Yasumi Matsuno Talks Final Fantasy XII
05.27.04 - 1:15 AM

In a recent interview with Japanese publication The Play, Yasumi Matsuno, head of Square Enix's fourth production team gave away some new details regarding his current project, Final Fantasy XII for PlayStation 2. The game's villains, the Judges, were originally a unit of knights holding the power to judge in order to simplify court proceedings. However, as Arcadia has become an empire, they turned from guards of law and order into their current threatening selves, equipped with absolute authority. In this hostile environment, the sky is seen as the one symbol of freedom. The latest means of transportation is the airship. Hence, Matsuno originally wanted to do airship battles, but after figuring out it would be too extreme, he did not follow through with that plan.

The segments that will be in the game, will have simulation-style characters. The director and producer also mentioned he wanted to turn the game's protagonist Vaan into a life-sized character. Both Vaan and his girlfriend Pannelo are being portrayed as two young people who will not be caught up in the political revolution that is going on in their country. Balflear and Fran on the other hand, have to live with the burden of country and politics. Nonetheless, Vaan considers this unlikely human - Viera duo as two people who have already won their own freedom. Final Fantasy XII will tell the story of Vaan and his development. Throughout the entire game, players will be able to see the typical touch of Yasumi Matsuno and his unique essence. Exactly how characters will grow and gain experience remains a secret. The same counts for certain battle-related elements, which the developers only want to reveal shortly before the game's release. What Matsuno did reveal, was that genre veterans will have fun with the battle system, but at the same time newcomers to the genre won't be blown away by it either.

As far as playtime is concerned, players will be able to play for 100 or even 150 hours. When asked about his recent meeting with series mastermind Hironobu Sakaguchi in Los Angeles, Matsuno recalled Sakaguchi's comment about the game definitely being a Final Fantasy game. He also noted that at E3, a lot of American and European journalists approached him, saying they had been waiting for exactly such a game. Last but not least, Square Enix will debut a playable demo version of the game at this year's edition of Tokyo Game Show in fall.

Final Fantasy XII is currently set for a release between winter 2004 and spring 2005 in Japan.

Chris Winkler