Recently, more tidbits about Final Fantasy XII has surfaced in Japanese Gaming magazines. The most interesting thing that Squaresoft, the makers of the Final Fantasy series, has revealed, is an amazing teaser poster ( featuring a beautiful cityscape which looms high over a more naturerooted part of the city. Knowing that a central theme in most of Squaresofts games is the evergoing struggle between nature and man, one can speculate that it will also play a large part of the story of XII.

Another thing that has been revealed, is the names of the head honchos, who are in charge of the development. Jun Akiyama (known from Final Fantasy VII) will be the production supervisor, Akihiko Yoshida (known from Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story) as the character designer and 3D map designer and Hideo Minaba (worked on Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy IX) as the Art Director.

The Producer of the game, Yasumi Matsuno, has also said that some of the gameplay features found in the forthcoming Game Boy Advance game, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, would also find their way into Final Fantasy XII. Exactly which gameplay elements he is refering to, has not yet been revealed. Some speculate that there will also be storywise link, although nothing official has yet been said.

As of now, this twelth installment in the saga, is targeted to be released in Japan in the 2003 fiscal year, which starts in April 2003, and ends in March 2004. In other words, patience is very much required.

Even before Final Fantasy X was released, Square revealed that it had begun work upon both Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XII. Since that time, a lot of rumors have been circulated, and a lot of facts have been established.

One interesting point is that FFXII will take place in Ivalice, the same game world that Final Fantasy Tactics was set. It is known, however, that there is a substantial difference in timeframe for the two games.

What we have seen of the world indicates that (at least part of) it takes place in a warmer part of the world than FFT did. The main characters, Vaan and Ashe, wear very skimpy clothing, even for a Final Fantasy game. Vaan is a blond man, who wears a tiny metallic vest without a shirt, and armored black pants. He also has some sort of red and blue sash, and a medallion that appears to be held in place by a chain only on one side of his neck. Ashe, the female hero, wears a white shirt with an extremely short pink miniskirt and a blue belt. She has sleeves on her arms that do not attach to her shirt, and metallic leggings leading to her red socks. She wears a light blue ring on each hand. She is often seen holding a sword. According to the producers, she was modeled after a Frenchwoman, than made to appear more Asian to appeal to Japanese audiences.

Two other characters have been revealed, although little is known about them. One is named Viera Fran, and another is called Balfrea. The latter is not a human, but a member of the SkyRace, and uses a sword in battle.

The world also includes many airships, elegantly designed. They have elaborate physical structures suggesting some mechanical significance, however it is suspected they are magically powered. It has been stated that the various airships each server their own purpose, from transport to warfare. Many soldiers, too, have been depicted in promotional art.

The conflict everyone is engaged in is the border dispute between Arcadia and Dalmasca. The opening scene reportedly features an epic battle from this conflict.

Little is known of the gameplay itself. The designers have stated that it will be the first Final Fantasy title to feature a fully 3D map, meaning players will be able to control the camera themselves, and view the action from any angle. Screenshots also show a minimap, similar to the one in FFX.

Another element in FFXII that reappears from previous titles is the Chocobo. It is unknown whether one will be available for player transport, however there is a screenshot showing a soldier with a spear riding one, presumably into battle. This is consistent with animation from Final Fantasy Tactics, which has animation of armies on Chocobos going to war.

The game is being developed by an all-star Square Enix team. The game will be directed by Yasumi Matsuno. Akihiko Yoshida is the character designer, and worked on FFT, FFTA, and Vagrant Story. The art director Hideo Minaba has been working on FF games since Final Fantasy V. Nobuo Uematsu, who has worked on almost every previous FF title, will co-produce the soundtrack with Hitoshi Sakimoto, who worked on FFT and Vargant Story.

Overall, Final Fantasy XII looks to be another awesome title in a long history of great Final Fantasy games.

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