Breaking News: Square Millennium

Square unveils three Final Fantasy titles and announces a future of online gaming.


GameSpot News has just received first details from the Square Millennium event currently underway in Japan. Square has officially announced Final Fantasy IX for the Sony PlayStation, along with Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XI for the Sony PlayStation2.

Final Fantasy IX features characters that are smaller in size compared to the recent Final Fantasy games (a bit more similar to the older FF titles) and are somewhat cartoony. A maximum of four characters can be formed in a party. Meanwhile, from what was said at the show, Final Fantasy X could aptly be described (graphically) as the “Shenmue of the PlayStation2” at this point - it looks very realistic. The game is still in early development stages, but Square has announced it will include its own online network software in the game called Play Online. Final Fantasy XI was announced as well, and it came with the tag line “Online Another World.” The company has only revealed that the title will be an online RPG for the PS2.

Square president Hironobu Sakaguchi also mentioned he is currently brainstorming about two other non-Final Fantasy online games.

Parts of the Final Fantasy Movie were shown briefly. Square mentioned that footage could not be rebroadcast due to contractual obligations with Columbia Pictures. However, the company stated that an official web site for the movie will be launching in March, and that it will be filled with data and media.

Though the announcement of a whopping three Final Fantasy titles seems amazing, Square's main focus at the show seems to be its online network, Play Online. Play Online is going to be Square's online portal, which it will develop with the help of Japanese telecommunication company NTT Communications. It will feature online games, chat, e-mail, online comics, Internet, online shopping, sports, and instant messenging. Play Online is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2001. Software to access the online portal will be bundled with Final Fantasy X for the PlayStation2. Both PlayStation2 and PC users will be able to access Play Online.

Final Fantasy IX for PlayStation is slated for a summer release in Japan, while Final Fantasy X is on track for spring 2001. Amazingly enough, FFXI is being targeted for summer 2001, not even a half-year later than FFX. We'll be bringing you lots more coverage of the Square Millennium event in the coming hours, including hands-on impressions of Type-S and Gekikuukan Pro Baseball, both playable at the show. Stay tuned!

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