j u l y . 2 9 . s u n d a y

FF: The Spirits Within DVD Street Date Revealed
   DVDFile revealed recently that Sony has set the DVD release of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within for October 23. The film is slated for a double-DVD release with a $29.95 price tag, though no special features have been announced as of yet. Likewise, no mention was made of the special PlayStation 2 version that was spoken of previously.
   SOURCE: The GIA | DVDFile
j u l y . 2 7 . f r i d a y

Final Fantasy Movie Action Figures "Sold Out"
   Palisades announced an official 'Sold Out' status for their 12-inch line of action figures based on Square Picture's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
   While final orders are still being filtered through distribution channels, Palisades will no longer be able to fill incoming orders for the product line. Online sales at www.PalisadesToys.com have also halted due to the shortage.
   "While Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was an excellent film, one would think that the movie was THE block-buster hit of the summer, the way we have sold through our action figure line," noted Palisades' president Mike Horn.
   For those still looking to find the collectible figures, look in the following locations; Musicland, Tower Records, Suncoast Video, Electronics Boutique, Babbages, Software Etc., Toys-R-Us, FAO Schwarz, as well as all comic, game and specialty retailers worldwide.
   SOURCE: Gaming Age
j u l y . 2 5 . w e d n e s d a y

SITE NEWS Fanart Update Coming Soon
   I just wanted to let everyone know who has submitted fanart, and has not seen it updated in the fanart gallery, that there will be a update in the near future.
   Thanks to everyone who has submitted.


Final Fantasy X Nears 2 Million Copies Sold

   Square has announced that its highly-anticipated PlayStation 2 RPG Final Fantasy X has broken the 1.9 million sales mark. The company initially shipped 2.14 million units, of which 70% were sold on its inauguration and about 90% in its first four days. Equally impressive is the fact that Final Fantasy X is selling at the same pace as its predecessors Final Fantasy VII and VIII, which both enjoyed a much larger user base with the PSone.
   SOURCE: The GIA
j u l y . 2 4 . t u e s d a y

Japan Awaits Final Fantasy Movie
   While 'Final Fantasy: Spirits Within' continues to struggle in American theaters, the movie is generating serious buzz throughout Asia. While the film isn't expected to hit Japan until this fall, Square has already begun selling advance tickets through twenty-two theaters in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Kyushu and Hokkaido. As part of the promotion, advance tickets will be collectors items featuring portraits of cast members and released in several themes including 'Love' and 'Friendship.' Moreover, customers who purchase tickets in advance are entered in a lottery to win a Seiko watch modeled after the one worn by Aki in the film.
   SOURCE: Core Magazine
j u l y . 2 0 . f r i d a y

Final Fantasy X American/European Release Details
   With the successful Japanese launch of Final Fantasy X out of the way, Square has begun planning the European and North American versions of the game. The development team is currently on hiatus following the last minute scramble to get the game released in Japan, but work will begin on the localizations as soon as they return. Square president Hisashi Suzuki spoke to Mainichi Interactive about the company's plans.
   The North American version will feature all the game's voice work re-dubbed in English. The company is aiming for a release late this year or very early next year, but Suzuki commented that sticking to this schedule may be difficult. The European version will be localized into five languages, most likely the ever popular combination of English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian. Due to the amount of speech in the game, however, the European release will probably reuse the English voice acting with localized subtitles. No date for the European version has been set.
   As has been mentioned before, Square has high hopes for the worldwide sales of Final Fantasy X. The game has already shipped over two million copies in Japan and Square is aiming for at least four million in sales in its home territory. After the North American and European releases, the company hopes to bring that figure up to ten million, which would make FF X the best selling game in the series.
   SOURCE: The GIA | Mainichi Interactive
j u l y . 1 9 . t h u r s d a y

Final Fantasy X Hits Japan & FFXI Trailer!
   Square held a Final Fantasy X countdown with retailer Tsutaya at its Shibuya location, which saw hundreds of fans counting down the seconds until the stores opened for business.
   At 7am the theme song from the game pierced the ears of shoppers as stores owners witnessed a mad dash for the counter.
   In other FF related new, Korean site Ruliweb.com has posted a Final Fantasy XI trailer, which weighs in at 46 MB. The trailer is bundled with the Japanese version of FFX for PS2. Take a look here.
   SOURCE: FGNonline

Final Fantasy Tactics & Guide Release
   Videogame retailer GameStop has verified that the Greatest Hits version to this PlayStation classic should reach store shelves on July 31st for a meager price of $24.99.
   In addition, a rerelease of Prima's Official Strategy Guide to Final Fantasy Tactics will be available.
   SOURCE: The GIA | Gamestop
j u l y . 1 8 . w e d n e s d a y

Square Plans Possible TV Series
   Square producer and Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi went on record this morning in Tokyo to discuss his first feature film, 'Final Fantasy: Spirits Within.' According to Sakaguchi-san, much of the film's $130 million budget involved the development of Square Pictures, a state of the art CG production studio. Thereby, the developmental cost and financial risk associated with future films can be significantly reduced thanks to the infrastructure now in place. Moreover, he revealed that Square is considering the possibility of a CG-based television series aside from other films and commercials.
   SOURCE: Core Magazine
j u l y . 1 4 . s a t u r d a y

Final Fantasy X Gets Rated in Japan
   The biggest PS2 game yet has been put through the test by Japan's leading gaming magazines: Famitsu, The Play Station and Famitsu PS2. All gave the game incredible marks. Famitsu awarded the title with three 10s and a 9, with Famitsu PS2 echoing those numbers. The Play Station has only three reviewers, and two chose to give the game a ten while one gave it a 9.
   As for the actual comments made by the reviewers, some chose to mention the graphics, others stated that the story was masterful, while still others said the movies were gorgeous.
   SOURCE: PS2 IGN

Square Plans Events
   Square has confirmed plans to hold a special 'Final Fantasy X: Launch Commemoration Event' at the Shinjuku Virgin Megastore on July 19th. The day's events will include a Q&A session with famed composer Nobuo Uematsu and a performance by Japanese singer Rikki, who signs the theme song from Final Fantasy X.
   In associated news, Uematsu-san has confirmed that an orchestral concert featuring the music of Final Fantasy is being planned. Tentatively scheduled for next spring in Japan, a definitive location and date hasn't been decided yet. The event is being planned around the development schedules of several upcoming games, and will be sponsored by retail chain Digicube.
   SOURCE: Core Magazine
j u l y . 1 0 . t u e s d a y

Final Fantasy Digital Cinema Release
   The silver screen incarnation of Final Fantasy shows from Jul. 11 in over 2,500 cinemas, with seven of these showing the movie in digital cinema.
   Only 12 theatres in the U.S. have digital capability, which offers audiences a visually superior experience. FF fans will be able to check out the digital version of the movie at AMC Empire, New York City; Edwards Irvine Spectrum, Irvine, Calif.; AMC Media 6, Burbank, Calif.; Cinemark Legacy, Dallas; Famous Players Paramount, Toronto; AMC Barrington, Chicago; and the AMC Van Ness, San Francisco.
   These screens will be using a Texas Instruments DLP projector, operating from a server called a QuBit,'' explained Bill Hausch, Digital Studios Division for Sony Pictures Entertainment. "The sensation you get with digital cinema is a picture without a flicker, scratches, dirt or focus flutter. We're providing the moviegoing patron a glimpse of the future of theatrical exhibition.''
   The first movie to be released digitally was The Phantom Menace back in 1999.
   SOURCE: FGNonline
j u l y . 0 6 . f r i d a y

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Interview
   A must read for anyone interested in hearing what the voice actors/actresses thought of working on the movie and some thoughts about each character. Andy Jones, the animation director of the film, also talks about some more of the technical aspects of the film.
   You can veiw the full interview here.
   SOURCE: GameSpyDaily

SquareSoft Discusses FFX Sales Forecast
   SquareSoft has announced its worldwide sales expectations for its upcoming PlayStation 2 role-playing game Final Fantasy X. The company expects to ship 2 million copies of the game when it launches on July 19 in Japan, Hiroshi Suzuki, president of SquareSoft, told Bloomberg Japan. Total sales in that territory, according to company forecasts, is expected to surpass 4 million units, while worldwide sales is expected to reach 10 million units. Previous games in the series have combined to sell over 33 million copies worldwide through March 31 of this year.
   SOURCE: GameSpot VG

CT and FF4 Soundtracks Heading to the US
   Coming on the heels of the rerelease of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV, Tokyopop Soundtrax is releasing each game's soundtrack for the first time in the U.S. No specific release date has been mentioned beyond "late summer," so look for it this August at the latest.
   SOURCE: The GIA
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New Chrono Game in Planning Stages
   Although SquareSoft's Final Fantasy series has received the brunt of the mainstream attention, the company's Chrono series of role-playing games is regarded by many as the epitome of the genre. Chrono Cross on the PlayStation continued the tradition of the novel storytelling and intuitive gameplay set forth by Chrono Trigger. Now, that tradition is set to continue, as the next game in the Chrono series is currently in the planning stages. Hironobu Sakaguchi, executive producer at SquareSoft, informed GameSpot that several members of the Chrono Cross development team are highly interested in developing a new game in the series. In fact, although the production on the game hasn't begun yet, several script ideas are currently being considered.
   "There has been a lot of pitching of ideas for a new Chrono game," Sakaguchi said. "Of our staff in Tokyo, a lot of people want to continue the series and create a new Chrono game, especially the former director. Right now we're throwing around a few different ideas for the game, but there hasn't been a green light for production yet."
   A specific console platform for the next game in the Chrono series is not being discussed publicly at this time, and given the early state of the project, we don't expect to see the game for some time.
   SOURCE: GameSpot VG

FFX Confirmed to Use PS2 Hard Drive in Japan
   Sony Computer Entertainment yesterday officially announced a release date and price for the PlayStation 2 hard drive. The peripheral will ship on July 17th in Japan in two different versions. SCPH-10210 is a 19,000 yen ($152 US) external version for older PS2 consoles. SCPH-10260 will retail for 18,000 yen ($144 US) and is an internal unit designed only for the new SCPH-30000 and SCPH-35000GT models. Both hard drive models will have a storage capcity of 40 gigabytes.
   Eight released and upcoming games have been confirmed as supporting the unit. The titles are Artdink's train sim A-Train 2001 (already released), Gust's anime RPG Atelier Lilie (also already released), Final Fantasy X, Train Kit for A-Train 2001, Jade Cocoon II, Capcom vs. SNK 2, Beatmania II DX 5th Style, and the Guitar Freaks / Drummania combination GitaDora. All but the A-Train titles will simply use the hard drive to speed loading; A-Train 2001's support for the peripheral includes data exchange with the Train Kit and the ability to take snapshots.
   SOURCE: The GIA

Square Announces The Sky: The Art of FF

   Over the years, Square has released a great deal of Yoshitaka Amano's Final Fantasy artwork in various art books and collections, but there has never been an attempt to comprehensively document the famed illustrators work on the series, until now. Square recently revealed a new limited edition box set, titled The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy, that will attempt to do just that.
   Weighing in at 6 kilograms and comprising over 700 pages, the boxed collection will contain 3 full volumes covering the entirety of Amano's involvement with the Final Fantasy series. Design art, sketches, and paintings from all the games, including as-yet unreleased material from Final Fantasy X, will be included. A fourth volume will include a comprehensive biography, interviews, and a guided tour of Amano's New York and Tokyo studios. Two limited edition postcards and a small animated flip book round out the collection.
   The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy will be released in Japan on July 19 for 28,000 yen (about $225 US). As usual with this sort of merchandise, don't expect to see the collection show up on this side of the Atlantic.
   SOURCE: The GIA

Final Fantasy Movie Soundtrack Now Available
   SquareSoft has revealed that a preview of its upcoming PlayStation 2 game Final Fantasy X is included in the release of the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within film soundtrack. Elliot Goldenthal, who composed the score for such films as Heat and Cobb, created the soundtrack for the Final Fantasy film. Vocal scores on the soundtrack include songs by L'Arc-en-Ciel and Lara Fabian. The Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within soundtrack is currently available at retailers nationwide.
   SOURCE: GameSpot VG
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Final Fantasy Chronicles in Stores Now
   Final Fantasy Chronicles, the collected PlayStation ports of Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger, is now available in many stores. While the game's official release date is not until July 10th and Square has not announced the title's release, most retailer have already begun selling the package.
   SOURCE: The GIA

Square Board of Directors Interview
   During the company's annual meeting with shareholders last week, Square gave investors the chance to pose a few questions to the board of directors. And, with Square posting its first ever losses last fiscal year, they had a lot to answer for. Our good friends at the web's hippest indie gaming site, Video-Senki, have translated the full Q&A session.
   Company president Nao Suzuki was honest about Square's poor performance over the last year, and admitted that the future would bring a reevaluation of the company's priorities, including "whether [it] should continue with movies or not. " The huge expense of The Spirits Within seemed the sorest subject for the investors, but company director Yoichi Wada explained that the film need only finish between 20th and 30th in ticket sales to be profitable. One of the lesser goals, however, is to simply raise worldwide brand awareness of the Final Fantasy name and, in that respect, the company already considers the movie a success.
   When asked if the company has "anything new to replace Final Fantasy," Suzuki responded that Square has a "fervent desire to have a brand that can exceed the success of the Final Fantasy name." Suzuki pointed to the Disney licensed Kingdom Hearts as an attempt to find a brand that would succeed around the world. Wada also explained that one of the losses for last year was a canceled game in development for "overseas markets." It seems likely this project was the mysterious Silent Chaos, unseen since we first learned of its existence last year.
   It was also mentioned that development for FF XII is currently underway and the company is aiming at a March 2003 release for the sequel.
   SOURCE: The GIA