As promised earlier, Square-Enix today revealed the next installment in the Final Fantasy series. Well, there were already magazine scans available a few days ago, but now there's also some content on the Final Fantasy 12 website.
While I haven't cared about FF10 or 9 that much, the 12th one is a bit more interesting to me as it is being produced and co-directed by Yasumi Matsuno, director of Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. And the name of the world Final Fantasy 12 is set to take place in should ring a bell for FFT fans: Ivalice. Same for some of the races you'll encounter throughout the game: Hume (FF11), Veira and Bangaa (FFTA). The guys over at Gamefront summed up some more information. Apparently there's a huge war being fought between the Empires of Arcadia and Rosaria. There are only some brief details on the two main characters, Vaan and Ashe, available, but it surely seems to be somewhat heavy on the clichÃƒÂ© side. Vaan dreams of freedom and being an 'sky pirate' some day. And Ashe, princess and only child of the king of the Darmaska empire, is being decribed as energetic and tough (maybe stubborn). Certainly sounds familiar. Well, and you're not going to believe who may or may not fall in love. It appears that the developers haven't had a look yet at what should be a standard read for every JRPG designer.
Story premise aside there seems to be some speculation that Final Fantasy 12 might not feature a random encounter system anymore, although Square hasn't released much information on the battle system yet. The game is currently expected to ship some time in summer 2004 in Japan. No word on NA and PAL release dates yet. If you want to see some screenshots without fighting your way through the Flash-laden FF12 website, head over to this Gamefront section.