Final Fantasy Versus XIII
Platform: PlayStation 3
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Genre: Action RPG
Format: BD-ROM
Release: US TBA
Japan TBA

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I kill you with my magic powers, and with awesome lighting effects!
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So many swords, but no keyblade in sight. What gives, Nomura?
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Chris Winkler
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Chris Winkler

Among the trio of Final Fantasy XIII games (Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and Final Fantasy Agito XIII), Final Fantasy XIII has certainly received the most attention. After all, it is not only the next entry in the main (numbered) Final Fantasy series, but it also marks the series' debut on PlayStation 3. Final Fantasy Versus XIII, however, is not far behind. This action-oriented title is the newest brainchild of Tetsuya Nomura. Similar to the Kingdom Hearts franchise, Nomura not only serves as the game's character designer, but also as its director. Youko Shimomura, the talented lady who has scored the Kingdom Hearts games, is also composing the music for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Meanwhile, members of the Kingdom Hearts development team are working on the game's battle engine, whereas the visuals are being handled by staffers who previously worked on Final Fantasy VII and VIII.

The main difference between Final Fantasy Versus XIII and its cousin Final Fantasy XIII is the emphasis of action. The differences are apparently not limited to the battle system, with Nomura wanting to do certain things in the game which he couldn't do in a numbered Final Fantasy installment.

Visually, Final Fantasy Versus XIII looks as impressive as Final Fantasy XIII. This is only natural, seeing how both games are being powered by the same technology, namely Square Enix's propriety White Engine. And while magic and swords have their place in Final Fantasy Versus XIII, its world has a very modern and realistic touch to it. So far, the only playable character the public has been introduced to is a grey-haired protagonist, even though Nomura commented in an interview that he had already finished the design of the game's heroine.

System-wise, Nomura and Company envision battles reminiscent of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children's battle scenes. To this end, the development team plans to create huge and dynamic maps with extreme height differences. In these environments the protagonist can use his weapon to effectively dispose of his foes. After throwing this extraordinary piece of equipment somewhere, the user can instantly teleport to that exact location. This interesting maneuver can't be performed indefinitely, though.

At this point, little is known about the game's story. However, the developers are promising a dark and sad tale. Since Nomura likes depicting friendship better than love affairs, the former will play a key role in Final Fantasy Versus XIII's storyline. In addition to realistically showing the positive sides of friendship, Nomura also aims to highlight the heavy burden resting on the shoulders of the protagonist and his group of friends. The game's protagonist is an heir to a dynasty who has vowed to protect the last crystal. His country is an isolated kingdom that, despite its modern looks, has retained the order of magic and swords based on the crystal until present times. Trouble is, this last crystal has become a highly thought after commodity. Therefore, the protagonist has to fend off invaders aiming to get their dirty hands on the precious gem. This background story also happens to be the content of the trailers Square Enix has shown to the public thus far. The protagonist is first seen disposing of countless invading soldiers outside his residence before taking on a more powerful foe, clad in a white robe, inside the building.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII's development process is trailing Final Fantasy XIII's. Since the latter has yet to receive an official release date, fans probably still need a good deal of patience until Final Fantasy Versus XIII finally hits retail store shelves.


© 2007 Square Enix, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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