In a press release today, Square-Enix U.S.A announced the titles which it is
planning to show at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). These
releases are going to be spread across numerous platforms, which will include
the Playstation 2, the Game Boy Advance, the GameCube, and PC's. All of the planned
titles will be on display in Square-Enix's booth at E3, which will be number 624
in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center for those of you lucky
enough to attend.
Square-Enix will have five titles on display for the Playstation 2 this year.
The first of these games, Final Fantasy XI, will also be available for the PC upon release.
Square-Enix's first attempt at the realm of Massive Multiplayer Online gaming,
Final Fantasy XI is planned as a cross platform title which will allow players
on both the Playstion 2 and PC to connect to, and interact with, the same content
simultaneously. Situated in the world of Vana'diel, players will be able to log on from
around the globe and adventure as one of many classic Final Fantasy classes.
The second title on display for the Playstation 2 will be Final Fantasy X-2,
which is the first sequel ever in the long running Final Fantasy series. In
addition, it is the first Final Fantasy ever with a purely female cast of leading
characters. Taking place two years after the previous game, Final Fantasy X-2 will
follow the story of Yuna, as she tries to uncover the truth regarding a vision of
what she believes is Tidus seen through a mystical sphere. In her adventures,
Yuna will be joined by both the returning Rikku and a new character, Paine.
A title previously released in Japan by Enix before the merger, Star Ocean : Till the End of Time
will also be on display at this year's E3. Set 400 years after the battle with
the Ten Sages, which was the focus of Star Ocean 2, this game will be focused on the
story of Fate Linegod. Much of his quest will be focused on the effort to find
his loved ones after the resort planet Hida is attacked by an unknown force. Like
its predecessor, Star Ocean : Till the End of Time will feature a realtime combat system, however, it
will also be enhanced with a fully 3D field and polygonal characters.
The next installment in the ever popular Saga series will also be on display this
year. Unlimited Saga will be the first Saga title for the Playstation 2 and will
feature much of the unique art and style, including a new type called "sketch animation",
which has made the series so unique.
Similar in layout to the first Saga for the Playstation 1, this game will feature
seven distinct storylines that will follow each of their protagonists as they travel
to the great Wonders of the world. During their travels, players will be able to
freely explore the map and, in effect, create their own pace to the game as they
uncover the truth of the Wonders and oppose their foes who are trying to
claim the Wonders' power.
The final game on display for the Playstation 2 this year will be a new title
by the name of Drakengard. Combining elements of both RPGs and action games,
Drakengard will allow players to battle throughout both the land and sky, as well
as mature their own draconic ally. Known in Japan as Drag-On Dragoon, the story for
the game will focus on the dragonrider Kyme, who is the prince of a small country
under attack by imperial forces. Also important to the story will be Kyme's sister
Friae, who will aid Kyme in his quest with godess imbued magic as well as Kyme's
childhood friend, and Friae's fiance, Yuvalt. Drakengard is planned for
a spring release in 2004.
For the Game Boy Advance, Square-Enix will be displaying two titles this year.
The first of these will be the eagerly anticipated Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (FFTA).
Similar in style to its Playstation predecessor, Final Fantasy Tactics, this
installment will deposit players within the transformed world of Ivalice, where they
will have to assist the protagonist Marche as he tries to restore Ivalice to its
pre-transformed, industrial-era state of being. FFTA will feature a combat system
which is very similar in to FFT, however, players will now have to also deal with
the intrinsic law/chaos, which is inherent to Ivalice. This will take the form
of Judges who will preside over battles within FFTA and provide points to players
who follow the rules.
The second game on display for the Game Boy Advance will be Square-Enix's
remastering of Final Fantasy Adventure, retitled Sword of Mana. Based on the
story of Final Fantasy Adventure, Sword of Mana will feature an expanded
plot that will allow players to choose the role of either slave/gladiator hero,
or questing Mana tribe heroine. Each of these characters will have their own
distinct storyline and understanding of overall events. In addition to story
changes, Sword of Mana will also feature a number of gameplay improvements
including a broadened selection of weapons and the return of the item selection
rings which were a popular feature in later installments of the Mana series.
Finally, Square-Enix will also have on display, its first ever product for the
GameCube. Titled Final Fantasy : Crystal Chronicles, this episode of the
Final Fantasy line will include a number of changes for the GameCube; most notably,
the ability for four players to play cooperatively. In addition, Crystal Chronicles
will make use of the Game Boy Advance connectivity with the GameCube, and will allow
use of the handheld as a controller for the game. All of a players vital information
will be displayed on the Game Boy and players will have to verbally notify their
friends of their condition and cooperate to solve puzzles. Final Fantasy : Crystal
Chronicles is planned for release later this year.
More information will be forthcoming on these and other games directly from E3, as
our own team of journalists will be on the scene holding interviews and giving
immediate feedback on their experiences from Los Angeles.