Special: When will Square actually make a FINAL Fantasy
The relationship between Sony and Squaresoft has not been a very long one, but it has been a successful one. Square's flagship, Final Fantasy, has not stopped breaking records and expectations of the gaming public. To date the FF titles have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. All three FF titles VII, VIII, and IX have been instant best sellers and have been added to Sony's prestigious Greatest Hits genre. Most of us can confidently predict that FFX will also become an instant hit on the PS2. Along with other great titles such as Vagrant Story, Xenogears, and Parasite Eve that have each made their mark on the face of the video game industry. And who can forget the coming of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie this summer, a movie that is anticipated to revolutionize the computer animation industry. The sky is the limit for this behemoth game developer. But lets take a few steps back into Squaresoft's past for a moment
Back in the days of Super Mario and Zelda, Squaresoft developed a little known game called Final Fantasy: Crystal for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was not as successful as Super Mario or Zelda but it did set the stage for what would be one of the greatest RPG titles to date. Final Fantasy: Crystal was also the basis for FFIX. The next title Squaresoft developed was Final Fantasy II, which in Japan was FFV. Final Fantasy II got more attention than its predecessor and was one solid RPG game for its time. The tile that really put Squaresoft (Square) on the map was Final Fantasy III for the Super NES, in Japan FFIII was know as FFVI. Square had a huge hit on its hands with FFIII. Final Fantasy III incorporated a griping story line, immense character depth, and an easy to use turn based battle system, not to mention great graphics and music. Hironobu Sakaguchi, who is now the President of Square USA, produced all three FF titles. At the height of Super NES most thought that Square would be joining Nintendo with its Next Generation system. This was not the case. Nintendo decided to stay with the cartridge based system, while Squaresoft wanted to use the CD based system. Since Nintendo was not going to switch to a CD based system because of one developer, Sony stepped in and signed Squaresoft instead. Due to this deal with Sony, Nintendo decided it would never again use Squaresoft as a third party developer.
Sony and Square were a match made in heaven. Square now had the system that would be able to support its dreams of grandeur. Squares first dream came true in the form of Final Fantasy VII. The game was an instant hit. Squaresoft and Sony pulled out all the stops and put together a $30 million campaign, which till this day is still one of the most expensive video game campaigns ever. Final Fantasy VII made the video game culture ooh and ah with its stunning FMV's, in play graphics, deep story line, character models, great digital sound and emotional musical scores. Final Fantasy VII was a landmark in Squaresoft's history and a stepping stone for Playstation. But to the disappointment of many the following titles did not make any new leaps and bounds in terms of innovation. Games such as Xenogears, Vagrant Story, and Parasite Eve all had the same great elements as FFVII, but nothing new. Even Final Fantasy VIII was rated below FFVII because of its lack luster characters and story line. FFVIII's below average performance forced Hironobu Sakaguchi to step back into the producer's chair for Final Fantasy IX. With FFIX Hironobu Sakaguchi took players back to a world filled with black images, dragons, castles, and princesses. The characters were once again those lovable cute little bodied but big headed people. The FMVs vastly improved as did gameplay, sound, story, and music. You didn't have to be a genius to play this game, just someone that loved RPGs. Squaresoft was back on track and looking to the future.
For the past four years Squaresoft has been working on a project that will either be a huge success or a huge blunder. The project is called Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. This will be a feature length animated movie, which will be released this summer. At first look many were fooled into thinking this was a movie with real actors. Final Fantasy: TSW is so advanced that the designers were able to get the animation skin pigmentation almost identical to that of a real human. The motion capture is beyond any animated film ever created. But don't believe me have a look for yourself. Just go to www.Finalfantasy.com. Final Fantasy: TSW is also the most expensive animated feature, it has cost Squaresoft $80 million U.S. The movie is not the only project Squaresoft has in store. Audiences of the 1999 Tokyo Game Show were treated to a sneak peek of Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X. The game is to be released on June 19, 2001 in Japan, and sometime early 2002 in North America. Currently little is known about FFX.
The story line of FFX revolves around an evil force known as Sin, which 1000 years ago put a vast majority of the world underwater. The only thing that can stop this evil is something known as the ?Ultimate Summon?. The central character is Tidus, a young athlete who resembles a cross between FFVIII's Squall and FFIX's Zidane. Another important character is Yuna, who belongs to a tribe of summoners known as Ebon. The Ebon people are the only ones who can call upon the ?Ultimate Summon?. Other characters include Wakka, a friend of Tidus, Kimari, who is Yuna's guardian, and Lulu who is a magician and carries around a moogle. The in-game graphics will be done entirely in real time. And for the very first time in Squares history all the characters will have voice acting for its characters.
Another work-in-progress is Final Fantasy XI: Online. Not much is known about this title either. Here is what we do know. The game will be entirely online and have a multitude of playable characters. Square has already setup www.Playonline.com to support online functions of the game. Fans can already register to the site, which right now provides game and product info, and free strategy guides for The Bouncer and FFIX. We are hoping that more aspects of the game will be seen at the upcoming E3.
Squaresoft's ability to amaze the video game public with its gorgeous FMV's, all too real characters, griping and taunting story lines and music that activates all our different emotions is no fantasy. These are the key elements for a great game, and Squaresoft has them all in check.