May 10, 2007 - Square Enix is looking to blaze new trails in the new generation of game development. Today they announced The Last Remnant, a multiplatform RPG scheduled to release on both the PS3 and Xbox 360.
There all kinds of elements that make this game a unique project for Square Enix. For one, the game will release in Japan and the U.S. on the same day. So the localization is taken place during the initial stage of development. Secondly, the team is using the Unreal Engine's development tools to develop the game. So for all of the conspiracy theorists out there that said Square Enix was ditching the white engine and using Unreal to make Final Fantasy XIII, please proceed to put your foot in your mouth.
Interestingly enough, there were no trailers for this game at the press conference. Instead, they showed-off actual gameplay footage, which included giving everyone a taste of what the environments are like. The demo started with the opening sequence of the game. The main character, Rush Sykes, is wondering through the forest, looking for someone (the name sounded female). There's a ton of foliage everywhere, not as dense as Crysis, but decent. All of sudden he hears a battle in the distance and rushes to a ledge to see what's going on.
In the distance we see a war getting ready to jump-off. There are all kinds of fantastic creatures, some completely foreign and imaginative, some more identifiable. One in particular looks like a cat with four arms. It's obvious at this point to see what the Unreal engine is really good at, and that's rendering bumpy textures. So the enemies with lizard-like skin benefit the most from the strengths of the Unreal engine, but the furry cat dude, not so much. Nevertheless, there are a ton of characters one screen, all executing various animations that seem unique to their own volitions. A captain of sorts readies his warriors, and a large tube that looks as though it will act as a canon is brought to the front line. The action follows shortly thereafter with Rush yelling out a name and rushing into the middle of the battle. We're told that everything we saw was rendered in real-time. Considering how detailed all the textures and lighting were, this little intro demonstrates how narrow the gap has become between game graphics and CG animation.
After the intro concludes, we're taken on tour of some of the cities in the game. First there's a map of the world (complete with a rippling ocean) and players can select where they want to go. Then there's an image of the city that functions like the world map. Each city we saw had its own "Remnant." In the context of the game, this is a huge artifact that entire cities are built around. In the first city we go to, there's a huge sword in the ground whose hilt juts into sky for miles. The second city had a huge dragon as their "Remnant." The first thing that jumps out to most viewers is how close the environments are to Final Fantasy XII. Any one of the cities we were shown could have been a place in Ivalice. The difference here is all of the texture the walls and ground have.
After touring a few caves we got a chance to see some action. The combat wasn't explained in detail, but from what we could tell, users control huge groups of fighters. The groups are mapped to go fight other groups of enemies on a "planning" overhead map. Once the enemies are chosen, everyone engages them and animation sequence plays out. During these sequence, players are instructed to press the proper face buttons on time, or else they're "late" and the attacks are less successful. Well timed attacks yield awesome results, good gory violent results. When things really heat-up, summons come to play. From what we can tell, the summons are the Remnants, and they can go head-up against other Remnants. The main character, Rush, summoned a giant stone-like beast named Cyclops, who proceeded to do battle with a giant bird. The scale and vastness of the battle field was pretty spectacular, with a ton of detail paid to each warrior fighting on it.There's no release date yet but we'll spill the beans as soon as we get them.