Nearly four years after it was first unveiled at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the Western edition of Final Fantasy XIII appears to be done. The news came this morning via a post on the official UK site for the game, which sold more than 1 million units in 24 hours when it launched in Japan on December 17.
In the aforementioned post, director Motomu Toriyama declared that the "Final Fantasy XIII overseas version is finally completed. I am sorry for the long wait. At present members of the development team in Japan are on a New Year holiday while waiting an approval of the master disc." He offered no updates on the game's two spin-offs, Final Fantasy Versus XIII (PlayStation 3) and Final Fantasy Agito XIII (PSP).
With the English-language version nearly gold, it appears that Final Fantasy XIII will indeed hit its March 9 launch date in Europe and North America. Though it was released only for the PS3 in Japan, the role-playing game will be available simultaneously on Sony's console and the Xbox 360 in the West. In the US and Canada, it has been rated T for Teen by the ESRB for a variety of reasons, including the inclusion of "holographic dancers clad in bikini tops, skimpy leotards, and backless chaps."
Semi-salacious imagery aside, Final Fantasy XIII will be set in Cocoon, a floating human city built by an ancient race of massive mechanical beings embedded with magical crystals. Players will control a band of resistance fighters battling Cocoon's theocratic government--while simultaneously trying to protect the city from looming doom from outside.
GameSpot's hands-on preview offers a more detailed look at Final Fantasy XIII, its elaborately coiffed characters, and its gameplay mechanics.