Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
Platform: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Genre: RPG
Format: Cartridge
Release: US TBA
Japan 04/26/07

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Battle time.
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Talkin' time.
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Cutscene time.
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Neal Chandran
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Neal Chandran

Final Fantasy XII for the PlayStation 2 has proven to be one of the grandest games on the console, and quite possibly one of the grandest in the series. It was a long and arduous wait for this game, but many fans would agree that it was well worth it. Final Fantasy XII offered a battle engine that kept combat fresh and interesting via the Gambit system. The game also chronicled the tale of two street kids named Vaan and Penelo who got caught up in the whirlwind events involving princess Ashe, the sky-pirate Balthier, Balthier's loyal sidekick/companion Fran, and the ex-captain Basch, among others.

One complaint lobbed against the game was that Vaan and Penelo, despite being the main characters, did not receive as much development as, say, Ashe or Balthier. Enter Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings for Nintendo's DS handheld. Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings is part of what Square Enix calls the "Ivalice Alliance," which also includes Final Fantasy Tactics (and its upcoming PSP remake), Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the recently announced Tactics Advance 2, and Final Fantasy XII. Each of those games brought something unique and special to the world of Ivalice, and Revenant Wings also has that lofty aim of contributing positively to the world and mythos of Ivalice.

Directing this endeavor is Motomu Toriyama, who served as director for Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. Other key members of the Revenant Wings development team include SaGa mastermind Akitoshi Kawazu as executive producer with additional production by Fantasy Earth producer Yasuhito Watanabe.

According to an article in Famitsuu (as reported by RPGFan), Toriyama said that "while Vaan only got involved in Ashe's story during Final Fantasy XII, in this new game he will be the one and only protagonist." It was also reported in this article that other characters and races who only made minor appearances in Final Fantasy XII would be fleshed out a bit more; also, Penelo's background would be further explored. In looking at the character silhouettes and trailer on the official site, Balthier, Fran, Kytes, Tomaj, and other characters from FFXII return; the Bangaa Ba'Gamnan appears to have a more prominent role in Revenant Wings than he did in the main installment. Somewhat new to Revenant Wings is a race of beings called the Aegyl, who live on these sky continents. The Aegyl resemble winged Humes and a young male Aegyl named Llyud looks to play a major role in the game.

In an exclusive interview with RPGfan, art director Isamu Kamikokuryou shared that the concept of floating continents and civilizations in the sky would be explored further than was possible in the main game. The events of Revenant Wings take place directly after the events in Final Fantasy XII, and Motomu Toriyama posits that "after taking off from Ivalice by airship, a newly built world will become visible." Vaan has reportedly now become a sky pirate (as he's always dreamed), with access to an airship from the start of the game. With Penelo as his partner, the two have a "newly built world" to explore. This new place to explore is the sky continent of Lemurés, where Vaan and Penelo will meet Llyud and other Aegyl.

As with any RPG, there are battles to be fought. Battles appear to employ a simplified version of the main game's battle engine. According to trailer movies, the fast-paced battles still occur in realtime and you can see your enemies before engaging them. Sometimes, multiple enemies may surround your party, so you can use your DS stylus like the mouse pointer in a PC RPG to target which enemies you want to attack. This seemingly intuitive "point and click" interface should allow the ability to enter commands and engage Gambits (party A.I. commands) quickly in these action-oriented battles. In addition, the more overhead view should allow enemies to be visible and not hidden out of view of the camera as they were many times in FFXII. The stylus will also be used interactively when casting area spells.

The visuals are what one would expect from a Final Fantasy title: stunning. There appear to be CG FMV cutscenes that should undoubtedly push the DS' capabilities to its limits. Some cutscenes also appear to use interesting flashy effects with the in-game engine, which is no slouch either. The gameplay graphics feature lush 3D polygonal environments with 2D character sprites. Said sprites have a more cutesy, big-eyed anime look reminiscent of some of the 16-bit Final Fantasy games. Those expecting sprites akin to the photorealistic rendering of the original PS2 models from Final Fantasy XII may be initially put off, but the sprites are still aesthetically pleasing. The character illustrations that accompany dialogue boxes have been handled by Ryouma Itou, who handled the character designs for Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Seiken Densetsu: Heroes of Mana.

Hitoshi Sakimoto, who composed Final Fantasy XII's soundtrack, is lead composer for Revenant Wings, but he is accompanied by Kenichiro Fukui, who has composed music for Front Mission 5, Project Sylpheed, All-Star Pro Wrestling II, and Einhänder. Prior Square Enix games released for the DS have boasted excellent sound quality, and Revenant Wings should be no different. There has been no word yet whether or not the English voice cast will reprise their roles in Revenant Wings, and no word as to the amount of voice acting present in the game.

As of now, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings has been slated for an April 26th release in Japan with a US release still to be announced. Let us hope this new addition to the Ivalice Alliance succeeds.


© 2007 Square Enix. All Rights Reserved.

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