Square has revealed the first information surrounding its Game Boy Advance sequel Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and in true Final Fantasy fashion, it looks as though the sequel has very little relation to its predecessor. Frighteningly, shades of Secret of Evermore manifest themselves here; FFTA will start out following the misadventures of two average schoolchildren who are sucked into a fantasy world from their mundane existence. The catalyst? A book named Final Fantasy, conveniently enough.
Fortunately, FFTA's resemblance to SNES disasters of old ends here; Marsh and Mute, the two boys, don't look to be the sort to make wisecracks about movies and beat up mosquitos with a bone. Marsh is painted as benevolent, while Mute, in keeping with the tradition of descriptive video game character names, is quiet and shy. The two will battle their way across an undiscovered continent using a world-building system that some suggest bears similarity to that found in Legend of Mana.
There are three sets of gameplay mechanics which merge to form the backbone of FFTA. The Judgment system governs combat, and although how this will influence battle remains unclear, it seems it is so named because a judge oversees battles. The Clan system is more in line with the original Final Fantasy Tactics, and deals with the various tasks, jobs, and errands characters can undertake once they become clan or guild members. Lastly, the Legion system is the aforementioned world-building or discovery that seems to take its cue from LoM.
These are sketchy details at this point, so don't be surprised if a number of changes are made before the final product ships. As it stands, one of the longest awaited sequels in the RPG world is finally underway, and however it turns out, there is sure to be an enthusiastic response when FFTA ships, however it ends up looking and playing. Currently, that is scheduled to happen by the end of the year in Japan, while a North American release has yet to be confirmed.