In two recent interviews, Square Enix representatives from the company's production teams 3 and 4 have commented on their current projects Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XII. In an interview with Dengeki PlayStation, Final Fantasy XI event director Kawamoto, battle director Higuchi as well as Satohiko Matsui commented on their plans for 2004.
As previously announced, the development team is hard at working to implement PvP (player vs. player), cooperative battles, the reverse world known as Limbo, new missions, as well as new weapon skills into the MMORPG. As far as missions are concerned, the trio mentioned there will be no continuation to the missions from the game's first expansion Rise of the Zilart, and that country-specific missions will be discountinued for the time being. While there are new plans in the wings, the three refused to talk about them. Story-related missions will obviously be continued, but in what form remains to be seen.
As far as the highly anticiapted PvP battles are concerned, Kawamoto, Matsui and Higuchi mentioned, they will not be related to the reverse world. Furthermore, players will have to meet certain requirements before they can access the feature for the first time. Also, it will not be possible for players to PK (player-kill), or lash out at another player standing nearby once PvP is introduced.The balance of various jobs will also be adjusted for these PvP battles.
Regarding weapon skills, it was mentioned that the visual effects for weapon skills prepared from the very beginning of the game have been pretty much exhausted, hence the addition of new weapon skills will follow a different route. Therefore, it was mentioned that any new weapons skills would be introduced via special weapons coming with these new attacks.
The reverse world of Limbo will not be *new* per se, but rather the "dark side" of many of the already existing areas of Vana'diel. The reverse world will be a truly challenging battle arena for high level players. Accordingly, the developers emphasized that it will definitely not be a picnic. In Limbo, one can't just enter and exit easily as it will be impossible to just walk out. Only if a character is knocked out or through the use of a Gate Crystal Teleport spell, will he will be able to exit. The reverse world of Limbo will be related to the ongoing story of Vana'diel and also have some significance item-wise.
In addition to Limbo, the developers will be expanding the Burning Circle Notorious Monster (BCNM) fights. These new battles will be fought in Huge Burning Circles (HBCNM), where players can team up in an alliance (up to 18 players), or an over-alliance(18+ players) to take down the enemy. Previous BCNM fights limited the combatants to a single party of 6 players. It was also added that over-alliances would be a staple of surviving the Limbo areas and not just limited to HBCNM fights.
When asked about the added load of North American players from the domestic launch of FFXI for the PC, it was stated that the increased operation rate of the servers due to the North American release had no major (negative) effects. The developers were also very happy to see higher than expected cooperation between Japanese and American gamers. When asked about the finality of the current level cap of 75, it was stated that presently, no decision has been made when to abolish it.
In a Dorimaga interview, Isamu Kamikokuryou, who is in charge of Final Fantasy XII's background art, mentioned that its heroine, Ashe, will be the strongest female lead character in a Final Fantasy title to date, and also very individualistic. Furthermore, there are still a lot of characters that have yet to be announced. While Final Fantasy XII will feature massive environments, the areas which make up those environments may feature a different climate.
Final Fantasy XII will be available in Japan sometime in summer.