Squaresoft made quite an appearance at the ongoing Jump Festival in Tokyo, showing off a thirty-second video clip of new footage from their highly anticipated RPG, Final Fantasy X. From the clip, which was shown following videos of other upcoming Square products for the WonderSwan Color, upcoming Square game The Bouncer and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, it could be deduced that one of the main themes in Final Fantasy X will be the conflict between the elements. This was shown in one of the many computer-generated scenes in which a water goddess with an appearance similar to that of Rinoa from Final Fantasy VIII seemed prepared to fight a fire god resembling Ifrit from the same game.
Other computer-generated scenes showed a slight departure from the steps Square had taken in Final Fantasy IX. The character designs resemble the realistic figures of Final Fantasy VIII rather than the "super-deformed" ones of Final Fantasy IX. The battle system resembles that in Final Fantasy VIII as well, showing the entire screen without battle windows until they are needed. Furthermore, the game looks to mix science fiction and fantasy more successfully than the recent games in the series have, featuring such modes of transportation as an airship equipped with an ion cannon. However, it is doubtful that such a mixture will appease those who have complained about both directions the series has recently taken.
The real-time sequences took up a small percentage of the thirty-second video, but the real-time engine is where Final Fantasy X will truly distance itself from its predecessors. All of the real-time sequences will take place on a real-time 3-D map, leaving the prerendered backgrounds of the PlayStation games in the series behind. These sequences will all be in high-resolution, though the full-screen anti-aliasing had not been implemented at the time the video had been recorded, leaving the images with jagged edges. However, the free-form exploration that a fully 3-D world offers will most likely change the face of the series forever.
Final Fantasy X will be available in Japan in March of next year, with a North American release later next year. RPGamer will bring you more information on this important game as the release dates draw nearer.