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To promote the US release of Kingdom Hearts II character designer and director Tetsuya Nomura talked about the title and the future of the popular series.

First he talked about the difference between the Japanese and the North American version. The differences are minimal like one thing that is modified is the gun design of the Pirates of the Caribbean level. This is because of the ESRB rating the game has to make it guns look less like weapons. He also said that there won't be a Final Mix version of the game, due to the lack of changes.

Nomura already has some new ideas about the feature development of Kingdom Hearts. But, when the ideas will be turned into a project, fans should not expect a new numbered title or something like KH: Chain of Memories. Furthermore, Nomura also ruled out a foray into media forms other than games, such as animation. Famitsuu speculates that one possibility would be something along the lines of a gaiden.

As final thing, he promised major announcements for this year's edition for the Electronic Entertainment Expo and the Tokyo Game Show. Square Enix corporate executive director Shinji Hashimoto confirmed as much, saying his company would hold a big "surprise ceremony" at E3. Following the release of Kingdom Hearts II in North America and Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII in Japan, the development team of Nomura and Hashimoto is currently working on two confirmed projects: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII for PlayStation Portable and an untitled Final Fantasy installment for PlayStation 3.

Source: RPGFan

Two days ago Square Enix announced its financial results for the third quarter of the current fiscal year ending on March 31st. The company posted a consolidated net profit of 4.29 billion yen ($36.58 million USD) on sales of 68.99 billion yen ($588.18 million USD). Compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year, sales were up 13.2%, while net profit was done by 67.7%. This decline in profit however was expected, given that last year's third quarter saw the release of Dragon Quest VIII in Japan. As for the top performers of the three month period from October to December 2005, Kingdom Hearts II sold 1.1 million copies in Japan, followed by Slime Morimori Dragon Quest 2 for DS (260,000 copies) and Front Mission 5 for PlayStation 2 (180,000 copies). In total, the game division recorded sales of 21.20 billion yen ($180.74 million USD) and an operating profit of 974 million yen ($8.303 million USD).

Despite the continued popularity of Final Fantasy XI, the release of Front Mission Online, and the Japanese version of EverQuest II, Square Enix's online game division saw its sales decline by 9.2% to reach 9.62 billion yen ($82.02 million USD). Operating profit dropped by 15.7% to reach 3.75 billion yen ($31.97 million USD).

The lower profit of the offline and online game divisions was upset by the success of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children which has sold more than one million copies in Japan since its September 14th, 2005 release.

Due to the acquisition of Taito, an AM division appeared for the first time in today's balance sheet. This debut could have been better, though, as the division posted an operating loss worth 234 million yen ($2.00 million USD) on sales of 20.69 billion yen ($176.39 million USD). Square Enix has left its projections for the full fiscal year unchanged. During the January to March period, the company has already shipped Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII and will release its often delayed, highly anticipated PlayStation 2 RPG Final Fantasy XII on March 16th.

Source: RPGFan

At a press conference in Tokyo today, Square Enix announced more details regarding its upcoming "gun" Action-RPG Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. For the newest installment of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, the company is cooperating with J-Pop star Gackt. The singer will not only peform the game's main theme Redemption and another song titled Longing, but also appear in the game, playing the role of an important character. This character however will not be a virtual alter ego created by motion capturing, but rather the real Gackt filmed by a camera. The resulting movie will then combined with traditional CG scenes.

At today's press conference, Square Enix president Youichi Wada, the producer of Dirge of Cerberus and head of Square Enix's first production team Yoshinori Kitase, corporate executive director Shinji Hashimoto, and Gackt were present. Wada explained the "polymorphic content" concept behind the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, saying the company wanted to grant the wish for a sequel voiced by many fans, by bringing the Final Fantasy VII experience to various platforms, such as cellphones, movies and game consoles. Afterwards, producer Kitase took the stage, explaining that shooting games traditionally focused on action, while the story was merely an afterthought. With Dirge of Cerberus, however, he wanted to create a new-type of gun action game combining strong action elements with a Final Fantasy-class story, movie sequences, CG scenes and interesting characters.

The costume Gackt is wearing during his in-game appearance was designed by character designer Tetsuya Nomura. The popstar will also wear it during his concert tour Gackt Live Tour 2005 Diablos - Aien no Shi. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII will be available in Japan on January 26th for 7,800 yen ($66.79 USD).

Source: RPGFan

Kingdom Hearts II

Square-Enix has updated their official Kingdom Hearts II website with the trailer of the Tokyo Game Show 2005. The trailer shows new worlds and characters that will be in the game.
To watch the trailer go to their official website and click on the button above the updates and then on PV. The trailer take a while to load, but it's worth it.
The trailer will be also available soon in the trailer section.

» Official Japanese Kingdom Hearts II website

Edit: The trailer is now also available for download, click here.

Square Enix

In the latest issue of the Official US PlayStation magazine Square-Enix said that they wanted to release Grandia III in North America. Also this week the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (better known as ESRB) has given a rating Teen for Grandia III. The reason why Grandia III has this rating is because the game has fantasy violence, mild language, and use of alcohol.

Keep checking back HHN for more news about the upcoming release of Grandia III.

Source: RPGamer

Kingdom Hearts

Square Enix will release a Kingdom Hearts Deluxe Limited Edition Package in late December. This package will include the already available Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, as well as the upcoming PlayStation 2 sequel Kingdom Hearts II and a special deluxe package featuring an illustration drawn by series mastermind and character designer Tetsuya Nomura.

The Kingdom Hearts Deluxe Limited Edition Package will be available in Japan on December 22nd for 16,180 yen ($139.63 US).

Source: RPGFan

Final Fantasy III

In the latest issue of the Japanese magazine Nintendo Dreams exclusive screenshots are located from Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS. Also the logo has been reveiled. This 16 years old Famicon game will be fully in 3D.
The screenshots show a town area, the inside of a shop, a dungeon and a boss fight. The game is set to be released in 2006.

» Logo | Screenshots: 1 2 3 4

Source: GameScience

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Yesterday Square-Enix has announced that its CG movie sequel Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has recorded sales exceeding 700,000 copies in Japan since its September 14th release. According to the company, the limited edition DVD Box and the first print limited edition have both sold out completely. While it did not provide any numbers, it also revealed that the UMD version of the movie was very popular as well.

Producer Shinji Hashimoto was pleased with the results, saying after the success in Japan, the expectations for the upcoming releases in North America and Europe were very high. The succcess in Japan would also encourage Square Enix to aim even higher in the future.

The movie's popularity has also been evident in Tokyo, as this editor found in late September. Despite having already been available for two weeks, the DVD version was sold out in Yodobashi Camera's main store in Shinjuku as well as the HMV Shibuya store.

Source: RPGFan

Square Enix

Square Enix has announced that they will be bringing Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI to the Game Boy Advance in 2006. The GBA versions of these titles will be improved, just like the conversion of Final Fantasy IV, announced earlier this year.

Square Enix President Youichi Wada also addressed the development of Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS. Instead of being a simple clean-up of the original's Famicom-style graphics, Square Enix are making the characters and environments fully 3D. Hiromichi Tanaka, producer of the title, says that to keep the vibe of the original title intact, developers from the original title have been brought onboard for the remake.

Square Enix

Square Enix has launched the Japanese teaser site for Final Fantasy IV for the Game Boy Advance. The teaser site features a Game Boy micro faceplate with Amano art from FFIV.

It's unknown if this faceplate will be seen outside of Japan when Final Fantasy IV GBA launches in North America on December 12.

» Final Fantasy IV GBA Teaser Site

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