Pre-E3: Square Enix Conference Report
05.16.05 - 4:08 PM

Square Enix today held its pre-E3 press conference in Los Angeles. Present were president Youichi Wada as well as executive director and producer Shinji Hashimoto. The duo covered a wide range of topics, ranging from the company's upcoming releases over merchandise to development for the next generation of hardware.

Wada mentioned that the new consoles will seriously test the company's abilities. In line with previous statements, the Square Enix president explained that, apart from their raw hardware performance, he was particularly interested in their networking capabilities and their role as content platforms. While he considered cross platform strategy a good idea, he did not give away any hits at specific projects related to the three next generation consoles.

As far as the company's North American release schedule for 2005 and 2006 is concerned, Final Fantasy XII will only be released during the next fiscal year beginning on April 1st, 2006. Square Enix however will hold a private Final Fantasy XII event featuring a playable demo of the highly anticipated PlayStation 2 title on July 30th and 31st. Below you will find the company's complete release schedule:

Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir, PlayStation 2, July 12th.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Movie DVD, September 14th.
Radiata Stories, PlayStation 2, Fall 2005.
Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, PlayStation 2, Fall 2005.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, PlayStation 2, November 2005.
Kingdom Hearts 2, PlayStation 2, Winter 2005.
Code Age Commanders, PlayStation 2, Date TBA.
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, PlayStation 2, Date TBA.
Front Mission Online, PlayStation 2/PC, Date TBA.
Final Fantasy XII, PlayStation 2, Fiscal Year 2006.
Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, PlayStation Portable, Date TBA.
World of Mana, Platform TBA, Date TBA.
Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, Cellular Phones, 2006

In regard to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the company re-confirmed the release of a DVD and a UMD version, stating that the latter will ship shortly after the DVD release, which is scheduled to go on sale on September 14th in Japan and North America. The movie will be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. Its release will be accompanied by a massive merchandising line-up, including Cloud's famous Wolf Ring, posters, t-shirts, statues and cellphone straps. As Square Enix will re-open its official website later this year, even more merchandise will be offered online. While the focus will be on Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, fans can also look forward to Kingdom Hearts Formation chess pieces and Fullmetal Alchemist 2 figures.

In addition to the PlayStation 2 action RPG Code Age Commanders, the Code Age project's other two titles have also been introduced to the North American audience: A manga titled Archives which is already available in Japan and Code Age Brawl, a cellphone-based game.

The two executives described the company's mobile offerings as an "unexpected experience" and reiterated Square Enix's desire to bring its hugely successful cellphone-based network action RPG Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII to the North American market sometime next year.

Look for more coverage of Square Enix as this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo E3 commences on the 18th.


Chris Winkler