TGS: Square Enix Press Conference Report
09.24.04 - 2:23 PM

Just like last year, Square Enix has held its own press conference on the first day of Tokyo Game Show. The conference began with a speech by company president Youichi Wada, who highlighted the transition from stand-alone to network games, placing particular emphasis on communication among users. As a successful attempt in creating such a game, he cited Square Enix's popular MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, mentioning that yesterday 170,000 simultaneous accesses were registered. The speech was followed up by a series of promotional trailers, beginning with the two Kingdom Hearts sequels, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for Game Boy Advance and Kingdom Hearts II for PlayStation 2.

After Kingdom Hearts, a Dragon Quest VIII: Sora to Umi to Daichi to Norowareshi Himegimi trailer was shown and Dragon Quest mastermind Yuuji Horii took the stage. Upon remarking that it has been four long years since the game's prequel, Dragon Quest VII hit Japanese retail store shelves, Horii explained the key points of the new game: With the power of Level 5 and the PlayStation 2 hardware, he and his team were able to create a game featuring many new systems, most notably day and night cycles and the tension system.

Next in line was Takashi Tokita, showing off his two newest projects, Hanjuku Eiyuu: 4-7 Hito no Hanjuku Eiyuu for PlayStation 2 and Egg Monster Heroes for Nintendo DS. Mentioning that he would like to release the latter when it is cold, and the former when it is getting warm again, the producer hinted at a spring 2005 release for the PlayStation 2 game and a winter 2004 release for Square Enix's first Nintendo DS title.

The information that was provided about the next two games, the tri-Ace-developed PlayStation 2 title Radiata Stories and the Japanese version of Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest II was already well known prior to today's event. However, it was confirmed that EverQuest II will enter its Japanese beta testing phase in December with the final product scheduled to ship early next year.

The presentation then finally featured the game which was voted as the most anticipated one by Square Enix fans prior to Tokyo Game Show, the PlayStation 2 remake of the 1992 Super Famicom classic Romancing SaGa. Director and producer Akitoshi Kawazu reiterated last week's comments, saying Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song was developed with the aim of becoming an easily accessible compilation of the SaGa series as a whole, hence being designed for both newcomers and series veterans.

Last but not least, Yoshinori Kitase, head of Square Enix's first production team took the stage, talking about the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and showing off trailers of the three titles making up said compilation: The cellphone-based Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, the DVD movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and the recently announced PlayStation 2 game Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus. Advent Children is still set for a release this year in Japan, but Dirge of Cerberus has yet to receive an official release date.

While all the titles mentioned above had been announced prior to Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix had one previously unannounced title up its sleeves. Despite not being the subject of any of the given speeches, the press materials which were handed out before the conference, mentioned the commencing of the Front Mission project. In addition to Front Mission Online for PlayStation 2 and PC, a new installment, tentatively referred to as Front Mission 5, is in development for PlayStation 2. No details have been revealed regarding this newest game, though. RPGFan will bring you more on Square Enix and other companies attending Tokyo Game Show, as it becomes available.

Chris Winkler