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Square-Enix Announces E3 Lineup

In a press release today, Square-Enix U.S.A announced the titles which it is planning to show at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). These releases are going to be spread across numerous platforms, which will include the Playstation 2, the Game Boy Advance, the GameCube, and PC's. All of the planned titles will be on display in Square-Enix's booth at E3, which will be number 624 in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center for those of you lucky enough to attend.

Final Fantasy XI

Square-Enix will have five titles on display for the Playstation 2 this year. The first of these games, Final Fantasy XI, will also be available for the PC upon release. Square-Enix's first attempt at the realm of Massive Multiplayer Online gaming, Final Fantasy XI is planned as a cross platform title which will allow players on both the Playstion 2 and PC to connect to, and interact with, the same content simultaneously. Situated in the world of Vana'diel, players will be able to log on from around the globe and adventure as one of many classic Final Fantasy classes.

Final Fantasy X-2

The second title on display for the Playstation 2 will be Final Fantasy X-2, which is the first sequel ever in the long running Final Fantasy series. In addition, it is the first Final Fantasy ever with a purely female cast of leading characters. Taking place two years after the previous game, Final Fantasy X-2 will follow the story of Yuna, as she tries to uncover the truth regarding a vision of what she believes is Tidus seen through a mystical sphere. In her adventures, Yuna will be joined by both the returning Rikku and a new character, Paine.

Star Ocean : Till the End of Time

A title previously released in Japan by Enix before the merger, Star Ocean : Till the End of Time will also be on display at this year's E3. Set 400 years after the battle with the Ten Sages, which was the focus of Star Ocean 2, this game will be focused on the story of Fate Linegod. Much of his quest will be focused on the effort to find his loved ones after the resort planet Hida is attacked by an unknown force. Like its predecessor, Star Ocean : Till the End of Time will feature a realtime combat system, however, it will also be enhanced with a fully 3D field and polygonal characters.

Unlimited Saga

The next installment in the ever popular Saga series will also be on display this year. Unlimited Saga will be the first Saga title for the Playstation 2 and will feature much of the unique art and style, including a new type called "sketch animation", which has made the series so unique. Similar in layout to the first Saga for the Playstation 1, this game will feature seven distinct storylines that will follow each of their protagonists as they travel to the great Wonders of the world. During their travels, players will be able to freely explore the map and, in effect, create their own pace to the game as they uncover the truth of the Wonders and oppose their foes who are trying to claim the Wonders' power.

Drakengard

The final game on display for the Playstation 2 this year will be a new title by the name of Drakengard. Combining elements of both RPGs and action games, Drakengard will allow players to battle throughout both the land and sky, as well as mature their own draconic ally. Known in Japan as Drag-On Dragoon, the story for the game will focus on the dragonrider Kyme, who is the prince of a small country under attack by imperial forces. Also important to the story will be Kyme's sister Friae, who will aid Kyme in his quest with godess imbued magic as well as Kyme's childhood friend, and Friae's fiance, Yuvalt. Drakengard is planned for a spring release in 2004.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

For the Game Boy Advance, Square-Enix will be displaying two titles this year. The first of these will be the eagerly anticipated Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (FFTA). Similar in style to its Playstation predecessor, Final Fantasy Tactics, this installment will deposit players within the transformed world of Ivalice, where they will have to assist the protagonist Marche as he tries to restore Ivalice to its pre-transformed, industrial-era state of being. FFTA will feature a combat system which is very similar in to FFT, however, players will now have to also deal with the intrinsic law/chaos, which is inherent to Ivalice. This will take the form of Judges who will preside over battles within FFTA and provide points to players who follow the rules.

Sword of Mana

The second game on display for the Game Boy Advance will be Square-Enix's remastering of Final Fantasy Adventure, retitled Sword of Mana. Based on the story of Final Fantasy Adventure, Sword of Mana will feature an expanded plot that will allow players to choose the role of either slave/gladiator hero, or questing Mana tribe heroine. Each of these characters will have their own distinct storyline and understanding of overall events. In addition to story changes, Sword of Mana will also feature a number of gameplay improvements including a broadened selection of weapons and the return of the item selection rings which were a popular feature in later installments of the Mana series.

Final Fantasy : Crystal Chronicles

Finally, Square-Enix will also have on display, its first ever product for the GameCube. Titled Final Fantasy : Crystal Chronicles, this episode of the Final Fantasy line will include a number of changes for the GameCube; most notably, the ability for four players to play cooperatively. In addition, Crystal Chronicles will make use of the Game Boy Advance connectivity with the GameCube, and will allow use of the handheld as a controller for the game. All of a players vital information will be displayed on the Game Boy and players will have to verbally notify their friends of their condition and cooperate to solve puzzles. Final Fantasy : Crystal Chronicles is planned for release later this year.

More information will be forthcoming on these and other games directly from E3, as our own team of journalists will be on the scene holding interviews and giving immediate feedback on their experiences from Los Angeles.


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by Gabriel Putnam    


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