Final Fantasy XII


Final Fantasy XII

Infobox VG
title = Final Fantasy XII


caption = The original Japanese cover art of "Final Fantasy XII"
developer = Square Enix
publisher = Square Enix
distributor = vgrelease|EU=Ubisoft Entertainment
designer = Yasumi Matsuno
Hiroshi Minagawa
Hiroyuki Itō
writer = Daisuke Watanabe
artist = Akihiko Yoshida
composer = Hitoshi Sakimoto
released = vgrelease|JP=March 16, 2006|NA=October 31, 2006cite web | publisher=Square Enix | year=2006 | title=FINAL FANTASY XII IN STORES OCTOBER 31, 2006 | url=http://www.square-enix.com/na/company/press/2006/0628/#ESRB | accessdate=2006-08-13] |PAL=February 23, 2007cite web |title=Final Fantasy XII dated |url=http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=71766 |date=2007-01-12 |accessdate=2007-01-19 |publisher=Eurogamer] |INT=August 9, 2007
series = "Final Fantasy"
vgrelease|INT="Ivalice Alliance"
genre = Console role-playing
modes = Single-player
ratings = vgratings|CERO=A (original release), B ("International")|ESRB=T|OFLCA=M|PEGI=16+|USK=12
platforms = PlayStation 2
media = DVD-ROM
input = DualShock 2 controller
picture format = 16:9 / 4:3
resolution = 480i (SDTV)
nihongo|"Final Fantasy XII"|ファイナルファンタジーXII|Fainaru Fantajī Tuerubu is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for Sony's PlayStation 2, and the twelfth installment in the "Final Fantasy" series. It was released in vgy|2006, and was the first single-player "Final Fantasy" title of the main series since "Final Fantasy X" five years earlier.cite web | author=Loor, Jeffrey | date=2006-11-01| title=The latest installment... | publisher=Ars Technica | url=http://arstechnica.com/reviews/games/ff12.ars | accessdate=2007-03-06] Selling more than two million copies in Japan,cite web | date=2006-05-24| title=Square Enix Conference Report| publisher=RPGFan | url=http://www.rpgfan.com/news/2006/1287.html | accessdate=2006-09-01] it became the fourth best-selling PlayStation 2 game of 2006 worldwide.cite web | publisher=IGN | year=2006 | title=PS2 2006 Year in Review | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/749/749553p2.html | accessdate=2006-03-06]

The game takes place in the fictional location called Ivalice, where the empire of Archadia is conquering surrounding kingdoms, with the land of Rozarria close to waging an endless war against it with the kingdom of Dalmasca caught in the middle. However, by chance, a Dalmascan orphan named Vaan is caught up in the adventure as he and his band of allies join the Princess Ashe in reclaiming her birthright and rally against the tyranny of the Archadian Empire.

"Final Fantasy XII" introduced several innovations to the series: battles occur without a transition to a separate screen; a "gambit" system automatically controls the actions of characters; and a "license" system determines which abilities and equipment are used by characters.cite web|author=Dunham, Jeremy|date=2006-10-27|url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/741/741991p1.html|title=Final Fantasy XII review|publisher=IGN|accessdate=2007-03-04] cite web|author=Kasavin, Greg|date=2006-10-31|url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/rpg/finalfantasy12/review.html|title=Final Fantasy XII for PlayStation 2 Review|publisher=GameSpot|accessdate=2007-03-04] "Final Fantasy XII" also includes elements from previous games in the series, such as summoned monsters, Chocobos,cite book |editor=Square Enix|title=Final Fantasy XII North American instruction manual|origdate= |origyear=2006|publisher=Square Enix|pages=14] and airships. The game received universally high scores, and earned numerous "Game of the Year" awards in various categories from noted video game publications. A spinoff, "", was released for the Nintendo DS on April 26, 2007 in Japan and was released in North America on November 20, 2007. [cite web | author=IGN Staff | date=2006-09-21| title=TGS 2006: Final Fantasy XII Update| url=http://ds.ign.com/articles/733/733945p1.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2006-09-21] [cite web | author = Jeriaska | date=2007-07-14 | title = Square Enix gesticulates in regards to Revenant Wings bonus content | url=http://www.square-haven.com/news/2007/07/14/E3-2007-Square-Enix-gesticulates-in-regards-to-Revenant-Wings-bonus-co | accessdate=2007-07-15]

Gameplay

Throughout the game, the player directly controls the on screen character from a third-person perspective to interact with people, objects and enemies. Unlike previous games in the series, the player can also control the camera with the right analog stick, allowing for a 360° view of the surroundings. While in towns and cities, the player may only see from the perspective of Vaan, although any character may be controlled in battle. The world of "Final Fantasy XII" is rendered to scale relative to the characters in it; instead of a caricature of the character roaming around miniature terrain, as found in previous "Final Fantasy" games, every area is represented proportionally. The player navigates the world by foot, by Chocobo, or by airship. Players may save their game to a memory card using save crystals or gate crystals, and may use the latter to teleport to other gate crystals.cite book |editor=Square Enix|title=Final Fantasy XII North American instruction manual|year=2006|publisher=Square Enix|pages=15] An in-game bestiary provides incidental information about the world of "Final Fantasy XII".cite book |editor=Square Enix|title=Final Fantasy XII North American instruction manual|year=2006|publisher=Square Enix|pages=19]

"Final Fantasy XII" largely reforms the system of earning gil, the currency of the "Final Fantasy" games. Instead of gil, most enemies drop "loot" which can be sold at shops.cite book |editor=BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=288] This ties into a new battle mechanic which rewards the player with improved loot for slaying a particular type of monster multiple times in a row.cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=41–42 ] Selling different types of loot also unlocks a Bazaar option in shops, which provides items at a lower cost, or items exclusive to the Bazaar.

Battle system

Unlike the previous "Final Fantasy" games which used a turn-based system, battles in "Final Fantasy XII" occur in the open field; however, menus are still used to issue commands to the characters. Combat unfolds in real time, using a new system called "Active Dimension Battle" (ADB), which allows the player to battle in the overworld instead of in a separate battle screen.cite book |editor=BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=35–36] The player may issue commands to any of the three characters in the battle party at will or allow "gambits", which issue automatic commands under certain triggers, to allow the characters to act on their own; however, certain "guest" characters are controlled by the game's AI.cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=37 ] Battle commands include "Attack", "Magicks & Technicks", "Mist", "Gambits", and "Items". Using these abilities, the player must destroy enemies before being defeated.

"Random encounters" have been eliminated in "Final Fantasy XII"; the transition to a separate battle screen like in other "Final Fantasy" titles is absent. Instead, enemies are visible in the overworld before an engagement and the player may choose to fight or avoid them in open combat. A battle begins when the party comes within range of an aggressive enemy (or vice versa), if the party attacks a non-aggressive enemy, or if a story event initiates a confrontation. When a character or enemy begins to perform an action, target lines connect characters to other party members or enemies; different colors represent the type of action.cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=38–39] The player may switch any active character with an inactive character at any time, unless the active character is targeted by an attack or ability. Characters who are knocked out may also be substituted. The absence of a transition to a battle screen meant the usual victory scene is also eliminated, though a successful "Boss" battle does present the player with a "Congratulations" screen and the participating characters in their victory poses. [cite book | year=2006 | editor=Studio BentStuff | title=Final Fantasy XII Battle Ultimania | pages= | publisher=Square Enix | language=Japanese | id=ISBN 4-7575-1697-7]

Another new feature in "Final Fantasy XII" is the "gambit" system, which allows the player to program each character to perform certain commands in battle in response to specified conditions.cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=29 ] Using gambits, the player may set reactions to different stimuli for each character. Each gambit consists of three parts: a target, an action, and a priority. The target specifies which ally or foe to act on and the condition for applying the action. For example, the target "Ally: HP < 70%" causes the character to target any ally whose HP has fallen below 70%. The action is the command to be performed on the target. The priority determines which gambit to perform when multiple gambits are triggered. This rudimentary AI programming scheme allows the characters to act on their own, although player-inputted commands are always given top priority.

In "Final Fantasy XII", a mysterious phenomenon, "Mist", is the key energy which allows the player to cast summoning magic and perform "Quickenings", the game's version of Limit Breaks. After defeating one in combat, the player will be able to summon an "Esper" to the battlefield.cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=44 ] Similar to "Final Fantasy X", the summoned creatures become active participants in battle, as opposed to the cinematic attacks seen in previous games in the series. Unlike "Final Fantasy X", however, Espers follow hidden gambits, rather than the player's direct command. The summoner remains an active member in the fight, able to attack and cast support magic, instead of leaving the party or standing idle while the summoned creature fights. An Esper will leave the battle if either the summoner or itself is knocked out, its time limit expires, or it executes its special attack. Some Espers have origins in the two installments of the "Final Fantasy Tactics" series and others are derived from the final bosses of previous "Final Fantasy" games, such as Chaos and Zeromus.

"Final Fantasy XII" introduces a new Limit Break system similar to those in previous games in the series: "Quickenings" ("Mist Knacks" in the Japanese version of the game).cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=58 ] Characters learn Quickenings by progressing to specific panels on the License Board. Each character can learn three Quickenings, which are unique to that character. Characters may string together Quickenings into large combo attacks, called Mist Chains. If a Mist Chain reaches a certain number of attacks, a final strike will be initiated at the end of the Quickening cycle, called a Concurrence.

License Board

Like many role-playing games, characters level up each time they earn a set number of experience points from defeating enemies; each "level" gained increases the character's statistics, thus improving their performance in battle.cite book |editor=Square Enix|title=Final Fantasy XII North American instruction manual|year=2006|publisher=Square Enix|pages=17] Statistics include hit points, the amount of damage a character can receive; strength, the power of the character's physical attacks; and magic, the potency of the character's magical spells.

In addition to leveling up, players may improve their characters via the License Board. The License Board is an oddly shaped array of panels that contain "licenses"—permits which allow a character to perform certain actions.cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=18 ] The board is split into two parts; the upper part contains Magick, Technick, Accessory, and Augment (stat increases and other permanent buffs) licenses, and the bottom part is filled mostly with Weapon and Armor licenses.cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=20 ] To use a Magick, Technick or piece of equipment, the character must obtain its corresponding license by spending the required amount of LP (License Points) to permit its use. LP are earned in battle along with the experience points. Like "Final Fantasy X"'s Sphere Grid, all characters may obtain all licenses on the board; however, each Quickening and Esper license may only be activated by a single character.cite book |editor=Square Enix|title=Final Fantasy XII North American instruction manual|year=2006|publisher=Square Enix|pages=23]

Plot

etting

"Final Fantasy XII" is set within the land of Ivalice during an age when "magic was commonplace" and "airships plied the skies, crowding out the heavens". At this time, magicite, a magic-rich mineral, is commonly used in magic spells [Sage Knowledge 12 of 78 (Hybrid Gator Bestiary entry) Magicite - Common name for stones containing magickal power, or as it is commonly manifest, Mist. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square-Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] and in powering airships—a popular form of transportation in Ivalice. [Sage Knowledge 14 of 78 (Steeling Bestiary entry) Airships - Currently, they are one of the most popular forms of transportation in Ivalice. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square-Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Ivalice is divided into three continents: Sage Knowledge 29 of 78 (Sleipnir Bestiary entry)
Ivalice - The region consisting of the three continents of Valendia, Ordalia, and Kerwon, blessed throughout with verdant natural landscapes and climatic conditions supporting a great variety of life. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Ordalia, Valendia, and Kerwon.cite book |editor=Square Enix|title=Final Fantasy XII North American instruction manual|year=2006|publisher=Square Enix|pages=12] Ordalia is located in the western part of Ivalice. The Rozarrian Empire makes its home in the vast inland plains of this continent as the eastern portion of it is largely desert or "jagd"—lawless lands so rich in Mist (the ethereal manifestation of magicite) that airships cannot fly over them. [Sage Knowledge 30 of 78 (Urstrix Bestiary entry) Ordalia - Continent on the western edge of Ivalice. The vast plains in the interior are home to the great Rozarrian Empire. To the east of Rozarria, the land is arid and largely desert. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Valendia is the home of Imperial Archadia, where vast and lush plains dot the landscape. [cite book | year=2006 | editor=Studio BentStuff | title=Final Fantasy XII Scenario Ultimania | pages=44–45 | publisher=Square Enix | language=Japanese | id=ISBN 4-7575-1696-7] Central to the story is Dalmasca, a small kingdom between the two continents and Empires. Located in the middle of the Galtean Peninsula of Ordalia, Dalmasca is surrounded by an expanse of desert. The temperate climate of Dalmasca differs from the cold environs of Kerwon and the lush plains of Valendia and Ordalia. [cite book | year=2006 | editor=Studio BentStuff | title=Final Fantasy XII Scenario Ultimania | pages=48–49 | publisher=Square Enix | language=Japanese | id=ISBN 4-7575-1696-7] During this time, Ivalice is beset by the pending war between the forces of Rozarria and Archadia. Caught between the two powerful Empires, Dalmasca and a number of smaller nations have already been subjugated by Archadia two years before the game begins.

According to the game developers, design inspiration came from a mix of medieval Mediterranean countries as demonstrated by the architectural styles found throughout Ivalice along with many of the races populating the region. [cite web | author=Niizumi, Hirohiko| date=2003-11-19| title=Final Fantasy XII gets star treatment in Tokyo| publisher=GameSpot|url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/rpg/finalfantasy12/news.html?sid=6083932 | accessdate=2006-11-02] The art team visited Turkey, which influenced the game’s Mediterranean-style setting.cite web | author=IGN Staff| date=2003-11-20| title=Final Fantasy XII Q&A (page 2 of 4)| publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/441/441293p2.html | accessdate=2006-09-02] The developers also used styles and deco from other sources including areas in India and New York City.cite web | date=2003-11-19| title=Final Fantasy XII Interview| publisher=Final Fantasy Shrine|url=http://www.ffshrine.org/ffxii/ff12_interview.php| accessdate=2006-11-02] Of note is the use of Sanskrit in the city of Bhujerba. Phrases such as "Svagatam" (welcome) and titles like "Parijanah" (Guide) are lifted directly from Sanskrit. Hideo Minaba, a developer and co-art director with Isamu Kamikokuryō, mentions that the team tried to bring out Arabic culture in the design of the game.cite web | author=Sugawara, Aki| date=2003-11-20| title=Feature: A Final Fantasy XII Interview (page 2)| publisher=GamePro | url=http://www.gamepro.com/sony/ps2/games/features/31808.shtml | accessdate=2006-12-14] War is a predominant theme of the game and the developers confirmed that the cutscene battles are influenced by Ancient Rome. When asked to comment on the fan observation of "Star Wars" influence, Minaba assured that although he was a fan of the "Star Wars" series, it was not necessarily an influence to the game's designs.

Characters

The six main playable characters in "Final Fantasy XII" are Vaan, an energetic orphan of Rabanastre who dreams of becoming a sky pirate; Ashe, a determined princess of Dalmasca who lost her husband in the Archadian invasion; Basch, a disgraced knight of Dalmasca charged with treason for slaying the king; Balthier, a gentlemanly sky pirate who pilots his airship, the "Strahl"; Fran, Balthier's partner and a Viera exile whose knowledge extends to legends and myths; and Penelo, Vaan's childhood friend who accompanies him in journeys to keep an eye over him.cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=6–9 ]

The Archadian Empire is ruled by House Solidor, headed by Emperor Gramis.cite book |editor= BradyGAMES |title=Final Fantasy XII Official Strategy Guide |year=2006 |publisher=DKPublishing |isbn=0-7440-0837-9 |pages=10–15 ] The family also consists of two siblings, Vayne and Larsa, the former a militaristic genius and the latter a charismatic seeker of peace. Judge Magisters, upholders of Archadian law, protect House Solidor and execute every command and order issued by the ruling family. The technological marvels of airships and synthetic nethicite—a form of magicite that absorbs Mist—are thanks to Dr. Cid, a prominent researcher from Archadia. The Resistance against Archadia includes Dalmascan knight Vossler, an ally of Basch; Marquis Halim Ondore IV, the game's narrator and ruler of the skycity Bhujerba; Reddas, a sky pirate based in the port at Balfonheim; and the Rozarrian Empire, of which Al-Cid Margrace is a prince of the ruling family. The mythos of "Final Fantasy XII" revolves around a character known as Dynast-King Raithwall, the man who once united Ivalice to create the Galtean Alliance.

Basch was initially meant to be the main character of the story, but the focus was eventually shifted to Vaan and Penelo when the two characters were created later in development. The development team explained that their previous game, "Vagrant Story", which featured a "strong man in his prime" as the protagonist had been unsuccessful and unpopular; the change regarding "Final Fantasy XII" from a "big and tough" protagonist to a more effeminate one was thus decided after targeting demographics were considered. With the casting of dorama actor Kouhei Takeda for the voice acting and motion capture, Vaan nevertheless became a little less feminine and more "active, upbeat bright and positive" than planned.cite web | date=2007-02-28| title=Sortie française de "Final Fantasy XII" : le Compte rendu| publisher=ffring.com | url=http://www.ffring.com/articles/divers-sortie-francaise-de-Final-Fantasy-XII.html | language=French | accessdate=2007-04-17] cite web | author=IGN Staff| date=2003-11-20| title=Final Fantasy XII Q&A (page 1 of 4)| publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/441/441293p1.html | accessdate=2006-09-02] Comments were made about the similarity between main character designer and background design supervisor Akihiko Yoshida's creations and those of Tetsuya Nomura, another Square Enix character designer. Yoshida feels this connection is sparked by the style of color used by both artists, which involves a color consistency between the characters and the environments. The designers stated that non-human characters and races feature a prominent role in the game, which was influenced by an interest in history among the developers.

tory

"Final Fantasy XII" begins in Dalmasca's capital city of Rabanastre, where the happiness from the union of Princess Ashe of Dalmasca and Prince Rasler of Nabradia is interrupted by the Archadian Empire's invasion of Dalmasca. In the subsequent war, Nabradia and Dalmasca are subjugated by Archadia; among the lives lost is Prince Rasler. The Dalmascan king, Raminas, who is forced to sign a treaty of surrender, is slated to be assassinated. [Ondore: The King had scarce departed His Royal City of Rabanastre when the Remnants of the Order made their Return. And not a Moment too soon, for a terrible Revelation awaited them. The Treaty would be signed with Steel and Writ in royal Blood. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] A rescue attempt by Dalmascan knights backfires when Basch, one of the leading knights, kills Raminas and fatally wounds Reks, a young 17-year old knight who was with the knights during the attempt and reveals Basch's deed before succumbing to his injuries. The execution of Basch, and Ashe's eventual suicide, are announced by Marquis Ondore. [Ondore: Prayer, too, for the noble Princess Ashe, who, wrought with Grief at her Kingdom’s Defeat, has taken her own Life. Know also that Capt. Basch fon Ronsenburg, for Incitement of Sedition and the Assassination of H.R.M. King Raminas, has been found Guilty of High Treason and put to his Death. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ]

Two years later, Vaan, Reks' younger brother, infiltrates the Rabanastre palace during the dinner to celebrate the appointment of Vayne Solidor as Consul, despite Penelo's objection. During the infiltration, Vaan encounters Balthier and Fran, who are after the Goddess magicite that Vaan took. Their escape attempt backfires when Resistance forces storm the palace, landing them into the sewers where they stumble upon the Resistance leader, Amalia. However, Vaan, Balthier and Fran are captured by the Archadians and detained at the Nalbina Dungeons. In Nalbina, the trio encounters Basch and escapes with him, after learning of the existence of his twin, Judge Magister Gabranth. Basch conveys to Vaan that Gabranth had posed as him to blackmail Ondore. [Basch: Just the opposite. Reks was the witness they needed. They had to make it appear as if I’d killed the King—Reks bears no blame. The Fates have willed it. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] While skeptical at first, Vaan finally believes him, [Vaan: You don’t have to keep apologizing. Really, it’s all right. I know it wasn’t your fault. I see that now. You didn’t kill my brother. It was the Empire. My brother trusted you. And he was right. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] and helps Basch reach Bhujerba with the help of Balthier and Fran. They also learn of Penelo's kidnapping by headhunter Ba'Gamnan, who uses her to lure Balthier to him. This brings them to a meeting in Bhujerba with Lamont, a curious boy who is in truth Vayne's younger brother, Larsa. [Larsa: Vayne Solidor, the Consul, is my brother ... My brother is a remarkable man. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Basch is also able to confront the Marquis, who captures the party to be sent onboard the Archadian airship, Leviathan, headed by Judge Ghis. Ghis takes Vaan's magicite - the Goddess' Tear - to be sent to Archadia.

On the Leviathan, the party is reunited with Amalia, revealed to be Princess Ashe; [Ghis: Come now, come now. Have you forgotten your manners? This is hardly the courtesy due... The late Princess Ashelia B’nargin Dalmasca. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] and Penelo, who had been rescued by Larsa. Escaping the airship and unable to convince the Marquis to prove her royal lineage, [Ondore: You may yet be a Princess, but without proof of your identity, you are powerless. You will remain with me. We do nothing till the time is right. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Ashe, driven by visions of Rasler, attempts to collect the Dynast-King Raithwall's treasures to prove her royal blood. [Ashe: Rasler... you will be avenged. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] [Ashe: I’m going to retrieve the Dawn Shard. It’s the proof that I need. I know where it’s hidden. I’ll return his airship later. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] The Dawn Shard, a form of magicite called deifacted Nethicite obtained from Raithwall's Tomb and seized by Ghis, proves to be fatal as the small stone destroys the Leviathan, Ghis, and his fleet. Now unable to use the Shard, Larsa convinces Ashe to seek Gran Kiltias Anastasis, who lives in Mt. Bur-Omisace, for his approval of her as queen of Dalmasca. [Larsa: Lady Ashe, let us go to Bur-Omisace. With the blessing of His Grace the Gran Kiltias Anastasis... you may rightly wear your crown, and declare the restoration of the Kingdom of Dalmasca. As Queen, you can call for peace between the Empire and Dalmasca...and stop Marquis Ondore. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Vaan and Penelo travel with the entourage, which includes Basch, Balthier, and Fran. On the way, the party rescues Fran's sister, Mjrn, who was possessed by manufacted (artificial) Nethicite in the process.

The party learns in Mt. Bur-Omisace that not all parties are wishing for war. [Anastasis: In Archadia, Larsa. In Rozarria, Al-Cid. They dream not of war. Should empire join with empire, the way will open for a new Ivalice in our time. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Larsa, who had been investigating Vayne's connection with the manufacted Nethicite, [Larsa: Dalmasca would be the battlefield! What if Nethicite were used on Rabanastre? You know my brother would do this! cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] had made contact with Al-Cid Margrace, a member of the Rozarrian Empire ruling family, to convince the two Empires to cease their war. Their plan to announce Ashe's status as Dalmascan Queen and to persuade Gramis for peace was forestalled with the Emperor's death at the supposed hands of the Archadian Senate Chairman, Gregoroth. [Al-Cid: The Emperor Gramis is no more. His life was taken. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] [Drace: A viper amongst our Senators!? / Vayne: With Chairman Gregoroth as its head. He confessed and passed his own sentence.cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] With Anastasis' aid, Ashe retrieves the Sword of Kings, which can destroy Nethicite. While she obtains the sword, Anastasis is killed by Judge Bergan and Larsa is brought back to Archadia. After defeating Judge Bergan, Ashe's party travels to Archades and the Draklor Laboratory, where manufacted Nethicite were made by Dr. Cid's research. There, they encounter Reddas; however, Dr. Cid escapes and leaves clues that lead them to Giruvegan, [Cid: Am I right? I am, aren’t I. A worthy daughter of the Dynast-King! You would do well to go to Giruvegan. Who knows? You may receive a new Stone for your trouble. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] the supposed location of the Sun-Cryst, the source of deifacted Nethicite. [Gerun: Seek you the Sun-cryst, slumb'ring star. In tower on distant shore it dreams. The mother of all Nethicite, the source of its unending power. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] While together able to enter Giruvegan, Ashe alone encounters the makers of the Sun-Cryst, the Occuria, receiving the real location of the Sun-Cryst, and the Treaty Blade to cut her own piece of deifacted Nethicite.Gerun: Now take this sword, this Treaty-Blade. Occurian seal, mark of your worth. Cut deep the Cryst and seize your Shards. Wield Dynast-King's power! Destroy Venat! cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ]

The Archadian Empire's might, led by Vayne, was due to Dr. Cid's Nethicite research and the assistance of the Occuria betrayer, Venat.Venat: Indeed. What claim does Gerun have on history's reins…seated on throne immortal, rent from time? cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Vayne aims to become the new Dynast-King by using manufacted Nethicite to conquer all of Ivalice.Bergan: Hark! Ivalice hails her true Dynast-King, Vayne Solidor! He shall defy the will of the gods, and see the reins of History back in the hands of Man! cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Dr. Cid, revealed to be Balthier's father, was obsessed with researching the Nethicite's power after his own visit to Giruvegan and initial encounter with Venat. [Balthier: He was obsessed with Nethicite... He’d babble nonsense, blind to aught but the Stone’s power. He’d talk about some ‘Eynah,’ or was it ‘Venat’?...That’s when he lost his heart to Nethicite, lost himself. And I suppose that’s when I lost my father. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Their expansion campaign which led to the Nabudis' destruction and Dalmasca's occupation was made to obtain and study the royal heirlooms - deifacted Nethicite. [Vayne: We conquered two kingdoms, that you might study these "baubles". / Cid: Oh, I am grateful for the sacrifice. Without it, Manufacted Nethicite would have eluded us—an unrivaled weapon, I warrant you. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Gabranth was sent to after Ashe to ascertain her intentions for war. With the Occuria's clue to the Sun-Cryst, Ashe travels to the Pharos at Ridorana Cataract, accompanied by Reddas. Finding the Sun-Cryst atop the tower, Ashe resolves to destroy the Sun-Cryst, [Ashe: In all Dalmasca's history, not once did we rely on the Dusk Shard. Our people resolved never to use it, though their need might be dire. That was the Dalmasca I wanted back... I will destroy the Sun-cryst! I will discard the Stone! cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] defeating Gabranth, who admits to killing her father in an attempt to force her to give in to her hate. [Gabranth: Yes, it was I who wore Basch’s face- who cut down the Life of Dalmasca. Lady Ashe! Your father's murderer is here! cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] By then, Cid arrives to chide Gabranth before disposing of him and evoking the full-power of the Sun-Cryst with the Nethicite shards prior to his death. Reddas, intent not to allow history to repeat itself like at Nabudis, sacrifices himself to destroy it using the Sword of Kings. [Reddas: ...2 years past, he took the Midlight Shard and used it not knowing what he did... and Nabudis was blown away. Cid ordered this of him to learn the Nethicite’s true power. That man swore never to let such terrible power be used again. He forsook his Judicer's plate, and his name. / Gabranth: Judge Zecht! cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ]

Ashe learns from Al-Cid that an impending war between Archadia and the Resistance group led by Marquis Ondore, who defied the Empire after the Leviathan incident, [Reddas: The time approaches when he must make his position vis-à-vis the Empire clear. When he helped you off the Leviathan, he spited the Judges full sore. He cannot sit in idleness and expect to avoid a reckoning. The Marquis shares my distaste for war... cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] is about to take place in Rabanastre. The party travels home to find Archadian forces strengthened with the Sky Fortress Bahamut - an enormous, nethicite-fuelled airship armed with incredibly powerful weapons. Infiltrating the sky fortress with the aid of the Resistance, Basch confronts Gabranth, who spews hate towards his twin, yet taken by Basch's loyalty. [Gabranth: You confound me, brother! You failed Landis, you failed Dalmasca... all you were to protect. Yet you still hold on to your honor. How? / Basch: I had someone more important to defend. And defend her I have. How is it that you have survived? Is it not because you defend Lord Larsa? cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] The party encounters Vayne and Larsa, the latter objecting to Vayne's plot for power; [Vayne: Observe well, Larsa. Watch and mark you the suffering of one who must rule, yet lacks the power. / Larsa: No. No, brother. I will not. Though I lack your power, I will still persist.cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] Larsa and Gabranth ally with the party to destroy Vayne after Venat infused its power into him. The war ends with an announcement by Ashe, [Ashe: This is Ashelia Dalmasca. I confirm what Judge Magister Gabranth and Larsa Solidor have said here. Please. Stand down your attack. The war is over. Ivalice looks to the horizon. A new day has dawned. We are free! cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] and with Larsa taking over the Imperial Army. [Larsa: Attention. This is Larsa Ferrinas Solidor. My brother Vayne has died with honor in battle. The Imperial Fleet is now under my command! cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] The party escapes Bahamut, now void of its fuel due to the final battle, with Larsa and the body of Gabranth. Balthier and Fran remain onboard the Bahamut, steering it away from Rabanastre to prevent a collision, though contact with them was lost.

One year later, Ashe has become Queen of Dalmasca and her coronation is about to take place in one month's time; Basch replaces Gabranth as Judge Magister due to the latter's request, [Gabranth: Basch. Look after Larsa, will you? If house Solidor should crumble, the Empire would fail, and civil war would take us all. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ] serving as guardian to Larsa, now Emperor of Archadia. The story ends with Vaan flying his own airship with Penelo after Balthier and Fran return to 'steal' the Strahl. They leave Vaan a message which includes a note to Queen Ashe and also her ring that Balthier took from her earlier in the story, this is then delivered to Ashe. Following this, Vaan and Penelo set out in an airship to visit Balthier and Fran in Bervenia. [Balthier's note: Something more valuable: the Cache of Glabados. I await in Bervenia.cite video game|title=Final Fantasy XII |developer=Square Enix |publisher=Square Enix |date=2006-10-31 |platform=PlayStation 2 ]

Development

Development for "Final Fantasy XII" began in vgy|2001. [cite web | author=Ricciardi, John | date=2006-03-15 | title=Final Fantasy XII Launches in Japan | url=http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3148802 | publisher=1UP.com | accessdate=2007-07-24] "Final Fantasy Tactics" creator Yasumi Matsuno, originally announced as producer and director, was forced to bow out of both roles midway through the creation of "Final Fantasy XII" due to health concerns. [cite web | author=Niizumi, Hirohiko | date=2005-08-01 | title=FFXII producer steps down | publisher=GameSpot | url=http://www.gamespot.com/news/2005/08/01/news_6130121.html | accessdate=2007-03-10] In his place, Hiroyuki Itō and Hiroshi Minagawa took over directorial duties while Akitoshi Kawazu, of "SaGa" series fame, became the executive producer with Square Enix president Yōichi Wada. [cite web | author=Gantayat, Anoop| date=2005-08-01 | title=Changes to Final Fantasy XII Staff | publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/638/638050p1.html | accessdate=2006-09-01] cite book |editor=Square Enix|title=Final Fantasy XII North American instruction manual|origdate= |origyear=2006|publisher=Square Enix|pages=40] Matsuno's departure was regretted by series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who declined to play "Final Fantasy XII" beyond the introduction.cite book | year=2007 | author=EGM staff | title=Electronic Gaming Monthly 216, June 2007 | pages=53 | publisher=Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc.]

The desire to move away from random encounters was present since the beginning of development.Interview with Hiroyuki Itōcite video | year=2006 | title=Final Fantasy XII Collector's Edition Bonus DVD | medium=DVD | publisher=Square Enix | location=Tokyo | accessdate=2006-03-10] This desire fueled the transition to the "active dimension battle" system so players could seamlessly move from battle to exploration. The gambit system was conceived early on as a way to facilitate this transition. Battle system designer Hiroshi Tomomatsu states that it gradually moved away from a complex and rigid formula to the more flexible form seen in the final version of the game.Interview with Hiroshi Tomomatsucite video | year=2006 | title=Final Fantasy XII Collector's Edition Bonus DVD | medium=DVD | publisher=Square Enix | location=Tokyo | accessdate=2006-03-10] Itō drew inspiration for gambits from plays in American football where each team member has a specific job to do based on the conditions and desired outcome. As for the License system, he explained that needing "licenses" to perform certain actions was a natural extension of the rigid structured society of Archadia, as epitomized by its Judges.

At the early stages of development, Minagawa revealed that numerous ideas and features were planned for the game, but were dropped from the final stages due to certain constraints and hardware limitations. Some of these included the ability for a second player to join in the gameplay, enabling for a two-player mode. Another idea that was given a considerable amount of thought was the ability to recruit non-player characters to join in the mob hunts. Due to the physical limitations of the console and multiple number of characters joining the fray, the development phase took longer than expected, causing delays. [cite web | author=Nickel, Thomas | year=2006 | title=Interview with Hiroshi Minagawa | publisher=g-wie-gorilla.de | url=http://www.g-wie-gorilla.de/content/view/170/18/ | accessdate=2007-06-17]

On November 15, 2005, a playable demo of the game was shipped with the North American release of "Dragon Quest VIII".cite web | author=Gantayat, Anoop | date=2005-12-18 | title=Hands On: Final Fantasy XII | publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/677/677339p1.html | accessdate=2007-03-10] To commemorate the release of "Final Fantasy XII", playable demos of the English version were available at DigitalLife's Gaming Pavilion in New York on October 11, 2006, a day dubbed "Final Fantasy XII" Gamer's Day". [cite web | author=Cordeira, Jim | date=2006-09-13 | title=Final Fantasy XII kicks off at DigitalLife | publisher=Gaming Age | url=http://www.gaming-age.com/news/2006/9/13-21 | accessdate=2006-09-13] Additionally, Square Enix gave fans the chance to cosplay as a character from "Final Fantasy XII". Each person was asked to show Square Enix three photos of his or her costume for a chance to win a trip to New York and participate in the "Final Fantasy XII" Gamer's Day event.cite web | date=2006-09-14 | title=Final Fantasy XII Cosplay Contest 2006 | publisher=Square Enix | url=http://www.square-enix.com/na/news/2006/ff12-contest/ | accessdate=2006-09-14]

During the English localization process, Alexander O. Smith, who had previously worked on "Vagrant Story" and "Final Fantasy X", acted as producer and translator. While still preserving the meaning behind the Japanese script written by Daisuke Watanabe and Miwa Shoda, Smith made the decision to use different dialects of English to reproduce the regional differences in pronunciation found in the Japanese version.cite web | author=Shoemaker, Brad | date=2006-05-11 | title=E3 06: Final Fantasy XII English Version Update | publisher=GameSpot | url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/rpg/finalfantasy12/news.html?sid=6150657 | accessdate=2007-03-10] Interview with Alexander O. Smithcite video | year=2006 | title=Final Fantasy XII Collector's Edition Bonus DVD | medium=DVD | publisher=Square Enix | location=Tokyo | accessdate=2006-03-10] He also tried to distance the game from the "flat reads" found in other dubbed work by casting voice actors who had experience in theater work. In terms of general changes, the localization team introduced widescreen 16:9 ratio support and reinserted scenes that were left out of the original Japanese version to preserve an "All Ages" CERO rating. [cite web | author=Alfonso, Andrew | date=2006-09-23 | title=TGS 2006: Final Fantasy XII Dev Team Interview | publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/734/734868p1.html | accessdate=2006-11-04]

Audio

Hitoshi Sakimoto composed most of the game's soundtrack; Nobuo Uematsu, following his departure from Square Enix in 2004, only contributed the theme song.cite web | author=Niizumi, Hirohiko | date=2004-11-01 | title=Nobuo Uematsu leaving Square Enix | publisher=GameSpot | url=http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/11/01/news_6111914.html | accessdate=2007-03-10] Sakimoto experienced difficulty following in Uematsu's footsteps, but he decided to create a unique soundtrack in his own way.Interview with Hitoshi Sakimotocite video | year=2006 | title=Final Fantasy XII Collector's Edition Bonus DVD | medium=DVD | publisher=Square Enix | location=Tokyo | accessdate=2006-03-10] cite web | author=IGN Music | date=2006-10-24 | title=Twelve Days of Final Fantasy XII: Hitoshi Sakimoto Interview Part I | publisher=IGN | url=http://music.ign.com/articles/741/741502p1.html | accessdate=2007-03-10] "Kiss Me Good-Bye", the theme song for "Final Fantasy XII", was performed in both English and Japanese by Angela Aki.cite web | author=Gantayat, Anoop| date=2005-07-30| title=Square Enix 2005: FFXII Songstress Revealed| publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/637/637986p1.html | accessdate=2006-09-01] Uematsu noted that Aki's style of playing the keyboard while singing reminded him of his childhood idol, Elton John, which was one of the reasons he chose her.cite web | author=Gantayat, Anoop| date=2006-03-16| title=FFXII Jacks Shibuya| publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/696/696511p1.html | accessdate=2006-09-01] The English version of the song was featured in both the Japanese and North American versions of the game. In addition to the theme song, violinist Taro Hakase composed and performed the game's main instrumental theme, "Symphonic Poem "Hope".cite web | author=Niizumi, Hirohiko | date=2005-12-01 | title=Japanese Final Fantasy XII gets premium price | publisher=GameSpot | url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/rpg/finalfantasy12/news.html?sid=6140662 | accessdate=2007-03-10]

Two promotional soundtracks were released before the original soundtrack, "Symphonic Poem "Hope" and "The Best of The Final Fantasy XII Soundtrack", on March 1 and March 15, 2006, respectively. The former contains all the music used in the game's trailer performed by Taro Hakase, including "Symphonic Poem "Hope". [cite web | author=Gann, Patrick | date= | title=Symphonic Poem "Hope" | date=2006-05-01 | publisher=RPGFan | url=http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/ff12-hope/index.html | accessdate=2007-03-10] The original soundtrack itself was released in Japan on May 31, 2006.cite web | author=Schweitzer, Ben | date=2006-06-17 | title=Final Fantasy XII OST|publisher=RPGFan | url=http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/ff12/index.html | accessdate=2007-03-10] It consists of 4 CDs with 100 tracks, and includes promotional tracks not in the final version of the game.cite web | author=Sullivan, Meghan | date=2006-08-02 | title=Hitoshi Sakimoto - Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack: Limited Edition | publisher=IGN | url=http://music.ign.com/articles/722/722920p1.html | accessdate=2007-03-10] The CD single for "Kiss Me Good-Bye" was released on the March 15, 2006.cite web | author=Gann, Patrick | date=2006-05-01 | title=Angela Aki - Kiss Me Good-Bye | publisher=RPGFan | url=http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/ff12-kiss/index.html | accessdate=2007-03-10] A limited edition was also released, featuring a DVD containing the music video for "Kiss Me Good-Bye". Tofu Records has released an abridged version of the original soundtrack, which contains 31 songs, including "Kiss Me Good-Bye".cite web | author=Carle, Chris | date=2006-10-20 | title=Twelve Days of Final Fantasy XII: Tofu Records Visit | publisher=IGN | url=http://music.ign.com/articles/740/740816p1.html | accessdate=2007-03-10]

Reception

VG Reviews
Edge = 9 of 10
EuroG = 10 of 10 [cite web | url = http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=69380|title=Final Fantasy XII|author=Fahey, Rob | date=2006-10-31| publisher = Eurogamer | accessdate=2007-12-07]
Fam = 40 of 40
GamePro = 5 of 5 [cite web | url = http://gamepro.com/sony/ps2/games/reviews/85008.shtml |title=Final Fantasy XII|author= Bones | date=2006-10-31| publisher = GamePro | accessdate=2007-12-07]
GSpot = 9.0 of 10
IGN = 9.5 of 10
OPM = 10 of 10
XPlay = 5 of 5 [cite web | url = http://www.g4tv.com/xplay/reviews/1292/Final_Fantasy_XII.html | title= G4 Reviews - Final Fantasy XII | date=2006-10-31| publisher = G4tv.com | accessdate=2007-12-07]
rev1 = RPGFan
rev1Score = 97 of 100 [cite web | author= Harris, Stephen | url = http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/finalfantasy12/index.html | title = Final Fantasy XII | date=2006-10-31| publisher = RPGFan | accessdate=2007-12-07] |
MC = 92 of 100 [cite web | url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ps2/finalfantasyxii| title= Final Fantasy XII | date=2006-10-31| publisher = Metacritic| accessdate=2007-12-07]
GR = 91 of 100 [cite web|url=http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/459841.asp|title=Final Fantasy XII Reviews|publisher=Game Rankings|accessdate=2008-03-23]
"Final Fantasy XII" sold more than 1,764,000 copies in its first week in Japan, almost equaling the sales of "Final Fantasy X" in its first week. [cite web | author=Jenkins, David| date=2006-03-24| title=Japanese Sales Charts, Week Ending March 19| publisher=Media Create | url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=8671 | accessdate=2006-08-14] The total number of copies sold stood at 2,150,671 after five weeks of release. [cite web | date=2006-04-20| title=Weekly software sales for 4/10 - 4/16| publisher=Media Create | url=http://www.gamesarefun.com/news.php?newsid=6225 | accessdate=2006-08-14] A Square Enix conference report stated that "Final Fantasy XII" sold more than 2.38 million copies in Japan in the two weeks since its March 16, 2006 release. In North America, "Final Fantasy XII" shipped approximately 1.5 million copies in its first week. [cite web | date=2006-11-06| title=Square Enix Announces Record Shipment With Final Fantasy XII| publisher=Square Enix | url=http://www.square-enix.com/na/company/press/2006/1106_1/ | accessdate=2006-11-07] On the seventh anniversary of the PlayStation 2 in the U.S. (October 2007), "Final Fantasy XII" was listed as the tenth best selling game for the PS2. [cite web | author=Androvich, Mark | year=2007 | title=PS2 celebrates 7th anniversary | url=http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=29985 | publisher=Gamesindustry.biz| accessdate2007-10-27]

On March 16, 2006, "Final Fantasy XII" became the sixth game to receive a perfect score from the Japanese gaming magazine "Famitsu", making it the first "Final Fantasy" game and the first PlayStation 2 title to do so. It is also the second Yasumi Matsuno title to garner a perfect score, the first being "Vagrant Story". The game was praised for its graphics, scenarios, game system, and the freshness it brought to the "Final Fantasy" series.cite web | author=Lumb, Jonathan| date=2006-03-08| title=FF XII Scores Perfect In Famitsu| publisher=1UP.com | url=http://1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3148658 | accessdate=2006-08-13] The game was critically acclaimed by many reviewers outside of Japan even before its release in those territories. It was praised for its seamless transitions between full motion video segments and the in-game engine,cite web | author=Albiges, Luke | date=2006-04-18| title=Final Fantasy XII review| publisher=Eurogamer| url=http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=63936 | accessdate=2006-08-14] and was voted number one for Best Art Style on IGN's weekly Top Ten. [cite web | author=IGN Staff| date=2006-07-18| title=Top 10 Tuesday: Best Art in Videogames| publisher=IGN| url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/719/719602p1.html | accessdate=2006-08-14] "Newtype USA" named "Final Fantasy XII" its "Game of the Month" for November 2006, praised the gameplay, graphics, and story, and called it "the best RPG to have been released for any Sony platform." [cite web | author=Joynt, Patrick| date=2006-11-01| title=Newtype USA / Reviews / Final Fantasy XII| publisher=Newtype| url=http://www.newtype-usa.com/reviews/index.php?itemid=342| archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20070521200034/http://www.newtype-usa.com/reviews/index.php?itemid=342| archivedate=2007-05-21 | accessdate=2007-01-17]

Although GameSpot lauded the gambit and license systems as an innovative and in-depth way for the player to control the characters, it criticized them for being too complicated and difficult to adjust to, especially for newer players of the series. The reviewer also criticized the sometimes tedious back and forth travel. On the other hand, GameSpot took particular note of the "excellent" voice cast. IGN praised the game's rich storyline and artistic direction, shown through its "sheer depth of character". It also assuaged criticism that the gambit system would "let the game play itself", countering that gambits do not function without a player. However, it noted that, while "still extremely strong", "Final Fantasy XII" has one of the series' weaker soundtracks.

Executive producer Akitoshi Kawazu was pleased by Famitsu's rating but admitted that he thought the game was not perfect; he felt that the storyline did not meet some fans' expectations. [cite web | author= Wales, Matt | date =2006-10-26 | title=Square Talks Firsts for Final Fantasy XII | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/742/742013p1.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2007-06-28] Kawazu expressed his frustration and regrets regarding the storyline, citing creative differences between the PlayOnline and "Final Fantasy Tactics" members of the development team. [cite web | author=Verlet, Nicolas | date=2006-10-24 | title=Interview : Akitoshi Kawazu (FF XII) | url=http://www.gamekult.com/articles/A0000052257/ | publisher=Gamekult.com | accessdate=2007-07-17 | language=French]

"Final Fantasy XII" was recognized by the website GameSpot as the "Best PlayStation 2 Game" in their Best Games and Worst Games of 2006, as well as nominated in the "Game of the Year" and "Best Role-Playing Game" categories.cite web | year=2006 | title=GameSpot's Best Games and Worst Games of 2006 | url=http://www.gamespot.com/special_features/bestof2006/platform/index.html?page=6 | publisher=GameSpot | accessdate=2007-03-09] It also achieved "PS2 Game of the Year" and "PS2 RPG of the Year" in GameSpy's Game of the Year 2006, [cite web|url=http://goty.gamespy.com/2006/ps2/index14.html|title=GameSpy's Game of the Year 2006|publisher=GameSpy|accessdate=2007-03-10] and won "Best PS2 RPG" and "PS2 Game of the Year" in the IGN Awards.cite web | author=IGN Staff | year=2006 | title=IGN.com presents the Best of 2006 | url=http://bestof.ign.com/2006/ps2/14.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2007-03-09] cite web | author=IGN Staff | year=2006 | title=IGN.com presents the Best of 2006 | url=http://bestof.ign.com/2006/ps2/39.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2007-03-09] "Final Fantasy XII" was named the "Best Game" in the 2006 "Edge" Awards, [cite web|url=http://www.edge-online.co.uk/archives/2006/12/final_fantasy_x.php|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20070126114821/http://www.edge-online.co.uk/archives/2006/12/final_fantasy_x.php|archivedate=2007-01-26|title=Final Fantasy XII is Edge's game of the year|date=2006-12-19|publisher=Edge Online|accessdate=2007-03-10] and it was also nominated for "Role-Playing Game of the Year" in the 10th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.cite web | year=2006 | title=The 10th Annual Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Awards | url=http://www.interactive.org/awards.php?winners&year=2007&cat=200722#200722 | publisher=Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences | accessdate=2007-03-09]

Versions and merchandise

On March 16, 2006, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan released a special "Final Fantasy XII" package, which contained a "PlayStation 2" game system, the "Final Fantasy XII" game, a standard DualShock controller, and a vertical console stand. [cite web | author=Gantayat, Anoop| date=2006-01-06| title=Final Fantasy XII PS2 Coming| publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/679/679404p1.html | accessdate=2006-09-01] The Japanese third-party manufacturer Hori also released "Final Fantasy XII" memory cards on the day of the game's release; stickers of "Final Fantasy XII" characters are included. [cite web | author=Winkler, Chris| date=2006-02-17| title=FFXII Memory Card Announced| publisher=RPGFan | url=http://www.rpgfan.com/news/2006/1095.html | accessdate=2007-03-24] Game peripheral maker Logicool (Logitech's Japanese branch) released a special edition "Final Fantasy XII" controller alongside the title on March 16. [cite web | author=Winkler, Chris| date=2006-01-15| title=FFXII PS2 Controller Announced in Japan| publisher=RPGFan | url=http://www.rpgfan.com/news/2006/1025.html | accessdate=2007-03-24] Suntory produced "Final Fantasy XII Potion"—a drink containing such ingredients as royal jelly, chamomile, sage, thyme, and marjoram. The drinks became commercially available in Japan on March 7, 2006. Suntory also released a "Final Fantasy XII" Premium Box, which came with a "Final Fantasy XII" collector's card. The Potion was a limited edition product and is no longer available. [cite web | author=Gantayat, Anoop| date=2006-01-19| title=Final Fantasy XII Drink Dated| publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/682/682201p1.html | accessdate=2006-09-01]

Studio BentStuff published three Ultimania books: "Final Fantasy XII Battle Ultimania" and the "Final Fantasy XII Scenario Ultimania" on June 16, 2006, and "Final Fantasy XII Ultimania Ω" on November 24, 2006. The "Battle Ultimania" provides a description and analysis of the new battle system and its components, as well as developer interviews.cite web | author=Studio BentStuff| date=2006-04-21| title=Studio BentStuff | publisher=bent.co.jp | url=http://www.bent.co.jp/main/news/20060421.htm | accessdate=2007-03-25] The "Scenario Ultimania" describes the main scenarios in the game, profiles on the characters and areas in Ivalice, developer interviews, and details on each location. Another guide, the "Ultimania Ω", includes voice actor interviews, the complete story of "Final Fantasy XII" including additional character profiles, a collection of artworks and illustrations, the complete play guide, [cite web | author=Studio BentStuff| date=2006-10-31| title=Studio BentStuff | publisher=bent.co.jp | url=http://www.bent.co.jp/main/news/20061031.htm | accessdate=2007-03-25] and a novella written by Benny Matsuyama, author of "Hoshi wo Meguru Otome" from the "Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Ω Guide". [cite web | author=Team Animefringe| date=2005-12-01| title=The Legacy of Final Fantasy VII| publisher=animefringe.com | url=http://www.animefringe.com/magazine/2005/12/feature/01-4.php | accessdate=2007-03-24] Another Ultimania edition, the "Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System Ultimania", will be released on September 6, 2007 as a guide book for the international version of the game. [cite web | author=Studio BentStuff| date=2007-08-06| title=「ファイナルファンタジーXII インターナショナル ゾディアックジョブシステム アルティマニア」表紙公開 | publisher=bent.co.jp | url=http://www.bent.co.jp/main/news/20070806.htm | accessdate=2007-08-18]

For the North American release, a "Collector's Edition" was available through GameStop and EB Games. [cite web | author=Sinclair, Brendan | date=2006-10-31 | title=Final Fantasy XII lands at retail | publisher=GameSpot | url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/rpg/finalfantasy12/news.html?sid=6160785 | accessdate=2007-03-10] This edition includes the original game packaged in a metallic case along with a special bonus disc, which contains "Final Fantasy XII" developer interviews, an art gallery, U.S. and Japanese trailers, and a featurette entitled "History of "Final Fantasy", which gives a brief overview of most released and upcoming "Final Fantasy" games. [cite web | author=Hatfield, Daemon | date=2006-10-31 | title=Final Fantasy Ships for the XIIth Time | publisher=IGN | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/742/742843p1.html | accessdate=2007-03-10] On January 26, 2007, Square Enix Product Blog revealed that the full-color Gabranth, Ashe, Balthier and Vaan figures are complete and will be available soon.cite web | date=2007-01-26 | title=FINAL FANTASY XII PLAY ARTS | url=http://www.square-enix.co.jp/se-shop/blog/200701.html | language=Japanese | publisher=Square Enix | accessdate=2007-03-28]

An international version of the game called nihongo|"Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System"|ファイナルファンタジーXII インターナショナル ゾディアックジョブシステム|Fainaru Fantajī Tuerubu Intānashonaru Zodiakku Jobu Shisutemu was released in Japan on August 9, 2007 as part of both "Final Fantasy" 20th anniversary and "Ivalice Alliance". [cite web| date=2007-05-14| title= Square Enix Party Press Conference Announcement| publisher=Square Enix | url=http://www.square-enix.com/na/company/press/2007/0514_3/ | accessdate=2007-07-14] The game includes twelve License Boards available (instead of the original one), each corresponding to a different Zodiac sign and job. The battle system as a whole has been tweaked; guest characters and summons are controllable by the player, and pressing the L1 button accelerates the game's speed. Additionally, the game features the English voices and the widescreen 16:9 ratio support of the North American version, as well as a bonus disc based on the one initially released with the North American version. Other new features such as new licenses and renamed spells have been shown as well. There is also a "New Game+" option, "New Game-" (where characters do not gain experience), as well as a new "Trial Mode" which allows the player to hunt monsters in 100 different maps to gain items and money.cite web |url=http://www.rpgamer.com/news/Q2-2007/050907a.html |title=Final Fantasy IV Remake, XII International Announced |accessdate=2007-05-09 |author=Boulette, Bryan |date=2007-05-09 |publisher=RPGamer] [cite web |url=http://www.ffworld.com/?rub=news&page=voir&id=764 |title=FFXII International: Plus d'infos (MàJ) |accessdate=2007-05-10 |author=KujaFFman |date=2007-05-10 |publisher=Final Fantasy World|language=French] [cite web |url=http://www.ffworld.com/?rub=news&page=voir&id=771 |title=FFXII International: Des détails |accessdate=2007-05-12 |author=KujaFFman |date=2007-05-12 |publisher=Final Fantasy World|language=French] [cite web | author=GameSpot| year=2007| title= Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System| publisher=Yahoo! Video Games | url=http://uk.videogames.games.yahoo.com/ps2/previews/final-fantasy-xii-international--zodiac-job-system-2d2cfd.html | accessdate=2007-05-29]

References

External links

* [http://www.ff12.com/ "Final Fantasy XII" official website for Japan] ja icon
* [http://www.finalfantasyxii.com/ "Final Fantasy XII" official website for North America]
* [http://www.finalfantasy12.eu.com/ "Final Fantasy XII" official website for Europe]
* [http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Final_Fantasy_XII "Final Fantasy XII"] at Wikia


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