Oh wow, we were all expecting it, we all KNEW Final Fantasy IX was going to be announced at the Square Millennium event, and then Square goes and surprises us. Not only are they releasing Final Fantasy IX, but X and XI are coming up swiftly behind it. You'd have to have a fat chocobo sitting on your head not to know that. It's quite amazing, but let's take it one Final Fantasy at a time.
Final Fantasy IX, probably the one we're all most excited about. Square is going to return to the fantasy setting we've all been dying for. I can't say that many 32-bit RPGs have had much fantasy in them so far, and FF9 is an exciting change. We get to have FOUR party members again. God how nice that'll be. The three character scheme is okay, but it's used in almost every frickin RPG, and it's getting tiresome. FF9 is rumoured to also have the Job system in it, which is heralded as one of the best battle systems, although that would break the Final Fantasy tradition of having a unique battle system for each game. So, we'll have to wait and see. My guess is a revamped and highly improved Job system if nothing else.
Final Fantasy X. I'll bet a few people are tempted to call it by the
letter instead of the number. This will be a big one. The first Square RPG on the PS2 should be northing less than rip-your-heart-out-of-your-sorry-chest-cavity amazing. Square always uses a system to it's fullest capabilities at the time they make there games. Online play is what makes FF10 different from all the other Final Fantasies. It should be a hell of a lot of fun. Almost all of us own modems, and a lot more of us will own cable modems by the time FF10 is released. Since the PS2 is suppose to have USB ports, it'll be easy to hook up an already pre-existing cable modem to it. We all remember how much fun it was to play Secret of Mana with a friend, so FF10 should be spectacular.
Final Fantasy XI. Wow, the biggest surprise of them all. I could handle the announcement of two Final Fantasies, especially with a next gen system around the corner, but a third FF is nothing short of amazing. FF11 is supposed to be completely online. Anyone who's played EverQuest (I unfortunately have not had the opportunity, boo-hoo, woe is me.) says it's a lot of fun, and you can bet that Square will do a really good job with their online network. Square has been pumping a ton of money into internet technology and know-how. It'll be an exciting time for RPGers. Of course, not everything is all well and dandy. Three Final Fantasies in such a short span of time is hard to believe. If something's too good to be true, it probably is. I'm afraid Square might be stretching themselves a little thin on this one. Granted that FF9 is almost done, but building a game from scratch is a lot of work and I personally wouldn't be surprised if Square delayed the release of FF10 and FF11. But Square is very punctual about release dates, so it's anyone's call.
Well once again, Final Fantasy takes another drastic turn, which can only guarantee the "bitching of old-schoolers of the good old days" editorials along with the "modest old games and new games are good" editorials, and of course, about a billion more editorials on the "direction Square is going in." I'm personally looking forward to the future of RPGs, I've always been somewhat intimidated by online RPG's, and Square seems like the company that can make it easy for even the village idiot to play online, so kudos to Square.