Square talks Nintendo, announces FFXII for the PS2

Square's business strategy meeting yields some interesting tidbits on the company's future development plans.

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Today in Japan, Square held its business strategy meeting for analysts. At the meeting, Square President Hisashi Suzuki commented that "the company will strengthen the Final Fantasy brand name." As previously reported, Final Fantasy X is now currently scheduled for a July release in Japan, and Square expects to ship approximately 3 to 3.5 million copies of the game there. The company also expects to ship 1.4 to 1.8 million copies in North America and 1.2 to 1.5 million copies in Europe. The game is tentatively scheduled for a US and European release in late November, likely during Thanksgiving week. The development of FFX is being led by Yoshinori Kitase (Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII) and Toshiro Tsuchida (Front Mission series).

Square also reaffirmed its announcement at Square Millennium, stating that Final Fantasy XI will be released for both the PS2 and the PC. The development team will be led by Hiromichi Tanaka (Chrono Cross) and Kouichi Ishi (Secret of Mana series). In addition, the company has also announced Final Fantasy XII for the PS2, a project which is being led by Yasumi Matsuno (Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story) and Hiroyuki Itou (Final Fantasy IX). It was previously reported that Vagrant Story was Matsuno's final project, but his creative talents may bring new blood to the series. Although Final Fantasy XI will be an online network title, Final Fantasy XII will be more of a standard RPG. Other than three new FF titles on the PS2, the company plans to release remakes of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX as well.

Vice President Hironobu Sakaguchi also commented on the remakes of Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI, saying that it is "technically impossible to develop on the WonderSwan Color," and he expressed interest in developing them for Nintendo's next-generation handheld console, the Game Boy Advance. Though relations between the companies have recently been distant, Suzuki stated that "we will do our best to have our games on the Nintendo system." The remake versions of Final Fantasy II and III are still on track for a release on Bandai's WonderSwan Color. Sakaguchi also added that Square is developing a new original FF for a handheld, but didn't specify which one.

Other than developing Final Fantasy titles for several consoles, the company plans to merchandise the series with an animated TV series and new character-related goods as well. Square has 23 titles in development this fiscal year - 12 new titles and 11 remake titles. Ten of the 23 games are scheduled to be handheld titles.

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