Final Fantasy X-2

SquareSoft confirmed on the 28th of May 2002, that it would be producing sequels to the hit game Final Fantasy X. At the time of the press release, two sequels were planned, and were tentatively called “Yuna” and “Rikku,” after two of the three female lead roles in FFX. Square had promised that both titles would be released in Japan by the end of the 2002 fiscal year, but as of this writing, nothing has been released. In fact, things changed around just a bit.

As time passed after the initial news of an X sequel, Square decided that there would not be two sequels – but only one. Most of the developers who worked on FFX have moved on to other projects, but director Yoshinori Kitase remains on the team of FFX-2, which is the tentative title of the newest addition to the Final Fantasy franchise. The story will revolve around Yuna and Rikku, who sport sexy new costumes, and saucy attitudes, fueled by some of the best the PlayStation 2 can offer. Al Bhed technology reigns supreme in this version of Spira, and the formerly sacred temples of Yevon are now floating fortresses. Yet, in this peaceful world, free of Sin, what will be the motivation for an adventure?

The story begins with Yuna discovering a strange sphere, which holds the image of a man who looks similar to Tidus, the youth who helped Yuna defeat Sin in FFX. So, as all RPGs start out, Yuna takes this discovery as a cue to go explore her world and search for answers. Accompanied by Rikku, and a new character, Paine, Yuna will travel across Spira in a fashion completely dissimilar from the FFX navigation scheme. Gone are the days of being constrained to a single linear path through the game. Welcome back world map of old – we missed you. Yes, that’s right, FFX-2 will not stand for “Final Fantasy X-Button” like its predecessor. Additionally, the sphere system for character advancement has been done away with, and the battle system is no longer strictly menu-driven. From what I have garnered through various sources, it seems as if the game will have a more “organic” feel to it. Yuna, et al. will be able to jump, climb, fall, and otherwise interact more naturally with their world.

The new battle system borrows from the older ATB (Active Time Battle) system, which is more realistic, and more challenging than other FF battle systems. One notable difference between FFX-2 and previous FF incarnations is that the job of a given character can be switched dynamically in battle, by using a Job Change Sphere. Need to change that Pop-Star into a Gunner? No problem. Also, for fans of the battle system in Suqare’s Saga Frontier games, the characters will be able to perform multi-person combinations. The ATB guage will decrease by different fractions depending on the action performed by the character. For instance, a defend will consume a third of the gauge, while using an item will take half of the gauge down.

A large portion of the story involves the hunt for these “spheres,” and if the time honored tradition of character-enhancement-through-sphere-collection holds true, we can be sure that they will result in a more-powerful party. Incidentally, Yuna, Rikku, and Paine will be part of a group of collectors called “Kamome” which aims to collect spheres before their rival group “Le Blanc.” If you have seen screenshots of Le Blanc, you will notice the sexy blonde bearing her breasts to the world (even more than Rikku now does!). Additionally, the Al Bhed airship, the Celsius, will be available at the onset of the adventure. Rumor has it that it will be transformable into a robot-type, and will be vastly explorable (compared to previous FF airships).

As mentioned above, there were originally plans for two FFX sequels – one chronicling Yuna’s adventures in the new world, and the other following Rikku. FFX-2 will be primarily concerned with Yuna, but officials at Square claim that the story leaves room for another sequel if (sales) warrant it.

Two new vocal themes have been announced for FFX-2, which were done by Koda Kumi in Japan. Titled Real Emotion and 1000 Worlds, both songs promise to be great additions to the vast repertoire of music Final Fantasy has accumulated over the years. The OST will be available for purchase in Japan on 31 March 2003.

White Knight, Black Knight, Dark Knight, Fencer, Gunner, Thief, Dancer, Gambler are the eight confirmed classes/jobs which players can have their characters take on in Final Fantasy X-2. Each class will come with a different skill set, and as in previous Final Fantasy games, when a certain class is used, the character keeps their learned skills after a class change.

Final Fantasy X-2 promises to be a fantastic addition to the franchise, and will be aesthetically, as well as intellectually pleasing. Gamers can expect all the classic elements that made Final Fantasy the world’s most popular Role Playing Game. Riddles, battles (that will now involve more of the world map than merely scenery), an intricate story line, and the hallmark of Final Fantasy: an amazing musical score, will come together to make Final Fantasy X-2 a memorable experience.

X-2 is slated for a 13 March 2003 release in Japan, with no word on a stateside release yet (but we all know Square wants our money).