TGS '07: Square Enix shows all in closed megatheater

Japanese role-playing magnate debuts new trailers for Final Fantasy XIII products, new Kingdom Hearts portable titles at the Tokyo Game Show.

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TOKYO--It's become something of a tradition for Square Enix to show off its best Tokyo Game Show offerings in the closed megatheater, and since each showing lasts for a whopping 40 minutes or so there's invariably a long line to get in. But for fans waiting to see the latest projects in the works at Square Enix, the hours of lining up are well worth the wait. GameSpot brings you a quick overview of what was shown in this year's closed Square Enix megatheater at TGS.

Kingdom Hearts
The biggest surprise at this year's Square Enix booth was the announcement of a new Kingdom Hearts project. While it may be true that Kingdom Hearts II left some questions unanswered, Square Enix has decided to expand on the world of Kingdom Hearts with not just one or two titles, but a trio of games for the DS, PlayStation Portable, and mobile phones. What's more, all three of the titles are different games with their own settings and timelines. Tetuya Nomura is working as the director for all three titles, together with Shinji Hashimoto, who will serve as executive producer.

The first title, Kingdom Hearts Coded, is the mobile game release. The game is being codirected by Hajime Tabata and produced by Kousei Itou. No release date or carrier has been announced yet. Kingdom Hearts Coded's CG trailer started off with the words "Mysteries get solved, making the world wider." The scene changed to Jiminy Cricket flipping through the journal that he's written during his adventures with Sora. He stops at one page, which reads, "We must return to free them from their torment." Puzzled and unable to recall what that page was supposed to mean, he runs to consult the King (Mickey Mouse), who decides to search for answers by digitizing Jiminy's journal.

The player apparently takes the role of a Sora that was born inside the digitized world of Jiminy's journal. Attendees were shown a couple of clips of in-game footage, and although the graphics were mobile-phone quality, it still runs as a 3D action game and has the Kingdom Hearts atmosphere.

The second title, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, is the DS release. Unlike previous installments in Kingdom Hearts, the game focuses on the series' antagonists (known as Organization XIII), and Roxas, who was "the other main character" in Kingdom Hearts II.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days' trailer starts off from the last scene in Chain of Memories (the PlayStation 2 version), and the words "The time during the opposite side, when Sora goes to sleep" appear on the screen. The scene changes to the station and clock tower in Kingdom Hearts II, with Roxas and Axel looking over the city at the sunset. In another scene, Roxas is seen sitting in a white room together with the rest of Organization XIII, and a new, 14th member is introduced into the organization. Although the character's face was hidden by Organization XIII's traditional hooded jacket, it was apparently a female character.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is a multiplayer action game where you can fight as an Organization XIII member and attempt to complete missions cooperatively with friends. During the trailer, up to four characters fought together on the same screen against a massive boss character in a city setting. The game will also feature a single-player mode, of course. The gameplay looked similar to the combat from past KH games, though the frame rate was running a little low in the trailer footage. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is codirected by Tomohiro Hasegawa and produced by Patrick Chen. The game is being developed by h.a.n.d Inc.

Last but definitely not least of the three Kingdom Hearts games, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a new title for the PSP. From checking out the trailers, it felt the most like a true Kingdom Hearts sequel of the three games (except that it's actually a prequel). Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep's trailer started off with the words "The distant past." And as it turns out, the game takes place before Sora's era, back in the days when there were multiple "keyblade masters" around the world. We're introduced to two characters whom we assume are the protagonists: a blond boy who looks strikingly similar to Roxas, and an older, taller, black-haired guy who looks a bit like Final Fantasy VII's Zack in baggy pants.

Audiences who have finished playing through Kingdom Hearts II were in for a surprise. As it turns out, the bonus secret movie from the game was apparently an event that took place in the past. During Birth by Sleep's trailer, we saw the same landscape and bald man with a gray goatee and yellow eyes that were featured in the KHII movie. It seems certain that he plays a key role in the game, as the trailer took time to show him trying to influence the blond-haired boy in some unknown way, and also facing off in combat against the black-haired man, who's trying to stop him. In another scene, he was seen shouting, "Use your powers to break the darkness and fix my wrongdoings!" At the end of the trailer, a figure who looked like Mickey Mouse appeared to confront the bad guy with a weapon that looked like a cross between a sword and a magic wand.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is directed by Tai Sasue and produced by Patrick Chen.

Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday
Sqaure Enix had a fresh new trailer for the Parasite Eve sequel for mobile phones that was announced in the summer, Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday. The game is currently in development with Hajime Tabata as director and Yoshinori Kitase as executive producer.

The 3rd Birthday's trailer started off peacefully inside a small, beautiful white chapel. A young blonde lady is seen in a wedding dress, walking up to the altar (we suppose that she's Aya Brea, though her rendering looked a bit different from her past titles). She turns around, and sees that the chapel's door is opened. A man is standing there, although the shadows hide all of his details. The blonde lady pulls out a gun, with her wedding ring flying into the air as she does so. Gunshots are heard, and blood leaks on the floor, tainting the wedding ring.

The trailer was rendered in high-quality CG, but lacked any in-game footage yet. No release window was announced either, so it might be a while before the game launches.

Final Fantasy XIII
Most parts of the trailer shown for Final Fantasy XIII were the same as the one shown during the Square Enix Party 2007 in the summer. To summarize what's been revealed so far, the story of FF XIII involves a large, floating, circular city called the Cocoon that is protected by machines and monsters created by a sentient crystal. The people living in the Cocoon are afraid of the outside world (called the Pulse), and the Cocoon's government exiles anyone suspected to have been influenced from the outside world.

Though the game's storyline still has a lot of mysteries, Square Enix says that the crystal, which is considered the symbol of peace, guides the world by selecting people and determining their fate. The main character, Lightning, was chosen by the crystal to become mankind's enemy that would bring the world to an end.

The TGS trailer featured some additional scenes at the end which showed a glimpse of the world outside the Cocoon, the Pulse. Up until now, most scenes of the Pulse depicted a barren, lifeless area, but today's trailer showed a different view. For a few short seconds, the camera panned through a landscape with a large river and trees. Huge (but rather mild-mannered) dinosaurlike monsters were seen walking through the river, and the camera zoomed to a nearby cliff, where a female character with pigtails hinted that there is human life on the Pulse as well.

The trailer ended with the words "For PlayStation 3 Only" appearing on the screen, stressing the platform-exclusivity of the title.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII
Square Enix also showed off another of its PS3 exclusives. Some new footage was shown in a trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. While previous trailer scenes showed only cityscapes, we got to see a freeway in a sandy deserted area, with a row of broken power poles running on the side. The road leads to a bridge that collapsed into a river. While the scene looked quite different from the urban nightscape that has been shown in the past, they both have in one thing in common--there are no people.

The trailer also showed a few new characters: a blond guy in a white shirt and gray vest that smiled a lot and appeared to be allied with the black-costumed protagonist, and a long-haired blonde girl who seemed to be waiting for the protagonist, but pointed a sword toward him when he arrived. Another scene showed a room full of men in suits, though no hints were given to who they are.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy
The TGS trailer for Dissidia: Final Fantasy was based on the video shown a few months back at Square Enix Party 2007, but with one big difference. Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII and Firion from Final Fantasy II were seen going against each other in combat, confirming yet another two Final Fantasy heroes that will be in the game. The game is still listed as a work in progress, and has no release date.

GameSpot infiltrated Square Enix's mega-theater at the Tokyo Game Show--where cameras are unfortunately not allowed--and retrieved these impressions of the games therein.

Final Fantasy XIII
Much of the trailer shown for Final Fantasy XIII was familiar from this summer's Square Enix Party. To summarize what's been revealed so far, the story of FFXIII involves a large floating circular city called the Cocoon that is protected by machines and monsters created by an all-important crystal. The people living in the Cocoon are afraid of the outside world (called the Pulse), and the Cocoon's government exiles anyone suspected to have been influenced from the outside world.

Though Square Enix's official storyline still has a lot of mysteries, it says that the crystal, which is considered the symbol of peace, guides the world by selecting people and determining their fate. The main character, Lightning, was chosen by the crystal to become mankind's enemy that would bring the world to an end.

The TGS 2007 trailer featured some additional scenes at the end that afforded us a glimpse of the outside world, the Pulse. Up until now, most scenes of the Pulse looked like a deserted area with no evidence of life, but today's trailer showed a different view. For a few short seconds, the camera panned through a sweeping landscape with a large river and trees. Huge (but rather quiet-mannered) dinosaur-like monsters were seen trundling through the river, and the camera zoomed to a nearby cliff where there was a female character with pigtails--who reminded us of previous jaunty Final Fantasy heroines like Yuffie, Selphie, and Rikku--hinting that there is human life in the Pulse as well. The trailer showed some beautiful CG imagery, but no in-game graphics, so we'll have to keep waiting to see what Final Fantasy XIII really looks like.

The trailer ended with the words "For PlayStation 3 Only" appearing on the screen, stressing the platform exclusivity of the title.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII
Square Enix also gave up new footage for another game that's exclusive to the PlayStation 3, Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The trailer began with the words "This is a fantasy based on reality," and indeed, we saw scenes of characters on cell phones driving in luxury cars down elevated city highways at night. That was the end of the realism, though, as we saw the spiky-haired main character then doing battle with machinegun-toting soldiers. The main character was able to stop bullets in mid-air and teleport from place to place qiuckly while doing battle.

While previous trailers have shown only cityscapes, at TGS we got to see a freeway in a sandy deserted area, with a row of broken power poles running on the side. The road leads to a bridge that has collapsed into a river--or perhaps a flood has come in and covered the roadway itself. While the scene looked quite different from the urban nightscape that we were shown in the past, they both have in one thing in common: there are no people other than the main characters present.

The trailer also showed a few new characters; an irreverent blond man described as a fugitive in a white shirt and gray vest that smiled a lot, carried a snub-nosed shotgun, and hung around the black-costumed protagonist like a friend. There was also a long-haired brunette with a frilly skirt who seemed to be waiting for the protagonist in the city, but then scowled, pointed a sword towards him, and amassed an energy field behind her when he arrived. Another scene showed a room full of men in suits at a conference table in an ornate, cathedral-like meeting room, though no hints were given as to whom they are. Their presence had the ring of importance and perhaps menace to it, as if they're mafia or illuminati members.

Again, the trailer looked amazing--but it was all pre-rendered CG. We'll have to keep waiting to glimpse Versus XIII itself.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy
Dissidia: Final Fantasy's TGS trailer was based on the video shown a few months back at Square Enix Party 2007, but with one big difference: Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII and Firion from Final Fantasy II were seen going against each other in combat, confirming yet another two Final Fantasy heroes that will be in the game. The game is still announced as a work in progress with no release date announced.

Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday
Square Enix had a fresh new trailer for the Parasite Eve sequel that was announced in the summer, "Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday." The mobile game is currently in development with Hajime Tabata as director and Yoshinori Kitase as executive producer.

The 3rd Birthday's trailer started off peacefully inside a small beautiful white chapel. A blond young lady is seen in a wedding dress, walking up to the Alter (we're guessing that she's Aya Brea, though her rendering looked a bit different from her past titles). She turns around, and sees that the chapel's door is opened. A man is standing there holding another person in his arms, although his features are hidden in shadow. The blond lady pulls out a gun, with her wedding ring flying into the air as she does so. Gunshots are heard, and blood leaks on the floor, tainting the wedding ring.

The trailer was rendered in high-quality CG, but we didn't get to see any in-game footage yet. No distribution period was announced either, so it might be a while before we get to see this mobile phone game in action.

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