San Diego Comic-Con International 2006

Please excuse the quality of the pictures, photo and video cameras were not permitted in the Square-Enix booth, so these pictures were hard to take.

Click on the pictures for larger versions.

Access to San Diego Comic-Con International 2006

Lines to get in took about 1.5 hours, but not for the press.  Not only was there no wait, but the passes were free.  Sweet!

Square-Enix Booth

The Square-Enix section was not as big as I had expected, but it didn't disappoint.  It had some non-Final Fantasy material on display, but the main focus was Final Fantasy.  The Final Fantasy XIII figure was on display, but where her name is supposed to be, there was ???, which means Square is just going to keep teasing us by keeping her name a secret.

Booth Freebies

No promotional CD or DVDs, just some flyers with Final Fantasy items that are for sale, which you had to go to other booths to buy.  Some of them aren't released yet and some are not exactly new.  Also a promotional card for a free downloadable Final Fantasy XI Online for the PC, although it doesn't come with any expansions...not even Rise of the Zilart.  So basically you'd have to buy the full game anyway because Rise of the Zilart is not sold separately in the USA.  Plus a booklet giving information and screenshots of all the games on display at the show and some Final Fantasy XII temporary tattoos.

Playable Final Fantasy Games

Final Fantasy III

The E3 English version was playable, they had two machines setup (one was temporarily shut down due to somebody breaking the DS stand.)  It was playable on the original Nintendo Dual Screen system with a flatscreen displaying what the touchscreen showed.  It was the opening scene from the Family Computer release, playable with four characters.  The demo ends when you defeat the boss.

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII

A playable version was available with a few machines set up.  I own the Japanese version, so I didn't feel the urge to test the game out, even though the gameplay is supposed to be improved in the USA release.

Dirge of Cerberus: Lost Episode: Final Fantasy VII

Click here to download a video of me playing the game.  Do not link to this file from your site, if you want this video on your site then put it on your own server.

A playable demo was available with six cellphones set up.  I noticed AMP'd cellphones along with Verizon cellphones, which could mean that the game is going to be available on VCast after the exclusive time period that is set aside for AMP'd cellphones.  The game starts with some intro text, followed by a helicopter flight that gets attacked by gargoyles.  The game then becomes playable and once you kill the gargoyles, it takes you to the next scene where you have full control of Vincent.  However, this section is a complete tutorial and everything you touch or do is followed by instructions on how to do things and what things mean.  After what felt like 10 minutes of tutorials, I simply stopped playing, the tutorials completely sucked the fun of testing the game out.

Final Fantasy XI Online: Treasures of Aht Urhgan

A playable XBox 360 version was available with four widescreen machines set up.  I currently play the PC version, so I didn't feel the urge to test the game out, even though the game looked very crisp and clear compared to the other versions that I've seen.

Final Fantasy XII

Plays exactly like the Japanese version.  From the title screen you didn't have the option of starting a new game, only loading a saved game.  There were four different save game files and each was designed to give a feel for the different locations available.  Granted four locations isn't much, but it was still enough to keep the gamers interested.

Final Fantasy Videos

They had a lot of trailers playing on the screen, but filming and taking pictures was not allowed, otherwise I would have uploaded all of the trailers here.  It was a real trip to hear the voices of the Final Fantasy XII characters and have them fit as well as they did, although the lack of lip-syncing is extremely distracting.  One of the characters names in the cellphone version of Final Fantasy was Verizon which should make it clear what service this remake of the first Final Fantasy game will have.  They showed a few images of Final Fantasy V Advance and Final Fantasy VI Advance, but none of the new sections were shown.  They showed the Final Fantasy Adventure cellphone port, which looked VERY impressive for a cellphone game and they showed two very quick screenshots of an original Mana game being made for cellphones.  They showed a trailer for every game what was in the booth and quite a few that were not, including Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.  Unfortunately, no Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer, which they should have shown by now...

Final Fantasy Cosplay

There was some Final Fantasy cosplay for all of us to enjoy.  Mostly Final Fantasy VII and above, which is typical of Cosplayers.  I would love to see some creative Final Fantasy cosplay next year, how about Cecil and Rosa or even Maria and Josef.  However that won't happen, so expect to see a lot of people dressed like Cloud or Rikku next year as well.

Spotlight on Yoshitaka Amano

Click here to hear Yoshitaka Amano's response to a question.  Do not link to this file from your site, if you want this video on your site then put it on your own server.

A one hour Q&A session with Yoshitaka Amano and his translator.  Outside of the moron that took about 4 minutes to ask a question, which confused everyone including Amano's translator, the session was enjoyable, but the total information that we received in that one hour could just fill up about 2 paragraphs, maybe less.  It needed to be worked on a little more, next time just forget asking the audience for questions and give us what we want, an autograph signing session.  It was still an honor to see him in person.

A Little Bonus

Click here to download a video of me playing the game.  Do not link to this file from your site, if you want this video on your site then put it on your own server.

Not exactly Final Fantasy related, but I really enjoyed playing Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin for the Nintendo Dual Screen in the Konami booth.  The demo was short, yet it gave a strong impression as to what is coming.  The dual characters that are not only switchable instantly, but can also be brought out at the same time to solve puzzles, are a welcomed change from the first second I tested that feature out.  I can honestly say that this has the potential to be one of the best Castlevania games, or maybe I'm just really excited  about a new 2D Castlevania game...  Nah, it is a great, yet short, demo.

Leaving Comic-Con International 2006

Thought you might enjoy seeing the line leaving the show at 7 p.m.


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