Grandia fans getting transpacific double-shot

Grandia goes online in Japan as Square Enix preps Grandia III for in North American Valentine's Day launch.

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It's a good-news day for fans of Square Enix's Grandia series, regardless of which hemisphere they call home. The role-playing series, which debuted in the late 1990s, is getting an all-new edition in Japan and a localized version of the latest in the series in North America.

Game Arts is currently making Grandia Online, and it's been scheduled for launch within the year. In an interview with Japanese site 4Gamer, Gungho Online Entertainment president Morishita Kazuki revealed that the PC massively multiplayer online role-playing game is scheduled for release before the Tokyo Game Show 2006, meaning that gamers in Japan will be able to play it before September 22. Morishita hopes to launch Grandia Online simultaneously with Gungho's new portal site "Gungho Mode" for maximum synergy. Because of scheduling conflicts, however, he admits it may be difficult.

Gungho Online Entertainment became the second major shareholder of Game Arts in May 2004 when it acquired 11.9 percent of the company's stock. Last November, it purchased additional shares of Game Arts and raised its stake to 51 percent, turning the studio into a consolidated subsidiary.

Though the aforementioned bit of info bodes well for Japanese gamers, American Grandia fans weren't left empty-handed. Square Enix, who took over Grandia's North American publishing duties from Ubisoft, today confirmed that a localized version of Grandia III for the PlayStation 2 will be in stores on February 14.

Grandia III, which was previously released in Japan, follows Yuki, a young boy who longs to become a famous pilot. His path crosses that of Alfina, a special girl who can talk to the world's mystical protectors. Together, they will stand up against Alfina's once righteous brother, who has been filled with hatred and plans to destroy the world.

Grandia III is rated T for Teen and will cost $49.99. For more information on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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