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Square Enix’s New Fantasy

Thursday, May 11, 2006, 10:44AM EST

"Don’t take your eyes off us," Square Enix president Yoichi Wada said Monday at his company’s E3 press conference, "not even for a second."


Blinking might have proved a costly error. Square Enix flexed its muscle at the Hollywood Paladium on Monday, unveiling the PlayStation 3-exclusive Final Fantasy XIII and the Wii launch title Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors. Wada would use the conference to announce four next-generation games, with Final Fantasy Versus XIII for the PlayStation 3 and Wii’s Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers rounding out the quartet.


In total, Square showed off more than 10 mobile phone, handheld, and console titles at the event. Among them were the highly anticipated PlayStation 2 offering Final Fantasy XII, which will see release later this year, and three separate spin-offs of Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis, Crisis Core, and Dirge of Cerberus for mobile phones, the PSP, and PlayStation 2 respectively. Three titles for the Mana series (Children of Mana, Dawn of Mana, and a mobile Mana) were debuted, too, with the Nintendo DS’s Children of Mana being fleshed out with four-player play and the Dawn of Mana for the PlayStation 2 moving the series into 3D. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime for the Nintendo DS promises to have the bloblike and much beloved Rocket fighting in epic tank battles.


These titles took a backseat to the gameplay movies shown for Square Enix’s next-generation titles. For Final Fantasy XIII, a young blonde female protagonist was shown leaping and flipping while battling huge monsters amid the backdrop of a racing train being assaulted by mysterious forces. Versus XIII highlighted a black-haired youth walking down a flight of steps while armored foes attempted to kill him with a hail of bullets.

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