Square Enix, the role-playing giant, held their own private party in Japan this weekend to chat with fans about their next year-and-a-half-or-so of products. Dissidia Final Fantasy, three Kingdom Hearts games, Sigma Harmonics, The 3rd Birthday, Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children Complete, and the trio of Final Fantasy XIII games were all featured with new trailers, announcements, and even some hands on gameplay.
First, there were a couple announcements. Unfortunately, fans looking for something earth-shattering (or internet-breaking) like a Final Fantasy 7 remake or sequel were disappointed. Instead, the big FF7 news was simply what the new Blu-ray special edition of the movie Advent Children would contain. In addition to a hi-def director’s cut of the movie, there will be a PS3-only demo of Final Fantasy XIII, along with trailers of the other two XIII games, Versus and Agito. No word was given on whether these would end up on PSN or Xbox Live for download, but with the amount of buildup and fanfare for this announcement, it doesn’t seem likely. Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the action game in the XIII series, was once again confirmed to be a PS3 exclusive, as opposed to its big brother, which will be playable on the Xbox360 outside of Japan.
Final Fantasy Agito XIII, along with The 3rd Birthday, were initially announced as mobile titles, playing only on advanced cell phones found typically in Japan, and not so much in the US or UK. Gamers in a Squeenix completionist haze will not have to import such a device any longer, however, as the games will now be coming out on PSP. Really, with this, the FFVII prequel earlier this year, an exclusive God of War (Chains of Olympus) , and a handful of other titles, the PSP may be a marquis portable after all. This certainly makes better business sense, allowing gamers worldwide to play the whole FFXIII experience.
Now, brief summaries of each game shown:
Dissidia- Essentially, this is a fighting game, built on a strategy board game, with characters from all over the Final Fantasy universe. This one’s for PSP, and looks pretty darn fun. You gain experience as well, and build up your characters, so they won’t feel completely out of place. Really, any game where you can use Sephiroth to cut down those whiny, girly FF characters is worth playing at least once.
Kingdom Hearts- As mentioned above, three titles in the Kingdom Hearts series are on their way. Birth by Sleep is a prequel for PSP (man, Square Enix likes Sony’s handheld!) and features similar gameplay style to the two PS2 editions of the game, with some new build-up attacks and better fusion of magic and melee. Roxas from Chain of Memories and KH2 returns to the other handheld, the DS, in 358/2 Days. The game will fill in Roxas’s lost memories, some background on Organization XIII, and will offer extensive multiplayer. Coded is still coming only to mobile phones, and is mostly a series of mini-games giving some more story post- KH2.
Sigma Harmonics- A rhythm card battle game for DS. Seriously. At least Square is trying something new, and hey, weirder things (or just as weird) have been huge successes on DS and Wii.
The 3rd Birthday- Aya returns to the world of Parasite Eve, as noted above, on PSP. More creepy survival horror is on its way, but no word yet on whether the game will include another Aya shower scene.
Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete- It’s a director’s cut- that means extended and deleted scenes. March of ’09 for Japan, likely a few months later in US and UK. The movie, along with the demo and trailers, will also be available in a Japanese PS3 bundle.
Final Fantasy XIII- Like Kingdom Hearts, this is actually three games. The main title (think “adjectiveless,” X-Men fans) is the classic RPG style game. The new trailer showed a little more about a second character, but not much new overall. The game was officially announced as a 2009 title for PS3 in Japan. As development has yet to start for Xbox360 and a promise of simultaneous release with PS3, U.S. and UK fans will likely see the game in 2010. Versus showed off three new characters that are buddies of the King, the main character in the game, as well as 2 big enemies for the protagonist. Agito will bring…something FFXIII related to PSP, featuring a female protagonist. The most interesting and exciting thing for long time Final Fantasy fans to come out of these trailers is the heavy use of Crystals in the mythos of this new universe.