As we head towards the end of another year, I like to think about the past twelve months and all the things that have happened. For Square Enix, it's been another busy year, with a host of great releases and exciting announcements – so with Christmas getting close, we thought we’d take the excuse to look back on what's been going on.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Launch
The first big event of the year was undoubtedly the release of Final Fantasy XIII-2, which made it onto shelves in Europe on February 3.
The game focuses on Noel and Serah as they embark on a quest to rescue Serah's big sister Lightning, who is trapped in an alternate reality. Along the way they must battle numerous adversaries and solve a range of puzzles – and traverse the very flow of time.
Of course, the game was a follow-up to Final Fantasy XIII and as such continues the story, but emphasises a few changes from its predecessor.
"Final Fantasy XIII had the concept of being story-driven," the game's director – Motomu Toriyama – told G4TV. "But people thought it was a little bit too linear.
"Final Fantasy XIII-2 is intended to be player-driven, so when it comes to battles… every single aspect of the game, the player can enjoy some sort of interaction."
Producer Yoshinori Kitase, added: "One of the main features – the main pillars – of the franchise is the characters. Plus there's a very interesting in-game universe, with its colours and designs.
"Based around those two things, a dramatic story unfolds."
The game went straight to the top of the UK's all-formats chart upon release, and a range of DLC add-ons have since been made available… climaxing in an announcement of an entirely new game… but more on that later!
Jumping on ahead, and skipping a few of our quieter months, we were really excited to unveil a little something the team in Tokyo has been working on – the Luminous Engine. During an evening session towards the end of E3 week, media and guests were invited to an event to find out more, and were treated to the video which quickly got people talking: Agni's Philosophy.
The video gives us a glimpse of the sort of quality we can expect from some Square Enix games in the future – no details yet on which ones and when, but we're pretty sure you'll agree it's a gorgeous-looking piece of tech, and we can't wait to see more.
But when, I hear you cry??
Well, as our Worldwide Technology Director, Julien Merceron, recently teased: Next June might be a good time to expect another update…
Heroes of Ruin Launch
Sticking with June, and just after E3 concluded we launched action RPG Heroes of Ruin for the Nintendo 3DS.
The game allows you to play as four different characters – the Vindicator, the Gunslinger, the Alchitect and the Savage – and made great use of the console’s StreetPass and SpotPass tech to enable gamers to trade with each other and check out new daily challenges.
Among the critics, Pocket Gamer for one was pretty keen, dishing out a Gold Award.
"This is true online gaming, and it's on a Nintendo console," read the review. "If you're into RPGs, Heroes of Ruin should be your very next purchase.
"Even if you're not, you should pick the game up to show publishers that this is the direction we want the 3DS to take. Magnificent and essential."
Glowing words indeed – so if you've got a 3DS hanging around and you somehow missed this, it might be worth checking out with some of your Christmas monies.
That's it for Part One - come back tomorrow to check out more highlights from the past year.