New Final Fantasy X details

[01.27.01] » After months of silence, the floodgates open even wider: new character, gameplay, and mini-game information revealed.

   After months of secrecy and silence, the Final Fantasy X hype is now in full swing in Japan. First it was Jump, then Famitsu, and now this month's Degenki magazine reveals even more details about the much-anticipated game. The ever-vigilant newshounds at have translated the article and listed some of the more significant new information about the latest Final Fantasy.

   As expected, many of the series mainstays will be returning. Airships and Chocobos are, unsurprisingly, confirmed for the sequel, with the later receiving a more realistic look. A slightly less happy return is the reappearance of random battles, and these will indeed take place on a separate battle screen. For boss battles, however, the combat will occur on the field map itself -- a feature the team wanted to implement for all battles, but lacked the time.

   Despite claims of a complete overhaul, the battle system will contain many familiar elements including more specialized limit breaks. After the brief return of the four-character party in Final Fantasy XI, the sequel will employ the three-character system of the previous PlayStation Final Fantasies. However, characters who are not in the current party will be able to join in the battle in some indirect way. The skills and abilities of all characters will be accessible, but whether this will take the form of characters swapping in or merely joining combat briefly is unknown.

   As previously speculated, Blitzball is indeed planned as a mini-game. Though the team isn't sure they will be able to complete it in time, the sport is said to have an important role in the plot. The game is played with six players on a side, and is described as a "cross between basketball and soccer with a touch of rugby." Hopefully, the playable version will make the final cut.

   Though the bulk of the article dealt with gameplay details, a few new pieces of character and story information were revealed. Astute gamers have probably already noticed that male lead Tidus' odd dress and blond hair don't exactly mesh with the claimed Okinawa feel of Final Fantasy X. Tidus, it turns out, is a stranger to the land and is unfamiliar with its customs and culture. Scenario writer Kazunari Nojima commented that most common utterance is the question, "What's this?" Sin (previously translated as Shin), the mysterious being hinted at in the first screenshots, has been revealed to not be any sort of "being" at all. Instead, Sin manifests itself in a variety of forms, such as earthquakes or other natural disasters.

   In addition, players will get to take a more active role in the story. Certain events will only be triggered, or will play out differently, depending on your choices over the course of the game. It's unknown how much of a role events like this will play in the plot as a whole -- the fact that the team used the romantic subplots of the game as their example could indicate something as simple as the Gold Saucer dates from Final Fantasy VII, but perhaps something more ambitious is in the works this time.

   Now that Square's PR seems to be ramping up for Final Fantasy X, expect to see even more details emerge as we get closer to the July release date in Japan.

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