The Last Remnant Preview
Square-Enix dropped the bomb earlier this year: they're making a brand new next-gen RPG, and its name isn't Final Fantasy. Obviously, just about every avid RPG fan on earth is anxiously awaiting Final Fantasy XIII, but now there's another contender vying for our interest: the recently announced, The Last Remnant. We've got some more details and information on this soon-to-be-stellar RPG, and we're certain you'll be excited by what you read here. Furthermore, we know the game will make an appearance at next week's E3 event - in trailer-form only - so perhaps we'll have more sweet tidbits then. But for now, we'll get right to the nitty-gritty and outline the basic foundation.
After the title was unveiled at the Square-Enix Party, we learned a little about the format, structure, and style of The Last Remnant. At first, it was reported the game would include two main characters, each specifically designed to cater to Western and Japanese gamers respectively. However, the developers quickly corrected everyone on that error; in fact, there is only one main character, and his name is Rush Sykes. Sykes is an adept young swordsman who initially sets out to rescue his sister, Irina, who gets kidnapped early on. Unfortunately, you have no idea why she's being taken, or what the kidnappers might want, which is where your quest begins. Sykes soon meets the second major character in the game, who is only known as "The Conqueror" (originally mistaken for the second "main character" designed for Western audiences).
Now, fans of Square-Enix RPGs always know they can expect a fantastic story, complete with plenty of plot twists, mysterious characters, and storyline intricacies, and the team isn't about to let you down with The Last Remnant. "The Conqueror" is one of those quiet yet ruthless individuals; dark, foreboding, intriguing, and complete with a bloodstained uniform. We're not sure exactly what role he plays in the story, but we do know he's somehow connected to Sykes, and Square-Enix has said the "numerous plot twists will change our opinion of him." Is he like Auron from Final Fantasy X? Or is it less complex than that; perhaps we consider him evil at first, and then later, we find out he's a kind and benevolent soul? Maybe he's just a puppet, forced into doing nasty and evil things against his will...but whatever the reason, we can't wait to learn more about "The Conqueror."
Moving on to the gameplay, much has been made of the reported "large-scale" battles in the game, and not surprisingly, the combat will be one of the main appeals. Multiple allies railing against multiple enemies should be the order of the day, and when we say "multiple," we could be talking about dozens or perhaps even hundreds of different characters on screen at once. The developers are attempting to create a "real battlefield experience," so even though the battle is inherently turn-based, it will also be "reactionary" with a lot of unique features. Consider the following- you're going along, selecting commands as you normally would in any turn-based battle format, and then, something interesting happens. A special pop-up appears on screen giving one of your characters a chance to execute a special maneuver and deal more damage, thereby relying on your reflexes and timing as well as your position and strategy.
Politics have become an increasingly large facet of Square-Enix's stories in recent past (Final Fantasy XII is the most recent example), and The Last Remnant will continue that trend. All the rulers, country officials, and "higher-ups" are locked in an on-going argument over who should have control over the Remnants. The Mitra - humans - first discovered these Remnants over 1000 years ago, and they've become a staple of the advanced civilization. The team describes Remnants as symbols of power that all major empires acquire and utilize to protect their people, and essentially, they're artifacts from a long-dead society. But while they're the cornerstones for the very world Rush and Co. inhabit, not a whole lot is known about these Remnants, and obviously, that causes some problems. What are these things every citizen admires, reveres, and even worships? And how exactly do they work? All viable questions.
As for the aforementioned development team, it's an all-star cast comprised of talented and experienced veterans, mostly in the realm of Final Fantasy. Hiroshi Takai is the director, and recently, Yusuke Naora has been added as the Art Producer. Naora's resume includes art director or supervisor for Final Fantasy VII, VIII, X, and Advent Children. Producer Noboyuki Ueda was project manager on The Bouncer and Unlimited Saga, Executive Producer Akitoshi Kawazu worked on Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles and Final Fantasy Tactics, and Chief Artist Kimihiko Miyamae lent his skills as background designer to Final Fantasy IX and X. If there's one group of developers that could make this particular title truly special, it's this one. What better way to realize your vision than to recruit the best?
The Last Remnant is scheduled to arrive some time in 2008 for the PS3 and Xbox 360, but best of all, it should be released simultaneously in both Japan and the U.S. That ought to prove challenging, but it's likely to help sales a great deal, simply because no fan in either region will be forced to wait. If the E3 trailer reveals more details, we'll be sure to let you know.
7/5/2007 Ben Dutka