Final Fantasy XIII hits Japan Dec. 17

The epic JRPG will arrive in island nation both solo and bundled with PS3 console; Square Enix still shooting for NA, EU release in spring 2010.

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TOKYO--It has been a tortuously long wait for gamers eager to get their hands on Final Fantasy XIII. With the title not due out until spring of 2010 in Europe and North America, only Japanese gamers could look forward to seeing Square Enix's epic role-playing game this year.

The wait is almost over...in Japan.
The wait is almost over...in Japan.

At a special event in Tokyo today, Square Enix announced that FFXIII, which is PlayStation 3-exclusive in Japan, will be hitting Japanese shelves on December 17 for a price of 8,800 yen ($95, £58) pretax. The date and price were also confirmed on the game's official Japanese site.

Japanese gamers will also be treated to a bundle containing the new PS3 Slim and a copy of the game. No details on pricing were announced. Similarly unclear is whether the pack would feature a special-edition console similar to earlier Final Fantasy Advent Children bundles.

Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada sets the date.
Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada sets the date.

Unfortunately, the publisher did not confirm an exact release date for Western markets but did say it was shooting for a spring 2010 release window, as it has indicated in the past.

"We can't announce any specific dates yet," FFXIII executive producer Yoshinori Kitase said at the event. "But in the past, it took about a half a year to a year. We're hoping that this time, we can release it with only about one season's worth of a delay."

The spring 2010 date comes despite Square Enix's previous promises to speed up localization of FFXIII, which will be released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 simultaneously in North America and Europe.

Also on hand at the event was Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai, who played up the long-standing synergy between the Final Fantasy series and PlayStation consoles. The event was also used to unveil FFXIII's new theme song and a new energy drink, Final Fantasy XIII Elixir.

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