Square has continued their recent Final Fantasy news burst with the release of many new tidbits of information about Final Fantasy X. Square's official website reveals that two versions of the game will eventually be released. One will be a standard game, shipping on a single DVD, as previously expected. The unexpected news, however, is that an enhanced two-DVD version of the game will be released as well, featuring enhanced video and audio. The enhanced version will most likely support anamorphic HDTV and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, but will arrive at a steeper price point than the standard game.
Square also announced several new bits of information in Dengeki magazine. The most interesting of these details follow:
Transitions between the world map and dungeon map will exist, but the camera and objects will be in the same place in both modes, so the transitions should be more or less fluid. The camera itself will not be controlled by the player, but it will always be placed such that the maps will be visible. Despite the advanced rendering power of the PlayStation 2, many major events will use computer generated video, rather than being rendered in realtime. According to Yoshinori Kitase, the director of Final Fantasy X, "For large scale events, it is more effective to show it using CG movies." Many of the main events in the game, including the love aspects, will change based on choices made by the player. It is unknown how this will work with the CG movies, but these events would make good candidates for realtime rendering.
Storyline details have begun to appear as well in recent interviews. Yuna was intentionally designed to have an Asian look. The rest of the world will reflect Asian culture as well, rejecting the futuristic look of the first two PlayStation Final Fantasy games. Tidus is the only object that doesn't fit in with the Asian imagery, for he does not belong in Yuna's world. In fact, according to Scenario Director Kazunan Nojima, Tidus' most-used phrase is, "What's that?" Yuna, as a summoner (and the only summoner in the player's party), is in search of the "Ultimate Summon Spell," though it is not yet known whether it will call a beast or some unknown being. There are other summoners in the game, treated as idols and celebrities by normal folk, each searching for the ultimate summon. The enemy force, known as Sin, will not be a creature as previously expected. Rather, it will manifest itself in the form of natural disasters, like earthquakes and hurricanes.
The battle system will use the same tradition of random battles which take place in a separate engine. However, boss and key battles will have a seamless transition between map screen and battle screen, and the battle takes up the entire field. The designers originally wanted to have every battle occur like the key battles, but were unable to implement it in Final Fantasy X. Three characters will usually appear on the screen at a time, though other members of the player's party can appear to assist in the battle. These characters' skills can be used when they are needed, but the team opted not to display all of them at once, for it would ruin the tempo of the battles. Special moves resemble the limit breaks of earlier games, with the emphasis on unique moves for each character. Though characters themselves will not be affiliated with an element, the special moves will use elements, magic, and attack patterns to differentiate the moves from each other.
Final Fantasy X continues some Final Fantasy traditions, featuring Chocobos (albeit more realistic-looking chocobos) and airships. Square also hinted that trademark characters such as Cid will appear. The more recent tradition of minigames looks to be continued in this installment with a game, Blitzball, forming a central part of the story. The game is described as a cross between basketball and soccer with a touch of rugby. The goal is to use the six players on a team to pass and shoot the ball to score points. Though this game has not been confirmed as anything other than a story element, the development team has been pushing for it to appear as a playable minigame.
Watch RPGamer for more news on this game as it appears. Final Fantasy X is currently scheduled for a July 2001 release in Japan and a European and North American release near the end of November 2001.