The biggest release of 2010? It might just be Final Fantasy XIII. And now, more than three years since it was first shown off, Square Enix has confirmed a North American and European release date for this most exquisite-looking RPG: March 9, 2010.
“We know that our fans have been eagerly awaiting the next installation of the franchise,” blabbered Square president and CEO John Yamamoto. “Final Fantasy XIII will exceed all expectations.”
If you didn’t already know, Final Fantasy XIII will be simultaneously flashing its well-oiled RPG buttocks on both the PS3 and Xbox 360, a development that would be almost unimaginable five years ago.
Square also sent out a huge press release, detailing the game’s features, its tangled backstory and, uh, Leona Lewis. Here it is:
Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of Square Enix interactive entertainment products in North America announced today the highly anticipated street date for FINAL FANTASY XIII. This latest project in the multi-platinum FINAL FANTASY series promises to be intensely compelling and will be available for both the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft on March 9, 2010.
FINAL FANTASY XIII marks the dawning of a new era for the celebrated franchise, bringing the series to multiple hi-definition consoles simultaneously for the first time in its history. Expanding upon the rich tradition of the series, Producer Kitase Yoshinori (FINAL FANTASY VII, X, X-2), Director Motomu Toriyama (FINAL FANTASY VII, X, X-2), character designer Tetsuya Nomura (FINAL FANTASY V, VI, VII, VIII, X) and art director Isamu Kamikokuryo (FINAL FANASY X, XII) combine their creative vision to deliver the latest masterpiece in the FINAL FANTASY universe. Additionally, Masashi Hamauzu (FINAL FANTASY X, DIRGE of CERBERUS -FINAL FANTASY VII-) presents a sweeping soundtrack while movie director Takeshi Nozue (FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN) and his team of artists adorn the game with seamless cinematic sequences of unparalleled caliber.
“We know that our fans have been eagerly awaiting the next installation of the franchise – FINAL FANTASY XIII will exceed all expectations,” said John Yamamoto, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix, Inc. “Coming simultaneously to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 for the first time, FINAL FANTASY XIII will be available to all players who are looking for the most immersive gaming experience of 2010.”
Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Leona Lewis has come on board with Square Enix to provide the theme song for FINAL FANTASY XIII. The song is entitled “My Hands,” and is featured on her highly-anticipated second album ECHO (J Records/Syco Music) set for release on November 17th. Leona Lewis took the music world by storm with her 2008 6x platinum debut album Spirit which features her chart topping, biggest selling single of 2008 “Bleeding Love,” and mega-hit “Better In Time.”
“When Square Enix approached Leona about including her song, “My Hands,” in FINAL FANTASY XIII, she was honored to be partnered with such an iconic and groundbreaking video game series,” said Tom Corson, EVP/GM, RCA Music Group. “Leona is a natural fit with the game’s powerful themes and strong female protagonist. We’re delighted to be part of this effort, bringing great musical artistry to FINAL FANTASY XIII which is a riveting and dynamic gaming experience.”
Introducing new worlds, memorable characters and extraordinary stories with each new installment, the FINAL FANTASY series has continued to reinvent itself over the last two decades and has shipped over 85 million copies worldwide. The series is defined by a constant evolution, offering nothing less than the finest creative vision, graphical quality and gameplay system of its generation with every installment, and FINAL FANTASY XIII will be no exception to its legacy.
Cocoon — a utopia in the sky. Its inhabitants believed their world a paradise. Under the Sanctum’s rule, Cocoon had long known peace and prosperity.
Mankind was blessed by its protectors, the benevolent fal’Cie, and believed that tranquil days would continue forever. Their tranquility was shattered with the discovery of one hostile fal’Cie. The moment that fal’Cie from Pulse — the feared and detested lowerworld — awoke from its slumber, peace on Cocoon came to an end.
Fal’Cie curse humans, turning them into magic-wielding servants. They become l’Cie — chosen of the fal’Cie. Those branded with the mark of a l’Cie carry the burden of either fulfilling their Focus or facing a fate harsher than death itself.
A prayer for redemption. A wish to protect the world. A promise to challenge destiny.
After thirteen days of fates intertwined, the battle begins.
In FINAL FANTASY XIII, players will embark on a journey through the cityworld of Cocoon and the outerworld of Pulse, encountering and fighting alongside a diverse group of allies. Execute powerful attacks with weapons and magic, and summon the enigmatic Eidolons with an evolved Active Time Battle system. Experience seamless transitions between real-time gameplay and in-game cinematics. Do you have the courage to face your destiny?
- Take Part in a Gaming Experience that Sets New Standards – The first in the series developed for a simultaneous release on multiple high-definition consoles, FINAL FANTASY XIII pushes new boundaries in cinematic presentation, sound and gameplay.
- Experience the Unity of Speed and Strategy with the Ultimate Active Time Battle system. The familiar system has evolved, granting players the freedom of executing numerous commands in a single turn with the multi-slot ATB gauge. Whether inputting singular commands in each slot for consecutive attacks, or expending multiple slots at once to activate a devastating blow, it’s up to the players to respond effectively to the battle conditions at hand.
- Adapt to the Ever-Changing Tide of Battle with Paradigms – A brand-new game mechanic enabling players to assign roles to their party members at any time during battle, shifting between combat paradigms. Consisting of various combinations of the game’s six roles, ranging from Commando, the offensive specialist, to Medic, the quintessential healer, paradigms allow players to respond and adapt instantly to any given situation to turn the tide and seize victory.
- Witness the Battle Scene Transform with an All-New Summon System – Introducing Gestalt Mode, a powerful dimension of the summon system that elevates the action to a whole new level. In Gestalt Mode, characters and their transformed Eidolons fight as one, dealing massive damage to enemies through simple button commands.
- Delve into an Emotional Experience – An immersive storyline connects players to an intriguing cast of characters. Will they have the strength to confront their cursed fates, or will destiny prevail over all that they believe in?
[Via press release]