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Out now: FFXIII-2, Soul Calibur V first big drops of 2012

The bang you just heard? That's the starting gun to the 2012 release calendar going off, with Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Soul Calibur out today.

Final Fantasy XIII-2, the second time a main Final Fantasy title has had a direct sequel and the first since Final Fantasy X-2 in 2004, will release in the UK and Europe nearly two months after its Japanese release.

The RPG swaps Lightning as main protagonist from FFXIII, and sees sister Serah and companion Noel take over, although the 'Strawberry Thunder' will still have a part to play.

As noted this morning, Square Enix has pushed out a new update for the game, 1.03, which adds Facebook support. Once you gain access to the Historia Crux, you'll be able to send out status updates on progress, such as party battle scores and more.

Still burning, etc

However, it has competition in the form of Soul Calibur V. The fighter series's fifth installment comes out today alongside the RPG, with Namco Bandai UK marketing boss Lee Kirton telling VG247 in an interview published last night it was worrying in the current games industry backdrop it'd be going up against a new main FF, but insisted that, "Soul has its place in the market and those that played Soul Calibur IV should look at this as something new.”

He also told us how the resurgence of the fighting genre is one "improving over a period of time," with today's SCV launch and the upcoming Street Fighter x Tekken helping things along.

Namco's announced this morning a mostly Europe-wide SCV tournament for fans. Stops include Paris, Cologne, Milan, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Moscow, Singapore, Madrid, Stockholm, Zurich and London. The winner will claim a £1,000 prize and trophy for winning. More details here.

The Other Contenders

Lightning and Ivy aren't the only ones dropping by today. Konami's releasing the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection and Rebellion action title NeverDead for PS3 and 360.

The MGS HD Collection, which comes here after a heavy delay between the EU release and that of the Japanese/US launches in November last year, consist of HD versions of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, both of which come in their respective Substance and Subsistence versions.

The pack features a console version of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the first time it's moved from PSP.

NeverDead, a new IP from Konami and Aliens vs Predator developer Rebellion, sees you play as the immortal demon hunter Bryce, now living in the modern world and hunting demons for money.

Today is the first on many wallet-worrying Fridays until the end of the year. Best get some money, then.

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