You can stop worrying: There are in fact games coming out early next year. One of them is Final Fantasy XIII, which Square Enix has just confirmed will release in North America on March 9. That's both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.
The company also confirmed the game's requisite pop song will be performed by... Leona Lewis. Still scratching my head a bit over that one, though at least this choice will curry more favor in Western markets than the Japanese pop stars that have contributed to previous games in the series. This also marks the first time Final Fantasy and Simon Cowell have come together in a meaningful capacity.
Hey, Square put out a trailer to promote this announcement. This trailer has a host. They are serious about this.
While I'm throwing promotional business at you, here are three new shots of the game, along with the company pitch on the game's story and features (WARNING: STRAIGHT OUT THE PRESS RELEASE). Square would also like you to know that three new characters--Fang, Hope, and Serah--are now on display at the official site, too.
StoryCocoon — 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.
- 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?
Now that FFXIII has a release date and consequently is starting to feel more like a video game and not some nebulous idea, I'm actually kind of getting excited about this thing. Where's your hype level and what platform are you feeling for this one?