By James Mielke 05/10/2007 At its recent pre-E3 media day, Square Enix president Yoichi Wada unveiled the "Square Enix RPG for the world," which according to Wada would "become a cornerstone for their worldwide strategy." He went on to add that "Square Enix RPGs are in a league of their own, and in a world of new technology, we need to expand our portfolio and The Last Remnant is a brand new franchise being designed by a new generation of developers, scheduled for a simultaneous US/Japan release." Producer Nobuyuki Ueda then stepped up to describe some of the game's elements. A brief trailer, however, was shown, using the Unreal game engine, with bump-mapped trees, detailed character models, and sharp background animation, all running in real time. The scene begins with a young man wondering aloud "Damn, where is she?," a query which would soon be punctuated by the sounds of soldiers shouting, some heavy drums and music, in which the young man runs to the edge of the clearing before stumbling upon an unfolding skirmish.

[Click the image above to check out all the Last Remnant screens.]

The sight of the two massive armies approaching each other was reminiscent of both Ninety-Nine Nights' large-scale battles and Star Wars Episode One's epic Gungan showdown with the Trade Federation's droid army. With both human and inhuman soldiers (one race looked like a race of wolf people) charging towards each other, our man on the hill sees the woman he was looking for, racing down to the field shouting "Marina!!!" With that the trailer ended and a real-time demonstration began. Using an overhead map, Ueda cycled through a number of destination points on the map, similar to the way a Kingdoms Under Fire game breaks areas up as map selections. Once he chose one, though, the game quickly loaded up a fully 3D, real-time environment that looked similar to the opening city from Final Fantasy XII. Using a free-look camera, Ueda scanned the area to show off the immense detail of the area. After that he went into a dungeon area, in which a transparent map in the upper right corner was visible, and all battles take place between the character and the easily-seen monsters onscreen. Last Remnant will not suffer from random battles, which should please more than a few gamers.

While the framerate was occasionally choppy in areas, the game is still early in development, and yet, based on what was shown, quite accomplished-looking already, with gorgeous architecture and detail in the environments. Another scene in the aqueducts beneath the city were also slightly reminiscent of the sewer areas from Final Fantasy XII, but there is seemingly no relation between Last Remnant and the Final Fantasy continuity. The aqueduct level featured some nice, bump-mapped water effects, random treasure chests, and impressive detail in the rocky mountainside. Another area shown was an open plain, filled with creepy-looking monsters (large in size), cool lighting effects (sun shining through 3D clouds), and swirling dust effects. Hiroshi Takai, the game's director, then took to the podium, and explained that players would be able to use simple commands to control enormous amounts of characters at one time, introducing large-scale battles to RPGs. A sample battle revealed a lifebar to indicate the relative 'health' of the opposing armies (labeled 'allies' and 'enemies'). The success of character attacks seems to be based on timing, as onscreen button prompts (think quicktime events from Shenmue) compel the gamer to press the appropriate button. Depending on your skill, a different declaration fills the screen, like 'Rear Assault!' or 'Terminated!'

[Click the image above to check out all the Last Remnant screens.]

The demo battle then revealed a huge roc-type monster augmenting the enemy forces, which titled the lifebar heavily in the enemies' favor, since they suddenly had a strong new ally on their side. With that, a new selection of menu choices appeared, revealing that while this is a new initiative that Square Enix is banking on, the game is still rooted in old-school RPG mechanics and values. Last Remnant is unique, in Square Enix's canon, as it is multiplatform for both PS3 and Xbox 360. No release date has been set.

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