Square has been releasing information on Final Fantasy X over the past few days, and now some storyline details, as well as some release information, have become available. Exploration will be a key to the game, as travel is supposed to be one of the main themes. As with every Final Fantasy title, Final Fantasy X will feature a world complete with many monsters and random battles, but unlike previous entries, a greatly simplified battle system will be in place.
Combat will now be seamless from exploration, and equipping armour and weapons, along with switching between characters during battle, will all be easily integrated into the game. Both the battle sequences and the world will be fully 3-D, and the world will have a strong Asian influence, with architecture in particular being reflective of Asian culture.
Some storyline details have also emerged. The two lead characters, Tidus and Yuna, are from two greatly different social classes; this will be a developing theme as the two characters travel with on another. The character models themselves will be highly detailed, and Square has used motion capture technology to back up its promise to use the PlayStation2's capabilities to their full extent. Tetsuya Nomara, character designer for Final Fantasy VIII, did the honours for Final Fantasy X, so expect to see some similarities between the two titles.
Square has already revealed that Final Fantasy X will sport a number of mini-games, as did its predecessors. In addition to the sport of Blitzball, a fictional language, Al Bhed, will be incorporated into the game, and players will have to hunt for certain clues scattered throughout the game in order to master the language. What can be gained from mastering this language is unclear, but Square has incorporated mini-games extremely closely in recent Final Fantasy titles, so expect the language to have a fair amount of significance.
Final Fantasy X has now been confirmed for European release, as Square announced a partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe to bring that game, as well as The Bouncer, to European shores. Gamers overseas will have to wait awhile for the title, however; Square does not plan on releasing it there until Spring 2002. Additionally, the game's release has been nudged back to early 2002 for North American release. Japanese gamers can continue to look forward to Final Fantasy X on July 19th.