SquareSoft's Hironobu Sakaguchi comments on the first online Final Fantasy game, the upcoming Final Fantasy X, and other related topics.
The constant rumors regarding the fate of SquareSoft's first online RPG, Final Fantasy XI, particularly about its cross-console release, can now be put to rest. Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series, confirmed with GameSpot that Final Fantasy XI, although initially in development for the Sony PlayStation 2 and the PC, will indeed be released on multiple consoles. Although he refrained from naming the specific platforms, the game's release will include the Microsoft Xbox and likely the Nintendo GameCube. "Initially, of course, the game will be released for the Sony PlayStation 2 and the PC platform, but in order to gain as broad an audience as possible, we will release it across other consoles in the future." Sakaguchi told GameSpot.
In Sakaguchi's vision, the game will be playable across multiple platforms and concurrently by users worldwide. Final Fantasy XI has been in development for some time and will be released sometime next year. In addition to Final Fantasy XI, Sakaguchi spoke on various related topics, including the upcoming Final Fantasy X, which will be released on July 19 in Japan. Our brief Q&A with Hironobu Sakaguchi follows.
GameSpot: What is the status of Final Fantasy X? Is the game complete?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: The production is done, and it is awaiting release. Of course, the US version will be released early next year.
GS: Now that the game is complete, which aspect are you most proud of?
HS: One major achievement that we think we accomplished with Final Fantasy X--something that my staff and [I] have been trying to do since Final Fantasy VII--was to seamlessly, as much as possible, put together the battle scenes, the regular interactive scenes, and the FMV. We wanted the games to flow through those sequences seamlessly, in a visual sense. I think that we were able to achieve this with Final Fantasy X.
GS: Of course, Final Fantasy XI will be online. What do you see as the next evolution in online role-playing games?
HS: The next evolution is in how the story is presented in online games. I think there should be a broader history and narrative background to these players. Now, when people go online the individual characters interact and create their own story. The next step would be to have them interact within this general historical background and have plots that sweep through the entire gameworld--to have interaction among the online players within a larger story. And really, this is what we're trying to do with Final Fantasy XI.
GS: Will users worldwide be able to play the game concurrently?
HS: In that sense, it will be like games such as Ultima Online, where anybody can join in and play.
GS: How far do you wish to take the Final Fantasy game series?
HS: I don't know, as far as it can go. I hope it's around for a long time.
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