For what seems like ages now, a nameless, dark-haired man has been appearing in various pieces of Final Fantasy XII propaganda along with the other known characters of the title. Recently, Square Enix broke its long lull of silence regarding the title and revealed new details pertaining to this man, as well as the game's summons and how they will play out in battle.
The dark-haired man's name is Vayne Kaldas Soridor, and he is the 27-year-old son and heir of Gramis, Emperor of Arcadia. He fills the roles of both crown prince of the world's largest empire, and leader of the Judges. Even with all of his power, Vayne lacks arrogance. Further, Vayne retains respect and care for commoners. At the present, it is unknown whether Vayne will be a playable character or not.
As for the summons, two brand new beasts have been disclosed; Hashmarim the earth summon and Berias the fire summon. Interesting to note are the similarities these names share with two important characters in 1998's Final Fantasy Tactics. In chapter three of the North American version of Final Fantasy Tactics, the character Wiegraf uses the Aries Zodiac Stone to turn into a demon named Velius, who is called Berias in the Japanese version of the game. Furthermore, the character Vormav later uses the Leo Zodiac Stone to turn into a demon named Hashmalum, which is strikingly similar to the new Final Fantasy XII summon name RPGamer has acquired, Hashmarim.
The summoning system is still somewhat shrouded in mystery. It does seem, however, that summons will take the place of a party member in battle in a fashion similar to Final Fantasy X's summoning system.
Vayne, new summons, and everything else Final Fantasy XII has to offer will be enclosed in the retail copy of the game when it is released some time in 2006. Square Enix has promised a "major announcement" pertaining to Final Fantasy XII at its Square Enix Party 2005 at the end of July. When this announcement is made, RPGamer will bring you the latest.