E3: RPGFan Talks With Square
Despite having one of the noisiest game demonstration areas at E3, Square managed to answer a good variety of our questions...even some that were more than just "no comment."
Kingdom Hearts was running with both English text and some English voices, though Square's rep mentioned that none of the voice acting was final. Haley Joel Osment, in this writer's opinion, fits the role of Sora well. Currently Square is in negotiations with Disney voice actors to reprise character roles in KH, such as James Woods as Hades from Hercules. Also, despite voice actors being hired, some roles have not been filled yet. In regards to the Hikaru Utada song featured, there was still no decision as of yet if the Japanese voice track would remain or if it would be dubbed into English. Square's biggest concern about this is that Kingdom Hearts will appeal to a wide variety of gamers, as well as Disney fans. They did take liberties with the Disney characters, but strived to keep them as faithful as possible. Maintaining an "E" rating was vital to them, such as Sora wielding a key instead of a sword, and the lack of blood allows for more intense battles. Square promised that Kingdom Hearts will be promoted in a similar fashion to a Final Fantasy title.
The official word on this from Square Co. LTD was that there is currently no confirmation that Chrono Break will be a sequel to Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, but that "sequels to popular series are in our best interest."
Final Fantasy X: Another Story
Currently there are still no plans to release the disc in the US, and despite what the epilogue indicates, there's no announcement of a sequel to FFX.
Final Fantasy XI
Square did acknowledge that Sony currently has no plans to release the HDD in North America, but promised that they would figure something out for FFXI's 2003 release. There are plans to release the PlayStation 2 and PC versions in the US; no comment if it would be a simultaneous release.
Final Fantasy XII
The twelfth installment of Final Fantasy will not have any sort of online component and will be a traditional RPG. No word yet of Nomura will be doing the character designs, but Matsuno (who produced Final Fantasy Tactics) is producing the game.
From Square itself, just a no comment. They did say that Sakaguchi is free to comment on whatever he wants, but they still have to maintain secrecy.
The service will launch in 2003 to coincide with the US release of FFXI. The fees and server information is still undecided. They did say that while it would be easy to follow the Japanese model, Square was keeping their options open.
Final Fantasy Tactics (Game Boy Advance)
Basically a no comment, since the title isn't announced for a US release. Square Japan is planning to release three GBA titles this year, however.
Currently no plans to port WonderSwan Color titles such as Blue Wing Blitz and Wild Card to GBA, or to do a remake.
No comment on the decision to keep Sony in the dark about Square's plans to resume development for Nintendo.
No comment on Hoshigami's similarity to Final Fantasy Tactics.
When asked if Square felt that Xenosaga was competition for Final Fantasy...you guessed it, no comment.
Final Fantasy 7-9 Remakes
Rumors gone berserk...you heard it here first. The remakes started out as a rumor, even going so far as to be published in Official PlayStation Magazine. Square denies that the remakes are being planned.
Namco and Enix
No information on the business venture at this time.
Front Mission, Parasite Eve, Vagrant Story, Seiken Densetsu
While development teams are perhaps doing planning and research on sequels for these titles, there's currently nothing planned.
Square EA had a fabulous fiscal year for 2001-2002, despite the financial difficulties of the Japanese office and Square Pictures. The representative we spoke to commented that they didn't foresee Square being in the red to be a hindrance, considering the fact that many Japanese companies were in a similar situation last year.