In this week's edition of Weekly Famitsu, Square Enix has revealed new information on Final Fantasy XII for PlayStation 2. As previously announced, two new characters will join Ashe and Vaan: Fran and Balflear. The former is a realiable female Viera warrior. Balflear usually wields a gun, but is also capable of handling other weapons. While Vieras by nature live rather isolated lives, Fran is Balfrear's partner. Apart from them, there will be more main characters as well as other important characters, who won't join the player's party. As usual for a Matsuno game, Final Fantasy XII will feature a lot of characters.
The game's engine will only push half the amount of polygons as Final Fantasy X's graphics engine, but Yasumi Matsuno's team has received some advice from members of production teams 1 and 2, who were working on Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XI. Hence the same development techniques as in the previous two installments are being applied in Final Fantasy XII.
Since Yasumi Matsuno is a great fan of Final Fantasy XI, the weapon currently equipped by a character will be visible on the field map. To give the game's different races a unique touch, the director is also considering using different sets of characters to display the various races' languages. The battle system will feature a "reasonable" evolution. Drawing a comparison to Final Fantasy X-2's more dynamic battle system, where party members and their foes directly face each other in one line, Final Fantasy XII's battle system is being described as Final Fantasy X-2 plus various alphas. On the battle screen, three holes are visible, which can be filled with one or two blue gems.
Furthermore, it was announced that the DVD shipping with next week's edition of Famitsu Weekly will contain the trailer from the game's official presentation last month as well as various screenshots.
Final Fantasy XII will be available in Japan sometime in summer 2004.