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Final Fantasy XI Coming to Xbox 360
Posted by: Cuer - Tue May 17th, 2005 12:52 pm EDT
In the Microsoft Media Conference, Microsoft and Square-Enix announced that Final Fantasy XI will be coming to the upcoming Xbox 360 gaming console. This is a large switch, given the support that Square-Enix has given Sony in the past, including FFXI being on the PS2.

From the official Square-Enix press release:

Square Enix Announces First Collaboration with Microsoft

LOS ANGELES, California (May 16, 2005)

Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan, “Square Enix”) a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software including two of the world’s most popular franchises FINAL FANTASY® and DRAGON QUEST™, today announced that FINAL FANTASY® XI will be released on Xbox 360™, Microsoft's next-generation gaming console, and Xbox Live, the company’s premier online gaming service. The partnership was announced at Microsoft's Media Briefing held in Los Angeles on May 16th. Xbox 360 will be available this holiday season.

“As we move forward with our cross-platform strategy to bring our titles to more gamers in multiple formats, we are extremely excited to launch our popular MMORPG on the Xbox 360 and look forward to this collaboration with Microsoft,” said Yoichi Wada, president of Square Enix. “The Xbox 360 provides a powerful platform from which gamers can be immersed in the spell-binding FINAL FANTASY XI story that comes to life through collaborative online game play.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with Square Enix to bring their incredible game FINAL FANTASY XI to Xbox 360,” said Robbie Bach, Microsoft chief Xbox officer. “The power of our next generation games and entertainment system combined with the creativity and innovation of Square Enix promises to truly revolutionize video games on a global scale.”

FINAL FANTASY XI is a massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG). The original version of the game was released in May 2002 in Japan, October 2003 in North America and September 2004 in Europe, with a subscriber base now in excess of 500,000 active accounts.

With the release of the Xbox 360 version, Square Enix will be expanding its cross-platform strategy, making FINAL FANTASY XI available to a much wider audience. Players will be able to choose their hardware and play on the same servers as existing gamers. The powerful next-generation capabilities of the Xbox 360 will provide a much more dynamic and visually impressive gateway to Vana'diel - the world of FINAL FANTASY XI.

No further information regarding FINAL FANTASY XI for Xbox 360 is available today. More details will be released in the coming months.

In the IGN.com coverage, extra details are provided on the announcement:
The trailer that was shown at the press conference started off with a lot of landscape shots of the existing world of Final Fantasy XI, eventually building up to show characters one by one, fighting monsters such as Diablos and Behemoths. Details were far and few between, but from the trailer that was shown at the press conference, the gameplay looks on par with the PC version of the game, although the detail is more apparent with the X360 rev.

What's questionable will be whether or not the game will include the expansion Chains of Promathia, although chances are with the changes made to Xbox Live, the expansion might be a downloadable upgrade. But that remains to be seen. The game will utilize MS' Xbox Live service in conjunction with their PlayOnline service to deliver what'll be an attempt to merge both PC and Xbox 360 players into the same game world. This is a first for any MMORPG title that's currently active online, and it'll certainly present a huge challenge for both Microsoft and Square Enix to pull off without a hitch.

And the GameSpot coverage points out that:
Final Fantasy XI was the first game in the popular role-playing series to go online, and the Xbox version will sport new high-definition graphics and make use of all of Xbox Live's features.

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