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E3 06: Square Enix reveals E3 lineup

Japanese game behemoth continues to bank on its Final Fantasy franchise with six of the series' games at the show; new installments of Mana series and Valkyrie Profile will also appear.


Today Square Enix launched its Electronic Entertainment Expo Web site and revealed its game lineup for this year's show. It's no surprise that Final Fantasy games take top billing; the company will present no fewer than six Final Fantasy games on handhelds and consoles, and will also show two more for cell phones.

The full announced lineup is listed below, with tentative US release dates in parentheses. Unless otherwise noted, Square Enix has promised that these games will be playable.

Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan for the PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Windows (already released)--This Final Fantasy XI expansion is the only game that Square Enix will show for the Xbox 360 and Windows platforms.

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 2 (summer 2006)--This game is set three years after Final Fantasy VII, and stars Vincent Valentine in conflict with mysterious invaders called the Deepground soldiers. The game combines shooter elements with classic Square Enix RPG action.

Dawn of Mana for PlayStation 2 (release TBD)--The first true Mana sequel in a decade, Dawn of Mana will break the 2D mold and brings the franchise's world to three dimensions, while still attempting to preserve the look and feel of the originals. Dawn of Mana will be shown on video only.

Final Fantasy XII for the PlayStation 2 (fall 2006)--Square Enix touts two innovations in this game: "Active dimension battle" and a new combat system. The active dimension system lets players move seamlessly between exploration and combat, eliminating the random battles and the accompanying load times that disrupted the experience in prior games. Meanwhile, the new combat system lets the player define rules governing the character's behavior--an innovation that Square Enix refers to as the "gambit" system.

Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria for the PlayStation 2 (2006)--Square Enix has implemented an updated combat system in this game as well: an evolution of the prequel's well-regarded battle system.

Children of Mana for the Nintendo DS (2006)--This game allows four players to play together, either cooperatively or competitively, and follows in the Mana series' tradition of action RPG gameplay.

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime for the Nintendo DS (2006)--This is the latest game from the creative team behind the 2005 RPG Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. The hero of this brand-new action adventure is a slime--one of the most popular monsters from the Dragon Quest series. Players will take control of the slime and employ unusual mechanics like bouncing and stretching to solve puzzles and rescue captured allies. The game also employs the Nintendo DS's wireless capabilities to offer head-to-head combat.

Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS (2006)--The only Final Fantasy that was never localized, the third installment of the original series, will finally come to the US. The original game has been revamped with completely reworked and remodeled graphics in full 3D.

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth for the PSP (2006)--The classic PlayStation title Valkyrie Profile, originally released in 2000, is coming to the PSP system with completely new CG cutscenes. The game is developed by tri-Ace, the company that created the popular Radiata Stories and Star Ocean series.

Final Fantasy V Advance and Final Fantasy VI Advance for the Game Boy Advance (both 2006)--The latest GBA revamps of the long-running role-playing series will not be playable on the show floor, but will be shown in video form.

Square Enix will also be showing off an array of cell phone games, most notably Before Crisis - Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy I, both set for a 2006 release. Also announced but with release dates to be determined are Brave Shot 2, 3D Space Invaders, Chase H.Q. 3D, and Elevator Action 3D.

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