Final Fantasy XIII, Dissidia rock Square Enix Party

PS3 RPG, PSP Final Fantasy VII spin-offs dominate presentation at publisher's massive Tokyo expo; new Kingdom Hearts revealed.


MAKUHARI--Today in Tokyo, more than 38,000 gamers rushed the Makarhari Messe convention center to attend the Square Enix Party 2007. As the name implies, the festive two-day event is being held by the titular Japanese publisher to show off its latest slate of games. As the paying public swarmed outside, around 300 members of the international gaming press packed into the grandiosely named Closed Mega Theater for a special, closely supervised preview of Final Fantasy titles.

Once the throng settled and the obligatory warning against video recording was issued, the lights dimmed, and the first trailer began to unspool. With the sonorous strains of harp music playing in the background, the title "Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Exclusive Project" appeared on the screen. Then a trailer for the new PSP game Dissidia: Final Fantasy began, showing Final Fantasy I characters and FFIX's Zidane duking it out with foes such as FFVII's Sephiroth, Super Smash Bros. style. The game currently has no release date in Japan, let alone elsewhere.

After a brief plug for Square Enix's various mobile endeavors, the next trailer was for the new DS game It's a Wonderful World. Sporting stylized, hand-drawn graphics, it appeared to be some sort of 2D side-scroller targeted at the Japanese market. No US or European release plans were announced, but GameSpot did preview the title at last year's Tokyo Game Show.

Following another mobile game presentation, a montage of Kingdom Hearts titles was shown off. However, the flurry of snippets was merely a teaser for a new installment in the franchise, which will be unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show this September.

After the logo for Fabula Nova Crystallis--the overarching name for all Final Fantasy XII games--flashed on the screen, a new trailer for Final Fantasy XIII began. The trailer featured a woman named Lightning as she dispatched a series of opponents without breaking a virtual sweat. Afterward, her companion (a blond man on a motorcycle)summoned a spirit (who looked like a biomechanical version of the Indian deity Shiva)from a crystal, before the trailer ended with a giant PlayStation 3 logo.

Then came a trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the PS3 action game set in the FFXIII universe. It showed a hero, sporting one of the series' trademark ornate coifs, cutting through a throng of soldiers with a gigantic sword, aided by some complex martial arts moves. To the strains of melancholy music, he teleported among his opponents, avoiding rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire. As he finally emerged in a throne room to face off against a new opponent, the screen faded to the Final Fantasy Versus XIII logo.

Next was a snippet of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, a new, expanded version of the popular computer-animated film. Quelle surprise, the film will be released on Blu-ray Disc, the PS3's proprietary format, later this year in Japan. No US release date was given for the movie.

After two brief trailers for Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII and Dirge of Cerebus for mobile phones, a preview of Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core for the PSP began. The game's highly detailed graphics, which are near the quality of the original Kingdom Hearts and appear superior to Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, mingled with some cinematics. Several characters of note appeared: the villain Sephiroth, the famously dead heroine Aeris (who is still alive in the prequel), and the spiky-haired hero Cloud. The game is due out on September 13 in Japan, with no US release date yet announced.

Check back over the weekend for more news and previews from GameSpot's coverage of the Square Enix Party 2007.

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