FFXII to cost extra in Japan

But what about over here?

Square-Enix has announced that Japanese Final Fantasy fans will have to pay more than they would normally do for a PS2 game if they want to get their hands on the next instalment in the series.

At a press conference in Tokyo, a Squenix representative said the game, which launches in Japan on March 16th, will be priced at 8990 yen (around 43). Most PS2 games retail for 7410 yen (35) - so that's a mark-up of just over 8 per cent.

So will European gamers have to pay a higher price, too? Squenix was unavailable for comment when we tried to contact them this morning, but it's always a possibility - previous Final Fantasy games have carried a higher-than-average price tag in Europe before, apparently due to the increased costs of extra discs and bigger boxes.

Squenix also announced that the FFXII main theme music is being composed by producer Taro Hakase, who said he's been hard at work on the project for two years now.

A CD single of the song, which is titled Kibou (Hope), will hit the shops before the game itself and will be available as a special edition - complete with a DVD featuring footage of FFXII and interviews with Hakase - for 1680 yen (8).

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Squenix has also signed a deal with Japanese drinks company Suntory to produce a new beverage by the name of Final Fantasy Potion. It's an energy drink containing herbs such as hyssop and lemon balm, and will be available in a "premium box" bundle that includes a specially designed bottle and an FFXII Art Museum card.

Final Fantasy XII is out in Europe next year, probably some time around autumn.

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