Last week, the highly anticipated Final Fantasy IX, Square's last Final Fantasy game for the PlayStation, was given a tentative Japanese release of July. This week, Square reconfirmed this statement and gave a concrete release date for Japan: July 18, 2000. Square Electronic Arts has yet to officially confirm a North American release date, but it is likely just a matter of time before an official statement confirms the current speculated October release.
Final Fantasy IX will be a step back towards the series' roots. The game will feature many similarities to the earlier Final Fantasy games, such as a medieval setting, the classic short, squatty characters, and the powerful crystals. Final Fantasy fans should be pleased to note that the player's party can once again contain up to four characters, as opposed to only three in FF7 and FF8. Also of significance is the reintroduction of the popular magic point (MP) spell-casting system, which was replaced by the "draw system" in FF8. New details are expected to emerge constantly as the Japanese release date approaches, so stay tuned to RPGamer for all the information.