Square-Enix has been helping out the Gameboy Advance for a while now, with its remakes of the classic [i]Final Fantasy[/i] titles, and a couple of high profile exclusives, and recently, they’ve put out some higher-profile games on the Nintendo DS and PSP, being [i]Final Fantasy III[/i] and [i]Valkyrie Profile[/i] and now, they’ve announced some big, bold plans for future handheld games.
To start small, [i]Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core[/i] will finally be displayed in playable form to the general public (…in Japan only, of course). At the Jump Fiesta, a gaming and comic convention held by the manga-spouting Shueisha Jump comic company (Shonen Jump! in America), Square-Enix will unveil the first real gameplay details for the mysterious PSP title. For those who haven’t been following [i]Crisis Core[/i], the game is the final installment in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series, and features a story centering around Cloud and Zack when they were working for Shin-Ra. The game was announced a great deal of time ago, but almost no details outside of the story have been released. PSP owners may want to keep a close eye on the Jump Festa, which starts off on Saturday December 16.
Another game to keep an eye out for at the Jump Festa is [i]Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings[/i]. This is supposed to be a newer, “entry-level” installment in the series, centering around Vaan, one of the leading characters of Final Fantasy XII for the PS2. The game is being made to be user-friendly for beginners to the Final Fantasy series, something similar in ideal to [i]Mystic Quest[/i] for the SNES. The game is coming out for the DS, and is said to be lined up to use the touch screen. Other than that, there are no hard-set gameplay details for the game, though the DS’s first truly exclusive Final Fantasy game is definitely a big point of interest for Nintendo fans.
The next thing is hot off the presses: two more Ivalice-set games are set over the horizon. The first is [i]Final Fantasy Tactics: The Lion War[/i]. Yes. That’s right. The actual [i]Final Fantasy Tactics[/i] game, filled with its difficult-to-follow plot (unless you play it through six to eight times), balance issues (Orlandu with the Excalibur could wipe out everything so quickly, it’s funny) and deficient localization and translation (Olan/Orlan was the step-son, son-in-law, son and grandson of Orlandu, varying with each scene) is being remade for the PSP. Shueisha Jump, who is infamous for breaking the great news about new games, put scans of the title in their latest issue. It shows some telling shots of what can be expected in the remake, including some pre-rendered artwork that take the place of FMVs (including shots of Ramza and Delita’s bonding after Teta is kidnapped), and a new job class. The graphics appear the same, complete with the same sprites, levels and nose-less character art. It is unknown if there will be any changes to the problems of [i]FFT[/i], or if this will be a direct port outside of the additions listed, but either way, this is a colossal game-to-watch for the PSP.
Last but not least is [i]Dragon Quest 9[/i]. The highest-selling RPG series (even bigger than Final Fantasy) that always ushers in millions of sales for Sony IS COMING TO THE NINTENDO DS. Dragon Quest 9 marks one of the first time(s) (maybe the only time) that a console-based game series moves one of its main titles to a handheld. This title holds significance on many, many levels, including how this means Sony has lost one of its most-popular game series (second only to Madden football) to Nintendo. This definitely bodes ill for Sony, and is a major hit to the PS3, which was generally expected to be the house of the latest game in the series, and was probably going to be one of the main reasons to get a PS3 in Japan.
There’s a whole lot of RPG goodness to be had for PSP and DS owners in the future thanks to Square Enix.