a p r i l . 2 7 . f r i d a y

NON-SQUARE Xenosaga Coming to Japan in December
   Although details remain scarce on MonolithSoft's Xenogears prequel Xenosaga, word has filtered out of Japan that the game is well on track for its previously announced winter release. IGNPS2 reports that the game will ship in Japan sometime in December.
   Look for more information on Xenosaga after the game's official unveiling in July.
a p r i l . 2 6 . t h u r s d a y

Fantasy Becomes Reality Two Days Earlier
   The official Final Fantasy Movie site states that the movie will now be in theaters Wednesday, July 11.
   SOURCE: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Official Site
a p r i l . 2 3 . m o n d a y

SITE NEWS New SquareAMP Forums!
   SquareAMP has launched the new and improved forums
. For those of you that have already registered you will need to register again (sorry for the inconvenience). And for everyone that has not registered yet, on either, make sure you do so.
   Special thanks to Rune for the great new forum!

Square Trademarks "Gummy Block"
   In addition to TetraMaster, another new online project may be in the works at Square. The company trademarked the name "Gummy Block" at the same time as "TetraMaster" and in the same business categories. These categories include "Providing on-line game via computer networks", "computer programs and game software downloadable from computer networks; game software for home use downloadable from computer networks; video games for home use" and several merchandise-related classifications.
   "Gummy Block" was also trademarked in one area that "TetraMaster" was not: a food-related category including "Coffee and cocoa; tea; seasonings; cereal preparations; sandwiches;" and several other food items. This category may have been registered for Gummy Block food merchandise tying into the "Gummy" part of the title.
   As for the game itself, the name "Gummy Block" suggests a puzzle title in the vein of Tetris -- though there's no guarantee that Gummy Block will turn out to be an online game or even a game at all. However, the fact that name was trademarked together with "TetraMaster" would seem to indicate that the two are related or similar projects.

Final Fantasy XI to Include TetraMaster
   The TetraMaster mini-game from Final Fantasy IX will appear in upgraded form in Final Fantasy XI, reports Madman's Cafe. The site recently detailed on some of the features available for users of Square's forthcoming PlayOnline service. E-mail, chat, and the TetraMaster game will all be featured as part of the PVN -- PlayOnline Viewer Navigator -- program that comes with Final Fantasy XI.
   SOURCE: Madman's Cafe

Square, Namco, and Enix Project
   According to Bloomberg Japan, Square, Namco, and Enix are exchanging 5% shares in each other's companies. The combined value of the transactions will be about 44.2 billion yen, or $36.3 million at current exchange rates. Furthermore, the companies will finalize exchanges of the first 1% by the end of this week.
   This financial exchange is expected to help the three companies defray some of the rising costs of development and spread the impact of the market's financial risks. GameSpot reports that the companies plan codeveloped projects, but the original Japanese press release contains no such suggestion. It is unknown how, if at all, this partnership will affect next-generation target development and target platforms.
   SOURCE: Bloomberg Japan

Square Hints At Disney RPG Possibilities
   Square recently polled randomly-chosen PlayOnline users on its upcoming Disney RPG. While the survey itself can be only be taken by the selected PlayOnline members, it reveals three possible premises for the Tetsuya Nomura-designed title:
   1. "This new game puts a new twist inside the best-loved worlds of Disney, as you lead the fight to save a kingdom alongside some of your favorite Disney characters."
   2. "Squaresoft and Disney join forces in creating an entirely new adventure, where new heroes and classic characters embark on an epic quest to free innocent hearts and save a kingdom of lore."
   3. "The latest innovation from Squaresoft, this epic new story introduces new heroes and challenges while journeying through familiar worlds for an entirely new gaming adventure."
   While none of these concepts are necessarily representative of the final game, they present several of the designs that may be under consideration. Most significant is the revelation that the project won't necessarily feature existing Disney characters, as had been widely assumed.
a p r i l . 1 8 . w e d n e s d a y

Sony Signs as European Squaresoft Publisher
   The good news for European Squaresoft fans is that the company is once again taking steps to release its games for PAL territories; the bad news is that it may take quite some time to get there. Sony is partnering with Square to bring The Bouncer and Final Fantasy X to Europe, and they'll be doing a thorough job.
   "Our development teams have worked very hard to get the very best quality games for PlayStation 2 and we are sure that SCEE will do a great job for us in the PAL territories."
   Indeed, SCEE is going so far as to localize both games into 5 new languages, which one may assume includes new voice acting. The Bouncer is due this summer, while Final Fantasy X is currently set for the middle of next year.
a p r i l . 1 7 . t u e s d a y

Additional Final Fantasy X Details
   GameSpot VG today reported on a second Final Fantasy X mini-game. In addition to playing the underwater sport Blitzball, hero Tidus will be tracking down pointers to help him learn the fictitious language Al Bhed. (This language is very likely the one used by Ryukku in the Tokyo Game Show demo.)
   GameSpot VG also reported that Final Fantasy X now has a tentative North American release date of "early 2002." Previous announcements had pegged the title with a November 2001 release.
   SOURCE: Videogames.com

Final Fantasy Chronicles!
   Square Electronic Arts announced today the company's plan to release Final Fantasy Chronicles: Final Fantasy IV & Chrono Trigger in July 2001 for PlayStation. The special bundle package includes updated versions of Square's Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger role-playing games that were originally released in North America for the SNES in 1991 and 1995 respectively.
   "We are pleased to deliver these two titles to our North American fans on the PlayStation game console," said Jun Iwasaki, president of Square Electronic Arts. "Since the release of Chrono Cross last August, we've received an overwhelming number of fan requests to re-release Chrono Trigger for the PlayStation game console. We have added a variety of new features to both Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger for this compilation and believe this set will appeal to fans of the original games and introduce a new generation of gamers to some of our classic titles."
   The Final Fantasy Chronicles set includes new opening and closing cinematic sequences for Chrono Trigger as well as several recreations of key sequences during the game, which add to the game's emotional impact, answers lingering questions, and offers insight into the game's success, Chrono Cross.
   Final Fantasy IV will feature a new dash feature to allow players to quickly move through dungeons and towns, plus a new two player mode that allows two players to participate in the battles together. And in a move that should please fans of the original that weren't too thrilled with the mediocre writing found in the SNES version, Square has opted to use a completely new and improved localization of the original unedited storyline. Final Fantasy IV will also feature new cinematic sequences and some original monsters, abilities, items and scenes that were not seen in the SNES version.
   Final Fantasy Chronicles: Final Fantasy IV & Chrono Trigger will be released in July 2001 for PlayStation and will carry a suggested retail price of $40. It carries an ESRB rating of "T" (Teen).
a p r i l . 1 6 . m o n d a y

Square Talks Strategy
   Following Square's announcement this morning regarding plans to release Final Fantasy X for the PlayStation 2 on July 19th, president Hisashi Suzuki went on record regarding the company's managerial plans. In particular, Suzuki-san reaffirmed plans to release Final Fantasy X in America and Europe this November. Square projects sales for Final Fantasy X to reach 3-3.5 million in Japan, 1.4-1.8 million in America, and 1.2-1.5 in Europe this year.
   More intriguing, Suzuki-san also revealed that Square is planning to re-release Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX for the PlayStation 2 this year. Moreover, he confirmed that portions of the PlayOnline network have been finished, including the browser which will allow for chat, email, and gaming functions. The PlayOnline network will support Final Fantasy XI, the first exclusively online sequel in the series, scheduled for release next spring for PlayStation 2 and Windows PC in Japan. According to Suzuki-san, Square projects a profit from PlayOnline assuming 495,000 people subscribe for one year contracts. Considering the popularity of the Final Fantasy series, Square is confident they'll reach at least that many subscribers when FFXI is released next year.
   SOURCE: Core Magazine

FFX Release Date, Price Announced For Japan
   Square confirmed today that Final Fantasy X will indeed meet its projected Japanese release date and is now set to launch on July 19. More surprising is the announced price for the game -- 8800 yen, which converts to over 70 US dollars and is well above the 6800 yen average price for PlayStation 2 games.
   Even more suprising is the price for the Limited Edition version of the game, as the 2-DVD deluxe set will retail for over 10,000 yen, a price not seen since the SNES-era heyday of cartridges.
   Expect official announcements regarding the US version(s) of Final Fantasy X to be made at next month's E3.

Final Fantasy IV Piano Collections Re-released
   Just when you start to think Square doesn't listen to its fans, out comes a re-release of the long-clamored-for Final Fantasy IV Piano Collections. Though the hardcover book of sheet music is not included in the new release, fans of the game's music will be relieved to hear that it's no longer necessary to pay upwards of $300 for the disc on eBay.
   SOURCE: The GIA | CD Japan
a p r i l . 1 4 . s a t u r d a y

Two New Final Fantasy X Characters Revealed
   As previously announced, Square is once again promoting their latest Final Fantasy with collectable figurines. The promotion began at the start of this month with four variations of Tidus and Yuna available with the purchase of bottles of Coca-Cola. Now pictures of the super-deformed versions of all eight characters in the promotion have leaked out on the web, revealing two new additions to the game's cast.
   Joining the six known characters are a sword fighter named Aaron and a mage whose name we've tentatively translated as Shimora. The Japanese text that appears above the characters identifies Aaron as a party member, while Shimora is an NPC. What role Shimora will play in the story is currently unknown (as is his/her sex), but the character's stern demeanor does seem to indicate an antagonist.
   The name of the mysterious woman seen in the Virge Temple section of the TGS demo has been revealed as Ryukku, not Zorenne as had been previously reported. As previously speculated, she will indeed be joining as the party's thief, complete with the "steal" skill.

Japanese Final Fantasy X Commercial
   Check out the new high quality commercial being shown in Japan of Square's upcoming epic, Final Fantasy X.
   The commercial can be downloaded here (MPEG, 320x240, 0:52min, 21.1MB).
   SOURCE: Ruliweb | The GIA
a p r i l . 0 9 . m o n d a y

Site News: SquareAMP Radio IP Changed
   For anyone that has bookmarked the SquareAMP Radio station in your Winamp players the IP address has now changed (if you were wondering why it would always time out this is the reason).
   The new IP is:
a p r i l . 0 4 . w e d n e s d a y

Final Fantasy X Coca-Cola Promotional Figurines
   In the grand tradition of last year's Final Fantasy IX cross-promotion with Cola-Cola, Square has announced another series of collectable figurines to promote the company's latest Final Fantasy. Starting this month in Japan, select 500ml bottles of Coca-Cola will include one of thirty-two figures modeled after the cast of Final Fantasy X. Each character will be available in realistic or super-deformed style in both fully-painted or crystal (clear red) variations.
   Only lead characters, Tidus and Yuna, have been revealed so far, but presumably new members of the game's cast will follow. If the set continues the trend of having four variations of each, at least three new characters should be revealed over the course of the promotion.
a p r i l . 0 3 . t u e s d a y

Post-TGS: Additional Final Fantasy X Details
   New details have been discovered from the Final Fantasy X demo shown at TGS regarding characters, monsters, locations, the battle system, the victory screen and the transparent field map.
   Click here to view the list of new details.
a p r i l . 0 2 . m o n d a y

Post-TGS: 'Tidus and Yuna's Theme' MP3!
   Thanks to Square Source for this great MP3, composed and conducted by Nobuo Uematsu, of 'Tidus and Yuna's Theme' from Square's upcoming PS2 masterpiece. The MP3 was taken from one of the various CD's distributed at Square's TGS booth.
   Click here to download the song (3:25 min, 3.13MB).
   SOURCE: Square Source
a p r i l . 0 1 . s u n d a y

Post-TGS: 5 Awesome New Movies of FFX!
   If you thought the footage of FF10 was great from IGN PS2 just wait until you see what Daily Radar got ahold of! Click here and scroll towards the bottom of the page for the section of movies labeled '03/30/01' and be prepared to be shocked with beauty.
   Two definitely worth checking out are the ones called 'The Best CG of all Time (13.5MB)' and 'Mind Boggling Ice Spell (NOT CG 14.5MB)'.
   SOURCE: Daily Radar