Square spills additional Before Crisis details

Game's producer and director open up on eve of Final Fantasy release for mobile gamers.

TOKYO--With Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII's official September 24 release date looming, the game's producer, Kosei Ito, and director, Hajime Tahata, unveiled more of the Before Crisis picture. The pair responded (through an interpreter) to queries concerning the game's use of downloadable content and multiplayer features, while also confirming Square Enix's disinterest in releasing the game beyond Japan--at least for the foreseeable future.

First to be answered in a press conference held on the eve of the Tokyo Game Show were the myriad questions concerning Before Crisis' release. Ito and Tahata dispelled the notion that Before Crisis would be released in areas outside of Japan, telling the audience that Square Enix presently has no plans for an overseas release. The pair explained that the game was designed specifically for NTT DoCoMo's FOMA i900 handsets, which are capable of advanced multimedia processing. Furthermore, even if one were to obtain a FOMA i900 internationally, there would be no way to play the game outside of NTT DoCoMo's i-mode mobile data service.

The two also negated the possibility of a Before Crisis release on other platforms. When asked why Square Enix was interested in releasing the game only for mobile, they simply replied that nobody else was attempting to develop a similar product. They went on to make the point that there were presently 4 million i900 phones in Japan--and that the Before Crisis beta test received 1.6 million hits on August 31 alone. However, Ito and Tahata also told the audience that Square Enix would begin bringing more of its mobile games to Europe and America "as soon as the infrastructure is right."

Ito and Tahata ended the press conference by addressing Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII's use of network streaming. Such streaming will allow Square Enix to introduce continuous updates to the story--probably on a monthly basis. They also shed more light on Before Crisis' enigmatic multiplayer features, which were previously reported as being akin to those of a standard MMORPG. We now know that Before Crisis players will formulate their parties via a lobby-based system. They will also be able to request help and trade Materia (magical objects) through the network.

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