Square Enix shows off trailers, trailers, and more trailers
Square Enix Party 2005 was about trailers as much as it was about playing games. Check out what we've seen at the event.
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CHIBA CITY, Japan--This weekend's Square Enix Party event was about the company's fans getting their hands on upcoming games before they hit the stores, and the show recorded 25,000 visitors on its first day. That's pretty impressive for just one publisher, considering that last year's Tokyo Game Show (which almost broke its own previous audience record) had about 64,000 visitors per day on average.
Each game at the Party had about an hour of waiting in line on average, but there was an even larger line of up to three hours for a theater that showed promotional trailers centered on the Final Fantasy series. We had a chance to check out them out, and though most of the videos were already presented at E3 this past May, there were still some materials that bear mentioning.
The trailers began with the technical PlayStation 3 demo of Final Fantasy VII, which was a big hit at E3 and likewise so for the audience at this event. The words "technical demo" were not removed from the trailer, and there was no additional footage, so there's no confirmation yet that this tantalizing piece of software will ever become an actual game (see our other story for more details).
Following the PS3 demo trailer, an animated promo for Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII was shown. The trailer showed FFVII's Turks member Rude and other characters hunting for their leader Veld, who's apparently fled from his organization for some unknown reason. As you'd expect for a mobile phone game promo, the characters were seen talking with one another using cell phones.
A trailer for Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII was shown afterward, and it consisted mostly of new footage. The game takes place three years after FFVII (and one year after Advent Children), and FFVII's gunman Vincent Valentine must fight against soldiers called the Deep Ground, who were buried underground since the Meteo incident. Vincent seems to have some kind of connection to the soldiers, but it seems like Square Enix will leave that up to the player to find out in the final version. The promo showed a number of key scenes in the game, including a scene where Reeve Twestie (the Shinra employee who controlled Cait Sith in the original FFVII) gets shot multiple times by enemies while talking to Vincent. Reeve, in the game, is now the leader of an organization named WRO, which is focused on the restoration of the planet.
The scene then switches to a room where Vincent is lying on bed, and Yuffie, present in her Advent Children costume, comments, "I found you lying like a corpse in Nibelheim's Shinra manor." Another scene showed Barret, Cid, and what seemed to be Tifa. There was also a scene where Vincent was talking to the crystalline tombstone of Lucrecia, a former Shinra scientist and the birth mother of Sephiroth. Square Enix's addition of the scene hints that Vincent and Lucrecia's past may have something to do with the Dirge of Cerberus' storyline. The trailer ended with some in-game footage of Dirge of Cerberus' online mode, which will begin beta testing on August 1. Check here for more details on the online mode.
Following the Dirge of Cerberus trailer, Square Enix showed an animated promotion of the PSP game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, which was the same footage shown at E3 and Sony's PlayStation Meeting. This anime sequence was done in the same art style as the promo for Before Crisis: FFVII. Fans at the event seemed to be impressed at seeing Sephiroth learning about his birth, going crazy, and stabbing his sword through Cloud, all done in full animation.
To top off its Final Fantasy trailers, Square Enix showed a lengthy promotion of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. While most of the promo featured scenes from the E3 trailer, there were also a few cuts that seemed to be new. The trailer, in whole, showed the main character Cloud Strife's change of heart. Up until now, we've only seen a troubled Cloud, who hasn't been able to recover from his experiences in FFVII and believes that he can't rescue anyone. But new clips from the Square Enix Party promo showed that he begins to believe differently as the movie progresses. The biggest highlight was a breathtaking one-on-one swordfight between Cloud and Sephiroth, which made for a perfect ending to the trailer and clearly satisfied the audience.
In other scenes worth mentioning, Shinra employee cards tainted with blood marks were shown up close for a second, during the cut where Kadaj and the mysterious wheelchair were carrying on a conversation. One of them seemed to belong to the Shinra Turks, Elena. Another scene that took place in the same location showed the wheelchaired man taking off the fabric that covered his face. Then the camera switched to Kadaj, who had a stunned expression on his face. The promo also showed an extended battle scene between Cloud and his enemies as they rode their bikes through a tunnel, in addition to a longer battle sequence between Tifa and Loz in the church.
After showing the Advent Children trailer, Square Enix gave a behind-the-scenes look at the voice-over in the movie, and then it presented the limited edition package of the DVD, which will include a replica of the movie's script and a number of other bonuses. A short clip of the original animation bonus to be included in the limited edition was also shown, and it was drawn with the same anime style as the promos for Before Crisis and Crisis Core. Square Enix also announced the theatrical debut of Advent Children at this time. Following the Final Fantasy trailers, Square Enix showed a long trailer of Kingdom Hearts II, which seemed to be identical to the version at E3. The trailer started off with flashback scenes from the original PlayStation 2 release, with the theme song "Hikari" running in the background. It then changed to the presentation of Kingdom Hearts II. To note some of the key scenes shown in the promo, a blond boy slightly resembling Sora was seen with Namine, who first appeared in the GBA game Chain of Memories. Namine tells him that she's a witch that has the ability to control the memories of Sora and people connected to him, but she doesn't know why she has such abilities. Another scene presented a town that resembled the bonus trailer in the original Kingdom Hearts. There, Sora was seen facing the black-cloaked men known as the Thirteenth Order. One of them, a man with six spears named Zardin, shouted, "We will gain perfect existence once we get hold of the Kingdom Hearts." And to add to the list of Final Fantasy characters making cameo appearances in KHII, FFVII's Cloud was seen in his Advent Children outfit, together with FFVIII's Squall.
Additional promotional trailers could be seen in other areas of Square Enix Party 2005 as well. A new trailer for Final Fantasy XII was presented at the show, and it featured a look at some new scenes of the game, including what is apparently the main character Vaan and the heroine Ashe's first encounter. Noticing that a lady surrounded by soldiers was being cornered to the end of a small cliff, Vaan shouts from below to jump. As Ashe leaps into Vaan's hands, he realizes that it's the former princess of the Dalmasca kingdom. In another scene, a slightly hairier Basche was seen chained, apparently for slaying the king of Dalmasca for whom he previously fought as a solider. A number of new scenes also showed a small, dark-haired boy together with the main characters, suggesting that he will have a key role in the game. The game's trailer ended with the display of its release date: March 16, 2006.
For Square Enix fans that like the mech-action side of things, a short trailer of Front Mission 5 was presented at the show. The trailer depicted a scene where a mission instructor briefed soldiers, followed by scenes of mech combat. A brief amount of text appeared, saying the game will be about the story of one soldier. Unfortunately, there were no actual hints on how the game will play. While we don't know yet if any of the scenes were from actual in-game footage, the trailer still announced the game as the 10th anniversary release for the Front Mission series, meaning it's likely to come out sometime during the latter half of the year.