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Squenix promises FFXII this year

And Dragon Quest VIII in 2004. For Europe!

Both Dengeki Online and Famitsu are reporting various comments from Square Enix's recent business strategy meeting, which put Final Fantasy XII (the first "proper" series update since Final Fantasy X) in gamers' hands this year, and predict a 2004 release for Dragon Quest VIII. Worldwide.

However, Kingdom Hearts 2 still lacks final licence approval from Disney, who are too busy swimming in cash to answer the phone. Come to Disneyworld! Bring money!

Apparently Squenix is keen to start making more of the foreign market, especially Europe, because it believes sarcastic gits like us are the key to its future. Hurrah! And despite pressure to adapt to the American thirst for sports games and shoot 'em ups, Squenix doesn't plan to change its line-up for either region.

In fact, it doesn't plan to produce any dedicated overseas titles - at least not yet. This is mostly down to "cost inefficiencies", but the publisher has said it will speed up the localisation process to balance the situation.

All of which means that we'll get our hands on Squenix's output a lot quicker than we ever would have, although it probably doesn't mean that more effort will be put into the finer technical aspects of games like Final Fantasy, a series which certainly deserves 60Hz, operatic surround sound and widescreen modes.

Finally, buoyed by the increasing success of Final Fantasy XI and the possibility of posting an online gaming-related profit this year, Squenix plans to expand its management team in the area and create more online software. Coupled with its newfound love of Europe, this can only be a good thing.