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News / 2004 / May / 22

Post-E3 Final Fantasy XII details from Famitsu and other magazines

  • Published at 04:42:34 PT
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Kupo!Even though western journalism covered E3 from head to toe, guess who got the exclusive information? Naturally.

Famitsu talked to Sakaguchi and Matsuno at E3 and got them to reveal some more details on Final Fantasy XII, presumably because the questions themselves were more game-related than the ones posed by the American and European press. German website PlanetFF12 posted a translated version (in German), which we've summarised below.

Matsuno clarified the various scenes we've seen so far by placing them in chronological sequence and explaining various character relationships.

  • The opening movie of the game is the video we've seen before of Ashe and a silver-haired prince being knighted by the king of Dalmasca.
  • The game then cuts to the playable E3 scene with Basch and Rex. Rex is Vaan's brother, and at the end of this opening scene, Basch, captain of the knights, slays the Dalmascan king because he would not go to war against Archadia (?) and kills Rex, who dies with his brother's name on his lips.
  • The actual opening of the game takes place two years later and is reminiscent of Aladdin - Vaan is shown eating some fruit in a marketplace. He steals a pouch from some guards and escapes to Penelo, his childhood friend. Matsuno says Final Fantasy XII tells the stories of Vaan and Penelo, and although Sakaguchi comments that Matsuno would probably rather have had sky pirate Balthier as the main character, Matsuno indicated that his story may be better suited to an eventual other game.
  • The dungeon scene shown in the prior FamitsuWave DVD movie takes place 3-4 hours into the game, after Vaan goes into the royal palace to steal an item that should help against the invading forces from Archadia. At the same time, several events occur that lead to Balthier and Vaan being locked up in the dungeon together.

Sakaguchi and Matsuno also discussed the theme of Final Fantasy XII: Change. Because Square Enix now controls both Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, it was decided that the latter should be changed to be more unique and characteristic when compared directly to Dragon Quest, so that they don't compete. Dragon Quest will be the traditional RPG series, whereas Final Fantasy must now constantly innovate. Matsuno says that whenever he asked Sakaguchi whether he could change a certain element of the game, the answer was "why not?", suggesting that more or less all innovations are a good thing. However, Sakaguchi claims that Final Fantasy XII is still a Final Fantasy game, even with all the gameplay changes.

Speaking on the new gameplay system, Matsuno mentions that there are no physical jobs or abilities present. However, if a character uses a certain skill often, such as white magic, he will eventually become [closer to] a White Mage. Spending a lot of time on the game will make it possible to create a character who can do anything.

The new battle system is another innovation Matsuno felt was an important step in moving Final Fantasy away from Dragon Quest. Enemies now attack onscreen and only when they can sense the player, either by sight, smell, or sound. Depending on these factors and the environment, it will be possible to avoid certain enemy encounters, although some enconters are not optional, such as boss encounters or plot-specific battles. Enemies will also employ various surprise tactics, such as attacking from behind. This seems to be the realtime implementation of "surprised" or "pre-emptive attack", classic Final Fantasy battle dynamics.

When engaging enemies, there will be a way to determine what kind of attacks they are resistant or weak to - for instance, magic or physical attacks. Based on this the character can modify equipment and attack from a distance or at a closer range.

The classic Final Fantasy elements fire, wind, ice, lightning, earth, water, holy, and shadow return, along with Vagrant Story-esque weapon categories: swords, spears, daggers, bows, gloves, and short swords. Weapons will also bear levels, although more information on them has not been released yet.

The "Gambit" system used to control NPCs in battle was added to ease the progression from Final Fantasy X to Final Fantasy XII, explains Matsuno. The battle system may feel a lot like Final Fantasy XI, but most players won't be coming from there - they'll be stepping over from FFX. One of the main focuses of the battle system is therefore to ensure that such players have a very easy transition. For that reason, certain aspects of the ATB system, such as timing and the "life" bars at the bottom of the screen, have been left intact. Sakaguchi compares this system to Vagrant Story's, which was quite hardcore and tough to get into.

Other comments include Sakaguchi stating that he believes this game is the most graphically advanced title available on the PS2, and won't be surpassed in this generation. He also questions whether it will be possible for him and Kitase to improve upon it in next instalments of the series. Matsuno says this is only the beginning of the "new generation" of Final Fantasy titles - FFX marked the transition, and now the next ten titles are ready to be made. He also says that even though his team has reached over 100 members, he is still constantly trying to max them out and keep pushing boundaries to the point that they ask him "should we really go this far?". This is the reason the game has been delayed, says Sakaguchi, to ensure the highest quality.

All in all it seems that Final Fantasy XII may be another incredibly polished instalment of the series.

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Forums / News / Post-E3 Final Fantasy XII details from Famitsu and other magazines

very nice... ^_^ and we have a release date at eb of 02/15/05 for it, so thats not SO bad (it use to be 12/31/05)
Yeah, im hyped as usual! I can't wait to find out who the other playable characters are in this game. ^^
I just got the June Issue of Famitsu, the DVD is just an extended version of the E3 trailer which has been on the web for over a week now. If FFXII is coming out in Japan in 2005 spring then I highly dout it would come out the same time in the USA.(also has Xenosaga 2 new trailer which comes out in one month in japan(preorder hell yea!)
all i know is what i see, okay? in the computer where i work at, which is eb games (electronics botique) the release date for this game is febuary '05 dates do change but as of right now thats what we have.
if FFXII came out in Japan in the Spring say 4/05 that would make FFXII come out in the USA 11/05 or maybe 9/05, unless Square Enix has made some new Deal with American Publications. There is no way in a million Years that a gaming store would know the release date for FFXII in the USA...but hey keep hope'n it's all so faraway...ja na
ok i agree with you, all i'm telling you is what i see at work. and as i said release dates do change, but its possible the game could get pushed forward in japan too. either way as of right now, go yourself to an eb games, the release date is february.
it's all good^_*
I import games sooo, FFXII, I am interested when they start really promoting it, comercials and all that in Japan, when that Starts happening you know the game is just around the corner.
Say what you want about release dates, but the truth is that Square Enix is making changes in its publishing and localisation setups worldwide in order to get main pillar titles out the door faster. So I wouldn't be surprised if they did get the game out within a few months after Japan. Considering the game will be done well before they publish it (the delay is unrelated to development and solely based on a publishing window), they have plenty of time to localise in time for a worldwide synchronised release. Technically.
square also push forward a lot, for example the kingdom hears 2 release date was origionally for december this year and just got pushed up to september (woo hoo) same with chain of memmories, which was origionally for october. FFXI had a release date of 12/31/05 for the longest time, and right after E3 it was pushed up to 02/15/05 (which would suck considering that xenosaga 2 is currently 02/16/05) but these things are never really steady, take Halo 2 for example which changes like, every week. but for the most part square/enix games don't normally get delayed that long, except crystal chronicles which was pushed from last november to this february, but even that wasn't that long of a jump.i do keep everyone updated on what we have in our system at work on the forums, so you all can keep checking to be up to date.
shit, I meant FFXII not FFXI thanks to my fast typing you know =p
Square Enix president Yoichi Wada stated that the estimate in unit sales isn't the result of a fixed-release calendar. "We're still discussing in which order to release our three major upcoming titles: Final Fantasy XII, Dragon Quest VIII, and Kingdom Hearts 2. We have a number of plans, but we're committed to reaching our goal [in unit sales] under any circumstance." Wada also stated that a FY2004 release of Dragon Quest VIII and Final Fantasy XII is a possibility.
news for the getgo...
makes sense that FFXII release is 2/05 for USA.
back to music ja na!
I dont' think it is refering to that speach. (physical year of 2004 as possibility for major title releases...)
Hi. Just got around to reading all that. Well written.
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