Square Enix Announces New IP, New Star Ocean

By Chris Remo, May 10, 2007 9:59pm PDT During a Tokyo press conference preceeding this weekend's Square Enix Party 2007, publisher Square Enix announced numerous titles across several of its existing properties as well as a new RPG entitled The Last Remnant.

The Last Remnant is in development for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 courtesy of Unreal Engine 3, the licensing of which Square Enix announced several months ago. Square Enix intends the new IP to be appealing to a worldwide audience, and plans to launch the title in North America and Japan simultaneously. During the press conference, producer Nobuyuki Ueda--production manager on The Bouncer (PS2) and Unlimited SaGa (PS2)--screened a trailer consisting solely of gameplay footage, a rare occurrence given Square Enix's penchant for elaborate CG. Based on the trailer, combat appears to be based around large squads of characters controlled by the player. As director Hiroshi Takai--an art director on SaGa Frontier (PS1) and planner on The Bouncer (PS2)--explained, the player can set a strategy for his or her troops, after which the battle between opposing forces commences and incorporates various quick time events. Square Enix released two The Last Remnant screenshots and a piece of artwork.

No fewer than three new games were announced for the Star Ocean franchise, including the next main entry in the series, Star Ocean 4. No platforms were announced for Star Ocean 4, which is in development by series developer Tri-Ace. PSP will be seeing remakes of the first two games in the series. Star Ocean: The First Departure will reprise the original Star Ocean (SNES) and Star Ocean: The Second Evolution will revisit Star Ocean: The Second Story (PS1). No release dates were given for the upcoming Star Ocean games.

Square Enix plans to follow up Hand's recently released Nintendo DS title Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales with a Chocobo-centric game on Wii. The upcoming title will not be a sequel to the mini-game-laden Chocobo Tales, but will rather be a new entry in Chunsoft's dungeon-crawling Chocobo's Dungeon series, the second game of which was released in North America for PlayStation. Chocobo's Dungeon games have frequently been described as roguelikes.

Final Fantasy series executive producer Akitoshi Kawazu provided an update on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates, the Nintendo DS followup to The Game Designers Studio's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on GameCube. Kawazu showed a new trailer and revealing that the game will be released in Japan on August 23. Toshiyuki Itahana, director of the Wii series entry Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, took the stage to show a brief trailer for his game, which is expected to play more like an action/adventure title than the original Crystal Chronicles game.

Planned for release this August in Japan is the bafflingly named Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System (PS2), a relocalized version of the English-language North American version of Final Fantasy XII intended for the Japanese market. It will feature an English audio track, 16:9 support--not present in the original Japanese release--and the titular new job system adding greater degrees of specialization.

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