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Final Fantasy XIII was released last year, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII is forthcoming. Now might be as good a time as any to clean the slate and start over.

In the West, Mass Effect has become a benchmark of sorts, offering the one-two punch of immediacy and innovation. Should Final Fantasy move away from its traditional Japanese role-playing element and ape, say, Mass Effect? Or Fallout 3? Is it necessary to hire a new character designer to give the games a fresh look?

Publisher Activision Blizzard is expecting its upcoming real-time strategy game StarCraft II to be a significant long-term success for the company -- and developer Blizzard has so much faith in the game that it has reportedly spent more than $100 million on it over the course of its production...

Although not announced until 2007, development of StarCraft II began in 2003; the game went into more dedicated production in 2005, following the release of World of Warcraft.

Is The Last Story the last Sakaguchi game? [Updated]

Although he just set up Mistwalker some six years ago, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has recently ruminated on his work on the Wii RPG The Last Story, Mistwalker's most recent project. A recent blog post might be a bit disheartening for Sakaguchi fans.

[Sakaguchi's] development team pours 120% of their energy [into the project]... Having been drained of energy, there is a strong feeling that this may be [Sakaguchi's] last work.

Will The Last Story do what Final Fantasy, some 25 years earlier, could not? Will it spell the end of Hironobu Sakaguchi's gaming career once and for all?

Update: According to The Magic Box (July 18, 2010), Sakaguchi has responded, saying his comments have been misconstrued. Here are his actual comments:

The energy poured into this project by the development team and I are 120%. I'm hoping you can understand that, however on the other hand, I feel worried and nervous like sending my child on a trip alone. Emotionally it feels like this is my last work, while pouring everything I have gotten into this project. Never regret, but now "I’m enjoying"; furthermore, aiming towards completion. The sense of "This is it" relaxes my shoulders, its pleasant feeling to conduct an orchestra by the sense of my intuition.

Thanks, Nels!

The Supreme Court is getting set to revisit a proposed California law restricting the sale of violent video games to minors, a process that sees a major milestone today as the state submits its written argument in favor of the measure.

It's spearheaded by California Senator Leland Yee, the original author of the law, whose support -- along with that of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger -- has brought it again to the court's attention, despite the fact that such measures have repeatedly been ruled unconstitutional on free speech grounds.

Not long ago, the face of the video game industry had a form far different than what we see today. During the years leading up to the current console generation, Japan ran the show, leaving Western gamers at the mercy of sluggish localizations and with no choice but to read and re-read import coverage as they waited impatiently for killer titles to trickle overseas. Even landmark, blockbuster games like Final Fantasy VII took their time in making the transition to English; nine months separated the Japanese and American releases of the franchise's 32-bit debut, an unthinkable delay today.

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