off… The chapter ends with Rokusho meeting up with Kuroi’s group.

What’s interesting about this is that… Yanagi began his coup because he learned that special ability students like himself were just pawns to the state of Japan. They were rounded up from all over the country, given drugs to give them special abilities, and subsequently slaughtered in further experiments. He apparently had had enough of it.

This feels very much like what No21, No3, and No6 had done in the YoRHa Boys Ver.1.0 stage play. They learned that they were just pawns to Command and were slaughtered left and right for their precious data. Maybe their coup was partially influenced by the virus, but… the similarities between YoRHa and KimiShini continue.

I’ve made a bunch of comparisons between YoRHa and the KimiShini manga as well as possible connections to NieR, so be sure to check that out here. It’s an old post that needs updating, but it brings up some curious similarities…

Yoko Taro says there may be an international NieR:Automata fan event in the works!

Could there be an international fan event in the works? Make sure you contact your local Square Enix and let them know that you want them to do it!!