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More FFXII Information ! - 02.01.04

Set for release this summer, FFXII sees the Final Fantasy series return to the traditional RPG format we’ve grown to know and love.

Unlike its recent predecessors the game will be more in the vein of the traditional FF games. Recently we’ve seen FFX-2, a mission-based RPG, FFXI, an online addition to the series and FF:CC which focuses more on multi-player gaming.

FFXII will be released on PS2 and not have online elements. Its producer and director is Yasumi Matsuno, the man behind FFT, FFTA and Vagrant Story, Consequently the game is hinted to have likenesses to Vagrant Story in its game play and character design.

From what information is currently available there seem to be two main influences, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and the traditional elements of Final Fantasy, seen throughout the series.

It is set in the world of Ivalice, and although this is where FFTA was set, the team behind the game are adamant that in FFXII we will see a different side to the world. Influences for Ivalice include Turkey, the Mediterranean region and New York. The diversity in climates across the worlds, that are hinted by the producers and by FMVs, likens it to previous games’ worlds, such as FFVII which saw such backdrops as the snow topped mountains of Icicle, the beaches of the Costa del Sol and the more temperate Junon area. This varied scenery can only be a good thing in my estimation, keeping the player engaged as they travel through the different regions of Ivalice.

It is known that Ivalice is divided into several kingdoms. The kingdom of Dalmasca fell to Arcadia whilst fighting for their independence. Princess Ashe leaves her kingdom to rally up a resistance force to free the kingdom of Dalmasca to which she is heir. These all point to a game set around the theme of war.

Airships will play a prominent role in this game. They’ve often popped up in FF games but for FFXII they will be similar to in FFIX, which also featured airships fairly heavily. The airships have been confirmed to be both used for transport and as a stage for game play.

The characters of the game will be divided into races. So far it is known that there will be the Hume, Viera, Bangaa and NuMou races, but others maybe present. The Hume are the race with the highest population and most advanced technology. They are able to use a variety of skills and weaponry. The Viera are the bunny-girls seen in FFTA, they are from a remote land and are a small population of archers. The Bangaa were also featured in FFTA, although they were originally created for FFXII.

The main characters known at this point are Vaan, Ashe, Fran and Balflear.

Vaan is a seventeen year old Hume who wants to free the royal family and citizens of his home, Dalmasca, from the dictatorship of the Arcadia Empire. People have criticised him for looking like Tidus but I feel the Vagrant Story style of character is more obvious in his appearance. It appears at this point, though, that he will have a temperament similar to Tidus’, generally positive and easy-going.

Ashe is nineteen and heir to the throne of Dalmasca which has fallen to the Arcadia Empire. She leads a resistance force against Arcadia to free her kingdom but is losing hope and pride. She will be the heroine of the story, alongside Vaan as the hero, the producers have said they will have a special relationship but the focus will not be on a romantic one. Her appearance is based on the bone structure of a French woman whereas Vaan will look more Asian. This is so as to appeal to a wide audience.

Fran and Balfeur are Viera and Hume, respectively. They are partners on their airship and both are skilled in battle.

Other aspects that will be familiar to all you Final Fantasy fans are the Active Time Battle, three person party and black and white magic.
From some preview shots it is possible to see three slots next to each of the HP gauges. I can’t find any information about them but could they be to hold gems for power or magic, like FFVII’s materia ?

Summons are also to return but it is currently unknown whether they will be the one-shot summons of the older games or more like the controllable summons of FFX. One FMV shows Altima hinting that the Totemas of FFTA may also be in the game. A trailer also shows and Ifrit like creature and the possibility of new summons.

The Judge from FFTA, who has a name that is as yet unknown, will return and play an important role in the storyline.

Most importantly we will see the return of chocobos. It wouldn’t be the same without those loveable yellow emu-things! They will be mostly used for transport in this game.

In conclusion I think that FFXII is shaping up to be another great addition to the series. It seems to include the elements that will make it a classic part of the series, (right down to the Cid, I hope !), but with Matsuno on board I also think it will also bring a refreshing new feel.

With a release date in the 2004 fiscal year it could be a fairly long time until we get it here in Europe (we’re still waiting for FFX-2 !) but lets hope it’s worth the wait.

Writer: Vyvyan

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