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The Last Remnant in print

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The first image illustrations and in-game screenshots of Square Enix's international RPG have been surfacing in Japanese gaming magazine Dengeki. The Last Remnant marks an experiment for the game developer, both in planning a simultaneous release for Japan and North America, and a cross-platform destination for Playstation 3 and XBox 360. Recently it has been revealed that the game's artwork will be overseen by Kimihiko Miyamae and Yusuke Naora, while the soundtrack will be composed by Tsuyoshi Sekito.

Since The Last Remnant was announced just prior to the Square Enix Party, a few more details regarding the development of the RPG have appeared in Japanese magazine Dengeki. With the success of Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy XII on both sides of the Pacific, Square Enix hopes The Last Remnant may serve as a another cornerstone for their international reputation as a developer of high-end videogames. As reported by For the Reunion in early May, the emphasis for the series, according to director Hiroshi Takai, is on localization and satisfying the demands of Western players.

The latest scan printed in Dengeki magazine reveals new image illustrations
of protagonist Rush Sykes

At this time, only a few story details have been revealed. Rush Sykes, the protagonist, lives a peaceful life with his sister Irina on the island of Eulam, until members of a shadow organization in search of thousand year-old relics called "Remnants" invade their home. Rush is forced into battle, allied with a blood-soaked warrior known simply as "The Conqueror." According to Game Informer, the title will feature epic turn-based battles, initiated by encountering visible enemies on the battlefield during wars with the army of brutal invaders. Action elements will be integrated within battles, when performing special moves or dodging attacks. Rush and his party members, called his Union, will encounter up to seventy enemies at a time, which will be strategically placed throughout the sprawling battlefield. This may serve to add an extra element of strategy to the game than what is found in RPG's featuring random encounters or respawning enemies. The player's actions will determine the morale of his party, directly affecting the likelihood of victory.

First details in the international RPG were published in American periodical Game Informer

The visuals for The Last Remnant are being designed by chief artist Kimihiko Miyamae and overseen by artistic producer Yusuke Naora. The two last collaborated on Unlimited SaGa, another project of producer Akitoshi Kawazu's. The game's artistic designs are attempting to strike a balance between the dreamlike imagery of the Final Fantasy series, and the gritty realism of Western war sims centering on archaic warfare. The game world will feature four distinct races composed of humans (Mitra), Yama (walking lizards), Qsiti (small amphibians), and Sovanni (giant four-armed cats). The title promises to have an emphasis on cinematic visuals and stroytelling, and to that end Square Enix has employed Kouzi Kobayashi, who developed graphics used in the Animatrix, to design the game's dramatic sequences.

Rush and the Conqueror will serve as the game's central protagonists

The central musical theme for The Last Remnant can now be sampled by visiting the game's official website. The theme's composer is Tsuyoshi Sekito, guitarist for the Final Fantasy rock band, The Black Mages. The musician's debut for Square was Brave Fencer Musashi, which he followed up with the Final Fantasy remixes now headed to the PSP Anniversary Edition. As for what to expect from The Last Remnant, Sekito's tracks from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children might offer some idea. The newly released track gives the impression that martial themes and an epic orchestrated score will incorporate the kind of memorable melodies that Square's composers are known for.

Image illustrations of Irina Sykes in the latest Dengeki,
Along with quotes from artists Kimihiko Miyamae and Yusuke Naora

The challenge for the game designers, according to the Dengeki article, has been to develop a memorable game franchise that is different enough from Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, yet including its own appeal. The development team mentions that using the Unreal Engine has sped up the process and allowed the artists to quickly digitize their hand-drawn designs. The title is due out in Spring of 2008 in Japan and North America on the Playstation 3 and XBox 360.

The Last Remnant trailer

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Advent Children was also due out for simultaneous release for the US and Japan, and that sure worked. I can't help but feel sceptical. Would they sacrifice crucial translating/editing time? Or will they just delay the game to ensure it's all done perfectly? (I say delay, as in delay would would have been an earlier Japanese release).

Konami can do it, as seen with Metal Gear Solid 2, since they completed the US version before the Japanese, even if it was only a brief period between the end dates for development.

Still, it's NEW. I'll be keeping an eye on this, mostly for that last fact.
Simultaneous release was recently showcased with the Atlus published Odin Sphere, which received a decent amount of acclaim. Basically, the significance of this is that it can be done with a text-heavy RPG, which requires the most localization of virtually any genre.

What's the point? Since we know it's possible, we can blame Squeenix directly for it not happening.
I think the point with MGS was that they placed greater importance on the English script as the game is targeted towards (and features) Westerners. So probably they wrote the English dialogue first and translated *that* into Japanese.

Pigs will fly before Square Enix comes up with that idea.
Well no, the script for MGS was a particularly fat phone book of Japanese. But your thoughts are right, now that I think about it. They did mention a fair bit during 'making of' type documentaries that they were gearing it to the west.

We can always blame Square Enix for things, such as their obsession with making Australia wait for half a dozen European languages to be satisfied before they release titles here.

Interesting to note that Nintendo Australia releases titles here earlier than Nintendo Europe releases games over there. Yes it's later than the US, but it is earlier than Europe.

Of course we can blame Square Enix, it's not like they don't have the money to spend on earlier translation and development. If they really wanted to there's little to stop a simultaneous release, or at least dates that are a lot closer than they currently are.
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