It has begun. Media gathered on a cloudy afternoon in Tokyo's Shinjuku district in Square-Enix's corporate HQ to attend their pre-Party event; the Party runs this weekend at the Makuhari Messe convention center.
Things opened with S-E president Yoichi Wada, and one of the more important parts of his speech focused on the need for this company to not only focus on the Japanese market, but on the International market as well. He mentioned The Last Remnant as evidence of this goal, which will release simultaneously in both Japan and the U.S. and will feature two main characters; one each designed specifically for each region. He also said attendees would be able to play the games on display this weekend, which likely made everyone plenty excited.
First up was Star Ocean franchise. We learned earlier this week S-E was planning to release PSP remakes for the first two installments in the series, in addition to a fourth title for next-gen consoles. But here's moer info: the original remake is entitled, Star Ocean: The First Departure and the second is named Star Ocean: Second Evolution . Star Ocean 4 also made an appearance, but we still don't have details concerning the system(s) it will arrive on (although we still assume the PS3 is included), and there is no estimated release date. Following this, Executive Producer of the Chocobo franchise, Shinji Hashimoto, announced a brand new Chocobo Dungeon game for the Nintendo Wii, and then the unveiling of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates for the Nintendo DS and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers for the Wii.
But then came a little surprise- Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System . We have no idea why it's named that, but it's scheduled for August 9, 2007 and feature a "secret DVD." The game is based on the North American version of FF XII, and will allow players to create characters that are closer to classic FF job systems (Red Mage, White Mage, etc.). It's a great idea, to be sure, especially for people who have yet to play Final Fantasy XII .
And last up, a full video for The Last Remnant , which S-E is calling an "RPG for the world."
"[This] will become a cornerstone for our worldwide strategy. Square Enix RPGs are in a league of their own, and in a world of new technology, we need to expand our portfolio and The Last Remnant is a brand new franchise being designed by a new generation of developers, scheduled for a simultaneous US/Japan release," said Wada.
The trailer shown used the Unreal game engine and featured two massive armies, both human and non-human characters, a real-time 3D environment, beautifully detailed areas, and a variety of locales. But during the demo, S-E reinforced one thing: while everything they're doing is very new, very fresh, and very technologically advanced, The Last Remnant is still "rooted in old-school RPG mechanics and values." They also re-confirmed that there is no real release date, and the game is being prepared for both the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Beyond that, let the weekend roll!