E3, the biggest annual week-long gaming conference on Earth, kicked off on Monday, July 14 in Los Angeles. On the minds of many was the next installment of the Final Fantasy franchise, as many bloggers and fans expected some sort of announcement from Square Enix at the gamer extravaganza. Right now, all that fans (like myself) have are a handful of freeze frame images and a trailer. Most gaming experts predict (or hope) that Square Enix will announce a release date some time this weekend, but the announcement that came Monday was most unexpected.
Final Fantasy XIII will be released on Sony PlayStation 3 AND the Microsoft Xbox 360. Square Enix has been steadfast in its partnerships with Sony and Nintendo, and the decision to release the title on two platforms could be seen as a huge slap in the face to Sony. In a press conference, Square Enix Corporate Executive, Shinji Hashimoto announced that the decision was made because they want to spread Final Fantasy to more places around the world.
Tech specs shouldn’t make much of a difference when it comes to game play. The PlayStation 3 is only minimally faster, and image resolution shouldn’t be affected. As for any special features, Final Fantasy XIII Producer, Yoshinori Kitase said that the content would remain the same, but with Blu-ray and other formats it might be different. What the execs did promise was a “flashier” and more exciting game.
While the cut scenes and graphics of Final Fantasy XII were beyond amazing, the story itself was lackluster and drawn out, and many fans hope that the next story will bring something new to the table.
For those who don’t have a PlayStation 3 (like me, who still only has the PlayStation 2), the announcement could be a huge relief. It’s a bit silly for me to drop $400 for a gaming console to play one game (two if you count the rumored Kingdom Hearts III), but with an Xbox, my options are slightly better. I have more friends with the 360, and the Microsoft gaming console has a cheaper price tag at $300 (and probably less by the time FF XIII is released).
However, the gaming execs didn’t name a release date, signaling that it could be awhile (maybe a few years) before we can even decide whether or not to play FF XIII on an Xbox or a PlayStation. But we did get a new trailer!
Final Fantasy aficionados will not have to wait long for a new release as Final Fantasy IV will hit North American shores on Nintendo DS next Tuesday, July 22.