TGS: Additional Final Fantasy X details

[04.02.01] » Location names, new skills, battle system details, and a first look at the new experience system.

   The Tokyo Game Show has concluded, but new details on the Final Fantasy X demo continue to be uncovered.

   Beastman Kimari's weapon has been confirmed to be a spear. As befitting a spear-wielding FF character, he'll have a Jump command; strangely, this command is located under Kimari's Blue Magic menu. Kimari also had some classic Blue Magic spells in the TGS demo, including Mighty Guard and White Wind.

   The special abilities of the other characters have also been revealed. Lulu uses black magic; in the demo, she knows Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, Water, Fira, and Blizzara. Wakka seems to specialize in status attacks; his three special moves are Sleep Attack, Silence Attack, and Brain Attack. Tidus' sole spell in the demo is Haste. (Yuna, of course, uses summon magic.)

   Classic Final Fantasy monsters also put in an appearance in the TGS demo. The fish that Tidus battles underground are Sahagin, while the massive blue blob at the end of the island segment is a Dark Flan. (The Flan monster appeared in FF IX's Ice Caverns, among other areas) The Dark Flan attacks with several traditional Final Fantasy spells, including Gravity, Flare, and Aspel (aka Osmose).

   The origins of the new summon monster, Valfaré the bird, still remain hazy. Several GIA readers noted Valfaré's resemblance to FF VI summon Tritoch; while the two creatures aren't the same (Tritoch's Japanese name is Valigarmander), it's certainly possible that Valfaré was inspired by Tritoch. (While Velfarre is indeed a Japanese nightclub, the summon monster probably isn't actually named after it.)

   New battle footage reveals that the gauge on the right side of the screen functions much as expected. The bar tracks when characters and monsters will act. Heroes are denoted with their portrait, monsters with "MON" and a letter representing which monster they are (not just "M", as previously reported), and summon creatures with an "S." When a character's symbol reaches the top of the bar, he or she gets to move. As in Xenogears, there is no delay between turns. As soon as one combatant finishes moving, time jumps forward to the next one's turn -- in fact, it's even possible to input your next command while the previous one is still animating. In the demo, turn markers are allocated in a cycle, with the characters always receiving their turn in the same order and with the same frequency. (Casting the Haste spell, however, doubles the number of times the recipient appears in the turn counter.) The bar appears to contain other information as well, as the horizontal position of the markers varies, but the meaning of this is currently unclear

   The turn-tracking bar isn't the only new interface feature, as Final Fantasy X will also feature a radar-like auto-map. GameSpot VG has posted additional details on how it will function: The transparent map hovers in the corner of the screen and tracks the player's progress through the 3-D areas. A yellow arrow indicates Tidus' position, while white arrows denote save and healing points and red arrows point to the next boss or plot event.

   GameSpot also reported on a minor but interesting detail: The lead character (Tidus) physically opens treasure chests for an added touch of realism. Further enhancing the believability factor is the seamless transition between story scenes and boss battles. Not only do boss battles occur on the same screen in which players travel, as previously reported, they pick up from the same position in which the automated scenes end. Indeed, a simple ripple effect is the only sign that combat has begun. Battles can also occur in more unusual circumstances; for example, the entire battle with the fish boss takes place with Tidus swimming underwater.

   New story details have appeared as well. Madman's Cafe has translated the names of the two areas in the demo as "Virge Temple" and "Beside Island." The site also revealed some of the events that occur in the Virge Temple area: Tidus runs into a strangely-dressed group of people who speak an unknown language. A female member of the gang whispers something in Tidus' ear, surprising him.

   Madman's Cafe also posted the first screenshot of FF X's battle victory screen. The shot reveals what battle director Toshiro Tsuchida had hinted at earlier: conventional experience points are gone. Instead, the heroes seem to gain only AP from battles; accumulating enough AP raises their "S.Lv." The battle victory screen lists the entire roster, so it's likely that everyone will gain AP after a fight -- an understandable change, since characters can be swapped in and out of the active party during battle.

   What will these change mean for character progression? AP are conventionally used only to gain new abilities, so it's likely that HP and other statistics will be gained in ways other than simply fighting more battles. As for the skill system, it's possible it could be as simple as Chrono Trigger's: getting enough AP to advance a character's S.Lv nets you the next ability in a linear progression. (The FF X staff has stated in interviews that they are aiming for a simpler skill system.) Of course, it's also entire possible that the more complex aspects of the system have simply not been shown yet.

   Finally, we've updated our Final Fantasy X trailer summary with dialogue translations courtesy of Nick Rox and with new connections to the Tokyo Game Show demo areas.

Virge Temple scene

Wakka's attacks

Battle victory

[partial source] » Madman's Cafe, GameSpot VG Heard a hot news tip? Tell the Agency
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