Final Fantasy XII

Spotlight

Fleeting Fantasies

FFXII's godfathers greet their adoring public.

This Great Fantasy

Akitoshi Kawazu on producing FF XII.

Final Fantasy XII

Nothing lasts... But nothing is lost.

Final Fantasy XII

'Final' for this generation, at least.

Key events

Looks like Final Fantasy 12 HD Remaster is real

Looks like Final Fantasy 12 HD Remaster is real

UPDATE: Composer issues statement, fails to rule out remaster.

UPDATE: The composer who let slip Square Enix is working on a Final Fantasy 12 "remake" has issued a statement saying the term was used "in error".

Over the weekend Arnie Roth set tongues wagging when he said the words "Final Fantasy 12" and "remake" with the same breath during the Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy concert. We took that to mean Square Enix is making a HD Remaster, as it has done with Final Fantasy 10 / 10-2 - not a full-blown remake.

Here's the statement, just published to the Distant Worlds Facebook page:

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Sony sells all its Square Enix shares for 28m

Sony Computer Entertainment has just announced the sale of its entire 9,520,000 pile of Square Enix shares to a company called SMBC Nikko Securities.

An income of nearly 4.8bn yen - around 28m - will be marked down in Sony's financial report for the year ending 31st March 2015. The exact sale price of the shares will be revealed tomorrow.

Confusingly, Sony's annual financial report for the year ending 31st March 2014 hasn't been revealed yet, but will be on 14th May. The forecast for the year ahead will include the sale of the shares.

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Square Enix Masterpieces trademarked

HD remakes on the way?

Square Enix has trademarked the term "Square Enix Masterpieces" across Europe - leading some to speculate it plans to re-release its classic games for the current generation of systems in high definition.

Japanese FFXIII demo gets release date

Japanese FFXIII demo gets release date

Plus: Advent Children film due in April.

Square Enix will release the Final Fantasy XIII demo as part of the Japanese Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete animated film bundle on 16th April.

That's according to IGN, which says the 90 minute-long game sample will be available in two types of Advent Children package, both of which may work on European and US PlayStation 3 consoles.

Buyers can either go all out on a special console bundle, which includes the Advent Children film, 160GB PS3 and a copy of the FXIII demo. This costs JPY 49,980 (GBP 375).

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Squenix wins copyright suit

Music vid plagiarised FF.

Square Enix has won its legal battle with Korean entertainment company Fantom for plagiarising the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children videogame, GamesIndustry.biz reports.

When I was little, before girls and hair, me and my family used to march to a house full of old people and sing songs at them on Christmas Eve. Interesting creatures, full of stories and sticky toffee sweets, and if you played your cards right you might land your very first kiss. Funny smelling places though, like someone kept forgetting to flush the toilet, but then they are old so maybe it is forgiveable. Soap: another withered person smell. The moral is that old things are not useless and ready to be thrown away; my Grandma used to give me stacks of 20 pence pieces when I saw her. Back of the net.

FFXII hogs top spot

PS2 holds its own.

Final Fantasy XII has held on to the top spot in the UK software charts for a second week, with the hugely anticipated RPG title continuing to hold off the challenge from Real Time Worlds' Microsoft-published action title Crackdown, which remains at number two.

FFXII holds off Crackdown

PS2 exclusive claims top spot.

Two format exclusives have gone head to head in this week's charts - with the ageing PS2 beating the next-gen Xbox 360 to the number one spot.

Fleeting Fantasies

FFXII's godfathers greet their adoring public.

It's when we see the crowd that my resolve fails. "Are you sure you don't..." I begin, before my friend cuts across me. "Is there a bookshop nearby?" she asks. "I'll pick something up and go and sit in Starbucks." I nod and direct her to Borders, across the road. I'll call her when we're done. She likes Final Fantasy, sure, and it might have been nice to meet some of the guys behind the game - but god, she doesn't like it this much.

Exclusive: FFXII television ad

Exclusive: FFXII television ad

Patrick Stewart on EGTV.

Eurogamer TV is hosting the worldwide online premiere of the Final Fantasy XII television advert this afternoon, which features the voice of none other than the legendary hairless wonder, Patrick Stewart.

His vocals announce the new Square Enix title that's launching across Europe on 23rd February, as a cinematic introduction to the game plays fantastically before our eyes.

If you're getting as excited as we are, then feel free to pop your fancy-dress togs on and head to the London launch event at Oxford Street's HMV, which is running between 12pm and 2pm on the 23rd.

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Final Fantasy XII HMV launch

Final Fantasy XII HMV launch

Dress up to win stuff.

London's Oxford Street HMV is hosting another game launch on 23rd February, and this time it's Final Fantasy XII, the next instalment in the immensely-popular JRPG series, which is being celebrated.

The event will run between 12pm and 2pm, and gift wristbands will be given out as early as 9am.

If you snag one of these bands and are one of the first 100 to purchase the game, you'll receive a Moogle soft toy and a CD of five tracks selected by composer Hitoshi Sakimoto.

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Squenix talks FFXII conversion

Up to the standards of KH2.

Hot on the heels of news that Final Fantasy XII is due out on 23rd February, Square Enix has confirmed that the PAL conversion will be up to recent standards.

This Great Fantasy

Akitoshi Kawazu on producing FF XII.

The many surprising changes to the Final Fantasy series which Square Enix introduces with Final Fantasy XII are a little less surprising when you look at the pedigree of those involved in creating the game. The original man at the helm of the project was Yasumi Matsuno, creator of Ogre Battle, Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story; having never directed a "number series" Final Fantasy title before, he was given the roles of both director and producer on XII, and immediately set about the creation of a game which would bring to life the world of Ivalice (from FFT and Vagrant Story) and redefine many core things about the series as a whole.

Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII

Nothing lasts... But nothing is lost.

Sometimes videogame publishers are lazy and dull. They find a formula that works and they stick with it rigidly until every drop has been wrung from both the game, and its audience. They build interminable sequels, demanding from their development teams that everything should be by the numbers, within the lines, and comfortably corresponding to the expectations of the audience, and of the management team. They take good ideas and stretch them out into annual updates, robbing them of their impact and leeching their original creators of the fundamental desire to create. Sometimes, even the most dedicated fan of the interactive medium - particularly the most dedicated fan of the interactive medium - can't help but be a little depressed and downhearted.

Sometimes videogame publishers sparkle with unexpected creativity. Sometimes they shatter a mould which had grown so familiar that you had never anticipated change; sometimes they make a giant, shocking leap of faith, place their full trust and confidence in the vision of a development team, and allow a series to be remodelled into a new, exciting form. They hand the keys to their most valuable franchises to creators whose intent is not to build worthy, respectful homages that keep the execs happy and make sales projections easy, but rather to tear the cloth up and find out what new thing can be stitched together from the remnants. Sometimes, even when such experiments fail, you can't help but be excited by being a fan of the interactive medium. When they succeed, they create games which redefine and reinvigorate entire genres with sweeping arcs of their creative brush.

It's easy to roll your eyes at Final Fantasy XII because after 11 sequels and easily as many spin-off titles, Final Fantasy is a comfortable staple of gaming. Although the brand has been branched out into new areas in the past - Final Fantasy Tactics was arguably one of the finest turn-based strategy titles of its day, while Final Fantasy XI was a contender for the massively multiplayer crown before World of Warcraft stomped all over that particular market - the core games, which the Japanese refer to as the "number series", are generally well understood. Players fall into one of two camps - you like Final Fantasy, or you don't, with insufficient variation to be found from sequel to sequel which will change your mind either way.

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Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII

'Final' for this generation, at least.

The light creeping in through the small barred window above me reminds me of what I miss so much. The outside world. Life as an aspiring pirate isn't as easy as people make out and for the third time this week, I've ended up on the wrong side of the law. But this time it's serious. Serving time itself is one thing but the hardened inmates here are out for blood. My blood. With my equipment gone, I only have my fists to rely on when the inevitable occurs and one of these reprobates makes an attempt on my life. Sure enough, with a deafening crash, three hulking Seeq warriors fall out of nowhere and my very life hangs in the balance...

I could probably do the whole review like that, but Final Fantasy XII deserves better. Much better. There's just so much to say about this wonderful game - from the top-notch characters and settings to the compelling combat - that spending paragraphs explaining the melancholy feeling of wandering the barren wastes of Ivalice alone would just be a waste of everyone's time. And just as you might be turned off by a review that opens like an ill-advised blog, Final Fantasy XII is the kind of game that can be easily dismissed by those unwilling to give it the investment of time it not only requires but deserves. Unlike said reviews, however, XII actually rewards your continued attention with more than a drawn-out string of bad metaphors and unintelligible similes.

In fact, there's a surprising amount of things in the game that don't really click until much later on. The targeting arcs, for one, initially seem like some kind of pointless visual flair and it isn't until you've got numerous Gambits set up (which we'll come to shortly) that at-a-glance updates of exactly what each character is doing become essential, allowing you to jump in and reissue orders if allies get a little too carried away. Even the battle system itself won't win any awards for immediacy but when you do the maths and work out how much of your life would have been spent waiting for fights to load had this been any other FF title, you'll discover a new-found respect for XII's choice of direction. Indeed, battles themselves benefit greatly from the new format (a blend of MMO-style command-queuing and more traditional FF ideas), somehow managing to capture the same dangerous level of addictiveness as the cream of the massively multiplayer crop while giving the player more to work towards than simply the benefits of levelling up.

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Special FFXII PS2 unveiled

But will it make it to Europe?

Square-Enix has unveiled the new special edition PlayStation 2 that will come bundled with Final Fantasy XII in Japan - telling Eurogamer that it could make it over here if there's enough demand.

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.

FFXII demo with Dragon Quest

For the US, and maybe us too.

Square-Enix has confirmed to Eurogamer that forthcoming PS2 sequel Dragon Quest 8: Journey of the Cursed King will come bundled with a Final Fantasy XII demo over in the States - and hinted that we might get it, too.

Final Fantasy tops poll

Of games that make us cry.

Respondents to a survey on emotion in videogames have voted Square-Enix's Final Fantasy titles as the most emotionally rich games ever made, citing the death of Aeries in Final Fantasy VII as the series' most tearjerking moment.

FFXII producer leaves

Health complications for Matsuno.

Responding to earlier reports, it has been confirmed that Final Fantasy XII producer, Yasumi Matsuno, has stepped down from his position due to health issues.

FFXII, Kingdom Hearts II dated

News from the Square Enix Party.

Square Enix's latest publicity vehicle, the Square Enix Party, has come and gone in Japan and with it brought more details of several new titles - including release dates for Final Fantasy XII and Kingdom Hearts II.

FFXII confusion cleared up

PS2 only, says Squenix

Following a bit of confusion over exactly which platforms Final Fantasy XII will be appearing on [grr, I said this would happen - Tom], Square-Enix has confirmed that it's a PS2 exclusive and slated for a European release next year.