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Final Fantasy Agito XIII was originally announced as the third part to the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII compendium. When Final Fantasy XIII was released, Square Enix announced that it would be part of a series of games under that name, of which Final Fantasy XIII was the first part, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII is to be the second. The compendium is made up of games which take place in different settings and with different characters, and indeed often share almost no physical similarities, but which will center around and expand upon common mythologies and story themes spanning these multiple worlds. These mythologies will focus on crystals in one form ore another, as Fabula Nova Crystallis actually translates in Latin to “the new tale of the crystal.”
Square Enix has also said that Final Fantasy Agito XIII may not be the last part of the series, and much like Final Fantasy VII’s ongoing side stories, it would be left open to their developers to revisit and add to in the future. The name of Final Fantasy Agito XIII itself comes from Latin again, and the word Agito translates roughly to “I put into motion” which could be referencing an action-based style of gameplay, could be a reference to the game’s release on a portable platform, or could be a reference to as yet unannounced portion of the game’s storyline.
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Final Fantasy Agito XIII was originally announced as something that would be exclusively a mobile phone title, following the success of the mobile phone game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII in Japan, which was a prequel to both Final Fantasy VII, one of the most popular RPG games in history, and Crisis Core, its prequel that had already been released for the PSP. Final Fantasy Agito XIII was shown on this platform at E3 2006, and Square Enix said it would give players a real-time connection to the Final Fantasy XIII storyline that they could experience on the go, and that it would use unique features only accessible through mobile phones. In fact, developers were initially holding the release of the game back for the next generation of phones, because current phone technology when they began developing the game was not capable of what they wanted to do with the title.
However, on August 2nd 2008 it was announced that the mobile phone project would be discontinued, and Final Fantasy Agito XIII would be released for the Playstation Portable instead. The full reasoning for the change was not announced, but it’s likely they just wanted it to be capable of more features than it could be on a phone, and wanted to see a chance of an international release, which would have been very unlikely on a mobile phone platform that has almost no consumer support outside of Japan.
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Final Fantasy Agito XIII takes place in a world called Oriens (or perhaps Orience, depending on the exact romanization of the Japanese name the translation team would come up with if the game is localized) made up of four regions, each powered by its own crystal. There is a shaky peace between the different regions. The four regions are called Suzaku, of which the capital city is Rubrum, where the game begins, Byakku, of which the capital city is Milites, controlled by High Commander Cid, and Genbu, and Seiryu, which don’t appear to have named capitals as yet. Centered around each region’s crystal is a school, called a Peristylium, where students are trained to be warriors and magicians.
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The game’s plot begins in the Suzaku Peristylium. High Commander Cid of Byakku breaks the peace treaty between the four nations, and with an army of L’Cie, (providing an example of at least one mythology carried over from Final Fantasy XIII) he quickly takes command of every nation except Suzaku. Though he cannot gain control of the nation, his army does manage to destroy its crystal, leaving the nation powerless while he strengthens his oppressive military regime. The only people in all of Suzaku not affected are 12 students from the Peristylium that retain their powers due to a pact they’d formed with the crystal before it was destroyed. These students are the game’s playable characters. As Cid attempts to convince the nation of Suzaku to lay down arms, the twelve characters split off on their own to from a rebellion and hatch a plan to take down Cid’s militia.
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None of the characters have been given names yet, but Tetsuya Nomura, who is in charge of the character design for Final Fantasy Agito XIII after having worked on character design for many previous Square Enix games, including many of the previous Final Fantasy titles, has released official artwork of the 12 characters. The character who fights with the deck of cards has been revealed as the game’s lead. Each character will have a unique weapon type, and like in Final Fantasy XIII, each character will have a unique summon.
The summons have not been fully announced, though we can probably expect to see most of the standard Final Fantasy summons. Thus far, Odin is the only confirmed summon. He has been shown in official screenshots being summoned by the game’s as yet unnamed main character. The weapons shown in the artwork are a sword, a scythe, a katana, a flail, handguns, a mace, a shotgun, a bow and arrow, a spear, cards, a flute, and one unarmed character who likely fights with an unarmed martial arts style of combat. Also in the artwork in addition to the twelve characters is a moogle, which Square Enix has confirmed is not a playable character, though it has been speculated the moogle may be commanded by the flute one of the characters is holding, as her means of attacking.
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The Battle System is the same version of the ATB system used for Crisis Core, also released for the PSP, with some upgrades. Actions are now mapped directly to the face buttons of the PSP whenever possible instead of having the player scroll through menus, in an attempt to deliver a faster and more intuitive version of the system. The battle system is also party based, unlike Crisis Core, and supports Ad Hoc and Infrastructure multiplayer for up to three players, allowing them to take control of the other party members. The character has the option to choose their party leader, but unlike previous Final Fantasy titles that have allowed this, it is now possible to switch to different leaders during actual gameplay. When playing single player, the player will control the character they choose as a leader while the AI will manage the others. When Summons are called, the player will take control of the Summon in place of the party member while it’s being summoned.
The developers at Square Enix have said the game will have a mission-based gameplay advancement structure, and battles will be graded like in Final Fantasy XIII, with specific objectives to complete for a better score. It’s not known what the specific rewards for achieving these objectives will be. It’s also been announced that the game will have a world map with vehicles the player can use to travel along that world map. So far, a chocobo and an airship have been announced as methods of travel the player can earn.
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Release Information And Conclusion
With a very attractive graphical look, an intriguing storyline of military oppression and noble rebellion that seems to tie interestingly into Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy Agito XIII is a very interesting looking title. It also seems to carry over some familiar features from previous Final Fantasy games, as well as adding some interesting new features, making it something that's definitely worth keeping an eye on. It currently has no release date, and has not actually been announced for a release anywhere outside of Japan, though the developers are pushing for an international release, and the move to PSP from mobile phones has definitely increased the interest in North America, where mobile phone games don’t see anywhere near the support they would in Japan. As well, for any of you who are able to read Japanese, the game does have an official page on Square Enix's Japanese site. Of course, if anything more is announced for the North American version, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.
A collection of opinions on the new Final Fantasy XIII.