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Matsuno off Final Fantasy XII team

"Former director Yasumi Matsuno is no longer working on Final Fantasy XII" -- if we're to believe 1up's investigative reporting, then Matsuno is officially no longer involved with the game. "When part of the FFXII team was said to have left Square-Enix for Hironobu Sakaguchi's new development studio, Mist Walker, Matsuno was reported to have not shown up for work for a month until the crisis was resolved." What's he working on now? Not even 1up knows: "In fact, we're not sure what Matsuno is working on now, and whether he was kicked off the team or if he voluntarily removed himself, although he is still said to be at Square." Once again, Sakaguchi screwed everything up!1

Notes
  1. 1UP.com

Since the confirmation of the Pirates of the Caribbean world in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts II, a new slew of characters are making their way into the game. Included in the gang are Chip and Dale, Merlin, and Pirates character's Will Turner and Captain Barbosa. Now that we know they're involved; somehow, whatever's wrong will get solved.1

Notes
  1. RPGFan

Advent Children set to appear on Japanese silver screen

That's right. The news emerged just recently after the Square Enix Party trailer of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, when Square Enix announced that the movie would be set to appear in theaters across Japan on September 10th, just a few days before its scheduled September 14th DVD and UMD release. Naturally, no such plans have been announced with consideration to North American screenings, probably because of this. Our American readers may now commence pouting.

While this much was pretty obvious from the start, World of Mana will in fact be a new franchise based on the revisitation of the universe crafted with the Mana series previously. "The Legend Lives On. Epic new tales in the Mana series are in the midst of being spun. From past to present, and on to the future, the Mana series continues to evolve. Glimpse the many facets of the World of Mana through a multitude of platforms -- glimpses that will soon unfold into an unforgettable fantasy experience. The day you can next step into the world of Mana is drawing near." -- multiplatform, several genres, and probably with online support in some fashion. Aside from the already announced Seiken Densetsu DS, however, platforms for the franchise ar up in the air.1

Notes
  1. IGN

It would appear that the Square Enix Party 2005's compilation trailer featuring clips from all the upcoming titles also showed the same "Final Fantasy VII Technical Demonstration" that we saw at E3. This of course means absolutely nothing, and certainly not that the company is in fact considering actually developing a remake of the title for the Playstation 3. Right?1

Notes
  1. IGN

Final Fantasy XII receives Japanese release date; fucking finally

With the opening of the Square Enix Party 2005, our good friends at Square Enix finally announced that a release date for the greatly anticipated Final Fantasy XII would be announced; and then announced it! Contrary to popular speculation, the release of FFXII would not coincide with the Rapture, but rather a more reasonable Japanese release of March 16, 2006. While this may seem like a long ways away, cries of cheer already echo around the world, as men party naked and women weep of joy. Square Haven will bring you more information as it arises.

Square Enix has at long last revealed information concerning Grandia III's battle system, called "initiative points" (doubtless due to poor translation). In battle, a dial appears in the upper left corner, and icons representing characters and enemies spin clockwise until they reach a "Com" line, commands are issued, and they continue to spin until they reach an "Act" line. This is, for those who may remember, a system replicated from the previous Grandia incarnation, and rolled into convenient circular form. Mana Eggs also make an appearance, and when broken will enable stronger spells. Grandia III hits Japan on August 4th. No word yet of a North American release.

August 16th will apparently see the opening of a Square Enix merchandise store in Tokyo's Shibuya district, where you can freely opt to be extorted by the company in return for useless shiny things, like Dragon Quest slime miniatures or a variety of Final Fantasy character jewelry. Much like Nintendo's official New York store, in fact!1

Notes
  1. Square Enix

Drag-on Dragoon 2: Original Soundtrack summary

The second Drakengard game proved less flawed and more polished than its predecessor, which was met with differing reviews upon its release in 2003. The same could be said of its soundtrack, which was ambitious in concept but flawed in execution -- repetitive orchestral samples that may have been listenable if they'd not been fraught with noise interjection intended by the composer. This second album is less sanodg and more consistent, then, to reflect that maturation in the series. Songs are certainly more whole and the instrumentatals more solid, though sometimes the sampling makes it hard to tell harmonica from violin (though whether that's intentional remains to be seen). It's also wrapped in two live orchestrated tracks, those being presumably the introduction and ending themes, the latter of which is performed rather aptly by Mika Nakashima (whom I've obviously never heard of).

Within one week of one another, Square Enix has filed two United States patents for both "Treasures of Aht Urhgan" and "Scars of the War". While the first is rumored to be the next in the line of Final Fantasy XI expansions, with Chains of Promathia just recently coming to a close, we can only guess as to the other; most probable: "Compilation of Final Fantasy VIII."

While no actual release date has yet been provided, Square Enix has at least taken the liberty to release some further information on Final Fantasy XII. For instance, the dark haired man in many scans is now Vayne Kaldas Soridor, the son and heir to Arcadia, and he is described as holding compassion for commoners despite his immense power. Two new summons have also been revealed: Hashmarim the earth summon and Berias (Velius) the fire summon; names taken directly from Final Fantasy Tactics. More information will be revealed, swears Enix, at the coming Square Enix Party 2005.

Square Enix has now announced that Tri-Ace smash hit Radiata Stories will be released in North America on September 9, 2005 for an MSRP of $49.99 (USD). Radiata follows the story of Jack and Ridley as they meet under different and dire circumstances to make a difference in interactive environments and a real time battle system. Sporting 150 playable characters and a colossal world, it's sure to cause a ruckus come September.

Code Age decoded

With a recent update to its official Code Age Commanders website, Square Enix has revealed several details concerning two of the game's characters. The first of these, Kilroy, is detailed as being an assistant builder to the Ark, whose destruction by the Central Code drove him to become a Warhead in order to protect his people. Meme, his companion and also Warhead, has a past shrouded in mystery; which really isn't very helpful. A release date for Code Age Commanders (or its localization outside of Japan) has not yet been determined.

Square Enix recently announced the creation of its own Japanese budget series, called "Ultimate Hits", which will feature the re-release of some the Playstation 2 best-sellers, including Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, and a fantastic boxed set of the former two titles. Individually priced at 2,800 yen ($25.25 USD), the line will be available come September 8th.

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