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My Dear MelancholyGaspar Noe/Cannes Film Festival
The My Dear Melancholy era notable for being a time when The Weeknd was in proximity to a lot of serious directors. While he’s had a foot in Hollywood for awhile, 2017 through 2019 he was actively engaging with filmmakers like the Safdies Brothers, Gaspar Noe, and Claire Denis, amongst others. While he had been actively courting the Safdies since Good Time was released, he attended the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where he crossed paths Noe, whose film Climax took home a number awards at Cannes. Noe’s Enter the Void had previously served as an inspiration for Kiss Land, and for MDM (and later After Hours) seem to call back to Noe’s other films, like Irreversible and Love, which are both twisted depictions of heartbreak. On the other hand, Climax is about a French dance troupe who accidentally take LSD, and according to Noe is not a “message” movie. It is an audacious psychedelic technical exercise, with numerous long takes and highly choreographed set pieces. The idea for Noe, who had previously captured the feeling of drugs in previous films, was to do the opposite, and present the objectively reality of drugs, watching people high from a sober perspective.
Noe is a rather strong advocate of film, and the opening scene of Climax features VHS boxes of a number of films that have influenced his filmmaking. Two of note are Schizophrenia, otherwise known as Angst, one of Noe’s favorite films which The Weeknd name checked to the Safdies, and Possession, which would go on to be an influence on After Hours (more on this later). He is also said to have sat next to Benicio Del Toro at Cannes, which means he likely caught some of the Un Certain Regard section, where Del Toro served as a jury member. Outside of that section, there were a few other films of interest such as The House That Jack Built from Lars Von Trier (The Weeknd has previously expressed affection for Von Trier’s Antichrist), Mandy from Pastos Costamos, and music video director Romain Gavras’s The World Is Yours, as well as a restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Noe has referred to as the film that got him into filmmaking.
Later in 2018, The Weeknd continued his globetrotting with a tour of Asia. He once claimed in an interview that whenever visiting a foreign country he only watches films from there. I’ve previously written about the influence of Asian cinema on Kiss Land, and there’s not enough work from the MDM era to glean anything cinematically adjacent to this, but now would be a good time to mention that the "Call Out My Name" video was heavily inspired by the work of famed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The Asian tour poster seems to be a reference to Ichi the Killer, which leads us to Takashi Miike. Though he is notoriously prolific across a number of genres, his most popular works internationally are genre melding blends of horror, comedy and crime, most notably Audition, Ichi the Killer and Gozu. Another film worth mentioning is Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon’s masterwork about a pop star’s mysterious stalker that The Weeknd posted about on Instagram before. Bloody and haunting, the film was a major influence on Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. In Interviews he has also mentioned a number of Korean films, such as The Wailing, I Saw the Devil and Oldboy. While Wong Kar Wai was previously mentioned as an influence on Beauty Behind the Madness, also worth mentioning is the work of John Woo, specifically A Better Tomorrow, well known for the shot of smoking a cigar off money, and Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s crime classic which served has the basis for Scorsese’s The Departed.
After HoursMartin Scorsese
While After Hours more so than any other Weeknd album is bursting at the seams with cinematic references, the influence of Martin Scorsese stands above all. Similar to The Weeknd’s body of work, many Scorsese’s are explorations of violence and masculinity, investigating them from a perspective that depending on who you ask (and how they’re feeling) glamorizes, condemns or just simply presents the reality of characters on the fringes of society.
While there are direct references to a number of prominent Scorsese films, what’s interesting is that his influence also reverberates in other films/filmmakers that influence After Hours. Todd Phillips’s Joker is in effect an homage to Scorsese’s loner-centric New York films, and the Safdie Brothers have been putting their own millennial spin on the type of 70s gritty thriller that Scorsese trafficked in (Scorsese was also a producer on Uncut Gems). Specific Scorsese works will be discussed more in depth in the requisite sections, but it is worth mentioning upfront what a prominent role that Scorsese plays in the nucleus of After Hours.
With After Hours, The Weeknd departs from the slicker sounds and influences that permeated Starboy and returns to the cinematic grittiness of Beauty Behind the Madness. While urban horror is a theme that permeates throughout The Weeknd as a project overall, there is a thorough line to be drawn here that follows a number of 70s and 80s cinematic and aesthetic references. For one thing, while the initial bandaged nose was a reference to Chinatown (previously, The Weeknd has a Kiss Land demo titled "Roman Polanski"), the full bandaged face that is so prominently featured throughout the After Hours era is a classic cinematic visual trope that was especially prominent throughout 60s and 80s, though it saw a slight re-emergence in the 2010s. The fully bandaged face is often used to remake someone in the image of another, usually against their will (The Skin I Live In, Eyes Without Face), or as a case of mistaken identity and doppelgängers (Good Night Mommy, Scalpel), themes present throughout much of After Hours. The "Too Late" video acknowledges these references, but instead presents the bandages on two Los Angeles models recovering from plastic surgery, in a nod to a famous Steven Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue Italia.
The “masks” people wear is another horror trope that is featured prominently on After Hours, and this is best seen in the red suit character. One important reference in the film is to Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill, where a serial killer is targeting the patients of a psychiatrist (any more on this film will veer towards spoiler territory). The Weeknd is on the record as saying Jim Carrey’s The Mask as being a large influence on the Red Suit character, it being one of the first film’s he watched in theaters. One of the more complex references would be to Joker. While it sort of an in-joke that the character of the Joker is commonly overanalyzed and misinterpreted, referencing Todd Phillips’s Joker is more nuanced because it is in essence a full on homage to Martin Scorsese’s New York films, most notably Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which focus on eccentric loners, and can both be seen as cautionary tale of urban isolation, a theme explored perhaps in songs like "Faith." The King of Comedy revolves around a would be obsessive stand up Rupert Pupkin haggling his way to perform on late night TV, with The Weeknd’s talk show appearances being a prominent part of the early After Hours marketing, most notably in the “short film”. This idea of isolated and compressed urbanites recurs throughout After Hours and it’s films.
The idea of urban repression is in the subway scene of the After Hours short film. The entire film itself is something of a reference to the subway scene to Possession (another Gaspar Noe favorite), mimicking the (also subway set) scene in which Isabelle Adjani’s Anna convulses on the subway due to a miscarriage, as well as Jacob’s Ladder, a 90s cult classic horror film starring Tim Robbins as a Vietnam vet (like Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle) who is experiencing demonic hallucinations, encountering them in the subway and later at a party he attends, splitting the scene into two.
As always, The Weeknd once again grounds After Hours with a strong sense of place, this time setting the album against a nocturnal odyssey through Las Vegas. One of the most prominent films is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s book. This is directly referenced in the "Heartless" video, which sees The Weeknd and Metro Boomin in the Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro roles as they tumble through a Las Vegas casino. The Weeknd has gone on the record to state that the famous red suit character was influenced by Sammy Davis Jr.’s character in the film Poor Devil. However, similar red suit has also been sported by a number of Vegas characters, most notably Richard Pryor and Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. With the red suit, The Weeknd seems to be playing with the idea of a devil-ish other, another side of his personality that emerges in Las Vegas.
While the city lights are the oft discussed part of part of Las Vegas, it should be noted that similar to Beauty Behind the Madness, the desert that surrounds Las Vegas is just as important to the juxtaposition of its beauty. The "Until I Bleed Out" video ends/"Snowchild" video in the desert, similar to the confrontation between Robert De Niro’s and Joe Pesci’s showdown in the desert in Casino, as well as Joe Pesci's death in Goodfellas. The idea of a hedonistic desert playground also bears semblance to Westworld, both the film and the TV show. The desert seems to represent some sort of freedom to The Weeknd, as the "Snowchild" video portrays the desert as a pensive location for reflection, as well as the "In Your Eyes" video showing the girl prominently dancing with the dismembered head out in the open, in reference to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another prominent desert film.
New York/The Safdies
Despite it’s Las Vegas setting, After Hours also takes a good amount from films set in New York, most notably Martin Scorsese’s 1983 film After Hours. Besides the title, After Hours is similarly about a twisting and turning nighttime odyssey. The film stars Griffin Dunne as Paul, a working class stiff who heads downtown to rendezvous with a woman he met at a diner earlier that night. Of course, things don’t turn out the way they should, chaos ensues, and Paul is set on a dangerous trek back uptown. Like the film, the album After Hours is set off by a woman (though the album takes more stock in romantic endeavors), seems to be set over a single night (or at least a condensed period of time), and involves similar chaos and misadventures (sirens at night at the end of Faith). Tonally, After Hours the film is more comedic perhaps than After Hours the album, however The Weeknd is on the record as having said that "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" placement on the album is intended to be somewhat comedic, reflecting exaggerated machismo and ecstasy, respectively (to comedic effect).
Another of the most prominent filmmakers of After Hours are the Safdies, who featured The Weeknd in Uncut Gems. They also served as a link to Oneohtrix Point Never, who scored their last two films and later worked After Hours. I believe there are three major film tropes (not genres) that inspired After Hours, all of which the Safdies’s have engaged with. There is the one-long-night films, in which a character spends one-long-night on the run from whatever chaos and forces may be that they left in their path. This can be seen in the Good Time, as well as After Hours (the movie). Then, there is the descent-into-madness type, where a character slowly loses grip with reality and ends up in over their head (something like Scarface or Breaking Bad, but for our purposes Jacob’s Ladder can be categorized here as well), which the Safdies did with Uncut Gems. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, the Safdies also explored toxic romance (more on this later) in their less seen film Heaven Knows What, about two heroin addicts and the destructiveness their love brings out in each other, an idea that recurs throughout After Hours on songs like "Until I Bleed Out" and "Nothing Compares." A recurring song throughout Heaven Knows What is Isao Tomita’s synth version of Debussy’s "Claire De Lune", which is featured in some episodes of Memento Mori and bears some resemblance to the start of "Alone Again".
While love and lust and the ups and downs with it have been a formative part of The Weeknd’s ideology and themes, I don’t think it would be remiss to say that After Hours is perhaps his most outwardly romantic album. Despite this, one of the major arcs of the album is toxicity that comes with it, which a number of already mentioned films deal with. While "In Your Eyes" is one of the more romantic and accessible songs on the album, a re-assessment of it Ala Sting’s “Every Breathe You Take” could frame it as lonely obsessing, such as Travis Bickle’s infatuation with Jodie Foster’s teenage prostitute Iris, Joker's fixation on Murray Franklin, Rupert Pupkin’s obsession with Jerry Langford. Casino also deals with toxic romance, another prominent theme in After Hours, best seen in the love triangle that forms between Sam, his partner Nicky and his wife Ginger, played by Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone respectively.
In almost all of the After Hours’s video content, The Weeknd seems to constantly meet his demise at the hands of women. Another interesting reference that may be something of a reach is to Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about Reynolds Woodcock, a couture dressmaker loosely based on Cristobal Balenciaga and his muse Alma, played by Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, respectively. The film delves into their dysfunctional relationship, with Woodcock berating her and Alma poisoning his tea to keep him dependent on her. One of the highpoint of the film is a New Years Eve Party that bears strong resemblance to the "Until I Bleed Out" video. While the balloons may just be a callback to his earlier work, there is something about the color grading/temperature and the production design of the "Until I Bleed Out" video (as well as parts of the "Blinding Lights" video) that made me immediately think of Phantom Thread. A similar relationship is seen in the German horror film Der Fan, which The Weeknd has mentioned in a recent interview. In Der Fan, a young girl Simone spends her days obsessing over popstar R, until she finally encounters him outside his studio. The film is similar to the aforementioned Takashi Miike’s Audition in its exploration of obsession and idealization. In the film, an older man puts up a fake casting call to search for the perfect girlfriend. While Audition explores these themes from an Eastern perspective of societal pressure, Der Fan explores it through a Western lens of pop idolization and idealization. Both films deal with the idea that despite outward appearances, the perfect partner does not exist, and anyone that claims to be (or has the expectations put on them) is not who they seem.
One film he has spoken at length about is Trouble Everyday, Claire Denis’s arthouse vampire movie. The film stars Vincent Gallo as Shane, a scientist who travels to Paris under the guise of his honeymoon to track down core, a woman who he was once obsessed with who has now become a vampire. Core is locked up in a basement but sometimes sneaks out to seduce and consume unwilling victims. This seems to be where some of the bloody face stuff comes from, but I believe it’s influence is a little more conceptual. To me, a good companion film to Trouble Everyday is American Psycho, which seems to also have been a thematic influence on After Hours. Both films concern idealized version of masculinity and femininity, both very sexual and physical, but hostile as well. American Psycho ends with Patrick Bateman confessing to the killing of a prostitute, but no one believe him. Trouble Everyday ends with Shane killing Core, but Shane is unable to arouse himself after that except through violence. Koji Wakamatsu, a former Yakuza turned prominent extreme Japanese filmmaker (and a major influence on Gaspar Noe) is quoted as saying “For me, violence, the body and sex are an integral part of life.” Despite being hollow, idealized impressions of the self, a vampire and as a banker (cold, seductive bloodsuckers = monsters), Patrick Bateman and Core represent the Frankenstein-ian relationship between sexuality and violence, which I believe is the main theme of After Hours. Truly, we hurt the ones we love.
PostscriptTo cap things off, I would just like to illuminate some key takeaways. As a filmmaker myself, this has been an extremely helpful exercise in understanding other artists process and ideas.
Steeped in the history of the medium…
It’s clear that The Weeknd is not your typical “I’m influenced by cinema” artist but an extremely legit film buff with serious credentials. The Weeknd’s film taste leans towards 70s-00s genre works, mostly horror, drama and thriller, and is well versed in the classics but also has the nose to sniff out deeper cuts and obscurities. The mantra of “good artists borrow, great artists steal” works even better if not many people know where you’re stealing from! What is impressive to me is that he is not just versed in “mainstream” obscurities, but also serious deep cuts. Films like Possession and Phantom of the Paradise may not stick out to the average person on the street but are well known in most film circles. Films like Inland Empire and New Rose Hotel (Der Fan was especially impressive to me, it is one of my favorite films) however are not as well known and it is very impressive to me that he can come across films like that, and really get enough out of it to bring into his own work.
…is able to interpolate contemporary/mainstream films…
This perhaps is one of the most impressive aspects of his integration of film into The Weeknd’s work. It is very easy for film buffs to get lost within their own obscure taste, living in a world where everyone is an idiot for not knowing who Shinya Tsukamoto. Trilogy and Kiss Land had a lot of contemporary obscurities, like Stalker, David Lynch etc., well known but they still existed as artifacts, not of the time we live in. However, perhaps picking something from his work on Fifty Shades of Grey, of late he has kept his finger on the zeitgeist and anticipated/integrated what the filmmakers of today are doing, such as his work on Black Panther and Game of Thrones, general appreciation of Tarantino, the works of Nicolas Winding Refn in Starboy, and his use of the Joker and Uncut Gems on After Hours, both of which came out just a few months before the album. It feels Jackson-esque, and I believe this is one thing that will help him further in his quest for pop stardom.
…while also being fully in tune to the works of modern transgressive auteurs…
In addition to keeping up with the mainstream is in touch with, The Weeknd also makes it a point to seek out and learn from the cutting edge filmmakers of today. While the Safdies were always going to blow up, I don’t doubt that a Weeknd co-sign accelerated their rise. Gaspar Noe is one thing, Enter the Void and Irreversible exist as masterpieces of the mainstream obscurities I’ve been mentioning, but he really truly tries to understand the heart of Noe’s work, even going so far back as to understand Noe’s influences (I sincerely hope he is tuned in to the work of Koji Wakamatsu). But most of all, to be a fan of Claire Denis is one thing, but to seek her out and make her an offer that she ACCEPTED is absolutely astounding to me. Just spitballing but it would be like if Michael Jackson shot a music video with Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who I’d bet good money that The Weeknd was put on to by Noe). We can only PRAY that one day we will be blessed with a David Lynch Weeknd video.
…and that just about does it. Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for being patient with me. I got quite busy after the first two and had my own projects/work going that kept me occupied. As we’re still technically in the After Hours era, I also wanted to wait until a few more videos and interviews came out to aid me in my research.
I also wanted to find enough time to make the Letterboxd for this. I personally don’t love Letterboxd culture, I find the popular culture surrounding the site a bit snobbish and exclusive, but I’ve gotten a number of requests for one and you gotta give the people what they want. Throughout the list are a few films that he hasn’t mentioned but are some of my personal favorites and I believe Weeknd fans will like, I encourage you to accidentally stumble upon things on it. Don't overthink, just pick something and watch!
If you’d like to follow me further, you can find me on Instagram here, where I post about film reviews Letterboxd style. I prefer Instagram so that more average people see it instead of an echo chamber of film snobs. I am also a filmmaker myself, I just recently wrapped this short film and am currently in the process of putting together my next project.
The main reason I did this however, besides a general appreciation of The Weeknd’s work, was to put more people on to the beautiful art form that is cinema. One thing I learned from Scorsese is that one must be an advocate and truly champion your medium. I hope that this encourages to check out more interesting movies than they wouldn’t normally come across, and I hope this will inspire more people to create more as well, whether it be to write, make films, music, anything. If even one person picks up a pencil, a camera or a keyboard because of these posts, I will be satisfied.
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Valkyrie profile PSX:Nearly identical to the Japan version but with minor fixes in the menu screen. In the Japanese version, Characters not in the party were unable to change or learn skills nor were they able change or remove equipment. The US version allowed out of party members to change and learn skills as well as change or remove equipment without being added to the party. Also in the Japanese version, Lenneth would unequip all her skills and equipment when switching between sword and bow. The US version 'remembers' the previous setting when switching weaponry and is automatically equipped with the skills and equip. Another improvement over the Japanese version is an improved item sorting option.
There are a few instances of censoring such as Badrach's smoking.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth PSP:Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth lacks the improvement made in US version. Rather than re-rendering the textures of the dungeon maps, TOSE cropped and upscaled the pre-rendered images to fit the portable console's screen, resulting in severe blurring in some areas. This version also removes the anime opening movie in favor of 3D CGI, animated movie. Certain key story-sequences were animated in the same style as the opening movie and can be viewed at anytime in the Gallery option in the title screen once unlocked in the story. The animated scenes include:
Other big changes are:
- Opening Movie
- Lenneth's Awakening
- Jelanda's Transformation
- Alicia witnesses Barbarossa's execution
- Lenneth's encounter with the Lord of the Undead
- Lenneth and the Homunculi
- A chance encounter between "Meril" and Lucian
- Lenneth in Weeping Lily Meadow
- Lucian's departure to Valhalla
- Hrist's Awakening
- The Sovereign's Rite
- A Ending
- An enhanced version of the original game's localization
- Square Enix cleaned up the original game's English script and additional voice over dialogue for the CG movies was recorded by New Generation Pictures, rather than the original company, TAJ Productions.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth iOS & Andriod:This is the PSP version being ported to iOS & Andriod, with the following changes:
- Enhanced graphics such as character portraits. >* Enhanced Text.
- Enhanced UI.
- The option to skip cut-scenes.
- In-app purchases to unlock collectibles
- Ability to turn on auto-battle.
Chrono Trigger PSX:Anime cut scenes created by original character designer Akira Toriyama's Bird Studio and animated by Toei Animation.
A new Extra Mode Option was added that is divided into different categories of viewable extras, that are unlocked as you finish the game, and just as shown in the picture, they are:
- Art Gallery.
- Music Box.
- Tech Showcase.
- Monster Data.
- Boss Data.
- Treasure Map.
Chrono Trigger NDS:This version includes everything new in the PSX version, and also has big and a long list of changes and additions, which I will try to condense them as much as possible:
- Ability to play using the two screens and the touch screen, or in classic mode through a single screen.
- Added the Arena of Ages: A monster arena where You pick basic monsters and raise them to fight computer and wireless opponents.
- Added the Lost Sanctum: A sidequest during the main game. It consists of two dungeons in two different eras.
- Added the Dimensional Vortex: A extra Dungeon, available after beating the game once and appears in three different eras. Each dungeon is different.
- A lot of New Items.
- New Enemies in the new dungeons, in the form of palette swaps of old enemies.
- One New Ending after finishing the Dimensional Vortex completely.
- New Translation that changes a lot of names form the original version to something more faithful to the Japanese version.
Chrono Trigger iOS & Android:Both versions initially were based on the NDS version, but later on got an update to make them similar to the PC version.
Chrono Trigger PC:Everything on the NDS version is present here except there is No Arena of Ages. What they did add however is:
- Auto-Save feature.
- Higher Resolution Graphics and update UI.
- Support for mouse and keyboard controls.
- Remastered sound and music.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution:
- A New Translation that changes almost everything in the game.
- New voice actors. >* New voiced acted scenes; All major story events now have voice acting.
- New recruitable character: Welch Vineyard.
- New Private Actions and 13 new Endings.
- Unlocking the Galaxy and Universe modes now require defeating a specific number of enemies in a single playthrough rather than unlocking voices in the Voice Collection. >>>* Practically all Combat Skills have been refined, some being removed (such as Cancel, which is now automatically implemented).
- The combat system has been slightly refined, now allowing all melee fighters to perform a 3-hit combo as their normal attack.
- The Super Specialty "Bunny Call" no longer allows the player to "climb" on towns and some terrains. The player now will enter a town upon approaching while in Bunny Form, and can even activate private actions.
- All items in the inventory screen are now depicted as 2D icons instead of the original 3D models.
- Many bugs and glitches have been fixed (most notably the infamous random Cave of Trials screen freeze).
- Ring of Lightspeed (called Slayer Ring in Second Story) now works on Dias Flac.
- New character designs and portraits.
- No magic combo mechanic.
- Crafting animations are now replaced by a still 2D image.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution PS4 JP.ver:This enhanced version was released only in Japan on the PS4, with enhanced graphics and BGM, and a DLC that helps you with the gameplay.
The Last Remnant PC:This version is only available to purchase in the EU SquareEnix online store as of right now:
- Turbo Mode is now available, and can be toggled on or off while giving orders to unions in battle. When on, battles play out at double the speed.
- Crimson Flare, a new Arcana, is now available.
- New formations, such as Eremurus Rain, are now available.
- Enemies hit considerably harder.
- Rare Monsters can have significantly higher HP than their XBOX 360 counterparts.
- Arcana require substantially more AP.
- Unique Arts now require AP.
- Remnant Arts can only be performed by union leader, Weapon Arts now require high union morale.
- Offensive Weapon Arts now increase morale when used.
- Additionally, Arcana and offensive Special Arts now raise morale by a fixed amount.
- Likewise, certain Enemy Arts now lower morale by a fixed amount.
- Wards now affect the entire union.
- Attributes required for formation upgrades are vastly different.
- Healing no longer raises morale, and morale increased by Critical Hits has been dramatically reduced.
- Union morale now fluctuates based on more conditions (IE: taking an action, successfully landing a hit, receiving damage, etc.). In the X360 version, union morale stayed somewhat static, usually changing when being healed, being KO'd/terminated, executing a successful Critical Trigger. It also did not drop to 0 whenever an offensive Special Art was executed, whereas it will do so on the PC.
- Linking additional enemies together does not increase your Battle Rank further than having fought them separately.
- Special commands, such as the use of David's Gae Bolg, are no longer interrupted by being raidlocked by a different union or having targeted enemy union defeated by an ally.
- Allies now have the option to cure a friendly union's Curse status ailment via "Cure them even if it kills them!" command. This command is in the XBOX 360 version as well, but is only available when the union is Enthralled; it will not be available when the union is cursed.
- Items are color-coded in the PC version, and a new preview feature lets you see what the item looks like in battle.
- You can now toggle between viewing the stats of a weapon or shield and viewing a preview of what it looks like in battle.
- Components and consumables are now categorized.
- Items are now color-coded based on their rarity.
- Creation or customization of some items require fewer components.
- New items available via Blueprint 4.
- Various weapon stats have changed.
- Some very rare monster-specific drops can now be split from monsters (e.g., Godwood Timber, Spiritwood Timber).
- The leader limit is no longer imposed. Unions can be composed entirely of leader units if the player desires.
- Likewise, soldiers can now be set as union leaders.
- The stat cap has been lifted for all characters to allow a maximum of 255 for each stat.
- The Seven are now recruitable after completing Union of the Golden Chalice Task #70: For Our Lord.
- Rush can now be removed from the active party.
- Khrynia can learn the new Unique Art Dual Snowpetal.
- Arts can be disabled, filtering which skills a unit may use in combat.
- Leaders' requested components are displayed when viewing their stats.
- Leaders' wield style can be changed depending on their equipped weapon.
- Shields now prevent style changes mid-battle.
- The following classes now prevent style changes: Guardian, Scout, Hunter, Wanderer, Thief, Alchemist, all Mystic classes, Vagrant, Mercenary, Aristocrat, Djin, Fortuneteller, Sage and General.
- The experience required to advance Wield Style skills has been reduced, and the experience required to advance Weapon Type skills has been increased.
- Three new classes are now available: Ataraxian, Cleric, and Ninja.
- The Guardian, Fencer, and Warrior classes now require non-sovani wield styles, and are thus not available to Sovani.
- The Gladiator class now requires Power Grip and Wards.
- Hybrid classes (Item+Combat and Mystic+Combat) can now be achieved by units who do not start in one.
- Some leaders now have a different weapon upgrade path, which caused some units to learn new Weapon Arts while others lost theirs.
- Leaders can request weapons that do not coincide with their weapon upgrade path as long as they match their equipped weapon type and size.
- Soldiers can now request weapon drops.
- Some units have had their starting Unit BR level, stats, class, equipment, arts, and hiring wage changed.
New Game Plus and Hard Mode: After the epilogue and credits, you can now save your game. When you're taken back to the main menu, you can load this save to begin a new playthrough that carries over certain elements from your previous playthrough. You will also be given the option to start the new game in Hard Mode.
- The completion of At Hatred's End is no longer required in order to activate Things Unchangeable.
- Duke of Ghor now has a … icon when you speak with him between the first, third, and fifth base battles.
- The component requirements in The Assistant have lowered.
- The DLC content is now unlocked differently; the majority of the extra content now requires the completion of certain guild tasks.
- The Leader Extraordinaire guild tasks which required three units of a single class now only require one.
- The Monsterslayer guild tasks require different enemies to be defeated.
- The PC version will warn you if you cannot leave an area without a fight.
- Auto Save is now available, which automatically saves after having changed zones or having won a battle.
- Battle Rank is now viewable outside of combat, in the party menu.
- Battle Rank progression has been slowed considerably; it takes more encounters/enemy unions terminated to increase in rank.
- Characters with … icons are now identified with markers on the map.
- Enemies can no longer be respawned by saving and reloading an adjacent area.
- New saving opportunities are now available, such as before the base's boss.
- A warning message is now displayed if you attempt to save your game in an area which you cannot leave until you defeat a boss.
- Mr Diggs's digging animations are now much quicker.
- The loading screens that explained some of the game's mechanics have been disabled.
- Many areas of the game have had their spawn tables altered or repopulated.
- Starting battle music now coincides with starting morale in most battles.
- "Turn the Tide" and "Beat the Odds" now play during the second half instead of after entering Elysion.
- Union highlighting during the selection phase has been toned down (ie: ally unions don't look quite as blue).
- Leaders in reserve no longer gain skills via the Rush only skill grind trick.
- Soldiers now slowly improve their stats in reserves.
- Camera in battle doesn't swing around as wildly anymore.
- Mitra soldiers' idle stances now come in 2 varieties: the one shared by both male and female units and the one exclusive to larger male units, rather than just the "large male mitra" stance.
The Last Remnant Remastered PS4 & Switch:Based on the PC version, also added:
Yes I am salty about this if you can't tell, since they removed the PC version from steam.
- Graphics now are in Unreal Engine 4
- A new function to run faster on the overworld.
- Extra save slots.
~ Tales of Vesperia (Xbox360): vs PS3 vs Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition vs PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One. ~
Tales of Vesperia PS3:
- Features full voice acting, nearly twice as much voice work as the original.
- New Characters, including 2 new playable characters: Flynn (permanantly playable now), and Patty Fleur.
- New subplots, skits, and main game quests, and sidequests.
- New mini-games
- New songs
- Remodeled towns and new towns and dungeons.
- New bosses.
- The ability to replay boss fights.
- New 8 Mystic Arts.
- New artes, skills, and equipment.
- New item: the "Artes Ball", which allows an additional eight artes shortcuts to be assigned to the previous eight slots combined with the L1 button, which allows for a maximum of 16 artes
- New character costumes
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive editionvs PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One:Based on the PS3 version, it has everything from it and all the DLC included for free, with higher resolution graphics depending on the system.
Tales of Symphonia PS2 JP.ver only:
- New animated sequences.
- New Mystic Arts.
- New Unison Arts.
- New Arts for playable characters and enemies.
- New Techniques.
- The frame rate was lowered from 60 frames per second to 30 frames per second.
- New customs.
- The "Synopsis" option in the menu displays newer entries at the top
- The Casino in the game is now actually fully playable with it's own mini-games, and chips to collecet and exchange for items.
- The skits are graphically more dynamic. Portraits get larger or smaller quickly, swing from side to side, shake, and so on.
- New Titles
- More post-battle animations.
- Niflheim dungeon extended and 6 new boss characters, fought in 2 new boss battles.
- Bug Fixes
- New events to help raise affection.
- Includes new side quests, new camera angles on some cutscenes, new animated cutscenes not featured in the GameCube version
Tales of Symphonia PS3/PC:
- More customs.
- Improved character textures and improved some environments.
- Dual-audio support: Japanese and English voiceovers, which neither the PS2 or GameCube versions had
- Cutscenes support voice acting in both languages, but skits only have voice acting in Japanese. If you select English, you will just see the subtitles during skits. This is not a porting issue, as this is just how the GameCube version was.
- While the original GameCube version ran at 60fps, the Japanese PS2 port which the PS3 Chronicles HD version is based off of ran at 30fps. The Steam version can run at 40FPS.
- HD graphics
Skies of Arcadia: Legends GC:
- New Ranks for the Swashbuckler Rating system.
- Random encounters occur less frequently and load considerably faster than the Dreamcast version, and EXP offered per battle is adjusted to compensate.
- Graphically, the game sports mild improvements to character models, most noticeably adding individual fingers to the designs. The modifier volume shadows and (weirdly enough) point-mipmapping from the original release are still present.
- One of the new sidequests available is Bounty Hunting. Sailor's Guilds offer information about each person on the bounty list as they are unlocked through story progression. After reading about them, they can be found in a constant location.
- There are a number of new discoveries to be found.
- Two linked sidequests
- "Pinta Quest" minigame was removed
- DLC comes with the game.
FES PS2 (English.ver):
- A whole additional epilogue has been added, The Answer. This chapter is only available in one difficulty setting, which is supposed to be on par with Persona 3's Hard mode.
- New Personas have been added
- Secret videos of the protagonist's dorm mates have been added to flesh them out.
- Koromaru can now be taken on walks.
- Several of the Social Links have been modified slightly, such as Tanaka being available at a different time
- Several new Quests have been added.
- New costumes can be worn in battle.
- A new event involving Chidori Yoshino was added.
- Naganaki Shrine was completely overhauled.
- A hard mode was added.
- Save data from Persona 3 can be transferred into the game,
- The Answer is not included in this verion.
- Added a Female Main Character, so now you can choose between the Male and Female MCs.
- The game lacks 3D environments and character models (outside of Tartarus), all anime cutscenes are gone, the graphics and audio quality were compressed,
- The storyline of the female protagonist features many differences from that of the male protagonist, such as new social interactions as well as Social Links.
- New voiced dialogue.
- Players have the choice of selecting Elizabeth or a male-equivalent named Theodore to be Igor's assistant in the Velvet Room.
- The ability to pick who the protagonist spends the last moments of the game with. This feature is only accessible on a New Cycle
- The Desert of Doors from the Abyss of Time seen in The Answer will still appear, however, in an extra feature known as the Vision Quest. In this mode, the party can fight stronger incarnations of the Full Moon shadow bosses — save for Arcana Magician — and partake in special battles that test the party's abilities. When all of the battles have been successfully met, a second optional boss can be fought: Margaret, Igor's assistant in Persona 4 and guardian of the Desert of Doors in P3P.
- There are now two overworld save points; Aside from the log book in the Iwatodai Dormitory, there is also one on the main character's desk at school.
- In Paulownia Mall, the police station is now the only place where the protagonist can buy equipment and sell items. Aohige Pharmacy is now a buy-only store, and Be Blue V is just a part-time work site and hangout to improve the main character's condition
- From previous versions, two difficulty modes have been added: Beginner and Maniac alongside Easy and Normal in Persona 3 and Hard in Persona 3 FES:
- A new tactic, "Direct," has been added to the game, allowing control of the party members, unlike Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES.
- The "Wait" command is replaced with the "Defense" command, and will decrease the damage and any knockdown effects of the next attack the user suffers.
- The game grants "1 More" to a combatant who attacks multiple enemies not knocking all of them down; the original Persona 3 required all hit enemies to be knocked down for a 1 more.
- Party members who have been knocked down no longer spend the turn by getting up and can act as soon as they stand.
- Upon landing a critical hit or striking an enemy's weakness, party members can follow up with a co-op attack.
- Fusion Spells from the original Persona 3 are now activated from items instead of equipping a persona and selecting it like other spells.
- Allies can now take a fatal blow to the protagonist for them if they are able.
- "Dizzy" has been added as a status effect.
- Returning to the main lobby in Tartarus no longer automatically restores the party, and must now be done for a fee via the save point (this cost varies based on the date in-game and status effects currently inflicted on the party)
- Floors can be directly returned to from the entrance of Tartarus instead of being restricted to the restore point like previous versions.
- "Tired" status no longer is inflicted during Tartarus exploration, and is inflicted to all used party members after leaving (this will only drop to "Good" if the character used was at "Great" during exploration).
- Unlike previous versions, money found by party members when split up will now be given to the protagonist.
- Party members' equipment and status can now be accessed at any time from the pause menu, unlike in previous versions, which required the protagonist to speak to them while exploring Tartarus in order to change their equipment or view their status.
- You can now control Party members directly.
- The protagonists only have access to one weapon type (instead of having access to all weapon types like in P3 and FES); the male protagonist wields one-handed swords, and the female protagonist wields naginatas. As a result, the Skills "Fist Master," "Bow Master," "1hdSwdMaster" and similar skills have all been combined into a single skill called "Weapons Master." Its skill card is called "Phys Boost," and all Personas which had learned a "master" ability (like Cybele with Bow Master) now learn "Weapons Master."
- Personas now have the ability to produce a Skill Card when raised to a specific level. Each card can be used on any Persona to teach them a skill.
- The Inari Sushi in Naganaki Shrine no longer grants random bonuses for item gaining and Tartarus explorations. Instead, it offers to duplicate Skill Cards, which will take 5 days to complete
Persona 4 Golden Vita:
- Two new Social Links.
- A New Dungeon.
- A New bad ending.
- New Difficulty levels have been added: Safety/Easy/Normal/Hard/Risky.
- Several new music tracks.
- Additional voice-over dialogue.
- Chie and Teddie have new voice actors in the English version.
- New animated cutscenes.
- More Personas, including new Ultimate Personas for the Investigation Team.
- New areas can be visited.
- New events.
- The protagonist can now explore Inaba in the evening when Dojima is not home.
- The protagonist and his friends now have motorized scooters to explore various areas.
- Costumes are now available to buy at Croco Fur, in Okina City.
- New Garden and Bug Catching features.
- The ability to choose which skills can be inherited by the Persona the protagonist is fusing.
- New scene skipping function
- If the necessary criteria for at least the good ending are fulfilled, daily activities are expanded to February 14, 2012, giving more time for events and social links.
- New epilogue has been added for the True Ending.
- The list of Requests and the Fox' emas have been modified.
- Rise can now assist the Investigation Team in All-Out-Attacks.
- Added Tag Team attacks: two members can team up to perform a united attack.
- Added Cavalry Attacks: Attacks from members of the Investigation Team that are not currently in the party.
- Spell buffs and debuffs can now be used on the same character to prolong the effect
- A new gallery menu has been added: "TV Listings." It displays bonus content unlocked through the main game at any time.
- Floors and chests in dungeons can now reset by changing floors instead of leaving the dungeon and TV world, or visiting another dungeon.
Persona 4 Golden PC:
- Bug fixes
- The game will run at up to 4K resolution with 60FPS+ as opposed to the Vita's 476p resolution and 30FPS target
- Includes dual audio language and multiple text language. The anime cutscenes now also include subtitles
- In the Steam version, the player may customize their difficulty setting at any time, in contrast to the Vita version only letting you do so on New Game Plus.The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters
- The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters.
.hack//G.U. Last Recode PS4/PC:
- A brand new episode titled Vol.4//Reconnection, which takes place a year and three months after the events of Redemption
- HD graphical update for the whole game.
- Ability to restart the battle from the beginning if Haseo dies.
- Movement speed on foot has somewhat increased.
- The item stack size has increased from 50 to 99. The maximum number of item stacks in the inventory has increased from 30 to 90
- Item menu shortcuts and sort features
- When using an item in the field, pressing the X button repeatedly will cause the item to be used again without navigating the menu a second time.
- The maximum number of Chim Spheres and Virus Cores the player can possess has increased from 99 to 999
- Platforms now include the Platform Recovery feature, recovering a large portion of the party's HP and SP. It can only be used once per visit to a field.
- Saku and Bo no longer switch the active player based on their level being even or odd. They can instead be selected as separate options in the Party screen.
- Decreased the probability of allies selling the items the player give them.
- Voice clips for returning characters and NPCs between games have been updated to use the Volume 3 clips from the beginning, except where said clips are unavailable.
- Attack power has been increased and hit stops during attacks have been reduced to speed up the battle tempo.
- Learning weapons proficiency increased and acquired experience points increased.
- Awakening scenes can be skipped using the Option/Start button.
- Some of the really tough enemies have been made a bit easier
- Skeith’s general shot bullet speed has increased during Avatar Battles.
- Enhanced battle balance and game pacing to provide an optimal experience.
- Avatar battles now show a stun gauge over the enemy's head. Red diamonds have been added around attacks meant to be deflected using scythe slashes that are in range.
- Added suspend feature during Avatar battle gameplay.
- In Volume 3, the player is given 22 "Promise" greeting cards, meaning it is possible to do the "Forever in Love" / "Best Wishes" events with all party members in a single playthrough.
- A new Cheat Mode allowing players who want to just enjoy the story to start the game with a large amount of items, best equipment, maximum money and chim spheres, and maximum level and affection for the respective volume.
- Save files from Cheat Mode plays can be converted to the next volumes.
- The videos from “The End of the World” Terminal Disc included with the limited edition PS2 release of Volume 1 are included in the collection
- A New Job Form for Haseo with a new weapon.
- A New Form for Skeith.
- Ovan joins the party.
~ Final Fantasy 12 (PS2): vs FF 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only) vs FF12 Zodiac Age PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One. ~
Final Fantasy 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only):
- Addition of a "Zodiac Job System" featuring twelve jobs with individual License Boards corresponding to twelve zodiac signs
- Addition of a 16:9 widescreen mode with menus and HUD at 4:3.
- Addition of three new game modes: Trial Mode/New Game+ Strong Mode/New Game+ Weak Mode.
- Pressing L1 will speed up gameplay. Conversations and events continue to play at normal speed.
- Quickening doesn't consume MP. Now they use their own Mist gauge similarly to Limit Breaks from previous Final Fantasy titles.
- UI Changes.
- Playable characters' starting LP, consumables, gil, gambits, equipment, licenses, and base stats have been modified.
- You have more control over Guests now, they also gain EXP/Item/Gold.
- Many magick spells and technicks have been tweaked, renamed and recategorized.
- Obtaining Quickenings no longer affects max MP and Mist charges do not diminish when MP is consumed (unless the player is affected by a reversed Elixir or Megalixir). The player's MP is also unaffected by the depletion of Mist charges. However, effects that recover the player's MP will also restore Mist charges. One Mist charge is granted each time the amount recovered totals the player's maximum MP. Effects that fully restore a player's MP recover all Mist charges.
- You can now fully control Espers, they also require MP to cast magicks
- Almost all attacks now break the 9999 damage limit from the original by default.
- New items have been added, such as Cura Mote, Bubble Mote, Domaine Calvados, Baltoro Seed, Dark Energy and various Meteorites.
- Bacchus's Wine now has 100% chance of inflicting Berserk (previously it was 50%).
- Several equipment pieces were added, while some available in the original release were removed or tweaked.
- New Weapons added.
- Most shops had their assortments changed. Many weapons are now available from shops earlier because of the job system, and were thus made weaker.
- Treasures respawn by moving just one area away as opposed to two. Treasures were moved around, changed the items they can give, or were removed altogether. The "forbidden chest" concept was removed, that in the original prevented the player from obtaining the Zodiac Spear in Necrohol of Nabudis if they opened a wrong treasure.
- Dark Matter can no longer be acquired from the bazaar, and selling the ingredients needed to make it in the original will result in making the Dark Energy instead. The Dark Energy is an item that does not charge up with Knot of Rust or Devour Soul and always deals 50,000 damage to each enemy in range.
- Treasure chests are now in different locations and contain different items.
- There are more traps throughout the map.
Final Fantasy 12: Zodiac Age PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One:
- Remastered HD graphical upgrade.
- English and Japanese voices (switch between them in the game configuration).
- Original and newly re-recorded background music (switch between them in the game configuration).
- Auto-save functionality added (game saves automatically when moving to each new screen, excepting boss arenas)
- Improved high-speed mode and improved play time operability during high-speed mode
- Ability to invert both the X and Y camera axes
- The game balance has been overhauled to make it easier.
- Each playable character can have two jobs at once.
- Job Reset function added; talk to Montblanc in the Clan Hall to use.
- The Effect Capacity system that limited spell-casting in the PlayStation 2 versions has been removed.
- Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, and Cure only affect a single target again.
- Espers' HP values have been doubled, but other stats kept the same as in Zodiac Job System.
- The animation for summoning Espers is removed.
- A glitch concerning Dyce's character model has been fixed.
- New Game Plus and New Game Minus are now accessible from the beginning of the game.
Rune Factory 4 Special Switch:
- HD Graphics.
- Newlywed Mode.
- Hell Difficulty.
- Additional Movies.
- Another Episode DLC.
- Swimsuit Day DLC.
- Many Town Events are now prioritized if requirements have been met. This includes Memories, which unlocks the last story arc and the events required for marriage.
- The map has been moved to the main screen and can be removed and resized with the press of a button (the Switch has only one screen) or by using the touch screen icon.
- The teleport spell has been mapped to a dedicated button. It can still be used from the touch screen.
- You can now change the voice acting language between English and Japanese.
- Many bug fixes.
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