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New Look for Square

2003 marks big year in new relationship with Enix These are heady times for Square. In addition to launching a new publishing relationship with Enix, the company has several ambitious game projects under development or nearing completion.
Drakengard, an entirely new RPG franchise for PS2, tells the story of an alliance between humans and dragons during a bitter war. The game features aerial dragon dogfights and ground attacks, plus human combat and on-foot exploration. As the human character grows in skills and abilities, their dragon ally also matures and grows stronger.
No longer will Final Fantasy fans have to quest alone. Final Fantasy XI for PC and PS2 opens the series into a massively multiplayer online world in which thousands can explore the lands of Vana'diel as Elvaan, Galka, Humes, Mithra, or Tarutaru. Players must choose to align themselves with one of three nations-Bastok, San d'Oria, and Windurst-contesting the ownership of a territory. Cross-platform access is supported, and the game's PlayOnline portal makes it easy for players to communicate with each other.
Hot on the heels of 2002's Final Fantasy X comes its sequel, Final Fantasy X-2. The PS2 title is novel in that Square does not normally publish game sequels that continue an existing story line. New elements include a mission-based system for non-linear gameplay; female playable characters; and new and unique job classes such as Gunner, Lady Luck, Berserker, and Songstress. Another first is allowing characters to switch job classes in the heat of battle by using a garment grid.
The Saga RPG franchise makes its first appearance on PS2 with Unlimited Saga. True to the series tradition of unique art design, all the graphics are hand-drawn and hand-painted. Robust fighting systems are also a Saga institution, so in addition to familiar combos and skill development, a new reel fighting system now adds unexpected variation to battles as characters pursue their enemies to mysterious structures known as the Seven Wonders.
Another franchise first on PS2 is the science fiction RPG Star Ocean: 'Till the End of Time. Set 400 years after the last Star Ocean adventure, 'Till the End of Time opens on a peaceful resort planet that is brutally attacked by an unknown galactic foe, forcing the survivors on a quest to find their loved ones. Thanks to the PS2's capabilities, this is the first title in the franchise to feature an all-3D polygonal world and a real-time battle system.
- By George T. Chronis

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